Thursday, June 12, 2008

Superheroes Who Can't Get Laid

Whether you're a human brain trapped in a robotic body or have super-spunk o' doom, being a superhero can really put a cramp in your sex life.



so according to io9, both the Hancock and The Incredible Hulk movies feature superheroes who have bad things happen when they have sex. While the blog says Hancock stole the idea of a super-powered dingus from a Warren Ellis comic, I believe it appeared in the short story "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" first. Meanwhile in the Hulk movie, Banner can't be sexually aroused without turning into the green-skinned behemoth. I don't know, was this ever the status quo in the comic? At any rate, it makes sense to me.

Isn't a lot about classic superheroes really sexual metaphor? Or am I way off base and a cigar just really a cigar? I mean, I don't think issues of sex were ever really divorced from the Wonder Woman character, from its inception in the Golden Age. The idea of secret identities can be a symbol of the face we present to the world and the sometimes very different one we present in the bedroom. And the idea of sex turning mild-mannered men like Mr. Banner into rampaging beasts has been around for awhile. Aren't all the werewolf movies some variation on that?

And if Superman can't really nail Lois without causing her significant internal organ damage (not status quo ever as far as I'm aware, but is the case in "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex") and Batman is too emotionally f**ked-up to have sex (often implied, but, as we have seen with Damian, not always the case), and the Thing really can't have actual sex and Robotman from the Doom Patrol can't really have sex, and the Hulk can only have sex with wild women warriors from alien planets (producing cute little Hulk babies), then maybe as non-powered readers we can feel superior to the heroes in some way...or at least relate.


From Larry Niven's "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex"

"Consider the driving urge between a man and a woman, the monomaniacal urge to achieve greater and greater penetration. Remember also that we are dealing with kryptonian muscles.

Superman would literally crush LL's body in his arms, while simultaneously ripping her open from crotch to sternum, gutting her like a trout.

Lastly, he'd blow off the top of her head.

Ejaculation of semen is entirely involuntary in the human male, and in all other forms of terrestrial life. It would be unreasonable to assume otherwise for a kryptonian. But with kryptonian muscles behind it, Kal-El's semen would emerge with the muzzle velocity of a machine gun bullet. (*One can imagine that the Kent home in Smallville was riddled with holes during Superboy's puberty. And why did Lana Lang never notice that?*)

In view of the foregoing, normal sex is impossible between LL and Superman."


  1. Okay. Here is what I have to say for the "Superheroes doin' it" thread. Putting aside the fact that superpowers are based on dramatic convention & not on anything else, lets talk about the "woman of kleenex" idea.

    Does Superman sneeze & cause hurricanes? Does Superman blink & knock over buildings? Does Superman hiccup & blow out ear drums? Does Superman fart & break chairs? Do his leg cramps cause him to knock over buildings?


    So can Superman have sex with Louis Lane? I've got to say yes. Is their "DNA" compatible? Maybe not. I have to say this: I think a great story (tm mordicai!) would be Batman versus Luthor, with the Bat finally winning & presenting the Clark the secrets of the Cadmus Project, the answer to combining Kryptonian & Human genetic material, as was done with Conner. TM!

    So. Super is not a gross, Judeo-christian guilt complex. He totally nails his wife. & he probably lost his virginity to Lana. My two cents.

  2. ...maybe that's one of the reasons The X-men have done so well in the past twenty-five years... mutants are TOTALLY allowed to get it on. Even Rogue and Gambit managed to figure out ways to hook up (hey we're de-powered and held captive in a cave in the arctic somewhere... should we plan an escape... "hell no, it's shaggerin' time!")

    I could be wrong... but didn't Buffy make a play off of the "Man of Steel women of Kleenex" thing? It wasn't in the TV show, but I could swear in a comic or book or something somewhere Riley got a broken rib and a lot of bruises or something.

  3. For that matter, was there ever a She-Hulk story where she was clearly too much for her human sexual partner? Wouldn't that also be an occasion for potential injury?

  4. Reminds me of that awful issue where Superman and Big Barda are brainwashed to do porn movies together.

    Initially the producer says Superman will have to be a 'solo act' because he will make any partner look like the producer's desk (which is a complete mess).

    The Apokolips guy says "no worries, I have a partner who can handle him ... Big Barda".

    That was a messed up issue and (if I remember) it was very inappropriate in the way it treated Barda.


  5. Mordicai is a million percent correct. Sex is one of the endless list of things that are totally impossible about Superman's existence, it's just the one that some people get really hung up on because I dunno, they just can't help spending all their time thinking about super-powered penises.

  6. All I can think about are your posts tagged with "Broken Hoohah." It's alllll starting to make sense now. Better hope Lois never finds out about you two.

  7. Yeah, I never got the whole thing either...I mean if Supes can pull his punches so he doesn't put his fist through someone's skull, you're telling me he can't control his Kryptonian junk during sex so he doesn't kill Lois?

    I just wanted to type "Kryptonian junk," I admit it.

  8. As everyone has previously stated, Superman has complete control over his strength. Hell, it was a major plot point in the OYL stories of Superman - the reason why he didn't have his powers after so long was actually a mental thing - he wasn't consciously aware of the fact that he had switched his powers off.

  9. I disagree with Mordicai's conclusion. If dramatic conventions govern the super-powers, then all of the things Superman doesn't do doesn't amount to a hill of beans or prove anything: those things don't happen because of one dramatic convention, but Superman having or not having sex is based entirely on another. It just doesn't matter if him flying as fast as he does doesn't result in a massive butterfly effect when comes down to whether he can do something.

    Yeah, I never got the whole thing either...I mean if Supes can pull his punches so he doesn't put his fist through someone's skull, you're telling me he can't control his Kryptonian junk during sex so he doesn't kill Lois?

    The two aren't remotely similar, and if you just wanted an excuse to type Kryptonian junk it's still incredibly dishonest to even have this here. You could've done it another way.

  10. The only thing I don't get is why Superman's sperm would emerge with "the muzzle velocity of a machine gun." All his other involuntary body states seem analagous to "normal" humanity. He doesn't create sonic booms when he blinks, for instance.

    I do think his sneezes would be destructive because of the nature of sneezing and the muscles involved. But his sperm? They might be like steel-jacketed bullets in terms of density and strength... but speed?

    That's cute, Larry, but you need to do a little more explaining.

  11. Oh good grief...I'm being called dishonest because of a silly joke?

    That's a new one...I have to admit....but still a little weird.

    I honest think the two are similar, as they are physical actions, but any more thought about this and I will officially beat *myself* up for being such a gigantic nerd. :)

  12. as for she-hulk:

  13. I don't think dramatic conventions are so important in considering this. What we have is an admittedly interesting and fun analysis that focuses on one set of physical functions without taking into account others.

    If we grant the machine-gun bullet sperm punching holes in the wall, then we have to grant eye blinks and perhaps even normal breathing as creating winds or other destructive phenomena- meaning Lois Lane probably couldn't get close enough to Superman for any of this "woman of tissue" stuff to even be a factor. The guy would be a living engine of destruction.

    God help us if he farted or sneezed or hocked a loogie. I doubt the Kents' house would even be standing, much less having holes in it for Lana Lang to notice.

    If you're going to force one set of physical attributes to obey the laws of science, they all have to. That's what gets me about it- the selectivity. Sure, it's fun to think about and talk about but I don't see this essay as being so very different from the selective reality of the comic book "science" either.

  14. Oh... and that's why it does matter what Superman doesn't do. At least in terms of analyzing this essay.

  15. what im more worried about is the thought that each and everyone of supermans sperm would be invunerable and ah super.. so what the heck would he and lois use for contraceptives?
    green kryptonite laced condoms?

  16. It seems to be the status quo in Smallville that Superman can't have sex with normal humans without hurting them (this was referenced in the episode were Lana gets super powers briefly). Also, in the show he DOES cause high-force winds when he sneezes.

  17. What about the other way -- what if an earth male went to bed with Power Girl (I'll use her rather than Supergirl in this hypothetical situation because Power Girl is, name notwithstanding, an adult)? I'm not referring to potential injury to male parts a la the earlier She-Hulk reference, but could earthling seed impregnate Power Girl (as some stories indicate Superman's seed could do to Lois Lane)?

    Of course, if pregnant, Power Girl's chest would swell to a larger size (the lady would need an even bigger bra than she wears now), leading one to wonder about the potential superproperties of Kryptonian breast milk under a yellow sun (and somewhere, there's probably a fanfic story that delves into just that...).