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The Mystifying Self-Suck of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’

This weekend, HBO gave us its weirdest take on blow jobs ever: a time-traveling man who sucks his own cock. Thanks, I guess?

On Sunday, HBO once again made television history. For the first time, we got to see a man suck his own dick, and it’s not just like he went the regular auto-fellatio route of removing some ribs or being super flexible, either. No, in Episode Two of The Time Traveler’s Wife, a man — you guessed it — time traveled to give himself head. As in, he traveled into the past/future so that one version of himself could blow another version of himself! And he even got caught by his father as he did it! You don’t see much but a sweaty guy leaning against his bed having a good time while a blanket bobs up and down, but still — it’s one of television’s finer fellatio moments. 

It’s almost surprising this plot point didn’t make more of a splash, but then again, it occurred in The Time Traveler’s Wife. Nobody wants to watch that show. I’m here, right now, being paid to write about this, and even then, I’m like, “Do I really have to?” A movie adaptation of the book already came out back in 2009. I know major media corporations like to act like we’re short on original content and intellectual property, but are the pickings really so slim that HBO needed to shoot their shot on a TV version?

In any case, I will say that this whole dick-sucking scene, which I heard about via Twitter, is at least somewhat of a win for the show. Now I feel like I have one reason to watch it, whereas previously, I had zero. It is a fascinating topic, after all — in this case, Henry, the dick-sucker, isn’t going back in time just to get off, he’s doing it because he wants to suck dick. This presents some interesting ontological issues: Does the horniness you experience in the present transfer over to past you? If you’re horny at this exact moment, and you traveled back in time to suck your own dick, which one of your selves is experiencing the pleasure? Is it masturbation if the sex is partnered, but it’s still with yourself?

In the show, the dick-sucking occurs between two identical, 16-year-old versions of Henry. It looks like partnered sex, but they’re both the same person. I assume he must have decided to time travel to only a few seconds in the past or future, in order to suck his own dick right at that moment. It should be noted that being caught doing this is also apparently how his father discovered his son can time travel, according to a Decider article on the episode

The closest previous example of this kind of thing happening is in Futurama, where Fry went back in time, slept with his grandmother and became his own grandfather. There are some literary instances, too. In a 1958 science-fiction short story called “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, an intersex man travels back in time to fuck his pre-sexual reassignment surgery female-bodied self and impregnates her. It also turns out that he himself is that offspring, and is therefore his own mother and father. That doesn’t all add up to me, but neither does this guy in Time Traveler’s Wife sucking his own dick. Honestly, nothing about time travel makes sense to me, which I think is the way it should be. 

In any case, I’m glad that HBO is approaching this story in usual HBO fashion, and making some absurd sexual scenario take place. It’s only the second episode, too — there could be plenty more autofellatio moments ahead of us, in which case, maybe I’ll tune in after all.