Erotica Cover Watch

Why only women on the covers of erotic books?

Erotica Cover Watch: The Mile High Club, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel

with 2 comments

The Mile High Club, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel, pub. Cleis Press

Watched by: Mathilde Madden

mile high

Here at Cover Watch we have a simple wish: Men on the covers of erotic books. To keep our dreams simple (and, you know, so damn basic it kind of makes me want to cry) we don’t worry too much about which men.

Oh, sure, there are debates to be had about trashiness. There are sticky questions about using imagery that is clearly primarily for gay men. We don’t have as strict a policy on this as some of our fellow warriors for equality. Man Candies are swiped from gay sites and blogs all the time, but we do understand why it’s important to say, hey, it is not okay to tell straight women that there is no problem because they can get their jollies from gay porn. Of course we can. (Of course we do.) But that doesn’t mean we don’t want our desires acknowledged . It’s not okay to ask straight women to dress up as gay men in order to see man-flesh.

Some people like to talk about what straight women really prefer. Our main position on this is that straight women’s tastes vary as much as straight men’s – and just take a look at a little thing called the internet to see just how wide ranging those tastes can be. Upshot of this – if you’re a straight woman and you see a single image of a sexy guy, chances are, it won’t be the exact image that does it for you. And this can be hugely frustrating in a world where such images are so scarce. But for us that means we cheer for all images of men on erotica book covers – and elsewhere – even if they are not our thing. Our reasoning: there’s a woman somewhere who is being made super happy by Mr Minotaur, Mr Hairy, Mr Elfin, Mr Piercings, etc.

Not that this policy is perfect. Of course some images proliferate unduly, but, for now, we welcome any attempt to get more guy-flesh on the outside of erotic books are well as the insides.

And, we don’t mind if the women want to stay on the covers too. We want equality not the moon on a stick (again, I pause and weep for how tiny and reasonable our request really is). Men pictured with women – yay! Okay, not the covers that features a huge amount of heaving bosom and a man’s hand off in the top corner, but a het couple where both get equal billing, sure. Nice.

Which is why we like this cover and cheer for it. And, god, sometimes, we feel like we are always complaining about Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Cleis covers – she has had some stinkers! So it’s really nice to see this.

So yay and yay again for this cover. And I will, at no point in this essay, mention the phrase ‘He looks like he’s hiding the body!’

Mathilde Madden


Written by mat

October 15, 2009 at 10:14 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hurrah! I am cheering for his rather nice arm.

    Great post – it’s astonishing how conceptually simple our request is. I’m almost embarrassed!


    October 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

  2. Lord, he’s either hiding a body or trying to shove her out the airplane door!

    Nah, I’m with you, this is nice, a guy finally on a cover. Huzzah for men on books!

    Helen E. H. Madden

    October 20, 2009 at 5:36 pm

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