Last Wednesday, in my unceasing quest for knowledge, I asked this question on the blog and on Livejournal – “What do we really know about the male prostate?” My reason for asking was due to what seemed to be an over emphasis on hitting this gland in M/M romances in terms of enjoying anal sex. I wanted to get answers from people who have some knowledge in this area – gay men – since really they are the only ones who would know the answer and could speak authoritatively on the subject. Were the feelings attributed to “hitting” this gland what they experienced during anal sex and was this the “prime directive” *g*?
For those of you joining us late as they say on TV, I wrote this post initially because I found some aspects of M/M romance books repetitive – almost copycat. Obviously, a lot of this has to do with the fact that I read so many in order to review them, but regardless how many or how few books you read you may find, like I did, that there was not a lot of originality in the sexual department. OK, sex has been around forever and you may say that there’s not a great deal that’s original anymore. However, a high percentage of M/M romances seem to place what appeared to be an undue importance on stimulation of the male prostate in the context of enjoying teh buttsecks, going by the number of times the prostate is mentioned. This by no means implies that I do not find these books enjoyable, au contraire most of them are, and while some may be repetitive, that can be said for het romances and other forms of literature as well, so there is no criticism here – implied or otherwise.
Many of you responded either with valuable information or you asked your own questions or made other related observations on this topic. Thanks to all of the respondents to my unofficial “survey” either on the blog, Livejournal or by email. I should mention that some of the responses made me quickly realize that my question was probably too narrowly defined, but I can’t change that now so here are the summary results –
The general consensus was that while stimulating the prostate does indeed play a large part in the enjoyment of anal sex between men, some guys felt it was over-emphasized, that the pleasure experienced was certainly not to the degree mentioned in M/M books, and that everyone’s response was different.
Quoted below are a few highlights although the names have been omitted to protect the innocent *g*. The full comments are available on the blog or on my Livejournal page and the links are at the end of this post –
“That’s one of the things I have discovered when reading a lot of m/m erotica. It can get a bit repetitive because everyone is repeating the same tried and true formula…bottom means submissive, sex means love, love must mean sex, gay couples want to fuck all the time. What excites me in m/m erotica/romance is when someone veers away from what everyone *believes* to be true and ventures off to explore what might be true”
“Every relationship I’ve ever had (sexual or otherwise) has been very dynamic and fluid. And seldom was it what it seemed to be from those looking at the relationship”
“What annoys me sometimes is that some books describe the whole experience pretty one dimensional. The one being fucked doesn’t necessarily have to be the one being passive and giving up control, but this (is the) way it’s described in a lot of books. He can very well be the active part(ner) and the one in charge. I for example tend to be very aggressive when I bottom”
“I would say that the stimulation of the prostate is only a part of the whole experience of being fucked, even though it definitely plays a major part when it comes to the orgasm. During sex I would say the feeling of being entered, feeling the other guy move inside of you and the stimulation of the prostate are equally important parts of the fucking amazing experience of being fucked. *g*”
“I’ve found that some of the descriptions of guy’s responses to prostatic stimulation seem a little bit over the top to me. Don’t get me wrong – it feels great to have your prostate massaged, and having it nailed by a hard co…er…um…penis…can be pure heaven, but I have never had the mind-blowing, white-light experiences that I read in these stories. Part of it may be due to the fact that I’ve never been an avid bottom, or an avid fan of anal sex, for that matter. For me, prostate stimulation is only a small part of the overall experience, and really no more important than the smell of a sweaty armpit, the feel of a lover’s lips on my neck, or a tongue sliding along the sole of my foot (one of my personal favorites). What I’m getting at is, there are other parts of the male anatomy to explore – think about going there, too”
“Specifically, I find that contact with the prostate can intensify an orgasm, but not bring one on without additional friction. Most of the pleasure or excitement comes from the fact that your partner is inside you, that he’s enjoying it, and so forth. But then, 90% of sex is in the mind, I suppose. As for ‘what it feels like,’ well, the sensation of fullness and pressure is distinct; contact with the prostate is erotic, but indistinctly so. As I said, it’s unlikely to bring on orgasm all by itself; it’s more like contact with the nipples or inner thigh, or some other ‘secondary’ erogenous zone.”
One unexpected revelation
“I haven’t really read these male-on-male romances written by women you refer to, but I have noticed that on certain TV shows and movies, anal sex tends to predominate whenever a gay couple is featured. Maybe I should mention that that’s not a very accurate representation. Every person/couple is different, but some guys, especially younger ones, don’t do penetration at all; some do only on rare occasions; and many do it along with a variety of activities. Other things may be preferred. I thought you might want to know this, in the interests of … accuracy.”
There was a brief clarification this evening to the above comment from the author “I didn’t intend to say that younger men, as a group, tend not to favour anal sex; it’s just that being younger, and therefore probably less experienced, means that they’re less likely to have tried it or to have developed a taste for it.”
An important point that I missed earlier
” I have to say that I for one actually find prostate massage doesn’t really do much for me either digital stimulation or otherwise. Maybe I (have) just been with the wrong guys, but for me, the sphincter contraction is far more stimulating. So …. all the talk of prostate in m/m fiction is almost stuff I skim.”
“on the secondary question regarding realism … Male/female romance literature isn’t realistic either. I’ve read hundreds of them over the past few years as part of my work, which is not a huge sample, I know, but I do know this: the orgasm via intercourse fantasy isn’t restricted to m/m stories. Over and over again, female characters come from fucking. Based on research by various scientists and social scientists, the consensus is about only a 1/3 of real-life women orgasm from intercourse. So why is the myth repeated in stories? For myself and many readers, romance and erotica are an escape, a getaway from Real Life. The necessity for huge amounts of awkward realism is limited. Readers want the fantasy. And you can quote me.”
There were a couple of responses from female M/M authors one of which would seem to indicate a “changing of the guard”
“I love the mention of contrasts. I think a lot of authors focus on passive vs aggressive characters because we’ve been “trained” to think in alpha and beta measures when it comes to men in romance. I’ve fallen into that pitfall myself a time or two, but I’d like to think I’m slowly working my way out of that frame of mind. Hearing men speak about gay romance certainly helps. Up till now all I’ve ever seen men comment on was the overabundance of emotional angst in romance. Frankly, that’s one of my favorite staples of the genre. ;)”
and another opinion
“I can’t speak for all m/m authors, but I personally focus on prostate stimulation in my m/m stories for a few reasons. I like to describe how it is from the receiving end so that female readers who may not be too keen on anal sex, but are well aware of heightened vaginal intercourse due to stimulation of their clitoris or, yes, even the elusive G-spot, can better relate to the sensations experienced by the character. I also like to show the top’s knowledge of where to find the prostate and how to best stimulate it for the same reasons my het heroes know what the clitoris is for — nothing sexier than a man who will take some time with his partner and ensure their pleasure before his own!”
What I found to be most surprising this past week was the number of gay men who were willing to speak candidly and openly in the interest of accuracy. Clearly, gay romantic relationships are not as one dimensional as they are depicted in some M/M romance books (or erotica for that matter), and the respondents stated that there was too much emphasis on the sexual aspect of these unions. Is that like saying maybe there is not as much action taking place on the other side of the sheets as women believe? Who knew?*g*
I would like to thank everyone who replied for the frankness of your responses – from the M/M authors to gay men who wanted to ensure that there is a more accurate depiction of their romantic lives in these stories. Clearly, gay romantic relationships are just as complex as het ones. Just in case you were wondering, there will not be a similar survey about oral sex although there was an interesting observation :). Also, I don’t plan to cover the female anatomy – The Vagina Monologues has explored that quite extensively I believe :). But there may be something else in the future that my little pea brain might ask you to respond to *g* Sorry about the length of this post folks – Josh Lanyon would probably comment that it’s like my interviews :), but I wanted to give you a representative sample of the comments for those of you who do not have the time to read the posts.