When I was young, reading ‘Uncanny X-Men,’ I was both shocked and intrigued when Longshot and Dazzler suddenly arrived late in the middle of a battle, he shirtless, she wearing his distinctive jacket over a pair of panties and seemingly nothing else.  This back-handed, but still overt treatment of sexuality among superheroes stuck with me, as it was not a “Very Special Episode” so much as a matter-of-fact moment which cemented the truth that the heroes were (in the vernacular of my teenage years) “doin’ it.”  Sex is VERY difficult to work into comics effectively without pitfalls, and most interpretations come across as either intensely creepy, overly porny or both.  Strangely, the most effective examination of sexual issues in my eyes came in an issue of ‘Concrete’ a few years ago, as the main character and his friend/doctor/handled handler Maureen engaged in a fascinating sexual relationship that felt realistic, natural and true to the characters.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) believes that when the morning talk-shows are all abuzz about fan-fic bondage pornography, we should be able to have this discussion without shame, asking:  What’s the best depiction of a sexual relationship in all of pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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10 Comments

  1. Dan
    February 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    Wash and Zoe from Firefly are up there, in that they feel like a fairly realistic couple who clearly love each other, and have plenty of sex. just that they’re pirates who live in a spaceship.

  2. B.V.K.
    February 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm — Reply

    Tarot, I mean who hasn’t run into a haunted vagina at some point? Now we know how to handle the situation because that was never covered in sex ed.

  3. dante_marx
    February 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm — Reply

    Wow, that’s an old Foglio reference, just in time for the girl genius podcast. I have seen a lot of good relationships in novels, but it isn’t nearly as common in visual media because, as you mentioned, there is a tendency toward smut. Now, as I look over my collection of comics, I find that web-comics are my go to choice for relationship stuff. Specifically, Questionable Content, Octopus Pie and Queen of Wands/Punch & Pie.

    • February 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm — Reply

      Even though I loved Queen of Wands, I had to stop reading Punch n Pie for a while because it hit a point where it just made me start bawling like a baby because it reminded me of a situation I was going through at the time. Still think it is a great webcomic, it was just a bit too close to home for a bit there.

  4. February 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm — Reply

    First off, I’m going to admit I enjoy a bit of smut here and there. I can’t help it, I’m a perv. But I don’t want to see it in everything.

    I have a soft spot for Willow and Tara in “Buffy”. It wasn’t a “perfect” relationship or anything, but aside from all the magic and vampire slaying, it just felt a lot more realistic to me than a lot of other relationships portrayed in series I like. Of course I may be a bit biased because I lost a partner at about the same time as Tara was killed off, so I felt like Dark Willow’s rage was a pretty good indicator of how I felt (although I didn’t go around flaying people alive or trying to end the world).

  5. February 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm — Reply

    Grendel Christine Spar & Brian Li Sung. While it is not a love story, the sex was adult. It was lust, and was also his futile attempt to save her. While there was some sexy cheescake factor to the whole female Grendel, many of her acts seemed very adult and driven.

  6. Mike
    February 1, 2013 at 11:25 pm — Reply

    John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, easy money, and ’nuff said.

  7. Bill the Ckir
    February 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm — Reply

    I rather liked the casual way they threw in Dick Grayson and Koriand’r the first time they showed them in bed in Teen Titans. I know it created an uproar in some circles but it was handled very maturely in the book.

  8. Jason
    February 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm — Reply

    Okay, I got a good chuckle from the typo especially since it goes quite nicely with the topic of sex. The word should be “handler”

    • February 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm — Reply

      That’s not a typo, that’s enhanced content. :)

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