Friday, October 21, 2016

Aboveground Filth

by Jean Roberta

According to the Urban Dictionary, “splosh” as a sexual fetish means this:

Noun: a sexual/sensual food party, in which participants cover each other in foods of different tastes, textures, and temperatures. Eating the food off each other is optional. Nudity and sexual interactions often follow. Other common usages are the present verb splosh and the present participle verb form sploshing.

"We were at this sploshing party and my friend got covered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream, then they had her sit on a birthday cake! She really loved it!"

Remember my discussion of drama in my previous post on the meaning of “obscene?” Even though, it seems, I was wrong about any connection between “scene” and “obscene,” conceptions of sexual “filth” have a lot to do with what can be shown or acted-out, and what else can only be imagined--although religious authorities have tried to censor that too.

When I first read about “splosh,” I realized that a splosh scene seems to require more than two people. To be as sploshy as possible, the scene should include an audience as well as several participants. It also seems to require the kind of room that could accommodate mud-wrestling: a place for that purpose, which is easily cleaned up, since food that isn’t eaten quickly becomes garbage. The sploshers would also need to be cleaned up later, which could be part of the fun: a group scene in the shower, then possibly the hot-tub.

I don’t really believe in a sexual subconscious which is impervious to cultural influence. Just as BDSM uses props and scenarios from disciplinary practices that were once fairly public and non-consensual (bondage and whipping in various institutions, including “mental asylums,” presumably done for the good of the victims as well as the observers), splosh has to come from somewhere in the culture at large. My guess would be that sploshing is fun because it allows adults to feel like messy kids who have escaped from their parents or nannies for the day. For a toddler, making a mess often means breaking parental rules. For an adult, having sex, especially in a public place—or representing it in publicly-available stories, films, artwork and performances--often means breaking cultural rules which are sometimes enforced by law.

There is a certain splosh tradition in comic theatre. Does anyone still remember TV programs starring the Three Stooges? They were three childlike men who were always making messes, and someone usually got a pie in the face. There is also the tradition of the “spit-take:” the reaction of someone with a mouth full of liquid to surprising news. (Example: when Sheldon Cooper on the TV show Big Bang Theory tells Penny that he and his friend Amy plan to have a baby someday so the world can benefit from their combined brilliance, Penny spews her coffee.)

While mainstream American comedy doesn’t explicitly associate making a mess with body fluids on the sheets (or wherever), there are sex-comedy traditions in other cultures. As Willsin mentioned, different cultures have different concepts of what shouldn’t be shown. The British tradition of the Christmas pantomime, advertised as “family” entertainment, usually includes double-entendres that are supposedly over the heads of children, plus a male actor in exaggerated drag, and various pratfalls.

Although I imagine real-life splosh scenes as sexual versions of pie-in-the-face comedy, when I tried writing a scene like this, I imagined a depressed person surrounded by the crumbs of take-out pizza, wearing the same clothes every day because she lacks the energy to either wash them or choose a different outfit. I imagined this person as female. Thus was born the fate-battered Ariadne, a modern-day descendant of a character in a Greek tragedy who is cast, at first against her will, in a comedy. Here is the opening scene:

"Let me in, girlfriend."

The sound of Zoe's voice assaulted Ariadne's ears where she sat in the funk of her misery. Dirty dishes covered her tables and counters, pungent clothing littered her floor. Her curtains were closed, leaving the apartment in perpetual gloom. "Go away."

"Come on, baby. I know you're not feeling good, but there is life after a breakup, you know? We've all gone through it. You need company." Silence. "Ari, come on. I don't want to stand here talking to you through the door. Do you want all your neighbors to hear this?"

A dark, swollen eye appeared at the peephole, then the thin wooden door was yanked open. Ariadne Megalopolous blocked the entrance, taking up space out of proportion to her girlish, fine-boned, high-breasted body. The smell of her sweat and her contempt for the world confronted the brisk assertiveness of her friend Zoe, who stepped back before she could stop herself.

Ariadne sneered like a damned soul, her white face framed in greasy black hair. She held onto the doorframe, slouching in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans so old and dirty that they held the shape of her ass and thighs even when she wasn't in them. Her presence was so intense that Zoe felt it in her clit.

Ariadne filled the silence. "What are you, Zoe, human Prozac? If you think you know how I'm supposed to feel, then fuck you."

For an instant, Zoe heard her say, "Fuck me." What a pleasure that would be.

“Okay, you wanta be a good Samaritan, you can come in and wash my – Jesus.” Ariadne had stepped far enough into the hallway to see Carter lurking a few feet away from Zoe.

Suzanne Carter, who preferred to be known by her last name, was wiry and wily. As an employee of Child Protection Services, she took bewildered, mistreated children away from their violent or distraught parents after warning the adults of the legal consequences of their behavior. Carter dreamed of being a secret agent for the federal government.

Carter grabbed Ariadne by the arm before she could slam the door on her two friends.

Zoe tried to soothe her with words. “Ari! We’re concerned about you. We just want to—“

“Help me get her inside,” grunted Carter.

As you might guess, Zoe and Carter (who both work as social workers, in different departments) play a good cop/bad cop routine with Ariadne, who gets cleaned up and sexually stimulated by her two friends. As you might know, the Ariadne in Greek mythology is able to find her way out of a maze with a monster in the centre by following a thread. In my story, “Ariadne’s Thread,” physical pleasure is the thread that leads Ariadne out of the maze of grief, pain, cynicism, and self-contempt. And she cleans up well.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this story is publicly available any more. It appeared first on the illustrated website “Ruthie’s Club” (now long-gone), then in my single-author collection, Each Has a Point, published by Love You Divine/Alterotica in 2011 before the company folded. When so many small companies in this business are unable to survive, who needs censorship?


  1. If it makes you feel any better, Ruthie's Club, according to the owner, was thriving when it closed its doors—it came to an end for personal reasons rather than financial. Of course, that's the exception, so I'm certainly not challenging the general point. (As I recall, the magazine Filament was another exception—closing because the owner wanted to move on, though the enterprise was working out. So that's two that I know of, out of, like, two hundred. Woohoo!!!!)

    1. Really interesting back story there. I was sad when Ruthie's Club closed. I used to read it, and I dreamed of being published there one day!

  2. Humans may be the only animals who go to great lengths to make their natural pleasures ever more pleasurable, or at least more intense. We try to push our experiences of sex, food, wealth (well, wealth is already a magnification of comfortable subsistence) and even pain, for those of that inclination, beyond the shifting societal envelope. Combining food and sex (and sometimes age play, as you point out) is an unsurprising manifestation of that desire. Maybe you could include wealth in that equation, since such profligate (there's another interesting term!) waste of food depends on being able to afford to do so.

    Hmm, I wonder whether the Furry branch of kink is a magnification of our pleasure in stroking furry animals, or an expression of a desire to retreat past childhood to early stages of evolution and taking different turns, or a sense that animals have more enjoyable sex because they don't have societal restrictions (unlikely to be true.) Whatever it is, it's another example of pushing our pleasures beyond the ordinary, and extreme excess is certainly part of our societal sense of the obscene.

    Non-human or primate animals may, in fact, do this too, but we have no way of knowing. Squirrels and bluejays, among others, stash nut and seeds in excess of what they'll consume during the winter, but that makes sense when they can't be sure how much they'll need, or, indeed, how much of it they'll find when they search, so accumulating all they can is the best survival strategy.

    Not entirely relevant, but i can't resist quoting this bit from "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell:

    “Let us roll all our strength and all/ 
Our sweetness up into one ball,/ 
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
/ Through the iron gates of life.”

    (I also can't resist saying that I used those lines in a story about two strong women in prison, one a stone carver and one a former Olympic wrestler from Russia. The stone carver quotes Marvell, but the wrestler counters with lines translated from Yevgeny Yevtushenko:

    "“Sorrow happens. Hardship happens.
The hell with it, who never knew the price of happiness, will not be happy.”

  3. I've never really appreciated what you call "splosh". To be honest, it kind of makes my skin crawl. But to each her own.

    A boyfriend and I did experiment sexually with whipped cream once. Very messy, and not as much fun as I'd thought it would be.

    Of course a lot of erotica is more fun than the real thing!

  4. Thanks for commenting, Jeremy, Sacchi, and Lisabet. My approach to splosh was an experiment, probably not in the spirit of a true devotee. What appeals to me about it is the pleasure of cleaning up (or cleaning up someone else) after getting dirty. True enough that using food for something other than nourishment can be seen as conspicuous waste.

  5. I haven't practiced full-on full-body splosh, but I have gotten very into it as part of the footie scene. I'm not sure I can explain why, but I really love watching people smash food with their feet, and then eating the food afterward or licking it off their feet. Until I got into that, I guess I thought the full body version of splosh was weird and gross. Liking this foot stuff, though, gives me more ability to imagine why it would be fun in its full body form.


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