Doppelganger (trope)

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: selfcest, clonecest
Related: Same-Actor Crossover
See Also: twincest, Evil Twin
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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For the Vampire Diaries use of the term see Doppelgänger (Vampire Diaries)

Doppelganger fanworks (usually fic or fanart) depict a character interacting in some way with an identical copy of themselves; often, in a sexual/romantic manner (also known as doppelganger porn or doppelganger love.) This trope is also commonly referred to as clonecest or selfcest, especially in anime or manga fandoms.[1][2] In a 2004 livejournal post, mctabby listed several other synonyms for the doppelganger trope: Selfslash. Self/Self. Doppelganger love, according to isilya. Reflexive slash, according to cedarlibrarian. Selfucking, according to florahart. OT1, according to lizardlaugh. [3]

Some fans use the term doppelganger synonymously with Evil Twin; others use it to refer to any fanwork that depicts two identical versions of the same character interacting.

In much the same way that some people explain slash by saying "one man good, two men better," the appeal of doppelganger fanworks seems to be "one BSO good, two of the same BSO, better!"

Sometimes doppelganger fic can be crackfic or a PWP, with no explanation of how the doppelganger has shown up, or why they suddenly want to have sex with their other self. However, some doppelganger fic is serious and explores issues of identity, self-image and destiny vs. free will.

The Premise

Some common doppelganger fic premises include:

  • Two characters played by the same actor (a Same-Actor Crossover)
  • A character + another version of that character from an alternate universe
  • The same person at two different points in their personal timeline
  • Clones, either canon or non-canon (aka clonecest) or an Evil Twin, or twincest
  • Secret twins or twins separated at birth a-la Lottie and Lisa/Parent Trap
  • "Artificial" doppelgangers, such as shapeshifters or robot or holographic duplicates
  • A random doppelganger with no explanation whatsoever!


In a rarer[4] variant, occasionally one lucky character gets to have a threesome with a pair of doppelgangers (or more).

In Canon

Many sci-fi/fantasy shows feature doppelgangers, but they don't always hit on/have sexual tension with their regular counterparts. However, sometimes they do!

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When Xander is split into two Xanders, his girlfriend Anya suggests that she should get to have sex with the two of them before they are recombined into one Xander. In another episode, when Willow meets her alternate universe evil twin, Evil!Willow licks her.
  • Red Dwarf: Lister actually has sex with the genderswapped version of himself from an alternate universe. And gets pregnant.
  • Deep Space Nine: In the Mirror Universe episodes, evil mirrorverse Kira Nerys creepily hits on regular canon Kira Nerys.
  • Sliders: In one episode Quinn makes out with a woman who is a female version of himself from that alternate universe.
  • Doctor Who: A mini-episode involving a timeloop has Amy flirting with herself and her husband Rory suggesting a threesome.



  1. ^ our_extinction, Rare Selfcest Pictures Posted July 8, 2010. Last accessed November 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Reborn: Selfcest Hibari by kurui on deviantart
  3. ^ mctabby, Happy Birthday to pinkfinity!!! Posted January 15, 2004. Last accessed November 27, 2010
  4. ^ Perhaps not quite so rare in Stargate stories...