by Kelli Collins
The recent post on a popular social blog (you may know the one) about a certain e-pub’s love for publishing M/M generated tons of responses. More than 130, last time I checked. Aside from the occasional attack, there were also dozens of thoughtful and insightful posts on the M/M and M/M/F genres in general. A few authors and readers mentioned their dislike for the genres, but in no great detail. As interesting as all of this was (and how), I want to know a bit more—specifically, why hetero female readers/writers, in the immortal words of Depeche Mode, just can’t get enough.
What precisely attracts you to M/M? “It’s hot!” doesn’t cut it for me. Why exactly is it hot? I’m not complaining or judging, and while it's not my favorite genre, I don't hate it, by any stretch of the word. Though the genre’s thoroughly saturated the market, it still sells consistently well, so I’ll happily continue editing it. And I should be clear that my curiosity has nothing to do with M/M submissions, and won't change how I review them.
I just truly want to understand the psychology behind a straight fan's love of gay erotica...or at least toss some theories around. Because let’s be honest with ourselves—this is not gay erotica. Not really. At least, not according to my gay male friends, anyway. (The ones who've read some EC M/M. They can appreciate the story, but thought the romantic elements in no way reflected the relationships they've been in). I've also noticed no similarities to the gay erotic fiction I’ve read that’s written by gay males. (Anthologies, mostly. The writing? Sometimes "meh". The sex? Damn hot.)
For the most part (note those words!), M/M as the erotic romance community knows it features hardcore-hetero alpha males who just happen to be having sex with each other. Take any of those men, stick them in a het book with some hot blonde chick and he won’t change a bit, beyond the fact he’s now rogering the opposite sex. Presumably the lack of reality doesn’t bother readers. No surprise there; who wants reality in their erotic romance anyway?
So what is it? The mere thought of two otherwise-straight males having sex? I've edited my fair share, and I can recognize and appreciate a sexy, vivid, emotionally riveting M/M scene…but I can’t claim to understand the fascination for readers, at least not enough to justify the meteoric rise of the genre over the last few years. I mean, I don’t want to watch my gay friends getting busy with their partners.
And if straight women are attracted by the idea of two men having sex...why haven't F/F or F/F/M or F/M/F been shown the same love? But that's another post...watch for it on Friday.