See also part one – The Gay Characters in Pantheon
As I mentioned in the previous post, it is anachronistic to apply the terms “gay” and “straight” to the ancient world, so the god characters of Pantheon mostly seem highly bisexual to us. When gods of different genders have sex together, or when they have sex with a human of a different gender, they reflect one half of the wide spectrum of sexuality.
Unsurprisingly, many of the gods have had sex with each other…
In his recording, Ares bragged to Mark that he had bedded “some of the other immortals”, but did not provide any details. His chapter suggests a vibrant sexual relationship with the mysterious human Sylvia, although he also illustrates his deeply ingrained misogyny in his Viking flashback. That was one of the most difficult sections I ever had to write, but it shows how calmly masculine violence and sexual cruelty go hand-in-hand.
Poseidon seems to have had the most divine action. At the Grand Olympic Hotel Conclave, he and Aphrodite slept together on the eve of the decision. After the destruction of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, he used his powers to excite the private parts of Demeter. He had even once tried to force himself on Hera “in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius”, but apparently failed. He is linked sexually to at least two mortal women as well, Cecíle, the former spy, and Nadia, the young Greek on Mathraki.
These two women come from the Odyssey. Nadia is based on Nausicaa, and the character of Cecíle was based on the sorceress Circe. The latter had a long-standing relationship with Zeus and a few fiery flings with Poseidon. When she watched the Olympic Stadium Parousia on TV:
…she began to wonder at the fact that she had been intimate with two creatures that were now in the process of declaring themselves universal gods. Not even the Blessed Virgin had accomplished that, and she felt a small degree of satisfaction.
A few characters possess a curious relationship with sexuality in general, and heterosexuality in particular. The Baptist from the Poseidon chapter expresses the standard fundamentalist Christian revulsion at sexuality. He reaches for invective and grim curses when confronted with it in the dingy hotel room and upon seeing a teen girl on the street wearing a short skirt. In the same chapter, his ancestor Reuben experiences many emotions when he meets the man who raped his mother.
In a similar vein, I wanted to express many facets to the role of “mother” with Hera. One of these was exploring how a maternal figure could keep her sexuality. This is why Hera seduces Blake on the train (and then calmly walks away… echoing both how she walked away from Robert when he was a child and is walking away from her old life at the start of the novel).
In her story, Athena considers having sex with a human for the first time. Ever logical and overly analytical, she is suspicious of suspending her logic in favor of what she sees as illogical emotional attachment to a man. Ironically, it is her and Eric’s exploration of homosexuality that allows her to approach sex methodologically and convinces her to seduce him.
Finally, I think of Hermes and Anniballa as the “straight” counterpart to the romantic coupling of Apollo and David. Right now, their long affair is left mostly untold (except for some hints dropped here and there), but this will be, pardon the pun, fleshed out further in Gigantomachy. However, I do find the scene on the porch where they reminisce about their god/mortal romance very touching. That reconciliation ends in sex as Hermes “lost himself in her body, and his memories of many past nights long ago spent at her bosom.”