Slash fiction, or erotic fan fiction involving male characters from popular media, is one of the largest gift economies on earth. Yaoi manga, Japanese comics featuring tales of beautiful and sexy men, written by and for girls, is one of the most dominant genres of manga in the world. Romance novels, pornographic tales of gorgeous, sexy men humping the hell out of either women or each other, account for fifty percent of all paperback sales in the U.S., and were the first major success story in the ebook market. The female desire to look at, read about, obsess over, and lust after men is absolutely massive, and kept discreetly off the cultural radar. It’s How To Suppress Women’s Writing all over again: how to suppress women’s porn. Yaoi is dismissed as being for teenage girls and therefore irrelevant, romance imprints are excluded from bestseller lists, and slash fandom hides in Googleproofed communities online, entrance gained only by introductions and shibboleths, many of its fans afraid their husbands or boyfriends might find out that they…
That they what? That they’re really into men? That they find the male body, male sexuality, male emotions to be intensely, obsessively erotic? How exactly did our entire culture agree to keep it a secret that straight and bi women are turned on by guys? Shouldn’t that be less of a taboo and more of a tautology?
What I find interesting about all of this is the whole idea that women aren’t supposed to be interested in sex the same way men are.
I was talking with my husband earlier today and he mentioned some of the Victorian sex advice from the clergy. Which consisted of the woman showing no enjoyment at all with the act and once it was over, berating their husbands about domestic issues.
Women like sex. We like looking at attractive people and reading and seeing sexy things. I find it funny that we’re supposed to act like we don’t dig that. But I’m a shitty liar.