Why Spit Doesn’t Count: Lube for Loving in Romances

Tamsen Parker Rub One Out Bingo

When you’re in the business of sex toys, the discussion of lube comes up often. Today we’re thrilled to welcome Tamsen Parker, who is just as passionate about proper usage of lubricants during sex. Specifically sex in romance.

It’s like the #RubOneOutBingo square “read a romance with proper lube usage” was made for her!

Tamsen tells us why lube is so important and illustrates this point with a mega, super hot excerpt from her book Alpha in the Sheets.

This post contains affiliate links.

About Tamsen Parker

Tamsen Parker is a USA Today bestselling romance writer, with books in the erotic romance, hot contemporary, sports, and now sweet subgenres, and writes about f/f, m/f, and m/m couples falling for each other. The Lesbian Review named both IF I LOVED YOU LESS and FIRE ON THE ICE to their Top 15 Books of 2018, and IN HER COURT as one of the Top 10 Audiobooks of 2018. Her novella CRAVING FLIGHT was named to the Best of 2015 lists of Heroes and Heartbreakers, Smexy Books, Romance Novel News, and Dear AuthorHeroes and Heartbreakers called her After Hours series “bewitching, humorous, erotically intense and emotional.”

Lube is For Loving

Tamsen Parker Rub One Out Bingo


I give a talk entitled How to Put the Bang in Your Banging which, as you might’ve guessed, is about how to write sex. It covers a ton of territory, including a section on safety. In that segment, I talk about birth control and STI (sexually transmitted infection) prevention, use of toys and equipment, and lube. Yes, lube. In my notes, it literally says, “For the love of Pete, please use lube. SPIT DOESN”T COUNT.”

There are of course caveats to this. Sometimes people enjoy the feeling of anal with no lube—but if you’re not using it, you had best explain in the text why not and how it feels different. Lack of lube is one of those things that can turn me into a nose-wrinkling reader real fast. Especially when it’s the bottom’s first time. That results in me not trusting the top, and therefore unable to root for them as a potential HEA for their bottom.

Also, lube isn’t just for anal! Anal, fisting, fingering and hand jobs could all do with some slip and slide. And sometimes penis-in-vagina) sex needs a little help to be slick enough to be enjoyed. I know we’re all used to romance heroines who soak through their underwear with their arousal, but, uh, not everyone’s body works like that.

So let’s all say it together: “For the love of Pete, please use lube. SPIT DOESN”T COUNT.”

Some authors I trust to get lube right: Misha Horne, Heidi Cullinan, Annabel Joseph, and Amy Jo Cousins. And here’s one of my favorite sex scenes I’ve ever written which involves copious amounts of lube. From Alpha in the Sheets (currently free on all platforms: Amazon, B&N, Google Play, kobo), this is a scene in which Cris, frustrated with India’s refusal to open up emotionally decides to push physical boundaries instead. I hope you find it inspiring!  

Sexy Excerpt from Alpha in the Sheets

Alpha in the Sheets by Tamsen Parker

He lays a towel on the center of the bed and tells me, “On your back.”

I settle myself with my hips positioned over the towel and look to him for further instruction.

Instead of telling me what to do, he circles the bed, hands on his hips as he studies me. It’s a leisurely inspection that makes me want to squirm. I feel my nudity keenly as he takes a few steps backward to keep me in his sights. He didn’t put his shirt back on after he bathed me, and I’ve been lusting after, aching to touch, his perfectly tanned torso. His jeans cling to him in a way that makes me want to rip them off. It wouldn’t be hard, threadbare as they are.

But I’m not allowed. I’m on display—an object to be looked at, admired. Possibly, hopefully, toyed with.

“Knees up and feet apart, kitten.”

I do as I’m told, the soles of my feet sliding over the sheet, which is pulled tight over a surface so firm it barely qualifies as a mattress.


I make another adjustment, and he makes another demand, telling me to open further still and cross my wrists above my head. By the time I’m done, I’m completely exposed and struggling to keep my breath measured. He hasn’t touched me, but my whole body is alive from his attention, his commands. He’s staring at me from the foot of the bed, his face implacable. After observing me in silence for an incredibly long minute, a minute so long I doubt my ability to keep time, he strolls to my side and lays a hand on the inside of my thigh. The touch sends the urge to buck my hips surging through me.

He strokes me gently, his fingertips playing over the delicate flesh. When he reaches the juncture of thigh and hip, he digs in slightly, and it’s as if he’s awakened some secret nervous system I’ve never known about. The sensation travels through me, a brief but intense tweak that I’m having difficulty reading as pleasant or unpleasant. I’m nearly recovered from the shock when he slaps the inside of my other thigh.

“Look at me, pet.”

My gaze skates up the trail of hair emerging from his jeans, catches on the dull glint of his medal. When I meet his eyes, I’m struck by the intensity there. His look is, for lack of a better word, penetrating. And with my legs spread wide and my vulnerable core on display, it’s all I can think of. Penetration. I want him inside me.

“I’m going to get some cuffs. I’m only going to make one trip. Am I going to need two…” He grips my wrists in a single hand, squeezes, and my back arches in response. “Or four?”

He coasts his palms over my skin, barely grazing the outer curves of my breasts with his thumbs. His tactile tour continues over my stomach and down my legs until he reaches my ankles, squeezing. His thumbs dig into a hollow in the joints, and there it is again. That brief, extreme sensation. Fuck. If he’s going to keep doing that?

“Four, please, sir.”

The corner of his mouth tugs up. He thinks he’s so clever, but my fondness for restraints isn’t exactly a state secret. I admire the easy way he walks, his languid gait as he retrieves the cuffs and a few other things I can’t quite crane my neck far enough to see. When he comes back, he lays out his trove on the small table that abuts the bed.

A few more towels, the promised cuffs, and a bottle of lube. Oh. There are a couple of possibilities given this array. Anal is my first thought, but the tenor of our session is different from your run-of-the-mill ass-fuck. Which leads me to wonder if he’s going to take advantage of one of the few things left in our contract he hasn’t availed himself of yet.

Cris doesn’t speak as he fastens the cuffs around my wrists and affixes them to an attachment point at the head of the bed with some mouth-wateringly heavy chain. Doesn’t say a word as he applies their twins to my ankles and secures them with more chain. If it didn’t make my blood bolt for my pelvis, I’d laugh. The idea that he’d need to take such measures to hold down a little thing like me is preposterous, but god, I love how they look. And maybe, just maybe… If he thinks I’m that strong, maybe I am.

Nothing has changed, the usual fail-safes are still in place. Should anything happen, Cris could have me out of my bondage in less than a minute. But those thick links overwhelm the rational thoughts and tell me I’m his, he can do with me as he pleases, and there’s not a thing I can do about it. His face is wolfish as he inspects his handiwork, theatrically tugging at the bonds as if to make sure they’re true, slapping the inside of my other thigh when I just can’t contain another moan.

He sits down next to me, absently rubbing his hand along my inner thigh, close, so close, to where I really want to be touched, but then he retreats, leaving me aching. “You’re in luck today, pet. I’m not going to ask you to be quiet for this. In fact, you’re going to talk to me through the whole thing. Can you do that?”

“Yes, sir.”

As he leans down, he grips my leg so hard I squeal and raise my chin in surrender, baring my throat. He grazes his sandpaper scruff along my jaw before nipping at my ear. “You’re going to talk to me. If I ask you a question, you will answer. You’re going to be a good, compliant girl for me, and if you’re not, the consequences will be severe. Are we understood?”

My breath gets short as my core gets tight and heavy. “Yes, sir.”

He fists a hand in my hair and pins my head to the mattress, pressing a kiss to my mouth. Hot and demanding, his tongue works inside me. My mouth is full of the feel, the taste, the movement of him, in sharp contrast to the rest of me. The word echoes through the emptying chamber of my mind: penetration.

It only takes a minute until I’m writhing under his ministrations, careful to keep my approximate position. I take his threat of punishment very seriously, a double-edged sword of his declaration that he doesn’t play games. Truthfully, I like the consistency, the steadfastness, but would it kill him to “forget” once in a while?

He palms one of my breasts and squeezes hard before closing his fingers around a nipple, rolling and tweaking until I’m moaning into his mouth. His fingers twisted in my hair hold me fast, even though my lips want to catch up with his when he leans back.

“That’s better.”

He disentangles himself and climbs onto the bed, settling between my widely parted thighs and staring at me long enough that I wrap my fingers around the chains pinning me to the bed. I’m relieved when he moves in closer, and places a hand on my mound, presses, and slips a finger inside me. Yes.

The satisfaction lasts a split-second before I want more. He teases me for a minute before obliging, slipping another finger inside of me. The rhythm of the slick movement is hypnotic, and I arch to meet him. On his next foray, he eases three fingers inside, and I inhale sharply. It doesn’t hurt, not at all, but my urge has been sated. He presses down, circles his fingers, stretching me, and my suspicions are confirmed. I wanted penetration, and I’m going to get it.

He slicks my own wetness over my entrance and patiently applies pressure until I relax enough to close my eyes. With his fingers deep inside me, he leans over and uses his free hand to smooth my mussed hair away from my face.

I open my eyes to his, and he kisses me softly before trailing the tip of his craggy nose alongside mine. “There’s my good girl. You’re going to let me in, aren’t you?”

If he’d poked and prodded at me earlier for information instead of giving everything, asking for nothing, I don’t think I’d be able to give in. I’d shy away, shut it down. But he didn’t, and what he’s asking for now—reaching deep into my body instead of my head—that I can give, I want to give. When I breathe, “Yes, sir,” his triumphant smile makes it all worthwhile.

He kisses me again before sitting back on his heels and grabbing the bottle. The distinctive snick of the cap as he opens it sends a breath hard and fast through my nose, and I tense as he drips the liquid over his fingers, around my opening. It’s not quite cold and warms quickly from the contact with our skin, the friction of his movements.

“You’ve done this before?”

“Yes, sir.”


“No, sir.”

Fisting isn’t really a first date kind of thing, and though it’s been in contracts of mine before, no one’s made use of that particular stipulation. The last person whose hand was inside me was Hunter.

“You enjoy it?”

“I have, sir.”

You’d have to be awfully familiar with the line of Cris’s jaw to catch the momentary flinch, but I do. He’s learned to translate my lawyer-speak, and he’s read my answer correctly: I have, but I haven’t always. It wasn’t necessarily about my physical enjoyment so much as the expression of dominance, ownership, which I liked in and of itself. I belonged to Hunter so fully I’d accept this incursion into my body, regardless of whether it resulted in pleasure. But it could, oh, it could, and I get the feeling that both of those things are equally important to Cris.

Yes, he wants me to submit to him, and it gets him off when I do. The anticipation of invading me this way had him rubbing hard against my thigh moments earlier. But I think the idea of crushing all my defenses, including making me give in to pleasure, gives him bone-deep satisfaction.

“You’re going to.”

“Yes, sir.”

That’s when he spreads his fingers slowly, with gentle but insistent pressure, before tucking them together and adding his fourth finger. There’s a stretch as my body adjusts, but it’s not unpleasant, not with his deliberate handling. He adds more lube—though I’m already slick—and works at my flesh until his fingers glide easily, pressing and touching my interior walls.

Though I’m tempted to close my eyes and drop my head back, I love the look of concentration on his face. To have that much attention focused on me is both heady and disconcerting. It feels almost like devotion, and I have to weed the word from my head before it takes root. Devotion is the kind of thing reserved for partners. Partners who L-word each other. Not…whatever we are.

Cris turns his hand palm up and folds his thumb in, adding more of the viscous fluid. His eyes meet mine, and something like gravity draws me in until I don’t think I’d notice if the roof blew away. He studies my face, my fingers threaded through the links above my head, my chest rising and falling with consciously even breaths.


“Yes, sir.”

There’s a blink, a brief fan of his dark lashes over his cheeks, and then he’s moving inside me again. Though he told me I’d be talking to him, he’s the one keeping up a near-constant stream of chatter. Praise and reassurance in a voice that’s ventured into sweet but backed by a conviction that allows me to believe him. It’s all accompanied by more pressure, more spreading. But he’s patient, just so fucking patient with me, not moving too fast or forcing anything I’m not ready for.

And the one time he did, he apologized and gave me more than I’d ever ask for in return. I’m comfortable with him, I trust him, and my body follows my brain, allowing him in, surrendering to his coaxing. His wrist rotates again and—


A tug at the corner of his mouth tells me he heard me, a repeat of the same motion tells me he liked it. He’s hitting something inside that nearly topples me into ecstasy, but despite the slackening of the rules about noise, he hasn’t let up on the requirements for waiting for permission to come.

He uses my reaction to push further, creating a sensual spiral inside of me. When he reaches the broadest part of his hand, he adds more lube, slicking it up to his wrist before laying his free hand on my mound and thumbing my clit. I jump at the contact, and my brain nearly short circuits. Between the feeling of fullness, surrender, and that tiny, electric touch, I’m so close.

“Are you going to come for me, pet?” His brows are raised in a cocky, satisfied smile. It’s maddening. He knows damn well I’m going to, but swearing at him isn’t part of the game.

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. You’re going to tell me when you do.”

As if he wouldn’t know. I’d roll my eyes, but at that moment, I’m distracted by an easy rocking motion and another glance of his thumb over my clit. I can’t help the noises I’m making, nor would I want to with the intent look on his face. More pressure, more stretching, and concentrated attention on my clit tell me he’s nearly there. When the heel of his hand slips inside, his fingers buried deep and grazing some magical spot, I implode. My internal muscles grip tight around his wrist, and the cuffs so carefully strapped around my wrists and ankles dig in hard enough to leave marks as I struggle against the chains that bind me.

“I—I’m coming, sir. Oh, god. Cris, I’m coming.”

As soon as I’ve said it, I want to take it back. It’s not only a breach of etiquette, a breaking of the rules he’s set out for me, it’s a stupid idea. This isn’t Cris and India. This is Kit and her Dom, absolutely not to be confused. But it’s hard to remember when a pleasure so intense I see stars is flooding my system and pretty little endorphins trip through me. It’s not just the act, though that had something to do with it. It’s the way he performed it and the feel—

No, India. You’re not allowed to have feelings about this outside of physical bliss.

But I can only push the feelings away so far because he’s still inside me, his other hand on my abdomen, warm fingers spread wide. I wonder if he can feel its twin through the layers of muscle and skin.

He leans over me to kiss and nuzzle around where his hand rests, his breath soft, his curls brushing against me. The tenderness of it slays me, and I’m glad my hands are out of play because I’d do something stupid like thread my fingers through his hair and say all the soppy things racing through my head.

It’s just sex. Really goddamn good sex, but sex nonetheless. Keep your mouth shut, Burke.

“I want to feel that again,” he murmurs before he bites me. I shiver at the thought, and the word drops from my mouth before I can stop it.


“Are you objecting?”

“No, sir.”

“Good. Because when I say again, I mean it.”

And before I can say, “Yes, sir,” his mouth is on me and I melt. Again.

It doesn’t take long for me to find another climax, not with his hand still inside me and his tongue working my clit. My orgasm isn’t as powerful as the last, but fits comfortably inside the space carved out by its predecessor, like a nesting doll. After I’ve come down, he works his hand free, soothing me through the hardest part. When he’s done, I expect him to reach for a towel, untether me, and issue more orders: turn over or on your knees.

Instead, he kneels up between my thighs so our legs cross, unzips his jeans, and takes himself in hand, bracing a hand on my knee. Watching Cris touch himself, pull with rougher strokes than I’d dare and with the hand that was just inside me… I should be piqued. Why hasn’t he asked me to do this? But I’m fascinated. He’s beautiful to watch, and knowing that what he’s done to me, what I allowed him to do, is what’s turned him on so much is a balm to the slight sting of insult.

His fingers grip my knee tighter, and his stomach muscles contract before he spills his release over his hand, onto my stomach. It lands hot on my skin, marking me in a way that won’t wash off even when the evidence is gone. He drains the last of his climax and hangs his head, shakes it, before looking up at me with a smile.

“Thought I’d give you a break. We’re not done yet.”

My heart beats hard, and my fingers curl around the chains that still bind me. If he’s giving me a break, what’s coming is going to be really, really good. “Yes, sir.”

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