Slashing Childhood: An Erotic Fanfiction Adventure
Let me be clear, I want to see what happens when significant characters from my childhood have sex with each other.
Lots of kids had action figures they mashed together in stiff, open-eyed lip locks. "Look, Swamp Thing is kissing Wolverine!" And in some cases, the idea of characters having sex with each other was barely a half-step out of frame. Barbie and Ken did lots of stuff together. Some versions of Barbie had children. There's a bridal Barbie. Really, there's just a little thing that was skipped over. Something unspoken that obviously happened at some point.
This, the little stuff that got skipped over, this is the kind of story I'm curious about.
There's another reason to go with stuff from my childhood. I haven't really explored the world of fanfic or slash. I don't know a lot about it. You get some people saying it's all nonsense, some people saying it's an economic and cultural force, and others who put it even higher than that, saying it's true art and expression of the highest order.
So what is it? What's out there? That's what I wanted to find out.
When I started to look, it became pretty clear that I don't know a lot about the most popular slash subjects. I've never seen Supernatural. I'm not a big Sherlock watcher. I'm not very up on pop culture. I could certainly read about those Supernatural fellows, they are certainly handsome, but I think that there would be something essential missing from that slash experience. All the references, all that stuff, it wouldn't make any sense. I needed slash based on stuff I knew. Stuff I had fond feelings for. So I decided to mine my childhood.
Let me be clear about a few other things before we get started. For one, I'm aware that slash fiction implies gay relationships. There are some straight relationships here, as well as some animal relationships, which cross species boundaries before they even get to the gay/straight distinction. I'm playing it pretty loose with the term "slash". When I look up definitions, I'm presented with a lot of things like "typically it's this" or, "some people use terms like femslash, but some don't prefer that." Some suggest "shipping" as a better term, but I was looking specifically for sexual material, and "shipping" didn't seem to cut it. I'm using "slash" in this column to talk about fictional couples who get it on.
Let me also be clear about something else. I read a pretty interesting article on Daily Dot that describes the overall world of fanfic. I recommend it if you want an overall picture, a responsible portrait of the world of fanfic, its writers, and its consumers.
This column is not a responsible portrait of anything. I made a big list of things I remembered fondly from childhood and sought out sexy stories based on that list. Then, if there were multiple options, I picked ones that were a bit shorter (so I could read the whole thing) and more on the outrageous side. That's how my personal tastes run in all forms of entertainment. Short and strange. So let me be clear: I purposely picked shorter, more outrageous pieces of fiction where characters have sex with each other. I'm aware that this is an extremely unrepresentative sample. I'm dipping a toe in the water, and readers should know that this is one toe's-width worth of sampling from a vast ocean.
I'm entering this as I enter most things: In wide-eyed idiot mode.
I did, however, make an effort to scout different sites and pull from them. Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, and even Tumblr.
Last bit, and I'll be upfront. I do think there's something inherently giggle-worthy in the raw idea of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle having sex. If the author sells it, I'll buy. But I'll be honest with you readers and say that I'm coming from a place where I can't help but start out stifling a laugh in a some cases here.
And while I may critique the work of some writers below, I don't seek to color anyone else's opinion. I don't want to ruin anyone's artistic aspirations. Keep writing, keep writing about whatever the hell you want, and shine on you crazy, secretion-covered diamond.
Oh, and be advised, this column is somewhat NSFW, but all the stories, which are linked in the titles, are definitely SNSFW (Super Not Safe For Work).
Sonic and Wolf were in bed, Wolf was asleep and Sonic was awake, thinking about their first anniversary together. How it all began, how they confessed their love; yet they never made love.
Sonic the Hedgehog. Gaming's original badboy. Sure, Pac-Man was dangerous, known to hang out with a rough crowd before he became a family man. But Sonic was cooler, badder, and faster.
I spent a lot of time with Sonic as a kid. My parents split, and I spent some time with my mom, some with my dad. Or, to put it from a kid's perspective, some time in a Sega house, some in a Super Nintendo house.
I didn't know anything about slash, but Sonic seemed like a ripe candidate for the treatment. He's badass, but in a cute sort of way. Like Jared Leto in...anything where Jared Leto has shortish hair and no beard.
Who the hell is Wolf? Turns out he's some side character from StarFox. Which means this is an even BETTER unification of my Super Nintendo/Sega childhood.
The story itself is pretty basic. Sonic gives Wolf a little oral sex, and that's most of what happens.
After I read this, something was missing. There wasn't much of a story, but I was okay with that.
You know what it was? What didn't quite cut it for me? As far as I could tell, you could replace Sonic and Wolf as they appear in this story with any other characters. I was expecting, I don't know, a super speedy sex act, or maybe Sonic would be a one-minute man/hedgehog. Basically, I was kind of hoping for some premise regarding Sonic's super speed that would complicate or enhance the sex acts.
Just saying. I hope that as we venture on, I'll get a little more specific stuff. That something inherent to the characters will pop up.
"Insert Coin" (Wario X Waluigi)
I was one of the few kids who actually owned a Virtual Boy gaming console. After a brief cold war where the aforementioned Sega and Super Nintendo resulted in a stalemate, my father reached for a lead in the Most Beloved Parent category with a misguided Virtual Boy purchase.
Virtual Boy was kind of awful. No, it was really awful. The games came pre-loaded with a feature that paused the action every 15 or 30 minutes to prevent SERIOUS EYE DAMAGE. This wasn't the thing on Wii that says, "Maybe you should go outside and play?" This was a medical necessity.
One of the games I did manage to enjoy in brief spurts was Wario Land. Wario Land is also probably the reason I wear contacts today.
The premise of the game isn't too complicated: Wario likes treasure. And so he collects it. Possibly in a pyramid.
The basics of the slash "Insert Coin": Wario REALLY likes treasure.
But it wasn’t enough. Something was…lacking. That’s when he eyed a lone coin just by his feet, and had a brilliant idea.
This was more like it. I hesitate to get overly excited about a story that has Wario cramming gold in his butt before his brother, Waluigi, jumps out of the bushes to engage in a sex act. But at least, through the vehicle of a video game character cramming gold into his butt, we get something that seems character-centric.
I don't want to take the analysis too far. However, one could certainly view this as a pretty funny commentary on what happens in video games. Why is Wario always gathering treasure? Is it possibly a sexual proclivity he hasn't explored yet? I think, as a player, I would be more motivated to collect coins in a game if I knew they were going to be used. And they could show that in-game with Wario on a shopping spree or, you know, a butt full of gold. I'm just asking for a little more reason behind the constant acquisition of wealth, and in a way I think this story is too.
You know what they say, though. Money doesn't buy happiness, but you can put it in your butt.
"The Name of the Game" (Bart Simpson X Martin Prince)
There's this thing I said once as a kid. I was in the basement at my mom's house. It was a Thursday night. A new Simpsons was starting, and I had Little Caesars pizza in front of me. Out loud, I said, "It doesn't get any better than this!"
That statement has stuck with me. It was both very naive and cute while also turning out to be soul-crushingly prophetic.
In this fanfic, we see Bart Simpson and school nerd Martin Prince as a teenage or early 20's couple on the downlow. While it's secret, their relationship seems, in some ways, fairly loving.
Because this is Bart Simpson – and, as he said earlier, he’s pretty sure that the man will never advance past the mental state of a ten year old (excluding views on sex, for Bart has apparently picked up some moves over the past few years)
Again, not super big in terms of character specificity. There's not a lot about this story that requires these two particular characters. In other words, you could tell this tale about, say, Ned Flanders and Bumblebee Man. Or Duff Man and Disco Stu. Okay, I'm starting to get some of the appeal here.
However, we DO get a good Milhouse slam in the story, so I give it some credit there.
Honestly, the Simpsons was never a totally sexless show. So thinking of Bart grown up and gay, it's not a big thing. Hell, there's more than one Burns/Smithers fantasy actually depicted in the show.
I think the thing I'm discovering here, a good slash story has to be a read-able story, but it also has to have something that makes me think it could only be written about these particular characters. Make it specific. I mean, in a normal sex scene, I don't want to see characters drop everything about themselves, all of the things that make them who they are. And I feel the same about slash.
Which makes it kind of tough. To make a comparison, I think it would be a lot easier to write a sex scene about an original character than it would be to write a sex scene that reads as a dead-on impression of someone who already exists. To put it another way, it would be much harder for me to make a shot-for-shot remake of a Simpsons episode than it would be to make an entirely different show, the reason being that everyone would compare what I did to what's already out there.
So I'll try and keep that in mind as I move forward. OH, Mr. Bergstrom and Hank Scorpio! What a combo of love and ambition. Okay, I'm done. Last Simpsons slash pairing.
"Shadow and The Colossus" (Colossus X Kitty Pryde)
Colossus was my favorite X-Man back when I was a kid. Wolverine was great and all, but it seemed like, for all his snikt-ing, he didn't really do a whole lot of stabbin' and slashin'. I expect more from my blade-wielding heroes. I have high standards that way.
I didn't keep up my Marvel subscriptions, so I don't know for sure whether Kitty Pryde and Colossus ever actually had sex. They are/were an in-comic couple, and it's pretty likely they had sex somewhere between panels at some point, but after the revelation about comparing the regular story to the slash, I'll go ahead and not Google it. Not to mention that, God knows, after this column, my Google history has probably tripped any sort of flagging process designed by anyone, ever. So I can probably leave one weird search off the list here.
This story starts a little romance-y, then we get some graphic sex stuff. AND THEN, when the characters reach...the tipping point, as Malcolm Gladwell would put it, their mutant powers manifest.
Kitty Pryde's power is to phase through objects. When she "Gladwells", she falls straight through the floor, into a living room. Which is pretty entertaining. When Colossus "Gladwells", he shifts into his metallic form and the pair completely destroy the bed.
Let me give some credit where credit is due. The author makes you wait for it, and only when the action is at its peak do we get the payoff: a pair of explosive Gladwells and a display of mutant powers. So kudos for keeping the mutant power close to the vest until the very end.
The thing I do want to say, in terms of noticeable trends, is that I feel like a fault in these slash stories is that the characters are all kind of perfect.
Kitty Pryde has "perky b-cups." Colossus' member is, well, colossal. Though not described in these terms, I'm picturing an object that was probably the inspiration for the first aluminum baseball bat. But shinier.
I guess part of the beauty of fantasy is that it's perfect. But I could go for a battle scar here and there. A little imperfection.
'Spider-Man-Spider-Sluts' (Mary Jane X A Bunch Of Strangers)
I...this one leaves me at a loss.
Mary Jane is captured and made into a sex slave by no-name criminals. One especially egregious line: "...she sucked c### and drank their j### like a starving infant."
Now, I am not a total expert on babies and what their dietary needs are. But I have to say, there is either a mixed metaphor happening here or a very, very confused take on newborn nutrition.
MJ is then somehow brainwashed and trained into becoming a "sperm toilet." And for some reason, she performs oral sex on unsuspecting strangers. These strangers, men who come into the bathroom to pee, are orally assaulted. For the most part, they have reactions of semi-polite confusion: "'Miss, I'm gonna c**.'"
The Black Cat joins the bathroom workforce as well for no apparent reason.
The women become pregnant, have children, put them up for adoption, and then return to their "jobs" until a police bust, after which the women are de-programmed and also hypnotized so that they don't remember the incident. The police records of this incident disappear. It's theorized they vanished in the hands of a horny police officer.
What I find remarkable about this, other than every other thing about it, is that the writer has made an effort to write in situations that mean these events could be canon. The way it's written means it could be actual Spiderverse material. That's a new twist I haven't seen yet. Most of the stories seem to kind of toss off some of the basics of one universe or another. Sonic and Wolf don't exist together. Bart and Martin are older in their story. In this Spider-Man story, we have something that could slip into the cracks of the Marvel Universe.
Oh, also, I want to point out this is the first entry I would call really and truly gross, and also this is the first and only time I'll call something out as being possibly written by someone who seems to have a strange understanding of sex. Phrases like "...her ovulating, fertile womb and eggs impregnated" don't demonstrate a solid understanding of biology. In fact, a lot of the words in here leave me confused about the basic concepts of sex.
It's definitely the most degrading thing I've read so far. Hopefully it holds that mantle as we continue, because it was pretty far over the edge in that regard.
A little like the game itself, I was confused, then a little frightened, then it was over.
Metroid wasn't my favorite game. It was just too goddamn hard. I didn't know where I was going, I didn't know how to do anything but curl up in a ball and roll around.
Actually, pretty great metaphor for my early explorations of sex right there. I see a parallel.
Super Metroid, however, was a total favorite in my house. If you haven't played it, it has to be one of the best all-time games. No exaggeration.
I didn't know much about Samus, Metroid's main character, other than the fact that she had a space suit with a gun hand.
Apparently, Samus has this whole back story where her colony was destroyed by space pirates (damn space pirates) and she was adopted by a race of bird people known as Chozos. She was infused with some Chozo DNA, which is part of why she kicks so much ass in Metroid. That, and they gave her a power suit. That, and she's also like 6'3" and 198 lbs. and just good at kicking ass.
This story did make me feel a little heartened, in a way. Even across the great galaxies, even raised by a race of bird men, a young woman can still discover herself through the magic of a reliable bath tub.
In a weird way, the way this story works reminded me of an aspect of sex. A bad aspect, but still, something real.
There have been a few times, and luckily they've been few, when...acts have been disrupted by an unquiet mind. I'll be thinking "Oh, geez. I need to update my calendar right when I get into work tomorrow. I can't believe I forgot that appointment." And this line of thinking can go on for a couple minutes before I realize, "Oh, you need to focus on what's happening right now. Y'know, the sex stuff. Which is happening, like, right in front of you."
This story reads a little like that. While Samus is discovering the joys of self-love, there's also a lot of narration and back story happening. I mean, everyone is different, but it's hard for me to really get in the zone with Samus when the narrator's talking in my ear about the death of an entire space colony and how Samus' life took this unexpected turn and now she's living with bird people. It's hard for me to get sexy when there's a meeting I forgot to put on my calendar. Bird people and genocide, that's even a step further.
"Butts With Children" (Beavis X Kelly Bundy)
Beavis and Butthead was forbidden in my house after my sister, who was about three, started doing impressions of The Great Cornholio. She didn't get the lines exactly right, but her Cornholio, complete with "I need T.P. for my butthole" was a rousing success in our home. Critics (me and my brothers) praised this performance for its bravery and use of the word "butthole."
In this story, we have Beavis and Butthead wandering into the mall where Al Bundy works selling shoes. And really, there's a lot more Married...with Children action than there is Beavis and Butthead. In fact, the sexual encounter consists of a bathroom encounter as heard from outside the bathroom door, and it's description is fairly brief.
In fact, the weird part isn't Beavis and Kelly Bundy having sex. It's the death of Peg Bundy, which leaves Al confused and ambivalent about the future. There's even a pretty great part where Al arrives at home and his son, Bud, is sitting on the couch. It's a typical setup for a Married...with Children joke, but in this case Al has to break the news about Peg's death:
'Son...I have bad news." Said Al.
"Let me guess." Said Bud in a sarcastic tone in his voice. "A fat woman came in the story today and asked you if those shoes make her fat. Then you said It's not the shoes that make you fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat.' He chuckled at that.
Al broke the news to his son in many details in which Bud broke down and cried at this.
The story wasn't pitch perfect, and the sex was light. But I did discover something else I like in a good slash. I like when STUFF HAPPENS. God help me, I need a little foreplay, and a little cuddle after. I like when there's a plot, no matter how thin. Which is a little different from my hypothetical pornography preferences that we really don't need to go into further here, other than to note this difference between slash and pornography, even if the difference is on the user end. When you've got these characters, I want to see them do some stuff.
Aaaahm gonna have gaaaay sex toniiiiight and it’s gonna be so goooood…
It's the match-up that would create the ultimate Onion A.V. Club article.
It's a point of shameful personal pride that the first album I ever bought was Weird Al's Smells Like Nirvana. With that childhood purchase, I became part of a pretty exclusive club: people who heard the Weird Al versions of popular songs before hearing the actual versions. Metallica's "Enter Sandman"? Yeah, I first heard that in polka format.
This slash doesn't pull punches. Chocolate sauce is drizzled into Weird Al's butt crack. I'm here to confirm this. This happened on the real internet.
This story is weird in a totally different way because it's about real people. Weird Al and Patton Oswalt are actual human people. Okay, one of them has chosen the name "Weird" Al. And the other's most famous role might be as an animated rat chef. But I think they still deserve a little dignity.
It's not the idea of a gay couple or even gay sex that bothers me. I don't think that's what feels intrusive to me at all.
To make a comparison, I understand there's a decent amount of Kirk/Spock slash, especially focused on the new Star Trek movies. And while it's inevitable that the actors who played Kirk and Spock will have feelings about that, there's a level of remove. Those actors were playing characters, and it's the characters who have sex. It's the characters locked into this romantic relationship.
And while it's easy to see this as novelty because of the chosen characters, I think it would read really differently if, say, I wrote a story featuring two non-famous people from my real life and just threw it up on the internet. It reads, to me, as a little mean-spirited. A little more like we're laughing at the sexuality of these two men, laughing at the very idea of them as sexual people.
Honestly, this piece left me pretty torn. People should have the right to write whatever they want. On the other hand, it feels kind of disrespectful to me. Again, I don't speak slash. Maybe there's a part of me that still doesn't really understand what's going on here. Or maybe this one does cross a line. Hard to say.
"Hot Night In NYC" (Ghostbusters' Janine X A Prostitute)
I always thought Janine form Ghostbusters was attractive. For real. There was something that mystified me about her. How did she work as, essentially, a secretary for GHOSTBUSTERS!? How long could you work at a desk there before saying, "Hey, give me one of those proton packs. I'm ready to kick some ghost ass!"? Something about her active disinterest in what was clearly the most interesting thing of all time, that fascinated me as a youth. She was too cool for Ghostbusting. Yet, she wasn't too cool to date Louis Tully. Total enigma.
I was sure that the hooker Janine picked up in this story would turn out to be a ghost. I was positive. How could it not be?
Well, it could not be if the prostitute had a different sort of surprise.
The story built to a scene where, as the prostitute undressed, she told Janine that she was in for a shock. This being a Ghostbusters story, I expected something supernatural. A haunted orifice perhaps, or a cursed something.
The presence of both male and female genitalia, though outside the statistical norm, was not what I expected. It wasn't played for shock so much. Janine seemed to have no problem with it whatsoever. But I guess, again, I really wanted something more specific, the kind of story only these characters could tell. There was nothing about this story that meant these two characters had to tell it. This story could have been about any fictional woman and any fictional prostitute. It seemed, to me, that the author was really relying on familiarity with the character of Janine to fill all the gaps. That I would hear the lines in her voice.
If the prostitute's surprise had been a haunted scrotum or demon-possessed inner thigh, then it would have been a Ghostbusters-y story. It would have been awesome to see Janine bust out a proton pack, blast away, and then slide one of those cool ghost traps under the person. Then, once the haunt was over, Janine and the prostitute could have commenced with the celebratory sex!
You know what? I'm just rewriting someone else's story to be something else. That's not what I'm here to do.
"Best B-Day" (Beetlejuice X Lydia)
This one had me giggling. Not because of the contents, so much. In some ways, it was a little more romantic or intimate than a lot of the others. What had me giggling is that I remember this cartoon way too well.
You might not have a special place in your heart for the Beetlejuice cartoon, and you might not remember it as vividly as I do. The overarching structure of the world is the same as the one in the movie. And some of the same characters appear. But the tone and the way it works are pretty different. Lydia, who was played by Winona Ryder in the movies, is buddies with Beetlejuice. They hang out and have weird, afterlife adventures together. Beetlejuice, instead of being a lecherous undead creep, is a harmless, friendly, undead creep.
When I say I remember this show, I mean I really remember it. I remember the weird trumpet sound that played whenever Beetlejuice threw out a real bad pun. I remember the little side characters, like Jacques the Skeleton and some kind of obnoxious spider lady. I don't totally remember my first kiss, but I remember the car's name in the Beetlejuice cartoon. Yes, the car had a name, and it was Doomie, and I hope that first kiss was at least a three out of ten.
With all this memory devoted to the Beetlejuice cartoon, I could picture all this sex stuff happening. Actually, it was worse than that. ALL I could do was imagine the voices and the characters from the cartoon. Which made lines like this tough to take seriously:
'Lay down,' [Beetlejuice] said. 'I want this to be about you.'
That is really, really hard to read when all you can imagine is a chorus of farting trombone sounds in the background, which was a staple of the show.
"Unexplored Territory" (Full House)
A good tip for touching yourself is to look at naked people.
Well. Full-on incest.
I have to say, this one was pretty icky. Sisters having a romantic and sexual relationship. Underage, no less.
There were three parts to this story, but I could only get through part one. And even that was a struggle.
Incest, character incest, does crop up in slash. It's not uncommon.
I guess part of this experiment is knowing the outer limits of my comfort zone. And one can argue it's hard to identify that comfort zone without crossing the line. But I will say, with certainty, underage girls carrying on this way for the sole purpose of showing it, that's a long, long way outside.
"When True Love Falls Out Of The Sky Onto You" (Growing Pains)
Yes, yes yes.
I honestly just want to put in the introductory paragraph. I think the appeal here is pretty self-explanatory.
One day, Leonardo DiCaprio from when he was on Growing Pains was out skateboarding, being a cool kid and wonder why he was randomly only in one season of Growing Pains. While contemplating life and his possible future of dying frozen off a huge ship because that chick from Titanic was too much off a fatass to share the dresser piece so he dies.
Sure, the writing's a little rough. And sure, if one wanted to quibble, one could definitely point out that it's a little confusing whether we're in the show or real life. I still don't know.
All I know is that a goomba from Super Mario Bros. falls from the sky, Leonardo DiCaprio falls instantly in lust, and short antics ensue.
The story's end?
Once again, the met each other's guys. Leonardo Dicaprio decided he'd had enough of this Growing Pains bullshit, since he was only going to be on for a season anyway, so they peaced out off into the sunset.
Perfect. A truly happy ending, at last. I like to imagine them together as a couple. Both of their careers grew over the years, and both have worked steadily for quite some time.
This one was the craziest. It felt, more than the others, like reading the strange but compelling journal of a stranger. Their inner monolog. And even though the writing was rough, it had a real voice-y quality to it that I liked.
Yes. This is the kind of slash I like. This is something for me.
I came, I saw, I slashed. Uh, and by that first verb, I mean that I arrived.
I read something I enjoyed. I read something that seemed like a decent erotic scene between characters, something that felt like it could exist within a real universe if some of the explicit material was removed. I read a piece that was degrading and sounded like it was written by someone with some strange ideas about sex, and I read a story where a first-time sexual encounter was a little flower-y and purple, but ultimately kind of nice. I read something that flew way outside of my comfort zone, and something that made me wonder how the depicted parties felt.
I ran the gamut. And the big question: Will I read slash again?
As it turns out, MagistrateoftheGayUnicorns, author of the above Growing Pains tale, has written two other pieces. And as it turns out, in literature, as in life, his title speaks the truth. Sometimes a true love falls out of the sky onto you.
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