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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Self-pleasure, autoerotica, solo kink
Related tropes/genresSelfcest, autoerotic asphyxiation, voyeurism, sexually explicit fanworks
See alsoWank
Related articles on Fanlore.

In explicit fanworks, the depiction of masturbation is common. It can be a solitary act (often involving fantasies as a result of pining or UST), a shared experience (mutual masturbation, performance, voyeurism), or a setup to paired sex when a character is interrupted in the act.

There are over 160,000 works tagged "masturbation" on Archive of Our Own as of 2023. The top fandoms that use the tag are Harry Potter, Boku no Hero Academia, Original Work, BTS, and Supernatural.

Sometimes, it can be a small part of the fic, other times it'll be the focus.

As a Plot Device

I think it goes back to vulnerability. Masturbation appeals to me as a subject for smut because it's so self-centered and self-referential and I can really see [Mulder and Scully] both (particularly Mulder) using it as a crutch to keep them from having to experience the fears that are inherent in any personal relationship. They don't want to expose themselves to the other person.

Which is the perfect metaphorical set-up for a fic. Scully masturbates to avoid showing her sexual self to Mulder, Mulder sees it anyway, they deal with the aftermath. That's why the "caught in the act" set-up is so popular. Masturbation is us at our most selfish and sensual and uninhibited. Then when you throw in another person and the "exposure" of this side of ourselves, it makes for great drama.

Working Stiffs Interview with Jess M. (2000)

Example Fanworks



Fanwork Challenges

Recs and Themed Lists

External Links