One of my late night guilty pleasures is watching Sex and the City on TBS. What does this have to do with slash, you might say? Well, in one of the early episodes Samantha is invited by her friends, a gay couple we know only as David & David, to have sex with her. She's having second thoughts, then thinks, "what the hell?" They start kissing, one on either side of her. We can tell Samantha is having a good time. David & David however, are another story. Before any more clothing is removed, they both rear up, tell Samantha, they can't do it, and rush out of the room.
I think some authors are that way too. What sounds good in theory takes a little getting used to. I'm currently collaborating with a friend. We've written together for ages, though mostly in worlds of our, or our other friend's, own making. I had her critique my novella For Love and Country. And when she did so, she said that m/m wasn't "her thing." That's cool. It's mine. I like it. And I appreciated her input, especially since she wasn't enamored of the genre.
And yet, we're now writing a story that starts off as m/m/f, but will probably end up being m/f/m because one man is bisexual, but in a relationship with the heroine, and the other man more of a closeted bi-sexual, whose first sexual experience in a long time is with the hero. And it kind of isn't by his choice. I mean, he does what he has to do, but he'd much rather be buried inside the heroine than the hero. In the story, it surprises them both how much they like it.
So where is that fine line... you can have a m/m sex scene (we have the heroine watching), but is it straight m/m because a woman is present? I proposed the idea of making her the creamy white filling in a hero-1/hero-2 sandwich so they're making love AROUND her. I've also proposed having her on the bottom with her current lover and then the new guy making love to the current lover. But then, with the addition of a bit of estrogen, it moves beyond being a truly m/m scene.
And to be honest, I'm really curious to see what she comes up with for that scene. Because I don't think I'm going to let her get off as easily as "Mary, you write this sex scene." LOL!!! (Yeah, I'm evil. It's fun!)
Readers have differing preferences between how many, or of what gender, they want in their sex scenes.I've had readers tell me that they won't read any m/m (And I kind of hope they change their mind because I have a lot of m/m coming out this next year. My muse is in a slashy mood, I guess.). I respect their choice, and I find it fascinating. So many books. So many letters and slashes...
It's all about where, and how, you draw the line in the sheets.