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Neil Gaiman was once told “people do not masturbate in the DCEU”

When writing The Sandman comics, writer Neil Gaiman was told that "people do not masturbate in the DC universe" which Gaiman thought "explains a lot"

The Sandman

The Sandman television series is coming to Netflix soon, and fans of the DC comics that its based on are excited to see how their favourite characters such as Dream and Lucifer will pan out onscreen. However, when Neil Gaiman was writing The Sandman, he was told there was a certain element that he was not allowed to include by DC.

Another Gaiman adaptation – American Gods – was known for its violence, and also for being sexually explicit. However, when Gaiman was writing The Sandman, he was told that he “couldn’t mention masturbation” because “people do not masturbate in the DC universe.” Gaiman’s reaction was; “well that explains a lot” about the DC universe. Someone on Twitter recently asked Gaiman to confirm whether this anecdote was true, and he responded with a simple and unambiguous; “yes.”

This is in line with a debate that erupted on social media in June 2021 about whether Batman does – or does not – enjoy performing oral sex, specifically with Catwoman. Apparently Justin Halpern, co-creator of the HBO Max animated series Harley Quinn, was told in no uncertain terms by DC that “heroes don’t do that.”

Halpern said; “in the third season of Harley [when] we had a moment where Batman was going down on Catwoman. And DC was like, ‘You can’t do that. You absolutely cannot do that.’ They’re like, ‘Heroes don’t do that.'” This led to Zack Snyder, of all people, sharing a comic panel that depicts the specific act in question, saying that it was “canon.”

Whether masturbation or sex will feature in The Sandman TV adaptation remains to be seen, as perhaps Gaiman was given more of a free rein now that it will be on Netflix.

While we wait to find out just how saucy Sandman is, check out our guide to the best Batman villains.