You’re My Idol: K-pop Erotica Was My Gateway to Online Smut

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When I decided to study abroad in South Korea, all I knew of Korean pop music was Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Within three months of my move, I discovered a world of online erotica dedicated to these pop groups and immaculate musicians. I’m not sure if erotica has become more popular of late or if I’m just becoming more aware of it. Regardless, it’s exciting, in more ways than one, for fans to dig into the sexy side of the people and universes they love most.

K-Pop Stan Culture Is A World of Its Own

In the last few years, K-pop has become immensely popular due to the success of groups like BTS and Blackpink. Though this genre of music may have started back in the 1950s, the modern culture of idolizing the artist, similar to ‘stan’ culture, began in the 1990s. Complete with coordinated fan chants and lightsticks, audiences around the world show genuine devotion to their favorite artists. Whether loving one member more than the others or declaring war on another group’s fanbase, favoritism takes on different forms for today’s fans.

Stan culture is a global phenomenon impacting the fan bases of One Direction and Five Seconds of Summer. Whether threatening to kill a fellow fan or attempting to cancel celebrities, stans can be overzealous and toxic. In South Korea, obsessive fans are known as “sasaengs” and receive lots of criticism. Some of these fans have reportedly broken into idols’ apartments, kissed them in their sleep, sent them notes written in blood, and more.

Specific terms and lingo are used in the K-pop fandom, pulling from the English and Korean languages. Online, there are lists of phrases to learn, suggesting fans need to know them to be considered a fan and to understand that world. Like with other fandoms, language can help encourage commitment, belonging, exclusiveness, and community.

K-pop fans often choose a bias, or favorite member, from the groups they support. For example, my bias from BTS is RM. If fans choose to follow and champion multiple groups, then they have a whole buffet of biases to choose from. Additionally, fans may have “bias wreckers,” or other members who make it difficult to stay true and loyal to one’s bias. In my case, Jungkook gives RM a run for my money.

Sex Sells

In the world of K-pop, celebrities and artists working in the field are nearly worshipped, to the point of being called idols. “No dating” clauses are often included in contracts to maintain an image of the star’s availability, among other reasons. To ham up his perceived singledom, BTS’s Suga once asked fans to keep their ring fingers open for his marriage proposal. Further, K-pop music and videos will embrace romance and sex appeal. From flashing abs in BTS’s “No More Dream” choreography to Sistar’s self-explanatory lyrics for “Touch My Body,” K-pop confirms that sex sells. Erotica almost seems like the next logical step.

The life of a fan goes far beyond the stage or screen. Fan fiction is characteristic of countless fandoms including Harry Potter and Twilight. Where there’s vanilla romance, there’s the smuttiest smut lying just below the surface. Even 50 Shades of Grey started as Twilight fan fiction. Whether written as a scene or sketched as erotic art, the celebrities we follow take on new lives and stories. Fans are endlessly creative, giving each other new material to engage with, even if it’s not “cannon.”

K-Pop Smut Is Bigger Than You Think

Online K-pop smut pages are often categorized by music groups, members, themes, and/or kinks. Sometimes, writers create work from readers’ requests. While some pieces consist of one scene, others become full-fledged series. It plays into unattainable fantasies, imaginable, but not really sexual conquests, to dive into a lewd and improbable scene. Yes, reading “your name” or “y/n” can dampen the mood, but inclusion is sexy as well. 

In the world of K-pop smut, fans often seek literature that features their biases, bias wreckers, and perhaps the occasional group-crossover episode. Elaborate escapism is a big draw for fans. One smut writer said, “Instead of trying to find smut of the idols I want, I decided to try writing them myself.” Another said, “I was inspired to write by all the kpop [girl group] smut writers before me. I had a couple story ideas and wanted to write about idols that are underrepresented, so here I am.” We enter a new world with unique traditions, fans, and jargon and then create our own special universe within it. 

BTS’s music video for “Dope” took my K-pop virginity. Those four minutes and seventeen seconds of perfection changed the course of my life. Each member donned a different professional uniform. Doctors and detectives and race car drivers! Oh my! I’m sure Jungkook’s famous police officer garb has inspired many erotic dreams around the world.

I didn’t know what was more fun about K-pop: the music itself or enjoying it with friends. One night, my fanatic friends and I geeked out over cringy smut in a hostel. Another night, we read a fanfiction I wrote myself. I was deep in this world, spending more hours than I’d like to admit roaming the best erotic offerings of Tumblr and Wattpad. And when stories didn’t suffice, I’d make my way over to YouTube for adult rounds of Would You Rather. Would I rather take a body shot off of J-Hope or have V watch you undress? Both! Please!

Is K-Pop Erotica Ethical?

Do I worry about offending the idols who inspire these erotic episodes? Of course. Consent makes sex sexy, but what about the literature written and shared without the approval of the celebrities who serve as the main characters? Would Jimin support an imaginary threesome with G-Dragon and Jackson Wang?

As a writer, I prioritize the consent of those I write about. As a fan, I respect my favorite idols’ right to privacy and choice to not be included in content no matter how erotic. So many times before, we’ve heard about the pros and cons of social media. People can express themselves, connect with others, and make K-pop a global phenomenon. On the other hand, creators can go unchecked, and consent can be disregarded. I’m even guilty of writing fan fiction without the permission of those who inspired it, but I don’t have Chanyeol on speed dial.

Although I’m not the zealous fan I used to be, I’m grateful for K-pop erotica. It helped my late-blooming self explore my sexuality while technically refining my reading skills. Since my smutty discovery, I’ve even published erotica myself. Is it my greatest achievement? Probably not, but it’s entertaining and fun.

Yes, considering the countless ways the thirteen members of Seventeen could match up in a threesome hasn’t made a direct impact on my personal growth. However, I’m more confident and expressive thanks to this imaginative, sometimes-too-much section of the online world. Smut and erotica are often treated as taboo genres, but there is something inspiring about the creativity, expression, and contribution of fans who stake their flags in the sexy camp of their fandoms.

Like imagination games for adults, online smut taps into pleasure while utilizing fundamental skills including comprehension and visualization. Pair it with fandoms, and you’ve got millions of adults having fun with sex. Although it can be cringy, it can be uplifting. It’s a beautiful thing to support creators, to connect with people who love something as much as you do, and to simply enjoy life.