A Buffy/Wesley Resource

Sex and the Single Slayer

by Am-Chau Yarkona

Writing fanfiction at any time is an exercise in balancing known facts about your characters against your own additions to those facts. It's especially difficult when the canon doesn't give you as much information as you want/ need/ think would be interesting. Some things about Buffy, after all, are fairly well documented: Buffy's fighting abilities are pretty much a known quantity, as are her level of schooling and her feelings for her sister.

Other things, because the show is written to be fit to show on television at fairly prime-time hours and on mainstream channels, are either unclear (exactly how did the monks make Dawn?), open to interpretation (what does the word 'sire' really mean?), or can't be specified in canon—such as what Buffy can do, has done, or is willing to do in bed. Yes, folks, it says 'sex' in the title for a reason.

So, there are three things we need to look at when writing believable romantic fanfiction involving Buffy, and they roughly correspond to the three main stages of writing a story. We need to get to know the character, by examining the canon; we need to consider what might happen outside the canon; and finally, we need to look at making it believable.

To address the first one, then, let's look at the sexual situations we've seen Buffy in within canon. Throughout the history of the show (up to season six), we've seen Buffy have sex with four people: Angel, Parker, Riley, and Spike. Each one was a different situation, in which she and her partner behaved differently, but—because such is the way of things within the Jossverse—each occasion had repercussions. It's important to remember than unless you're shamelessly writing porn without plot, Jossverse sex must always have consequences. As we'll see, Buffy's emotions will always be involved in sex, and that alone produces long lasting effects.

This is clearest with Parker. With Angel, the repercussions, while they had a strong emotional side, were very much mystical: Parker, on the other hand, is not about to lose his soul. We'll consider the events of 'Surprise' and how they affect Buffy as a sexual being later, but for now, it seems helpful to look at the season four episodes which deal with Parker: 'Living Conditions', 'The Harsh Light of Day', 'Fear Itself' and 'Beer Bad'.

Parker is a oddity in Buffy's sexual history: the second guy she slept with, he also only spent one night with her, but for purely human, rather than mystical, reasons. Unlike the others, who were long standing characters, recurring characters who became regulars, people she got to know before she slept with them, Parker was a short-term character who only appeared in four episodes but must, nevertheless, have had an impact on Buffy's attitudes towards sex—making her aware that sex on a first date is a bad idea, if nothing else.

Angel was there from her earliest days in Sunnydale and they dated for nearly a year; Riley she got to know faster, but also lasted about a year; Spike had been known for nearly five years, and been known to be hopelessly in love with her for at least a year before she slept with him. These people were well known to her, if not always friends.

So, what do we have so far?

Buffy has had sex. She's had it more than once. Even before Riley comes onto the scene, Buffy is no longer a virgin, by any stretch of the imagination.

She's been hurt by Angel, because sex in that case has consequences of a massive order—she slept with him, and he turned evil. She was hurt by Parker: she slept with him, and then he was bored and moved on to try and pick up another girl. There's a definite 'sex is bad' trend here, and you couldn't blame her for avoiding guys for a while, and for going slowly when Riley appeared.

Leaving aside whatever may have taken place with Spike in 'Something Blue' (and no, I don't really think they had sex then, but there's always the possibility), her next sexual encounter is with Riley, in 'The I in Team'. (To give you some context: they kissed in 'Hush' and 'Doomed'; by 'A New Man' there was heavy groping.)

From there on in, it seemed that they were having sex on a regular basis—in 'Who Are You', Riley was quite comfortable with Faith-in-Buffy walking into his room and initiating sex (although he didn't pick up that it wasn't really Buffy). At that point, he also proclaims his love for her.

The relationship didn't go well, mainly because Buffy wasn't as emotionally involved as Riley was ("I love her but she doesn't love me"), but it often looks like Buffy is offering physical closeness in an attempt to make up for that emotional distance. For more details, watch 'Where The Wild Things Are' (before the problems appear, but still very important). Note, for example, that Buffy and Riley use condoms; and that they don't seem too worried about who's on top. While this is all left open to the viewer's interpretation, it seems likely that they experimented quite a bit—they both have enquiring minds, they're open to new experiences, they like having sex… different positions, oral sex, other things maybe.

The common fanon story that Buffy smells like vanilla (it's nowhere stated in canon, and probably started from an interview with SMG) doesn't mean that her sexual tastes are vanilla, though they needn't be that far out.

Anyway, by mid-season five, the cracks are appearing in Buffy and Riley's relationship (see 'Shadow', where Spike tells Riley about Joyce's illness, because Buffy hasn't), and by 'Into The Woods', it's all over. Riley leaves Sunnydale, despite a last moment attempt on Buffy's part to prevent him, and Buffy's alone again.

It's nearly another year before Buffy has another sexual encounter—she was dead for a good chunk of it, though. This time, it's with Spike, whose crush on Buffy has been growing for a long time (since before Riley left, in fact). She began by resisting him, and carried on with that for ages: right until end of 'Once More With Feeling', when they kiss for the second time (the first not taking place under the influence of a spell was at the end of 'Intervention'.)

In 'Smashed', then, Buffy and Spike have sex—and it's not the tender, passionate thing that her previous encounters have been. It wasn't romantic. It wasn't sweet. It was dark, even dangerous. Things got broken. Things like *a building*.

Following that, there were a series of other times with Spike (in various places—back alley, Bronze, and of course the crypt), and her dislike grew. She hated herself for going to him, because she didn't love him (yes, there is some oddity there. Riley thought she didn't love him, either—whether she did or not is a matter of personal opinion). Spike and Buffy had sex a lot. "Five hours" Spike says, in 'As You Were'. There was, we know from 'Wrecked', screaming. And a large number of "times". Oh, they had sex—and given that Spike says, " I know where you live now, Slayer. I've tasted it," it's highly likely that oral sex was involved. (And possibly quite a lot of other things. Spike's a vampire. He likes being hurt. Buffy's trying to escape her depression, feel something real. Who knows what they found in that abandoned building to use as a 'toy'? It wasn't planned, sure, but they're both capable of being inventive.)

Finally, in 'As You Were', having seen Riley and his wife, Sam, she dumps Spike, telling him that "I'm just ... being weak, and selfish... and it's killing me." She feels that sex is an indulgence—it feels good, but it's not something she can't live without. Her self respect, which she's losing by sleeping with a man she doesn't love, is.

To sum up the canon, then: Buffy has had a series of sexual encounters—with Angel, whom she loved and killed; with Parker, who hurt her; with Riley, to whom she offered a very physical relationship, although it lacked emotional closeness; and finally with Spike, although she hated herself for them. In the space of those relationships, Buffy's gained quite an amount of experience. She's taken risks and been through emotional trauma. She's learned—that sex is fun, sometimes dangerous, but not vital, perhaps. She has yet to be in an emotionally healthy sexual relationship. It's another one where you have to decide for yourself.

To correct a few common fic writer's myths: yes, she probably does give blow jobs (my money's on her doing a fair bit of practicing on Riley). Yes, she may well be as happy on the top as the bottom—but she probably isn't stuck into a habit of not climaxing unless she's in her preferred position. No, she does not sleep with every guy in sight. Yes, she will be a bit nervous the first time with someone new. No, she will not be so scared she'll run away and try to hang herself.

That's the canon evidence. You don't have to work with it—Alternative Universes (A.U.s) can be very successful—but be aware of it. Buffy doesn't have to be exactly as she is on the show, especially if you can demonstrate why she's not, how she's changed or grown, but she does have to bear some resemblance, or she's not Buffy any more.

One last thing: be inventive, and have fun. Indulge your quirks. Use your imagination. Get a beta reader. Don't try everything you write about at home.

Author's notes: for purposes of this essay, I've looked only at Buffy as the Slayer. We've seen two others and some potentials, but they aren't our focus here—although it is interesting to compare Buffy and Faith when it comes to attitudes to sex, that would need a whole essay to itself.