Why Are Straight Women So Obsessed with Gay Sex?

It's a bit of a joke that straight guys are into "hot girl-on-girl action," but what's new is the burgeoning industry of "M/M romances," erotic novels about gay men written by and for straight women. What's that about?

Why Are Straight Women So Obsessed with Gay Sex?

In an article published on Out magazine's website today, Cintra Wilson introduces us to Alex Beecroft and "Erastes," two straight, married female authors who write dirty stories starring men sticking it to other men. But they aren't doing it for the boys who like boys. These homo bodice rippers are meant for the types of suburban ladies who pick up those paperbacks with Fabio on the cover. The trend has become so popular that most of the major romance novel publishers have caught on and started lines of M/M romances for the demanding public.

The phenomenon emerged from "slash fiction," a type of fan fiction that imagines two popular male fantasy or sci-fi characters in a romantic relationship. Think Spock and Kirk exploring each others' bodies rather than some planet in outer space. But just what is it about reading about two guys getting it on that has women so worked up? Wilson explains it as such:

Since women are not equal to men in society, a straight romance narrative—the usual machinations that bring a brutish alpha male and a wasp-waisted young female beauty to the point of bodice-ripping penetration—can't deliver the same heady emotional frisson as a "bromance," which slashers and M/M authors alike view as a courtship between equals, which culminates in the emotional jackpot of a true love based on loyalty, trust, caring, and mutual respect.

That seems to be the opposite impulse of what turns straight guys on about girl-on-girl porn scenes. First of all, those scenarios are completely devoid of another man's erect penis (something society teaches straight men they should be simultaneously ashamed of, disgusted by, and avoid at all cost). Secondly, the women are the kind that men can't have, since ostensibly lesbians aren't at all interested in men. Not only does it make them exotic, but plays into men's fantasies that the lesbians would still want to have sex with them. It's as if the viewer is the only one man enough for these two women, and they are just two more objects to be conquered with his ever-winning maleness.

Why Are Straight Women So Obsessed with Gay Sex?

From what we learn from these two authors, it's not that women want to imagine overtaking these gay hunks, it's that they secretly want to be gay men. Author Beecroft says, "In my sexual imagination, I'm a gay man. I write to satisfy a sexual desire that I can't physically satisfy in this body." That sounds like the extreme embodiment of a woman's desire to have what would traditionally be considered a "male" sexuality. In Western sexual dynamics, women are often assumed to be passive, the ones who are ravaged by men. But, by aligning herself with a gay male identity, the straight female reader can envision herself as powerful, sexually potent, voracious, and the active participant (or top)—all things that are associated with macho sexuality. And all of this while still in the company of another man.

Gay male sex (especially of the anal variety) is one of the few transgressive acts still left in our porn-riddled culture, mostly because it gives most straight guys the heebie-jeebies. By figuratively putting themselves in a gay role, women are not only expressing their sexual power, but doing so in a forbidden way. Even more forbidden is making another man a bottom—which is what author Erastes says she imagines herself doing. This act, though imaginary, not only expresses her power, but turns other men into passive participants. Now, the woman is no longer on the receiving end and she becomes the vanquisher herself, literally sticking it to the man.

These horny lady writers insinuate that some gay men feel like they're being "oppressed" by females imagining their sexual exploits for their own jollies. If any gay men think that, well, then they're just silly. Straight guys love lesbians, straight ladies love gays, bunches of gay men watch straight porn, and plenty of lesbians (as we learned in The Kids Are Alright) love gay male porn. Human sexuality is a strange, complex, and wonderful thing and the harmless escapades that happen in people's fantasies shouldn't be used for debates about identity politics. As long as everyone is getting off, what's the big deal?

[Image via Alvaro Pantoja/Shutterstock]

Click to view