The Sexual Roles Of Gay Men In MM Fiction
The relationship between Indie-author and reader is much more personal than those going through traditional publishing, that’s a fact and cannot be disputed. And as I’ve mentioned previously in my blog posts, this can lead to very negative behavior on all sides. For example, I’ve spoken about authors dragging their bad reviews (and reviewers) through the mud, resulting in a less-than-honest working environment where people only seek to hear their praises sang rather than face criticism. Likewise, sometimes readers (with their ability to privately message any indie-author through Facebook) take it upon themselves to give their opinions in other forms. This isn’t always constructive, and for the specifics of this posts, it’s uncalled for and doesn’t make any sense.
As with most of my posts, this was a subject that was brought to my attention through a fellow author and then verified by several others upon questioning. I haven’t yet faced this personally—then again, I haven’t put out half as much work as the authors that bring these things to my attention. However, I did feel somewhat personally offended by this particular matter as it plays into my real-life situation with my fiancé.
So, without further ado, today’s topic is The Sexual Roles Of Gay Men In MM Fiction, the twisted expectations of *some* readers, and the culture of people “owing” sex to their partner.
Let me paint this picture clearly with a quote – “Character A is vers, but Character B is a bottom. That’s selfish. Character B should’ve topped Character A at least once throughout the story to make him happy.”
There’s a lot to unpack here and I’m not the most structured writer, so I’m going to try and break this down into sections as to not leave any stone unturned, or something like that.
First, let’s tackle how this “complaint” came about.
Reviews exist for a reason. Sometimes we (authors) don’t agree, but that’s because deep down we all just want people to see and love our work the same way we do.
Still, they exist as an unbiased opinion on our work so that others may make an informed decision before spending their hard-earned money. That’s it. They can stroke our ego, they can make us feel like shit, but mostly they exist to give others the information they need before purchasing a product. The same as restaurant reviews, hair products, hotels, etc. That’s their purpose. And so, with that in mind, exactly what goes through someone’s head when they personally message an author to complain about their book? This isn’t productive; it’s not going to make the author pull their finished product and tweak it to the individual’s liking. It’s not going to do anything for anyone, except maybe allow the person complaining to express themselves? But, again, that’s why reviews exist, and there’s plenty of FB groups for that sort of thing.
I’m not going to beat around the bush on this. I stand wholeheartedly against a reader privately messaging an author to complain about their work. If you’re not a beta reader, and your opinion for the work hasn’t been requested by the author, then express yourself through reviews. If you hated a meal, would you find the chef on FB and message them directly? Would you befriend a hair dresser on the internet just to tell them you hate the bangs they’ve given you? Just like I’ve called out authors for complaining about reviews by readers, I have to look at the other side and ask readers to please stop directly sending their complaints to authors’ personal inboxes. Neither of these things foster anything positive in our community.
That’s not to say readers opinions aren’t valued—of course they are, and constructive criticism is always wanted, but again, that’s why reviews exist. It’s their purpose.
Now let’s move on to the real topic—the idea of “owing” someone something sexual regardless of if you enjoy it or not (which exists way beyond the bounds of the LGBT community and fiction).
As stated in my previous blog post, I am in an open relationship now, and it came about for one reason; I don’t top, and my partner wants to bottom.
Would you ever tell a woman she had to give her husband a blowjob if he enjoyed them and she hated them? Would you ever tell a man to let his wife shove a butternut squash up him if that was the only way she could orgasm? Would you ever tell anyone to do something sexual for their partner, despite how unappealing that idea may be to them? Would you ever make someone you love do something they dislike, knowing they’d get nothing out of it?
These characters are obviously fictional, but the culture of “sexual needs should come before discomfort” is too fucking real. When we speak about toxicity, sexism, etc, these themes of “owing” someone sex often come up. You can’t be an advocate for freedom of expression and love, and then demand people love in a way that suits your needs. And you don’t get to dictate the “roles” of gay men in the bedroom, either. And let me be very blunt here; my dick wouldn’t get hard if I knew I was going to top, it would be an impossibility for me because I find absolutely no sexual satisfaction from the act whatsoever. Sure, for some gay men “roles” in the bedroom is merely a preference, but as I’ve stated before, my “bottom-ness” is a part of my sexuality. It’s ingrained into me, as hardwired as my being gay. You may as well tell me to stick it in a woman if you’re going to tell me I need to “top” because both are as equally unappealing to me.
And that’s the way my author friend described her “Bottom” character, but still this reader insisted he should’ve topped. She insisted he was being selfish for not doing so, and with that comment, she made a statement about my life. I am living the reality of this situation, and there isn’t a single person on the planet that would get a nice response from me should they tell me I was being “selfish” for not topping my partner. Despite the fact I dislike it. Despite the fact it’s not a part of my sexuality.
No one owes anyone sex. No one should be made to do anything their uncomfortable with for the sexual satisfaction of someone else. And if you force someone to do those things? Well, I’m sure you’re aware we have a word for that.
Where To Find Craig and How To Support His Authoring Ways
[ Hey everyone! So, this is the shamelessly-promote-myself part of the post where I give out my information. If you like what I have to say and want to watch me ramble in real-time, you can find my Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/craigbarkerauthor. If you were interested in the “YA featuring a gay male protagonist” that I managed to squeeze into this post without looking like I was trying too hard, you might want to consider joining my author group, where I post regular updates on all things books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/craigbarkerbooks/. And, if you’re someone that likes to support people in the arts and want to be the first to get excepts, read an exclusive gay romance story, and see some amazing artwork, maybe consider checking out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Craigbarker ]