MM romance novels - written by/popular with women?

Looking through online book lists recently - people listing what they have on their e-readers - I noticed a lot listed as “MM” or “MM romance”, which I’d never heard of before.

Thinking about it, it occurred to me that they might be gay (male/male) romance novels, which seems to be correct. OK, no problem with that.

However, the ones I looked up are all written by female authors. And the people who read them also seem to be women.


I’m no innocent; I’ve heard of/seen/participated in quite a few things that might raise an eyebrow or two at the church picnic. I know that in the same way that us guys like to see/hear about girl-on-girl action, some women find the idea of guy-on-guy action pretty exciting. Fair enough.

But a whole sub-genre of popular fiction? An apparently popular sub-genre at that? Gay male romances by women and for women? Wow. This is news to me.

I’m reluctant to research this on Amazon because I’ll end up getting MM romances in my suggestion list for all eternity if I do, so I’m asking here: anyone want to confess to reading this stuff? Anyone want to tell us what they enjoy about it?

And, let’s not even get started on MM fan-fiction. Also dominated by female authors and readers. And, interestingly, from what I’ve observed, a lot of the readers are not only women, but lesbian women.

(Thought I should add: I’m male, straight, and don’t read fan-fiction. I just know people who do. :slight_smile: )

I haven’t read any, but I would if I came across them. I love the gay coming-of-age genre anyway. (I wonder what gays think of these gay romances - probably laughing at silly women’s idea of what goes on.)

I, for one, outgrew swooning heroines swept off their feet by virile hunks and their throbbing manhoods decades ago. Enough descriptions of perky breasts and thighs to fill a KFC restaurant - ho, hum! A lifetime of this twaddle gets tiresome - give us some MM twaddle to break the monotony.

So, Slash has gone mainstream?

I used to explain my grad school slash obsession thus: you like ice cream, right? You like one scoop of ice cream? How about two scoops? :slight_smile:

This gets into some interesting territory.

Like people say above, it is in large part because if one man is good, two men are better!

There’s also, I’d say, a sub-genre which basically feminizes one of the men. He may still be physically strong and muscular, but he’s also the sensitive one, the one that gives in to the more masculine man, but you get to avoid the pitfalls of females in romance (the stereotype of the physically weak damsel-in-distress).

I’m also finding a strong element of online socialization. It’s hard to enter fandom for anything nowadays and not be inundated with slash. You know, teenage girls used to get together and giggle over Cosmo. Now they get together and read slash. And then those teen girls grow up and enter their twenties and become the women that buy the M/M romance novels.

I came into the whole thing via Japanese fandom and there’s definitely a ‘oooh, me-too!’ attitude especially amongst teens. Those girls might also start reading slash because they don’t like the females in the series. Y’know, dudes watch m/f/f porn and just try to block out the guy. This is the same thing.

(I’ve also noticed that girls who start out in Japanese fandom tend to gravitate towards Western fandom as they get older, but that’s a whole different can of worms)

In other shocking news, very little “lesbian porn” is produced or consumed by actual lesbians.

I used to draw Sailormoon fan art to order ::hangs head in shame:: and it never failed to amaze me how many requests for M/M subjects I got.

I wasn’t shocked by the idea, it’s more that I’m pleased to see that humanity has yet again come up with an unexpected kink.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I’d heard of slash fanfic stuff before, but since I rarely read any kind of fiction I didn’t really think about it. Spotting all this MM stuff made me realise that it’s not just a fangirl lunatic fringe thing, it’s more mainstream than I’d expected. Interesting.

Some of that. There’s usually a little grumbling about how the same women who complain loud and long if men give opinions on feminism or attempt to participate in what was previously designated women-only spaces have no compunction about running wild with fictional gay relationships. And as kushiel says, there are a lot of romances where one person is ‘more feminine’ than the other so you avoid the whole frailer sex issue but at the same time, you’re not necessarily drawing an accurate portrait of gay relationships either.

Women, especially lesbians, liking m/m sex is not really that new, but then I tend to frequent online circles containing female gamers with a lot of crossover into fanfic/furrydom. I’ve been aware of this phenomenon for at least 5 years. It’s… just one of those things. Either you like it or you don’t.

It’s notable insofar as gay men tend to be vaginophobic whereas very few lesbians are penilephobic(sp). I have a theory that it can be put down to the fact that women, even lesbians, often use sex toys that resemble the male genitals. Whereas gay men do the butthole thing .

One word: Yaoi.

Yeah, that whole Eww pussy thing is annoying. I hate it when people do it.

And some of those dudes have clothes and hair that many women would happily kill for. I’ve read a couple of novels by Laurel K Hamilton (of Anita Blake fame), from different series, and both involved guys with loooooooooooong hair, “muscular but lean”, highly slappable butts and (some but not all) clothes more flouncy than anything Barbie ever wore. In her case the sex involves whichever “strong female” her protagonist happens to be (they don’t need rescuing, except if the rescue ends up meaning more sex - with more guys, preferably ones which weren’t part of her stable before), but the M-F ratio is highly skewed. That’s just one of many examples from the fantasy romance genre, where the men never have crew cuts and lace on cuffs is compulsory.

I remember a thread (that I can’t be bothered searching for) about why men find girl-on-girl stuff so attractive. Someone suggested that men enjoy seeing women who think the same way as they do about sex. Women sleeping with each other is ‘proof’ that women aren’t just putting up with sex to humour men. And in the same way, women like slash because seeing two guys in love with each other ‘proves’ that men aren’t just putting up with romance to humour women. I think that’s one of the best explanations I’ve heard.

I love slash, and for myself, I don’t think the “1 man = good, 2 men = better” thing applies. I like girls too, and I do enjoy f/f and m/f romance, but m/m is by far my favourite kind to read. I think it’s the novelty. It’s by definition something I’ll never experience in my own relationships, and neither of the main characters are physically like me, so that makes it different and exciting.

Yep. For the more bishonen characters I’d pretty much draw women but leave off the boobs. Long pastel hair, frilly tight clothes, and what I always thought of as “boi cleavage”


But how to explain the amount of this stuff that’s got nothing to do with love? Not that all the *Oz *fan fiction I remember checking out didn’t have some tender moments between Beecher and Schillinger.

Not to miss the main thrust of the OP, but I believe you can browse with no cookies if you’re worried about about Amazon tracking what you look at. If you’re concerned about them tracking what you order, there’s an option to say it’s for somebody else.

I still get recommendations for knitting books after ordering some for my mother. I tried telling them “don’t use this for recommendations” but it doesn’t seem to have taken. And anything I’ve ever looked at ends up endlessly cycling through my recommendations list.

I could spend an hour or two working through it and clicking “don’t use this for recommendations” on everything - except I’ve done that before, and all it does is set up a new list of inappropriate recommendations.

So much so that it keeps recommending stuff I bought from them.

Back to the topic at hand, in threads about FF porn it’s been mentioned that lesbians tend to find male-oriented FF porn completely unrealistic; those girls do not behave like lesbians or have sex like lesbians, but like the men writing, directing and viewing think they would if they happened to be lesbians - similar to that reaction of “if I suddenly found myself a woman I’d spend hours playing with my boobs!”
Similarly, thinking about this thread I realized why I’d found certain female-written, female-oriented MM romance so… yucky. The guys were behaving like movie “valley girls” - and I can’t stand those either! My reaction was the same in both cases, wanting to grab everybody involved by the ear and give them such a kick they’d jump over the Pacific Ocean and land in Three Rivers Gorge. By the same token, I imagine that women who like those movies would be perfectly happy with that romance (“Valley High 3: The Junior Prom. Now with lots of dicks!”)