I wrote a long comment to a post by Forbidden Writer. He wrote about the challenges a male erotica writer faces in writing a woman’s POV and erotica that appeals to women in effective and believable ways.
Forbidden Writer’s post is here, On Female Perspective. Much of my response is encompassed below.
My response to a man writing a female point of view and writing erotica that arouses and speaks to women is this:
I make a beeline for decent erotica and erotic romance written by men. I specifically BUY their work (and devour it) just like I do writing by women.
By erotic romance I mean the very popular genre novels that are mainly written and read by women and are some of the top-selling eBooks. There are few male writers that advertise or admit to writing these. Men may be writing under female or gender neutral pen names but that still supports the idea that Women’s Romance novels are considered a Woman thing.
I am cis and bi+. I know what I like about men and about women. In terms of MF romance, or any exponential mixture of M’s and F’s, I KNOW the way I would want a guy to see me, desire me and take me. This is a pretty common plot line. That probably sounds ridiculously simple and silly but the issues tackled and the way they unfold are anything but. Romance novels also have other amazing qualities and often feature independent, fierce, totally bad-ass women. (I only started reading Romance in the last 2 years- and it is a very underrated and unfairly maligned genre!) As to the Romance aspect, these novels shows how women want a man to relate to them and gives them that- even if it is an unrealistic fantasy.
In terms of romance fantasies I KNOW the way I would want a guy to perceive, desire and take me.
This genre captures and feeds the fantasies of a HUGE group of female readers. You want to know what a heck of a lot of women want? Seriously, read some romance. Just read the blurbs. I KNOW “not all women” like this genre. Maybe most women don’t enjoy them. And YES, this genre’s demographic is probably heavily cisgender, heterosexual (or bi) middle class white women. Still, if you want to write books marketed to women or want to understand what a significant chunk of female readers think- pick up some best-selling romance novels. These will SPELL out for you the type of hunk that creates spellbound readers, pebbled nipples and slick panties.
IN MY OPINION, or at least in the romance books I enjoy, I think women want to be respected, admired and worshiped-body and soul. Put another way, we expect the male love interest to fall deeply in love, lust, burning passion for the heroine because of her non-physical attributes (strength, intelligence, and independence) and only a little bit due to her unique or unsung physical traits. Due to her irresistible charms this sexual god/brute has NO CHOICE but to fall down in obeisance and worship her. Life should no longer have meaning apart from ravishing/pleasuring/claiming her.
According to romance novels, women want to be respected, admired and worshiped- body and soul.
Due to the heroine’s irresistible charms the sex-god hero has NO CHOICE but to fall down in obeisance and worship her. Life should no longer have meaning for him apart from ravishing/pleasuring/claiming her.
I admit many romances are a lot cleaner, sweeter and gentler than this. But I don’t read those. Sorry.
So, why do I crave reading erotica and romance by men? I’m looking for something.
It may be hopelessly unrealistic but I have this hope that I can read romance and erotica written by men and find that men are capable of desiring and coupling with women in the ways that a lot of women want to be desired.
My value and self-esteem are in NO WAY dependent on whether I am sexually attractive to men or to my male partner.
But in an intimate context (An APPROPRIATE, CONSENSUAL, INTIMATE CONTEXT of my choosing), I want to know what I look like in my lover’s eyes, what turns him on about me, and how he experiences me. I REALLY, REALLY want to believe that my lover, at least for that moment, finds me the most alluring, desirable woman in the world.
Many men are not verbally expressive, are not wordsmiths, may be the silent type or for other reasons don’t articulate or show women feelings that remotely resemble women’s fantasies. Maybe these romance fantasies are as unrealistic for women in the same way a man might fantasize about a harem of beautiful women who live to worship his cock. I think a man finding a woman who loves his cock IS attainable and yes, I do know many men love and worship their women.
I am jaded and cynical. I have internalized a lot of true facts about how men view and treat women and much of it is ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly. I have had role models in my life who made their female partners feel like ugly cows. A majority of women feel insecure about their looks or value and some of that has been due to the men in their lives. Then there is the whole patriarchal downgrading of women everywhere. A close male friend once told me that in porn, and also in life, “men just want a warm hole.” God, I hope that’s not true.
My life does not depend on positive male feedback to me or womenfolk. But in my view of the world, just like I want to believe that people can be altruistic and good, I want to believe that men can value women with a healthy lust and appreciation. I have a compulsion to find evidence that men are attracted to a woman’s whole person and see us as equal and worthy intimate partners.
Maybe it is a ridiculous dream but at the very least could some of you men write fantasies validating women’s romance fantasies before these women readers and writers notice that they are just wishing on stars?
I AM morbidly pessimistic but if I never see male writers drafting heroes who satisfy female fantasies in a romantic context, I may honestly conclude that male lovers *don’t* or cannot look at their female partners in that way. And that will make me very, very sad.
So my challenge to men writing MF erotica and romance, please show me that a man could possibly fulfill those genre fantasies. You may need to pick up a few bestsellers.
Women deal with insecurity about their smell, looks, weight, worth, and their value and sometimes just EVERYTHING. They question whether guys really want them for who they are or if they are replaceable objects/orifices. Show us the fantastic ways that a man could lust after/crave/need/die for these goddesses and how a man would want to rock her core in a way that fulfills her deepest dreams. Make it clear to us that if your character can do this then by extension we will know that men are capable of loving/lusting/cherishing women in this way, too.
Male Writers: Show us the fantastic ways that a man could lust after/crave/need/die for his goddess and the ways he would rock her core and fulfill her deepest desires.
Do it for the cynical writers and readers like me? 🤗 Do it for all the romance readers who are laying on their beds dreaming of a book boyfriend to appear and satisfy their most intimate longings?