In Defense of NC-17 Slash

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Title: In Defense of NC-17 Slash
Creator: Manna
Date(s): November 11, 2002
Medium: online
Topic: Fanfiction, Slash, Explicit
External Links: In Defense of NC-17 Slash, Archived version
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In Defense of NC-17 Slash is an essay by Manna. It was written in response to In Defense of PG-13 Slash, posted on the same website a month earlier.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


I was interested to read Kadorienne's column, where she said that she got alot of comments about writing PG-13 slash. [1] I have read and heard plenty of people say 'I skip over the sex scenes in slash stories'. They find that stories they read work just as well for them if they skim over the sex and get back to the plot. So I'm certain there is a large constituency out there for PG-13 slash.

I'll be honest here: I enjoy slash sex scenes. I read a few fandoms for series I have never seen, and in those fandoms what I'm looking for is good smut. I think porn and PWPs are fine and glorious things in and of themselves.

However, I'd like to talk about cases where the explicit sex is only a part of the story as a whole. I would like to argue that explicit sex need not be simply a gilding on the lily, or a fun additional payoff for the reader (a kind of 'bonus track' to the story), but potentially as important a part of the whole story as any other kind of scene.
Therefore, I draw a lot of encouragement from those readers, since the fact that they find the stories interesting *despite* the sex suggests I must be doing something right in judging whether the sex is necessary for the story or not. If those particular readers can find something interesting in the sex scenes, then the scenes are probably saying what I want them to say. So, in summary, while I agree PG13 slash is both possible and enjoyable, and have written it myself, I don't think that explicit sex scenes can be dispensed with entirely in all circumstances. In some cases they are the best way to convey what needs to be conveyed.