Where do you get your ideas? – Coed Demon Sluts

I flunked “girl” K-12 and beyond. Not even an “E” for effort.

Some disclosure: I failed “girl” all through my formative years; never learned to use make-up, never belonged to a clique (not even a clique of losers), never had a clue how to pass. That said, I’m a childless straight white married-thirty-seven-years female. I’ve escaped the other end of the gantlet of gender expectations onto the landfill of middle-aged women, where nobody looks at you.

I’m not whining. I’ve gained an incredible amount of freedom. Though I flunked “girl,” I had more than a desirable share of sexual attention. When I turned forty and the men stopped looking (and talking and touching), the women started. Now I’m invisible. Thank God, thank God.

I see more. I have decades more experience. And I have a secret weapon I never expected to get: Mom power. For someone childless, this is like inheriting a lightsaber. I’m now the same age as many people’s moms (or grandmas), and younger people endow my gray hairs and wrinkles with whatever fear of Mom they secretly harbor. Mind, you can still chop your own toe off with a lightsaber. But, damn.

I’m also a romance novel writer. (My romance writer friends laugh when I say this, because my books aren’t pink enough. “F” in “girl.”) Still, I adhere strongly to the controversial sexual-political position that makes romance fiction so explosive a topic even in women-only conversations: that men and women can happily cohabit in a lifelong committed relationship. You don’t have to be homosexual or a radical feminist to disagree. You just have to be divorced.

A big part of the mainstream romance genre is an acceptance of conventional gender roles, at least overtly. This hero may have the trappings of the alpha male but he’s “trainable.” This heroine attracts the ultra-conventionally-masculine hero by being different, in that she fights the gender stereotyping of her culture. (I don’t know how the gay romance genre handles the gender stereotypes; should be interesting.) In short, part of romance novel heroism means doing combat with the stereotypes. Like most of my fellow romance writers, I don’t overtly challenge gender binary assumptions in my romances. I play along with them.

So when I started playing with Coed Demon Sluts, a new series spinning off my Slacker Demons, I knew I would be doing something to gender. But what?

The menace of Louis CK’s universal, ubiquitous PUSSY element (PY, atomic weight of 12)

Enter into this train of thought Lous CK, the comic. Here’s a clip I’ve posted and reposted since I ran across it on Facebook. My condensed takeaway from his hilarious rant about the difference between men and women: “You get to have those thoughts. I have to have them.”

This may not be news to you, but he blew my head wide open.

I thought about the decades I’d spent—really my entire life from age three up to forty-five, thanks to my father’s proclivities—recognizing thousands and thousands of times (told you I flunked “girl”) that, oh yeah, this behavior can draw unwelcome attention. Breathing got me unwelcome attention. (Maybe that was why I kept flunking. It was pass and freeze for life, or fail continually and get to live.)

Now, thanks to Louis CK, I thought for the first time about what life might be like in a body that nobody might ever notice—but that wouldn’t let me alone sexually. What if my own body continually threw sexual thoughts up into my head? What if the world is “just this big PUSSY” everywhere, inescapable, intrusive, reductive, mind-battering, demanding, focus-scattering?

My feminist brain was offended at this reductive interpretation of a bit less than half the human race.

My romance writer brain said a great big, “Oh.”

periodic tableIf I look at Louis CK’s universal, ubiquitous PUSSY element (PY, atomic weight of 12), tempered by the understanding that comes with the Mom Lightsaber, I see…

…I see some nice guys unwillingly driven by their hormones. Guys fighting their own bodies. Guys trying to live lives guided by mind and principle and bonds of affection and obligation, at war with biology, which won’t fucking leave them alone. Even when the men are gay and don’t want to fuck PY12, they’re still afraid of Mom, because who isn’t? And you can’t get away from her. She’s everywhere. By trying really hard you can pretend she’s invisible and succeed fairly well, as long as she isn’t actually your mom.

Short version: Mother Nature really screwed with males.

It explains a lot about patriarchy, homosocial cultures, and the bang-halt dominance thing that many of us find so trying.

All you Y chromosomes have no doubt been yawning, which I totally understand. But I’m gobsmacked. This is going to do me a lot of good on the next few romances I write.

I think I just figured out that one more thing I can do to mess with the gender binary (covertly, covertly) is to endow a whole pack of women with a male-type hormonal drive…after they’ve been brought up without it.

Huh. Every time I think I’ve run out of things to say about sex, I get another idea. Thank you, Louis CK. That shit is gold.




Where do you get your ideas? – Coed Demon Sluts — 13 Comments

  1. This is an ancient, ancient idea. It’s in St. Paul, when he complains that what he wants to do he doesn’t do, and the things he doesn’t want to do he does. His body runs away with him. And I’m going to write a novel. It’ll be a first contact novel, and the alien (of course!) does not have these unruliness issues at all. It will watch, dumbfounded, while the hero chases tail.

  2. “What if my own body continually threw sexual thoughts up into my head?”

    My only issue with this is the assertion that this is a male-only phenomenon. I think it can be demonstrated that females experience the same things. Except they’re largely conditioned from a very young age to suppress these thoughts and their associated behaviours; the ones who don’t are generally tossed on the heap of hussiedom by prevailing social custom.

    Nature made both males and females with the same proclivity to reproduce. Sex figures prominently in the psyches of both – just because they may manifest differently doesn’t mean the basic urges differ in intensity.

    The idea that men can’t control themselves is itself more a social custom than a biological fact (it’s easily apparent that there are millions of men out there who actually do just that on a daily basis) – as is the idea that women don’t have their own battles with unbridled sexual thoughts and desires (they’re just not not supposed to admit or talk about it – let alone succumb to it).

    I don’t think the issue is as cut-and-dried as ‘males are this way, and females are that.’ There are, amongst both the male and female spectrum, a percentage of people who exhibit no interest in sex at all. Nature has its way of balancing itself out…

  3. Zena, I’m not arguing with the ‘social conditioning’ theory of male vs. female differences. I’ve been a proponent of that for years. Lately though I’m hearing some voices talking about biological differences. Louis CK addresses some of that here. “You *get* to have perverted thoughts. I *have* to have them.” I’m not talking about the how-strong-is-your-sex-drive question. I’m talking about the intrusiveness of it on one’s everyday life…continually challenging one’s power of concentration, adding hormonal noise that’s more than white noise. It’s more like a rowdy neighbor with the radio cranked up 24/7.

    I don’t think Louis is arguing for a “boys will be boys” excuse for male violence against women. I think he’s apologizing for the effect this influence has on his own behavior. He doesn’t generalize. He just uses “I” language, which is admirable.

    • I understand what you’re saying. But I’m still not sure I agree. I think that women can be, and often are, equally distracted in their everyday lives by their sex drives (“Did someone say ‘ovulation?’ It’s time to roll, baby. NOW!” Talk about hormonal racket…). They just don’t discuss it openly or admit it as much (enter the social conditioning aspect).

      I guess I take a bit of issue with Louis CK’s seeming assumptions about female sexuality that he’s probably gleaned from commonly-accepted attitudes, rather than actual documented evidence (hence the *get to* versus the *have to* bit). He obviously knows a lot about the biology of the average male, but I don’t think he should be drawing conclusions about female experience without at least doing some cursory research. I guess it’s too much like being told (again) by the patriarchy how my sexuality is supposed to manifest itself.

      On the other hand, if he nixed the hyperbolic male/female dichotomy thing, his whole comedy routine would undoubtedly fall a bit, erm, flat. And he is, after all, supposed to be making fun…

      • Louis CK is talking in fact about being a married man. So yeah, his routine is focused on that.

        It’s interesting to note that when I ran the Coed Demon Sluts idea past straight women, they all had lots of ideas why a woman would want to become a succubus, and none of them had to do with sex. When I ran it past gay women, they ALL said, “I’d do it for the sex!” Mind, my sampling is about 20 straight women to 6 gay women.

  4. Brenda, keep us posted on the progress of the novel!

    If St. Paul were alive today and I was still 16 I would TP his house. Well, I probably wouldn’t, since my socialization is too strong to let me do that. But I’d think about it.

    • Jen, I feel that way about St. Paul, too. Seems to me he missed the point of what Jesus was saying and laid the groundwork for much of what is wrong in Christianity. But in his defense, I would note that current scholars believe that many of the things attributed to Paul were actually written b someone else.

  5. Another thing about Paul is that many of his strictures were directed to the class and time that he was operating in. (The one about women being silent in services, for instance. It doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to speak, or pray. He was echoing a command from ushers, who were trying to keep the chat down in the aisles.)
    However, the true thing about most holy texts is that you can find something in them to support ANYTHING. Large web sites are devoted to this.

    • Reminds me of the old joke about the priest who discovered that the original biblical text had been transcribed incorrectly in subsequent copies:

      “Oh, my…it was supposed to be *celebrate*…”

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