Even with me spending a very limited time on social media due to a whole bunch of personal reasons, I noticed how the fact that straight women seem to be in the (far) majority in the m/m romance and erotica genre is an ongoing discussion.
To be honest, I’m mixed about it. My first reaction is: what is the fucking problem? Anyone regardless of sex or sexuality can the hell write whatever they please because you know, people have actually died for that right and still do this very moment, and that right includes fifty year old overweight housewives writing about m/m sex in a way that will make any gay man curl up in a corner and softly weep.
Good writing is good writing. Any experienced and educated reader will recognise it. Not to be confused with personal taste. We all have read books that are incredibly well written and still did nothing for us, and if you don’t have at least some guilty pleasures you are probably not much of a reader anyway.
If I honestly believe that sex or sexuality doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to writing, why then is there still that nagging feeling I’m missing something? That the discussion is missing something?
Perhaps it has to do with my own history and background. I came out as a lesbian in 1979, when I was seventeen. Even in the relatively open and progressive Dutch society it was a sport to find any positive books about gay or lesbian people. So was it a wonder that my first stories about same-sex relationships ended miserable?
There are many steps between realising that gay people exist at all and that you are one of them and giving yourself permission to write about two men or two women falling in love, having sex and not die or go straight in the end.
Now there are so many m/m and f/f stories being published that we have the luxury of looking for the quality ones instead of gobbling up anything that is remotely positive.
And yet, I can’t help but feel that in a way once again I’m a stranger in a strange land. Straight female writers of m/m fiction are good good people and several have so much talent that I can only say, “Fuck, I hate you, but I don’t because I love you too much for that.” But we also come from different worlds and with the vast majority of my fellow writers in the genre I don’t share something I can’t quite put my finger on, but must matter to me, because why else would I write about it?
I have zero problems with straight folks writing gay stuff, and as a Kinsey 6,5 lesbian writing (in dirty detail too) about men having sex with other men I’m hardly in the position to comment about that one.