Here’s a funny thing. Judging from the comments and emails I’ve gotten, my man-on-man (and sometimes man-on-man-on-man!) stories are being read and enjoyed by straight women. This got me thinking (as things sometimes do).
I posted my stories on Literotica.com recently, mainly to see if I could attract a different audience on a site that’s more on the consciously “literary” side of erotica. There, “gay male” is but one of dozens of categories of stories (as opposed to Nifty, where it’s the vast majority). What’s interesting is that a lot of the positive feedback that the stories have generated comes from straight women.
Straight women, gay erotica. Hmmm.
So here’s what I’m thinking. American culture is still so wrapped up in traditional masculinity that men feel they must conform to that tradition–strong, silent, and emotionally comatose. Straight women, though, want to see men being sensitive, vulnerable, and open to new experiences, while at the same time still being strong, sexy, and, well, manly. Even, it seems, if they end up being manly with another man.
I love this. Here’s why.
One of the main reasons I write is to get people to think about sexual identity in new ways–to see that men can fall in love with other men (and often do) and that their love can grow to involve physical intimacy without their having to adopt a stereotypical “gay” identity. Not that there’s anything wrong with being flaming–Bryce from “Frat House Troopers” has a devoted following, including among straight women–but a masculine man needn’t give up the masculinity that is a part of his identity simply because he falls in love with another man.
If I can slip into being academic for a moment, this entire dynamic really plays with the idea of the “homosocial,” as outlined first in the mid-90s by the late Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. She showed that in a patriarchal culture, men are required to have intimate ties to one another–being close to other men is the only way to access societal power–but that physical intimacy is strictly forbidden. This makes for a slippery slope–you have to have close relations with other men, but not too close. My stories provide a way out of that double-bind: my guys get to love each other, have sex, and live happily ever after. Take that, patriarchy!
So, if you’re a straight woman who enjoys my writing, welcome. And thank you. And, if the occasion arises, share it with the straight men in your life. They may find it liberating.