Let me say, first off, that in fanfiction, no one actually gets hurt. Your kinks are your kinks, and if I don’t like your kinks, I will just pass them by and leave them to those who prefer reading them. This is not a judgment on anyone but myself, but I am interesting in hearing your opinions and where you've drawn your own lines. Read on, and lemme know what you think…
Now, getting down to business, I write I lot of hardcore stuff. Porn, to be frank, though usually laced with a good dose of plot. And I write, a lot, in the Supernatural and Heroes fandoms, which is chock full of a lot of the most basic squicks you can imagine. Incest is perhaps the first one.
The first incestuous pairing I ever read was Nathan and Peter Petrelli, brothers from Heroes. There is an astounding amount of very close brotherly touching and declarations of love between these two on screen, particularly in the first season. The fact that they were/are lovers practically became canon in the fandom. I had people tell me about the brotherly touching going on in Supernatural well before Heroes came along, but really, no one trumps the Petrellis when it comes to bad family touching.
Incest, in the real world, bad squick. Incest on TV, amongst two sexy men, doing it consensually, with the added barrier that I know deep down they’re unrelated actors, is kind of hot. That’s why I cheerfully ‘ship Nathan/Peter and Sam/Dean of Supernatural.
Now, there’s other incest that I just can’t handle. I won’t write it, and I rarely read it. Parent/child incest seriously squicks me out. I just can’t handle Noah/Claire, Nathan/Claire, Arthur/Peter (or any other combination of Ma and Pa Petrelli and their sons), and in a sort of tangential vein, Peter/Claire. This, I feel, violates a deep trust bond, and true consent can never be given, because of the unequal power status that exists between parent and child, which I why I can’t write it.
The second big squick I can’t handle if RPF, or Real Person Fic. Instead of having a Sam/Dean story, one would have a Jared/Jensen story, for example. This, I cannot do. I absolutely cannot read it or write it. To me, I see it as a sort of personal violation of the individual, a paparazzi-like invasion of privacy. I can guess some people write RPF so they can have the pretty visuals of the actors without the added plot, history, complications, or relationships from the shows, but I can’t handle it. This is a big brick wall in my mind.
A third big squick is mpreg, or male pregnancy. When dealing with a slash relationship, there will occasionally be a time when someone decides there should be a kid in the picture, because they want to make their favorite pairing go through all the emotional difficulties and twists and turns that come with having a child. (Or all the funny things that can happen, if the tone is humorous.) I cannot even read mpreg, nor will I write it.
I can’t handle mpreg for several reasons. One is bad science. I know, I know, my favorite fandoms are full of bad science, superpowers, and magic, but no one ever seems to come up with a really, honestly, good reason why a man should end up pregnant. I know that many of the authors of said stories are more interested in the emotions than the science of it, but to me if the whole premise of the thing falls through, the story falls through as well.
The second is… well, these stories, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, feature a slash relationship. Two men. Males. If I wanted to read a story about pregnancy, I’d go read a het story. Having a child can be a wonderful, intimate, trying time for a couple, but this is just not something that happens in a male/male relationship, in my mind. Forcing a sort of gender-bending on the couple to make this happen seems to be like forcing a square peg in a round hole.
I know someone might be desperate to see what Sylar and Mohinder’s baby might look like, but man… I can’t handle it. If I wanted to read about the pathos or intimacy of making a family in a male/male relationship, it’d be really interesting to read about the guys trying to adopt, or looking for a surrogate mother, or something of the sort. But reading about Mohinder’s cravings or Sylar’s sore ankles? Not my bag.
There are some other kinks I can’t handle, like watersports or scat. While I don’t mind bloodplay or cum-marking, the former two are a little too strange for me. I don’t find anything particularly intimate about piss, and the degradation that comes with scat I can’t handle. Using human waste on someone, in my mind, goes right beyond trust and deep into… well, I don’t even know, but it’s not just not my bag, it’s not even on the same flight. I’m on this other flight. Over there. You guys have your flight, and I have mine.
There are other kinks I handle often, ones where I’m probably also on my own flight, while the other people are in an entirely different airport. For example, I do noncon, or, to put less technical term on it, rape. Non-consensual sex. In the real world, it’s bad, it’s a horrible, horrible thing. People who do it in real life should have the most extreme punishments allowable.
But in fiction, particularly fanfiction, the use of noncon or dubcon (dubious consent) is used to force a particular emotional state. It can force the victim to a broken state where they can learn to accept love and comfort from another, or drive them into a deep angsting state for extreme emotional fics. The aggressor can also be changed dramatically by these events. Both kinds of things are so extreme that they can touch off whole new relationships, character arcs, and plot transformations.
I tend to look at noncon/dubcon fics, particularly those that are less of a PWP, as the Death card in Tarot. The Death card, far from being an indication of impending loss of life, is meant to symbolize a transformation. A well-crafted noncon/dubcon fic can effect a dramatic and interesting transformation on the characters or plot. That’s why I read and write such stories.
In an even more extreme vein, I have written snuff and death fics. The few snuff fics I’ve written I’ve actually had the victim be capable of regeneration (the victim was Peter Petrelli in both fics), so perhaps that doesn’t count quite as much. But though I don’t have any straight-up death fics posted currently (I have old pieces on my hard drive, however), it is something I’m willing to write or read.
No one wants to see their favorite character die, but actual death can provoke a strong reaction and a complete change of a character trajectory. When someone is no longer in the picture, a restraining or motivating part of a character’s life actively disappears, and you can move the character into entirely new realms. A death or snuff fic can also be a powerful transformational piece, if handled with care.
BDSM is also something I will write or read. In cases of bondage, domination/submission, or sado/masochism, there is a great deal of trust. The recipient, or sub, in the relationship must be able to completely trust his or her partner, as their life may literally be in their partner’s hands. I see BDSM-type stories as a way to explore trust issues within relationships. Trust given or broken can affect how the characters interact both with each other and the outside world.
So, these are my lines in the squick. This is where I tread, and where I dare not. So tell me, where do you draw your line, and why?