Welcome to Yaoi Academy

From light bromance to steamy situations, yaoi covers all sorts of relationships between guys.
There are special terms associated with this genre, and here at Yaoi Academy, you can learn them all.

Introduction to Yaoi
Lessons 1 ~ 10
Character Types
Lessons 11 ~ 22
Yaoi Featuring...
Lessons 23 ~ 40

Yaoi Featuring...

Lesson 23

Exhibitionism

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Exhibitionism
While exhibitionism in general is just about trying to draw attention to yourself, there is also a decidedly dirty definition, too. In this case, it means that the person gains pleasure from having other people see them in sexual situations. This could be anything from being unclothed to masturbating to having sex in front of someone else.
In yaoi manga, exhibitionists are usually ukes, though that may have more to do with semes being sadistic voyeuristic... Semes like to watch, and ukes like to play! Sometimes humiliation is involved, but because exhibitionism is meant to be fun for the one being exposed, this will often involve an M uke.
Although exhibitionism can include having sex in public, it can also take place in the privacy of a bedroom, with only a lover enjoying the show. Also, having sex in public doesn't necessarily mean that those doing it are exhibitionists; they may just get off on the fear of getting caught. They might not expose themselves, either, and instead suffice with a hand down their pants.
When exhibitionism and sex in public collide, however, you get arrested a lot of people watching some very intense orgasms, which can then lead to threesomes and foursomes and moresomes, oh my!

Lesson 24

Cross-dressing

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Cross-dressing
"Cross-dressing" is when you wear clothes usually associated with the opposite sex within a given society. Women wearing trousers isn't seen as cross-dressing in this century, nor is men wearing kilts in Scotland (that's where the "society" bit comes in!). However, there are still many ways for a person to cross-dress, and many reasons why they may do it.
You might have noticed, but most characters in yaoi manga are cis-male (they were designated male at birth and are happy to identify as such). This means that when a character cross-dresses in yaoi, they tend to wear traditionally feminine clothes, which can range from women's kimono to lacy underwear to wedding dresses, depending on when and where the manga is set.
An obvious reason to cross-dress is because the person feels comfortable in those clothes, but within the world of yaoi manga, things aren't quite so simple... For example, some characters done women's clothing because they're undercover though often not under much or because it's actually part of their daily job. Other times, they've been forced to do it by a sadistic seme.
It's pretty much always the uke who cross-dresses in yaoi, and the semes never seem to mind what they're wearing, because really, they're only interested in what's underneath...

Lesson 25

Guys as Food

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Guys as Food
While I'm certainly not advocating cannibalism, there is definitely some appeal to dishing up a guy... In yaoi, guys can be eaten in many, many ways, which has led to a "guys as food" trope, though precisely what kind of food they will be is dependant upon the individual manga.
Sometimes the characters are literally used as a food source, be it blood for vampires or... some other form of protein... for demons. Which character will be the uke or seme usually changes depending on whether the fluids are taken orally (semes tend to suck) or... you know. Up the uke. Thankfully I don't think I've ever seen anyone take blood up the ass... I guess it's only a matter of time.
Other yaoi manga will have guys served up on a table/conveyor belt/other large flat surface, and they'll be covered in actual food. In this case, it's generally the uke who gets eaten, while the seme samples some delicacies and then moves on to the uke's delicates. It usually goes a bit further than your run-of-the-mill chocolate sauce and strawberries, too...
Then there's the manga that involve partaking of protein in the most inefficient way possible, for no reason whatsoever apart from the sheer enjoyment of it. Milk stands, milking farms, you name it.
So, like I said, no cannibalism, but boy do they got milk.

Lesson 26

Male Pregnancy

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Male Pregnancy
"Male Pregnancy", or "M-Preg", is, quite simply, a story about a man becoming pregnant.
Unlike when men become pregnant in real life (don't be transphobic, now!), pregnant men in yaoi manga pretty much never have the correct reproductive parts... The general consensus is that they have ass-babies. The seme has super!sperm which can knock up an uke anally. Fun stuff.
Often there will be some kind of premise behind m-preg, like a government experiment or the uke having mutated DNA, and as no one is ever shown pooping out a baby, we can only hope (because, ow!!) assume that these ass-babies are born via cesarean section. The science might be questionable, but who knows? Maybe in a few years, ass-babies will totally be a thing.
In the meantime, there's plenty of m-preg yaoi manga to get stuck into!

Lesson 27

Buy-a-boyfriend

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Buy-a-boyfriend
Boyfriends can be quite nice to have, but quite a hassle to find. Yaoi manga has solved this problem by simply having characters buy their boyfriends, rather than woo them.
Boyfriend-buying comes in various forms, and the most obvious of those is an escort selling their services. These services could range from just going on dates to hand-holding to helping the client relax, but as this is yaoi, most stories involve full-on sex.
Most Other manga with the buy-a-boyfriend theme aren't quite so normal... In some cases, you can choose your boyfriend from a vending machine in order to combat the declining birthrate (if you want ass-babies, that is, as discussed in last week's lesson). Other times, you can just pop into your local convenience store and make a boyfriend, either by literally cooking him up, or by watering him until he grows...
If none of the above appeal to you, there's always the boyfriend lottery! Will you get an uke? Will you get a seme? Either way, everyone's a winner!

Lesson 28

Not Human (but Not Bestiality!)

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Not Human (but Not Bestiality!)
In Lesson 8 we talked about personification, but this is a little different... "Not human" can of course mean objects (or animals) that have been personified, but usually there's a supernatural element as well. Not that kind of "supernatural", but we all know that's super gay, too.
In yaoi manga, non-human, supernatural characters can pretty much be anything you want. There are the traditional fantasy creatures, like vampires, ghosts, demons and even a zombie or two, who aren't technically human, but are human enough for yaoi purposes. There are also characters who come from Japanese folklore and fairy tales, and are mystical in some way or other (think fox-gods and moon-bunnies). And, of course, there are personified animals.
Then. Then. There are characters who aren't human and aren't your usual supernatural being, either. They might be a human-condom, or a plant-man, or they might even have hatched from an egg. Maybe they're an alien. Maybe they're a cake.
Or maybe, just maybe, they're a tentacle monster.
Well, this is Japan...!

Lesson 29

Captivity

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Captivity
No matter how you look at it, being kept in captivity is not a good thing. In fact, it's a very illegal thing. Yaoi manga cares not for your human laws though, and will happily imprison pretty boys for the sake of hot sex and story-telling.
Captivity can take on many forms, from simply being kidnapped and held in someone's house, to willingly going into a building and not being allowed to leave. Sometimes characters are held captive on a not-so-deserted island and/or in a prison, and it's usually always the uke who's been taken. Quick, someone call Liam Neeson!!
There's always a lot of forceful sex until the uke eventually succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome the seme's charms. Sometimes they fall in love, and other times the uke switches and starts holding other pretty boys captive instead.
Yaoi manga is just fantasy, and it's perfectly okay to enjoy such situations in the context of a story whilst knowing full well that actually keeping someone prisoner is A Very Bad Thing™. So, please enjoy these manga, but don't go starting your own boy-dungeon...!

Lesson 30

Pet Boyfriend

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Pet Boyfriend
Last lesson we talked about keeping pretty boys in captivity, but having a pet boyfriend is slightly different because the boyfriend actually enjoys being kept.
...Unless he's being blackmailed. With yaoi manga, there's always the possibility of blackmail...
Usually the pet boyfriend will be the uke, and he'll enjoy following orders from his "owner", sort of reminiscent of a sub/Dom relationship. Unsurprisingly often, the uke had no intention of being kept and had no desire to be submissive, but soon finds that he quite likes it and both pet and owner live happily ever after!

Lesson 31

Gay Porn

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Gay Porn
Honestly, I'm not sure this needs much explanation, because if you're on this page you should already have a pretty good idea of what gay porn is... But, just in case!
Gay = happy. Or, more recently, guys liking other guys. So, still happy.
Porn = pornography = people depicted in sexual positions for the sexual entertainment of others.
Therefore, gay porn is guys having sex with other guys (or sometimes just themselves...) for the entertainment of others. And oh how entertaining it is...
The gay porn theme appears in yaoi manga in various ways. First, there are those who watch it. Sometimes they watch it alone and realize how hot it is before embarking upon their own gay adventures. Other times they watch it with a friend and realize how hot it is and again, have happy gay adventures.
Then there are those characters who actively take part in gay porn. (Well... I say "active", but sometimes they're kinda "passive", if you catch my drift.) They might have been blackmailed into it (as has been mentioned, blackmail is a big thing in yaoi), or they might be doing it of their own free will. The directors often get involved, too, which I don't think happens as much in real porn...
Finally, there are situations that sort of involve gay porn, but not in the traditional sense. The porn in question could be manga or a voiced-over anime, or the story could be about a porn actor without actually showing him in action.
Whatever the circumstances though, manga about gay porn is, by definition, very happy.

Lesson 32

Masturbation

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Masturbation
As last week's lesson was about porn, I thought it fitting that this week's be about masturbation. Because, you know, people often masturbate to porn...
Masturbation is known by many names and can vary depending on what genitals are being masturbated. As most characters in yaoi manga have penises, we'll be focusing on them. Fun stuff. More common terms are: wank, jerk off, jack off, rub one out, spank the money, polish the rocket, beat the meat, and basically any other phallic thing you can think of.
While masturbation is most closely associated with touching yourself, it can also mean to bring someone else to orgasm using your hands. It sounds a bit more clinical than "hand job", though...
Masturbation isn't rare in yaoi manga, but it's not particularly common, either. It arises (heh, see what I did there?) in various situations. In some cases, characters touch themselves because they can't have sex with women. Another guy - either a doctor or a friend - will appear at some point and show them that they can still have sex, but only with guys. Other stories involve characters who stick their hands down their pants while thinking about other guys, or possibly while watching porn. Sometimes there are no pants to speak of because they're just waving their disco stick around for all to see, either because they're an exhibitionist or because their seme (we all know it's always the seme) is making them. Then there are the manga that involve sex toys while masturbating, but we'll talk more about them next week.
Whatever the reason for masturbation, the characters seem to enjoy themselves... Literally.

Lesson 33

Toys (The Adult Kind)

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Toys (The Adult Kind)
Most people play with toys when they're little, but there are also fun, adult toys to play with when you're older.
In yaoi manga, toys are often used to torment the uke (and titillate the reader) rather than as a tool for masturbation. The seme will usually foist a vibrator of some kind upon the unsuspecting uke, who must then endure pages of sexual exhilaration without the actual sex. Sometimes the seme will be particularly sadistic and will make the uke have something inside him while in public, resulting in a very red uke and a very messy pair of underwear.
There are times, though, when the uke uses an adult toy willingly, on his own, for his own self-gratification. In some cases, it's because he's discovered the joys of the prostate. In others, it's because he can't get off any other way. And in some rare cases, the toy is designed to go around the penis instead of up the butt. It's normally still the uke using it, though...

Lesson 34

Families and Frenemies

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Families and Frenemies
In the context of yaoi manga, stories about "family" can take on various different meanings.
The most obvious is a happy family unit, with two parents (both male, of course) and a few kids. The dads might be married (it's legal in a few places in Tokyo now!) or just in a very committed relationship. One of them may have a child from a previous marriage, or they might have taken in a family-member's child instead. The two men work together to raise the little rugrat and find time to practice making ass-babies of their own. These manga are often very cute and pretty much always have a happy end.
A slight twist on that family story is a lack of parents, and instead an older sibling taking care of his little brothers and sisters. He'll get help from a neighbor or a friend, and the youngest child will inevitably think that parents = two boys. Also very cute.
Then there's the manga which keeps everything inside the family. Meaning, you can really feel the familial love. Meaning, they really love their family. Meaning, incest. Most often, these manga are about love between brothers or step-brothers, but sometimes you get a cousin or a second-cousin, or even an uncle/nephew. Every once in a while you get a (step-)father/son, relationship, too. Sometimes it's just a father-figure, though - someone who's not blood-related, but has loved and raised the character since they were a child. The possibilities are endless.
Much as families can get on your last nerve, so can frenemies. A "frenemy" is sort of your friend, but also kind of your enemy... You see them all the time, because you go to school/work together or they're a family friend or they just keep showing up wherever you are, and even though you don't hate them as such, you still go at it like cats and dogs. Until you go at it like rabbits, that is. Frenemies tend to have a lot of unresolved sexual tension, making for excellent sparing partners, both inside the bedroom and out!

Lesson 35

Threesomes, Foursomes and Moresomes

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Threesomes, Foursomes and Moresomes
Known in French as "ménage à trois", or in Japanese simply as "3P", "threesomes" involve three people having sex with each other. At the same time. Together.
Threesomes are very popular in yaoi manga, but for reasons only known to artists and editors, most of them only have one uke and two semes. There are manga with characters who switch, of course, but for the most part, threesomes will involve two buff dudes who never kiss or touch each other and instead take their pleasure from an adorable squirming uke. He's often treated with care and affection, and the semes try hard to please him while also enjoying themselves.
Although threesomes can arise from a love triangle, not all love triangles end in threesomes even though that's the happiest ending for everyone... Usually, two semes will be enamoured with an uke, and then it can go one of two ways; sometimes the semes decide "to hell with it!" and pounce on the uke together, and other times the uke can't choose which seme he likes best, at which point the semes decide "to hell with it!" and pounce on the uke together. ...So I guess it just goes one way, really... The poor uke doesn't normally get much say...
It doesn't end at threesomes, though! Oh no, there are foursomes and moresomes and great big orgies! But they're sadly not as common as I personally would like...

Lesson 36

Straight → Gay

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Straight → Gay
Sexuality is a confusing thing. It's possibly even more confusing when it comes to yaoi manga, as many characters seem to be totally straight until they're suddenly having sex with another guy, to the surprising delight of all involved. And so, the "straight → gay" trope is born!
It often begins with one character - and in this case, it's 50/50 whether it'll be the seme or the uke - being interested in guys. They might just be a little curious, or have a crush on a friend, or they might be out and proud. They meet another guy who's never once thought about gay stuff and... They have gay sex. Such is life. Guy Number 2 usually agognizes a little bit over his new-found love of men, but after a little more gay sex, he gets on board and goes straight to gay. Feel free to collect $200.
Semes seem to be more ready to get with the gay than ukes are, but there are also "shy semes", who are a little more hesitant to take the lead. They go very well with enthusiastic ukes, whom we discussed in Lesson 15. Shy semes might really want to have gay sex, but are new to it, or nervous about hurting the uke, or are just shy in general. They always end up enjoying themselves (and the uke) though!

Lesson 37

Police/Detectives

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Police/Detectives
Who doesn't love a man in uniform? Or out of it, for that matter...
There are as many different kinds of yaoi manga about police officers as there are yaoi manga. In some cases, there is a fine, upstanding member of the police who might take an inexperienced, younger officer under his wing. Sparks and bullets fly and before you know it, they're risking themselves to save the other. In other cases, the police officer is not so squeaky-clean, but he still knows how to put his handcuffs to good use. The characters in yaoi manga about police officers are usually quite manly, so it's a good genre to go for if you prefer buff guys.
Manga about detectives often involve more actual story as they try to solve a mystery. There might still be a late-night stake-out that dissolves into the characters paying more attention to each other than the job, though. Again, those handcuffs can come in handy!
There's a little something for everyone in manga about police/detectives!

Lesson 38

Hair Fetishes

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Hair Fetishes
Yeah, believe it or not, there are yaoi manga about people with hair fetishes. Like, all kinds of hair. Like, hair down there. Hair up there, too, but down there, as well.
If the character has a hair-on-the-head fetish, they might become attracted to other characters who have long, flowing locks. Those lovely long locks might be caressed whilst in the middle of a passionate embrace, or they might be what's doing the embracing. You never know...
Some people prefer a hairy chest, but there's very little yaoi manga which shows body hair. You might get a bit of leg hair occasionally, but chest hair is rare. Bara, yaoi manga aimed at men, is more likely to show furry guys.
And then we go below the belt. It's also quite unusual to see pubic hair in yaoi manga, but it does appear now and then. If a character has a pubic hair fetish, then sometimes they like to touch it, and other times they like to shave it off. They may even keep it in a jar... Well, to each their own!

Lesson 39

Saved by Sex

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Saved by Sex
So you know how vaccinations give you a small dose of the disease so your body can build up antibodies and you become immune? Well, yaoi manga has a similar idea, but... not. In the land of yaoi, that wonderful, magical place where normal rules don't apply, the idea is that if you're afflicted with some kind of condition - say, for example, that you crave sex - then instead of just having a little bit, you should have a lot. A lot a lot.
In these manga, the characters must have butt sex, or they will die. I can only assume that other people's sperm contains some kind of antitode... It's a hard life, but they usually have a friend or two who's more than willing to give them a hand. Or mouth. Or penis. Having sex saves them and everyone gets a happy end! Yay!
You could, of course, seek out spiritual guidance when faced with the prospect of "sex or die", but the religious institutions in yaoi manga probably wouldn't be much help, to be honest. There are of course shrines, temples and churches, and while you may get cured there, you'll probably be taking a different path to heaven...
Celibacy's not really a big thing in yaoi...

Lesson 40

Final Lesson

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Final Lesson
Over the last 39 lessons, we've talked about the different characters you can find in yaoi manga, and the different situations that they find themselves in. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I encourage you to go and explore more of the yaoi on Renta! to find things you enjoy reading. Hopefully these lessons have given you a few ideas!
If there's anything you particularly like or want more of, we'd love to hear from you! Send us a message on Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter and let us know about your favorite yaoi themes.
As a final parting gift, I leave you with the unicorn of yaoi couples... An M seme and an S uke! (Yes, they do actually exist!) Enjoy!
Introduction to Yaoi
Lessons 1 ~ 10
Character Types
Lessons 11 ~ 22
Yaoi Featuring...
Lessons 23 ~ 40
View Yaoi Featured Page
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