Society will not officially be over its sexual hang-ups until it no longer seems refreshing or surprising to see romcom lovers fuck doggy-style. Until a heroic character can casually suck off a stranger and not be punished for it in act three. We will know when we’re over our squeamishness about fucking when Batman (who literally kills people on screen) is allowed to give Catwoman head. Sadly, news just in: Batman can’t give head.
Yesterday I caught the tail-end of discussion on Twitter about whether or not Batman gives head. My initial instinct was to say ‘well of COURSE he doesn’t! Batman is a billionaire with a giant boner for nothing but overengineered weaponry!’ Let’s face it, if you were to shag Batman he’d be one of those performatively athletic ones more focused on flexing his prowess than pleasing his partner: five different positions, minimum, in which he’d fold you up like a pretzel and whirl you around his head, before catching a glimpse of himself in the ceiling mirrors and immediately spaffing his load. Bruce Wayne might give head, to an heiress he was trying to impress. But Batman? God no.
Batman can’t give head: heroes don’t do that
Anyway. Turns out this wasn’t just about Batman’s imagined skills as a lover. It’s not that Batman won’t, it’s that according to DC, Batman can’t give head. Apparently they objected to a scene in Harley Quinn which depicted Batman eating out Catwoman (a criminal waste of a ‘pussy’ joke opportunity). Why? Because he’s a hero. And heroes simply don’t do that.
DC asked the #HarleyQuinn team to remove a scene from Season 3 in which Batman performs oral sex on Catwoman. Why? “Heroes don’t do that” @justin_halpern @PMSchumacker https://t.co/BSpuc1rjKE pic.twitter.com/jMOC2J6H22
— Joe Otterson (@JoeOtterson) June 14, 2021
Part of this is definitely just good old fashioned squeamishness about sex. I mean… KIDS like Batman! They can’t exactly go playing with plastic toys of a man who actually fucks, can they? Except as mentioned before, Batman kills people. He spends a large portion of his ludicrous wealth on literal homemade weaponry. But sex? Oh God no, that’s a villain’s game.
It’s not just sex, it’s fucking
Except it isn’t just squeamishness about sex: it’s more specifically about fucking. Plenty of heroic characters have sex, but there’s a very limited kind of sex they’re allowed to partake in. You know what I mean, right?
Heroes don’t fuck, they make love.
By ‘fucking’ here I mean almost anything that doesn’t fall under the Traditional (capital T) definition of what sex looks like: penis-in-vagina sex (yes of COURSE our Traditional definition is extremely cisnormative and heteronormative), staring deeply into each other’s eyes, in ways that could maybe lead to someone getting pregnant. I’m basically defining ‘fucking’ in the same way medieval people defined ‘sodomy’, then including any position past about page 4 of The Joy Of Sex.
In films and TV, so often the ‘good’ characters are only allowed to enjoy a very limited type of sexual pleasure. They can fall in love, kiss, and shag, but rarely are they allowed to get creative or promiscuous with it. Just as heroic Batman can’t give head, in other films if our hero finds ‘the one’, he’ll shag her in missionary. The woman he banged earlier in the film, who rode him like a carousel pony, was merely a mistake he had to make on the path to True Love. The woman he shagged doggy-style or up against a wall was an evil temptress who got her comeuppance.
Fuck me like you ride that dragon
My favourite example of this absolute bullshit, incidentally, is the sex scene between Danaerys Targaryen and John Snow in Game of Thrones. Ignore the weird bits about this couple, like the fact that she’s his aunt, and that he never takes his bloody coat off. Focus instead on the fact that they’ve been horny for each other ever since they straddled dragons and rode out together through the skies. This is a man who has faced down a zombie army, and a woman who OWNS THREE DRAGONS. Her blood is fire, and his is ice. They have seen battle, death, horror and glory. They are fit as fuck, horny as fuck, and yet they do not FUCK.
They engage in a long, baffling pause while he (who has stared down a zombie army) looks at her as if he’s never seen a woman before and she (who WALKED INTO FIRE) stares wide-eyed at him like she’s genuinely intimidated by his penis. Then… they make love.
Breaking the sex tropes
It’s not all terrible news – this blog post is definitely far less true than it would have been had I written it ten years ago. We’re getting better. On-screen sex (and FUCKING) which breaks out of these tropes is becoming more commonplace. And the best exceptions are glorious.
For example, in Rose Matafeo’s sitcom Starstruck (which you have already watched, right? I recommended it over a week ago, you’ve had PLENTY OF TIME, and if I’m really honest with myself this entire blog post might just be an excuse to shoehorn in another nag that you watch it), where Jessie and Tom share a gloriously hot and slightly awkward shag with her on top. It’s perfectly-pitched: beautiful and real and sexy and a bit cringe, like all my best early fucks have ever been. It’s great because it stands out among so many other films and TV shows which slip boringly into the trope that if the people shagging are Meant To Be Together, it’s missionary. Staring into each other’s eyes, soft-focus and slow, caressing each other like they’ll shatter into pieces if they do anything more vigorous than gentle cheek-stroking.
I should point out for the record that I am not here to bitch about ‘lovemaking.’ It’s not my favourite type of sex, but I’ve done some before that was very enjoyable indeed. You don’t have to fuck fuck in order for your sex to be valid – do whatever makes you happy. I just think that in designating certain types of sex as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘heroic’ or ‘villainous’, we get a very skewed on-screen portrayal of what sex is like. Who ‘deserves’ what kind of pleasure, and what our personal sexual tastes might tell others about our morality.
Frankly, we’re already fucked-up enough about sex, we could do without this. I genuinely believe we’ll be better off as a society when we’re ready to accept that the ways you like to fuck (or make love, or whatever) do not have any bearing on your worth as a person. And TV/film can help out big time here:
Heroes can fuck, villains can make love, and Batman should go to town on Catwoman’s pussy.