girl cooties in m/m

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)

4 thoughts on “girl cooties in m/m

  1. I didn’t read the post or comments but right now I exclusively read just m/m because that’s what I choose to read. I’ve read since I was 10 and adult m/f since I was 18 and I discovered m/m in 2009 and fell in love with it. I can’t answer for everyone but I pick my books for them being m/m but if there’s a friend of the mc who is female or maybe the guy started with a girlfriend and discovered he’s gay or maybe bi that’s fine with me. It honestly doesn’t upset me that much that some don’t want it in their books because I read to escape and I also know that it’s fiction so everything that happens in books is not going to happen in real life 🙂 I guess it would be like if someone only reads m/f and if there was a m/m scene in there and they don’t read it, they might feel the same way and I wouldn’t assume that they didn’t like the LGBT community but it’s just not their type of book. I love m/m but I’m not crazy about bdsm in my books so I avoid those but also have nothing bad to say about them either. People just have their type of books they like to read. I think it’s how you come across too. You can have a favorite genre but I guess if you’re rude about it that’s a different story. There’s tons I don’t like but I don’t put it down because I know there are tons of people who love what I don’t like.

    • “I think it’s how you come across too. You can have a favorite genre but I guess if you’re rude about it that’s a different story.”
      Exactly, Leaundra. I guess that is my biggest problem with this whole thing. So many people talk as if m/f doesn’t belong in m/m, or that somehow it “ruins” it. I find that attitude offensive.

      Like you, I read some m/f but gravitate to m/m. I’ve done a few blog posts about why that might be, though it is a question I will probably re-visit.

      I would like to think that most people are like you, and have no problem with plot-related m/f sex in their m/m romance, but unfortunately a lot of people do have an issue with it. Your comment makes me think that maybe those people are just the loud ones, and not necessarily the majority. (I hope) 🙂

      • So many people talk as if m/f doesn’t belong in m/m, or that somehow it “ruins” it.
        That helps quantify my uneasiness whenever this topic comes up. It’s not that people have different tastes and I want everyone to like what I write. It’s that there are always some vocal folks whose reaction is that a description of sex with a female character is gross and ruins the story and moreover has no place in the m/m-writing spectrum. De Gustibus, but that’s (I’d say) a difference in tone than if I say “I don’t like zombie stories” or “I don’t enjoy BDSM novels.” In fact, I recently read Patient Z by Becky Black and liked it a lot (zombies all over the place!), and I read a BDSM novella (I want to say His Roommate’s Pleasure by Lana McGregor, but I’m not sure that’s the one) that so clearly gave insight into the two characters discovering why this aspect was crucial to their sexuality that I truly enjoyed the story and even wished it were longer.

        So, I’m going to try and take the advice of writing what I feel inspired to write, and writing what I would like to read, and reading what other authors publish in that general sphere. But I do feel a little discouraged at times!

      • Yes, I agree. It’s fine to not like what I like (or what I write) but to say that it’s “wrong” is hurtful. I will also try to focus on just writing what I want, and not worry about the fallout. Strange because my earlier erotica writing was a mix of m/f and m/m, and now (with a tad more of a “readership”) I am worrying about it, when back then I just did it without much thought.
        Funny, I also don’t love BDSM, and also I read His Roommate’s Pleasure recently, and did enjoy it as a sweet love story. Maybe I will try Patient Z, as well, though I’ve never been a zombie fan. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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