Today’s wild speculation–where’s the sexual line in shapeshifter romance?
I don’t think I’ve ever read a paranormal romance, or even a fantasy novel, in which a sex scene happens between one human partner and one partner who’s shifted into an animal form. With one exception, I’ve never even seen such a scene happen when the shapeshifter partner is in a form partway between human and animal. However, I have seen the human partner naked in bed, after sex, with a shapeshifter in animal form. That’s apparently okay, so long as no sex is involved, only petting the pretty fur. The main example I recall is in Marjorie Liu’s Tiger Eye, but I’m sure there are more. Is the idea here that petting the animal form is a deeper form of acceptance of that animal self?
Obviously, the main taboo against shifted/human sex is bestiality, and of course there are the physical obstacles. But is there more to it? What about transitional forms? Assuming the shapeshifter still keeps his or her–but usually his–human mind, does the form matter? Kate Douglas’ erotic Wolf Tales begin with a man in a transitional form, in fact trapped in that form, and parlays the scenario into a “Beauty and the Beast” theme. It’s surprising this isn’t seen more often. Perhaps in a culture of depilation, an extra-hairy man is not seen as hot? Ahem. I’m sure that can’t be true for everyone.
In The Moonlight Mistress, both partners are werewolves, but they only have sex in human form. When one is human and the other wolf, they are comfortable with one another so far as physical caressing goes, but I felt there’s an added intimacy when both are human and thus more vulnerable (especially relevant to one of the characters). However, I think I’d like to try a “Beauty and the Beast” story one of these days. I think there’s all sorts of potential there for conflict, and thus interesting plot.
I’d be interested in hearing about other examples of shapechanging in relation to intimacy in romances, or in erotica.
Related post: Romancing the Beast.