This issue has several different aspects to it. In terms of reading, I can read anything and everything; I don’t remember a time I flinched over something I see in BL and let me tell you, I’ve seen things.
Of course, when there is a story developed (even a little) and you get to know the characters, you start to form a bond with them. However, since a great deal of hardcore yaoi is PWP (meaning they don’t have a plot and is usually one-shot, containing only the sex scene) it is not really possible to bond with anything or anyone. It’s like rather than watching a season with 24-minute episodes, watching OVA’s which last 4-5 minutes in comparison and that bond greatly affect your relation to and enjoyment of the respective manga. Though, I should point out that just because they contain only sex, I don’t think they are low quality.
I enjoy and seek for more hardcore yaoi as much as softcore. I have some preferences, as in I don’t enjoy fury or bara but those preferences go for every genre, not specific to yaoi. Other than that, for me it all comes down to representation.
Let me elaborate what I mean by representation. I have participated in a lengthy, yaoi-related mail interview a couple of months ago. I won’t go into details of it but overall, it made me question my experience with BL more deeply. There was also a part where we discussed the limits of BL, my habits and red lines when I consume ‘the hardcore stuff’ with the professor.
I concluded for now, though was not able to finalize, that fiction we consume and our real-life experiences and preferences sometimes may be completely opposites. Frankly, only answer that I could come up with is that, since I tend to identify myself with one or more characters from the manga, I enjoy what I read if the character enjoys it (even though, as I stated, what is happening may not be my personal taste). It really intrigues me greatly and would definitely like to read more on reader’s relationship with fiction and identification.
Another interesting aspect of this relationship may be the diversity it brings to the stories. Surely, sex doesn’t have only one form, it is one hell of a spectrum and being able to view all those forms in a non-humiliated, labeled-as-pervasive narrative, it adds a dash of reality and a lot of variety in my opinion.
It didn’t turn out something interesting, let alone eye-opening or conversation-starting because I don’t have a definite answer about it myself. I’d like to listen to your experiences and your take up on the matter, as always!
(⁎ ✪͡ ◡͐✪͡ ⁎)ﾉ”
Header and body image : Captions are taken from Seitokai Yakuindomo, by Tozen Uijie.