I was fifteen when I had my first official state-approved Sex Education class. Being that I'm from Indiana, this included preaching abstinence and watching a Lifetime original movie where a teenager gets AIDS from foreplay and dies. As someone raised on the internet, with an older brother and an OBGYN for a Mom, I already knew about sex. I was aware the penis inserts into the vagina, which was about all I could stomach from that conversation. At fifteen, I was coming into my sexuality. I realized I had a crush on my 7th grade English teacher because I still thought about her three years later. I had YouTube searched "Two Girls Kissing" but got scared when the video directed me to watch the rest of the scene on a different website. I knew that I was interested in lesbian sex but felt utterly lost on how to learn about it.
I'd been lucky to grow up in a time of ever-increasing LGBTQ+ representation. I had a supportive family and queer friends, but sex still scared me. I was a virgin. You could smell it on me. I was riddled with anxiety that when the magical moment happened, and I was naked with a girl, she would laugh at my inexperience. I was also having trouble pleasing myself. In summation, the human vagina was a maze I was too afraid to start. Life was bleak. Orgasms were lost. Then I found fanfiction.
Things started relatively tame and heterosexual. I was introduced to fanfiction my sophomore year of high school by a friend I made through our shared obsession with The X-Files. It was a classic story; Scully and Mulder go out of town on a case, the hotel only has one room, that room has only one bed. I realized the unabashed joy that was reading my favorite fictional characters having wild, crazy sex. I did my reading on fanfiction.net in the early days, although now I strictly use archiveofourown.org because they have more variety and better web design.
For those who don't know, fandoms are groups of people who like the same book, TV show, movie, music group, comics, theater, video game, manga, anime, celebrities, and anything else that drives someone crazy enough to invest personal time. Fanfictions are an outlet for writers to create stories surrounding their fandoms. They can be anything the imagination inspires; standard cannon, crossovers, and to my saving grace - erotica. Let's take the classic TV show Friends. A fanfiction might be a fluff piece about Ross and Rachel, or it could be smut about Monica and Chandler, or a three-way between Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe. Fanfiction could even go as far as writing a romance for Joey, Chandler, and the recliner. Unfortunately, there is no limit to human creativity. Fanfictions can and will go anywhere.
I discovered this the hard way when I first was exploring X-Files fanfiction. I came across a story that depicted Scully getting "probed" by an alien. It was disturbing, but it opened up my imagination to the possibilities of fan-written works in some weird, twisted way. I searched for the musical Wicked and, sure enough, found a fandom ripe with stories. It did not take me long to find a smut piece with Elphaba and Glinda. I started reading and could not believe my eyes. Here it was, the Rosetta Stone of lesbian sex. That night Elphaba and Glinda proved there ain't no rest for the wicked or a horny teenage Jessie.
Starting that night, I began my sexual pilgrimage towards enlightenment. Hermione Granger taught me how to finger, Elphaba taught me how to wear a strap, and Carol Arid solidified my love for older women. When the 2017 movie Disobedience came out, I learned that Rachel Weisz had the power to make me invest in a fanfiction that spanned three series and over 150 chapters. I not only learned how to fuck, but how to love. Fanfictions allowed me a safe space to explore my sexuality. I was coached by characters I loved and trusted. My sexual desires were validated by the infinite number of stories written on the website.
I was having so much fun reading fanfictions. My friend and I traded X-Files smut stories back and forth for weeks, giggling about them in the hallways at school. Eventually, one of our mutual friends asked what we were reading. I excitedly told her of this magical space on the internet. She scoffed and said that I was turning into an incel. I felt instantly shameful and insecure. I realized that fanfictions were not widely accepted as literature. And I will say, as a reader, you are lucky to find a piece that has been expertly edited, or edited at all. Many people are writing in their second or third language. Some stories are so horrible you abandon them within the first sentence. It's a community of amateurs that are so inspired by something it causes them to write. It's beautiful. Plus, it gives me the same treasure-hunt thrill that I get thrift shopping — searching for the next good story that will make me feel something. I am forever grateful to the writers who were brave enough to write and share their material for public scrutiny. Their dedication really fucks, and now, so do I.
The first time I did have sex with a girl was not magical or romantic. It was a high school sleepover that went a little further. While the specifics of the night are lost to history, I do remember being very confident in the act. At this point in my life, I had been reading a lot of fanfictions. The mystery of the vagina was pretty much solved in my mind, although masturbation would still take me till my freshman year of college to figure out (that is a story for another article). What struck me most about having sex was how in-the-moment everything was. There was no time to worry about if I was doing it right or if the other girl would laugh because there was naked skin to touch. I was so absorbed I didn’t have to think; I was able to trust my body. In hindsight, this may have happened whether or not I ever found fanfiction. I think the biggest misconception about queer sex is that it is, in fact, a natural act. Queer people have been fucking since the beginning of time. At a certain point, you can let go and trust that the body knows, down to a molecular level, how to have sex, regardless of gender. However, I am grateful I found fanfictions when I did. They affirmed not only that my sexuality was valid but that other people around the world felt the same way I did.
Growing up with the internet has its downsides. I was exposed to so much at such a young and impressionable age. However, I am thankful the internet has helped spread knowledge and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout my youth, I was exposed to positive media that helped me healthily accept my sexuality. Where would I be if I had never read The Mummy Returns fanfiction where Evelyn pegs Rick with an ancient Egyptian relic? Perhaps not as dynamite in bed as I am now.
In conclusion, I am giving all who read this article the permission to love reading (or writing) smutty fanfiction -- or any fanfiction for that matter. Let there be no shame in exploring your desires. You never know; it may help a struggling teen learn how to finally give herself an orgasm. What could be more powerful?