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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Do Women Love M/M Romance?




I have to confess that if someone had told me fifteen to twenty years ago that books would go digital, vampires would remain top sellers and women would fall madly in love with male gay romance, I would have said I think you’re mistaken.

I like being surprised and those three trends have genuinely surprised me, especially the warm embrace women readers have given to male gay/ bi-sexual romance or M/M. The popularity of M/M continues to soar with new devotees joining the ranks everyday.

Who knew that would happen and why did it happen?

I’m going to throw out a few of my thoughts and opinions about the current popularity of M/M romance and I BEG YOU TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS WITH THE REST OF US IN THE COMMENTS BOX.

First, let’s state the obvious women are not the only ones reading M/M. Gay and Bi-sexual men love it too and I strongly suspect a lot of straight men sneak a peek, just because it’s nasty hot willy-spanking stuff.

Why?

Because M/M sexuality tends to be frank and to the point. There’s lust, tenderness and romance but it’s male-centric. For the most part it is free of the overwrought tropes used in old style romance novels, which for many readers translates into variety. An M/M storyline can break free of a predictable path and take the reader somewhere else.

Second: M/M romance is inherently Heroic (pun fully intended!) The lovers involved usually take great risks by simply daring to approach a desired partner. Threat of punishment, rejection or exposure is often present. That amount of sexual tension delivers the emotional drama we romance readers crave! When love is declared taboo, risks are taken, forbidden realms explored and hearts are put in harm’s way—you get great story telling that not only turns readers on, it may also leave them weeping in sympathy.

Third: We learn about our hidden selves by looking beyond ourselves. Compassion is a beautiful teacher. M/M romance acts as a mirror to the slippery forbidden realms of female sexuality. M/M often reflects a raw sexuality and makes no apology for pursuing partners who are prized purely because they thrill the heart or deliver immense physical pleasure. Female fans of M/M love seeing male characters brought to their knees, made vulnerable and their loving sides exposed. It’s a paradox but it’s often true that we never see ourselves more clearly than when we are looking at someone else and feeling compassion for them.

Forth: From a female POV men are often the mysterious other country. A million bad jokes have been made about the differences between Venus and Mars but deep down I think most women remain curious about what male sexuality would look like, if women weren’t looking. M/M romance opens that door and allows women a peek into a forbidden world that in the end may look strangely familiar. Love is love and after all is said and done, male or female, it’s still a human heart.

What do you think of M/M romance? Are you a reader, an author or even a critic of M/M, please share your opinion. I love getting comments and I will try to respond to any or all of them with a detailed answer.

Also some lucky, randomly-chosen commenter is going to get a surprise ebook emailed to them, so leave a email addy, please!

XXOO Kat

19 comments:

  1. Don't forget to leave an email address if you would like a chance to win a surprise ebook.

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  2. Kat, this is a great blog post. I'm continually surprised how much people love the m/m subplot in my vampire series. I think about this phenomenon a lot, and I love your insights!

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    1. Hello Amber, as an author, I have to ask, do you find writing M/M easier than straight romance or harder?

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  3. In polls done on female readers of gay romance/erotica, the overwhelming majority cite lack of projected gender roles as the reason they read it. In a M/F coupling or even just partnered dynamic, roles are automatic. We don't consciously think about it as readers, and as writers we don't realize how much we draw on those assumptions to fill out character and plot. The women is the weaker character if not sub, while the man is assume the hero, until otherwise shown. In gay/lesbian/trans romance, assuming that it's not a fetish genre, it's a wide open field. Anyone can hold the power. Anyone can behave as s/he likes. Within that freedom there is greater range to tell a new story, to have a fresh angle, to create brand (spanking) new gender dynamics. My question becomes, why wouldn't women want to read that?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. Wow what a great post! Fierce will you please come back to 7SS and guest post for us? Seriously, I loved the points you brought up and they explain why I find writing M/M so refreshing! I love it.

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  4. I'm a huge fan of m/m romance, and you hit the nail on the head about the reasons why!!
    The m/m relationships are intense both emotionally and sexually.

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    1. Tessie you wrote one of my favorite M/M scenes in Emily's Destiny, it flowed so beautifully right into the plot.

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  5. M/M to me is so hot! Probably because is different and exciting and unexpected for me. I am always surprised on how the story plays out because I never really thought about it in depth and detail.

    andieleah78@gmail.com

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    1. andieleah, doesn't M/M feel "hotter" than straight? Perhaps Fierce's comments apply here because with straight romance there really is a certain social dance of trust that men and men need to go through to establish boundaries and roles.

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  6. I've read M/M romance and enjoyed it - the romance part, the sex part not so much. :-) I agree with what you've said about the appeal of the genre, but still find it doesn't appeal to me.

    As a reader I want to put myself into the character's role in the story. Feel what they feel. Experience what they experience. When both characters are male I have trouble doing that, especially with the love scenes. :-) I prefer the "female fantasy."

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    1. Hello Elysa, M/M is definitely not for everyone. I think one of the most interesting things about the wider spectrum of romantic fiction being offered to women is that women are seeing more clearly what they truly like. They may thrill to "X" but not respond to 'Z".
      What I love is that varied models of love and romance are being offered and we are free to pick and choose what works for us.
      I try to include F/F whenever I can in a story because I find it exciting and I love the feminine dynamic.

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  7. Very interesting post. Great insights. I've read one m/m excerpt on a blog and felt it was well done. I found it very sexy. However, it's not for me. But I have no problem with others liking it.

    carolyn4books@aol.com

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    1. Hello Cara, I think I'm greedy because I do love reading M/M & M/F/M. I think the female psyche enjoys having a choice.

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  8. One hero is great. Two is divine.
    Nothing like the sparks between two alpha males, vying for dominance. None of the feminine wiles that can add too much sugar to a romance.
    The genre is generally free of tired tropes, although it's developing some of its own.
    As a fan of law enforcement characters, suspense, and mystery, two heroes appeals on multiple levels.
    whitleygray33@yahoo.com

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    1. Site Angel. if you like law enforcement M/M I have to mention that my writing partner Amber Skyze has a very spicy M/M detective /suspense coming soon to Loose Id "Out To Protect"

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  9. I have been slow to read M/M stories but I have enjoyed MOST of the ones I have read. I am sensitive to smell so the ones that extol the joys of dirty underwear and whatnot pretty much turn me off! I was pretty naive about a lot of things so it has been somewhat eye-opening to read some of the scenes, lol. Thank you for sharing,

    elewkf 1 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi Elf. Oh I'm so glad you brought up smells!
      We, ladies can be so fussy with odors and in fact our olfactory sense can be our best guidance system when picking potential mates. For most of us a man's clean natural scent is either "right" or "wrong" am I right? : )
      Men? It's different. Funky aromas get associated with fun activities and become sexual triggers.

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  10. Interesting. I'm not really a fan. I loved the story, Brokeback Mountain, but it was the deep soul connection between the two characters that hooked me, not the sex.

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  11. Exactly! It seeing men as emotionally involved that fuels the fun. Being strong, silent and stoic can only go so far in romance.

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