Warning: Your head may or may not explode. Oh, also, there may be some language and talk of adult situations below. Not much, I assure you. I’m saving most of that for my books.
Touch is significant in all of my stories because it has played such a significant role in my own life, good, bad, and neutral. I am a highly sensitive and sensual person. This leads to some rather odd situations, such as my visceral reactions to people or ideas I dislike, my physical reactions to music I love, and my discomfort with some forms of PDA. My own sexuality, sensuality, and all of the mental and emotional aspects that go with it are myriad, complex, yet not the subject I’m discussing today. Today is about how this sense of touch plays out throughout the Cuilverse and how it affects the people in it.
There are rarely accidental touches in my books, except for my favored “literally bumping into each other” trope. There are also a few clumsy characters or those who become clumsy when they’re thinking very deeply about something (which occurs quite often). When characters intentionally touch, I love exploring everything behind it.
The vampires, especially scaroth, have codes written into the ways they touch one another. They often use kisses on the wrist to show devotion, to offer apology, and the further up the arm they go, the closer they want to get to you. A kiss on the neck is usually reserved for lovers. There are also scaroth who are able to heal small injuries through a kiss. Since they are the stewards of sexual pleasure the greatest punishment they can receive involves being banned from touching those they love. Rape is anathema to them; it is their greatest sin. In fact, due to the fact that the scaroth race originated for the purposes of pleasure the rates for forced sexual situations and molestation is virtually nonexistent. On the other hand, partly because of their Promise (which I’ll explain in more detail in a later post) they are charged with judging those who do harm people in such ways. Scaroths tend to be rather energetic, violent, and even pushy. Most flirt with the edge of sexuality yet never cross the line because they can literally sense how far the other person wants them to go. It also doesn’t hurt that their natural magnetism brings them as many lovers as their appetites can handle. Lucky bastards.
For logmin, touch is something quite different. They experience no sexual attraction because of their very biology. They literally cannot have sex and many of them do not enjoy it even if they try. They are also along the asexual spectrum and deal with it in as many different ways as human asexuals do. Some of them are highly sensuous, a few of them do have sex with their partners, some of them never have sex, and unlike their human counterparts a few of them (I’m looking at you, Queen Aeryn) lure in victims with the temptation of sex. I mean, these are vampires and they do get hungry. Anyway, some of them are sex-averse, some of them don’t care either way, and a few others, like Don actively seek ways to regain sexual ability, if not the actual desire. Jean Claude, being a lot younger than Donartez, has a more unique situation. He was given the ability to respond sexually to Queen Aeryn by Mark Ulf, who travels back and forth from the future so knew she’d be something other than logmin this time around. Whew, that was a mouthful. Suffice it to say, most logmin are not as weird as Don and Jean.
Another creature, the elf, also has its own unique rituals surrounding touch. Elves have the ability to gain basic information about another person by examining the other’s hand with their own. It’s a complicated process and takes a good minute or so, but the longer they explore your hand the more information they gain about you. It’s one hell of a handshake, I’ll tell you that much. There is also a lovely little ritual they do when they intend to marry their mates, but I’m keeping that a secret for now. Yes, it involves hands. Ah, I should also point out that the vast majority of elves end up in triads, as there are three sexes and not two. This is actually important to the plot of one of the books I’m writing now, but like Mark Blue, I’m going to be an ass about it and not tell you why.
In general, my characters all pay attention to touch in order to communicate, to learn, to grow close. There are comparisons and contrasts between consent and force, pleasure and pain, and comfort and aversion. Some characters usually ask before touching, some learn to ask, others don’t give a shit. A few are tactile addicts and love exploring objects or textures as much as people. I do write a lot about sex, since it’s such a common way people touch one another and I don’t think it’s shameful but I also like to stress that all forms of touch can be equally as meaningful, sometimes more so. I don’t like to write things without purpose and more often than not all of the complex information, situations, and communication behind a touch are implied and are important to that scene, to those people. Touch can shape so much of who we are as people, how we interpret the world, and how we interact with everything and everyone around us. I can only hope that that shows in my writing. If not, then I’ve got plenty more books to come that will.