Rethinking M/M Romance Intimacy that Reads Like Heterosexual Love

While Sean Michael’s His Very Own Vampire is a heated, entertaining, but otherwise rather unremarkable novella, it made me rethink some of my ideas about women writing male/male romances.

One of the critiques of women who write male/male romances concerns the lack of believability regarding the mechanics of man-on-man physical intimacy. In particular, for me sometimes male/male sex in these stories often focuses on anal intercourse, with the culmination of both the relationship and the sexual release only coming from such penetrative encounters. In my personal experience, these encounters seem much closer to the sex I’ve had with women rather than men. Many men aren’t particular fans of anal intercourse, rarely practice it, and in my experience only a handful enjoy bottoming so incredibly much it gives them mind-blowing orgasms. (Many men find plenty of other physical acts with another man to be extraordinarily intimate and wonderfully overwhelming. On the other hand, in male/female encounters I have found vaginal sex much more often leads to the most intimate contact and most intense releases for both parties.)

I don’t mind that many intimate scenes in m/m romance focus on anal sex for the most physically satisfying, emotional-connecting encounters, even if they strike me as a bit more typically heterosexual then gay male love. I’m sure there are male couples who experience this intensity from anal intercourse. Even if I’m right and that such a focus on mind-blowing anal intercourse is rare in real life, if the authors and readers (female or male) enjoy those scenes in a steamy romance, that’s all that really matters. Although it sometimes stretches believability for me just a bit, I still can appreciate that type of consummation when the characters, chemistry, and heat are  enticing and well written.

In Sean Michael’s book, the ultimate physical intimacy included the human male climaxing from the vampire’s hand, mouth, and then finally from being mounted, all in quick succession, and all the while maintaining and not losing a heightened, stiff sense of arousal. I have found this type of reaction very typical in my encounters with women (building repeated orgasms moving from fingers to mouth to intercourse) and unknown in my encounters with men (who have always needed significant recovery time after release to start again, if they recovered again that session at all). So when I read this story, I assumed a woman had written it, as it struck me as it seemed typical to me of male/female love and not at all of male/male intimacy.

But this writer is a man.

I take a couple of lessons from the fact that a male author wrote a m/m sex scene that reminded me personally much more of heterosexual intimacy.

1) Since a vampire was involved, it’s possible the continuous arousal and multiple orgasms of the human man could very well be keying off a mystical connection with his blood mate, even if that wasn’t clear to me in the book. Sometimes suspending a little disbelief, be it for paranormal abilities or just for reasons of author preferences and plot devices, allows the reader to let those “semi-believable” moments enhance the reading experience and can make the story more enjoyable for the reader.

2) Just because something in a male/male romance strikes me as more like male/female sex, doesn’t mean other male couples have not experienced this type of overwhelming release or will interpret the scene in the same way that I do.

As I said, when I’ve previously read m/m intimate scenes that read to me like m/f sex, it usually didn’t bother me or I found it only a bit incongruous with the story. After reading such a scene by a male writer, I’m even more likely to chalk my reaction up to my personal history, and therefore likely to be even more accepting that at least some male couples experience and/or appreciate the greatest intimacy, emotional connection, and physical release from fully penetrative, personal intercourse with another man.

Review:

His Very Own Vampire by Sean Michael Book Cover

Title: His Very Own Vampire
Author: Sean Michael
Genre:  Paranomal M/M Romance
Format:  Novella (60 pages)
SitesGoodreads
Publisher: Amber Allure (October 2015)
ISBN: 9781681750996

Other: Out of print (Amber closed)

3 stars (out of 5)

Tagline:  Lost human heir inherits a vampire protector 

A brief, entertaining novella that has a minimal but interesting story leading to a nice, heated payoff in the end. The set-up, a vampire serving a human house, is different and intriguing, although the story is so short I wanted to know much more about how “short-lived” mortals would keep a long-lived vampire in their service as a bodyguard for generations. The connection with a human heir who did not know his family led to some nice interaction with a drifter who suddenly finds a vampire out to protect him. Finally, the ultimate physical connection was nicely intense for me. Overall, it was short and nothing particularly bewitching, but an enjoyable little diversion in any case.

Blowback by Lyn Gala

Blowback  Book Cover

Title: Blowback
Author: Lyn Gala
Genre:  Science Fiction Romance (M/F)
Format:  Novel (392 pages)
Book sites:  Author | Publisher Goodreads
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publisher: Loose ID (June 2015)
ISBN: 9781623009373

4.5 stars (out of 5)

Tagline:  Tough alpha male soldier submits to the crazy, strong, and blue alien woman

An amazing tale from one of my favorite authors, some of the writing was more difficult and slow than typically found in light romances, but the payoff in the end was absolutely worth it for me.   Lyn Gala writes a wide range of stories, including one of my absolute favorite m/m romances, Claimings Tails and Other Alien Artifactsa gently firm and a bit erotic exploration of a strong but submissive human man submitting to powerful alien.  Blowback  is an earlier work  by this author (although recently revised) with similar themes, except in this case the outwardly buff  human man with a submissive side is submitting to a powerful female alien.

Reading this work reminded me of the writing progression of another of my favorite m/m romance authors, Amy Lane.  Her early Little Goddess series, a paranormal erotic series (with a female protagonist) had a rough-edged but wild prose style that was engaging but perhaps a bit undisciplined, as well as highlighting some of the strengths we see in Ms. Lane’s later works.  I find a similar progression in Ms. Gala’s writing – her early work Blowback is a bit rough to get through at times but it showcases the author’s love of linguistics and cross-cultural communication issues that are so brilliantly built into her later Claimings series.  In short, I find in both of these authors’ early works plenty of genius a somewhat “rough around the edges” but still extremely engaging writing styles that are clearly honed to great effect in very enticing later works.

I read this genre primarily for escapist reads, so the alien (and traumatic) confusion of the main character wasn’t as easy to navigate as I usually expect in romances, but in the end any struggle through the sieve of an injured alien mind was well worth the eventual payoff for me.  Of course, I greatly enjoy stories where strong men are able to find comfort and joy in submission to another, especially when the relationship focuses on the mental and emotional side of  Domination and submission.  For this reader, Blowback was an absolutely enchanting tale and the wonderful jumble of the blue woman’s crazily enticing vocabulary was an extremely enjoyable escape that paid off handsomely in the end.

Heat:   4.5 stars (just a few scenes, but I found them to be very smoking for my tastes)

Relationship Chemistry:  4.5 stars (slow boil of enemy to prisoner to lover)

Characters:   4.5 stars (tough, alpha male who secretly wants to submit and an uber-strong, apparently crazy, and wonderfully blue alien woman)

Setting:   4 stars   (military operatives undercover as smugglers caught on a slaving planet)

Plot:   4 stars  (caught in a web of deceit among slavers, aliens, the military, and the government)

Writing:    3.5 stars  (excellent hints of the author’s future xenolinguistic exploits, but sometimes dragged a bit much in the crazy alien woman’s mind)

 

Themes:  Aliens, Slavery, Enemies to Lovers, BDSM (submission, control, light bondage)