Before getting into the subject I would like to personally thank all of my female friends on LiveJournal who took the time to share their thoughts. I have quoted within the body, sans names of course, some of the replies I had. Without you ladies there would have been no where to start with this Meta. I adore you all and now on with the fun.
I haven’t been in the writing business very long, but it’s definitely been interesting so far what I’ve learned. When it comes to my fellow writers I’ve found there is a sense of humor about them, but at the same time, they take their writing serious. I’ve seen discussions on cover art, what is considered sexy, grammar rules, etc. One of the thoughts that I’ve seen voiced more than once not just in my short career as a published writer, but in my everyday life is—why do heterosexual women read, write, and purchase m/m erotica.
Good question. I was one of those women in my younger years that asked a similar question to men. I used to put my male friends on the spot in my early twenties by asking the following question:
Why is it that heterosexual men love the idea of two women together in bed, but heterosexual women don’t love the idea of two men in bed together?
Oh, for the years of naïve youthfulness.
I discovered the internet nearly a decade ago and was immediately shocked to find that my assumption that women didn’t appreciate m/m erotica was definitely just that—naïve. You see I discovered fandom. You may or may not know what that is, but here is a quick rundown. Every television show known to humankind has a fan base, some larger than others. This is nothing new, but the availability of the internet has made fandom explode in the past twenty years. Like-minded people of all ages, racial backgrounds, and sexual orientations from across the globe had come together to share their views on their favorite programs. In that mix were what fandom has come to know as slash writers a reference to the backslash separating the names of the two characters that the writer chose to pair.
Purely, by chance I came across a fan site for a popular series at the time—a little show by the name of the X-files. You might have heard of it. *chuckles* I had no idea what Pandora’s Box I was about to open and if I had never opened it I might not be writing this today. It was as if a new world had been discovered and I was both shocked and titillated by what I found. I quickly discovered that not only did heterosexual women appreciate man on man action, but also that it was quite common. There were even groups dedicated to certain pairings where fans discussed the why and how of their particular pairing. Most slash writers were women some heterosexual and others bi-sexual, a small percentage were gay or bi-sexual men, and trust me they all took their slash serious.
It was my secret kink for a long time, but never did I imagine I would write it. Now nearly a decade later, three fandoms, and hundreds of stories later I’m professionally writing m/m erotica. The question posed at the beginning of this blog got me thinking and I posed the question to a few of my friends on-line. I was surprised at the range of answers I received although it was a small cross section of females.
One friend stated, "I am so busy I don’t have time to just fantasize about one man at a time, I must maximize the fantasy."
Another said, "I think that it’s because as a straight woman, I am attracted to men. I want to imagine doing to a man, not read about what is being done to a woman."
Many of my friends agreed as I do that sometimes we just can’t relate to the women in your traditional romances. We range in age from 19 to 50 plus and we’re everything from college students to legal professionals and stay at home moms to blue-collar workers. The one thing we definitely have in common is that we are usually self-sufficient, strong, intelligent women, and although we may be married, in a relationship, or single we don’t need a man to rescue us. We’re looking for something we find sexy, beautiful, and not the normal roses, candy, and sweet kisses fantasy. We love men and we love their bodies, and we want to imagine how it can be between two men in an intimate relationship behind closed doors. To those of us who read and write m/m erotica the image of two men together can be very provocative, something unique that titillates us in a way that traditional romance cannot.
Some other direct comments I received were the following:
"I want to write strong people who go against the system and as yet I haven’t fallen in love with the strong women I’ve read in romances (more so in fantasy and sci-fi pro-fic) – they’re usually subverted by the patriarchy at the end of the tale."
"In the general every day, I will find myself more drawn to slash for the sake of something that breaks out of the norm and further, it’s just hot. Just as some men love to watch two women together, I would like to see two men."
"I think too that I like the dynamic that two men have that you just don’t seem to get with a man and woman. You have these two men, submitting to each other to give pleasure, sometimes it’s rough and tumble, which I love, and sometimes it’s open and emotional, which I love too."
"I’m a woman, I know how a female body works, I see it every day, no surprises there (sort of). But male bodies 🙂 They are kind of a mystery, I don’t know them very well, and they are kind of exotic to me."
"I just love seeing muscles move under taut skin, broad shoulders, narrow waist, oh and that V that starts at the hip and disappears in their jeans; and arms, well defined masculine arms. That stuff gets me going and I just wanna touch ’em all over. I’ve read some het and find it rather boring."
As you can see, there are as many answers to this question as there are sexual positions. I believe for every woman out there who loves m/m erotica there are different reasons for their love of it. Anything ranging from curiosity to just simply finding something unique that speaks to their sexual desires. With the influx of female writers, there may have been a softening around the edges of the traditional m/m erotica. That is to be expected because above and beyond all else women often put more emphasis on the emotional element of their relationships with men, where as men (at least heterosexual men) are more into the physical aspects.
Why in a world where a woman’s place in society is changing daily, where women seek equality with their male counterparts, and prove their worth in jobs often traditionally thought of as male positions, would our tastes in what we find sexually charging not change as well? Our mothers, grandmothers, and so forth sacrificed a great deal to get us to this point and our educations have opened our eyes to so much more in the world. Such shows as Sex in the City showed younger generations that it was acceptable to be sexual beings and still be a woman.
In my humble opinion, we all find that we have a desire to see men through different eyes. We seek to conquer the final frontier the bedroom and the sexuality we see as being something we should both enjoy. We find comfort in the idea that love, both emotional and physical, can exist between two men. We view it perhaps as a perfect relationship—a partnership of equals both in and outside of the bedroom. And we hope that sometime in the future that all men not just a few will accept and embrace a woman as an equal without feeling they’ve been emasculated.
Until then we’ll walk a mile in a man’s shoes and find what we desire in the fantasy of doing and not being done.