Yaoi is mostly explicit manga art depicting homosexual relationships, as a rule with more focus on the sexual encounters than its moderate form which is called shonen-ai. (Any manga nerd who wants to add a better definition is welcome.)
The existing cliché concerning girls who like to draw and enjoy yaoi is not kind. They are supposedly school-kids, lacking real life, clue-less, fierce cat-lovers, and loving boy-on-boy action as a substitute for their own missing love-life, also putting themself at a safe distance in various ways.
Yet, the few fellow yaoi lovers I know in person are contradicting this cliché, not only marginally, but at the very core. Just to make it simple, I will take myself as an example for comparison:
There is to say that my preference for the gay subculture is nothing new. When I grew up and went out I mostly did so with my gay friends, and found it much more enjoyable than time spent in “straight” clubs, e.g.. I often asked myself if being not the object of desire played a role back then — I won’t rule it out, but my verdict after all those years is: it has never been a key factor. Yes, I found gay sex hot — and my gay friends were conscious of that fact. However, this excluded any voyeurism regarding friends, because, bleh. Yet what was the most important aspect: I enjoyed being accepted for how I am, and not only being talked to out of sexual interest and being discarded when I kindly denied.
Another point I greatly valued was that gay people on the whole seemed more open concerning their emotions and sexual matters. No teenage girl can talk with a bunch of straight guys over the table about the advantages and disadvantages of sex toys without needing a machete later to fend the guys off, or causing them to faint at the mere attempt to talk such matters.
In contrast to my closed-up class-mates struggling in the aftermath of their own puberty, the gay subculture was a place where I could be myself. It has to be stressed, I won’t sanctify gay people overall — they can go on your, in my case, non-existent balls, just like everyone else. Still, I never have met more acceptance and tolerance than I encountered there.
One person from this time is still very dear to me; we evolved a huge platonic crush on each other already the very first time we met. I cried my heart out when he had to leave a few days after, but we never lost contact. Without being such a fag-hag, fujoshi and girlfag, I never would have met him and would have missed a wonderful friend for over twenty years by now.
Oh, an annotation: I’m not too fond of cats, at least not of the indoors-version. But I do miss my guinea-pigs…