A Question: On Women and Homoeroticism

This is really more of a question than a proper post, but I’ve had an idea for an article and I want to solicit some opinions before I write it.

A friend posted a video of two men kissing the other day and the response from women was, shall we say, heated… as in, every single woman who responded thought it was hot. Granted, there was some selection bias, but it was enough to get me thinking. So I did some shallow digging and uncovered a comparatively large cache of media, mostly written, though there’s plenty of visual too, (cheeky little gifs), that cater to women who love watching homoerotic situations and / or gay sex. The fact that M/M erotica and porn do very well with the female demographic, (and not just in the gay community), tells me there’s something there. What I’d love to do is figure out what that something might be.

From a personal angle, I can absolutely see the appeal of watching / reading about two men, (just as many men find the idea of two women to be a fine thing) but I’d like to go beyond “yeah, that’s hot” to figure out why. So, I’m soliciting opinions and thoughts on the subject.

A few guidelines first though:

1. If the thought of two men engaging in sexual contact isn’t your thing, that’s absolutely fine. I know that there are plenty of men and women who would prefer to take a pass. That said, please don’t blast the notion in your comments, because the reality is that there are many people who would take seconds on that dish. Please respect the fact that it’s a personal preference and do not treat the question as an attack on your own predilections.

2. As I mentioned above, I’m keeping the inquiry pretty restricted to women viewing / reading about two (or more) men. If, however, there’s an angle that involves the converse appeal for many men in watching two women, please feel free to mention it.

3. Be respectful. This question involves sex, homoeroticism and certain aspects of voyeurism. As such, some folks may find it uncomfortable. Again, that’s ok. Just be sensitive to the tastes of others. In short, see #1.

Thanks! I appreciate the time anyone takes to weigh in!

Edited 1/28/14: I would just like to thank everyone who has taken the time to weigh in on this subject. I’m leaving the comments open, so if anyone has anything to add, please feel free!

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22 thoughts on “A Question: On Women and Homoeroticism

  1. I think that the biggest draw is the whole forbidden fruit aspect. It combines that realm of “oooh, we shouldn’t” with “Oh wow! THAT’s what it looks like when…” of voyeurism. If most people weren’t wired that way, porn, wouldn’t work.

    Any same sex contact is going to show the watcher of the opposite sex a little bit of a “how to” guide. Or, at least give that appearance.
    That ‘how to guide’ paradigm is where I think a lot of the attraction comes from. Curiosity turns on the cat. The insecurity of relationships makes people wonder if they are doing it right, or if their technique could be improved. The M/M or F/F relationship allows for some of that voyeuristic curiosity to be scratched.

  2. I would like to add to Wordwytch’s comment that as well as (or a different form of) a “how-to” guide, there is also the idea that such voyeurism provides insight into what the other gender really wants out of sex. That can sometimes be an eye-opener that reveals something you might NOT want to find out depending upon your mindset, but I am of the belief that if you are truly interested in the opposite gender sexually, then you will want to know the truth.

    For example, I think a lot of women are surprised (and then run the gamut from offended to thrilled) to see men in their rawest desire form. Generally speaking, men are more interested in “getting down to it” than a lot of the “details”. Granted, its going to vary but it seems to largely hold true. As one of my gay friends once told me, “The great part about being gay is that you don’t have to waste your time on all the bullshit to earn your way into the sack. The other guy thinks like a guy too so he’s thinking what you are. We usually have sex before dinner as well as after.. because why wait?”

    The danger here is in drawing conclusions from the voyeurism. Porn is a horrible representation of anything sexual beyond a direct lizard-brain stimulus, after all (and girl-girl porn is 90% aimed at males so it’s not the real thing like actual lesbian porn).

    The mistake that the genders make, which they could somewhat remedy by being open-minded voyeurs to the real thing, is in assuming that the other gender’s actions reflect in some way upon them. Men aren’t as in to all the intimate touching, nuzzling, kissing, caressing of sex so therefore they must not be romantic, right? WRONG. As Eddie Murphy once said “I don’t want to make love with anyone. I want to fuck someone I love”.

    Conversely, women are more stimulated by the intimate touching as a longer prequel to “the deed”, so they must not be as sexually charged and interested, right? WRONG. Take a feather to a woman and watch her chest turn scarlet red and keep telling yourself she’s not sexually charged.

    In general, romance is a mechanism for men to (get/connect with) sex, while sex is a mechanism for women to (get/connect with) romance. So this voyeur idea provides and interesting viewpoint on that.

    (So long as it’s women. Two dude.. ick.. :P)

    • Thanks Chris. I think the voyeurism aspect is going to be a pretty important aspect to consider. As you suggested, men and women come at sex (generally speaking) from two totally different places, (romance –> sex for men and sex –> for women). M/M erotica and porn offer a sort of window into an experience that a straight woman is never going to have, and the sheer “differentness” of that can be a turn-on.

  3. I have a much more simpleminded take on the whole thing. If you’re a guy, and you like female “sexual energy”, then two women is female sexual energy “Times Two(TM)!!” And if you’re a gal and you like male sexual energy, then two guys going at it is male sexual energy “Times Two(TM)!!”

    Likewise, if male sexual energy is repulsive, as it is to most straight males, then two guys going at it is male sexual repulsiveness “Times Two(TM)!!”.

    • So, essentially, it’s just that whichever way your attraction aligns (i.e.: for straight women it aligns towards men) m/m sexual situations compound the existing attraction, or, as a friend of mine calls it “Hotness Squared”. Makes tons of sense. Thanks!

  4. I was just reading through the comments here, as well as on a couple of other forums where I posted the question, and the responses so far are incredibly helpful. There’s an aspect though that hasn’t been brought up and I wanted to make a note of it here, if for no other reason than as a reminder to myself to revisit it. It’s an issue related to the “Hotness Squared” phenomena I mentioned above.

    Underlying that, there’s an aspect of masculinity squared, or even (and I say this with great caution) dominance squared – not so much in m/m porn and erotica, but in slash fic, where two characters or people who are known to be straight are paired as a sexual couple. Think Thor and Loki, or Batman and Superman. In those cases, you have two straight men engaging in sexual behavior. Given slash’s popularity, (i’m looking at you Tumblr), I’d say there’s something there, and that something introduces (or taps into) a different dynamic than straight up gay porn.

  5. I’ve been writing M/M Romance for a long time. And so have hundreds of other authors I know. There’s a convention each year called GayRomLit where all kinds of people, including straight women, gather to discuss M/M Romance. And there are many digital only publishers who have been publishing books in M/M Romance for a long time now.

    It’s not only about sex. It’s about emotion, too. In fact, I think it’s more about emotion and love. And the books that are written for the women who love M/M romance are a combination of emotion and sex. It’s not really all that new. As I said, a lot of us have been writing in this genre for a long time.

    • Thanks so much for posting your perspective, Ryan. I think your point about it being about emotion and not just sex is particularly important. The emotions in m/m erotica and porn are a critical element in a lot of women’s enjoyment of the genre (my own included). It’s the very fact that this genre has been around for some time, and that women have been enjoying it for some time that interests me. Clearly, there’s a good healthy market for m/m romance – what I think is fascinating is that straight women respond to it too. It’s the why’s of that response that I’m interested in, for two reasons. The first is that I write erotica under a pseudonym, and much of my work involves m/m/f menage, so the sexual energy between two men, and how a woman engages that energy, has always been of interest to me. The second reason is that I am personally attracted to m/m dynamics and always have been, though I’m unable to pin down exactly why. This makes me curious, hence opening up the question to a wider audience in order to get a broader perspective 🙂 Thanks so much again for contributing your thoughts on the subject, particularly from the POV of someone who writes m/m romance – I appreciate it.

      • Thanks for the reply. Sorry I’m just getting to this now but I have had it in the back of my mind for a while. I do think that most people in the mainstream are curious about M/M and why so many straight women are attracted to it. I often take that for granted because I know so many women readers who read M/M. I also think it’s something a lot of women might not want to admit sometimes. And with digital books and digital reading devices that changed the game for many because they can be far more discreet now. But the one thing I think that really does draw a line is the emotional aspects have to coincide with the sex. If that’s not there it’s not going to work for most readers…and I think that goes for a lot of gay men, too.

      • Hi Ryan! Thanks so much for the reply. To me, it seems to natural to be drawn to M/M romance and erotica that i never thought about why it might be. As such, the point that you made about it possibly being something that some women might not want to admit to had never occurred to me. It’s an important angle to explore, as is the link between emotion and sex that you were so right to underscore. Thanks so much, again, for contributing your perspective – I can’t tell you how helpful it is, and how much I appreciate it!

  6. As a reader of M/M Romance (almost exclusively) for the past 4 years, I agree with most of what’s been said here, particularly the “hotness squared” concept. When I read my first M/M story and got hooked into the genre, that’s all I thought my interest was. But as time has gone by, and I’ve thought through my motivations, and that of most of my friends who read the same books I do, I’ve found deeper, more pervasive reasoning behind our choice of reading material. It should also be considered that many straight women are attracted to and fascinated by M/M relationships and sex because of the equality inherent to the pairing. As women, we know what it’s like to be overpowered by the men in our lives, physically, financially, and/or emotionally. Power exchange or inequality in an M/M relationship is usually voluntary, or part of one of the participant’s personality, but not dictated by societal rules, expectations, or physical differences. We have a good idea what it would be like between women, but men are much more of an enigma, and interesting to learn about.

    • Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts. The power / role angle is particularly fascinating to me, (it’s one of the things I enjoy about M/M romance myself). M/M erotica really is a window into a dynamic that we are not automatically privy to. In M/F relationships, to subvert the roles of “receiver” and “giver” is to subvert a wider cultural assumption. The fact that the roles in M/M sexual relationships are, for the most part, either negotiated or voluntary, rather than being inherent is compelling.

  7. For some people I can see it as a kind of lack of competition – if you are het and you watch het porn then there’s always a ‘competing’ participant of your own gender. But if you are watching M/M as a het woman or F/F as a het man then you’ve got two toys to play with and no need to share.
    (and I have two more words. Velvet and Goldmine…)

    • The competition angle has come up a few times on other forums, and it definitely seems to be a motivating factor, at least for some percentage of women. Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in. And yes, Velvet Goldmine is… well, gold 🙂

  8. For so many years it has been acceptable for men to find the attraction between 2 women ‘hot’, I think that the more women venture into their sexuality, i.e the more it is socially permissible for women to be promiscuous, the more women are owning their sexuality. Therefore, it is time for them to say, if men find 2 women being sexual hot, we can find 2 men being sexual hot, plain and simple.

    You have a log of interesting topics on your blog. Thanks for the follow.

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