Mike Kimera, Dangerous Bill, C. Sanchez-Garcia, Ashley Lister. A rogue's gallery of male erotica writers. Except that they aren't rogues. What these gentlemen bring to erotica is a male POV that I find soulful and introspective. Truth is, I rarely find a male literary erotica writer who creates characters that are, in common parlance, douchebags.
This mirrors my experience with men. Maybe it's because I often lived in remote places where the only kids my age for miles around were boys, so I played with them and became familiar with the way guys think and act. So when I read a character who isn't the aloof alpha male type, I feel that I'm reading about a real man - a real person. I can't point to any characteristic that I find typically masculine, because women embody those same admirable qualities, but, like many nebulous , unidentifiable concepts, I know masculinity when I see it.
Years ago, R and I drove a small truck full of band instruments from LA to Phoenix, Arizona. Between Blythe and Buckeye, one of most desolate stretches of road in the US, which is helpfully peppered with signs warning drivers not to pick up hitchhikers since there's a state prison nearby, the truck ran out of gas. At 1AM in the morning. New Years Eve. Rain came down in icy pellets. We could see a gas station maybe three miles down the road, the only light out in the dark expanse. As we debated hiking to the gas station together and leaving the instruments unguarded, or risk one of us staying behind alone, a used-to-be-blue Chevy truck pulled over. A lanky, weathered cowboy climbed out and strolled over. We asked for a ride to the gas station. Without a word, the cowboy ambled to the back of his truck and took out a huge chain with a cruel hook at the end of it. Ulp! Then he shimmied under our truck and hooked the chain to something. He got into his Chevy and started the engine. We scrambled into our truck as it lurched forward. He towed us to the gas station, jumped out, unhooked his chain, and drove off before we could thank him. I don't think he said more than two words to us the entire time. We gaped at the departing lights of his Chevy for a while. Then I turned to R and said, "I think we were just rescued by the Marlboro Man."
While Mike, Ashley, Garce, and Bill might not write such iconic figures as silent cowboys, the men they write about are more heroic. There's no conflict in attaching a tow chain to a broken-down truck, but there's a lot of conflict in a person in an untenable situation trying to do what's right. While the alpha male swooping in to save the day makes for a great cocktail party story, it's not nearly as compelling as reading about a man who desperately wants something but won't let himself have it. Or about men who feel deeply and passionately about their lovers. Or men struggling with the disappointments and angst that reflection can bring later in life. Maybe my cowboy hero had all that going on too. He's a man, after all, and they are soulful beings.