This topic has been on my mind this week, about the experience of someone who isn’t “into” M/M romance reading a m/m romance book. Firstly I was thinking about it because my friend and fellow writer Teresa Morgan read and
reviewed Liar’s Waltz even though she isn’t a M/M reader.
And then I also read an interesting blog entry by Cecelia Grant about her reading False Colors by Alex Beecroft, a historical M/M romance (and every bit as good as Cecelia says!) She confesses to preconceptions about the genre, but how glad she was to be proved wrong and to find a book with as much emotional depth and characterisation as any other good romance.
I’m intrigued by the experience of someone who isn’t into (whatever into means) M/M romance when reading it. Do they skim the sex scenes for example? Does the number of sex scenes make a difference? It would be hard to imagine someone who isn’t particularly interested in reading about two guys together reading a story where the plot is barely-there connective tissue to provide an excuse for lots of sex. But a story can have lots of sex, but also lots of plot, layered characterisation and plenty of emotional content Chris Owen’s Bareback for example. So could a none M/M reader get through that without skimming half the book and wondering if these guys ever have their pants on. Of course, some M/M readers themselves skim the sex scenes and some M/F readers do the same. Sex is sex, they think, show me the emotional stuff!
Is it a case of romance, is romance, is romance? Two people trying to figure out love will face many of the same problems as all other lovers, as well as some unique to their situation in that story. Or do the different dynamics between men and men and women and men create a more fundamental difference to the story? Fundamental enough that some of the standard romance tropes won’t ring true even if they work beautifully in M/F romance. M/M readers often complain about stories where the dynamic does appear to be that of a man and a woman, even though the characters are supposed to both be men. A writer might have literally gender-switched a heroine into a hero, or the male/female dynamic might he too tied up in their mind as the same dynamic for all romance. But whatever it is, readers know something is “off”.
I may try to get some sense of the experience by reading some F/F erotic romance (any recs there, people?) Anyway, it’s kept me intrigued all week and glad to see there are people who are prepared to read outside of their comfort zone, whatever the reason. And thanks for the review, Teresa. Now, ‘fess up, did you skim the sex scenes?