Zanghellini notes that illustrations of anal sex almost always position the characters to face each other, rather than in the 'doggy style.' Zanghellini also notes that the uke rarely fellates the seme, but instead receives the sexual and romantic attentions of the seme.
The possibility of switching roles is often a source of playful teasing and sexual excitement for the characters, indicating an interest among many genre authors in exploring the "performative nature" of the roles.
In the 1980s, the genre was presented in an anime format for the first time, including the works Patalliro!
(1982) which showed a romance between two supporting characters, an adaptation of Kaze to Ki no Uta (1987) and Earthian (1989), released in the original video animation (home video) format.
and is used in Japanese gay slang to mean the receptive partner ("bottom") in anal sex.Although not the same, a yaoi construct similar to seme and uke is the concept of tachi and neko.This archetypal pairing is referenced more often in older yaoi volumes - in modern yaoi, this pairing is often seen as already encompassed by seme and uke or simply unnecessary to address.Female authors writing for shōjo (girl's) manga magazines in the early 1970s published stories featuring platonic relationships between young boys, which were known as tanbi (aesthetic) or shōnen ai (boy love).In the late 1970s going into the 1980s, women and girls in the dōjinshi (fan fiction) markets of Japan started to produce sexualized parodies of popular shōnen (boy's) anime and manga stories in which the male characters were recast as gay lovers.In the late 1970s, shōjo magazines devoted to the new genre began to appear; and, in the 1990s, the term boys' love or BL was invented for the genre, which replaced earlier terms such as tanbi, shōnen ai and juné in Japanese usage.In Japan, the term yaoi continues to refer mainly to parody dōjinshi; among Western fans, however, yaoi is used as a generic term for female-oriented manga, anime, dating sims, novels and fan fiction works featuring idealized gay male relationships.Although the yaoi genre is also called Boys' Love (commonly abbreviated as BL), the characters may be of any age above puberty, including adults.Works featuring prepubescent boys are labelled shotacon and seen as a distinct genre.Shōnen-ai challenged young readers, who were often only able to understand the references and deeper themes as they grew older and instead were initially drawn to the figure of the male protagonist.The terms yaoi and shōnen-ai are sometimes used by Western fans to differentiate between two variants of the genre.