Men in Sports: Why Are They Almost Non Existent in M/M?

This is my regular Friday post two days early because I have another post on Friday.

I have been wanting to write this post for awhile because, as many of you know, I’m a sports fan (some would say ‘sports fanatic’ or ‘sports slut’ but that would be slander and so WRONG 🙂 ) Baseball is my drug of choice. The reason for this piece is there’s a dearth of sports books in M/M and I don’t understand why, since this sub genre is supposed to be about gay men and we know that men are crazy about sports, straight and gay.

Have you ever tried to get anything done on the day of the Superbowl Game, football’s holy grail? What about last week when hockey fans were going crazy about Game 6 of the Stanley Cup? How about the Baseball World Series, my favourite series? The Masters? As of this writing the final outcome of the NBA Championship had not been determined but most fans will be glued to their televisions on Tuesday night to see if the Boston Celtics will knock the L.A. Lakers off their perch (update: they didn’t so it’s on to game 7). The World Cup of Soccer has just started and will continue for a month – Cup fever has taken hold of sports fans everywhere gay or straight, in the biggest sporting event in the world. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my message. Sports is dominated by men and M/M is supposed to be about men. Why then is there such a lack of M/M books when it comes to the favourite thing for most men and some women – SPORTS?

Do M/M writers not think that gay men play professional and amateur sports? In real life they do and a few of them have been outing themselves after they retired rather than continue to remain silent. John Amaechi, retired NBA player with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic, has written a book and decided to ‘out’ himself, and there are many other athletes in professional sports today who are still in the closet. Jason Akermanis, a player for Australia’s Western Bulldogs football club, wishes they would stay there. A few weeks ago he told gay professional athletes to stay closeted since the world wasn’t ready for them. Who made Akermanis an authority on our readiness to embrace gay athletes? While it’s great that some of these athletes are coming out after they retire, it would be a lot more meaningful if a few of the guys would do so while still playing. 

Everyone knows that gay athletes in professional sports are here to stay, so why don’t M/M authors write more stories about them?

It’s a fact that the majority of M/M writers and readers are straight females but it seems that a revolution, albeit a small one, is impacting the demographic of who reads and writes M/M. A poll on this site shows that while female readers continue to dominate at 83%, male readers are now at 14%, and 3% of readers are genderqueer, genderfluid or transgender. According to those who responded to another poll on the site, M/M writers break down as follows: female 73%, male 19%, and genderfluid, genderqueer or transgender make up 8%. So why aren’t there more sports themed M/M books with the increase in writers who are not straight females? Is it because: –

1) Writers still believe that M/M is a woman’s game and women cannot possibly be interested in sports? I’m a woman and I love sports and I know I’m not the only one. Check out professional tennis, golf, the NBA, etc. and you will see that there are highly regarded sports teams made up of women who have both male and female fans, and I’m sure some of them read M/M romances. OR

2) Male writers believe that gay men are neither interested in nor do they play professional sports, therefore they  would not read M/M stories about gay athletes? That is blatantly untrue – most of the gay athletes are in the closet but they are in every professional sports league. Here are a few who declared their sexual orientation after they retired: Don Kopay, former NFL running back; offensive lineman Roy Simmons and defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo; and Glenn Burke an outfielder for the L.A. Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.

Many M/M romances feature stories about stalkers, muggings, hate crimes, extreme homophobia, religious extremists and serial killers, and while these themes are important, frankly some of them are becoming stale and I would welcome a wider range of plots. Of course there other topics such as Gay For You, romances with ‘opposites attract’ themes, mid life crises, and lately a few books have focused on homelessness or health issues,and let’s not forget The Big Misunderstanding, which translated means a lack of communication. Selfishly I’m hoping that this post will result in a few more authors writing stories about sports because there are sports fans everywhere. Of course there are many topics yet to be explored in M/M in addition to sports. Authors should take some risks and push boundaries and who knows, you may garner even more fans. It’s a challenge to move from the old tried and true themes, but think of the rewards of trying something fresh and vibrant with a built-in fan base. 🙂
Here are some of my favourite M/M sports books so far:
Caught Running by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
The Dreyfus Affair by Peter Lefcourt
The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren
High Line by T.A. Chase
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy
Out of Bounds by T.A. Chase
Quarterback Sneak by Pepper Espinoza
Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg
Cowboy Up by Mary Winter
Riding Partner by Mary Winter

These are only my favourite sports stories but there are others that are highly regarded including the Roughstock books by B.A. Tortuga which are about the sport of rodeo and Sean Michael’s Going For The Gold series which include Perfect 10 (gymnastics), Personal Best 1, 2 and 3 (swimming), Bases Loaded (baseball) and Making a Splash (swimming).

Are there any M/M authors who are thinking of the plot for their next book? Would a sports themed story be on the horizon? I can only hope. 🙂

Since there are other sports fans who read M/M books and I’m looking for new books to read, I would appreciate it if you would add a few recommendations in the comments section of this post. Thanks.

Sean Kennedy has generously agreed to donate a copy of Tigers & Devils in PDF (because that’s all he has left and I swear there was no arm twisting involved) 🙂 to a lucky person who comments on this post. T.A. Chase, not to be outdone, has also stepped up to the plate and he will be donating a copy of both High Line and Out of Bounds from his Love of Sports series. Thank you Sean and T.A. The fans thank you too. When you comment please indicate your preference for these books in order of priority since we don’t want to give you a book you already have.

5 years 10 months ago
I already have those books so don’t count me but … I don’t dislike sports themed stories. I do enjoy sports to a degree. I will watch big final games on TV but I don’t follow many leagues. Sure I’m happy when the hometown boys win, but if they don’t. Whatever. But for me, 99.9% (it seems) of the conflict in a sports themed story is “oh noes, I’m going to be outed and get my ass kicked and no longer be able to play” and that gets tiring. Because if you are going to be true to the world… Read more »
5 years 10 months ago
I wouldn’t count myself as any kind of sports fan – but I watch as much of the Superbowl as I can each year, and as well as having watched The Ashes last time it was on free TV (and we won! woo-hoo!), I’ve also listened to Test Match Special on a number of occasions… Oh, and I try to remember to watch Wales’s international rugby games when they’re on TV, especially the Six Nations. ..So even with me being someone who generally avoids spectator sport, there’s still a fair bit I’m interested in, and I’d be interested in reading… Read more »
5 years 10 months ago
My guess as to why there is not much sports related m/m is that many of the writers are women who know nothing about sports (like me) and they’re not willing to do the research. (Kate makes a really good point with the stats needed in an authentic baseball narrative — I would have no idea what to write without researching the heck out of it). I would love to see an m/m novel centered on boxing (I know a little about that so maybe I should eventually give it a try 😉 ). Oh, as for the draw, I… Read more »
Kate McMurray
5 years 10 months ago
I got kind of excited when I saw the topic for this post. I am also a huge baseball fan. (I, in fact, have Yankees tickets tonight. Ha!) As a reader, I would love to see more m/m novels with sports. One issue: I read a m/f romance about a baseball player once, and some of the lack of detail bothered me. No one ever spoke of stats, but that’s what baseball is about! Players, coaches, fans, they’re all gonna be talking batting averages and RBIs and the book had almost no numbers in it. That struck me as odd… Read more »
5 years 10 months ago
I wonder if the reason why there’s not many sports-related M/M books is because of fanfic. Love it or hate it, there’s RPF and there’s a lot of sports RPF out there from football to snooker to motorsport to Olympic swimming. With many sports it’s not so much the sport itself that grabs a fan, it’s the team or the sportsman – and trying to promote the same level of interest in a fictional team or fictional sportsman could be really hard. For example I love F1 and about 12 years ago there was a (m/f) romance novel published based… Read more »
5 years 10 months ago

I dunno, if you are truly not interested could the book you are writing be any good?

5 years 10 months ago
Intersting stuff Wave. I do miss the female writers. You do not mention that a lot of writers are female. If they are not interested in sport it is not going to happen. Who would if you are annoyed that your hub, significant other or partner is glued to to the TV set all the time while you want to do something else? You could get some writing done but something in me tells me that it won’t be a story about sport. A lot of our heroes do watch an awful lot of sport though. There always seems to… Read more »
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