Now, before your eyebrows fly right off your face (looking at you, literary snobs), hear me out. Because I know. "Smutty" or erotic fanfiction is almost always talked about in tones of either horror or mockery.
But the shameless sexual fantasizing fanfiction offers goes far beyond just ridiculous erotica. Women in particular dominate the community, and there's good reason for why many feel more invited to explore their desires there than, say, in traditional visual porn.
Essentially, Coppa sees erotic fanfiction as a way of, "putting relationships back into the porn." Because apparently, "backstory tends to be sexually important to women." And fanfiction comes with characters you've already built a profound connection with as a fan.
In erotic fanfiction -- even ones dubbed "porn without plot" -- authors are still adding to a character's established story and relationships. "They're made to be more well-rounded than the average protagonist, rather than less well-rounded."
"You can explore things on the page that don't hurt actual, real people," she said, comparing that to the moral dilemmas of violent pornography. "In fanfiction, I know no physical bodies were coerced to do anything in the making of the erotica."
A lot of even the most hardcore erotic fanfiction has, since the early days, shown how BDSM and kink (when done right) requires explicit conversations about what's OK, what's not OK, what feels good, and why communicating sexual limits matters.
In short, fanfiction was making consent sexy long before #MeToo or even feminist porn caught on. The use of content and trigger warnings are, generally speaking, a community standard for most erotic fanfiction websites -- especially for those that are categorized as "darkfic(Opens in a new tab)."
Moral panic over what kids might accidentally stumble upon in erotic fanfiction negates the steps most sites take to ensure readers actively consent to the content. There's often extra "lock" screens for NC-17 stories, warning readers of the type of situations they're going to read about.
For example: by far the most popular erotic fanfiction genre is slash fic, or stories that put canonically straight characters into homosexual relationships. Fascinatingly, gay men appear to be a minority among the writers and readers of slash. Mostly, it's straight women and lesbians.
"When you masturbate, you don't want to think about all the social issues that are bugging you," Coppa said. "Women get lot of shame sexually. Not just for being sexual, but in feeling like we always have to be doing good for the world. But, you know, it's OK to just read fanfiction, wank off, and not be working for justice."
I was a claims adjuster at a large insurance company when I started my career and we all used to listen to audio books while adjusting claims. I had moved into management my third year there when 50 shades of gray came out, and OMG it was awful. Any room with a door was at your own risk to open it, going to your car to go to lunch keep your eyes straight ahead, and using the bathroom was not somewhere you wanted to be. It was like these people lost their minds. So no, no erotica in the office.
When I was doing AP History in high school, my teacher gave me the extra-credit project of reading selected chapters of Mein Kampf and selected parts of a couple of his predecessors (Gobineau and Chamberlain) and writing an essay on it addressing a couple of questions. Reading that book probably raised a few eyebrows.
For example: by far the most popular erotic fanfiction genre is slash fic, or stories that put canonically straight characters in homosexual relationships. Fascinatingly, gay men appear to be a minority among the writers and readers of slash. Mostly, it's straight women and lesbians.
It wasn't until the middle of college that fan fiction lost enough of its stigma for me to be pretty forthright about it. It helped that I met a lot of other writers in college, some of whom also enjoyed a healthy dose of fan fiction. It was there that I finally came into my own and stopped making excuses about it whenever someone happened to see there was a notification from "fanfiction.net" in my inbox. Still, every now and then all fan fiction connoisseurs get the reactions that I feared so much in junior high, but only roll my eyes at now:
Before Fifty Shades was even a thing, this was an assumption I heard often. It's true that there is plenty of adult fan fiction material online, and there's nothing wrong with that. For the most part, it is clearly marked, so for any readers who start out young like I did, it's pretty hard to accidentally stumble on. And are we really going to sit around and shame writers for writing about sex? We don't bat an eye when it's in a published novel, but for some reason people wig out when it's free on the internet.
I honestly felt so ashamed and I knew in telling him that, I was also telling him I had lied to him for the past six years of our relationship about something deeply personal. He paused and looked at me for a long moment. And then he wrapped me in the biggest hug as I burst into tears. He proceeded to turn my face towards him and tell me that he was so proud of me for telling him. That he knew how hard it was to say those kinds of things. That he knew how hard it was to struggle. That he knew how bad I must have felt. And that he was so sorry I had ever been there.
This is VERY important. While you may think BL or Slash Fic is a straight women's only space, it isn't. There are people of all orientations and genders (or lack thereof) which read and write BL / Slash Fic, both as original media creations and fanfiction and roleplaying. Also, getting off on guys doing it does not make you immune to having homophobic attitudes or an instant ally, any more than the stereotypical straight males drooling over Les Yay are always and forever feminists and supporters of women's rights and lesbian rights. So here's a few pitfalls to look out for, both in actual writing and in interaction with other fans.
Don't shoehorn it just for the sake of having it. Sure, you want to see hot Ho Yay action, but if it doesn't make sense with the plotline, you're not doing any favors by jamming one in anyway. Some of the best works out there focus on the relationship and the plotline more than sex. In fact, creating a plot-driven work or universe will often get you more readers and more repeat, loyal readers than writing one-shot Porn Without Plot will - many of the more successful works in the genre are known for their (often albeit wangsty and melodramatic on occasion) plots. In writing a plot-heavy work, you're actually asking your readers to keep coming back for more, which will often develop a very loyal audience - note how the Soap Opera genre produced some extreme Long-Runners and maintained a huge fandom for quite a long time (and there are even still devoted fans, even with the decline of the genre, with its fans often instead looking for dramatic works of fiction online). You can see where that can potentially go, with people following your story for its drama, its twists and turns that have nothing or little to do with the sex, its characterization, just as they would once tune into a TV show every day...)
Bad Style: There's no excuse for writing poorly-spelled, awfully formatted, unpunctuated crap. If you are old enough to be reading and writing the often-explicit material in this field, you are old enough to understand at the very least how to turn on spell check and grammar check and autocorrect, and to use your writing software's default settings. Better yet, go look up some of the many free resources to improve your spelling, punctuation, and writing skill in general. Then also go look up Writing Pitfall Index here to see some common pitfalls of bad style. In short, if you aren't writing at least at a 10th grade level (using US education system as a reference) you will look like you're under 18 (which will get you banned on sight from many places and lead to many people being afraid to interact with you and quite a lot of creepy people not being afraid to interact with you) even if you are well over 18. Your work will also be seen as low-quality stereotypical crap and be avoided and attract flames and even trolls. 2b1af7f3a8