“A couple of days ago my dash was debating top!Cas/bottom!Dean vs. bottom!Cas/top!Dean, and I didn’t bother expressing my opinion because in and of itself I don’t see it as tremendously important, especially given that there are so many other ways to have sex? But last night I couldn’t sleep and my brain, flailing around trying to entertain itself as I stared at the ceiling and tried not to suspect my roommate’s cat was plotting my death, started articulating the why of my opinion, and I ended up verbalizing a piece of meta about Dean and culture and gender and sexuality that I was really rather proud of.
This is not that meta, because I was too stubborn to turn on a light and grab my laptop. But it hits most of the same points, even though writing never feels quite as satisfactory when it’s being reconstructed. Also, this is NSFW, even though it’s clinical rather than erotic. [note: if I’ve missed something and been offensive, factually inaccurate, or in any other way have otherwise screwed up, I am extremely sorry; please do not hesitate to tell me if your only reason for hesitation is because you think I’ll react badly.]
The thing is, in mainstream American culture—the culture that Dean is exposed to and part of—there are certain assumptions.
There are the assumptions about a person with a penis and a person with a vagina having sex: that the former is a man and the latter is a woman; that “sex” means that the penis is going to be inserted into the vagina. There are lots of ways not involving penetration for people (in any combination) to have sex; the person with a penis might not be a man and the person with the vagina might not be a woman. But the cultural assumption is there: in sex, the woman gets penetrated.
Dean is heavily invested in presenting himself as a particular kind of man, from the same basic cultural thing set of assumptions, even when it jars with who he actually is. “Real” men by this standard avoid performing the “real” feminine in all its aspects; aren’t interested in academia for the sake of academia, aren’t geeks or scholars; don’t yield to emotion; don’t enjoy entertainment aimed at women (e.g. Dr. Sexy); have families they protect; don’t cry, aren’t afraid, don’t say “I love you”, don’t talk about their feelings in general; watch porn, pick up girls at bars, would never do anything ‘feminine’ during sex, have lots of sex (with women).
When Dean met his future self in the Endverse, future!Dean demanded proof of identity—something that Dean would never tell anyone. And Dean, who’s done some desperate and ugly things in his life even if we leave Hell out of it, thought of—as the first thing he’d never tell anyone—the time he wore pink satin panties during sex and liked it. I’ve always thought that line was sort of symbolic, in microcosm, of a lot about Dean: it doesn’t fit with John Winchester’s Approved Son, so he rejects it and hides it and ignores it, even if there are good reasons to admit to/act on it.
Okay, so. I cannot imagine Dean being comfortable with allowing someone who’s nothing more to him than a sex partner to penetrate him, because it’s not part of that culturally-approved performance of masculinity. And I bring that context with me to fic I read: fic in which Castiel (or whoever, because this isn’t ship-specific meta) penetrates Dean is fic in which, even if it isn’t spelled out anywhere in the text itself, I’m reading in emotions: because Dean trusts the person he’s with enough to express a want he doesn’t think he should have.”—
Fic: Carry On Up This Broken Tide [NC-17, Dean/Cas]
TITLE: “Carry On Up This Broken Tide” AUTHOR:nanoochka ARTIST:daggomus_prime RATING: NC-17 PAIRINGS: Dean/Castiel, mentions of Dean/Lisa and Sam/Jess SPOILERS: None WARNINGS: AU, depictions of psychological illness (ie. nervous breakdowns, anxiety), dubcon, mild D/s themes, infidelity, mentions of drug use and past drug abuse. WORDCOUNT: 115k SUMMARY: The small, California town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea attracts millions of surfers a year, ranging from amateurs to world-class professionals. Although tourists constantly populate the area, Sam Campbell—née Winchester—renowned author of supernatural suspense novels and surf enthusiast, has called Cardiff home ever since the violent death of his girlfriend, Jessica. When he meets Castiel Novak, an enigmatic newcomer with a mysterious past, the two strike up an easy friendship that revolves around surfing and their mutual need for privacy from the outside world. The arrival of Sam’s brother, Dean, following a messy divorce under hazy circumstances, promises to complete their little circle of misfits and social pariahs. Sam thinks that life for once can’t get any better, surrounded by the people he trusts most in the world. Much to his dismay, it quickly becomes obvious that there is no love lost between Dean and Cas, though Sam can’t begin to guess why. As time progresses, he begins to get the feeling that the two of them know each other from somewhere else, and that their past might have everything to do with why they chose to escape to Cardiff in the first place. (Written for spn_j2_bigbang)