Hot Male Action!

Bitchery reader Lia alerted me to the following item: The Romantic Times forums has a rather interesting discussion and vote going on about male/male erotica. Initiated by a publisher, the discussion asks if m/m erotica is indeed a turn on for women, and whether Romantic Times should review them as part of their book reviews. As of right now 61% of voters say that they love male/male erotica, which I suspected given the responses to and discussion after our male romance and erotica reviews on SBTB.

The ensuing discussion is fascinating, however, with the typical polarity in responses. Either folks say, ‘Oh, hell no,’ or they say, ‘Oh yes yes yes.’ But of course, morality and tones of chastisement towards those who read it and call it romance abound. Be sure to take your blood pressure medicine before you read the whole thing.


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  1. Becca says:

    Is the voting closed? I’m with the “I’ve no objection, but it’s not for me” camp – if it’s there in the context of solid story development, I’ll probably skim over it. Frex, I liked Suz Brockmann’s Hot Target, which had a gay romance sub-theme. but as the main (pardon the pun) thrust of the story, I wouldn’t be interested. Emma Holly mostly leaves me cold too.

  2. HS Kinn says:

    Becca, the voting is still open, you just have to log in.  😀

  3. Ann Aguirre says:

    I was surprised to find the “regulars” upset because other people registered and joined the forums to give their opinions.

  4. michelle-mlg says:

    I just shake my head on some of the replies.  I recently subscribed to the magazine and registered at the site.  I love how a few of the long time members were accusing new posters of being the same person using several computers. I replied listing a few message boards where I have been “mlg” for years.  I mean I just don’t get it.  If you aren’t interested, just skip the review.  Kind of tacky that the authors are good enough to buy ads but their books aren’t reviewed.  Also loved the suggestions to have the magazine start adding recipes and crafts.  I mean we are talking about a magazine that reviews books for cripes sakes.  Oh well, but I do wonder how many subscribers actually post to the boards.

  5. Becca says:

    If you aren’t interested, just skip the review.

    exactly. it’s a valid, growing genre and should be reviewed.

    the only valid (sorta) reason that I’ve read so far for not adding m/m reviews is that it takes space away from reviews that are more interesting to the specific reader… that’s selfishness (and I don’t mean that in a particularly bad way), but not bigotry: someone simply wanting more content of the type that interests *them*.

    Maybe the romance genre is getting so big that no one mag can reasonably cover the entire genre, and we’ll need special-interest spinoffs?

  6. One of my m/m authors was refused a review in RT even though she purchased an ad, which generally guarentees a review. She was told that they reserved the right to choose what was suitable for their audience. I think that’s what sparked this—she was understandably upset and posted about it. Those ads aren’t cheap.

    I have no issue with that per se, it IS their right. What I have issue with is that their audience has no problem with their reviewing books that have people getting tied to racks and menage scenes, but it’s not acceptable to their audience to review a book where two guys go at it, even though they are in love and it even has the HEA. The also have no problem taking the money and publishing ads for said books.

    I may be misinterpeting, but it does have that feel, especially when I saw the discussion going on about people going straight to hell. Heck, they even managed a dig at epublishers.

  7. Becca says:

    Oh, it’s definitely not fair to virtually guarantee a review with paid ads “except for m/m” and it seems to me that this is being the consensus too.

    especially when I saw the discussion going on about people going straight to hell.

    I’m not finished reading the comments yet, so maybe I haven’t gotten that far… but that’s really taking the discussion OT (not to mention small-minded, bigoted, etc etc)

  8. azteclady says:

    There’s a comment by one Robert Cloud in which he quotes from RT itself:

    Robert Cloud posted:

    TAFKA wrote:
    Are you saying authors “buy” their reviews at RT?

    Actually in a sense this is true TAFKA..
    I was informed that for small publishers such as the one that I come from that I or my publisher would have to purchase an ad before they would consider reviewing my novel.

    I Just recieved a new email from Romantic Times after a new request for review was sent. I could not remember the particulars so I wanted to verify everything. This is the exact quote.
    RT wrote:
    Please be advised that due to the high volume of review requests that we get, and because of space limitations in the magazine, we are unable to review all books received. Space preference is given to advertised books first, and then, if there is still space we will select at random from the other books received for that month. An ad in Romantic Times BOOKreviews will not affect your rating at all, it merely guarantees you the space for the review, good or bad, to run, assuming that the book is appropriate for our audience.

    Now considering that the least expensive ad in black and white was in the $700 range, and color in the $900 range, this is a rather high price to pay to guarantee a review. It does not promise a good one, just that you will get one.

    Tacky as hell, indeed.

  9. Rinda says:

    I’ve stayed away from the comment section because I’m sick of the rude crap people spew whenever someone has a difference of opinion.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.  Simple.

    Dictating what someone else should read or enjoy?  It’s ridiculous that anyone would even think they have that right.. but that whole “hell” thing makes me think there isn’t a lot of intelligent or respectful conversation going on there.

  10. ‘.. but that whole “hell” thing makes me think there isn’t a lot of intelligent or respectful conversation going on there.’

    I’ve noticed that pattern. There are a certain faction of folks who when you don’t fawn all over them and agree, express that you are either:

    1. Going straight to hell.

    2. Obviously misinformed, just read these articles and you will see the light. Ignore the lack of source data or actual evidence.

    3. Stupid beyond all possible redemption, so you should just shut up.

    4. A member or fecilitator of whatever is the subject of derision, so your opinion is biased and therefore doesn’t count.

    Or all of the above.

    I am personally a proud member of the Going Straight To Hell Club.

  11. Rinda says:

    Well Mistress Stef, I was first told I was going to hell by an Aunt when I was six years old.

    Guess I’m a member, too! We need shirts…

    Are you the editor Steph who came to the Oklahoma conference this year?  I think we met. 🙂

  12. Lia says:

    There are relatively few hellfire dalmations—I think only about 3, repeating the mantra of ‘gay agenda’ and ‘subscribers only.’  Like any obsessed cultists, they assume that the only “real” romance fans are those who share their narrow views.  But in responses, the proportion of ‘who cares?’ and ‘bravo for buggery!’ is much higher.

    I almost feel sorry for that tense little creature who was chittering on about her own celibacy.  Well, fine if that’s what she chooses, I’ve gone that route myself rather than hop in the sack with someone I didn’t care for.  But she was so anxious I wanted to ask her why she’s even reading romance—it would have to increase the frustration.

    But the issue’s simple: If RT wants to tell m/m books to go to the back of the bus, they should tell the authors about the ‘two testicles per mattress’ rule before taking money for ads.

    I think it’s good that they’re running that poll.  At least the question is out of the closet.

  13. ‘Guess I’m a member, too! We need shirts…’

    The GSTH Club? I must commission them…

    Are you the editor Steph who came to the Oklahoma conference this year?  I think we met.

    I am indeed. I’m not with eXtasy anymore, but I’m still publishing. And yep, I have both a bisexual AND a m/m on the front page right now. Another notch on the GTH meter for me. The irony is, the M/M is the bestseller.

    ‘But the issue’s simple: If RT wants to tell m/m books to go to the back of the bus, they should tell the authors about the ‘two testicles per mattress’ rule before taking money for ads.’

    EXACTLY. That was my peeve, and that of the author in question. Had she known she wouldn’t get the review, she wouldn’t have bought the ad. Period.

    Frankly, I got more of a sales jump with the ad I put here than I got with the RT ads.

  14. Rinda says:

    I followed your move and have already purchased the new releases by Mojo this week. Can’t wait to read them!

    I’m on a few loops with the author who bought that ad—I don’t blame her for being upset.

  15. I just think what’s ‘appropriate’ should be decided by the sexual content, not by who’s doing the acts.

    I’ve read some slash that has sex milder than a Zebra historical and the same loving relationship and HEA, yet it’s rated high for content and catagorized as erotic with giant warning signs. But a man and a woman doing a lot more kinky stuff is rated lower, and RT seems to find that perfectly acceptable, since I see the reviews.

  16. Samantha says:

    Does anyone else want to discuss why they like M/M romance/erotica? M/M turns me on like nothing else, but it’s a total fantasy groove. I enjoy reading about(and looking at) manly men together. Effeminate men don’t a thing for me, sex wise. And that’s not to say that I don’t like them in real life, just that in fantasy, two men that have no affinity for gayness getting together…whhoo, that’s hot. I think I’ve always enjoyed that kink.
    Probably from the time I first started having sexual fantasies. I’m just not always sure why I like it so damn much.

    I found the whole RT discussion way too silly for any practical discussion.

  17. Samantha says:

    No paragraph splitting intended. Oops

  18. Darla says:

    I am personally a proud member of the Going Straight To Hell Club.

    Hee. Count me in. We all need some of THESE  😉

  19. Carrie Lofty says:

    My problem with the discussion of M/M stories is that the emphasis is on THE SEX – all the moralizing, etc.  Perhaps because of the supposed novelty of reading descriptions of gay sex, the issue of storytelling is overlooked.  I LOVED “Queer as Folk” because, aside from a few very hot scenes, the show was about relationships.  Without a compelling story, it’s just fuckin’ – and that doesn’t do it for me no matter the gender.  I would really enjoy seeing M/M stories reviewed on their own merits, because at the moment the subgenre is rather hidden from the mainstream and issues of quality abound.  Reviews by people who also value quality storytelling (and I’m not necessarily saying that RT is that institution) would help folks find their way past sub-par books to discover the really well-written (HOT) stuff.

  20. Nora Roberts says:

    I don’t read m/m fiction. I don’t read a lot of things.

    That said, I just watched the movie version of Rent and found the romance, the relationship, the emotion between the characters of Angel and Collins absolutely glorious. The love and happiness they brought each other just shined. I didn’t care which way their skin stretched—they took me on a journey through their discovery, their joy, and their heartbreak.

    Really, that’s all I want in any story about people and who they are to each other.

    (And who knew the guy from Law and Order had those pipes!)


  21. Robin says:

    Well, for all of us going to hell, maybe one of these might make the trip a little easier:

    Do you think any of them provide last minute salvation?  Maybe they could work a deal with those get out of hell free people.

    heh heh – my security word is “mans14”

  22. dl says:

    My interest is in well written, interesting books.  It’s real easy, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it (or check it out). 

    But a well written story gets my $$$ every time. Also loved Hot Target, and just finished the Nightrunner series (thank you SB!).

    So, count me in for the Going Straight To Hell Club, Mistress Stef…how do I get a tee shirt?

  23. Rinda says:

    The word verifications here are hilarious.  Last night I had Position97—wonder if it’s a wicked one.  Now it’s world19—I may have to write a sci-fi for that one. 

    I bet Cafe Press has a GSTH shirt—if not I may create one for my Write Snark store. Got twist it for writers, tho…

    I did read a very sexy M/M book called Heaven by Jet Mykles at Loose ID.  It was fun and had a great love story.

  24. Marianne McA says:

    I’d be interested to know what the figures are for readership of male/female erotica. Be interesting to know if it was higher or lower percentage. Erotica of any variety doesn’t float my boat.

    I read an extract of a book this week with one guy drooling as he contemplated another guy’s backside – you couldn’t have paid me to read the whole thing. It’s the emotional connection between characters that hooks me.
    I’ve read, and enjoyed, books with a m/m romance.

    FWIW, the thought of two men together: nothing. Probably an interesting thesis to be written about where our individual sexual fantasies derive from.

  25. Ann Aguirre says:

    I’ll take a shirt too if they come in black with sparkly letters. I really dig the retro sparkly letters.

  26. Candy says:

    Does anyone else want to discuss why they like M/M romance/erotica?

    Sure, I’ll bite (hur hur hur). M/M didn’t use to turn on when I was younger, but once I figured out that the group sex fantasy was a huuuuge turn-on for me, and that this would pretty much entail some bisexuality on the part of the characters, M/M fantasies have become more and more prevalent. Right now, I like the M/F/M dynamic best, but M/M is a fairly close second. F/F didn’t use to interest me too much, though that’s starting to change, too.

  27. Michelle says:

    Jumping up and down, aren’t the Nightrunner books awesome.  I love how Seregil’s and Alec’s relationship blossoms over the three books.  Sigh, they are such romantic characters.

  28. ‘I bet Cafe Press has a GSTH shirt—if not I may create one for my Write Snark store. Got twist it for writers, tho…’

    I was actually going to set up a Cafe Press store for Mojo soon. So if you don’t, I can.

    Especially fun for those going to the RT con. We can all arrive in them.

    As for why I like M/M…two reasons. One is my personal reason: it’s two hot guys going at it…what’s not to like?

    The other is a purely venal reason—the stuff sells like crazy. Publishers like that.

  29. Gabriele says:

    Hell looks a lot more interesting than Heaven, what with all those cool people going there.

    I wanna go, too.

    Wait, I will. I’ve written gay sex. Kinky gay sex.  ;-P

  30. Tonda/Kalen says:

    I must have a GSTH shirt! My gang’s been saying “Meet you at the bar.” as our version of “You are so going to Hell for saying/doing that.” for years and years (or making a little swooping motion with our hands, indicating that we are greasing the tracks for our sleigh ride to Hell).

  31. Sleigh Ride to Hell.

    Oh, now there’s a title.

  32. dl says:

    Michelle…authors blog says she sold two more Nightrunner books to her publisher!!!  Can hardly wait!

  33. shaina says:

    lovelysalome—another folkie! i totally agree with you about QAF…the relationship between brian and justin makes the sex all that much hotter. mmm…and now i’m starting to read their fanfics, and they’re just as hot. i am all in favor of m/m!
    (in fact, after watching QAF for a few days straight, it felt weird to me to read a traditional romance!)

  34. Keziah Hill says:

    It’s f/f for me. M/m doesn’t do anything for me (with the notable exception of that British film Priest with Robert Carlyle). I think most people see lesbian erotic romance as a bit dreamy and waffty ala David Hamilton, without much in the way of hot sex but I like a bit of raunch myself.

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