Why do we love thee?

AA3This post is inspired by a poll on Afterelton which asks women to vote on why they love gay men in movies and television. I have run many polls about sex in M/M books and other related topics, but I was wondering about whether there are similarities between movies, television, M/M books and real life.

We  love our M/M books. According to one publisher (Amber Allure) that I interviewed recently, their percentage of M/M books released compared to straight erotica and non-erotic titles has increased over a 6 month period to the point where it is now 80% of their total output. Clearly we love gay romances but why the explosion of interest NOW? It can’t be the Internet because that’s been there forever. It can’t be the fact that publishers are releasing M/M stories. They have been doing that for a number of years. So is there something in the food or are the guys throwing  fairy dust at us? 😀

 Why do so many women – bi, straight, and lesbian love to read about romances between  gay men?
Is it because it’s somehow forbidden?
Do you just love the fantasy?
Do you think gay characters are more sexy than straight ones?
Is it because there is not the usual” traditional” female roles in the book e.g. damsel in distress, TSTL heroines so you can enjoy the stories?
Is it because two guys together are just hot and really, really cool?
Is it because the men are  unattainable?
Do women see gay couples as more romantic than straight couples?
All of the above? None of the above?

What about metrosexuals? Do you like to fantasize whether they are gay?

In real life some women say they have gay male friends because they like typical female pursuits such as shopping, cooking, decorating etc. They can even go to the spa with their favourite gay man. However, this is a stereotype because some gay men are hunter/gatherers just like straight men. In real life it’s sometimes difficult to tell who’s who, even if you have gaydar. 😀

Why do women become “fag hags”? (I’m not using this term in a derogatory way). 😀
Is it because a woman just wants a gay man as part of her “collection”?
Is it because gay men appreciate you as a person, without the hassle of sex?  
Do you just love the fantasy of having a special gay male friend with whom to do fun things?
Would you go out with a gay man if you had the opportunity?
Do you have gay friends? If so, what kind of relationship do you have?
Are you more “yourself” around gay men?

Esquire magazine suggested here that vampires have overwhelmed pop culture because young straight women want to have sex with gay men. Is this why women love to read M/M romances? Because they want to have sex with gay men even though they know gay men are only attracted to men?

Why do you love gay men in real life and in books?
What are your reasons for reading romances about gay men?

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

36 comments

  • Why the “sudden” interest? Until LI starting publishing it, I had no clue there was a large body of this work, much less that it was often really well-written. It takes a few years before something is available before enough people clue to get a lot of interest.

    Reply
    • Hi treva
      I guess what made me ask the question is that I have been reading these books for at least 20 years, but they were called something else because no publisher would touch romances between gay men. Now there are many epublishers who are releasing these titles every week and the readers can’t wait to snap them up. Even a NY publisher (Perseus) has launched a line of gay historical print books and I hope that if it does well more pubs will follow. This is really an exciting time for those readers who love M/M romances.

      Reply
  • I think the reasons have a lot to do with the Internet and all the online communities and information a woman can get now, to explore something that they didn’t even know they really like, stuff that turn them on 🙂

    I know countless women (and some gay men),who never even heard of slash or m/m romance, but once they got introduced to those, they discovered a whole new world!

    This is exciting time for all niche interests/genres to grow, to expand their audience. For so many years, I was the only straight girl I knew who read gay literature/porn, now I have so many friends to share this with.

    Hey, your blog contribute a lot to this too. That’s why I think it’s always been there – the interest for women to read about gay men, it’s just getting out in the sun now 😉

    Reply
    • Eve
      What I really love is all the online communities that cater to M/M and slash. there is no “judgement”. We are all welcome because our interests are similar.

      **

      I think that the number of M/M only publishers will increase because clearly the interest in M/M and the pent up demand has to be satisfied somewhere. I hope that these new epublishers don’t turn out crud.

      **

      I’m glad you think that this blog plays a small part in promoting the genre. I know that the gay men who write me always say that they appreciate somewhere they can go to check out reviews of M/M romances and gay books.

      **
      The world sure is changing and women are leading the way, both writers and readers.

      Reply
  • I’m the same as Erastes here:
    Quote: “I do find two men naked sexy, and I am never going to apologise for that. Perhaps it is objectification and I can’t apologise for that either. I’m not lurking around in changing rooms hoping to spot naked men, and I’m not leering at the swimming pool. I don’t hang around gay bars and go “phwoar!””
    *

    This may seem strange, and maybe TMI, but I got into slash and m/m fiction when I was quite old, almost into menopause, and I wonder if there was a lot of testosterone swirling around? LOL Whatever, I really liked the idea of two men together.
    *
    I also agree with Junkfoodmonkey here:

    Quote: “And that’s another aspect – online bookstores, for either paper or ebooks. It’d be great if we could find all these books in your local chain bookstore, but I know I can’t.”
    *
    It’s so easy to click the “buy” button on-line, sitting at home in comfort. Too easy!
    *

    It was also the internet that introduced me to slash. I didn’t know anything about it before finding my first Harry Potter slash in 2003. I fell hard, and started becoming interested in published m/m fiction away from the computer.
    *
    I found some of the classics in print, but it’s only recently that I discovered authors such as JCP and Josh Lanyon. That’s definitely via the internet. Perhaps it’s to do with more publicity or promotion? Friends recs, maybe? It’s funny how these things work.
    *
    In real life, I don’t know any out gay people, apart from two of my daughter’s friends. I don’t mix socially with many people, and they’re all females my age, so I can’t comment about being a fag hag. I don’t have many gay men friends on line either, but I do know one or two gay authors, whose blogs I enjoy reading.
    *
    This is getting long! Lastly, I read m/m for romance, as well as for plot. I always remember one of my first on-line (female) friends being horrifed and squicked by slash. “Ewww, they have anal sex!” (Well, that’s not how she put it, but I don’t want to be crude here.) I was shocked, because to me it was always about the protaganists being in love, and sharing their story. The sex was hot, but not crude and icky like she made it seem to be. :/

    Reply
    • Hi Gaycrow
      It doesn’t matter at what age you were enticed into M/M, the point is that you are now a fan. The reasons (hot men with great bodies) is probably universal.*g* However I still want a good story to go along with the hot men.

      **

      I’m surprised that you don’t know many gay men since Australia has many gay writers and when I was there 4 years ago I found out that there were many clubs that gays and lesbians frequent. However, my friend wasn’t brave enough to enter any of them with me and I didn’t want to go alone. 😀

      **

      Where I live (Toronto) is a mecca for the gay community in Canada and I once worked for a number of years right in the heart of Track 2 which is what we call the predominantly gay area where the gay boys ply their trade. What was surprising was the number of men driving mini vans and other “family” type cars who picked up these kids for a fun time.:( Obviously they were bi-curious or maybe just bi.

      ***

      The Internet definitely is one factor in making M/M books so popular but what amazes me is M/M’s exponential growth in such a short time which must be attributed to other factors in addition to the Internet. If we take Amber Allure’s numbers (I talked to another publisher as well who said that their numbers were high but not as high as AA, but then they publish all types of romance books) women are definitely into M/M in a BIG way, despite the detractors. 😀

      Reply
      • Quote: “However, my friend wasn’t brave enough to enter any of them with me and I didn’t want to go alone. ”
        *
        Ha! I’m being very brave next weekend. There’s a fantastic gay film being shown at an alternative cinema in the city, as part of the gay Feast programme. I’m going all by myself. I’ll be really nervous, but I’m determined to do it!

        Reply
  • I think part of this recent boom might also have to do with women becoming more comfortable with their sexuality. It’s okay to read m/m fiction and get turned on. It’s okay to mentally ogle. It’s just plain fun and women are finally out of the repressed closet.

    That’s why I like m/m fiction 🙂 I like reading about men. I don’t like reading about women and m/f sex does nothing for me. Who said they liked m/m fiction because it doesn’t include what they loathe? That’s exactly it. I don’t have to put up with female characters and I get to ogle two men instead of just one. (Make no mistake, though, I have no sexual interest in a gay man.)

    Nadja

    Reply
    • Nadja
      >>I think part of this recent boom might also have to do with women becoming more comfortable with their sexuality. It’s okay to read m/m fiction and get turned on.< < ** You hit the nail on the head. Now that We Are Woman *g* our sexuality is our business and if we choose to read about gay men in love that's our prerogative. Can you imagine what it would be like in 2 years if there are twice as many M/M books available as there are today? We could never review them here. 😀 ** I agree with you re no sexual interest in gay men. My gay friends are just that - friends, not "friends with benefits".

      Reply
  • JFM
    Blame everything on the Internet which has been here probably before you were born. 😀

    **

    KZ may be right that everything is just reaching critical mass now because the stars have aligned in a way, but it seemed to me that there must be a little more than that to explain this increase in interest in M/M romance.

    **

    Re the stories themselves, I’m with you about wanting more in terms of content than a straight (?)*g* romance. I need a story with bite, one that content wise will challenge me which is why I love mystery, fantasy, ghosts, and other types of stories. Contemporary romance has its place of course but I wish that more of these stories weren’t just boy meets boy, they have a Big Misunderstanding and then they live happily ever after.

    Reply
  • I have to disagree that it’s not about the Internet. I think it’s definitely the Internet! Isn’t everything about the Internet now? 😉
    ~
    The fandom aspect of course, slash writers moving into original. The readers of slash, who might be teen girls when they start, grow up and get their own credit cards, and can order from online bookstores and already have an interest in m/m. And that’s another aspect – online bookstores, for either paper or ebooks. It’d be great if we could find all these books in your local chain bookstore, but I know I can’t. Not to mention, some people are shy about buying erotica in person!
    ~
    Online communities can exchange recs of books and authors. The increase in ebooks seems to be important too, the romance genre is so important for ebooks and it allows for more niches than a conventional bookstore can carry. And when you buy a book at an online store, it often will then rec other authors and books based on your purchase, so the books keep getting drawn to the attention of likley readers.
    ~
    The Internet has brought Yaoi to the attention of Westerners, made it massively popular. That probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
    ~
    So I think it’s absolutely about the Internet. I agree with K Z Snow there, it’s the snowball effect, all these different aspects develop over time until they reach a critical mass.
    ~
    I might be talking a load of rubbish of course, but that’s my interpretation.
    ~
    Now as for why I like it? Well for romance I quite like a story with a “forbidden love” aspect, and a m/m romance set even in a liberal country in contemporary times has an aspect of that. Similarly I like a story where love kind of messes people’s lives up and doesn’t always make them happy or their life easier, even if the romance ends happily in that they get together. I don’t like the romance to solve all their problems basically, it can even add to them. Which is why I suppose I like something like a historical or a mystery, drama, or comedy story along with the romance, rather than a “pure” romance.

    Reply

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