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Some Further Thoughts on Realism in Slash - Mo's Journal
January 29th, 2007
02:00 pm

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Some Further Thoughts on Realism in Slash

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From:mofic
Date:January 30th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
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I like it when characters talk dirty to each other. How common is this between gay men? I'm kinda curious...

The interesting thing to me about "talking dirty" is how varied in meaning it is. One person's "dirty talk" is someone else's "practical commentary" and yet someone else's "romantic pillow talk." Some people think of anything that is specifically sexual (i.e. specific to certain parts of the body or certain sex acts) as dirty talk (even saying "I want to fuck you" rather than "I want to make love to you") as dirty. Others attach it to degradation (which gets a bunch of people off). Still others attach it to slang terms for body parts (e.g. saying "cock" rather than "penis" or just not mentioning it at all :-)). Dan Savage has a funny bit about this, advising that couples - particularly heterosexual couples - really clarify what they mean when they tell their lovers they like the partner to "talk dirty." Because if you don't, he says, often what happens is she wants to hear "I want to taste your delicious juices" but instead gets "Suck my cock, whore!" :-)

I love dialogue during sex - both to read and to write. I think it should be reflective of the characters' canonical personalities, but I also think that people do say things during sex they don't say at work, or in other venues of their lives, so it's fine to show someone using terms they never used in canon.

And I think it varies by partner, too. It makes sense to me that a man in our culture will be pretty careful about how he talks about sex with a woman partner, unless he knows that she likes a more raw sexual vocabulary, because there's a cultural expectation that men and women use different vocabularies around sex. He is likely to be less careful or "refined" in his language with a male partner, in many social circles.

I also think it's situational to some extent. I have a character in one of my series who has taken to picking up men in backroom bars for blowjobs. He has this exchange with a guy he meets:

“Hi,” the guy said to him, and introduced himself. Visuals were registering a little more now. Clean, clean-cut, conservative looking. Looked like he’d be more at home in the bookstore across the street than in a backroom bar. Bookstore cruising not going well tonight, copain?

“I’m Jean-Paul.” The guy — Jean-Paul had already forgotten his name — actually reached out his hand to shake. Definitely not something that happened much in this place. “So, you want to go to the back room?” Jean-Paul asked as he took the guy’s hand.

The guy shook his head. “I’m not into back rooms, but I’d like to buy you a drink.”

“Save your money. I’m not into men who aren’t into back rooms.”

“Come on. Just one. We could talk a bit. Maybe,” he looked around, “go somewhere else if we’d like to...” His voice drifted off.

Jean-Paul smiled at him. “No thanks,” he said. “Not interested.”

“Come on,” the guy said again. “You might like me if you take a little time to get to know me.”

“I’m sure you’re a nice guy. What we have here, though, is incompatible aims. I’m not looking to get to know anyone. You’re looking for someone to talk to and get to know and maybe go somewhere and...” He deliberately didn’t finish the sentence, just as the guy hadn’t. The guy actually blushed when he did that! Jean-Paul continued. “I’m looking for someone who wants to go in the back room and suck my cock. So, why don’t you go find somebody else to get to know, hein? And I’ll stay here until someone who’s looking for what I’ve got comes along.”
::end snippet::

It wouldn't make sense for him to say "I'm looking for someone who wants to go in the back room and make love." It doesn't fit the setting. And the way the other guy doesn't want to talk directly about sex is reflective of him being out of place there.

Anyway, longwinded way of saying that "talking dirty" can mean different things to different people and get used in a lot of different ways in fiction.
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From:sushis
Date:January 30th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
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"Because if you don't, he says, often what happens is she wants to hear "I want to taste your delicious juices" but instead gets "Suck my cock, whore!" :-)"

Huh, that's interesting, although, I'm not sure he's so right about this gender assumption he makes..."delicious juices"...PUHLEASE! Don't make me laugh!...(Again, I suppose this just affirms the point that "talking dirty" can get you into trouble if you don't know what the other person means when they say they like "it.")

I like the dialogue you present between Jean-Paul and "the guy". It's interesting, because it both reveals things about Jean-Paul and raises larger ideas about the different meanings people attach to sex.



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From:mofic
Date:January 30th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
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Well, I think Dan was both reflecting what the people who write to him say and going with an example of extreme contrast for maximum comedic effect.

It's interesting, because it both reveals things about Jean-Paul and raises larger ideas about the different meanings people attach to sex.

And in context and in character - since he's usually a sex-for-love kind of guy - it says even more. That's one of the things I like about sex in fiction - both as a reader and as a writer. It can be used for lots of different purposes.
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From:sushis
Date:January 30th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
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I know Dan was going for comedic effect, and, *maybe* he was reflecting an actual, statistical gender difference in dirty-talk preferences. However, his joke/observation doesn't align with my *personal* preferences (I'm female). I'm harping on this, because it's something of a counterpart to my point below: some of the straight or bisexual women who *don't* want to read sex scenes with unrealistically "feminized" men nonetheless aren't sticklers for total realism.
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From:mofic
Date:January 30th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
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*maybe* he was reflecting an actual, statistical gender difference in dirty-talk preferences.

If so, it would be limited to the sample of people who write to him, which was my only point. I certainly didn't mean to suggest it said anything about women in general when I repeated that anecdote.
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