Now I’m not going to lie… there are somethings that I like that might not make people comfortable. It’s not something I find shameful, but it is something that people get weirded out by. For instance, I like gay porn. This usually gets people scratching their heads. I also look at it this way, if men are allowed to be way into girl on girl, then there it should be completely acceptable for women to enjoy boy on boy.

It’s interesting the way guys look at you when you say you like guy on guy stuff. In some ways, it says something about the people who think it’s OK to watch girls doing stuff to each other, but you mention men doing it and they think that’s weird. Of course, that also talks about a double-standard in what we find socially acceptable.

Of course, even in places where homosexuality is seen as a taboo, such as Japan they still have resources for the gay population… like Shinjuku Ni-Chome in Tokyo and the existence of manga and anime known as Yaoi.

Eiri Yuki and Shindo Shuichi from Gravitation

Eiri Yuki and Shindo Shuichi from Gravitation

I admit that I enjoy reading Yaoi and Shonen-Ai stories. There’s a kind of soap opera-like quality to them, much like Shoujo manga. Also like most Shoujo manga, Yaoi is largely written by women. There’s a lot of idealized romance to the story.

There’s something to be said about this as Yaoi is highly popular with women gay, straight, bi and questioning and in multiple countries. It’s refreshing to hear that you’re not alone in this world when it comes to idealized gay romance stories.

I could probably spend some time writing about Yaoi… and in some point in the future, I might go in to more detail by Yaoi genre.

For now I’m going to do a quick overview with some titles and Yaoi genres. Today I’ll cover Shonen-Ai

The one that people might be more familiar is Shonen-Ai. It loosely translates to boy’s love. These stories are most like softcore porn. Lots of dancing around sexual situations. It’s more like a striptease in that sense. The most popular Shonen-Ai title that I can think of is Gravitation. It also happens to be a story that I truly dig. Shuichi Shindo, just out of high school, tries to make it big with his pop band, Bad Luck. As he starts getting his music career going, he meets Eiri Yuki (a male romance writer). There is a huge cast of characters some more wacky than others. It’s more comedic than it is serious. In the end, it all makes for an interesting and compelling story.

Soubi and Ritsuka from Loveless

Soubi and Ritsuka from Loveless

Another Shonen-Ai title that’s fairly well-known is Loveless. I love Loveless. It’s the story of Ritsuka, a precocious 12-year-old who recently lost his brother. His brother’s friend decides to take care of him. As the story progresses he learns more about his brother and Soubi, his brother’s friend. The friendship becomes infatuation as they engage in spell battles. This story is like a combination of catboy and magic girl stories. This series also pushes another major taboo and another genre in Yaoi, it really pushes the Shota button (Shota is boy, adult male Yaoi). There is a 9 year age difference between Soubi and Ritsuka (Ristuka’s 12 and Soubi’s 21). There’s a lot playing around with a love relationship between Ritsuka and Soubi, but so far hasn’t really come to fruition. Loveless also employees an interesting convention. The people who still have their cat ears and tail are still considered virginal or pure.

The last title I’m going to talk about is Junjou Romantica. The storyline is somewhat similar to Gravitation as the more adult character is also a novelist. However, that would be the only similarity. Misaki Takahashi is an 18-year-old college student living with his brother’s best friend, Akihiko Usami. Akihiko was in love with his friend, Misaki’s older brother. He gets his heart broken when Misaki’s brother announces that he’s getting married to a girl. He’s also moving away, leaving Misaki with nowhere to live. After Akihiko is hit with the news that the man he’s been in love with is marrying a woman, it’s Misaki who feels sad for Akihiko. At which point, Akihiko begins to fall for Misaki. He also takes him in so he could go to school. As the story progresses Misaki starts to fall in love with Akihiko. He also discovers that Akihiko has written Yaoi based off of romances he wishes would have happened, his latest ones being about Misaki. This too is more comedic, less serious. It’s a very charming story as well as a compelling read. This story also spawned he spin-off Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi which is about the publishing company that

Usami Akihiko and Takakhashi Misaki from Junjou Romantica

Usami Akihiko and Takakhashi Misaki from Junjou Romantica

publishes Usami’s work.

There are many more titles that fall under the genre Shonen-Ai. Feel free to read some other stories (like Princess Princess, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, Kizuna, etc.) There’s a certain amount of innocence involved with these stories. While they can be a bit soap opera-esque, they are certainly worth the read.

Loveless, Gravitation and Junjou Romantica are also available to be watched in anime form as well.

Next week I’ll bring you yet another genre of Yaoi.

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