CVG 2018 Day 3, Part 2 - Sex in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Content Warning: Rape gets brought up in this post. It is mentioned in the Hard Passes.

CONvergence 2018 was July 5-8, 2018, almost 3 months ago now. I had planned on getting this post done two weeks ago as I have been trying to get posts out on a regular basis, but certain events tied up my brainspace. I’m not willing to say that I am back on track yet, but I am certainly trying. As a reminder of Day 3 (Saturday the 7th), I was on the panel “Polyamory 101” and attended “Sex in Sci-Fi/Fantasy”. For part 2, I present to you my notes from “Sex in Sci-Fi/Fantasy”.

Sex in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Sex and sexuality is an important part of the human experience. Let's examine how one creates and consumes fictions when it delves into the most intimate of subjects. Panelists: John Seavey (mod), Lauren Wells, Greg Weisman, Lathan Murrell, Jei Herald-Zamora

Goliath & Elisa took 65 episodes before they got to their first kiss; however, Superboy & Miss Martian were intimate after only 11 episodes.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy can explore different aspects of intimacy than what is seen in traditional society.

Humor makes sex/intimate feel more organic.

We would like to see a superhero polycule [Note 1].

Sex should add to plot, and it did in the ‘70s. But it got pegged to writers by the 90s and it no longer became relevant (see - libertarians).

Hard passes are also contextual - age, maturity, et cetera.

Steven Universe is ahead of the curve on almost any representation issue. It even has a polyamorous relationship [Note 2].

Penny Dreadful is interesting in character interaction - sensory awareness and other little things.

Pacing is important.

Aliens being perfectly anatomically compatible with humans and can have children are annoying - we need more variety in aliens.

3+ Parents. Divine parent inserting stuff to mix, for example.

80’s movie Starman.

Swamp Thing grows a hallucinogenic yam so that someone can have sex with him. Alan Moore’s 1980’s run [Note 3].

Sci-Fi/Fantasy challenges the status quo - it often is written by heteronormative people who lack diversity, however. Older fiction especially maintains the same tropes. Example: Trope of strong woman falling for stronger men. See: Anita Blake.

We would like to see female characters who are both physically & emotionally strong.

Check out Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey.

Does body horror get used as sex in sci-fi because it can use what is not possible? - There is a darker, sinister side. Dystopian novels show this.
Anything that involves sex includes some body horror.

  • Puberty

  • Changes

  • New Feelings

  • Transformations of Self

  • Transformations of Other

The Untamed (Spanish: La Región Salvaje) - Mexican sci-fi sex monster. Shows that you can get consumed if you indulge too much.

Power dynamics & vampires.

Is there anything that fantasy does better than sci-fi?

  • The random hook-up.

  • The validity of short relationships.

  • The importance of balance between cultures that don’t mesh well.

  • AI can explore romance & gender [Note 4].

Hard Passes:
Galaxy of Terror - Slug Rape (a person in audience said this).
Overdoing, drawing stuff out too much.


  1. Since then, a superhero novel that centers POC, queer, and polyamorous identities has been released - it is called For Hire: Operator (Volume 1).

  2. See also:

    1. Steven Universe as Queer Space Opera

    2. Gem Watch

  3. After poking around some, I found that it is from Moore’s run on The Saga of Swamp Thing, issue #34; a stand-alone issue entitled “Rite of Spring”.

  4. See also:

    1. Androids, AI, And Gender Theory

    2. "Androids, AI, And Gender Theory" and "Artificial People in Science Fiction"

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