BL – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did someone tell you they enjoy watching 'BL' Anime content? This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The acronym 'BL' stands for 'boy love.' It's a term created by the Anime industry, describing Anime content relating to young boys, typically teens. The content has a sexual innuendo and theme, and many experts consider it a form of soft-core porn.

Since 'BL' videos are Anime, no innocent children are being exploited in the videos. However, many liken it to a grooming tool for male sexual predators. BL is also an acronym for 'Boy love' in Thailand, which describes the pop culture scene around young boys.

It can also describe a young boy exhibiting homosexual behavior. In Japanese, 'BL' is a modern term for 'Shounenai,' meaning ‘Boy love.’ BL is often in replacement for the Japanese word 'yaoi,', especially in manga and Anime. If Anime content falls under the BL category, it likely has references to homosexual behavior between men and boys.

Example Usage

"I think he has a case of 'boy love.' He can't stop watching the BL videos by Thai boys on TikTok and YouTube."

"I have a case of boy love. My BL is so bad that I Have every single BL manga title ever made. I think it's a bit of an unhealthy obsession."

"This BL category of Anime is something else. I mean, people could basically consider it soft-core porn for pedophiles, right?"

"I don't watch BL manga. It's terrible. There are so many categories of Anime. Why do people settle on fringe stuff like BL titles? There are so many other great ones."

"I don't like the BL category of Anime. It's weird. However, if you visit an anime site, you'll see it's one of the most popular niches."


The acronym 'BL' originates from the Anime industry. It's a popular niche of manga content, first available in the late 1990s. This Anime niche developed a cult following by the mid-2000s, with the first entry of the term into the Urban dictionary in January 2004.

The gay community continues to support BL anime content. However, some activists claim BL content is nothing more than soft-core porn. During the mid-2000s, sex tourism to Thailand began to include the term 'BL,' referring to men that like to have sex with young boys.

Phrases Opposite to BL

  • GL.
  • Girl Love.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • BL.
  • Boy Love.

Ways People May Say BL Incorrectly

Some people on social media may use 'BL' to describe boy love by older men for young boys. However, while the term has a sexual reference, it's more common for people to use it in reference to young pop stars in Thai and Japanese pop culture and Anime.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase BL

You can use the acronym 'BL' when describing 'boy love' in Thailand or Japan. It's a popular subculture in Anime and pop-music culture throughout Japan and Thailand. You can use 'boy love' in social situations. Typically, 'boy love' is referred to in a sexual context on social media. It describes an older man who loves young boys, which some people may view as a form of pedophilia.

You can use 'boy love' when describing someone's obsession with boy love content online. The expression could mean they are gay or they have a fetish for the sort of content. If you say someone has a case of 'boy love,' you're inferring that they might be gay. Men and women can experience 'boy love,' but it's more common to have a homosexual connotation.

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