Confessions of a Failed Slash Slut
|Title:||Confessions of a Failed Slash Slut|
|Date(s):||March 3, 1995|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Confessions of a Failed Slash Slut is a 1995 meta post by Alexfandra.
It was posted to Virgule-L, and is quoted here with permission.
Some Topics Discussed
- slash, erotica
- the inclusion of sex, explicit or otherwise, in slash fiction
- The Professionals
- the use of the term slash slut, a 1990s, early to mid 2000s term
Recent "what makes such-and-such erotic" threads, combined with the "do you get turned on reading slash" survey, has made me feel, as usual, like an Alien Pod Person among the Slashfen.
Let me explain.
It's not that I don't care at all about the sex in slash--I do, albeit in a minor sort of way. It's just not, strange as it may seem, the main reason I read slash.
First, I'll get "erotic" and "erotica" out of the way: for me, there are plenty of erotic scenes in fanfic which I enjoy reading. Depending on the author and the story, the simple act of Bodie brushing up against Doyle in a crowded pub could be an erotic act. This is a fine thing. But it does not equate to "erotica". To me, "erotica" is fiction written *primarily* to evoke both an emotional and physical response in the reader, while downplaying or even excluding any material which does not evoke such a response. Its purpose is the arousal of sexual feelings, and in that sense, no, I do not read (or write) slash as erotica.
I read fiction, of any sort, simply for the enjoyment of spending time with characters I really like. Slash is like any other fiction--except that it happens to revolve around characters I really, really love, rather than just like. It's romantic fiction, in the sense that it's about two characters who are struggling with a relationship, preferably with some other intriguing plot going on at the same time. The best Pros fanfic (for me) also adds a mystery/adventure component, as I am a big fan of detective fiction.
I prefer to read slash novellas and novels over shorter work, because then I get a *story* to enjoy, something with a plot, something which has a lot more going on it in than just the sex. Pam Rose is one of my favorite writers for a reason--she tends to write longer things with intriguing plots, and she tends to skimp on the sex scenes, which is fine by me. Other fave writers include OYardley (pre-"Ember Days", anyway), HG, and Rob ("Waiting to Fall"). They write the sort of slash which I enjoy most--nice, fat, long works that have a lot of good relationship stuff going on and good plots. I don't consider them writers of erotica. MFae would probably come closest to what I would call a writer of erotica. I don't particularly like most of her stories (sorry), but then, I don't think she's particularly writing stories for *me*.
The emotional enjoyment gained from spending time with characters I love is all I'm really looking for. Yes, the stories move me emotionally, but the degree of physical "thrill" I get from the better-written stories and their erotic scenes is on a par with the thrill I get from biting into a really good chocolate truffle. Sort of an "ooh, ah" reaction--it's enjoyable, but it ain't fireworks time. For one thing, most fanfic isn't well written enough to evoke a response of any great depth of feeling--it's all on an "enjoyable entertainment" level, but rarely more. This seems especially true of sex scenes, which I generally find to be either a) too short, b) too vague, c) just the opposite--too graphic/clinical, or d) just plain clumsily/poorly written. It's hard to get excited about lines like "and then they rubbed and thrust against each other until they achieved completion". I'd rather have the truffle, thank you.
That being said, I don't enjoy gen stories, because I do feel that the Lads belong together in all senses of the word, and that each should be the most important person in the other one's life. That, of course, includes the sexual element. But I don't start off with the premise that "it would be really hot to get these two guys into bed together". I start with the premise, "These are fascinating characters, I want to know more about them and their relationship and I want to spend time exploring their world". Their whole world, not just the bedroom. It would be nice, in fact, if more writers did stories about relationship problems *other* than Sexual Choices 101 from time to time--otherwise, quite frankly, it all gets a bit repetitive.
Slash does not equal erotica for me.
Slash *does* equal romantic fiction for me.
That's about it.
So, am I a Alien Pod Person among the slashfen? Are the rest of you really busy panting and heaving over your fanfic? Would you even bother reading a slash story in which the sex took place off stage? Or are you using a different dictionary than I am whenever you use the words "erotic" and "erotica"?
Have I got my slash-reading priorities all mixed up? Maybe I should just write Miss Manners and ask for her assistance? "Dear Miss Manners: I am having difficulty comporting myself properly among my peers... is it good manners to deny an interest in erotica while having an entire household full of sexually explicit fiction? But I really do just read it for the characters...honest. And I only glance at the pictures..."
Yours in confusion,Alex