... wailed the Black Lace editor.
by Janine Ashbless
A few years back I wrote a story, The Dragon’s Bride, in which a woman has sex with a dragon. (Have you any idea how hard I’d get my ass kicked if I submitted that story these days?) It was a Big Cock Fantasy really. Some people loved it, and some recoiled from it: “Sex with a talking dragon is still bestiality!” they squealed.
“Is it?” I asked, genuinely bemused. Is a free-willed, highly intelligent, self-aware creature who can talk, make moral judgements and understand the consequences of his actions just an animal? Because that doesn’t describe any animal I know.
What it is that makes the dragon/human liaison off-limits? The fact that Oromon is not biologically of the same species as Sheldi? - If I’d written a story about a human and an elf (or a Klingon) would that be as edgy? Or is it the fact he’s a quadruped and she’s a biped? Where’d you draw the line?
The fact one instinctively goes “Yuck!” or “Eeek!” when confronted with a particular sexual dynamic doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a sound basis to one’s reaction. I mean, personally I’m phobic of saliva – anyone who tried the Scarlet Sex Tip of “spitting into your lover’s mouth” with me would find themselves kicked clear across the room. That doesn’t make saliva a moral issue! Examine all motives. Don’t forget that when Captain Kirk first kissed Uhura, that episode of Star Trek was banned from TV - because it was obvious to the studios that the majority of viewers considered racial ‘miscegenation’ morally offensive. Nor is that attitude dead today – ask yourself what proportion of Hollywood movies feature a black hero getting off with a white woman.
Taboos (and violent, visceral revulsion) often manifest in situations where boundaries between categories are in danger of being shattered: black/white, male/female, inside/outside, animal/human, food/not-food, living/dead. Remember how genuinely offended and angry people got in the ‘60s when men starting wearing their hair long – because that mixed up existing gender signals and blurred category boundaries. Most Westeners would find the prospect of eating, say, dog, stomach-churning: dogs are Not-Food despite being edible. Fingernails on the living hand are beautiful; fingernails dropped anywhere else are repulsive. Perfectly acceptable feet or shoes suddenly become Dirty when put on a table.
It’s a very strange relationship we have with the animal kingdom. From a very young age we’re all fed with stories about bears that go on picnics, hedgehogs that spring-clean their houses, rabbits who shop for hats and ducks that want to fly airplanes. We are inculcated with the idea that Animals are People just like us, with feelings and aspirations and personalities. Then suddenly it’s flipped on its head and we’re told that no, animals are there to be crammed into battery cages and minced into hamburger and have oven-cleaner squirted in their eyes. Blimey, no wonder we’re confused.
Fantasy fiction expresses among other things our yearning to go back to that belief that there are beings with whom we share the world that look different to us but are People just the same. Fantasy stories are filled with talking animals, with mythic beasts possessing wisdom and secrets and tantalising mystery. We want to interact with people who share most of our biology but are still Other (Hey, isn’t that a part of all heterosexual attraction?). We see animals as a bridge between us and the natural world we are estranged from. And, being sexual adults, we load fantasy beasts with other significance: animals are spontaneous, they have sex without guilt, and they represent the power of instinct overriding rationality and cultural restrictions. One look at Furry communities lets you know how important the symbolic power of the animal-human is. Pony-girls are a favourite fantasy of many people. Cowboy erotica obsesses about horses and sex in stables. And what about the HUGE interest in lycanthropes in romantic fiction? The entire point of werewolf erotica is the fetishising of the fact they can turn into animals at any moment, isn’t it?
Does this playing around with taboo smack of hypocrisy? Or is it the hallmark of the erotic always to be dancing on the edge of the Forbidden?
My position, for what it’s worth, is …. I think we’re obligated by humane decency to engage sexually only with those of an equal mental and moral capacity to ourselves – anything else is exploitation at some level. And my feeling is that anything you can argue with, challenge, be moved by and empathise with AS AN EQUAL counts as a Person regardless of gender, genetic makeup or appearance – and I see no problem writing about sex between Consenting Autonomous People.
In the real world this category definitely excludes animals (along with children, adults in comas, corpses etc). In fantasy worlds it cannot exclude werewolves, vampires, mermaids, angels … or dragons*.
Here’s a short extract from The Dragon’s Bride
The same story collection, Cruel Enchantment, also had a short story about a werewolf initiation orgy. Do you wanna read the bit where the heroine actually had sex with a wolf? Brace yourselves; here it comes:
“As soon as she was released this time, Michel rolled her over onto her front. Someone took her from behind, quick and slippery and panting, his balls slapping audibly against her pussy, and after he had finished another mounted her. Her first thought was that this man had an extraordinarily hairy chest and thighs – and then her second though was a white streak of incredulity., but Michel held her down hard so that she couldn’t wriggle round and look behind her. She buried her face in his leg, half laughing and half sobbing, and pure shock wrenched another orgasm from her.”
Shocking, wasn’t it? You may never recover – though somehow I doubt it.
* Or unicorns. See “The Unicorn and the Strumpet” by our own Teresa Noelle Roberts, which you can find in the anthology ‘Garden of the Perverse’: fairy tales for twisted adults. Oh, and wait till you see what’s coming up in Love on the Dark Side, the next Black Lace anthology!
1) What were you expecting - Dragon cock?
2) Mr Tumnus. Fauns are acceptable -
3) And werewolves, some of the time -
4) But this is just way too pervy, apparently.