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Forbidden Elephants 
“Sexual Issue #2: What’s Your Safe Word? Supernatural mainstreams the kink and kinks the mainstream”

I affectionately call this screen cap “Le Petit Morte”
and it will reappear later on in this examination.

Woah, boy! Supernatural is one sexually frustrated show! If you look at the entire Supernatural oeuvre (yes, French again, because well it’s sexy), then you’ll see like a lot of pervy things. I’m not judging; we all have our…um…preferences. But oh, wow, Supernatural brings a whole new level of sexual deviancy to the major network field. Let’s run down a partial list of the proclivities… *cough* kinks *cough*…the show has implied or just came right out and named, shall we? These are in no particular order, of course. 
Necrophilia  (“Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” “Ghostfacers,” and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”) 
Bondage  (“Hunted,” “Folsom Prison Blues” [note: one of the more famous BDSM public festivals is the Folsom Street Fair], “Criss Angel is a Douchebag,” and “Swap Meat”)
Frotteurism  (Personal Space/Castiel, and god help us, “Red Sky at Morning” )
Bestiality  (“Heart” and “All Dogs Go to Heaven” – why is it always dogs?)
Roleplaying  (“Monster Movie”)
Threesomes  (“The Magnificent Seven,” “Hammer of the Gods,” and
/Moresomes   “The End”)
Prostitution  (“Sin City”)
Bloodplay  (Vampires, hello….)
Knifeplay  (Sam, Ruby, and the demon killing/blood letting/metaphor for penetration knife)
Striptease  (“Sex and Violence” and “The Song Remains the Same”)
Telephone Scatologia/
Phone Sex  (“Long Distance Call”)
Pornography   (Do I have to list every reference? Come on.)
Fetishism  (Car: Impala, Food: Castiel/Jimmy Novak, Hair: “No Exit,” Dolls: “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning”, Guns: every episode with Dean and a gun because the boy knows how to handle them, also the audience seems to have a thing for Sniper!Dean)
Voyeurism  (“Wishful Thinking”)
Virginity  (“Jus in Bello” and “Like a Virgin”)
I’m sure there are other kinks that we could list and instances that I’ve missed, but I have to work at some point so give me some leeway. You’ll also notice that there are two areas I did not list here. First, I’m not even touching the presence of pedophilia because that would lead me to Bela, who was tragically killed off, or to Lilith, and yeah, I’m just not going to examine the whole instant transformation of “creepy little girl turned adult seductress” meme. Some rocks are better left unturned. Second, I did not list incest and that’s because we will go full on into that taboo in its own section. Supernatural has made sure that it deserves its own little corner of the world. But from what I have listed so far, I think it’s “safe” to say that Supernatural has some sexual anxiety. 
So observation numero uno (switching it up with some Spanish ‘cause that’s how I roll)….no wonder this show jockeys with Buffy for the crown of most television fan fiction! I mean, I’ve written fan fiction. I’ve read fan fiction. And we can all just be adult and say a lot (a whole helluva lot) of online fan fiction is….how to put this delicately? Ah, forget it. A lot of fan fiction is porn, plain and simple. I mean, geez, I could write a porn coda for each episode of Supernatural, if I were so inclined, but I don’t think I need to since there’s like 40,000 stories on alone, which doesn’t include the dark, dark places of livejournal. Between the two, I’m sure they’ve covered the porn in both eloquent and crude kinds of ways. 
And heck, in some episodes, the only difference between canon and fanon is a graphic depiction. For example, BaredBackDean! and Anna sex – all that scene needs is a clear glass window, a couple of euphemisms for male genitalia, a few inarticulate moans, and you’ve got yourself a golden episode coda, rated X. (And oh, Dean and his angel sex? So much metaphor to explore later on with regards to the sexual confusion that is Dean Winchester).
Observation numero dos….seriously, Supernatural, did someone traumatize you during your sexual development phase? Did you catch your parents having sex? Was your first kiss with a doll? Did you make out with the quarterback behind the bleachers and he didn’t call you back? I feel your pain…I really do, but I’m thinking you’re working out some major “horror” equals “sexual frustration” confusion. It’s like the show’s definition of scary is “Watch us and come get your sexual fear on…..but, look, we have pretty boys, so it’s all good.” And I’m not even touching the rape metaphor in this part! 
So let’s parse this confusion out in a brief way. I’m writing a dissertation, but not on Supernatural (insert here the image of my raised fist and a muffled curse at my dissertation advisor for not allowing this), so I’ll have to keep it to a minimum. Anything longer and academic guilt floods me like a bad Mississippi spring run-off. 
A Metaphor is a Metaphor – Virgins, Vamps, and Dogs, Oh My!
First, many times the sexual kink is an obvious metaphor. There’s the “virgins” are pure, snow white girls who are always in danger of being molested. Virgin = unsullied innocence. Poor Nancy. Dean so wanted to protect her, but of course, the virgin got sacrificed anyway, just without the benefit of defeating Lilith. And then there’s the poor girl whom Eve took. Being a virgin on Supernatural would suck…but more on that later, since being a woman on Supernatural tends to suck. (Note: Supernatural, if you want to have normative heterosexual sex you cannot kill off, maim, or possess the girls – they are needed for the sex. See how that works?) 
Also, I’m not sure what’s up with Dean and his sudden aversion to virgins in “Like a Virgin,” but dude, let it go. You can’t tap all of the girls in the world. It’s impossible. And plus, that kind of attitude would hurt pre-Godhead Castiel’s feelings…you know he’s not getting any in heaven. He told you he was untouched. You’re just wrong, Dean, wrong. Now, if I were being kind and it’s Dean so I’m so going to be kind, we could see his feelings towards virgins as a sentimentality for sex. He’s just a big ol’ girl at heart, that Dean. This is why we want to have babies with him, you see, because he protects virgins but at the same time doesn’t feel he’s quite the right fit for their sexual molds. Oh, Dean, come here, I want to hug on you a bit. 
Another metaphor? The standard “vampires” are sexual invaders in disguise, which Twilight totally de-fanged, but whatever. In Supernatural vampires are still creepy stalkers who invade your space and threaten to consume you, which is as erotic as it is frightening. And I think almost every season of Supernatural has had vampires, right? Season one – “Dead Man’s Blood.” Season two – “Bloodlust.” Season three – “Fresh Blood.” Season four – don’t need an episode because Sam and his demon blood addiction is vampiric enough, thank you very much. Season five – “Free to Be You and Me.” Season Six – crap, there’s like three episodes….Huh, Supernatural has a blood fetish. Who would’ve thought that? Oh yeah, me…cause you know, vampires = sexual predators and blood = weird erotic consumption.  Vampirism is bloodplay at its fundamental kinkiness, except for in Twilight. Anne Rice should like challenge Stephanie Meyer to a celebrity deathmatch. Lestat would so kick Edward’s angst-ridden coifedness. 
Then there’s the “werewolves” represent our base, animalistic sexual instincts and appetites. Blah blah blah. Pretty standard fare for a standard primetime. For example, if we look at “Heart” – and by the way I’m so totally mentioning it because of my Sex&Sam fetish – the sexual scene between Madison and Sam is meant to be animalistic and raw, to coolly mirror the content of the story, i.e. she is a werewolf. But then we turn to the skinwalker episode “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” and I so don’t want to because that episode just bit it, but anyway, the strange erotic attachment that the skinwalker/dog had to his mistress is creepy even for this show, and that says a lot because we haven’t even touched on the zombie sex yet. 
So sometimes Supernatural sex is tame, per se, but Supernatural is far from sexually tame. 
Get Your Leather on!
First, let me tell whomever it was who stole Dean’s leather jacket – you’re an ass, a real jackass. Dean without leather is like a sky without a sun. Bad boys need leather! It is a requirement! So you’ve stolen the sun and you’ve killed the bad boy, you cretin! I blame you for domesticated Dean. You take his leather and all of a sudden he’s hopped up on waffles, morning sex, and barbecues. Yeah, I hope you’re happy. <kicks dust in general direction of perpetrator> 
Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk bondage, domination, and sadomasochism, shall we? Oh, Supernatural, you’ve been so naughty. Now, let’s be serious – consenting adults who like to play master/servant is all within the realms of acceptable behavior. I’m not judging. But let’s just do an overview of how whips, chains, constraints, ropes, and all the other accoutrement (French again, see that?) play out in the show. 
Now sometimes the kink is for laughs. For example, two instances of BDSM (Bondage, Domination, and Sadomasochism) in the show are played for humor. In “Criss Angel is a Douchebag,” Dean’s encounter with the burly, male dominatrix (is it trix for both male and female? I’m not sure), but anyway, his encounter is funny, if a little awkward, ‘cause as we’ve seen, Dean don’t swing in those circles….Now, Sam….
The other funny BDSM encounter occurs in “Swap Meat” and happens to poor Sam in absentia. I wonder if his body remembers, even if his mind was never there? Poor Sam’s abandoned and/or possessed body experiences all kinds of kinkiness done to it while he’s out to lunch. 

Of course, the “Swap Meat” encounter with DominatrixCrystal! is ironic since I doubt embodied Sam would be submitting to a woman given his dominant sexual prowess. But apparently, Sam’s body likes the cougars – score one for us! …huh, that’s a nice little nugget to put away for a fantasy or two. Where was I? Oh, okay, this encounter, in the end, is more about the teenager and his hormonal challenges and is, again, funny in a weird episode that tended to fail at comedy. 
Now, all fun aside, there are moments of alluded BDSM that’s quite disturbing. There’s “Hunted” with Gordon tying poor Dean up. Then there’s Gordon again, in “Fresh Blood,” being tied up in a nest of vampires, so double the pleasure on this episode. Blood and ropes! 
Also, let’s not forget “Born Under a Bad Sign” with Meg!Sam! (again with the out of body Sam) tying poor Jo up, after what has to constitute the weirdest threesome possibility I’ve ever seen, i.e. Meg, Jo, and trapped in his body Sam. Although, I’m thinking Sam probably wouldn’t have minded it, if it were under different circumstances, if you know what I mean? Then there’s the weird, I think there might be strange history there, Brady/Sam scene in “The Devil You Know.”  I could go on, but the point really is this: Supernatural likes its restraints – (double entendre! double entendre! and French, again). 
Sex, Dead on Arrival
There are also times when the sexual kink is violent, dangerous, and downright cringeworthy. Here the notion of Supernatural’s necrophilia kink comes to mind. We have several episodes that directly deal with the love of the dead or as I’d like to call it “zombie love” – “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” poor Bobby and his wife in “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” as well as the dude in “Ghostfacers” and his party o’ love with the corpses, and don’t get me started on that episode – the one time that Supernatural directly addresses homosexuality and it’s in the necrophilia episode? Okay, okay….um, okay?! I’m not sure what connection to draw there, but okay…and then they kill the gay guy, okay? That’s some pent up frustration there, methinks. 
But there are episodes, oh who are we kidding, there are whole freaking plotlines that indirectly  deal with “zombie love.” First, just so we’re all clear: zombies are dead and without souls, people! They are not sexual partners! Also, demonically and/or angelically possessed bodies are kind of dead, at least on the inside, hence they are kind of zombies! Again, (and I’m so looking at you Sam and Dean) they are not sexual partners! Now, I could go all academic and try to say that zombies represent the evacuated human soul, the embodied nothing, and hence mimic both Sam’s and Dean’s experience of an identity void which they try to recuperate through sexual encounters, but no, it’s still creepy! You just don’t have sex with bodies that are not in possession of their rightful souls. 
Oh crap, now I just argued myself out of thinking Soulless Sam is hot. Dammit! Son of a…..! Grrr! Why?! 
Fare thee well, fantasy of Soulless Sam and up against the wall sex. Fare thee well. (Linda is taking a moment to mourn this passing…bear with her as she cries her tears of grief.)
Oh heck no, forget this, I’ll just be creepy with you, Supernatural. Bring on the Soulless Sam sex! 
Mack the Knife
One more kink before we part….let’s just state it right now, Ruby and Sam’s relationship was about as dysfunctional as Donald and Ivana or Ren and Stimpy. Throw sex into the mix and you got yourself a parfait of wrongness. Besides the whole “Sam is doing it with a body that is not Ruby’s and hence may be skirting the lines of rape,” there is the problem of the violent sex itself. Knives are for cutting food and rope, Sam. But I have a theory, so let’s see if it plays out. To me, Supernatural is all about metaphor and allegory. And when you’re in the realm of allegory, an object is not simply an object. It stands in for something else. In other words, Gertrude Stein is just plain wrong. Sometimes a rose is not a rose. So then you have to step back and ask yourself, “Hmmmm, if a knife isn’t a knife, then what the hell is it?” 
Well, in Supernatural, weapons are very much sexualized. I mean, let’s be honest, guns are as phallic as it gets. They get loaded up and they shoot bullets – you wonder why little boys like to play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians? The gun so overdetermines masculinity. And a knife, well a knife, is just a more intimate weapon. A gun is masturbatory and/or voyeuristic. You don’t have to be close to someone to hurt them. Now, a knife, especially that phallic shaped, extravagantly carved, and a bit oversized knife introduced by RubytheFirst and confiscated by Sam, requires an up close and personal encounter. And the way Sam wields the knife makes me think he understands this concept. (SAT time: The knife is to Sam as the _____ is to Dean. I’m a tough grader, so no As for effort.) 
So the knife kills in both a literal and figurative sense. It plunges into bodies, but at times, it simply skids across the surface of skin, nicking the flesh playfully, almost kissing it. The knife, then, promises death while it reminds you that you are alive….Now go back and look at the three pictures at the beginning of this article…I’ll wait for you. 
You back? Let’s just say, that knife is not a knife at all, is it? 
We can do this all day long, people. But alas, time draws near. I think I’ve made my point, in broad strokes at least (wink, wink), that Supernatural uses sexual kink in some peculiar ways, ways that the show itself may or may not be aware of. It’s not really surprising, I guess, since much of the horror genre seems preoccupied with sex (girls screaming as they run into dark woods, etc. and so on). However, I do think Supernatural plays with its sexual frustration as a way of negotiating and organizing its own fears about gender, in general, but non-normative sexuality in particular. We’ll see this crop up again in the next three parts of this examination. 
By the way, my safe word is …….

Part, the next, will be titled “Sexual Issue #3: Bad Touching, or Why You Shouldn’t Let Girls Get Full Up in You.” 


# Junkerin 2011-06-30 06:10
After reading you artikel the pic with Sam, Dean and Ruby seems soooo diffrent
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 08:36
Heheehee...It does take on a whole new meaning, doesn't it? We'll return to this picture in a later section. It's too good to let go.
# FMJemena 2011-06-30 06:43
Dear Lord, Book-dal...*fan s self*
Why does your dissertation have to scheduled at this time? Why didn't your adviser refused your request? Maybe Kripke & Co. own your university or Heaven and your professor have unresolved kinks? (Kick them all!)
Broadstrokes? Aye, enough to thrill, but not enough to draw it out to its, uh, proper conclusion--the little death. Now, I have to satisfy meself with food heated in the oven toaster.
...And I hope the SPN cast and crew are reading your issues.
# FMJemena 2011-06-30 06:46
Dear Lord, Book-dal...*fans self*
...Maybe Kripke & Co. own your university or Heaven and your professor have unresolved kinks? (Kick them all!)
I meant 'why did your professor'.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 08:38
Yeah, well SPN doesn't fall into my area of specialty, unfortunately. But I can get satisfaction in other ways, like here :).
# FMJemena 2011-06-30 06:47
Those two pics--Sam and Jo, Sam and Married Cougar in restroom--they need to be blown up out of proportion.
# FMJemena 2011-06-30 07:01
(1) Re that "Monster Movie" Dean's encounter with the whip-wielding dominant: I've always thought that something might have happened based on Dean's facial and body expression when he talked with Sam afterwards. Not a full-on 'you know', but just a taste since he probably wasn't able to get away soon (ie, light bite of whip on ass).

(2) Loving pan up Dean's backside in S2; Wizard giving Sam the clap in that S5 epi (forgot the title); Robin-Sam asking Soul Sam that maybe he works as a prostitute? => why do the more open kinks happen to Sam, and the subtle ones to Dean? Because the fans asked for them in fan fiction?

# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 08:41
Sam is the recipient of the weirder sexual innuendos, but I think that's because he's more sexually reserved in image than Dean. I think Dean is actually more "traditional" in the sex department. He's vanilla to Sam's chocolate raspberry tart with a ganache center. Sam's decadent; Dean's hardy.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-30 21:50
Thanks. I will never ever look at a chocolate raspberry tart with a ganache center the same way again. Thanks for that.
# Junkerin 2011-07-01 02:43
Oh I love vanilla AND chocolate raspberry!!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-30 07:33
I'm often stunned as I watch this show. It might not be as graphic as say True Blood (which, by the way, puts the fangs BACK in Vampires after Twilight pulled them), but it's almost more erotic than all the soft core porn on that or other Showtime/HBO shows.

I sometimes wonder just what Supernatural would be like if it had been on one of these premium cable channels. I think it would dilute the story to have the absolute freedom to GO THERE on the screen more or less. It's the whole "less is more" and that what happens off screen can be formulated in the viewer's mind in any way they choose that gives rise to the massive amounts of fanfiction---th e majority of it in the adult realm.

That being said, I'm stunned at what Supernatural does manage to get away with. Not just on the sex, but the violence, the dialogue, just about everything. I figure since they're the CW and therefore a bit on the fringe of "network" television they can push the envelope just a bit more. I know if this show had been on the big four it'd either have been killed off long ago or tamer.

I think it's fascinating how many kinks are hidden within the show. When you start to look at them, the story takes on a different meaning, but it doesn't have to be the only interpretation, either. That's the beauty of things. I'm also surprised that it's up for Teen Choice awards, considering now that we've really opened this can of worms that there's so much adult stuff happening here.

I look forward to where you go with the rest of it. Oh, and Soulless Sam, still hot.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 08:46
I absolutely agree with you here, Far Away. I think part of the draw of SPN is that it is erotic, rather than explicit. The great thing about network standards and practices is that it forces shows to be more creative, if they want to go to places that don't seem "fit" for general audiences.

I agree, also, that this is one interpretation. It's a fun one that I hope allows us to look at ALL of the sexuality on SPN. At least, that's my hope. I also think it speaks volumes about the show's inherent issues with gender and gender roles. And as far as the Teen Choice Awards, yeah, I'm not thinking that demographic has ever been SPN's prime demographic. I mean, Jared and Jensen are both much more masculine (especially at their ages now) than standard adolescent fare, and that is coming from someone who absolutely adores Somerhalder's portrayal of Damon on TVD, but who also recognizes his appeal to the teen set because of his partial androgyny.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-30 15:45
I watch True Blood, and while I enjoy the show immensely and think it fairly well written, I sometimes think the soft core porn fare they peddle dilutes parts of the story. It's there to get people's panties wet, nothing more nothing less. That's not a bad thing, it just is.

I do think SPN has to spend a lot of time dancing around where they could go if they were in cable or premium cable and for that it is almost more enjoyable. I like to have to imagine things for myself at times, be it a sexual scene or the violence that is implied but not shown. That's where some of our more powerful nightmares come from. Hell, look at some of Hitchccock's greatest films. Psycho is more frightening almost for what you DON'T see than what you DO. Same here for SPN.

As for the Teen Choice, holy hell, Jared and Jensen are way more adult in appearance and so far off the teenie bopper radar that I can't imagine that they'd appeal. Jared is a big BIG guy, and he's only filled out in the last two seasons especially. I can't imagine the little girlies who go gah gah over Beiber looking towards him and finding him to their taste.

As for Somerhalder, I also watch Vampire Diaries and he's the best one on the show if you ask me. Damon does the teenie bopper stuff to an extent, but boy can he do badass, too. I think he does appeal for the reasons you state, but I have a funny feeling as he gets a bit older and fills into his frame a bit more he won't---that's if he chooses to bulk some.

I love this show, though, each time you watch it something NEW emerges. It's just so neat and exciting.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 21:39
I agree. And it's funny, because the original meaning of "obscene" is really "off scene." So in point of fact, most of what is sexual about SPN is done in innuendo, which works for the show. I think that it would not be as powerful it it were on a cable or premium channel.

Yeah, Jared and Jensen are way too manly for the Teen Choice Awards. Those teenage girls would be scared of them.

I love this show as well. I may have some criticisms for what it does sometimes, but it never disappoints as an substantial viewing experience. At least to me.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-30 21:45
I think a lot of the show's character would have been lost if it had been on a premium channel. So much of the show's own subject matter is fringe---vampir es, after life, mythological creatures---tha t to have sex or extreme EXTREME violence would only ruin it in terms of mood and flavor.

The biggest beef any of those teenie girls would have emerges in one word and one word only: MARRIED. That would automatically make both Jared and Jensen "old" in their eyes.

I love this show so much, too, and while I know it's not perfect, it's the damn flaws sometimes that make it more wonderful. It has so much going on in it, things that make you think, new layers in each episode each time I watch, that I just can't seem to let the things that upset a lot of other people's apple carts get to me. I've never put any expectations on the show, and I think that's allowed me to enjoy it for what it IS and not what it IS NOT.
# isleofskye 2011-06-30 08:58
Your article is very interesting and you have affronted it with great aplomb.

Everything that you have extrapolated from the various episodes has effectively happened and been said.

I wonder if the writers knew what the final effect would be when they were preparing the scripts or if is the great acting ability of the guys and cast that makes the finished product come over in a certain way.

Of course everything is open to the interpretation of the watcher but sex and violence are part of our human make-up so why be surprised that it is reflected in the show.

Just a word on that, I have never thought that sex and violence should be paired together.

Violence is always wrong. There may be various degrees, there may even be extenuating circumstances but violence is never right.

Sex, on the other hand has a whole range of aspects going from sublime,when is is boosted by love, to marvellous to good to ordinary to unenjoyable to bad etc.

It can also go to violence but that is an addition by the perpetuator(s), it's not inherent to the act itself which should be of giving and receiving pleasure and comfort.

Okay, enough of the Goody-Two-Shoes lecture on my part! best regards
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 21:40
Thanks for the comments. I doubt the writers understand the full impact of anything they do - that's the great thing about retrospect and interpretation. I think, on SPN, sex has often included violence, but that's an offshoot of the world it has built around itself. It's an AU where all human interaction is under threat of annihilation, so it makes sense that the sex would often co-opt that theme as well.
# cd28 2011-06-30 10:13
Was looking forward to this after your last piece. It didn't disappoint. Can't wait til the next one.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 21:41
Thank you! I hope the next one doesn't disappoint...It will be all about the girls.
# Sylvie 2011-06-30 11:18
Oh my, Bookdal, I think I'm blushing! Wow, that was an interesting read. I love to read what you have to say, because I'm not observant enough to see all these wonderful sexual (kinky) innuendos. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of drool on my couch on Friday nights, but boy, the things I've missed! Thank you so much for pointing them out.

By the way, they adressed homosexuality in "The Real Ghostbusters" when the two guys LARPING (love that word) Sam & Dean introduced themselves to Dean as not just friends but partners. And I agree, please stop killing off all the good females, sheesh! Give the guys some girls they could have a good time with, not just anonymous sex! I would love for the writers to go back and revisit Sara (I think that was her name) from the episode with the little girl in the painting killing people...sorry, brain fart. I watched the show the other night, anyway, I thought Sam had unbelievable chemistry with her.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 21:43
You're right about Damien and Barnes. I hadn't forgotten them. In fact they will be featured in an upcoming section, but I do think they were really fan service, which I love.

And I'd love Sara to return. She was in "Provenance," which is one of my fav. 1st season episodes and it will actually come up in the next section.

Glad I could point out the kink ;).

Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-06-30 18:36
Sorry Bookdal, I haven't gotten around to reading this article yet. I've kinda been distracted a wee bit (or a big bit...) by the pictures. I'm sure it will be every bit as good as the first part of it but y'know ... pictures!

They're lovely.....
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-30 21:43
Thanks Tim...yes, pictures are pretty, aren't they? I think all posts should have a picture of shirtless Sam embedded in them. It should be a civic duty.
# Jocelyn 2011-07-04 18:31
Hi Linda-bookdal, I've read both of your articles and I find them highly disturbing, though informative. I did not see all of this sexuality expressed in Supernatural. To be honest, I see SPN as my sexless haven in an adult tv landscape littered with selling sex instead of good storytelling. I'm not sure that I can look at it the same ever again. If I take your views as factual, perhaps it means that I need to take a closer look at myself and why I am obsessed with the show despite my inability to sexualize either the characters or the very attractive actors that play them while appreciating their masculinity given your assertion that the show is very sexualized.

# Jasminka 2011-07-15 16:53
Hi Linda. It took me a while to get into this, since I’ve been on holiday and then I have had technical difficulties, but now everything is in order again.

I have to give you credit for the way you write, but I can’t agree with most of your content.
Frankly, I don’t like your approach. Taking it so far as to sexualize practically everything in this show is not to my taste at all.

I can’t deny that there are some very sexy scenes in Supernatural. But putting sexual meaning into scenes not intended by the script sounds like ‘Supernatural , I’m going to show you how Freudian you can be’ to me. I am surprised that you even have virginity on your ‘pervy’ list…

Let me just touch on a few issues – it’s not my intention to delve into everything I don’t agree with.

You see, for instance you refer to the episodes Hunted and Born Under a Bad Sign as BDSM episodes for the reason that Gordon tied Dean up and Sam did so with Jo…
Now, the way I learned it, BDSM, being a sexual perversion and sadomasochism characterized as a disorder of sexual preference, implies that participants obtain sexual excitement from activities practised during a BDSM session.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice any sexual arousal on Dean’s or Gordon’s part. Gordon might have enjoyed his dominance over Dean, true, but not for sexual reasons. Gordon’s driving energy came from a narcissistic lust for revenge. This is not the same field…

And frotteurism? Really? Did you see Castiel rub himself on Dean in order to find sexual arousal?
Bestiality? Or, well, respectively, zoophilia – implies that sexual activities take place with an animal. It is also introduced as a kind of sexual orientation.
Granted, Madison was a werewolf, but they had sex while she was in her human form. This doesn’t look like bestiality to me, I’m sorry. And since Jessica, for example, was a ‘normal’ human girl, I wouldn’t go as far as to make Sam a zoophile.

And the shifter who wanted to be close to his human ‘mistress’⠀¦ He wasn’t an animal, was he? He chose that appearance because it allowed him to be a part of a family. We haven’t seen sexual activities between him and his human family, or have I missed a vital scene?

Fetishism… aha. Well, the way you describe it in your list, it’s the audience that gets sexual kicks from watching the impala or sniper Dean. Again, it is a question of definition for me. In terms of sexual fetishism it is implied that a person gets sexual arousal from a certain object, like a car or food. However, I can’t find sexual arousal with Castiel/Jimmy eating his fast food or Dean handling his gun.

I am being nitpicky, I know, and I apologize if this is hurting your feelings. That is not my intention.

You chose to interpret pretty much the whole show as ‘sexually frustrated’, but I can’t get on that horse with you. I don’t agree. I think you are taking it a bit far. But that’s just me. I’ve seen other shows that have been more open and explicit in their depiction of sexual themes. I don’t find it here. Not in the manner that you describe.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-07-15 21:50

As always, I appreciate your comments. My feelings are never hurt by reader reactions – argument should always be driven by civil discourse and rational evidence and you’ve provided clear reasons as to your reading of my article. How a reader interprets my work is not within my purview to control, nor would I want it to be. I understand that you don’t like my observations, have problems with them and the content, and I respect that reaction.

As for your critiques both here and in the other section – I will say that, in this particular frame with this particular voice – I have chosen to highlight a subtextual theme that I believe is often encoded or even doubly encoded and thus denied or dismissed, both in the show and in the viewing of the show. In this case, I wanted to examine the interplay between sex, gender, and violence. (I was inspired, here, by John Fiske’s wonderful observations about television and masculinity, as well as femininity, from Television Culture). Consequentially , I believe that this practice of encoding and denial often involves an active “othering” of any discussion amongst viewers that is outside what becomes the socially accepted reading of the show, of its canon. In a sense, then, this practice creates a value that becomes embedded in the viewing of the text.

Additionally, many times, any reading outside of the socially accepted reading becomes a target for ridicule or even outright discrimination. For example, those who choose to sexualize the narrative between Sam/Dean or Dean/Castiel are openly made butts of jokes across both fandom and show, yet if you look at the statistics for fanfiction, a large percentage of fan productions (based on characters) involve the sexualization that has been deemed taboo or forbidden and thus seen as abnormal or perverted. So I think there is a disconnect between the levels and frames of viewing going on, a disconnect that we rarely discuss in open fan forums. Rather we reserve those discussions for places like Transformative Works, and I think that is unfortunate. So, one way to access that discussion is to hyperbolize it, or that’s my argument anyway. And through the hyperbolization of the show, maybe we can allow ourselves room to see that readings that we may not like or agree with are there for some viewers and as ever, I am interested in the whys and hows of that exploration.

So that was a rather long response….sor ry. I just wanted to say that I take no umbrage at your dislike and understand the points you are trying to make. I happen to disagree, but that’s okay too. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.

Thanks, Jas –
# Jasminka 2011-07-16 04:18
Of course it’s okay to disagree, any decent discussion thrives on it. I’m glad I didn’t hurt your feelings, and thank you for your response.

I can agree with you that we often find sexual themes encoded in tv shows or movies, and fan fiction has thrived on this, too.

If you look at the stories written about Kirk and Spock, Angel and Spike, etc.. practically every show is ‘slashed’ within fan fiction archives, sometimes driven to verge on the absurd. And the way I see it with my academic mind, most of these stories reflect the sexual desires of their writers (and, subsequently, of their readers). If I choose to look at the relationship of Sam and Dean as a sexual, incestuous one, it reflects what I want to see there, perhaps what I get a kick or even sexual arousal out of. I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if many readers used stories like that (and some are, as you know, very explicit) to get sexually stimulated. Colleagues I know from my university time have done so (they, well, were all into Kirk and Spock).

Furthermore, I believe if people read a tad too much fan fiction, they are in danger of confusing the various levels. Fan fiction content could become ‘canon’.

Of course there are sexual undercurrents in this show we all love so much. I have no problem with that. This is American Television, though, the CW. You can show loads of violence, but be afraid if you show as much as one nipple. (Well, if it was HBO, we’d have a different show.)

I understand that in an environment that places sexual issues under a taboo, those needs any person has have to emerge somewhere. It’s no surprise that pornography has become a prosperous field. And adult themed fan fiction.

A difficult topic such as incest needs to be handled with utmost care. You know that it is a huge problem, to put it mildly, when it involves the abuse of children by their parents or siblings. And there is a biological reason siblings are not intended to breed – congenital birth defects. I don’t have to tell you about the psychological results of both variations. It’s a different matter with consenting adults, of course.

You say you wanted to examine the interplay between sex, gender and violence in your articles. I think this is a very interesting goal, indeed. Alas, I don’t see an examination here. What I see, though, is an argument that seems to be written to provoke a strong reaction. I miss scientific evidence or theories established by academics on the topics of sex/gender/viol ence.
And I do find it disturbing and in some ways upsetting that you bring up themes that are clearly not there (e.g. frotteurism) or using them outside of their psychological definitions (e.g. bondage), which might bring readers to actually believe your argument to be 'scientific' truth and not just your opinion. Some might begin to interpret any tying up of a person in a movie as a variation of bondage.

The show, well, didn’t intend to show an incestuous relationship between two brothers, did it? Or a sexual relationship between Dean and Castiel. Some fans choose to see them that way. Of course, everyone has the right to do so, if it gives them pleasure.

If I understand you correctly, you chose to see the show as an example of how encoding and denial takes place and how it actively ‘others’ outside-of-cano n-discussions among viewers.

If this is what you intended, I would hope for a clear definition in your text. Instead, I find all the ‘proclivities ’ as if they were actually there, in the manner you describe it, and your intention of analysis remains somewhat obscured to me.

I see that you try to do it via hyperbole. Now, with that in mind, am I to read your article and think ‘ah, she doesn’t mean it, she’s merely exaggerating’ ? I can’t imagine someone putting so much effort in an article and not wanting to be taken seriously.

Of course, everyone has the right to sexualize whatever they like. If one wants to look at the car in a kinky way, be my guest. I only find it disturbing when topics of this contentious/pro vocative potential are being put into a story or attached to characters not intended by the script. To my mind it is too far off from the original idea. And I happen to read your article(s) that way.

Forgive me for this very, very long response. Handling this doesn’t seem to be possible in two sentences. At least, not for me. We do disagree, obviously. That’s okay. Thank you.
Cheers, Jas
# Linda-bookdal 2011-07-16 08:58
You see, this is my issue - the idea that there is somehow more authority in authorship than there is in reception. I don't believe that. Once an author shares a text with a reader, he/she/they relinquish authority. Do I find fan fiction that focuses on Kirk/Spock, Angel/Wesley, or even Sam/Dean, intriguing? Personally, no. But then again, I don't think there is such a thing as canon. In fact, I think there is a dangerous line to be marked here, and that is that there are "right" readings and there are "wrong" readings. Again, you point out some things that I "got" wrong, but again, I will point out I have a technique.

To answer your question about hyperbole, yes there are kernels of what I think embedded in the article, but I chose that rhetorical device to exaggerate many issues, as emphasis. But you know, Jas, I'm not going to address this anymore because then I would be indulging in the thing that I am arguing against - I would be trying to authorize my intention. You don't like it, fine. You think it's disturbed, fine. You have every right as the reader to find fault and to disagree and to dismiss it.

The only thing I ask, and I was going to address this last night but chose not to. However I will now. If you would like to continue to use my articles as a way to analyze my personal reading or interpretation of the show, I would ask that you take it to email. Some of your comments border close to a reading of "me" as a person, and I would ask you to refrain from such public analysis. And this is not about hurting my feelings, rather there are some intuitions that you are getting wrong.

There is a difference between author and narrator here.

Thank you-Linda
# Jasminka 2011-07-16 10:12
And I, on the other hand, am not amused when it is insinuated by you that I would use your articles - continually - “as a way to analyze my personal reading or interpretation of the show” or read you "as a person" . I'd like to invite you to read it again. And, I would like you to restrain from such public imputations as well.

I tried to show what I take issue with and what I find disturbing and upsetting (to me) (please note: I didn’t say it was disturbed, rest assured I know the difference). Unfortunately, I failed at that attempt.

Personally I don’t see any point in dissipating more of my energy on this argument, when we both know that it will most likely end up with hurt feelings on both sides.

I sincerely apologize if you were offended by what I wrote. I found some of your words offensive, too.
So, let’s just leave it at that. We can't always agree.

Cheers, Jas
# Julie 2011-07-16 03:50
I just want to thank you for posting here exactly what I have been feeling but did not have the confidence to voice.
I tend to stick by my ethos of if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing, but have to admit I felt very uncomfortable and somewhat offended by some of the things which had been written.
Whilst acknowledging everyone`s right to their own opinions and interpretations of any body of work, I totally fail to see the majority of the sexualised situations mentioned in these articles. I also have a problem with the feminist flag being waved immediately followed by totally gratuitous objectification.
I love this show and also love and feel very proud of this site but would not want to be associated with these observations and opinions