Writing Erotica 3: Gendered Anatomy (Fight Heteronormativity)

I ran into a fic today that more or less tickled me pink.
Let me explain.

While I personally loath the practice of personifying genitalia, it does seem to be somewhat common. In particular the urge to engender one’s anatomy with the pronouns ‘She’ or ‘He’. Generally speaking, vagina’s are personified as female, and penis’s as male. I suppose this seems fairly straightforward (and thus to my mind, boring).
The fic in question turned this on its head by having one of the main characters refer to his cock as ‘she’.
Edit: Another instance of this phenomena occurs in the film Pitch Perfect. In the film, the character Stacy refers to her vagina as a “he”. Her self satisfied smirk is amazing. Go watch it!!

Generally speaking, when the male genitalia is referred to as feminine in our culture it is seen as an insult. However the thing that made this case interesting was that the character in question wasn’t portrayed as weak or effeminate, nor was his phallus small or malformed. In fact I would go so far as to say he’s a pain in the arse jock who was mostly interested in sex, most often with women. But the writer had the character refer to his dick as a she. And this is was tickles me pink.
That a stereotypical jock character would decide that his wonder!cock is a ‘her’ is just fantastically genderbending. I wouldn’t say he would refer to it as a woman, (I am separating pronoun use from gender/sex here) but he always used feminine pronouns. (Pronouns for inanimate objects are often unrelated to gender or anatomy. i.e. how all boats are referred to as ‘she’.)
Said jock did not seem to find such pronouns demeaning, or in any way offending. Nor did he refer to his schlong as some kind of needy female slut. It was just the simple fact that he had engendered the pronouns as female.

I really really like this. I like the idea that the gendering of one’s parts is not related to one’s own gender. I love the idea and I love how it starts to blur the gender lines so apparent in our society. I don’t think this idea would apply to all characters in all fandoms, however I do suggest people at least consider the matter. (Although generally imbuing sexual anatomy with a separate personality drives me up the wall.)

One thing writers sometimes forget when writing Erotica is that not only do they have to contend with the anatomy in the descriptive paragraphs, but they also need to consider how the characters themselves would refer to such things (or how the writer would like them to refer to such things). Not every character calls their anatomy by the same name, in fact some characters might be very specific. Its always useful to take a moment to try and get into the character’s head and consider how they would approach such things.

2 thoughts on “Writing Erotica 3: Gendered Anatomy (Fight Heteronormativity)

  1. Everyone’s got different tastes, I guess, because that would be an utter, total, massive turnoff for me. But I guess to each their own. I don’t like either lesbian or gay porn, either, so. Nothing against it, it just doesn’t do anything for me. It has all the appeal of being force fed liver.

    That said, can we drop the whole ‘heteronormativity’ bit with erotica and the implied sneer against anyone who’s straight? I fully support gay and lesbian erotica (and all the flavors in between) and always have. If anything, I find it a shame that it doesn’t appeal to me, because it certainly sells and I’d like to take advantage of the market. However, I find it rather hypocritical that because my preferences are for straight m/f erotica, I’m sneered at for my tastes. Guess acceptance doesn’t go both ways, which is just sad.

    1. I’m sorry if you feel like the post was sneering at your interest in m/f erotica, that was not the intent.
      However from your comment I am led to believe that you have misunderstood what Heteronormative means.
      Heteronormativity doesn’t mean that people who are straight are less valid or that m/f erotica isn’t valid either. Heteronormativity means “denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.” So you, by your very nature of accepting and supporting gay and lesbian erotica, are not heteronormative.
      The word is also used to denote work that promotes a world view that believes that oppressive societal gender roles are natural and biological instead of societally created and maintained.
      I personally think that m/f erotica can be delightfully queer, I’m currently writing a poly erotica where the central couple is m/f.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s