Feminizing Men
A Male POV

This message was sent to me after a Guy was surfing through my pages and found my Bitch Fest. He sent this to me to bring up another aspect of the ways that we can tend to feminize men in our writing. In this he is talking about personal space and the boundaries many men have. Physical boundaries can often be reflections of emotional ones, as well. What he said really made me thing about something I have always been aware of. I think it holds true for gay and straight men. I thought it would be interesting for others to read too. I have posted the message here as it was sent to me, with his permission. Hopefully, it can help you in your writing, as I hope it will help me. He brings up some very valid points that need to be thought of. My whole bitch fest is about trying to make slash better and more realistic. I want to read about men doing men. I want them to be acting like men too. If you keep what he says in mind, I think it will help a great deal with that.

<Message from LuckyD sent 2-2-01:>

Hello, I just stumbled across your slash website and read your complaints. What caught my attention was the complaints about guys being feminized. Being a guy, I just thought that maybe I’d share some info that you may or may not know.  Regarding how guys deal with each other, guys have pretty rigid unspoken rules about how they touch each other.  The more macho the guy the more pronounced this is.  For example, and this is a generalization of course, a guy might touch you on the shoulder or bicep, but never the lower back or hands, watch the guys around you and you’ll get a feel for where the “safe zones” are.  Usually it’s quick with a little force, like a punch or squeeze but never long enough, unless you know the guy well, to be mistaken for anything else.  Exceptions are of course locker room behavior which can have fairly homoerotic overtones that no one ever comments on, and drunkenness.  Depending on the guy of course, drunk guys are far more free with each other, as well as in other situations where there is deniability.  Of course none of this means that the guys are in fact gay, and this kinda thing varies with the temperment and background of each individual.  If you are trying to set up a plausible situation where two guys who are not out gay men are stumbling towards the sack together, their initial physical contact is probably not going to venture very far out of their “safe zones”.  If some guy picked up my hand that would be far more suggestive than a bear hug.  Because one is open to interpretation the other is not.  Plus I think a lot of guys would go for the sex without any analysis along the way, especially if they are with another guy.  Think about that too much and you might chicken out.  Basically the issue is intimacy, because that makes you vulnerable, probably a lot more men than you realize have done the gay sex thing to some degree provided there was no intimate overtones.  This may sound odd but I don’t know how to put it any other way.  If you want two male characters to get together in a relationship type situation they are going to have to overcome that inhibition, before they get comfortable with each other.  I don’t think two guys who are not really comfortable with being gay are going to go straight from a first time situation to being comfortable thinking of the other guy as a boyfriend.  To a large degree a lot of men can take sex right out of the equation, it doesn’t mean they all of a sudden realize how nice it would be to date the other guy, no matter what kind of feelings they might have for each other.  The feelings are scarier than the sex.  Anyway hope this helps.  BTW, kissing another guy is a huge momentous step, a straight guy may have sex with another guy, but kissing will not be involved.  If you know any gay men, ask them about this one.


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