I should never read comment threads .
It happens all the time. I see a video on youtube, an article on Salon, or even an innocent blog post. I like it, it’s interesting. Then I scroll down to the comment thread, usually with the intention of adding some “Great post 🙂 love it!” positive nonsense of my own.
But then, I read. And the comments invariably have me so freaking angry that I either have to click away, or add my own ranty two cents to the mix. It rarely ends well for me. At best, I look like an angry old bitch. At worst, an idiotic illiterate.
The latest (and I totally restrained myself in my comment so not a total fail for me…this time) was a blog post on women in m/m fiction by the lovely Rick Reed. It is a nice blog post. Very honest and sweet and full of good points and a great message. I liked it. Then I read a few of the comments.
None were horrible, they were all very polite, and anyway people are entitled to their opinions and as long as no one is rude, then whatever. But under the words, between the lines, the same old message was there, unmistakable: No m/f sex allowed in m/m romance!
The post was about including real, sympathetic female characters. Rick made no issue of m/f sex at all. But the commenters did. A few of them. Basically saying, sure, I want real, likable, three dimensional female characters…just don’t show them having sex because “that’s not why I read m/m“.
I think that is a shitty and wrong attitude.
First of all, it makes me wonder: why DO you read m/m, then? For the “kinky” thrill of reading gay sex scenes? What exactly is it about a m/f sex scene that will ruin the m/m experience for you? If anyone has an answer to this, I’d love to hear it.
Secondly, if you claim to be a supporter of the LGBT community, there is no way you can oppose m/f sex in your m/m fiction. Keeping m/m separate, keeping it clearly labeled and “other”, only perpetuates the fetishization of gay sex. In the exact same way that calling a marriage between two women a “gay wedding” as opposed to just a “wedding” denigrates it, calling a romance a “gay romance” ensures it is always lesser. And what about the “B” and the “T”? Last I checked they tend to be vagina-heavy. Do they have their own genre, then? A different rainbow? No. Romance is romance.
Also, in real life, love is not so clear cut. Many gay men have their first sexual experiences with women. Many gay men love women, and “fall in love” with them, in a non-sexual (but sometimes sensual) way. Many, many, people fall somewhere in the middle of the kinsey scale, and to deny this is to ignore the real life experiences of a large chunk of humanity. And to create in m/m romance a fantasy world where no men have sex with women is yet another way to distance it from reality.
Some people will say they simply prefer not to read m/f sex. If this is the case, for whatever reason, fine. I can’t understand it, but whatever. I’m sure those people have their own issues to deal with, and if m/f sex is upsetting, I certainly don’t think they should read it. But the vast majority of people who make this “no m/f sex in my m/m please!” request are straight women (who hopefully are having m/f sex themselves) and who admit to reading m/f romance and erotica as well as m/m. So what gives?
I know this post was ranty and probably I could have said things much more clearly, but if anyone understands what I’m saying and has any ideas about this, please tell me. I would love to understand this issue.
(full disclosure: my WIP has a Bisexual MC. I am writing in an explicit m/f scene. I am… a little afraid of the reaction I’ll receive)