Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

Book Discussion & Recommendation > What would Penile Fantasy be like?

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message 1: by Mathew (last edited Dec 28, 2012 12:14AM) (new)

Mathew (dipree) | 16 comments So I have been lurking here for about half a year and have decided to get more involved. Something that I have wondered about a few times, given the minority of men who read this kind of literature, is what a male equivalent of Vaginal Fantasy would be like.

Now the obvious (and IMO incorrect) answer is Porn. But this is not what I am meaning here as the idea I am postulating is fantasy/romance not erotica. I have nothing against erotic scenes as such but feel they sometimes detract from feel of the book if overused, the should add to the plot not replace it.

So what would constitute Penile Fantasy? How would it differ from Vaginal Fantasy and why? Would it get more men into this type of genre? Would women also enjoy literature male orientated? (I know I also enjoy female orientated literature)

message 2: by Mary (new)

Mary (mkrhodes84) | 40 comments Well most VaginalFantasy books have a strong yet venerable female lead the man that would fit this would be a geek in my head LMBO I know this isn't completely right but this is what my female mind invitations... Can Anyone else help me with this lol

message 3: by Morbus (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments @Mathew: I'm new to the group (a few days old - when are the January book club picks gonna be chosen?) and have been getting into "erotica" mainly to Figure It Out. That is, I'm trying to figure out if it's just sex or if there are interesting stories being told.

And story is roughly what I'm personally interested in - I don't want bodice-ripping, I want "explicit", but I also don't want it for the sake of having it. A lot of the samples I've read from other book clubs (most recently the "Banished" series by Anita Philmar) have sex as the first chapter, which doesn't interest me in the least. For me, it can't be "erotic" if it's "just sex" - there has to be something more there. Plain old sex can certainly be arousing, but it rarely titillates, if you catch my distinction.

"The Wild Side", an "urban fantasy anthology with an erotic edge", also was full of non-violent, "non-consensual" sex. Everyone was having sex because they *had* to (three different stories required it as a metric to survive) or because they were forced to (which might have been interesting if I knew more about the characters, but the short stories didn't give them enough time).

Now, I'm not interested in Historical Romance or Harlequin-style "everything turned out just fine, guv'ness" type of stories. And, like someone else mentioned in another part of this group, a book cover with a beefcake guy on it turns me off (not because I feel inadequate, but because I'm not interested in doting women falling for someone because of their chest, just as I don't want an oversexualized woman, in reality or fiction).

Ultimately, I don't really know how to find what I want (strong stories, explicit conjugation). Which is why I've been joining romance/erotica book club groups of late - my hope is that the monthly group reads have at least passed /some/ muster of being "good enough", thus saving me from having to read too much crap to get an adequate representation.

message 4: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden I can come up with a few examples from the movies. Hugh Grant's characters from Notting Hill and About a Boy and Kevin Kline in Dave. I think all three qualify as fantasy as they deal with celebrity, money and political power (the modern equivalents of demigods, super powers and royalty). For a traditional fantasy I would look at James Belushi in Mr. Destiny.

Like any other genre romance has some deeply rooted conventions (female lead, first person narration or single POV female lead third person narration -- primary external plot driven by a secondary internal complicators -- generally ordinary lead facing extrodinary cercumstances). The printed world does not like to mess with those conventions (why fix what isn't broken). In subverting the form you creat a difficult to market product (other than as comedy) that is going to have a much harder time getting out of the slush pile. With that said fantasy might be the best genre to subvert the form (speculative ficiton by its very nature has a greater latitude for exploring new concepts in much the same way that comedy allows a broader apporach to conventioanal wisdom).

I think for a male lead, if the story is going to be a ramance rather than erotica, the main plot needs to be emotional growth (making emotion rather than physical descions in the case of the extrovert and overcoming emotional obstacles or short comings in the case of the introvert) spurred on by external factors. But the beauty of fiction is that it is the game of what if, so you can make any combination of those factors work. The internal journey is just the easist (form my perspective) story to sell.

I define romance as story with emotional commitment as the final reward as apposed to erotica where sexual gratification is the end product. So as Mathew pointed out, Phalic Fantasy wouldn't normally start out "Dear Penthouse . . . I think there are some really interesting possiblities for male lead Phalic Fantasy.

message 5: by Morbus (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments FWIW, "emotional commitment" between characters is not something I would define as being a requirement to What I'm Interested In. I would, however, define "emotional commitment" between me and the book as something worth requiring - if I'm not invested in the characters, the sex just falls flat.

message 6: by Leesa (new)

Leesa (leesalogic) VF just means that it is a female lead, usually written by a female (or female pseudonym). Sometimes there's romance, sometimes not. But first and foremost, it's her story from her POV. Also that it might appeal to female readers, but treat that as more like a flag rather than an assumption. Now that more people other than Felicia are using the term, it is evolving to mean more than that where many people have an expectation of romance in the VF (or VSF).

So, I'd argue that a book with a male protagonist told from his point of view is the default and it is labeled as Fantasy (or sci fi).

message 7: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Morbus wrote: "FWIW, "emotional commitment" between characters is not something I would define as being a requirement to What I'm Interested In. I would, however, define "emotional commitment" between me and the ..."

I'm using emotional commitment as the final reward for the characters as a concept of mythic structure.

Shopping for engaging stories without a basic understanding of mythic structure is a bit like shopping for a car without a basic understanding of mechanics (you can do it, but you're at the mercy of the sales-weasles or the dust cover). For a good grounding in Joseph Cambell's ideas and work, I'd recommned Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey (should be available in your local library).

It sounds like you have a very intuitive knowlege of what you're looking for. If you don't write already this might be the sub genre that sets your pen to paper. If you can't find what you're looking for maybe it's time to create it yourself.

Personally I'm okay with any level of explicit (I can alwys fill in the blanks with a PG version) as long as the scenes are actually moving the story forward.

Have you checked out the crime/thriller or political/thriller genres? There's lots of room for extra highjinx in both venues.

message 8: by Anna (new)

Anna | 135 comments I don't think VF "just" means it's a female lead written from the female pov. I have had some of the best stomach butterflies from a male character's emotional reaction to a female character. If two people are swept up in emotion and they're both well written, well developed characters then I'm stoked.

Also I think emotional commitment isn't necessary, at least from a lay understanding of the term "emotional commitment," but I do think some kind of emotion matters. The characters have to care about what's happening and feel swept up by it and I have to care about the characters too in order for me to really enjoy a sexual moment in literature.

I do agree that female centric romance tends to have certain tropes that are things many people respond to. Some common ones might be a strong capable male character that has some sort of protective role, or on the flip side a slightly dangerous male character. Also, having some conflict between the male and female leads that helps to build tension is a common trope that works really well (e.g. Pride and Prejudice, Soulless, The Iron Duke). These tropes are present because a lot of women respond to them.

I guess I would ask you male readers, if you imagine your ideal phalic fantasy book, what would it be like? What would the male and female characters be like? What would make you feel both emotionally invested and swept up in the story enough to respond to the well-placed, well-written sex scenes?

Maybe a way to think about it is to describe your ideal fantasy/scifi/paranormal setting and romantic story line that you yourself would want to be in? Then, if those books don't exist yet, someone should write them!
(And I wouldn't say that a lot of books are male centric the ergo phalic fantasy already exists and is the status quo. The whole point is that we're trying to find what's good about male centric and what's good about romance and find a good middle ground. I would only hope that middle ground has fully realized, well developed, male AND female characters that all get to grow and care).

message 9: by Morbus (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments My ideal phalic fantasy book? I'm not sure I'm endowed enough (sic) to answer that question. Specifically, I'm new to the whole VF genre and, hell, new to Romance and Erotica in general. I don't have a firm enough grounding to know what's going on yet. It might be that VF books work for me *just fine* - I just don't know, and I've been joining various book clubs to find out. Still, historically speaking, there are two books that stand out for me from a ZOMG perspective. Both of these books were read long ago, so any perspective I have on them is likely eroded by time.

The first, Piers Anthony's FIREFLY (read September 1994), was never bought because it was marketed as erotic - I had been reading Xanth and so forth around that time and just saw the book and his name and was GIMME GIMME. My memory states that the first 50% of the book wasn't erotic at all... it was just story story story and then BAM, the alien thing started having sex with the main character. Though I can't recall any specific scene, I recall it being quite erotic and face blushing at the time (I was 16). It might have been the firm grounding of the character through the beginning of the book, or the sudden shock of SEXY SEX. I don't know. I should probably reread it.

The second book that has always stuck in my mind as an early ZOMG was Whitley Streiber's COMMUNION, which I read during my alien-interest phase. Again, memories are quite dilluted, but I recall one scene where the teenage daughter was having sex in her room, her father heard, the boyfriend jumps out the window, and she exultantly proclaims "Daddy, I love to f*ck!" It might have been erotic at the time because I hadn't myself had sex yet, or the fact that she was "caught" in the act, or the fact that it was presented as so-wrong-its-right. I do know that it was a small and sudden surprise in the middle of an unrelated story.

Perhaps that's a key to what would interest me: lots and lots of story with sex "hidden" throughout - maybe only once or twice. It would also explain my aversion to Anita Philmar's BANISHED, which had sex in the very first chapter. Mayhap I don't want to be bludgeoned with the sex but have it sprung onto me as part of the normal discourse.

Or maybe not - I'm reading John Scalzi's OLD MAN'S WAR for the Sword and Laser bookclub, and there's a sex scene about 30% of the way through. It's the only one in the book, and I "knew" the characters at this point, but I didn't feel any arousal over it. Maybe it wasn't written well enough, maybe it was because there was no emotional connection between the two characters (pointedly stated as the "we're just friends" speech). I dunno.

message 10: by Morbus (last edited Dec 28, 2012 10:57AM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments From my perspective, I suspect there are a number of "written for and by women" books that would be "of interest" - one such is CUCKOLD by Amber Leigh. I recall perusing a "top male fantasies" book a while back (the title has been lost to me, unfortunately), and I think "being raped" and "watching another man have sex with your wife" were in there as "shocking" revelations. I'm not sure if that book put the ideas in my head or not, but given time, they've become "huh" explorations I wouldn't mind seeing in book form.

Note that I wouldn't consider these "male submissive" sort of explorations (such that BDSM erotica, etc. don't necessarily interest me), but rather "things done unto [me]". Mayhap that might be another topic area I wouldn't mind reading: losing control, or being seduced, or being forced into things outside my comfort zone, something which seems (again, I'm a newb) to be prevalent in female-focussed romance/erotica/VF (correct me if I'm wrong).

message 11: by Corvus (new)

Corvus Alyse (corvusalyse) | 54 comments My favorite stories are the ones that the female lead either does not know how strong she is at the beginning, but life events show her how strong she is; instead of staying in the shadows she has the courage to grab life by the balls, so to speak. I prefer that the lead male(s), if any, be able to meet her on equal footing. The whole superiority thing just does nothing for me...the leads should be able to meet each other with their own strong points that add to the benefit of the relationship. They should compliment each other.

Just my two cents!

message 12: by Anna (new)

Anna | 135 comments This is fascinating... I urge more people to share in this discussion. I'm sure some people's preconceived notions have already been thrown into question. Also, just a side point, don't worry about feeling like you need to have a grasp of the genre to share what you would like. I understand not necessarily knowing what you would like, but if you know, feel free to share without being apologetic about whether or not it fits into some pre-established form.

message 13: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments I believe Penile fantasy wouldn't differ too much from VF, it would have the same elements that make VF great yet there would be few differences
* no rapey alpha males ( that would be offensive to the reader)
* art cover that doesn't feature human anathomy
* the books would feature mostly the male hero's point of view (in yje case of a 1st person narrator)
*the hero would be a nerdy beta guy or a scarred (emotionally and physically) warrior tired of life that meets the heroine, and she would become the reason the beta guy mens up and the damaged guy finds new light in life
* the virgin heroine would be rare unless the development of the characters and their relationship required it

message 14: by Bitchie (new)

Bitchie (matron) I've always wondered what the heck "Vaginal Fantasy" consisted of anyway, lol! Is it just romance, books with sex, books with a female lead, what does the group define as VF? Does it have to be paranormal in nature, as most of the group reads I've seen since I joined have been somewhat PNR.

BonnieBew Rutledge | 24 comments The Gor series by John Norman came to mind immediately as penile fantasy. That's totally a horrible stereotypical thought on my part - as if men want to read about warriors and slave girls as much as all women want to read Harlequin novels.

Thinking a little harder, maybe something like The Reluctant Sorcerer by Simon Hawke or Going Postal by Terry Pratchett fits the bill. Beta male or anti-hero in the lead, some strong female characters, a little romance (at least I seem to remember there being a little romance/sexy times in the Hawke book - it's been a long time), but there's fantasy world-building and a definite story so these books do not resemble book-porn in any way.

message 16: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden This is a really interesting conversation. It sounds like there is an audience for male POV speculative romantic fiction. I hope my term emotional commitment didn't throw too many people off. I'm not talking about marriage or even monogamy when I use that term. I'm reffering to characters coming to an emotional understanding and hoepfully trust of each other. Fuck buddies can have an emotional commitment reflected in their mutual understanding of the other person's need for freedom and a safe person(s) to have sex with. It is the emotional dance of coming together and pulling apart to define those boundries that creat the conflict and tension in these stories for me.

I'm now thinking a story told from the POV of the nerdy beta guy who clashes with and gets eventually get to understand the battle weary female warrior might make a good read.

message 17: by Corvus (new)

Corvus Alyse (corvusalyse) | 54 comments I know I started reading fantasy really early, with The Hobbit at eight years old and Lord of the Rings at nine years old, so I lucked out with being impressed at an early age by groups of heroes, all valued for that special something that they bring to the group.

At nine years I got bored with all the stuff that was my age in the school library and raided my six-years-older-than-me brother's stash of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter books. Yes, at the tender age of nine I was reading about Barsoom and the coming together of a hero with a native heroine who was his equal in battle and wits. Exciting stuff and I still love those stories.

When I started reading my dad's Harlequin stash(I know, my dad, right!!), I was severely disgusted with that I considered formula romance: girl comes from hard times, struggling, usually supporting someone else or completely alone in the world, catches the eye of wealthy powerful, usually corporate boss, gets swept off her feet and does whatever the man tells her.

I really learned how to tell a great story from a not so great one at a really early age. Thank all the gods!! ^_^

message 18: by Amy (new)

Amy | 33 comments I teach Psychology of Women and I always get asked "what about a Psychology of Men class?" I always answer, "That's called 'Psychology" in all of your other classes." The majority group defines the term, while the minority group is a version of the term. That's why we say "male nurse" and "male slut" and "woman doctor", as just a few examples. So my thought as to what penile fantasy is, is to respond with "fantasy" as is traditionally defined. Think of most of the classic fantasy novels (often written by men) and those are examples of the definition.

message 19: by Mathew (new)

Mathew (dipree) | 16 comments @Amy that seems horribly stereotypical and somewhat outdated (at least to me). To me doctor, nurse, teacher are all gender neutral (I admit slut does still carry a gender connotation) maybe its a societal difference between where we live. To me 'Psychology of Men' and 'Psychology of Women' are simply gender specific subsets of 'Psychology'. This is how it was taught to us at my university.

So IMO saying penile fantasy = fantasy is a preconception that really needs to be broken. I do like Garths definition of it as 'male POV speculative romantic fiction'.

message 20: by Morbus (last edited Dec 28, 2012 02:45PM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments @Amy: Hrm, then maybe I have an entirely inaccurate idea of what this group is about. I've joined other romance, erotica, paranormal, etc. groups the past week, and I was under the impression this was "simply" a Named version of one (that is, popular because of the Known Personages attached to it and the association with Geek and Sundry). I certainly didn't believe this was "just" a group for "female Lord of the Rings" or "female Game of Thrones" (here, "fantasy" being typical representations of the fantasy genre).

I took "fantasy" to be, for lack of a kinder word, "sexual" fantasy (or perhaps sexual fantasy within fantasy), not vanilla swords and sorcery. Based on the current group read selections, I didn't think that assumption was inaccurate. (Note, also, that I haven't yet watched the YouTube shows, but I intend to.) If I'm way off, certainly berate me (it won't scare me off).

From my standpoint, I do not consider the sex of A Game of Thrones (the show or the book) to be the sort of "penile fantasy" I'd label as penile fantasy (as compared to my perhaps inaccurate belief of what VF is).

message 21: by Morbus (last edited Dec 28, 2012 02:47PM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments Aye, agree with @Mathew and @Garth's "male speculative romantic fiction".

message 22: by Mari (new)

Mari I wonder if a sexy time macho book would be read by men. Even those I think women would read. I think guys prefer the visual media when it comes to sexy time.

I've read books geared toward men like military action pulp. Basically a macho guy with a gun swoops in to save the day gets the va-va-boom sex kitten (who naturally can't resist him). I read these books and bounce in between being slightly offended and rolling my eyes. I figure this is what guys feel like when they read romance.

message 23: by Anna Neal (new)

Anna Neal | 66 comments @Amy, this was my first thought too at the topic of this thread.

Though I was in frame of thought that Vaginal Fantasy doesn't have to have sex in it to be of the genre; but this isn't how the group is trending. Having "vaginal" in the name causes people to think automatically "sex" and not just "female". So I guess Vaginal Fantasy would need to be defined first in order to answer the question about Penile Fantasy.

message 24: by Mathew (new)

Mathew (dipree) | 16 comments @Mari I do the same when I see that kind of literature

message 25: by Morbus (last edited Dec 28, 2012 03:29PM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments Although I had known about Felicia Day's VF book club in a back-of-the-mind sorta sense, I didn't really get around to looking into it more until recently. The thing that spurned it on was "The Flog at VidCon 2012":

Wherein there's a panel of the other VF originators and the following comment from Day @4:06: "Vaginal Fantasy is a book club that I started, just for fun, of romantish novels." Veronica than chimes in and says "Romance and erotic science fiction/fantasy." The clip ends with "Who would not want to read a book with a lot of sex in it?" and the pantomime for "steamy" or "hot".

Thus explaining my assumptions above, and Garth's definition of "male speculative romantic fiction". Amy's notion that "[male] fantasy" is to "vaginal fantasy" would thus be wrong, and we return to the starting notion that "penile fantasy" is to "vaginal fantasy", with VF being defined per this video.

message 26: by Mathew (new)

Mathew (dipree) | 16 comments There seems to be a fair amount of fantasy/sci fi literature where the lead characters merely happens to be male (or female) and the gender is somewhat unimportant, where they could have been written as female (or male). Ender's Game comes to mind, Ender could easily have been written as female and it would have made little difference to the story.

message 27: by Morbus (last edited Dec 28, 2012 03:33PM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments @Mathew/26: The Deed of Paksenarrion is one of my favorite female-led fantasies.

[EDIT: Hah, holy crap. I didn't even know that was an omnibus. Or there were more. BUY.]

message 28: by Anna (new)

Anna | 135 comments @Amy, you're making the right point but from the wrong point of view in my opinion. Though I complete agree with the point you make, I think the difference here is that in the romance/erotica genre men are the minority.

This thread is interesting to me because our society pigeon-holes men as much as women. The point is that here we have this lovely group of men who are interested in romance literature if it has a fantasy/scifi aspect and are asking themselves and us a legitimate question of whether there might be a difference between the female-dominated pov of this genre, and one they might relate to even more. Clearly if penile fantasy (PF) were just equivalent to fantasy, these lovely interesting sensitive men would have no interest in this group. So lets really discuss this rather than just chalk it up to patriarchy and move on. Culture is a construct and literature is one way in which we perpetuate the status quo, so I take seriously any attempt to deconstruct our assumptions and explore new emotional territory. I bet I would prefer a lot of good PF to crappy VF.

Lets turn back to a discussion of what we all feel might be missing from the genre without resorting to stereotypes. I liked hearing what would resonate with the guys amongst us!

message 29: by Garth (new)

Garth Holden Another strong movie example of inverted role PF is No Reservations. We have Catherine Zeta Jones' character (an over wound type A chef) challenged, grounded and eventually ballanced by Aaron Eckhart's beta/omega male character. You could have reversed the sex roles in this movie with out losing any of the impact of the story. But, showing a male character who is willing to be second in command to be with a dynamic female leader tells me a story I don't often get to see. I am facinated by the man behind the woman. He might be the trophy husband, or the stay at home dad, or the brains behind the beauty, but we don't often get that perspective and I think that it is ripe for exploration.

I work in a field where we have to work around the constraints of dominate culture and this kind of sublter role reversal is a wonderful way of expanding common understanding without engaging the polerizing effects of push back conciousness raising (there is room for both). Fiction is such a wonderful way of allowing us all to try on
the person's shoes.

message 30: by Jon (new)

Jon  | 91 comments Penile Fantasy, when I first heard the title my mind went straight to the Harry Dresden series. Granted the series does not have the explicit "sexy time", that some of our picks have had but I identified with the romance.
Harry's initial romance with Susan, with all that entailed, the ongoing will they won't they with Murphy and the complications implicit with his relationship with Molly.
But central to it all was my identification with that side of Harry's life, I enjoyed the fantasy, drama etc but I could relate to his personal relationships.

message 31: by Vicky (last edited Dec 29, 2012 03:30PM) (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 493 comments Mod
@Morbus You may want to check out this discussion about what Vaginal Fantasy actually is. It seems like it's tough to agree on - some readers require sex while others are content with a more innocent romance.

To Penile Fantasy ...

I'm having trouble coming up with any examples of what might be classified in this genre, but I have a thought.

One of the things that I think draws women (especially 21st century women) to "Vaginal Fantasy" is that it includes women who are independent and free-thinking. There aren't any fairy tale princesses sitting in their tower room stitching flowers on napkins and biding their time while they wait for Prince Charming. In a world where women can still feel marginalized I think a lot of women find these types of novels empowering. Not to say that this is the only reason why women are drawn to Vaginal Fantasy.

That said, I think that to have Penile Fantasy a man would need to look at what types of male characters he connects with. Does he want to read about the brutal alpha male that rapes and pillages with no regard for anyone but himself or would he rather read about the nice guy who proverbially finishes last but manages to come out on top with the girl of his dreams?

message 32: by Morbus (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments Vicky wrote: "@Morbus You may want to check out this discussion about what Vaginal Fantasy actually is. It seems like it's tough to agree on - some readers require sex while others are content with a more innoce..."

Linky link broken.

message 33: by Amy (last edited Dec 29, 2012 03:29PM) (new)

Amy | 58 comments Crooked Fang I started reading this novel yesterday. It very much reminds me of what I'd think a penile fantasy would read like.

Though I haven't finished it so I can't say that it will maintain the trend, the whole time while reading, in the back of my head I just kept thinking about this thread and how this book seems a perfect example.

message 34: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 493 comments Mod
Morbus wrote: "Vicky wrote: "@Morbus You may want to check out this discussion about what Vaginal Fantasy actually is. It seems like it's tough to agree on - some readers require sex while others are content with..."

Whoops. Fixed it. I'm good at spelling HTML. :)

message 35: by Mathew (new)

Mathew (dipree) | 16 comments @Amy ooh that looks pretty good shall have to check it out

message 36: by Morbus (last edited Dec 29, 2012 05:09PM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments @Amy: If you'd like, I'll give my candid comments about Crooked Fang, w/ no offense intended.

message 37: by Morbus (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments @Vicky: Thanks! Will read and process later.

Of special note is that it occurred AFTER the panel in my #25 above.

message 38: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Dec 30, 2012 01:26AM) (new)

Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) | 48 comments Jon wrote: "Penile Fantasy, when I first heard the title my mind went straight to the Harry Dresden series. Granted the series does not have the explicit "sexy time", that some of our picks have had but I ide..."

I was thinking something along the lines of that as well. Or a series like Iron Druid Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) by Kevin Hearne .

I'd assume that Penile fantasy would be less focused on the need for excessively gushy romance. I hate that this sounds so stereotypical because I have male friends who read romance and love it, but I figured that if we were going more standard guy-centric, that the romance wouldn't be as in-your-face.

message 39: by Amy (last edited Dec 30, 2012 03:45AM) (new)

Amy | 58 comments Morbus wrote: "@Amy: If you'd like, I'll give my candid comments about Crooked Fang, w/ no offense intended."

I don't mind, we're here to figure out what a penile fantasy is and men are going to know best.

Besides you can't offend me for what I didn't make and is purely a "pleasure read." aka a waste of my free time with little to no expectations of being mind expanding.

message 40: by Morbus (last edited Dec 30, 2012 08:05AM) (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments @Amy, @Stacia: For me, a good first step to penile fantasy would be to NOT have the guy on the cover, or to have him shrouded or fantastical enough to make him unrecognizable (such as STORM FRONT, which I have, but have yet to read. Curses!) or impossible (vamp, shifter, etc.). Both HOUNDED and CROOKED FANG are being judged by their covers, sadly - HOUNDED seems beefcake, and CROOKED FANG looks like someone who just got kicked out of Type-O Negative and is now forlorn about it. Neither cover men appeal to me. But, this is likely a place where "more male respondents" is required - I suspect they might appeal to someone, and I'm sure I could find some books in my own collection that break my "no guys in the cover" suggestion.

I had an epiphany last night whilst in bed with my own female lead: film noir and pulp fiction is pretty close to my penile fantasy. Or, more generically, anything with a femme fatale in it. I recently read the first release of the Hard Case Crime series and found it to be quite awesome:

It had romance and (not explicit) sex in it. And almost every single cover in the list above is appealing to me (though I've always had a thing for lurid covers, you'll note that most of them star the desirable femme, not the male, similar to how many romance novels feature the desirable male). In a good number of pulp fiction tales, the woman is either submissive (a plaything... meh) or full-on femme fatale: she uses her wiles to get what she wants, the guy falls hard, and then the femme twists the knife. Oftentimes, even after the knife twist, one of three things happen: a) the guy moves on, forlorn, b) the guy continues to struggle for the girl but fails, or c) the guy gets some sort of revenge at the girl, even if its all in his mind.

Back in the pulp fiction days, there was even "more explicit" pulp being sold under the table, so to speak. The SPICY and SAUCY pulps were one such example:

Explicitness back then wasn't the same as today, of course ("Although extremely tame by today's standards, this sub genre of the pulp era became known as the most risque and forever placed its stamp on how the pulp magazine era would be remembered."), but here's a few snippets from SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES, MAY 1941, which is the only one I've got:

"She merely lay still, the way a frog lies after a boy has hit it with a stick. Her skirt was jerked up as though by a high wind, and there she lay without anyone gaping at her at alll. Her legs were entirely exposed, meaning that her skirt and slip were above where the excellent limb began. The limbs were stretched out in a "V". She was wearing sheer, costly stockings, and her legs were marvelously silken. The garters of a light, lazy pantie-girdle left exposed the choiceness of the thick of the thigh." --The Corpse is Yours!, Robert A. Garron.

Even defunct, the blonde Quistan bimbo was a copious kick in the optics. From the appearance of things she must have put up a terrific brawl before getting chilled. Her dress was ripped to pennants and you could see practically everything she'd possessed in the way of she-male blandishments. Her sleekly tapered stems melted into flawless thighs as cream-smooth and tempting as the illustrations in a lingerie ad. Where the bodice of her costume was torn open, the lacy ruins of an uplift brassiere snuggled around curves as perfect as sculpture. --Future Book, Robert Leslie Bellum

For me, whilst I enjoy pulp fiction, I think I'd probably want similar femme-fatale-like stories, only with more explicit sex in them. The above examples are certainly entertaining to read, but they toe the line, should said line be a mile away.

message 41: by Tegan (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments Morbus wrote: "@Mathew/26: The Deed of Paksenarrion is one of my favorite female-led fantasies.

[EDIT: Hah, holy crap. I didn't even know that was an omnibus. Or there were more. BUY.]"

I started reading about Paks by picking up the omnibus, then when the new books started coming out I walked by one on display at the library I work at and was so surprised I did a Finding Nemo Seagull impression as I picked up "mine?!?" Definitely a fantastic fantasy series, though asexual rather than sexual. There are a few bits here and there that are gender specific, but generally I agree it could have been written with Paks as any gender.

message 42: by Tegan (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments Jon wrote: "Penile Fantasy, when I first heard the title my mind went straight to the Harry Dresden series. Granted the series does not have the explicit "sexy time", that some of our picks have had but I ide..."

There may not be sexy times, but there are certainly sexy descriptions and sexy events.

Having recently read Cold Days the description of Maeve as "Sexier than a Swedish bikini team climbing a mountain full of money" came to mind and has been making me giggle whenever I think of it for the past month.

message 43: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Tegan wrote: "Morbus wrote: "@Mathew/26: The Deed of Paksenarrion is one of my favorite female-led fantasies.

[EDIT: Hah, holy crap. I didn't even know that was an omnibus. Or there were more. BUY.]"

I started..."

Paks wouldn't be such a great character if Paks would be a male, the "trials" she faces at the end of book 2, wouldn't be so touching

message 44: by Tegan (new)

Tegan (joggiwagga) | 276 comments Kamil - I do agree that there are parts that wouldn't work as well if Paks was male, I was more referring to as an overall character she could be a popular male hero. However Elizabeth Moon wrote an outstanding example of a strong female character, and perhaps its more telling that she has to be identified as a good example of "strong female character" because we at times have to think hard to come up with Paks like characters.

message 45: by Calisto (new)

Calisto Stacia (the hype killer) wrote: "... excessively gushy romance ..."

That's a perfect description of what drives me nuts in romance. Now, I absolutely love romance novels, but when you get the repetitive gush in favor of plot, that cements the poor writing rep of the genre.

message 46: by Mathew (new)

Mathew (dipree) | 16 comments So with the whole alpha/beta/omega male thread going I'm wondering which I prefer to read about in a romance novel. I think I'm leaning more towards an omega or beta male, simply as alpha males always seem way to pushy for my tastes.

I think for a Penile Fantasy this would probably remain true for me, especially the flawed dark omega male. Something I need to think about some more I think.

message 47: by Katie (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments Has anyone mentioned the Wheel of Time series? I really really did not enjoy this series (and I stuck with it for at least five or six books), but from what I remember (years ago) it strikes me as penile fantasy for these reasons:
Normal male protagonist, thrust into quest-like adventure, becomes major contendor, picks up women like fleas

message 48: by Ender (new)

Ender Wiggin (enderwigginout) | 137 comments I'd love it if the men took over for a month and picked a couple of books for us to read. :)

message 49: by Amy (new)

Amy | 58 comments Ender wrote: "I'd love it if the men took over for a month and picked a couple of books for us to read. :)"

yea! PF honorary month!!! I support this idea.

message 50: by Morbus (new)

Morbus Iff (morbus-iff) | 26 comments Eek! Too much pressure! Shades of Christmas past! Run! RuUuNnNNN!

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