When Menages Go Bad in Romance


I’ve never been a big fan of fictional menages. Some writers do them very well, but I’m always left with a slight “ick” feeling, because more often than not, the plot simply doesn’t call for it. I am never convinced by HEA menage endings in which the heroine is happily settled in with a family of brothers or whatever. Too many psych courses in my background for that to be convincing to me. As a therapist (not mine, mind you, ahem) once said to me: someone always ends up hurt, and leaving.

It’s not a judgment thing–I don’t care what floats anyone’s boat as long as it doesn’t involve hurting someone against their will or minors. But I have to be convinced! I’ve written a few m/m/f menage scenes–one put in for fun, no doubt, and one a kind of connection between the men (coming in Dark Prince of Anfall). It gave me pause when I wrote it–does this make sense? Yes, I answered. Is this necessary for the plot? No, I had to admit. That was good enough for me.

When is it really necessary for the plot? I can only imagine that oft-used fantasy/scifi scenario in which guys from another planet must pair up for some reason with one mate. Never quite got that logic–evolution and all generally makes for lusting after multiple female mates–breeding and such.

What I find most difficult about such scenes is that they can read like football play books. Go right, go long and deep, and I’ll fake a pass and carry it myself. (Okay, I guess quarterbacks don’t actually say it that way). This is absolutely my downfall in writing sex scenes. I almost prefer the fade to black. I’ve been reading more lately, and noted a lot of these scenes simply aren’t titillating. And the ones that are, don’t make sense. Ah, she’s finally in love! With two guys. Nonsense. Disagree? Tell me about it. I’m all ears.

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