GLBT

I write Male/Male Romance because…

“Why do you write that?”

I know I’m not the only female M/M romance writer to get that question. I’ve gotten it from super close friends more often than people who barely know me, though I recently got it from my seat mate on a plane too.

It’s not an easy answer, at least not one that can be thrown out with a sassy quip, as much as I wish it could be. That would mean I didn’t answer the question truthfully.

“Why not?” is the answer I often hear from other M/M writers. It’s quicker than what I’m about to say, that’s for sure. I’ve even answered that way to be done with the conversation, but maybe I just need to make my response a list for quicker reading. Yes. Here we go! I’m sure it will be far from complete.

  1. When I write M/M romance, I get to put blinders on to all the misogyny M/F romance novels glorify. I don’t have to step anywhere near the rape culture prevalent in romance that pretty much makes me want to hurl. With M/M romance I’m dealing with characters who have equal power, even if they truly don’t. They are often better matched physically, but the social mores are in place to not have a victim just because of perceived weakness unless I choose for there to be a victim, which I do, on occasion. But guess what? That’s my choosing, not societal pressure, not gender stereotypes, and certainly not because of the way our bodies have developed after ages of evolution!
  2. Men together are fricking beautiful. I love the male body and the struggle so many men have between being too hard and too soft. Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m not talking turgor pressure in their cocks. I’m talking about men feeling they need to be masculine but wanting to give into some of those “feminine” desires. Again, this goes back to the misogyny thing. How about letting people be who they feel they need to be?
  3. Social issues.  Being a social scientist, I love to look at how people are treated in society. The M/M romance genre allows me the opportunity to hit on so many relevant issues. If I can make just one person in this world stop to think twice about their assumptive beliefs, I’ve done my job. I changed my 70-something-year-old mom’s mind. I can change anyones. (I really don’t have a God complex, I’m just hopeful.)
  4. I get to freely use words like cock and taint and balls and rimming and all sorts of yummy words that have so many wonderful meanings/actions. What can be wrong with that?
  5. This might be simple, but I do love men. I love the way men smell and feel. I love the scritch of stubble on my skin and the musk of sweat that only comes with a man. I love writing about a man losing his sense of reservation when he finally allows another man to slide a finger in his ass and when he enjoys the vulnerability he experiences from that. I especially love it when that man lets go enough to let himself enjoy something he’s been told for ages is shameful. How many of us women have been told having an orgasm or even enjoying sex was shameful? We are kindred spirits with our gay brethren. We understand each other in a unique way.

That’s far from a complete list, but it’s at least a start to get us talking.

What do you love about M/M romance? I really wanna hear!

~Books I’ve written.

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23 thoughts on “I write Male/Male Romance because…”

  1. Yes! Yes to all of these things! I’ve been asked by the two people I’ve felt comfortable enough to talk about my books with why I would read MM. This is why I do! I think I really love the strength of two men. If a MC bottoms he does it from a place of strength, a comfortableness with his own sexuality, no matter how hard fought. This is so different from the ‘ravished heroine’ in MF books, the woman always inherently has less power. Thanks for the post!

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    1. OMG! Yes! I actually said that out loud! I was asked this recently in a place where I probably shouldn’t have been talking about M/M romance, but one of the things I said in that situation was this: “Male/Female romance is harder to write because of all the underlying power dynamics intrinsic to gender. It screws up their relationships. That’s not something I want to sort out when writing romance.” As you can imagine, I got a lot of blank stares. haha.

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  2. You probably got blank stares because even for us women, those gender stereotypes are so ingrained we don’t even see them half the time.

    I like writing m/m romance because…um…yeah. I never know how to answer that question either. Men being vulnerable is a powerful image for me, I guess, and to some extent, men don’t have to be vulnerable in front of women, and it’s often an element I find missing in m/f romances. Even when it does happen, it’s a sort of grudging vulnerability that inevitably makes the woman feel like she’s crossed some line to make him feel that way. Or it comes about only after he’s been near mortally wounded and has no choice. I don’t know. Maybe because a guy who has accepted that he can fall in love with another guy has already shed some outer layer of defensiveness that makes him and his inner life more attractive and worth exploring.

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  3. okay…second attempt at a comment….stupid login…mutter…mutter….

    So, why? I’ve never really had a good answer to the question, either, and maybe the reason you got such blank looks was because those gender stereotypes are so ingrained, they’re almost invisible, even to us women.

    As for me, the idea of men being vulnerable is a very powerful idea to me. It happens in m/f romance, I suppose, but often only when the guy is at death’s door, or in such a way that once he’s shown how vulnerable he can be, the woman has to throw him a macho bone and pretend it never happened, or that it doesn’t matter, and if she can’t do that, somehow, she’s made to feel like she’s crossed some line. I don’t know. It never seems to last or feel genuine. By the time a guy in our culture can look at the idea that he can fall maddly in love with another guy and be okay with it, a lot of that impenetrable shielding has already fallen away just so he can go to that place be comfortable with himself. Being vulnerable ceases to be about how tough and manly you can be at the same time, but about how much strength that vulnerability actually reveals in a guy. Does that even make any sense?

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    1. Yes, yes, yes, Jaime! Yes! I’m married to a man who far from lives up to “societal social expectation.” I think that’s part of why he appreciates what I write. Doctor Who should win out over Captain America (hubs choice cuz CA serves blindly). But isn’t that is? As women we are ‘trained’ (gag!) so early to serve blindly that we don’t even realize it, do we?

      Vulnerable men give of themselves freely in M/M romance compared to the reluctant, “Oh shit, she’s tying me to the headboard,” bullshit that we read in M/F before we jumped the shark and landed in the glorious reality of M/M. Right?

      I’m so with you, Jaime. Your thoughts are so much my own. We were good roomies, but I suspect we might be even more. #soulmates 😉

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    2. Yes, Yes YES!. One of the things I love about our genre can be summed up in two words: “Men cry.”

      Not just because their mother died or they’re having a flashback from The War (and both of these can make for good scenes in the right hands) or any other gender acceptable reason we allow men to feel stuff, but because the one they love just left or betrayed them, or the world just isn’t fair or they’re having a panic attack or it’s that part of Bambi that they’ve never gotten over or a myriad of other reasons where crying is an okay reaction. Because men in real life have moments where tears or other moments of high emotion are the reaction, and we love them for it.

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      1. The whole “real men don’t cry” thing is so far from reality that I want a T-shirt that actually says Real Men DO Cry, it’s the fake ones that don’t.

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  4. Ugh. WordPress so defeats me!! lol! But yes, I agree. It’s so much fun to be in a room full of other m/m authors who “get it”. But even better is when you find that other writer who seems to understand where you’re coming from before you’ve really said anything 🙂

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  5. …cause its sexy. Who needs a better reason? 😉

    I’ve never written a straight (pun intended) M/M romance (planning to remedy that soon), but I have done a shameful amount of slash fanfiction, and I agree with you that the gender/power dynamics are way more interesting.

    I’ve actually read that the majority of M/M writers and readers are female. I don’t know if that still holds up, but its a pretty fascinating statistic.

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    1. I think you’re right about most readers and writers. I find that very interesting too. I want to plaster that on my car, just so more people will read.

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  6. It’s hard to concentrate on an answer because I’m distracted by the scene at the right….but…I’ll give you the short answer. I like it.

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  7. Ha, good question! I have never told any of my family or friends that I write M/M NC17 stuff. But it’s a turn on to be honest. I like the testosterone that oozes from guys who make out. We women are controlled by our feminine hormones for most of our lives, and I hated it. Men just want each other, and they act on it. I always went to gay disco’s and bars and loved the atmosphere.

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    1. I love the whole “just enjoy it” thing guys more easily do too. Again there are some of those social things that are fun to play with.

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  8. Interesting blog post and question. This topic (and others) have been churning around in my mind quite a bit lately, but not sure i particularly want to get into debates over it. I just want to write stories that i find interesting/what floats my boat, and hope others can find some enjoyment from it as well.

    There’s so many reasons and possibilities why women would write and read solely from a male POV. Some women clearly identify more as male, and writing/reading this POV can (for want of a better phrase) play out this fantasy*.

    (*That’s a lame expression, but forgive me, im tired and i have a cold!)

    Fantasy is a good word, though. Erotica and romance are definitely fantasies, albeit the author’s. Sometimes readers can share that fantasy.

    I’ve got theories over why certain readers prefer to read certain styles of characters. Let’s have two examples. First there’s ‘openly gay men’ as opposed to ‘gay for you’ themes, where the latter characters would be straight-acting, or presumably ‘straight’ until ‘turned’ (again, eyeroll at my phrasing, but you get what i mean, right?)
    Some readers really stick to one ‘theme’/type of character. That’s their preference. Has it to do with sexual preferences? Are they attracted to the characters they’re reading? (One would presume ‘yes’, because in romance the majority of readers read for the love scenes, right? or did i miss the point entirely???)

    There are some readers who refuse to read one style of character, let’s say ‘Gay for you’, over another. Why is this? Are real life preferences reflecting reading preferences?
    Going by my own experience/views, i would say yes, that is likely.

    Questions of gender identity, bi sexuality and role playing are what’s on my mind, as even i try to understand why a certain style of story appeals to me as a person, or the next person…

    So, *so* many questions there. Not even sure i want to get involved in debates, myself, but im sure this topic will be ‘around’ until more people are brave enough to voice what we’re only just discovering/thinking about.

    It’s all very interesting.

    I also wish people (especially the ‘armchair dictators’ online) would be a little less quick to judge, and a little more accepting in general. Seems to be a lot of enforced ‘equality’ views for certain ‘areas’ of the rainbow, and not others, IMO.

    Women seem to be getting the raw end of the deal, too, when women should really be being championed here as pushing what could be a minute speck of a genre forward into what could possibly be quite mainstream for *all* readers to enjoy.

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    1. I think we are all lucky to have found this genre because it really does float my boat and there is something for everyone who’s looking. I agree there are sure more areas of the rainbow represented than others. That’s one reason I’m writing about a drag queen right now. His voice needs to be heard.

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      1. I’ve got a story with part-time drag queen (full time accountant, but that’s just complicated) in the plot planning stages, I can’t wait to see what you do!

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  9. I posted a huge “Why I Read M/M” article on my tumblr months and months ago, but I’m pretty sure the reasons why I WRITE are about the same.

    I like men. And I like all sorts of men. M/F romances don’t really seem to deal with different sorts of men. If there was a story were a girl fell for a straight (or even bi) but flamboyant guy, I’d pick it up in a heartbeat. Until then, I’m just not into reading another story with either the puffed up alpha male or the emotionally distant broody guy who gets the girl who is the magical ExLax to their emotional constipation. In M/M we can get those guys, if they’re your cup of tea, AND we get flamboyant guys who can kick anyone’s ass, skinny alphas, big buff bottoms, hunky fathers with a panty fetish, submissives who fall in love with each other and make it work, men of nearly all shapes, sizes, races, personalities. These men talk to me, they want me to tell their stories too. And what isn’t there yet (I’ve got a plot bunny where two flamboyant men (the aforementioned drag queen and a former model) get together, and that was born out of wanting to see more like meets like romances), we can create.

    And it’s wonderful.

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    1. Oh, I so agree!!! I stopped reading M/F romance ages ago because the men and women seemed like cardboard cut outs. That can happen in M/M stories too, but the characters can be so much more diverse.

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