No Sex Please, We’re Superheroes

Pop Culture

No Sex Please, We’re Superheroes

Illustration: Arati Gujar

A piece in Variety magazine reported that DC insisted that the sex scene be cut because ‘heroes don’t do that.’ That wasn’t all, of course, they also mumbled things about how it would be difficult to sell action figures to kids if they or their parents saw Batman pleasuring a woman.

But the message was clear. Heroes, superheroes and other such elevated men simply wouldn’t waste their time blowing a girl when they could be…you know…blowing things up instead. Why be a bad boy when there’s more glory in catching the bad boys.

I’m not a huge comic book reader, but I am minorly obsessed with the cinematic universes Marvel and DC have created. I say ‘minorly’ because I am a 36-year-oldwoman and I fear the studio bosses wouldn’t approve of my frenetically filthy fantasies concerning their beloved superheroes. Plus, I don’t collect action figures, so really, how valuable am I to them.

Heroes, superheroes and other such elevated men simply wouldn’t waste their time blowing a girl when they could be…you know…blowing things up instead.

The superhero life is inherently a lonely one. He cannot get close to anyone, or if he does, it must be kept utterly under wraps in case his enemies find out. If at all there is a love interest, he either has to save her or avenge her. But not eat her out, because that’s just not a good storyline, you guys!

I did have hopes in ‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ when Clark Kent climbs in the bathtub with Lois Lane, and I continue to find it a beautifully intimate scene, despite a fully-clothed Henry Cavill.

But such scenes are barely-there hints and winks, because intimacy and pleasure are just not on the superhero’s top 10 list of things to do. Or be done to.

But such scenes are barely-there hints and winks, because intimacy and pleasure are just not on the superhero’s top 10 list of things to do. Or be done to.

Certainly, comic books were initially aimed at kids, and the movies have been, at best, a PG-13, despite extreme violence and emotional complexity. But the shadowy link between superheroes and sex has a fairly long history.

‘Avengers 71’ (published in the 1960s) had a rather explicit scene between Hank Pym’s Yellowjacket and Janet Van Dyne where they decide to enact a scene from ‘Small Favors,’ a decidedly erotic piece of work by comic book artist Colleen Coover. In the scene, Yellowjacket shrinks down to explore Van Dyne’s body better. He could of course have just been giving her a thorough medical checkup, but then why would they have given the comic a ‘Mature Readers’ tag, and later gotten rid of that page.

Or maybe DC could cast an eye towards ‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ a 2017, biographical movie about William Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. Marston’s inspiration for the comic book stemmed from his own polyamorous and kink-filled relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway, and mistress Olive Byrne.

I don’t want to alarm anyone at DC, but a few years ago, a Polish designer on Etsy was selling a range of ceramic Batman dildos.

I’ve got news for studio bosses. Superheroes have long been seen as deeply sexual beings. There are entire realms of fanfiction dedicated to graphic love scenes between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. There are truly, deliciously sexy stories where Loki is a submissive, his leather and metal armor taking on entirely new meanings.

I don’t want to alarm anyone at DC, but a few years ago, a Polish designer on Etsy was selling a range of ceramic Batman dildos. And the Avengers movies inspired plenty of sexual aides, with names such as The Incredible Dong, and The Arse Reactor.

It is ironic that studios are taking major steps to humanize their superheroes, while continuing to desexualize them. Tony Stark has PTSD, Captain America suffers from survivor’s guilt. The Winter Soldier is in therapy, and the Scarlet Witch has grief so huge and intense, it alters the very fabric of reality. Oh, also, Loki might be falling in love with Lady Loki.

I imagine what depths and heights these characters might get to if studio executives allowed them of the messy human-ness that is sexual pleasure.

It is ironic that studios are taking major steps to humanize their superheroes, while continuing to desexualize them.

I’ve given plenty of thought to what my best-loved super-characters would be in their most intimate, pleasure-filled moments that did not involve a car chase or a building blowing up.

For instance, in my mind, Captain America, being from the 40s, would be an enthusiastic but conservative missionary top with Peggy, while frequently seeing Bucky’s face as he looked down at her.

Superman would be trying so hard not to crush you with his strength that he would just be apologizing the entire time while you stared entranced at his enormous…bicep.

Loki would be a terribly selfish lover, and also into kink, forever commanding you to kneel, while also constantly excitedly asking, ‘Wasn’t that amazing?’ because after all, he’s a lost little boy always needing validation.

I have several more ponderances, but I keep feeling like DC is beaming the Bat Signal into me except now it’s a sniper’s dot shaped like a bat dildo.

For many, the superhero archetype is almost painfully pristine and sacred, their very ‘super’ ness putting them beyond the reach of human desire. They were drawn and written as aspirational beings, resisting temptation, always putting their own needs second to the greater good of saving the world from evil.

Sex and desire, therefore, is seen as a distraction, where our hero is either seduced by an evil feminine counterpart, or, having had one stolen night with her, can never go near her again lest his enemies find out his weakness. And of course, he may be a playboy in that we get a glimpse of an anonymous woman next to him in bed for a nanosecond.

It’s interesting that both Marvel and DC cast traditionally attractive people as their heroes, because a hero can be a sex god, but not a sexual being. They can be wildly violent, intensely patriotic, perhaps smolderingly passionate when they speak of truth and justice.

It’s interesting that both Marvel and DC cast traditionally attractive people as their heroes, because a hero can be a sex god, but not a sexual being.

But at tenderness, at poignant sweetness, at deeply intimate love, hell, at a good, healthy bout of sex must the line be drawn. Because that’s just not what a hero would do. Also, action figures are important, but Catwoman getting some action after being a badass forced into a latex band-aid is unheroic.

I fear DC is a tad too late in trying to save its Dark Knight from the perils of being a woman-pleaser. In the imagination of fans, Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle have been getting down and dirty for a while now. Even Zack Snyder, he of the terribly long and dramatic DC movies, put out an extremely NSFW piece of Bat-Cat fan art with a smirk.

No doubt heroes need to be heroes and there are worlds that must be saved. But what heroes do, and what they don’t, is no longer dependent on a dogmatic, hypermasculine ideal. To truly humanize a superhero, maybe we let them sweat and swear, be full of muscle AND full of heart. And maybe they have a little sex. Or a lot of it.

And where studio executives fail, fans excel. If we want a hero who saves us not only from aliens and villains, but also from unfulfilled horny urges, we’re going to go out and create them for ourselves.

We’re reclaiming what a superhero can or cannot do. And we think they can give good f***kin’ head.

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