So what is the difference between a gen story and a slash story?

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Title: So what is the difference between a gen story and a slash story?
Creator: Flamingo
Date(s): May 3, 2000
Medium: online
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch
External Links:
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So what is the difference between a gen story and a slash story? is a 2000 essay by Flamingo. It was posted to The Pits mailing list and is quoted on Fanlore with permission.

It was written in response to a fan saying: "The only difference [between a gen story and a slash story) is in a slash story, the two main characters (Starsky&Hutch) have sex with each other."

Flamingo replied: "My friend, I'm sorry but I have to respectfully disagree with you. This is a common misconception, but it *is* a misconception. I have a number of stories on the Starsky & Hutch slash site, and have read numerous stories in S&H slash zines, that have absolutely no sex in them at all, or even any body contact."

Example Recs

From the Essay

So what is the difference between a gen story and a slash story?

The very thing that defines gen or slash -- the LEVEL of the relationship. It is that simple. One of the first S/H novels published has no sex at all, just an *implied* change in the brotherly love relationship between the characters to a ROMANTIC love relationship. We can love our friends with all our heart, be willing to die for them, as many friends have done, be willing to give them everything, but as deeply and as wonderfully as that relationship goes, it is not ROMANTIC.

Millions of people have long-term romantic relationships that never progress to sex. Married people who adore each other can live in celibacy if that is their choice. It is completely unnecessary to have sex in a slash story as dozens of excellent writers have proven. Because slash is not about sex (though sex can be a part of it, and a wonderful part at that), anymore than gen is about a lack of sex. Slash is about ROMANCE, about romantic love, whether that romantic love ever reaches a stage where the two people want to express it through sex or not. (Conversely, gen lacks this romantic interest, but focuses on every other aspect of the powerful, complicated relationship between the partners, without dealing with romance between them.) Does it change their basic relationship, the partnership, the powerful friendship? That depends on the slash story. It doesn't *have* to (the finest marriages are between best friends) but it can if that's critical to the story, or part of the conflict. Most best friends don't normally desire each other, feel romantic with each other, or have sex with each other -- if they do, it definitely changes the relationship to best friends who are in love (or lust) with each other, which of course changes everything. Can best friends survive a change like that? Of course, people do it all the time whether they are same-sex couples or hetero couples. But what you decide to do with that in your story may be the fuel for the conflict. So it's a matter of choice for the writer.