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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Women Writing Men Doing Men With Fierce Dolan!

Today I have something really special to share. My guest author today is Fierce Dolan. I read Fierce's articulate comments on-line and was so impressed, I begged Fierce to write a short piece for Seven Sexy Scribes. The question that came up on-line a short while ago was, "why are so many straight women writing and reading M/M romance between two male lovers?" It's a fascinating topic that made me wonder if it is a trend for the merely curious or is this something more, a sea change in how our culture views romantic love? Wouldn't that be nice.

Fierce Dolan also has a new novella available "Journal of a Lycanthrophile", Book One of The Scattered Dark Series. This is the provocative cover.




Women Writing Men Doing Men

It’s a cultural staple that straight men dig girl-on-girl, or better yet—the mythological Hot Bi Babe waiting to indulge every het couple’s desire—which a lot of men still reduce to girl-on-girl. A lesser known fact is that women write (and read) the majority of m/m erotica on the market today, and the booming smut industry wants to know why.

First off, let’s distinguish between gay fiction and m/m fiction. Gay fiction generally encompasses the journey of the character, that is, some reality of an LBGTQ life path cloaked in a fictional portrayal. Despite the made up plot and circumstances, the character’s journey is the emphasis, shaped by factors of sexual orientation, possibly gender identity, community acceptance or creation.

M/M fiction is subtly different. It focuses primarily on romance. The romantic engagement of guys is the plot. All circumstances revolve around it, all conflict and resolution, so mote it be. Yes, some women write lauded gay fiction (Brokeback Mountain), though the majority of feminine chromosomes in the homoerotic market write m/m. Why? What’s wrong with writing the good old-fashioned bodice rippers hidden under our matriarchal elders night stands?

Well, nothing, if you like that sort of thing. But what if you don’t? There's been a lot of speculation on why female authors write M/M romance/erotica, some very good insights included in the resources at the end of this blog.

Basic preference is the simplest factor. Maybe guy-on-guy is a secret treat the author writes because it’s what she wants to read. Maybe it’s something else. For some, sex with a man from the female viewpoint isn’t as literarily titillating as through the masculine perspective, which encompasses different permissions, roles, allowances, desires, sensations, sensitivities, even plot choices.

Along that line, many female purveyors of m/m erotica cite lack of projected gender roles as a factor in their reading selections. In a M/F coupling, 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 societal assumptions to fill out character and plot. The woman is the weaker character if not sub, while the man is assumed the hero, until otherwise shown. In m/m, f/f, genderqueer romance, assuming that it's not a fetish genre, it's a wide open field. Anyone can hold the power. Anyone can behave as zhe likes. Within that freedom there is greater range to tell a new story, to have a fresh angle, to create brand (spanking) new gender, thus sexual, dynamics.

Some authors write m/m erotica because they feel obligated to. Sensitivity to sexual orientation, gender perception, biogender, and the social voice of those who identify as other than straight calls them to present in fiction what many readers would never pick up to read in nonfiction.

In the end, do we know why women write m/m erotica, or why the audience for it is dominated by women? Who can say? Artistically speaking, authors who don’t think in a box can’t write in one. If an author’s internal landscape doesn’t assume a m/f pairing the author can never convincingly write one. My question is, why shouldn't women write m/m erotica?

Do you write or read /m erotica? Share your thoughts on the genre and what role it plays in your world view.

Fierce is the gender-lite erotica author of as many pansexual, genderneutral, life-loving configurations as zhe can think of. Latest release to note is Journal of a Lycanthrophile, Book One of The Scattered Dark Series.

~ erotica author,Fierce Dolan, Words Without Limits and the blog


Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Journal-Lycanthrophile-Scattered-Series-ebook/dp/B00AJCBHLU/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Frolic with Fierce on:
Words Without Limits www.fiercedolan.com.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/fiercedolan


Resources
Lambda Literary - http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/06/08/straight-womengay-romance/
The Marconis - http://historicromance.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/why-do-women-write-mm-romance/
Alex Beecroft - http://alexbeecroftblog.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/why-do-women-write-mm-fiction-answers-for-the-men/
Kergan Edwards - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kergan-edwardsstout/gender-of-novelists-in-gay-fiction-does-it-matter_b_1853314.html

Thank you Fierce! 
XXOO Kat

47 comments:

  1. Thank you Fierce, this post was wonderful.

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  2. Thank you, Katalina. So happy to be here!

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  3. great post guys! thanks! shared it for ya.

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    1. Hi Liz, thank you for taking time away from those edits! Hugs.

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  4. A thought-provoking post! I read some M/M romance, but I haven't written any, yet. I do have one I plan to write in the future though.

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    1. Well, there's something to look forward to. Yay! Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

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    2. Hi Jessica, I hope you'll enjoy writing M/M as much as I did. It can be very refreshing. Check out Fierce's books too.

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  5. Very thought-provoking. I'm not sure why I love reading and writing M/M. I kind of suspect my bi brain has a bi imagination that can picture anyone with anyone else.

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    1. I love your imagination, Erin! Thanks for commenting!

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  6. I enjoyed your post and hadn't really given the subject much thought before now. I write mainly m/f romances, but I've also written five m/m stories of various lengths.

    I'm one of those people you described who think outside the box. I love challenges and trying new things, which is why I started reading and writing m/m romances.

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    1. Hi Starla, You sound adventurous, I'll bet your books are great.

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  7. Yes, you are Starla. I'm glad you stopped by. =)

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  8. Fabulous post, Fierce. Thanks for sharing. I wrote my first m/m/f with Loving Leonardo and thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics you mention above as seen through the eyes of the ancients, the Renaissance, and the Victorian era. I believe we humans are more bisexual than we admit, and given the other primates are too, it makes you wonder. Love is love.

    Rose

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    1. Beautifully said Rose, I think you're right.

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  9. indeed, we can be so many things, Rose. Cheers to you!

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  10. I have written menage with two guys and a girl and vice versa...but I hesitated to write m/m because I felt like they didn't want a girl watching if they were just enjoying one another until...I wrote Two Men and a Virgin. I wanted to tell the story of how the guys were together first and am doing that now. I know these guys well and love them already, so writing it is a real joy!

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    1. Hi Kate, as a writer of M/M do you feel the romance differently in a M/M, or do you enjoy writing variety?

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  11. I do think how you get into the character, or how he comes to you is relevant. If you try to write outside that connection, murky writing will show it.

    And bless you, Kate. Every time you edit for me I realize I have no idea what language I speak.

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  12. "Why shouldn't they?"

    Exactly. It's a tired subject but you've done it justice, Fierce. No one insists on only lawmakers, murderers etc reading and writing crime fiction so I'm constantly baffled at the "why..." in m/m fiction.

    I don't - these days - consider that I write erotica, but my reasons for starting to write gay historicals were simple. I felt that gay men must want historical fiction with gay men in them, because we all want to identify with characters in books at some point - and it's been great to be proved true.

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    1. I've enjoyed watching a trend toward more inclusiveness. I think it's wonderful people want to read love stories about people and sexual orientation is no longer a block toward identifying with a character. It's such a positive move.

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  13. Thanks for stopping by, Erastes. And thanks for the years of inspiration!

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  14. Thanks for the great post! This is a fascinating topic; indeed I would say I'm obsessed with it. I'm a guy who has written short erotic stories for years. I write all the combinations, but always with a female reader in mind. Over time, though, I have tended more toward m/m for two reasons. First, it is thrilling for me because I can express a side of myself that I never (would) express in real life. It's the thrill of living out my secret fantasy. Second, I have always thought that women must be as excited by the idea of two men together as I am excited by two women (which is a lot!). So it thrills me to write something that I think women will enjoy, and what's more I can fantasize that women would enjoy watching me play out the scene - because I am always a character in my stories. Writing m/m is just a thrill from every perspective!
    So about 2 years ago I decided to consolidate all my best story ideas and other musings into one confessional novella called Plunging Into The Pool (I like swimming!). Writing this, I thought about what you mention - especially the difference between the journey of the character and the romance. I wanted to use this story to explain why I fantasize about getting it on with a guy and how that could fit in with the rest of my life. In addition to this "journey" part, I also got off on describing in explicit terms what I would do with him, and he would do to me, and how it would feel for us - the "romance" part. Along the way, I concluded the ultimate thrill comes from breaking free of the gender roles. The reason I enjoy writing m/m is that it frees me from the desire to take care of and please the woman. It allows me to fantasize about being pursued and being pleasured. And if a woman would enjoy watching that and getting into my head to understand why I like it and what expressing those feelings does for me, well then satisfying her curiousity is the best reward.

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    1. Thank you Mark! I loved what you had to share with us. "Plunging into the Pool" sounds pretty hot.
      You also bring by a great point as far as fantasy threesomes go, I think women tend to assume their "straight" partners would always pick a woman as the third, but a surprising percentage of the time--that fantasy third might be a no-strings-attached male. It's something like a "Try before You Bi" fantasy.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Mark! See you on the G+ side =)

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    3. Hey Mark, I can totally relate to what you write... One of my fantasies is what you describe... And I must admit... also joining in as an active partner... so together with one man pleasuring a second man...

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  15. Great post, Fierce!

    My personal opinion as to the increasing popularity of M/M romances with hetero females is that it's a double whammy of male vulnerability. What het woman doesn't positively melt when the big, tough, Alpha bares his soul to the love of his life? And making that love another he-man...well, I know I get misty-eyed. :)

    I'm planning a series featuring a married couple and their gay friend. I've bookmarked this incredible post for future reference.

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and insight!

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  16. I decided to write gay romances after I accepted that people are people. What genitals they own doesn't matter. Their stories are powerful. I usually tag my books M/M because we've gotten used to identifying the pairings that way. It's interesting that you described the difference between M/M and GLBTQ as the GLBTQ story having a close tie to the life of the man/men instead of an emphasis on the sex. In my first gay romance, Hard as Teak, I took Kevin through his coming out. A lot of hetero women who are hardcore M/M readers - or so they claimed, bashed me for that saying they couldn't believe Kevin would deny his sexuality into his 30's. Hello? I know married men who are still in the closet. I've also touched on more advanced sexual techniques, homophobia, cross dressing, and used gay language/phrases in my books. It's been a bit of a struggle with traditional romance readers who enjoy M/M. For example, they cringe at the word Daddy - which is a very affectionate name in the gay community. I do believe, like Lynda Bailey, that women readers are drawn to the vulnerable sides of gay men that we often portray, and that they don't have in their personal lives. I also think that it's forbidden and luscious, territory for many curious minds.

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    1. Margie you are so right. I know many souls who lived misfit lives well into their 40 and even 50's before they came out and pursued their heart's desire. We're all different people with different needs at different times of our lives.
      The same rules apply to everyone-treat your partners with love and respect.

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    2. Whether the "character" realizes he's lying to him or not, isn't the point. Human beings do these things all the time for all kinds of reasons. That's what makes these people and their stories interesting to me.

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    3. Yay, Margie! Thanks so much for stopping by. I always enjoy your take on things. =)

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  17. Why do I read M/M? Well, honestly because I think it's hot. Ahem. Like the idea you bring up Fierce with the identity-neutral roles until the author more "assigns" them.

    I have one primary m/m -- "The Vampire & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Christmas." It's a prequel to my m/m/f and the main reason I wrote it is because readers wanted that story. To me, it's more about the individuals, the characters than a simply gender-specific book. I wanted to tell their story.

    Likewise, I have another story that's haunted me for a while. It's the m/m couple in my first release Physical Education. They want their story heard. I've done a short story, and at some point ... the full will come out.

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    1. I love that you are comfortable enough in yourself and your writing to just step out of the way and let the characters speak. Thanks, Louisa!

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  18. Hi Louisa, I enjoy M/M because it's hot and I just have to admit sometimes that's what I read. As a writer of love stories I want to write about love.

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  19. I'd love to know what gay guys think about MM erotic romances. There's a big difference in what a gay guy writes and what a straight woman writes - well from what I've read on both sides. Do gay guys like the MM stories we write?

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    1. I've made it a point to keep up on this discussion, as Erastes said, it's been at the fore of erotica writers for more than a decade, now. I do not identify as a gay man, so I can only report what I've read and discussed with writers who are.

      There is pride in distinguishing between gay erotica and m/m, the latter being more about the sex, the former more about the journey. Women generally write the latter. Not to say that women can't write compelling gay literature--they have--though capturing the path of a gay character hasn't largely been the focus for most women writing about gay sex. It seems that the sticking point remains weeding out the emphasis. Most of the books I've read by gay men are a lot more hardcore than those written by women, which could be as much about my selection in books as the selection that is available. I can say that what I've written that is more hardcore garners more feedback from men than my books that are a bit more tender. I suspect with the rising attention to erotica, these discussion will continue to renew and sprawl into new territory, so maybe we will gain more insight.

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    2. At the risk of sounding sexist, isn't this a basic truth about the difference between men and women gay or straight?
      Women need context and permission first....
      Men want a direct line to what they desire. Hardcore is just fine.
      Personally I would never presume to fully understand the sexual dynamic of a Gay man because I'm not one. But that doesn't stop me from playing matchmaker for my older brother and couple of my friends.

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  20. Interesting thoughts. I'm not sure why I write M/M, besides that I enjoy reading it too. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Amber!

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    2. Fierce I loved this conversation and I feel like we just scratched the surface. Will you come back some time soon and share more? It was wonderful thank you so much.
      XXOO Kat

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  21. I have ties to the LGBTQ community and believe that love is love. But as a hetero woman, I love m/m fiction because it's hot, hot, hot! I would love to find a lover who is secure enough in his masculinity and sexuality to enjoy reading & watching with me. Not necessarily doing with another male because of cheating issues, but oh what fun I'd have watching movies and exploring with my brave man.

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  22. Hi, seen this blog for the first time... Read this post and from my standpoint it is cause it is a lifestyle i never get to experience. I'm curious into a mans mind and how it would work in sexual roles. To play with that in story's is just fun and enlightning to me.

    Hugs

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  23. Good post. I don't agree that there's a difference between "m/m" and "gay romance". It is the same, in my opinion. I use m/m to distinguish between other kinds of pairings (m/m, m/f, f/f, m/f/m, m/m/f etc.).

    "Gay romance" and "gay fiction" is not the same though, as not all gay fiction is gay romance (but all gay romance is gay fiction).

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  24. It's not that women "shouldn't" write M/M, it's that women who write ONLY M/M obviously and undeniably do so from a place that fetishizes and co-opts gay men.

    Think about this situation...
    You have a white author who ONLY writes books about being black, the black experience, black people having sex with other black people. That and that alone is ALL they write.

    At some point, people are going to give them the side-eye. Not only can the author not speak with authority or legitimacy, but the privilege the author is exercising in exploiting the black identity would be taken as a slap in the face. No matter how well intended, the same exact thing is true for women who only write M/M.

    But, not only is it exploitative and problematic, it ends up not being realistic or convincing. (Which is probably why M/M written women is generally consumed by other women.) It's akin to having gay porn directed by a straight women (and yes, there is some out there). Gay men by FAR dislike and shrug off the porn - because it is just bad. Bad bad bad. It is some straight woman's idea as to what gay sex is or isn't and while that might appeal to other straight women, it is laughable to gay men.

    Again, replace "gay" with "black." Replace the gay identity with another. Why is it ok for self-proclaimed straight women to repeatedly co-opt and lay claim to a gay man's identity when if they did it to any OTHER identity, it would be frowned upon. I mean, come on, some white woman writing about the black experience again and again and again. Especially about something as intimate as their sex lives?

    Yeah, wouldn't happen. Wouldn't be accepted.

    The question isn't why do women write M/M but rather why do women feel they have the right?

    It's called being privileged and not owning up to it. It's called being exploitative but finding a way to excuse it. It doesn't matter how good the intentions, it's wrong, and if we were talking about any other identity people would NOT put up with it.

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