Many years ago, back when my boyfriend and I we still getting to know each other better, he considered yaoi to be porn, and wasn’t happy about me having that stuff on a website (so I shut down the site, sorry to any Yami no Yaoi visitor). He later realized that the yaoi I like wasn’t porn, and came to accept it, yet was still wondering why I like it. Now that our son is a teenager, he’s getting a lot more aware of what I’m reading, and of course he’s very curious, so I’m being faced with the same questions again. This time I’m thinking a lot more about it, maybe because I’m older, maybe because it’s a different person who’s asking. I know that it’s quite common for those who are not into anime and manga to wonder about things like hentai, yaoi and yuri, so let me barf out my thoughts here. About yaoi at least, since I’m not into neither hentai nor yuri.

First of all; I loathe porn. I hate it with every fiber in my body. I despise the industry that has been built up around it, which makes billions of dollars year after year, while not doing anything good. Quite the contrary. Porn “actors” get treated like dirt, and the “genre” itself is just brainless consumption that has been proven to skew the expectations of what sex is about, which can break a human in certain ways. There are countless articles out there about this topic, but here’s one if you don’t want to look for them.

Another thing I hate about porn is that although it’s made with real people, everything about it is so fake. It’s not like a movie where you get to see a fantastic story unfold, with deep characters that gives you something to think about and enjoy. It’s just there to please a gullible audience and make money. That’s it. That’s all porn is for. And it’s fucking sad.

With my opinion about porn out of the way, let’s move on to yaoi. Because yaoi isn’t porn. The closest thing Japanese animation has to porn is hentai, and that’s not at all what I want to discuss here. So what is yaoi to me? It’s essentially a story that tells about 2 male characters that fall in love (or at least meet) and get together in a sexual way. The fact that they have intercourse is not the important thing about a good yaoi manga or anime to me, it’s just the place in the story where they get together intimately, and that’s a climax I really like. It’s the same as seeing characters in a movie develop and fall in love, and at some point they have sex. That’s not porn, but a scene that shows how intimate they have become as characters and it’s not only part of entertainment, but also part of life in general. Unless you’re totally into one-night stands and don’t care about love, but that’s not what sex is to me.

In my opinion, love is what leads to sex, and sex without love is almost as bad as porn to me. It’s emotionless, and basically the same as hunting a certain sensation. It’s consumption. Like buying an object that you treasure for a few mins and then throw away. Hence why I find sex with no context bad, but sex with character develop and/or story good.

Okay, I think I’ve explained enough about why yaoi isn’t porn, and what sex means to me. Now onwards to the actual topic about why yaoi is so appealing. First and foremost, it’s made for girls and women, and usually even by women. The guys are almost always attractive, and their personalities more often than not clash. This does not only make it beautiful to look at, but also intriguing to read or watch. Of course this also goes for any other kind of love story, no matter what genders the main characters have, but when you’re attracted to the male gender, it just doubles the fun when you have 2 of them.

What also adds to the fun is the situation the guys are often in. Of course it varies from story to story, but they are usually not aware of themselves being into guys, or think that their crush isn’t. Normal stuff really, but with that extra twist of both being of the same gender. The stories I read are often comedy and romance, because those are the genres I like the most when it comes to yaoi. And boy do I often get a good chuckle out of reading them! The sex (which sometimes concludes the story) is just the cherry on top. It’s the final proof that the characters got each other, and that they have embraced the fact that they are in love. Again, this can be applied to any kind of sexual romance including any gender; it just makes it more fun when it’s 2 guys.

To me, a good romance story includes 2 likeable characters, a relatable situation and some sort of obstacle like third party jealousy, the need for self-realization, and the perfect time for the first kiss. And I find yaoi to be the “genre” that delivers, while still being fun and quirky. I have many romance manga that I like as well, but they never really touch the subjects that give them that extra spice, such as yaoi does. I love it when one of them realizes that he’s in love with a guy, and either tries to deny it or simply embraces it with all his heart. I love the awkward situations that they get into. I love the third guy or girl who is in the way (no I don’t, they should just stay away, but you get my point). I love the sex scenes that are often beautiful and emotional. And if the story continues after their first time having sex, then I love to see how they act towards each other after sharing such an important intimate moment. Yeah, I’m probably a hopeless romantic, but that’s why I love yaoi. I even love the non-consensual scenes at times, even though they are sooo wrong, and make me feel uncomfortable. But it’s just drawn/animated, so no one gets hurt in the process.

But you know what I hate about yaoi? Censorship! More often than not, they are censored, which ruins the entire mood. It’s not like I feel the need to look at some genitals and many are censored in a natural way with the help of positions and angles that hide the naughty bits, which is fine with me, but I don’t like it when a black or white bar shows up. It’s extremely ugly and off-putting, and it ruins the entire involvement. When I buy a manga that’s wrapped in foil and says yaoi 16+, I expect the full experience. This is something many publishers have yet to learn, at least in Germany where I buy my stuff. After spending time getting to know the characters, laughing with them, crying with them, and all over just feeling with them, I don’t want a white dick slammed into my face (I don’t want any dick slammed into my face, but you know…). It’s a slap in the face for the reader, and a disservice towards the story, even if the original Japanese release was censored as well. I’m not that prude, and I don’t want my favorite manga to be either. Okay, my favorite manga is not even yaoi, but still.

This concludes why yaoi is appealing, at least to me, and why I don’t consider it to be porn. Please be aware that this is my personal opinion, and that you do not have to agree with me. You are always welcome to write down your own opinion in the comments, although I kinda doubt that anyone will. The option is always there though 🙂


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