Between your covers: Sex and taboo in queer literature


s an author, taboo is actually a tricky field to navigate. My personal desensitisation to particular terms and scenarios has-been altered through my personal study and experiences. Depictions of violence, gore and sexual content gas my personal interest observe exactly how these types of descriptions guide visitors into deciding what is acceptable in narrative and what exactly is taboo.

Queer literature is a definite industry of the very own that contains unique taboos split up from those of wider Australian society. Navigating the taboos of broader Australian society and exactly how they intersect making use of the various taboos of a queer framework is actually further difficult by my own experience as a gay guy, which affects how I compose storyline and characters.

My desensitisation to taboo makes it harder to test present-day Australian taboos, such as the appropriate use of queer stereotypes and what intimate conduct is allowable in an in depth scene information.


letter Australian Continent, the acknowledged depiction in earlier times of gay guys, eg, ended up being compared to an immoral and sex-crazed individual committing adultery. However, this view however is present in a number of elements of community, it features generally speaking shifted to fringe mass media.

But the effect of this representation can certainly still infiltrate into the opinions and experiences of queer (and heterosexual) authors, which should be aware of exactly how these stereotypes manipulate their particular work. This consists of the potential for any non-heterosexual intimacy, on a subconscious degree, being taboo and morally wrong with the copywriter, in the event they truly are queer.

In English, terms describing sex and the body hold the highest degree of taboo, one of the numerous profanities. Terms that refer to genitalia remain on the top of listing and anatomical terms and conditions such as for instance knob, snatch and testicles usually provoke the severest taboos in the viewer. Rather paradoxically, colloquial differences for example snatch, dick and balls never trigger the same reaction and will be properly used more liberally, while they have become more normalised.


ome of this duty for this can be placed upon authors such as D.H. Lawrence, who proudly depicted intercourse moments and colloquial discussions associated with the human body together with the intent of creating positivity toward behaviours that have been thought about taboo. The task of these writers smoothed a path for later authors to make a lot more graphic narratives that detail specific areas of the body and also the characters’ communications together.

To engage with taboo, authors must strongly give consideration to their unique desired audience. Each reader, and their normalised society, affects the potency of the taboo within a text. Like, homophobic or sexist behaviors in a text will stimulate various perceptions between heterosexual and queer visitors, this also extends to audience of different sexes.

Being the target of homophobic problems can personalise the story to a queer reader, whilst the effect of the exact same event is much more quickly lost on a heterosexual reader who’s got maybe not witnessed or experienced assault connected to their sex or sex.


n innovative queer literary works, taboo provides moved on the decades, properly blurring the distinction between what exactly is considered edgy and engaging and what is regarded as offending and unnatural. This move in taboo is evident in representations created by sensationalist popular news, with gone from portraying queer life under the common concern with those people who are various and onto detailed conversations of queer some people’s bodies, relationships and sex.

Navigating queerness external to my experience was particularly difficult during my newest unique,


which aims to generate a sex-positive narrative that uproots recognized norms and taboos, especially in relation to gender. This lead us to create a novel with another reality in which queer tradition is actually dominating.

Discover substantial barriers mixed up in creation of literary taboo which make it tough to create a sex-positive story in queer literature. These include the issues of lived encounters, private desensitisations, set up queer representations, and social and linguistic influences.


reating a sex-positive story must increase beyond just depicting several positive intimate encounters. Unless there exists a specific intention to-do or else, authors of innovative fiction write from their very own individual practices, experiences and viewpoints, as soon as this occurs in their representations of intimate intimacy, these representations chance the dismissal, misrepresentation or marginalisation of sexualities not in the author’s experience.

Writers do have the possibility to research subjects they come up with, but this still suggests that they compose from a mainly naïve outside point of view without lived experience with these subjects. Thus, whenever depicting the knowledge of marginalised groups to which they just don’t belong, authors face the issue of representing these encounters wrongly or decreasing them altogether. Step one is our personal self-awareness of where we’re creating from and which we are creating for.

Alex Dunkin is your final year PhD prospect in language and linguistics within college of South Australian Continent. They are mcdougal of Homebody and developing Catholic.