James W. Hicks, M.D.

Women and Gay Fiction

In Media on August 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Cintra Wilson
September 2010

An article in this month’s issue of Out magazine describes the growing niche market of gay (or “M/M”) romances written primarily for and by women. Interestingly, the two female authors interviewed for the article describe themselves as identifying sexually with gay male “tops” (i.e., they seem to have metamorphic traits, though they are identified as “straight”).

The M/M market evolved out of “slash” fiction: internet and fanzine-based short stories written primarily by female fans about imagined gay pairings of television and movie characters. Kirk/Spock were the first pair of buddies to be re-imagined in this way, along with Starsky/Hutch and characters from The Lord of the Rings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Harry Potter more recently.

This trend has also been observed in Japanese yaoi, comic books and novels that feature gay men but that are mostly popular with young, presumably straight women. Why are women interested in gay passion? Academicians have debated whether the phenomenon represents a feminist adaptive mechanism or internalized sexism. Perhaps we should ask the same questions of men who consume “lesbian” pornography.

  1. I think there are a lot more women who like m2m gay porn than who will admit it. There was an interesting discussion about at Nightcharm’s blogs [warning: contains adult content] here:http://www.nightcharm.com/2008/06/09/aphrodite-speaks-straight-women-and-gay-porn/

    It may be like the “Twilight” vampire phenomenon among women where the men aren’t interested in them sexually so they can just revel in the passion. I don’t know.

  2. As always, there are a rainbow of reasons, from “women parts bother me even though I have them” to “one man is hot two men are hotter.” There are women like myself who place themselves in the male character when they read, and women who are purely spectators.

    Many academics debating the sash fiction phenomenon are, in fact, women who like slash. A google search will bring you to some of those conversations, if you’re interested, and I advise you to steer clear of male theoryfests which have been for me at least, extraordinary illustrations of preconceptions at work.

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