Monday, September 5, 2011

Erotica For Men

***My apologies for missing last week’s blog post. I was sick with a horrible chest cold. 


Right now I have a dozen writing projects on the table. All in various stages of completion. I haven’t been writing for a few weeks now because I’m in the process of moving, and therefore I’ve had to travel right much in order to find a house. Plus the packing has been a much bigger job than I ever believed possible. But once I’m moved and settled in, I’ll be back to writing and whittling down the work in progress pile for sure!

As we all know, ninety percent of all romance readers---from sweet to erotic—are female. One of my unfinished works is aimed for the male audience—the straight male audience. I’ve been told that I do male POV quite well. And I honestly think I do. However, I’m still a female writing for men. So there is always room for improvement, isn’t there?

Just as we crawl into the heads of our female characters in order to portray them accurately, we must do the same with male characters. And that’s a big job. It’s more than giving the dude a swagger and having him spit on the sidewalk. LOL It’s a completely different way of thinking.

The story I’m working on is erotica—not erotic romance. You see, even though I write romance and sometimes have my heroes do incredibly romantic things, I don’t really envision men as being all that romantic. But that’s how I see them in MY head. When all is said and done, the way I write this story will be based on MY perception of men. And that’s not to say that erotica can’t be romantic or have romantic elements. It can. But when I write it, the tone tends to be very edgy—gritty.

The top ten sexual fantasies for men and women really aren’t that different. Men want to involve anal in their fantasies while women list forced seduction. But that’s pretty much the only difference, although men do fantasize about giving up control.

Since Ellora’s Cave announced the launch a male erotica line, I’ve been reading blogs here and there and paying close attention to what the male commenters have to say. I’m seeing everything from men who want lots of description to men who say they want more sensuality. Then there are a whole lot of guys who just want to read hard-driving sex.

There’s a fine line between erotica and porn. I’ve read all kinds of books claiming to be erotica and just shake my head because they’re really nothing more than porn. So what IS that fine line? And is the line for men different than the line for women?

Yes, I think that the lines for men and women are different. Emotion and characterization seem to be the line in general. Not so much storyline/plot (although there can be), but simply making your characters real and giving them emotions. And yes, I think the lines for men and women are different. What do I mean by that? Hmmm…good question.

Well…here it is…

I think women have a much bigger ICK FACTOR. We’re not as forgiving when it comes to certain taboos. But that doesn’t mean we women are prudes and don’t embrace our sexuality. Not at all. Think about it. Women writers put the erotic romance/erotica industry on the map!

So I think with male-targeted erotica, we can expect to see more taboo sex, dialogue that is harder—grittier, and maybe, just maybe, we women will learn something from these books. I’ve always said that if men read romance they’d have a much better understanding of the wants and needs of women. And the same holds true of any book that a man reads, of course. 

I'm looking forward to reading male erotica from my fellow EC authors. Nobody can do it the way Ellora's Cave can! Woot!!!


Harlie Williams said...

Morning Tess and glad that you are feeling better. Men are visual creatures so I think that it will be much more descriptive in nature and I agree, gritter.

I'm looking forward to reading it from EC. Should be interesting and in some ways, informative.

Harlie Williams said...

Are you submitting to them on this?

Tess MacKall said...

Yep, I've got about 6K to go on a 30K work. But I've put off all writing until mid-September. Earlier if I get settled in to the new place faster.

It's different from writing to women. Very different. I have second-guessed every single word so far. lol

How do you engage a man's mind? Can a woman do that? LOL

anny cook said...

Men wrote most of the earliest "romances". In particular, I'm thinking of the early Arthurian cycles. They were both grittier and idealized. I agree it will be interesting to see what men will want in a "modern" romance.

Ana Lee Kennedy said...

I wrote for men's mags for years and still occasionally submit material to those markets. From what I've learned over the years, men like instant sexual gratification in such fiction and porn fiction often degrades one of the other characters. However, in erotica for men, I think they want more detail and a huge build up to that orgasmic point. Men are very visual, too, so that's where more of the detail comes in. Also, men like to feel needed, whether they're het or gay, so male erotica needs to have that element in it but the trick is not to make the other character too needy.

You write erotic well, Tess. Do you plan on submitting something to EC's new line? If so, I bet your work is snatched up for it.

Tess MacKall said...

And then women just stole the show! LOL

I'm wondering, Anny, will certain words that are usually unacceptable in the female world become more acceptable based on this venture?

Tess MacKall said...

Thank you for the lovely compliment, Faith. And yep, I've got a story going to EC for this line. Hopefully, lol, it'll be snatched up by my ed.

Yep, men are much more visual so that description is going to be very very important. I have to wonder, though...

Just as there are different audiences within the female readership, will there be some men who want more sensuality than the edgier/grittier stuff?

I think this is definitely going to be a project where trial and error is the only way to go. See what works and what doesn't.

Question: You mention degradation. Do you think men really see it as degradation or simply a way to get off. One that shouldn't be analyzed too closely?

Fiona McGier said...

Interesting dilemma to pose. I've described some of the plots of the m/m/f romances I've read to my gay male cousin. He laughs and says, "The readers DO realize that this is fiction, right? Real gay men don't generally invite a woman to be a part of their relationship."

So I think trying for accuracy is one thing, but remember that just as women are different, having different "hot buttons", so too are men. Some just want porn,"Pizza delivery, ma'am...(audible zipper sound) and here's your pepperoni!"
And some men want romance, or at least seduction along with highly descriptive erotica.
Viva la difference!

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm wondering about the difference in 'language' too. I plan to give this a shot because I love writing male POV so I'm interesting in learning more about what men really WANT in their erotic romance.

Tess MacKall said...

LMAO @ "Pizza delivery, ma'am...(audible zipper sound) and here's your pepperoni!"

Good way to put it, Fiona! And I have to agree with your friend. I've often said that it makes no sense for gay men to invite a woman. It means they're bisexual, not gay.

Accuracy!!!! Yes, yes, yes!!!

Ana Lee Kennedy said...

Well, to answer your question, Tess, I honestly don't know, lol. I've had in-house writers of a well-known publication rewrite parts of my stories to make the female character seem at the mercy of the man. I've never really been able to determine if it's the male's need to be totally dominate or if it's the need to fulfill the desire to make the woman seem as dirty and subservient as possible--that heavy dirty girl factor that seems to be so prevelent in porn fiction.

I agree, tho, that erotica for men will be trial and error, and I think, too, what one considers erotica may be considered porn by various readers. It's all a matter of one's viewpoint and there are millions out there.

Tess MacKall said...

I worked with an author a while back, Regina, that was writing something a bit more taboo than the ordinary. And it was mainly targeted for a male audience.

I remember recommending to her that she beef up the language some. I even said to her, "With this type of book you can get away with more."

Now that was me in editor mode. And I'm thinking the same thing for male erotica.

For instance, I always advise my female authors who are writing romance--targeting the female audience--to keep in mind their audience. If I read a sentence that says "spiked her hole", I advise a big change. Not romantic, and not appealing to a female and sounds painful.

But I think that would work in male-targeted erotica. Do men think of that "hole" as "opening", "entrance", "moist,needy place"? Or do they simply think of it as a wet hole and the promised land? Even if they are IN LOVE with the the time of penetration, do they think of anything else but HOLE?

Honestly...seriously...these are my thoughts.

Tess MacKall said...

Perception is indeed ninety percent of it all, Faith.

And some publishers tend to go for the shock factor too.

I guess we'll see how all this turns out as this project evolves.

Nina Pierce said...

I think this is a wonderful new avenue EC is opening for its readers.

I love male POV and like you, think I do it pretty well. I've got some ideas brewing for a couple of stories for the men's line. You've hit all the hot questions I keep asking myself ... how far can we push that line?

Tess MacKall said...

I think this line is long overdue, Nina. But I believe we thought that men just wanted porn and we equate porn with videos--not reading.

So I'm very excited about this. And I'm asking myself a whole lot of questions. lol If you come up with any answers, let me know. LOL

It's time to show the boys what we can do!!! Woot!

Paris said...

Hi Tess,
Interesting topic and I've been wondering about the expectations of the new EC for Men Only line. I expect the stories to be grittier but only in terms of storytelling.

But am I allowing my perception of what the male reader will want from a purely female author's pov? I guess that time will tell.

Good luck with the submission! BTW, I do think you write the male POV very well:)

Elece said...

Very interesting indeedy!! I can't wait to see what this line ventures to compared to women's erotic. From what I've read of your work, you do do male POV very well.

When I first heard that EC was launching this line, I got excited. I actually have to remind myself to write in the heroine's POV and from what those close to me say, I think like a man. I'm pretty sure I don't have most women's mindframes when it comes to love and sex, so I'm very much looking forward to giving this a shot!

Good luck with your move and settling in. Also with your submission! Hope they snatch it up, because I'll be more than happy to check it out!!

Tess MacKall said...

"But am I allowing my perception of what the male reader will want from a purely female author's pov?"

That's my concern, Paris. So I'll be doing a lot of research as to exactly what men want to read.

And thank you so much for the lovely compliment!

Tess MacKall said...

Thinking like a man could be money in the bank, Elece! And thank you for the compliment.

I'm anxious for this new line to get started. Would love to see what other authors come up with.

Gary said...


One thing that is ULTRA important to a male is that he cums inside of a woman - it goes back to the primal thing of leaving your seed or a part of yourself inside her. Not sure if it boils down to power or what, but to me and yes call me a sissy, but I find it very erotic if a woman respects me enough to let me leave a part of myself in her - besides condoms ruin the whole experience for a man. For porn I don't think it matters, but for erotica I think it definitely DOES matter.

Would love to talk with you further - would be nice to have some GOOD erotica for men.


Tess MacKall said...

Thanks for the insight, Gary. I like the idea of instinct kicking in and being a part of all this. Makes sense. And will read very sexy!

Will definitely be in touch for more of your wisdom.

Lily Harlem said...

Fab post, Tess. Glad you are feeling better too.

I have been pondering on writing something for this line but have too much on at the moment. Maybe next month I will get my head around something.

The lovely Mr Harlem's reaction to erotica for men was 'but we like to see stuff!' - Okay, then I am going to really have to up the adjectives LOL!!

Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Lily x

Lowell W. Eaton said...

In my years of writing true confessions type stories, I wrote almost exclusively from a female POV. At first I didn't know how to do this, until I read some of my sister's published stories. Her women talked just like men! The male POV isn't all that much different. Not all us dudes are rough and hairy. The manliest guy I know--I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley-likes getting in touch with his feminine side.