ASH: ESSAY: Sex in the ASH Universe
Dave Van Domelen
dvandom at eyrie.org
Mon Jun 1 18:18:45 PDT 2009
Synopsis: a mix of essay and roundtable on the topic of sex and sexuality in
the ASH Universe.
//|| //^^\\ || || .|. COHERENT COMICS UNINCORPORATED PRESENTS
// || \\ || || --X---------------------------------------------
//======================= '|` "Sex and the ASH Universe"
// || \\ || || an Essay and Roundtable
// || \\__// || || Copyright 2009 by Dave Van Domelen
Disclaimer: while I will try to avoid being explicit or crude, the
topics addressed here may offend the sensibilities of some readers. If
you're a regular reader of Academy of Super-Heroes, it won't be any stronger
than what you're used to, though.
Second Disclaimer: While this started as a single-person essay, it has
grown a bit. I'm writing my own parts in the first person, for the most
part, and setting off the contributions of other writers in --- bars.
Spoiler Warning: A few things that have only been hinted at in stories
are spelled out here.
In the LL&DD title by Andy Burton, there's a lot of kinky sex happening
off-screen. You have a couple who "courted" via deathtraps, and where a
professional job to design restraints for another superhuman female can
result in jealousy. You'd think, on the surface, that LL&DD was pretty much
on the edge of kink-related stories in the ASH Universe.
You'd be wrong, though.
Oh, as a romance comic (which, really, is what it is), the relationship
stuff is a lot more prominent than in other titles. But if you think about
it, even with the addition of supertech gizmos, the McKay-Blair fetish is
pretty vanilla. Heck, in Topeka Kansas alone there's at least three places
where you can buy dedicated light bondage gear (and there's swingsets at
Walmart, but that's an in-joke). When you come right down to it, you have a
heterosexual monogamous couple engaging in moderately weird sex.
Compare that to when Sarah Grant-Taylor was made of ice and still
managed to figure out how to have sex with her husband. Or Bathory's mixed-
gender harem. Or the multi-layered relationship between Aaron Zander and
Paul Mahler even before Paul died. And don't forget that a man made of light
and a woman made of rock found a way to have sex!
Before going on, I should lay out how I think this all works in real
life, since that obviously informs how I extrapolate it to unreal life. Do
keep in mind that even in real life, the nice neat categories I'll be
describing tend to get hopelessly tangled up, they're just a starting point.
I don't think sexuality is as simple as pure choice or pure genetics. I
don't believe in genetic determinism in any arena, really, but at the same
time it's impossible to dismiss the influence of both genes and pre-natal
influences. It's not even a straightforward "40% genes, 60% environment"
sort of split either, but a complex entanglement of influences.
Even labeling the final state isn't particularly simple.
First you have the genetic sex, determined at conception. XX, XY, and
rarer things like XXY and their ilk. Even in the real world, there's more
than two possibilities for this one, and in ASH it goes more than a little
nuts, especially once you consider non-human or post-human saponts.
Next there's gender identity, which some have claimed is strongly
influenced or even caused by various hormonal changes in the womb.
Typically, it lines up with physical sex (when there's a clear one). But
plenty of people end up with a mismatch, some eventually realizing this and
seeking surgical remedy.
Third we have sexual preference. Again, there's claims that there's
genetic or neonatal-hormone-related influences on this step. You can even
get more complicated and say there's sexual (genetic) and gender identity
preferences...so you could be attracted to genetic women who self-identify as
males. Have fun discussing that one at Thanksgiving!
Finally, there's the details of what sort of person within the general
preference you'll be interested in. This is more of a socialization thing,
and some have said that by age 7 or so you've pretty much established this,
in the sense that you're more likely to be attracted to people from within
Put it all together, and *most* people will line up neatly. A genetic
male who's a gender male and interested in local women, or a genetic female
who's a gender female and interested in local guys. Maybe an exotic stranger
will catch their eye once in a while, or there'll be some same-sex
experimentation in youth, but they'll end up happily wed to the guy or girl
next door, as it were. If their mate isn't literally from their local group,
they'll be from a very similar one (i.e. from out of town, but a town much
like their own).
So, call it what you will...kink, perversion, paraphilia, alternative
lifestyles...there's plenty of ways to depart from that picture in the real
world just by looking at the four categories I listed. I'm not going to try
to use technical terms (which I'm sure exist) for the types of differences
here, but each category brings with it a LOT of opportunities to mess around
with things in a science fiction/superhero setting.
Let's look at physical sex first, since it offers the most striking
deviations and ties into themes in ASH that go beyond just sex and
relationships. It takes as a sort of zero order assumption that there will
be X and Y chromosomes in the first place, which is no longer guaranteed in
ASH. People like Geode or Beacon are no longer genetically *anything*, and
have to find their own way in a relationship. You can't go down to the
Spencer Gifts at the mall and buy a romance-enhancer kit for that couple.
Well, you probably could, but it wouldn't be labeled as such. Some laser
pointers and a disco ball might do the trick, for instance.
And that's just people who were once genetically human, and are
operating on memories of their old lives. What about purely artificial life?
Could GLADI-8R meet a nice program and settle down? And then there's
teratomorphs like satyrs, or non-humanoid aliens such as Deltans and Pranir.
It's been shown that Delta Rose has had trouble fitting into human/Santari
relationship patterns, being so totally alien in her natural form.
And speaking of natural form, shapeshifters add a whole new
complication. In addition to being artificial, Myriad can assume either sex
at will. She self-identifies as female, but this doesn't stop her from
taking on male forms when necessary.
"What does it mean to be human?" is a repeated theme in ASH, with a lot
of characters losing their original bodies, or having never been genetically
human to start with. And it definitely gets reflected in their sex lives.
The Taylors made it work. Sal Napier's letting his issues over body
transformation affect his physical relationship with Arin (at least, it was
still a problem by #100, although if you're reading this later down the line
things may have been resolved). Beacon and Geode would never have *had* a
relationship if not for their unique transformations, even leaving aside the
fact that she would never have left her hometown if her powers hadn't
emerged. They were too different until their changes brought them a sort of
Gender identity isn't explored as much in ASH, if only because the
genetic sex element dominates. There's no doubt been spontaneous gender
reassignment in the ASH Universe when someone's powers activated and reshaped
their bodies to match their self-image, for instance. This tends to make
gender dysphoria less of an issue for superhumans.
However, the growing telepath community is a place where gender/sex
mismatches can result in interesting consequences. Telepaths tend to see
each other by self-image more than by physical qualities, so a genetic male
telepath who gender-identifies as female will look female to other
telepaths. Being accepted within the community as the correct gender might
actually reduce pressure to do anything about it physically, although
self-alienation feelings would still be present.
I should note that this was not the case in the relationship between
Paul Mahler and Aaron Zander. Both are genetic males who gender-identify as
male. Their case will be discussed later on.
Compared to the previous categories, actual sexual preference is largely
not a big deal in ASH, in most cases. Homosexuality may or may not be more
common among ASH on-screen characters than the general population, but it's
kinda hard to tell for sure with all the confounding variables. Paul Mahler
is gay, but Aaron may actually be straight when dealing with non-telepaths.
Bathory and Cockatrice were a couple for a while, but both are psychopaths
who may not be classifiable as having any sort of normal human sexuality.
One of the most plot-important cases of a character's sexual preference
happened when Arturo Cacique was gently courting Sal Napier. In the end, Sal
may have taken the coward's way out, insisting that his role required he at
least try to conform to the prejudices of the people he served, but he at
least admitted that had his life been wholly his to live he might have been
able to love Arturo, even if his attraction was based more on the desire for
an emotional anchor than anything physical.
The fourth category gets a little weird. In the real world, it's mainly
a matter of being more likely to find compatibility with someone who has a
similar background. Sure, people from wildly different cultures find love
all the time, but they stand out as counterexamples. As a suburban
Midwesterner, I'd inevitably run into loads of little problems were I to get
involved with an east-coast urbanite or a woman from Hokkaido or someone
raised in an Afghani village, for instance. I'm generally more comfortable
around people who share a similar background, with whom I have common
On the other hand, there's communities I've joined post-childhood with
whom I share a lot of common reference points as well. For instance, I'm
more comfortable around comicbook geeks regardless of their nationality than
I might be with a random sampling of people from my home town. I look
forward to the national meetings of the American Association of Physics
Teachers because that's another group I feel comfortable with.
So, consider the kinds of communities that exist in ASH that don't exist
in the real world. "Superhumans" is a fairly loose one, but there's probably
at least some who prefer the company of other supers, romantic or otherwise,
over normals. Telepaths are a very strong community when it comes to comfort
level, and as Aaron Zander's situation showed, it can override all other
categories. Telepaths are more likely to have successful relationships with
other telepaths, even if everything else fails to match up. And yes, I
cribbed this attitude from the Darkover books, but it certainly makes sense.
Telepaths interact with each other in such a radically different way that
it'd be hard to be truly intimate with a non-telepath...it'd be too much of a
The situations superhumans find themselves in can also affect the
community-based element of sexual attraction. When Jen Kleinvogel and JakZak
Taylor were stranded in ancient China, the two of them formed a community of
two. Even if Jen would never have set her cap on JakZak in their home time
(and she had, at one point), he was literally the last man on Earth as far as
common reference points were concerned once they ended up in the First
Century. This made him a lot more attractive, despite any ethical qualms his
marriage gave Jen.
In light of all of these things, the fact that LL&DD like to find
innovative new uses for office supplies isn't really all that big of a deal,
* * * *
I initially stopped there because it was time to go run some errands,
and I figured I'd go into a bit more about specific relationships later. But
before I left, I sent the rough draft out to the other ASH creators (who
sometimes act as beta readers for me) and it turned into something of a
roundtable email discussion, led off by Andy facetiously taking the office
supplies line as a challenge.
The first lengthy response came from John Scheibeler, creator of Star
Knight and general behind the scenes kibitzer:
With the level of technology in ASH, biological gender with regards to
procreation really isn't part of the issue here. There's enough biotech to
give same-sex couples the option of reproduction, from simple cloning to
manipulation of cellular material to produce a viable zygote from two donor
sperm cells. So the whole issue of sex-for-reproduction really shouldn't
even enter into the equation, if someone does happen to bring it up.
The two ASHers who have had children have been Arin and Essay, unless I
miss my guess, and both have been shown to have come from fairly religious
backgrounds where matters such as abortion or postponement (easy enough to
do, given the tech level) are probably considered taboo to those religions.
Superpowered people who are attracted to each other find ways to get
their rocks off. (Pun not intentional in Geode's case.) And the
superpowered genre is chock-full of sexuality. You have incredibly fit and
attractive individuals going out and putting their bodies on display, which
attracts potential sexual partners, and they exert themselves in amazing,
adrenaline-pumping action, which has been shown to heighten the libido. One
wonders not how sexual beings figure out how to become sexual -- one wonders
why after every mission, ASH doesn't dissolve into a massive orgy. (You'd
think that would be one of the early classes at the Academy.)
LL&DD "doing it" isn't a problem here. What I guess the problem here is
the fact that they both get creative in the bedroom. This isn't a kink --
this is a side effect of having two highly intelligent sexual beings get
together. They decide to start using the devices less as a means to achieve
climax (the definitiion of a kink), and more as a means to entice each other
into an amorous mood. If they needed the bondage gear in order to achieve
climax, then yes, it would be a legitimate kink. I doubt they do; they're
both far too heavily in love to require toys to get off. At their level, the
use of the toys is a game. It's play for playtime.
The Taylors have shown to be sexually venturous, willing to go out on a
branch to excite each other into climax. And of course we have Beacon and
Geode, true pioneers in the realm of transhuman sexuality. Though I highly
doubt that their union is sex as we know it -- after all, orgasm is a
biological function. If Geode can orgasm, I'd be surprised. At least Meteor
had the link to her biological body (wherever it actually was) to produce
sensations similar to orgasm. I'd speculate that Beacon and Geode's union
produces more of a consistent physical ecstatic state than actual orgasm and
release, similar to the female 'afterglow' -- just prolonged and heightened.
(Poor George may be becoming -addicted- to Geode.)
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Triton and Sultry, who
apparently *are* the plain-vanilla sex couple of the universe. Isn't that
funny? You have two of the most uninhibited, most free-willed individuals in
the CSV, and they haven't been shown to be anything more than a couple of
kids when it comes to sex.
What this essay boils down to is: different strokes for different folks.
I suppose I'll address John paragraph by paragraph, although I don't
really have anything to say about the first paragraph. :)
Yes, Arin comes from a religious background, and that played a big part
in her decision to bring Chris to term (although Chris pushed up the due date
considerably!). And it wasn't even a hard choice for Essay, since by that
time she was pretty solidly in love with Peregryn...and worried she'd never
see him again. But neither of the women in question were planning on kids
when they conceived, and in Arin's case that goes over to the "Women in
Merlion Refrigerators" essay.
As for Essay, that's certainly grist for a future story. She was
surprised by the news of her pregnancy (August 2025), but the only time she
and Peregryn had unplanned sex was over a year before that (July 2024).
While Essay is more of a spontaneous free spirit, ritualistic behavior comes
with the territory for Peregryn. In fact, by the timing of things, the
impregnation had to have happened in July 2025, give or take a week or two,
possibly on their first anniversary. Did Peregryn have a premonition that he
might not be alive much longer? Did the one year anniversary suggest a
propitious alignment of omens to him? Regardless of his motives, this was
clearly a planned pregnancy on his side, but not hers.
Academy sex ed is probably pretty comprehensive, especially since it's
functionally a coed boarding school full of people who can bypass various
means of curfew enforcement, even if the school IS a converted jail. I
wouldn't put it past them to have some sort of libido-suppressors in the food
supply, or have at least considered it. Not that this stopped Carlos
Rodriguez and Lana Smith from conceiving a child.
Andy responds to the fourth paragraph, so I'll leave that to him. All
I'm going to say about Geode is to keep in mind who was time-sharing her body
when she and Beacon started seeing each other, and that this person had a
motive for wanting Geode's mind distracted. Peregryn's not the only mage who
knows about sexmagic...as the daughter of the emperor, Polla was probably
educated in all sorts of stuff like that as a defense against others trying
to use those magics against her. :)
Tony Pi had a brief response to John as well:
Hey, just because I haven't written about Triton and Sultry's mile-high
lightning sex, it doesn't mean they don't do it :)
After he'd had some time to compose a lengthier response, Andy Burton
pointed out that LL&DD aren't even as kinky as I'm allowing:
One thing to keep in mind about the "kinky" side to LL&DD's sex life is
that the bondage aspect is mostly Doctor Developer's thing. Trapping people
is his kink, not Lady Lawful's. She's cool with it, and as John notes,
they're in love enough that she'll let him have his fun and sometimes even
egg him on (re: Dark Cupid). Except for one lesbian experience in college, I
don't think she did a lot of experimenting before Deedee came along. For
her, plain, old romantic sex is enough.
That said, plain, old romantic sex isn't just plain, old romantic sex
when you're dealing with Lady Lawful. Her baseline strength is three times
that of a normal person, and ever since her powers kicked in when she was a
kid (12-ish) she's been fairly invulnerable to most everyday things people
face. Lady Lawful was the crazy kid who jumped off her roof trying to fly,
fell out of trees, and only thanks to being 3x as durable she didn't break
any bones. During her teenage, college, and pre-Deedee adult years, LL's
lost more than one suitor due to them being uncomfortable/intimidated with
how tightly she hugged them, how rough she was in bed, etc.
It's rare for Doctor Developer to escape vanilla sex with LL completely
unscathed. LL&DD are regulars at the local evening clinic (re: Unbeatable
one-shot). It's not that he's into pain, just that in the throes of
uninhibited passion, it's hard to always maintain precise muscle control.
Which is a long-winded way of saying in the case of super-powered beings,
sometimes the appearance of kink isn't so much kink as it is a side-effect of
disproportionate power levels.
If you have sex with someone whose powers include photonic radiation,
"bring protection" could mean either a prophylactic or sunblock. Or, as
we've seen with Green Arrow, sometimes it's a good idea to wear earplugs.
Not to mention the special insulated condoms the Taylors used for a
while. Given the special needs of a lot of superhumans in the romance
department, I suspect there was at least one gadgeteer in the Third Age who
did nothing but provide customized sex gear for supernormals who couldn't
throttle back their powers enough to make sex safe in the "hospital visit"
sense. Doctor Love, perhaps, although Gene Simmons might have insisted on a
licensing fee for use of that name. This hypothetical gadgeteer might even
have consulted with Doctor Developer on occasion.
Before I bring in the next round of discussion, I figured I'd do as
initially planned and look at a few of the couples in the Fourth Age and
speculate on how they deal with their special needs, if any.
The Taylors, of course, have had some rough (icy?) patches in their
relationship, but as of ASH #100 everything's back to what passes for
normal. They do not have kids, but since I've never had either angst about
it one can presume they just use really good protection. Remember, Sarah is
a speedster, so condoms and the like will tend to have a high failure rate.
On the other hand, maybe having kids is difficult for them (i.e. Sarah's
cycle is too quick to allow for impregnation unless special steps are taken)
but they simply don't worry about it yet. Not every couple wants kids, and
if they found out before Academy #0 that it would be possible if they really
wanted to later, the angst would have been short-circuited.
Procreative aspects aside, Sarah's almost definitely going to have to be
the one to control the pace. If Lady Lawful has trouble controlling a merely
triple-normal strength, Sarah's going to occasionally be a blur. And she
might get kinda impatient when trying to let JakZak run things. So, in the
Taylor bedroom, it's ladies on top.
Speaking of which, should Arin and Sal ever get past the foolin' around
phase, consider that he's something like five times her mass, if not more.
Sure, she's stronger than she looks, but we're talking significant scale
issues here. Of course, given their respective personalities, she'd probably
end up on top anyway. :)
However, given Sal's ongoing transformation, sex may require special
measures in any case. All of his bodily fluids are becoming blood, which is
why he's so squicked by the thought of what might happen if he and Arin go
any farther than naked necking. He's probably even more squicked by the
thought that he or Arin might *like* it, giving a whole new meaning to the
term "hemophilia". Okay, there's probably another term for sexual arousal in
the presence of blood, but I'm not foolish enough to go googling for it,
because I know I'd find it...and more. Remember, Rule 34 of the Internet: if
it exists, there's porn of it.
Aaron and Paul didn't need any special equipment when they were alive.
Aaron's mind over body powers require an act of will, so at baseline he's
only slightly superhuman. Oh, his baseline is probably a little stronger
than Lady Lawful's baseline, but unlike Cameron, Paul Mahler's also a
supernormal. No particular emphasis on physical powers, but Paul was careful
to work out and try to at least stay only a little behind Aaron's baseline.
This physical prowess is part of why he got sent out to help deal with Warden
initially, for instance. So they may have been a little rough on the
furniture, but that's it.
During the time when Aaron thought the copy of Paul in his mind really
was Paul's spirit, they probably continued their romantic relationship. With
telepaths, a lot of it is mental anyway...although it became possible to grab
a quickie just about anytime once they shared headspace. For a while after
the revelation, this likely stopped, out of guilt feelings if nothing else.
While we haven't really gotten into Gene Clark's head (it's crowded in
there anyway), the whole dual-mind thing is part of what attracts her to
Aaron. Oh, yes, his total beefcakeness is certainly a part of it, but as
mentioned earlier, telepaths need more than that. Gene's telepathy lets her
access the skills and knowledge of everyone within her range, and while she
doesn't have it as bad as Rogue of the X-Men, there's going to be bits of
personality and emotion attached to that data. She has a crowd scene in her
head any time she's in range of people and not purposely suppressing her
power. Aaron is one of the only sane people on the planet (for loose
definitions of "sane") who knows even a little bit about what that's like. A
relationship with Gene is almost inevitably going to be polyamorous to some
extent (hopefully she doesn't also broadcast when her control slips, but some
telepaths do), so why not go right for a mental threesome as the default
In one possible future, Captain Sander of the Spear Carriers story is
intended to be a descendant of Aaron and Gene, with Zander slowly changing to
Sander over the centuries. But that may no longer be the future of the main
ASH timeline, it may have been part of the Impossible Five's timeline. Which
is another way of saying I'm gonna weasel out of the inevitability of their
relationship. :) It may still happen, but it may not.
Scott "Scorch" Handleman has sometimes needed to sleep in a fireproof
room when his powers got beyond his control, but by the time he slept with
Julie Sylvester he had things sufficiently tamped down that no special
precautions were needed. Prior to Academy #0, one could say that his
personality was more than enough to prevent sex from happening.
On the other hand, Julie probably did look into protective measures,
such as fire-retartant gels, when things were starting to get serious. And,
as a short digression into Normal People, More-Or-Less, she's pretty
straitlaced for someone in her line of work (high fashion), thanks to a
suburban upbringing. Her reaction to the thought that she might have slept
with one or more members of Maria Incarnata's bachelorette party suggests she
never really experimented in that direction. On the other hand, she sees
unclothed and partially clothed models of both sexes all the time (and
probably a few transgenders too), so her suburban attitudes in terms of
nudity taboos are definitely been eroded away.
Back to the weird, there's really nothing about their powers that
requires Essay and Peregryn to take special measures...but they do anyway.
They're creative people, highly skilled in either magic or technology, and
each spent a lot of time denying feelings for each other. So you can bet
that Peregryn didn't just happen to have known a bit of tantric magic (and as
of ASH #18 he hadn't really studied it much so what he learned by the time of
ASH #29 likely had Essay in mind), and Essay likely has some creations that
she'd never let her mom see.
Essay's definitely stronger than Peregryn, though. So even if they were
to keep things relatively "vanilla", he'd probably cast a spell or two to
reinforce his body.
It has not yet been revealed whether knowledge that the spirit of Venus
keeps an eye on the couple has affected their sex life. At least their
superhuman endurance means that the usual "too tired to do anything" stage of
child-rearing isn't an issue for them.
I've already covered most of Beacon and Geode's relationship, but I
would like to clarify a point: Beacon only feels that way when he enters
Geode, he doesn't get it from other transparent materials. It's a result of
a spell cast on Geode by TerraStar during The Base of the Pillar's time
"dead" at the end of ASH #50. TerraStar reshaped Geode's body and controlled
it for a time, but was pushed aside when the original owner reawakened. From
that point, Polla only had brief moments of influence, and she used the
budding relationship between Beacon and Geode to maneuver them into position
where Polla could take control again.
Due to the nature of the spell, any strong source of light feels good to
Geode, but it takes something on the order of a photonic lifeform to bring
her to the point of ecstacy (and total distraction).
And yes, she's going to be fighting off the Light Brigade in ASH #100.
Of the core members of ASH, that leaves only Breaker and Lightfoot.
Breaker's lovelife, if there has been one, has yet to be revealed...although
for a while I was toying with having her and Lightfoot hook up. Lightfoot's
had a lot of near misses and casual dating, but has yet to find out one way
or another how his powers interface with interfacing. But since he can speed
up anything he touches, it won't be the same sort of problem it is for
Meteor, I suspect.
As for Netwalker, I'm sure he's quite familiar with Rule 34 by this
time. And not all rogue Khadamite AIs are built for system cracking. ;)
Discussion more or less petered out at this point, but John Scheibeler
had one more email:
One thing needs to be said here. I think everyone here has read "Man of
Steel, Woman of Kleenex" by Larry Niven, yes? If not...I think it's
reprinted on the web somewhere. If you don't know, it's an examination of
the problem of Kryptonian reproduction in a yellow-sun environment...and why,
using a human woman, it would be impossible.
The point is, as Larry put it, orgasm essentially amounts to an
uncontrollable epileptic fit. Pleasurable, sure, but even normal humans have
exhibited beyond-human levels of strength during an orgasm. I've heard
emergency room technicians recount quite a few stories about lovers injuring
each other while in the throes of passion. And Dave touched on this, but it
got me thinking of another piece of fiction I did a long time ago about
Rogue, from the X-Men, trying to have some fun with a lesser male...not
Gambit, this was during the early 90's when Gambit just wasn't cool enough.
The problem was eventually solved with a mutant inhibitor collar...which
brings up all sorts of connotations to bondage. In this case, the bondage
gear isn't required for orgasm, it's required for *surviving* it.
And this points back to ASH, where we have humans coupling with
superhumans, and having to figure out methods of survival. Now that Andy's
mentioned it, the whole bondage thing probably did start as DeeDee's
kink...but when he realized that plain vanilla sex lands him in the hospital,
but trapping Lady Lawful up in a trap that prevents her from exerting her
strength means he gets to save on his insurance premiums, bondage became not
a kink but a *necessity*.
Looking at JakZak and Sarah...with her speed, the concept of "friction
burns" comes to mind. At this point the whole ice thing might have been a
godsend for poor JakZak, because it introduced a cooling element to what
otherwise is probably a very painful experience. At least Lightfoot
*chooses* what to accelerate...though it might be best to place a watch in
his hands so he's not touching his lover at the time.
And Triton and Sultry...at this point I'm likely to consider, with
Triton's time travelling, the reason he has electricity powers in the *first*
place is that he managed to do some genetic manipulation of himself in the
womb. Otherwise the first time he made love to Sultry, she'd probably have
electrocuted him quite thoroughly. (Silly idea, as it was probably Derek's
electrical powers which was a big contributing factor to their romance in the
first place, i.e. "Hey, here's a guy I can shoot as much power into as I can
when I come, and he'll be around later!". But I can just imagine a
time-travelling Radner discovering he was originally genetically intended to
have fire-controlling powers, and realizing just what that would mean....)
And regarding those mile-high thunderstorm sex marathons...well, they
have to be that far up; Sultry would probably overload most of Khadam's power
grid otherwise. Not to mention destroying the presidential grounds.
Scott Ritter, aka Star Knight, was intended to have a girlfriend...in
fact, it was intended that he have both a Terran girlfriend and a Santari
lover. (And never the two should meet, until of course the Santari girl gets
transferred to Earth...hijinks ensue.) And Scott's mental barrier against
the use of his power is broken by Star Knight #3, because it's the use of his
powers which enables him to use the hypersuit. So the question becomes... do
they have to do it in a zero-gravity environment? Or when he does it with a
lover, does it *become* a zero-gravity environment?
Of course, there's always the use of power-nullification equipment,
which solves many of these problems. And that brings up another thing about
the ASH universe: Anchors. I can easily see Anchors in great demand as
marriage counselors-cum-sex therapists, using their ability so that the
harried couple has a chance to finally have sex without killing each other.
Now the question becomes: does the Anchor actually have to be present? If
so, does this turn into some sort of orchestrated orgy scene, like a Roman
bacchanalia, with an Anchor coordinating several couples at once? This sort
of thing might become an art form....
the one legal link to that oft-quoted essay. It does not, sadly, include
Curt Swan's illustrations done for the Penthouse Comics version.
MoS/WoK isn't really a good comparison to ASH, however, since it looks
at the "moves planets around" Silver Age Superman compared to baseline
humans. The spread in power levels is a lot smaller in ASH. Probably the
only couple facing anything like that disparity in strength and durability is
Arin and Sal, and she's a lot tougher than she looks. Not to mention, the
"uncontrollable epileptic fit" element tends to get oversold. We're talking
petit mal here, not grand mal. Very few people I know regularly break stuff
while having sex...and if full strength random muscle clenching happened
during every orgasm, there'd be a lot more teenage boys in the emergency room
with very hard to explain injuries.
Before he reformed, I doubt Deedee had insurance. Supervillains are
kinda considered high risk. But once he joined the Three (later Four)
Strikes, he'd have been covered by the DSHA policy. Someone in a DSHA office
somewhere probably got really tired of filling out claims for Cameron.
Sarah Grant-Taylor probably benefits from the usual Flash-Science
"beneficial side adaptations" like improved lubrication systems that kept her
from needing both knees replaced by age 16. And, of course, prevents certain
parts of her husband from catching fire.
Sultry doesn't emit lightning herself, but she can call it. So a guy
can have sex with her without getting zapped, but the weather's likely to get
a bit bumpy at the time, so it'd be a good idea to do things inside. Inside
a tornado shelter, preferably. I'm sure Glyph has a Gimel-class city
enchantment prepared for times when the Chancellor and his wife get their
freak on in the upper atmosphere.
Finally, the topic of Anchors. The more powerful ones need only be in
the general vicinity, such as in the room next door. They generally have to
be awake and paying attention, though, so if the couple doesn't go to sleep
neither could the Anchor. But the ratio of Anchors to supers was never high
enough in the Third Age for this to really be something that people expected
to be able to do. Someone might have started up such a consulting business
around 2020, but with the Anchor Plague reducing the ratio to 1990s levels,
there's more lucrative places for Anchors to go, to be honest. Maybe one or
two who see it as a Calling would remain. As mentioned earlier, you'd more
likely see a gadgeteer than an Anchor helping powered couples (or couples
with one powered and one normal) interact safely.
Anyway, that's it for now! This may get added to later on, if events
warrant or someone else comes up with a new angle that should be addressed.
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