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I discussed many possible topics for this post with my publisher, and when “Are sexual preferences within male/male relationships in the real world actually as defined as those often portrayed in fiction and on the television screen?” was mentioned, I decided that this topic could prove rather interesting. It is something I have certainly thought about and would love to know.
I’m a heterosexual woman, and even though I have a healthy obsession (yes, I did use that word) with male/male romances, I really have no idea what goes on in the bedroom of gay couples around the world. Why does it matter to me? In all honesty, it doesn’t. I’m just curious. And as an author writing in this genre, I would hope I am not too far off base. I’m certainly not a voyeur, and I don’t think I’m alone in sometimes looking at a couple, regardless of pairing, and… well, just wondering. I certainly consider a fictional couple when I read them and wonder about the dynamics and whether they could exist as “real.”
My imagination is fierce; I certainly have ideas, but are any of my fantasies justified in the realm of reality? I’ve watched a bit of porn (who hasn’t?), but how accurate is that reality when the models/actors are being “paid” to do whatever. The stories I read that are written by the male authors within the M/M romance genre haven’t shed any light for me either. Characters in those range as well. Having recently read the Adrien English series by Josh Lanyon where the main characters most definitely have defined roles, well… confused again. As for television: Queer as Folk (QAF) definitely cemented the more “defined roles” tag for me. The couples in it were very “non-versatile” (is that a word?). And for me, as I would assume for many, QAF was my first real exposure to gay romance, and QAF was accurate? Wasn’t it?
When I began researching, there was so much more on the topic than I’d imagined (praise, or curse, Google). And what surprised me, according to the research, is that the “majority” of gay men are versatile. I truly didn’t expect this to be the case. I assumed more defined roles would be held. Instead, what I found was men may lean one way or the other, and they may have a preference, but they are still versatile overall. Age groups, geography, as well as other factors varied the results, but it still remains distinct. Men mix it up. They “top” and “bottom.” This makes me happy. I think because if I were a man for a day, I would “definitely” want to experience everything!
When I think about it, my favorite male/male stories, and fantasies, are the ones involving two very evenly matched men, e.g., Cut & Run and its sequels by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. They are sensational. Those two men have me under their spell. They are men with similar careers and education, both tall and lean (nice six-pack and muscles of course, but not too bulky); men who like to give and take equally. Why does this appeal to me? I think it’s because they are the men who appeal to me in real life, the ones I am physically attracted to, the ones I would date (sorry hubs) if they were straight, and if I can imagine two (or even three) of them together… well all the better. Am I objectifying men? Yes, possibly, it is my fantasy after all.
I’m sure my preferences will continue to come across in the characters I choose to write about, as well as what I read. But as I think about the couples I’ve read and enjoyed—some of my favorites—I realize I really did have a soft spot for Josh Lanyon’s very defined “Adrien-with-an-e English”… Maybe I need to revisit him. It seems I’m versatile too.
Bette's short story, “Dirty Martini,” features in the Second Chances male/male anthology published by Bottom Drawer Publications in August 2012.
For more information on Second Chances click here.
Bette Browne is wife to an extremely understanding husband and mother to two very tolerant children. In her mind they are the most accepting family in the world, allowing her the freedom to indulge her passion for fiction, whether it is reading or writing it.
She enjoys traditional male/female romances, but male/male is her passion. In her mind nothing is more erotic than two (or more) beautiful men finding love together.
For Bette, the fight for tolerance in all its guises is an important one, and hopefully her contribution, even if it is only in the form of the occasional love story, is one she will continue to happily find the time for.