June 21, 2015

Like There’s No Tomorrow: Keeping Things Hot at the End of the World

The apocalypse. When you can hold a katana and check out a dude's ass at the same time.
Welcome to the apocalypse. When you can wield a katana and check out a dude’s ass at the same time, and no one even says anything about it.

By Alexa Day

Something about this time of year makes me mindful of modern conveniences like refrigeration, microwaves, and you know, air conditioning. I’m not sure why summer makes me appreciate civilization more than winter does. Certainly winter is just as inhospitable, but I think it’s easier to make oneself warm than to keep oneself cool. Maybe it’s just easier for me to say so now that it isn’t snowing every few days.

From this place of gratitude, where I sit between two window units straining to keep me cool, I started to contemplate the postapocalyptic romance. How might the breakdown of society change the way we relate to each other? How is that going to change our relationships?

And when that became a bummer (which didn’t take long because I am very attached to civilization right now), I recast the question a little.

How might the breakdown of society affect the way we enjoy the sexytimes with each other?

Yeah. That’s more fun, right?

At the outset, I think we’d see an increase in adrenaline-fueled, we-almost-died sex. After the collapse of society, we’ll probably be spending lots of time with strangers, choosing sides against whatever brought about the end of civilized society. So when we have close scrapes with the zombies or aliens or the computers we’ve been taking for granted, we’ll want to celebrate our survival and life itself by getting down with our hot new allies. There won’t be any time for consequences or a nice, luxuriant environment. It’ll be raw and immediate, an affirmation of what it means to be alive on the most primal level. The sex is hot enough to make you ignore just how unwashed and gritty the apocalypse can make a person. That’s a pretty big deal, right?

I won’t say that the apocalypse will bring on an increase in sex as currency. I’ll just say that after the breakdown, we will all be more honest about it. Let’s be frank: a lot of us are using sex as currency right now, in the comfort and privacy of our air-conditioned homes. We’re just not using the word “currency.” In the great aftermath of society, there won’t be quite as much room for niceties. Sex in exchange for security. Sex traded for little conveniences. Sex to influence decision-making. Seduction for survival can be part of a character’s discovery of her sexual power. Watching two (or more) people grow in a way that civilization would not have permitted — that gets pretty hot pretty fast!

But for couples already together, the apocalypse brings out the real in a relationship. Consider how most of us come together in the first place, in the early stages of courtship. Most of that leans pretty heavily on the cushy trappings of modern society, right? Jobs, phone calls and communication, money, even the little things like restaurants and movies: all of that stuff builds the machine that makes modern courtship work. After the fall of civilization, nothing will be left but the bare essentials of who we are, and who we might become under pressure when there’s nowhere else to hide. How will real love survive when only the truth is left, with our most basic selves constantly exposed? How far would you go to guarantee a partner’s safety? What would you really do to keep that person alive?

In the wake of the apocalypse, we’d all be meeting each other in different ways, hooking up in different ways, and staying together for different reasons. It is — and should be — a playground for fiction! I’m on pins and needles waiting for Fear the Walking Dead, the prequel series to The Walking Dead. Most of the original series takes place after the undead have slowly and relentlessly pushed society off the rails. The new series captures the decline itself, and as an added benefit, it keeps fans like me from having to wait another four months for our TWD fix.

(It is going to be tough waiting that long to see if Rick and Michonne decide to do what’s right for all of us, though. Just saying.)

I’m also leaning on my TBR pile. I’m finally getting into The Pulse Trilogy by Shoshanna Evers; check it out with me if you want to discover just how real and how hot the world can be after an electromagnetic pulse takes down the power grid. In Strange Fruit by Melissa Janine Robinson, the world undergoes more of a socioeconomic collapse, but the story’s all about the toll that can take on a woman’s relationship with her husband and family.

Do you have a favorite story about how it all came down? Post up in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. We make continuity hot.

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  • Post authorC. Margery Kempe

    I’m a series behind on Walking Dead, so I read this with one eye closed but I am so on board with heat as hell. I would not be able to last if I were stuck in the south for the apocalypse. I could manage here in Scotland but ugh! Heh, just finished writing a post-apocalypse novella and made sure to set it where it was not too hot.

    Reply to C. Margery Kempe
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      Yeah, I’ve often watched TWD and thought that I couldn’t do a whole postapocalyptic summer in Atlanta. I’m uncomfortable right now and I’m indoors with the power on. The best part is that Rosita (if you’re far enough along, I think you’ve met Rosita) is the only person sensibly dressed for this weather, with her tank top and booty shorts.

      The postapocalypse is on my list of things to work with! Right now, it’s all fun and no writing, but we’ll see how it works out. 😉

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Yes to we-almost-died sex! You got me to watch this series, and I’ll admit that I could see the hook and the fascination when it comes to how people will change and how they will find each other when the unimaginable happens. Now you’re reeling me in again for the prequel. Noooooooo!

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      The writing and the character development on TWD are so good that it’s easy to overlook the zombies, which is pretty damned impressive, I think! I can’t wait for the prequel to start.

      I have definitely enjoyed watching what has happened to these characters when there’s no civilization to hide behind. In a way, the process is kind of the opposite of the character development on Mad Men, when people change because society is giving them more places to hide.

      But that’s an essay question for another day.

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorLeah St. James

    This time of year brings out my musings as well about what life would be like without air conditioning. But my mind usually goes backward, for example to pioneer days, where I’m trudging behind a Conestoga wagon, the hems of my heavy (ugly) skirts scraping the dusty trail with each weary step as I beg the wagon master (or whatever he would be called) for a break. He tips the brim of his Stetson back and his eyes make that slow sweep from my face down and back. By the easy grin on his face I presume he likes what he sees. (Hey, it’s my fantasy.) We take that break under a lone cottonwood tree out on the prairie, the others melt away, and there I am with him. He’s young, virile and free of disease (and my version of the world has toothpaste and toothbrushes). But the grime from the road tickles the back of my throat and has caked in my pores. It mixes with my sweat to run in muddy rivers down my face, and…and, poof!, the moment is gone. 🙂 Sigh. Why couldn’t I just have gone with the cute cowboy type, huh?

    Reply to Leah St. James
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      I lurv your fantasy, Leah! I would add a strong breeze across the waving grasses and you’re all set. 🙂

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorTracey Livesay

    The same way it’s difficult for you to imagine appreciating civilization on the winter, because it’s not here, is the same way it’s difficult for me to imagine sexy times during the end of times. At this point, all I can think about is the smell of the unwashed. Total turn off for me. Now, maybe we get to a point where that stench is so universal it becomes background aroma. But until then, uh no. LOL But great post as always. 🙂

    Reply to Tracey Livesay
  • Pingback: Fear the Walking Dead: Is This the Way the World Ends? | Lady Smut (Edit)

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