Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blogger discussions about F/F love and sex in romance

In the last few weeks there's been a sudden jump in discussions about the popularity, or shall I say, unpopularity of romance stories with f/f love and sex in them.

It started off with Katiebabs, who blogged about writing an f/f story and what that meant to her. Just after that, Karen, of Karen Knows Best wrote a post asking if it's really viable/profitable for authors to write and publishers to publish stories with f/f as the main love story in them and a very interesting discussion ensued from this. Then just after that, Jayne, a reviewer for a major and very popular review blog Dear Author, favorably reviewed a f/f romance ebook, Jessie's Girl, and another discussion was started about this.

I've said before on this blog that I'm a straight woman who likes to read stories with two women who love each other and are sexual with each other. I started this blog with Kirsten Saell--who writes this type of material and who also wants to read these kinds of books--for the purpose of discussing and reviewing books with f/f love and sex no matter what the orientation of the characters: bi, lesbian or curious, for other readers out there who like reading this material.

Unfortunately, girl/girl subject matter in romance is not that popular and Kirsten and I have had many an email conversation about why straight, and even lesbian, women aren't attracted to read and or write f/f oriented stories. There seems to be no common answer really.

Even amongst those of us who do like to read it and actively seek it out, there's a vast difference in our preferences. So even within the genre some of us have an even more specific idea of what we prefer to read, making it even harder for writers and publishers to offer that.

At any rate, for those who stumble across this blog, or who are interested in the many discussions around f/f in romance, I've decided to post all the links to all the posts that I know of from industry bloggers so that you can read for yourself the varied opinions out there. I'll also come back and add posts as they happen and link this post to the side bar so readers can find this one easily.

Bloggers' posts:

Edited--Ones with red date were added after the original post--

April 2014- Author Olivia Waite writes an interesting piece on m/m and f/f. 

February 2014 - Author E.E. Ottoman  writes a compelling post asking why f/f is unpopular compared to m/m, m/f.

February 2014- Not a discussion, but a commentary on f/f within the romance community by Sarah Frantz - editor

May 2012- Too Much of the Same: Why M/M (and F/F) Romance Doesn’t Float My Boat

Dec 2011- Jessica of Read React Review ponders if f/f the lack of discussion about f/f. 

July 11, 2009- Teddy Pig's blog- He brings up Bold Strokes Books as a book seller of lesbian books. A discussion ensues over the differences between lesbian and f/f, bi oriented stories--- further discussed by Kirsten Saell here on LVLM

May 5, 2009- Smart Bitches introduces the Rainbow Chapter of RWA- and discussion ensues about lack of f/f representation.

May 1, 2009- Mrs. Giggles posts about the new "Rainbow" Chapter of Romance Writers of America, which recognizes GLBT as a genre now-- and if it's a good idea to give it the same name as the real GLBT movement since m/m romance is not truly representative of the actual movement. The discussion then morphs into why m/m always co-opts the GLBT label when currently there are no f/f offered on RRWA website.

April 22, 2009- Jayne a reviewer at Dear Author blog, reviews Jessie's Girl a book with f/f love and sex in it and an interesting discussion about f/f in books happens.

April 20, 2009- Karen of Karen Knows Best blog posed a question of whether or not romance readers are ready for lesbian romance and sex in mainstream romance. It's a very interesting post as well as comment discussion.

April 18, 2009- Katiebabs writes about her feelings on writing a f/f story on her blog.

April 6, 2009- Author of lesbian books, Moondancer Drake, rants about authors of LGBT sci-fi and fantasy not getting equal recognition from the Science Fiction Writer's Association. Especially for female writers. It's a very interesting post and the comments do morph into discussing the viablity of getting a f/f book sold or published. It's a long comments section though and it's a PITA with comments collapsed, but well worth it to read.

March 27, 2009- Auther of hawt m/f books, Shelli Stevens, writes a blog post on Aphrodisia blog about watching a show on Oprah about women leaving their men for other women, a new fad it seems, and she wonders if it's a turn on for women to read f/f in romance.

January 13, 2009- Emily Veinglory of Erecsite blog- wonders... "I sometimes wonder about F/F, which is to say lesbian erotic romance equivalent to M/M (which is written mainly by and for women."

Nov. 20, 2008- Jayne of Dear Author reviews a f/f book, Apache Eyes and there's a short discussion in the comments section about f/f in books.

Oct. 9, 2008- Author Lissa Mathews wonders about girl on girl turning on het women in her blog post on Kiss and Tell blog.

July 2, 2008- Author Lauren Dane writes a blog post for the currently defunct Lust Bites blog about menage in books. A small discussion happens about the m/m/f vs. m/f/m vs. f/f/m in current stories.

May 8, 2008- Jane of Dear Author blog writes a very interesting post on the state of GLBT publishing and how it's still marginalized. Lots of discussion about m/m in the comments, but many also about f/f.

Feb. 26, 2007- Smart Bitches' Sarah discusses lesbian romance- there's a nice long discussion about it in the comments section, also with lots of recommends!

Aug. 16, 2006- Smart Bitches' Candy writes a post on bisexuality. It's a very interesting post and the comments are 266, most of them very long. It's a fascinating discussion that doesn't focus really on f/f but bisexuality in general.


JenB said...

Sweet! Now when someone asks about f/f conversations, I'll just send 'em over here (which I pretty much do anyway LOL).


MB (Leah) said...

Jen- yes you do! It's why we love you. :D

By the way, since you're all over the place and have been the one to direct us to a few discussions, please let us know we you see one if you do. I'm going to keep adding as they come up.

JenB said...

Will do. :)

Hey, my friend Amie Stuart writes some f/f scenes. They're brief, but they're good. There's one in the Kink anthology, Hittin' It, and I think Hands On...I'll have to ask her.

mfred said...

I'll also say thanks for this link round up! I found my way here from the Jessie's Girl review on DearAuthor and I now RSS your site and have bought a few of Ms. Saell's books! So, um, excellent work!

MB (Leah) said...

Jen- yes, I saw on Twitter, when I used to go on there...LOL- that Amie Stuart wasn't opposed to f/f and even offered some advice to KatieB.

Nice of her.

You are a main source since you read so much, which I really appreciate.

mfred- thanks for stopping by and commenting. And I'm sure Kirsten will love that you've read her books and love them. :D

Me too. She writes the bestest f/f, f/f/m stories out there. :)

kirsten saell said...

That's so cool, mfred! Thanks for giving my books a shot, and please let me know what you think of them--even if you're not as shamelessly flattering as Leah. I'm always interested in reader feedback, whether positive or negative. :)

One thing that I've felt for a long time is that the lack of an online discussion/review venue for female bisexual/bi-curious stories is one thing that has really hindered the genre--especially considering the scarcity and vastly varying quality of what's out there. I don't know that our blog can totally fill that gap, but all we can really do is try to steer people toward books they might enjoy.

One book I'll recommend wholeheartedly is there in the sidebar--La Bonne, by Michele DeLully. I generally dislike first person POV, and I don't read contemporaries (especially ones with Mediterrannean princes) but it worked for me. (So did her other two titles, despite the unusual subject matter. :))

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Thanks for the post! Jen B told me about the discussion of F/F romance.

I am one scene away from finishing my first draft of my F/F. :D

MB (Leah) said...

Katie- I really admire that you're willing to tackle a genre that many seem to think no one wants to read.

It's rather gutsy of you. And I admire that you have been so open about your journey in writing it.

Way back when I found out that I enjoyed reading f/f, I read in many of those comments in the posts that I linked in this post that women, (straight women) are just too iked out by f/f, which made me feel like a freak. But I enjoy reading it and I'm not ashamed to say so and have found others who also enjoy it.

So thanks for being out there with your wanting to write it. And I hope one day I will get to read your story after it's published. :D

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Thanks Leah :D

If no one wants to read it or I can't sell it, at least I was able to write something that I can be proud of.

If I am brave enough again, I may post some more excerpts in the future.

Cathy in AK said...

Great set of links. Thanks!

I also commend Katiebabs on her writing and her blog post. She said a lot of things I felt/went through but never have spoken.

Leah, I totally get the "freak" feeling--which is the issue behind my own not speaking out--regarding my enjoyment of f/f. But I'm getting better about it, thanks to you and some others. Thanks!

MB (Leah) said...

Hi Cathy! thanks for stopping by.

I think there are many more of us out there who do enjoy reading it to whatever degree than who actually says so.

That's fine. Everyone has to be in their own comfort zone. But it's nice to have discussion about it as well so those of us who aren't shy about it can express ourselves also.

kirsten saell said...

That's awesome, Cathy, and it's a huge step forward to be able to say it and be secure enough in yourself that what others think isn't going to stop you.

I think part of the problem is that the m/m online community is quite large in relation to the online romance community in general--I would assume most romance readers who spend any time online have several friends/acquaintances who are vocal aficionadas of m/m. And there has been a fairly high degree of negative sentiment about f/f material in general from some members of that community. That doesn't mean that they all feel that way, or that those who do are dissing the genre and its readers, or that I'm blaming them (because I read my share of m/m, too) but it can make women a little reluctant to admit they enjoy reading f/f.

I've come across bloggers who are so averse to reading about female bodies that they won't even read m/f, and they don't tend to be very reticent about that. Add to that the fact that we're bombarded from babyhood with messages about how our bodies are unattractive and our private parts are icky or unclean, about how men are more interesting and powerful than women, about how a woman breaking into a male-dominated field is taking a step up, but a man becoming a nurse or a receptionist is somehow less for that.

All these things, I think, color how we view ourselves and other women, and can make it extremely difficult to stand up amid a crowd of people and say, "Dudes, I love reading about two women getting it on, and I don't care who knows it,"--especially in a community with such a large proponent of women who say things like "Of course I like m/m and m/f, and don't like f/f--I'm a straight woman." It's hard to be on the receiving end of all that, and not feel like a freak for getting turned on at the idea of two women together.

Dude, you can be straight and like f/f. You can be straight, and not enjoy m/m. Leah and I started this blog to provide a safe place for women to discuss their enjoyment of f/f, where they don't have to worry that people might be judging them, or questioning their sexuality. Or going "eww! Girlie bits are yucky!" :)

Word ver: maties. Ahoy!

Keziah Hill said...

Great blog! Thanks for leading me here mb. I'll be back when I get my Internet connection sorted out.

MB (Leah) said...

Hello Keziah! Thanks for stopping by.

I loved your two short stories that you wrote. Please write some more. :D

Mfred said...

Kirsten -- i put reviews for Crossing Swords up at goodreads.com and my tumblr blog, mfred.tumblr.com