Why Do Straight Women Love Gay Romance?
By Claire Thompson
Back in 2007 I wrote my first M/M BDSM love stories, Golden Boy and its sequel, Golden Man. I have gone on to write over a dozen M/M love stories, both BDSM and vanilla, and I’ve fallen in love with my heroes, as have my readers.
The question is—why?
Why do straight women want to write and read about gay male lovers? And what the hell do we know it, anyway? When I began to think it through, the thought of alpha males connecting with one another on an intimate, passionate level had the potential to be very sexy indeed. First the imagery itself is very powerful—two strong, sensual man tousling, touching, kissing, making love in ways women find exciting and perhaps taboo. Gorgeous male bodies pressing together in hot, muscular passion…excuse me while I go for a quick cold shower…
I have come to realize the potential for guiding my readers past their comfort zone, but in a way that would leave them breathless. I strive to take my readers by the hand, leading them into the heated waters of explicit male/male sex—from first kiss to final consummation. Throw in some whips and chains and dark intrigue, and you have yourself a wonderful escape, at least for a little while.
My female readers are permitted, even encouraged, to become voyeurs of a world they, by definition, can’t not be a part of. Yet through my stories I hope to draw them in, to let them connect for a moment with a different lifestyle, a different world.
Beyond the physical imagery, I enjoy exploring the difficulties and intensity unique to men as lovers. I try to capture the unexpected gentleness and honesty shared between men who are not afraid to be vulnerable.
Because I am primarily a BDSM author, most of my m/m novels include and revolve around a BDSM theme. In Golden Boy, Johnny Wilson is in serious denial—not only of his sexual orientation, but of his sexually submissive nature as well. This gave me an opportunity to delve into the dynamics of “coming out” along with finding the courage to commit in a loving D/s relationship.
Johnny, who until his world is turned upside down by the quietly confident, fiercely sexy Eric, had always defined himself as straight. His controlling domineering father would never have permitted any other definition. The conflict generated within himself and later with his family adds a new dimension to the already difficult terrain of gay love and a D/s lifestyle.
His love interest, Eric Mendez, has to come to terms with a new kind of man. Eric is used to playing the BDSM scene, using pretty boys for his pleasure but never letting them anywhere near his heart. When he first sees the devastatingly handsome man at the gay underground club where he reigns as king, his heart is captured in an instant. Unaware Johnny is only just beginning to understand his own impulses and desires, he promises himself to find the elusive golden-haired stranger and make him his own.
When they do finally connect, Johnny, naïve, innocent and aching to learn, is an entirely new sort of challenge for Eric. Used to savvy, worldly men who can fend for themselves in the ways of sex and submission, Eric realizes the enormous responsibility of becoming involved with such an innocent, and one who trusts him so completely. The usual rules he’s employed his D/s affairs no longer apply. For the first time in his life he’s faced with something far more dangerous than kinky play involving whips and rope. He’s faced with the possibility of a real connection and the chance it will break his heart.
In writing the story, I wanted to get behind the tough, sexy alpha hero that is Eric and explore his gentler side—his romantic impulses and the tenderness love engenders in him. I wanted to explore the conflict between the new lovers, with Johnny pulling back, uncertain of his own desires, and Eric forcing himself to go slow, even when Johnny presses for more.
When people have asked me how I, as a woman, dare to write about gay men, and what the hell do I know about it, I reply that I write not so much about gay men, per se, but about the human experience, of which being gay is one aspect. I am not a straight man, either, and yet no one has ever asked me how I dare to create straight male characters, and what makes me think I can get into their heads or understand their experience.
I would suggest that to limit a writer to writing only about what they have personally experienced would be to limit them to very dull fair indeed! Creating believable characters in interesting and compelling situations should not be limited to one’s own small life experience, though of course experience does make one a better writer (hopefully!). No matter your sexual orientation or who you love, a good story is still a good story. In end we come back to the essence of every romance novel—a longing for true love and the courage to embrace it.
The Contract – by Claire Thompson
Out of a job and betrayed by his lover, Jace Thompson jumps at an opportunity almost too good to be true. On a private island in the Florida Keys, a secret BDSM community exists in resort-style luxury, the wealthy clients served by paid submissives who meet their every erotic desire and sensual whim. As Jace works hard to serve the men of the island with submissive grace, he is challenged at every turn by a manipulative trainer who seems hell bent on his failure, and another who brings out a deeply submissive nature Jace didn’t realize he possessed.
When trainer Quinn is asked to assess Jace for his submissive potential, the connection between them is immediate and intense. He might have to make an exception to his rule to never get involved with the service subs. His jealous ex-lover has other ideas.
Dark intrigue and unrequited desires combine in a tangled web of danger and deception. Against a backdrop of lush tropical beauty and steamy passion, Jace and Quinn begin a tentative and ultimately powerful exploration of Domination and submission not only of the body, but of the heart and soul.
Claire has been writing for nearly two decades, and has published over 70 novels. She writes BDSM romance and non-con abduction tales, spanning both m/f and m/m genres. Claire’s love affair is with all things D/s (Dominance/submission). Her work began as a romantic exploration of the BDSM life style, and then veered to the darker side of fantasy. She is fascinated with the dark psyche of a twisted mind, and seeks insight into what might motivate such a person to do what they do. Rather than the all-evil villain and heroes as pure as the driven snow, Claire strives to develop real, complex and flawed human beings.
She seeks not only to tell a story, but to come to grips with, and ultimately exalt in the true beauty and spirituality of a loving exchange of power. Her darker works press the envelope of what is erotic and what can be a sometimes-dangerous slide into the world of sadomasochism. Ultimately her work deals with the human condition, and our constant search for love and intensity of experience.
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