A few men have asked me why I like m/m fiction. About half of these men were open minded straight men and the rest were gay men. Both groups seemed surprised to think that women would be interested in this genre. I really couldn't say which group was more surprised. I briefly contemplated the old tried and true, "Who wants a hot guy and some chick when you can have two hot guys." Trite but true; however, there is so much more to it than that.
Someone put forward the hypothesis that just like straight men watch "lesbian" porn, straight women like gay porn. But that is another poorly thought out claim and just doesn't ring true on so many levels. Comparing apples to oranges doesn't do justice to the topic.
M/m romance isn't porn. It may be very erotic and have a minimal storyline, but porn is different. Porn is strictly sex with very little pretensions of being anything else. It has no real redeeming qualities and frequently is between partners that aren't really interested in each other, much less turned on about the sex itself. Even in PWP (Plot, what plot?) m/m erotica, the partners are at least enthusiastic about the roles they are playing.
Men who watch lesbian porn are saying to themselves that they want a piece of that and if those girls were with them, they would make them straight. How do I know? I've hung out with more men than women and have firsthand knowledge of these conversations. These same men would never consider reading a lesbian romance. The only lesbian action they read about is in Penthouse Forums, stories written by men for men.
I read m/m romances, m/m erotica, yaoi/shonen ai and slash. It ranges from very graphic to a sweet kiss at the end of the story. I'm not reading it because I want the fantasy of taking part in the action. I read it because I like real men who are confused, vulnerable and looking for something important. There is a depth to these characters that is missing in conventional romance, where the men are the strong silent type. Not my kind of man.
Unlike traditional romances where they only question is how do we get the two destined lovers together, in m/m romance getting the lovers together is only half of the problem. They may be in love, but still have multiple obstacles to overcome. Will one or both of the lovers be able to face their feeling head on? Will they find themselves in a situation where they won't be able to be true to themselves much less each other? Will they have their Happily Ever After (HEA) or will they, and the reader, have to settle for Happy For Now (HFN)?
I also write m/m erotica and some slash. I tend to be very graphic in my stories and write the kind of thing that I would like to read. I try to make the men in my stories men and not some masculine version of the mainstream romance heroine. Besides horny men are more fun!
A little about Kei-chan: Kei-chan started her career helping a friend edit her slash. Since then I have branched out into writing my own slash and then later some original works. I am an avid reader and now focus almost exclusively on yaoi, slash and m/m romance. Look for me on AdultFanFiction.net and Facebook.