Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A point to ponder NSFW

One of the lovely bits about reviewing is finding out where one's opinion goes against the mainstream. I've been reading a Regency romance, m/m, and run into one of those situations that makes some readers shriek.

The rest of this discussion is absolutely not safe for work and maybe I should put the adult splash page back up, because there is no squick warning splash page.

The issue is rimming and what comes after rimming.

I'm not sure why writers of historicals perpetrate the most inappropriate rimming scenes.  True, no one had the luxury of daily showers and squeezably soft toilet paper, but missing these niceties did not mean that folks were unaware that unwashed ass smells like unwashed ass. And now some author not only has her character lapping around the outside but sticking his tongue in. Makes me glad the poor fellow is fictional!

Don't get me wrong, a good rimming scene is very hot, but part of the heat is being able to ignore the more usual use of that tract, a suspension of reality, if you will. Farts temporarily disappear from the universe, and all traces of solids must stay firmly out of the story. Is that realistic? No, but this is a romance, and inconvenient things have to stay off the page and out of mind unless they pertain to the story. It's why characters engage in outdoor sex without getting eaten by mosquitoes.

Some things make this suspension of reality easier. A character who's still dripping from the shower. A known close encounter with a washcloth. But when a character in an era of iffy hygiene has been doing hard physical labor all day, has last seen a tub the previous Saturday night, lunched on bean soup, and then gets pushed ass-up to be slurped on, I'm going to call inappropriate rimming.

Okay, lets assume that our characters went into this activity all tidy and everyone's had a good time. What next?

I am not ever going to argue for a cock to make ass to mouth contact if no condom was involved, and I might still flinch a little even if there was a condom. But if someone's been rimming and making his partner feel all good? How about some kissing? It goes with the territory.

Some readers find this shriekworthy. And I have to ask why. If the guy's butt is so kissable and lickable that his partner has been busy doing that directly, why is it a problem to have the indirect contact? Not doing it actually seems a little hypocritical: you can put your mouth there, but I won't kiss you later.

And for the reader? To get all happy over the rimming but then squeamish about the kissing after? I see this reaction a lot, and I don't understand it. If one activity is a problem, then both parts are a problem. You can't have it both ways.

6 comments:

  1. Cryselle, this is one of the best posts I've ever seen. I couldn't agree with you more. When reading a story with rimming I do tend to suspend reality, but then I do that when they're fingering and fucking too, because after all, there is a train on that track somewhere and we'll just hope it isn't pulling into the station an an inconvenient time.

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    1. Now I have coffee all over the keyboard! So true! And thank you!

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  2. OMG, Mrs Condit's last line made me laugh out loud in my office.

    I too suspend disbelief and yeah, the aversion to kissing after is kind of odd. My ass is clean enough for YOU to stick your tongue in there, but not to have any residual effect come near MY mouth. It's like guys who are okay with a someone performing oral sex on them, preferably swallowing, but then won't kiss after. How come your spunk is good enough to go in my mouth, but not your own? Kind of a double standard.

    As for your scenario, yeah, rimming especially, and even oral sex in historicals should take place after the weekly bath, dunks in the ocean and at other appropriately timed intervals. LOL

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    1. They didn't have any toothpaste either... Let's just not go there! Maybe we have to pretend more than I thought.

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  3. Coffee has been spewed my keyboard, but it was worth it for A) that picture, B) this hysterical post, C) the comments.

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  4. Maybe we need a coffee spew splash page (literally!). I thought that pic was pretty funny--she looked just like I imagined the reader who inspired this post.

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