This generally doesn't have to be read by anybody, and rather, I wrote this in a means to straighten my own thoughts; not written for the particular purpose of showing others. However, this is not too much of a personal matter, so I suppose anybody who'd like to read can.
NOTE: In this case, I'm NOT thinking of shonen-ai or shojo-ai. This is why I have compared yaoi and yuri to hentai; I'm thinking of the type of manga/anime that DO include sexual scenes. Also, as a warning, I do use a few stronger words like d*ck, so if you find any of that offensive, I suppose don't read? I'm not expressing the views of others either, but rather, only my own personal views so as to be able to write about a topic that has been residing within the recesses of my head for a while (psychological blogging, in a way?), so if you disagree with anything I say, don't take it personally.
So I've been asked by others multiple times, "if you had to choose only ONE between yaoi, yuri and hentai, which would you think is the most interesting genre?" To be quite honest, I really don't know. Maybe it's just because I enjoy all just as equally, but there are, in fact, days I just want one genre or the other.
That's when I thought to myself: if one day I seem to think, 'I need more yuri in my life and not hentai or yaoi at the moment', how did I come to that conclusion if I viewed them all in a similar limelight?
That must mean there IS some type of distinction between the genres in my head. But what exactly are the distinctions if they all include some type of romance or sexual act?
Honestly, they all tend to have similar aspects, of course, most of the time needing to have some type of problem the characters must overcome. Sometimes, the characters will not be able to overcome the obstacles brought in front of them (which in turn could lead to something that puts the character(s) at a distressed state; ex.- rape), and other times, they could overcome their situation and live a happy life. That's generally the same type of concept brought about in other forms of storytelling whether it be for an adult audience or not.
However, we all generalize in one form of way or another, so it all depends on what type of storyline I am willing to indure and become satisfied with at that moment. In essence, I choose whether I want yaoi, yuri or hentai based on what type of story I want to read/watch utilizing my general plot knowledge of most other manga/anime of the given genres. Sure, there are always exceptions to my generalizations (much like there are always exceptions to many other things outside of basic storytelling), but those aren't what I look at when I'm looking to read/watch "solely yaoi" or "solely yuri", on random given days. Yes, when I read something that does not follow my general line of thought, I gladly accept that unique plot and continue reading with an even more content nature than before I came across the manga/anime.
In my general mindset, yuri tends to focus more on the emotional aspect of the plotline rather than the physical intimacy between the characters. Although, of course, they do tend to become intimate physically at one point or another, many of the yuri manga/anime I have read/watched focused much more on the 'overcoming of obstacles' stage than it did for the rewards of the characters whom were finally able to overcome the obstacle. So when I am in the mood for yuri, I generally want to read something that may include physical intimacy in the end, but a longer progression of a story to get to the resolution of their mutual wanton feelings.
So this leaves the distinction between yaoi and hentai. Of course you can tell the difference by thinking, "do you want dick+dick or dick+vagina?", but there could definitely be more to that as well. Yes, I will admit, sometimes I do base my preference for an anime/manga above another depending on the time of day just by the fact that it includes dick+dick action, but I think just about the same thing for dick+vagina and vagina+vagina. Generally speaking, though, because most yaoi anime is directed toward a female audience, it seems although many males may not go through the exact mindset the male characters do within the yaoi anime/manga, it pleases the women reading/watching BECAUSE of their outwardly emotional investment within a problem. I'm not saying that men do not tend to be emotional, but rather, their outward expression of emotional feelings tend to be far more exaggerated than a standard male. Many could say the same about yuri, but from my observation, more females say they are better able to relate to the female characters in the yuri manga/anime as opposed to the number of males who claim they can relate to the male characters in a yaoi manga/anime. Now with hentai, I feel that although there are plotlines and problems they must overcome, generally speaking, people really only watch it for the minor plot and focus much harder on the sexual interactions; whether there is a good or bad ending (in terms of mutual sex or non-con), you still got what you ultimately came here for.
Me being the romance fan, I generally tend to focus harder on yaoi and yuri BECAUSE it turns me on much more to have a deeper storyline since it makes my heart ache much like the characters, if something goes wrong. The reason I seem to watch/read much more yaoi than yuri or hentai is because yaoi tends to have that longer plotline that many hentai out there don't focus as much on, but still have more sexual scenes (or more content and longer periods of sex) than the normal yuri manga/anime when the time comes. However, like I have stated, it really depends on my mood, because sometimes, I would just want to get straight to the sexual scenes and not have to worry about going on an emotional roller coaster to get there, and other times, I may want to watch something that will pull at my heart strings more than focusing on the sexual interactions between the characters.
Overall, if people ask me this question, I may answer differently depending on what I may want to read/watch at the time, but during most of my regular days, I may end up saying yaoi because of what was mentioned above. But of course, everybody has their own views, and this is just my own personal thought on this matter, but really, I feel like it's quite unfair to ask me a question so hard to choose like that!
Conclusion: I love them all, but you can find me reading/watching yaoi more often than the other two (although the difference between them are very limited, and I can be found reading/watching yuri and hentai almost as often as yaoi).
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