Identity Porn

From Fanlore
(Redirected from Identity porn)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)persona porn
Related tropes/genresSuperheroes, Identity Reveal, Secret Identities
See alsoFinding Out
Related articles on Fanlore.

Identity porn is a trope or narrative kink that may or may not involve actual porn, involving "people who have secret identities which focus on the consequences of using multiple personas".[1]

The term is believed to originate in DC Comics fandom before or around 2005[2]. It has been claimed that Thete1 aka Te coined the term, but the exact origins are unknown.[3] As well as DC fandoms, identity porn is commonly used in Marvel Comics and related fandoms, due to the plethora of multi-identitied superheroes. It has also spread to many other fandoms. The term has been applied to scenarios where characters interacting online do not realize they know one of their online friends in real life.


Identity porn is easiest to explain in the DCU (and the term probably originated there). Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Superman. The two body love triangle. Because there's three people there, three identities. Both Clark Kent and Superman are independently real to different social circles. But in order to get the kink I think they also have to be real to overlapping social circles. If someone is one self with one person and a different self with a different person then there's no clash, crunch, tension, just these seperate pieces. If they are, or want to be, real in both personas, then you can get identity porn.[4]

it has to approach it from a particular direction, that I have been thinking of to myself as being about "role-playing as yourself", where the various identities start escaping from the boxes the characters try to keep them in, overlapping and blending. It is generally heavy on the dramatic irony, interesting combinations of denial and self-awareness, compartmentalization taken to extremes, and grand reveals.[5]

[...] I wonder if the striving for wholeness, for the truth behind the masks, is what other people kink on emotionally. For me, the point of identity porn has to do with the ways it shows the whole person who's pretending to be only part of themselves. The climax, then, is when all those masks collide and fall apart, leaving the whole person exposed to someone else who knows them better than they ever would have without the playing with masks.[6]

Actual porn not required, that’s just the trope name. Basically I’m looking for fics that play around with the superhero secret identity thing. The “god you’re terrible” about one identity, not knowing they’re the person they’re crushing on. The “oh no I like them both” but they’re the same person. The “uh oh I accidentally brought up something you said to the other me, yes I’m friends with that hero and we talked about you!”[7]


Identity Porn stories focus heavily on the dual personas of particular characters, and in fandoms with superhero elements they often focus on the difficulty of maintaining a secret identity. An ID porn story may examine how a character behaves in different situations, when using different personas. These stories often rely on the fact the reader is aware of this person's dual personas to build tension or create humour.

Identity porn fics include stories where at least one character isn’t aware of another character’s second identity. For example, a character might not be aware that Bruce Wayne is Batman. These fics may also involve a secret identity reveal but this is not a necessity.

Identity porn stories don't necessarily include smut, but there are stories that do. One of the first stories to reference the term identity porn, How To Marry A Millionaire, features a Bruce Wayne that is (seemingly) unaware Nightwing is his ward Dick Grayson and this leads to a sexual encounter.

This trope has also been applied to fics with no superhero elements. In stories with modern settings, online identities provide a second persona for characters.

In other stories a character going undercover or having a fake identity can lead to scenarios where their identities overlap.

Elements of this trope can also appear in Time Travel stories, where a character may take on a fake identity and interact with family, friends or people they know from their original time.


Example Fanworks

Superhero Fandoms

DC Comics and Related Fandoms

Marvel Comics and Related Fandoms




  1. ^ Melannen in a post on Kink Finders 18 July 2011 (accessed 6 December 2011).
  2. ^ Comment thread in a post by Melannen 23 July 2011 (accessed 6 December 2011).
  3. ^ Five Things Meme by mithen, 2009
  4. ^ Identity Porn, post by beccaelizabeth, 23 July 2011 (accessed 6 December 2011).
  5. ^ identity porn, post by melannen, 7 July 2011 (accessed 6 December 2011).
  6. ^ Petra in comments of post by Melannen, 23 July 2011 (accessed 7 December 2011).
  7. ^ Identity porn fics, reddit post by u/another_athena, Feb 2020.
  8. ^ Petra in comments of post by Melannen, 23 July 2011: "In the chatlog searching, I found instances where I referred to the How to Marry a Millionaire 'verse while I was writing it as "The Identity Porn story," so for me at the time they seem to have been more or less synonymous."