The KSA Archive Interview with Thamiris

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Interviews by Fans
Title: The KSA Archive Interview with Thamiris
Interviewer: Foxmonkey
Interviewee: Thamiris
Date(s): January 2000
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
External Links: interview is here; reference link
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Thamiris was interviewed by Foxmonkey in 2000 for The KSA Archive.

Some Excerpts

I was interested in the idea of a strong, physically-aggressive woman, and had taken a few peeks at XWP. Then I saw Calli, and that was the figure I identified with. (I know--what does that say about me?) So I started watching the show haphazardly, and then in November of '97, I turned on the tv and saw...HIM. The god. Sitting in his throne, so ripe and ready, so powerful and commanding...I'd never been in a fandom before. I didn't even know that fandom existed. But when I saw Kevin Smith in The Furies, something snapped, crackled and popped inside me, and I jumped online to do a search.
When I was young, about 13, I'd been writing what I now realize was fanfic. I had a crush on Paul McCartney and Marc Bolan of T-Rex, and I wrote a tag-team effort with a friend of mine (who liked Ringo Starr). We wrote hundreds of these little stories. My parents found them, actually, a few years later, and I was quite mortified, since they were vaguely erotic.
I discovered slash when I followed a link in someone's sig, on this same Ares list. I had no idea about slash at the time, and all of a sudden, I'm reading Ares/Joxer. I find the pairing amusing and weird; Joxer's presence deeroticized the fic for me. But finding something that explicit was a profound thrill. So I began reading it very surreptitiously, feeling intensely guilty. It was the m/m aspect of it that concerned me. I've always had lots of gay male friends, and the surprise of finding what I considered homoerotica didn't faze me. It was the pornographic aspect that did. I considered myself very anti-porn before this--despite the fact that I was searching the net for dirty stories. I had these two impulses, and of course my preconceived notions about porn and its cultural and especially gender implications shattered. Because porn, to me, was about the oppression of women, and here was porn without women. So I embraced it rather enthusiastically.
...I didn't start writing slash immediately. I was reading it for awhile, then a friend recommended Hercfic to me, and I went there. At around the same time, I formed KSA, which was not a fic-list initially, but a discussion one. But rather quickly, thanks to Kelly, we saw more and more fic on it, a hybrid of het and slash. I wrote het initially, but found myself more and more attracted to slash. So, with Kelly's encouragement and help, I wrote my first slash fic. It was a comedy piece--I started off writing a lot of comedy. It was quite hysterical when Kelly beta'd for me. I was breaking some established slash rules, like using 'dick' instead of 'cock' on occasion.
What attracts you specifically, to two (or more) men having sex? What doesn't? But, to be honest, what attracts me most about two men is that there aren't any women. This changes the power dynamics, in my mind--the one thing about porn that had always kept me from it, despite aggressively-suppressed interest in it. Slash gave me the opportunity to enjoy erotica without the same level of guilt. I find that it's damned sexy for two men to admit attraction for each other, without thinking/worrying what others think. Ares wants Iph. He fucks him. And then there's the gorgeous flesh involved. When it's between two men, there's less baggage attached. When it's m/f, reality creeps in, worries about exploitation, pregnancy...Sex for women is just so damn complicated. I'm sure that it is for men, too, but as a woman, I know how much guilt and fear can go into it. M/m sex cuts through most of that, so I can just watch and enjoy. And I do enjoy it. I love seeing naked men. I've heard a lot of people complain about the difficulties of writing sex at all Initially, when I began writing, I was horribly, horribly embarrassed. My first sex scene had me giggling and blushing like a Victorian virgin, even though it was pretty P-G. When I began to write m/f erotica, that embarrassment lingered for awhile, especially because I had to talk about female anatomy. It was easier to talk about cocks than cunts. But I wrote so much that eventually I could just sit back and get off on it. Unlike many others, I'm not bored writing sex, even now, even after writing a thousand sex scenes. Perhaps that's because I do it less. For better or for worse, I consider myself a writer now, and take more care with my fic, instead of cranking it out, as I used to, terribly worried that if I waited too long between stories, people would realize that I was a talentless hack. (Of course, they doubtless thought that, but were nice enough to encourage me, regardless).
This is going to sound weird, but would you like to be an hermaphrodite? In a certain sense, yes. I don't think I'd like to have both sets of genitals simultaneously, although I might reconsider that if it were possible to fuck myself. No, I'd like to be Tiresias, without the tragic part, and switch between the two. To me, that's what fanfic is, to a certain extent. Exploration and fantasy. And fucking yourself.