Friday, August 18, 2006

If you were gay (but I'm not gay)

Ooh, a juicy subject. And just to make it more interesting, I've no actual idea what I'm really going to say in this post.

I was reading a Smart Bitches post about someone else's post about... repeat a bit... a romance novel where the hero admits he's had relationships with men. Shock, horror! The tar and feathers are out, mostly--okay, exclusively--from the Homosexuality Is WRONG And People Who Practice It Are ABOMINATIONS crowd. There was some stuff about it in last month's RWR--actually, there's been stuff about it for ages in the RWR. In case you've missed it or you really just don't care what the head honchos at RWA think about gayness, the issue was whether to define romance as 'between a man and a woman' or 'between two people'.

Just for the record, my stand on it is: if you love someone and commit to making their life happy, and they love you and want to make you happy, then I don't give a flying fuck if one or both of you are men, women, black, white or bleeding green. Okay, not green, since that would imply a certain standard of decomposition, at which point I do draw the line. But consenting adults who love each other? Falling in love? Supporting and caring for another person? Devoting your life to making theirs better? What could possibly be wrong about that?

Like with a lot of things, the arguments against it just don't make any sense to me, so I'm not going to bother listing them here. I'm sure if you're reading an erotica writer's blog, then you're not too touchy about the theme either, and you probably don't care for the anti-gay arguments either. I'm not going to start judging the judgemental.

But, anyway. It got me thinking about a side issue. I've written a gay scene or two, a couple of menages, and even a book whose whole premise was a relationship between two men and a woman (incidentally, my best seller for that publisher). And I've read plenty. And I've enjoyed them (but I'm not gay).

But you know what? They were all male-male-female or just male-male. None of them had more women than men. There are literally loads of books about gay/bi men in a market aimed at straight women. But none about gay or bi women, or so few as to hardly register. And, more to the point, publishers seem to shy away from the subject and explain that they don't sell well. Readers don't like it.

Why is this? Why do straight women like to read about multiple men, but not women? This has puzzled me a while, especially after years and years of being told that a reader likes to identify with the characters she's reading about--and surely it's easier for a woman to identify with a woman, not a man? Why is it okay in these erotica books for the men to get freaky with a woman, and with each other, but not for two women to get freaky--unless there's an equal number of guys to reassure them they're not lesbians.

Is that it? Are the readers of these books afraid that reading about lesbians makes you a lesbian? If you're turned on by women having sex with each other, does that make you gay? Or is it a hangover from feminism: two women with a man are just there to please him? I've really enjoyed the very few girl-on-girl scenes I've read (but I'm not gay). Much as I love my girlfriends and think they're gorgeous, I've absolutely no wish to get naughty with them.

Now, if Angelina Jolie were to pop round, I might change my mind. But she's Angelina, and universal, and therefore doesn't count (but I'm not gay).

Anyway. What are your thoughts on this? Why do you think women don't like to read about lesbians? Would you like to read about lesbians? Two women and a man? Or are you all about the cock, baby?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:44 pm

    You might just get lucky with Angelina,too. :)

    I usually think that people are in control of their own lives. How they choose to live them aren't my business.

    And for the abomination people whether they disagree or agree they're not supposed to be judging Heh.

    They always forget the judge lest ye be judged part of the bible.

    Maybe they were absent that day in church? I dunno.