Monday, August 18, 2014

Why ARE men uncomfortable with male/male sex? ~ Conversations with Spencer today!!

Aloha everyone,  (possibly not NSFW - not very raunchy!) :-)

Thanks to everyone who so enthusiastically read our last Conversations with Spencer posting. This time we wanted to look at a particular genre in romance erotica or even just a way of life. We’ve also got Michele ‘Mikey’ Rakes with us who writes m/m and a m/m/f poly relationship in her book Trainwreck.  

As Spencer says, “Most guys are happy with the male and two women fantasy, but when it comes to the woman with two men, it makes them uncomfortable.”  


We’ll be talking about why that makes a lot of men uncomfortable.  


Spencer asked why I write what I do. I write about a poly relationship or a Troika as I’ve dubbed it. Troika in Russian means: Three equal things, it’s also a passionate Russian dance. My three characters Henry, Izzy and Charlie are in a committed loving relationship with each other. Often called a ménage as well.  

This concept is not complete fantasy. Often people think in terms of ‘just the sex’ part of it. But there’s more to it than that, for me. Polyandry is legal and accepted in certain parts of the world still. In places like Tibet, women have two legal husbands. Something different again, polyamory—means many loves. And often these relationships feature more than one lover relationship, but they may not all have sex together. Whereas my lovers are one unit. They talk, argue, make love, run the house, go on holidays, pick up takeout, do laundry…in other words live together. But three, not two in the relationship.   

I’ve always been deeply fascinated by unusual mixes in relationships. They intrigue me. I worked with a woman who’d been married for 15 odd years, but she and her husband lived in separate houses. That intrigued me. How unusual! I had a friend who was married and they had another woman in their relationship, bed, and living room for years.  

So, why does it fire my imagination? It’s not the sex.  

It’s the connection between them. I started my stories as a ‘nice wee romance,’ and Charlie came into the story and wouldn’t leave. I nicknamed him ‘bloody Charlie.’ In the end I gave in. Now, nobody could imagine him NOT being part of Henry and Izzy.  

It was odd for me to write it initially. I wasn’t as comfortable as I am now. Not because I didn’t think it should be happening, but more because I wondered what people would think. Me – Miss Question Authority and Screw the World… Suddenly I was concerned with what people might think? LOL. But it is an unusual subject and mix.  

So…why does it make you uncomfortable Spencer? What parts of your psyche does it grind at? Or just your general perceptions, feelings on the threesome. Often male erotica writers, who write ‘vanilla’ sex, are slightly uncomfortable with it. Why?  


I have to start by affirming one of your claims, that it is about the relationship in your stories. My only 'experience' with three way is bad porn films where it is two girls and one guy. To clarify it's two hot girls.  

I've read Henry and Isolde and must say you create a believable narrative for the way three people share an abiding love. You also have an amazing ability to get inside a man's head, think and talk the way men talk. So often in romance written by women, the men think and talk in a manor idealized by women. Readers will be in for a real treat with Henry & Isolde. (thanks Spencer :-) Meg)

Where I jump off the rails is in the M/M relationship. I’m a very straight vanilla M/F guy. I must point out in your story it's not two guys doing a girl, like a porn film, it is three people sharing a love that also exists between the two men. I found myself squeezing my eyes shut during the M/M sex scenes and I had to ask myself why. To answer your question, I really don't know. 

For me I think it's my deeply ingrained prohibition about homosexuality. As erotic writers we deal with boundaries. I am up against one that defies rational explanation. I don't think in ancient times there was near as much hysteria about homosexuality as we descendants of the Puritans have.   

Many people have serious boundaries about any erotica. It's why we’re cast out and often censored. I had to put aside a lot of my hang-ups about erotica just to write vanilla sex. I have humorously said I use a pen name because if my family friends and associates knew of my interests in writing erotica, they would drop dead in horror. They would. I have finally reached an age and state of mind where I've realized I am not responsible for their feelings but I also don't need to confront them about theirs. I'm not at all there with the sexual aspects of homosexuality. I don't need to break that boundary either.  

To repeat, what I found so fascinating about Henry & Isolde was the way you were able to depict the love three people had for each other that was outside of sex. So in that sense your story has opened the window and let some fresh air into the room.  

Most of BDSM has me crashing into the same wall. But it's obvious by the tremendous response to FSOG that a lot of people are looking for some kernel of understanding. That's our job as writers. 


Spencer, I think I understand what you’re saying, that like gay men, you are hardwired to be straight. To explain yourself, you rely on analogy to get your point across. It’s not that you believe gay sex is akin to rape. Society has placed such a stigma on homosexuality that it has affected the way someone as same-sex friendly as you, still feels an aversion to something as simple as love. Sex is sex, but love with sex, no matter the sex, is bliss.

Part of the squick factor for men is the perceived loss of masculinity. Instinctual sex is a penetrative act. Straight men are hardwired to do the penetrating. To be the strong alpha’s who propagate the species. It’s their Darwinian imperative. The stronger the male, the more seed he spreads, ensuring his traits survive. 

Homosexuality is nature’s way of population control. Life finds a way, and I think being homosexual is a great boon to society. If I were a straight man in every traditional sense of the word, I’d never even let a woman take control in the bedroom, because it would affect my masculinity. I think most men fall into the median, where they like some overtures in the bedroom from woman, but nothing so aggressive as the act of penetration, because when that happens, men lose a measure of control. Why? Because it feels too good, and straight men are afraid to experience that even with a woman. The enlightened ones do, but also, straight men like women. Gay men like men. Simple. Nothing to be afraid of in the least. 

Right, so to come back to the original question. What EXACTLY produces the squick factor for you Spencer? Is it the penetration? Is it two men kissing? I’m not squicked by female/female sex. It just doesn’t do bugger all for me. I find it boring. So, it’s much more personal for men I think.  

Okay, so here’s a thought. What sensations does it give you when you read about it? I don’t like BDSM personally. It makes me recoil in horror. In saying that, I have read Mikey’s book Trainwreck and loved it. But I loved the characters and the background, the mystery involved in it. And we all (including Mikey) joke about the infamous Chapter 9 that was pivotal though to the book. It shows her character turning himself around from that point. We tell people, keep some garlic close by, a strong drink, turn on the lights and maybe…load your gun with silver bullets. J  

So, it produces quite a reaction, for most of us that aren’t into BDSM.  

For me personally, BDSM is a straight turn off. Is this the type of reaction you have to m/m sex? Or does it have some other element in it?   

And thanks on Henry and Isolde. I wanted to show the deep love between them. Because that’s what it’s all about, at the end of the day—the love. I wonder if that puts my work into the Pansexual genre. I don’t know. I’ve only just run across this category, which means to love across gender. In other words, you love who you love. They might not come in the body you’re used to because I wouldn’t class either Henry or Charlie as gay or even bisexual.  But they’re so connected to each other on a soul level, that is transcends everything.  

But Mikey’s story is different again. Her characters are bisexual or gay. But again, this deep love between the three of them that seems to transcend everyday things. 

I like the sexual relationship because it’s a very vulnerable surrender in a way for a man. Men are used to being the ‘intruder,’ the penetrator. They’re not used to being penetrated—possessed, filled up, or expanded with a penis. It’s quite a different position for a man to be in, the non-dominator.  He has to be very vulnerable and trusting.  And that is probably what tugs at my heart strings more than anything.  


I'm still stuck in the hard-wired thing. The sight of a naked man with an erection is not erotic to me, the smell of a man's genitals, does not excite me, where both the sight of a naked woman and the smell of her sex are big turn-ons. The thought of another man's penis in my hand, mouth or anus makes me shudder.  

With no sensory turn-on from the usual cues, the only way the situation would arise for me is if it was forced as in some prison film, making the vision all the more disturbing. I'll take one step away from direct involvement: If I saw two women getting it on through an open window, I'd watch and probably be clutching myself. If I saw two guys, I'd pull down my shade.  
I realized it is a deeply engraved cultural norm, like the way good Jews and Muslims are revolted by pigs. I guess it's back to my thing about brussel sprouts, the fact that I don't like them doesn't make them bad.

I'm out of bullets to explain why-somewhere between hard wired and deeply culturally engrained. Maybe there's a bit of
phobia-completely irrational but intensely visceral. I think many men would express the same thoughts. Look at what a crazy loud response the topic brings in religious circles, the vehemence indicates deep seeded emotion. Why is that topic the lynch pin for the fall of Western Civilization and not, say, the murderous religious intolerance breaking out everywhere? 

With gay sex, I read it with only one eye? I have always been able to 'read past' parts of works that offend me- if I'm engaged by the rest of the story. Maybe a movie is a better example. Take "Alien", I'm so compelled by the story that I endure the really scary shit. The tricky part here is that homosexuality is not my thing, but I don't fear it as the undoing of mankind.  

It's homosexual sex that I have trouble with. It's not the kind of sex that excites me. I find it revolting. As a writer you want it in your story, as a reader the story would be just as good for me if it was about the relationship but without the sex. 

Meg here: I kept bugging Spencer, but why? But why? Until he wanted to scream. And this is what we got down to. It’s just revolting for him. Fair enough.


As a writer how do you come to the topic of M/M sex? 


To be perfectly Francis with you. I have no idea! It wasn’t my intention to write a m/m/f story. I wanted to tell an intensely rich, deeply sultry, sensuous and deep romantic relationship between an older man and younger woman. The gorgeous satisfying sex was part of their story because it should be part of a great romance. 

All was going well, until…Charlie turned up. He just wouldn’t go away, one of those rogue characters which you had no intention of writing and simply takes over the whole story. With me saying helpful things like: But? But? Hang on? No? NO? I said… Jesus Charlie! As he stampeded through my ‘nice wee love story.’  

He was supposed to be a ‘sidekick supportive friend’ to Henry, but he was so energetic on the pages, so full of charm and depth, charismatic and sexual—he was almost impossible to say no to. He wanted it all too. A sex scene, another one, he wanted to be part of their relationship, he wanted to live with them. Charlie’s list was long and loud.  

Initially I resisted this. People won’t want to read about this kind of relationship. That’s not true. Hugely popular part of the market share. But, I was unaware of that at the time.  

Was I repelled by it? No. Charlie’s very engaging, he’s hard to dislike. I was worried people would think he was destroying the sheer beauty of Henry and Izzy. I didn’t want people hating Charlie, because he’s so vulnerable and has the hardest time. I wanted people to fall in love with him too. I fell in love with the relationship of the three of them.  

In frustration I finally talked to my mentor about it. He said, “Just write him in. Give him a scene and let him run with it. See what he does. It might be enough for him.”  

So I did. And it didn’t. LOL. Oh no, all I’d done was sent out an engraved invitation for Charlie to take carte blanche. I was surprised at my own enjoyment with him there. How right he felt. Henry and Isolde started as one book. But we had to know Charlie’s story and his falling in love and where it all went. Book 2 – The Chi Circle.  

So, he just took over. By the time I wrote Flame, I couldn’t have imagined them without Charlie. He’s such a part of them. The love between him and Henry is soul deep, as it is with Izzy. And when we see how many past lives they’ve had together and things that have happened, we get why they’re so connected to each other. 

I didn’t 'come to the topic.’ It hijacked me. LOL. In a lovely Stockholm Syndrome way. But I’ve always been fascinated by bisexual men and I find gay sex highly erotic to watch. I think you often see men at their most open and vulnerable. That’s highly appealing. You get let into an intimate world.


With Vince, I wanted to see how far I could push him, and as I was pushing him, he began to reveal his secrets to me. Despite his love for his wife, he couldn’t battle his urges, nor could he reveal his true self to his wife. 

When I wrote Trainwreck, I hadn’t even known there was the MM Romance genre. I’d never heard of FSoG. Still haven’t read it, but I did start reading MM. I happened upon it by accident searching for erotica. It was important for me to find what it is people write when doing sex scenes. All I’ve ever read was Hustler and Penthouse Forum. I learned about sex the male way, so I guess I was primed for MM at a young age. 

As for playing, participating or engaging in BDSM, I’ve fantasized about being whipped since I was fifteen. Oh it there was a movie where the hero was being flogged or caned, I was there fantasizing. So for Vince to be into BDSM was a great reveal for me and to be in love with a gay whip master was the ultimate. God, turns me on just writing about it, and don’t ask me why I love watching men make love. Part of me thinks I was a gay man in a past life, and I didn’t get to act on it, so I am now. Just struggling with the bits.  

In answer to the question, I came to write M/M because I am turned on by the genre, and because I think there’s nothing wrong with gay sex or love. 


So, I’m not sure we have really got a clear definitive answer on ‘why’ men find it uncomfortable. Other than it just produces a gut clenching shudder through their body. It’s a very visceral reaction for a lot of men. Whether that’s a cultural thing, early childhood experiences, mindsets or just plain ‘not for me,’ it remains a strong reactionary subject, even amongst the male erotica writers that write ‘vanilla’ sex scenes.  

Are men just used to being the ‘penetrator?’ Does it make them feel way too vulnerable and out of control? Does it impinge on their masculinity in some way? Is  there a level of shame involved, perhaps on a very subconscious level, with the way that society can react to gay men especially? I think there is a lot of factors tied up in the way that men react to gay men and gay sex. 

What continues to fascinate me: Is why we women are so deeply attracted to it.  

Is it that we simply crave men who are more actualized emotionally? Or we perceive that gay men are more that way? Is it the levels of vulnerability we sense? Or is it something more primal? I don’t know. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts though. J

Amazon ~ On special until Thursday .99 cents

Henry and Isolde will be released in Spring 2015

Amazon ~ Just released this week!!

Check Mikey's website for Trainwreck's release 

1 comment:

  1. Daily here. For me, penetration is not the issue - at least not the way Meg and Mikey describe. I dated a girl who for some reason liked sticking her fingers up my ass. It did not feel good at all, but I allowed it becaused it got her all hot and lathered (the same way going down on women gets me hard as hell). I think Spencer's brussel sprout example is a good one. For me, I have to turn away when two men kiss. As much as I like Micheal Sam and was glad the Rams drafted him, I had to close my eyes when ESPN showed him kissing his boyfriend. Does that mean I think ESPN is wrong for having showed them? Fuck no! They are in love and there is nothing more important in this world than love - no matter if its between two men, two women, or a woman and man. Did I always feel that way? No. I used to be very homophobic when I was in my teens and early twenties. Then I got to know a few men and women who were gay. They weren't flamers who were trying to hit on me, or man hating dykes. I even found out one of my college buddies is gay. Do I hate him? No. In fact I respect him more now, knowing what he must have been going through, dating women he wasn't attracted to so nobody would suspect. Later I dated a girl who was bi. As you can imagine, that didn't end well (like Sienfeld said, they always go back to the other team). Do I hate gay people because of that experience? No. I was twenty seven and had by then grown up.
    Back to the subject of gay sex - I read the sex scenes in Saving Kane because I was curious. I actually learned a lot - for instance guys have sex in missionary position. I always thought they took each other from behind.
    I've read comments on FB as to why women like writing M/M erotica and many said two men together turned them on. It makes sense since I find two women together a huge turn-on.