HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

42-17852056

So, the other day on Twitter, I mentioned that I don’t see the point in MMF books. Interesting conversation ensued.

In the majority of MMF books that I’ve read, the women seem to be surplus to requirement.

If I’m honest, I don’t really get why a gay couple would decide that they need a female to complete them. I’m meant to believe that they aren’t into any other females, except that one special vagina, who helps make them whole? Really?

I think you can tell when an author has no interest in writing a book that includes female interaction, because all the emotional connection seems to be between the two males, yet the reader is expected to suspend disbelief, and buy that all three parties are in love? I struggle with that. I really do.

Every time I’ve read an MMF book, I’ve felt distinctly let down by the lack of connection with the female. I then go and check the author’s backlist, and lo and behold, they turn out to be predominantly MM writers.

I understand the need to branch out, but I’m a huge believer that authors shouldn’t write books that they don’t enjoy, and in my experience, some of these books have felt like more of an obligation than a labour of love, on the part of the author. Like they were trying to cater to the MF Reader dollar, if you like.

JMC mentioned a Lorelei James book that we’d both read. It was an MMF book, where the two penises had engaged in sexual activity, then one of the penises decided that he was in love with a vagina, and so then married the vagina. When the other penis eventually came back, he basically presented him to the vagina, and confessed to being in love with the penis.

Confused? Yeah, me too.

While the writing was fine, I’m afraid that I just didn’t buy the HEA for one minute. I know that we have to suspend disbelief in a lot in erotic romance, but for me, I couldn’t see anything but years of misery and heartache for all of the genitalia involved in that particular relationship.

Anyway, as it happens, LJ is one of the writers who doesn’t have a backlist full of MMs, but somehow – in my opinion – Rough, Raw and Ready managed to concentrate more on the emotional connection between the two penises, than the emotional connection between both the penises and the vagina. Actually, as I recall, I distinctly remember a lack of connection between Penis No. 2 and The Vagina.

For me, this seems to have been the story of my MMF reading life.

What say you?

Loose-ID-Watch: This week, 1 MMF, 2 MMs, 1 MF & 1 extra MM)

26 Comments »


  • Kat
    July 30
    10:18 am

    Emma Holly’s Menage did MMF well, I thought. Both guys had a connection with the woman, and she had a different dynamic with each guy, which was again different from the relationship between the two guys. I didn’t like the conflict at the end, but it worked well enough, and I even believed in the happy ending.

    ReplyReply


  • Edie
    July 30
    10:31 am

    While mmf is not necessarily my thing, I have read a few, but I think I have been reading different ones from Karen. Have only come across the female not really connecting only a couple of times.. My main beef is I come unstuck with the brothers thing (just wrong IMO) or the mmf where the author bends over backwards to prove that there is no touching between the blokes. Never figured out how that works.. For me if there is some involvement between the two blokes, it is much easier to believe.

    I am with Kat on Emma’s Menage being well done.

    ReplyReply

  • I have five menages out, and I have to say, all of them involved one of the males knowing the female in the past and returning to her. That, to me, makes a stronger and more convincing argument for the M/M/F & M/F/M HEA or at least a solid HFN. Only one, Her Hungers, has the men not touching sexually at all, but all the rest have the men being lovers before the woman is reintroduced into the relationship. Only in one, Two In Hand, do the men actually seek out the female. The others, the attraction happens, or is renewed, and the men must have to figure out how to deal with it in the context of their own relationship. I have to admit, I probably had the most fun writing Two In Hand. Though that’s probably because of the cowboys. *wink*

    ReplyReply

  • Well, I think that good MMF books are those where there is an equal relationship between the three people. Those are the MMF books that I enjoy reading.

    ReplyReply

  • I’ve read all but one of LJ’s RR books and this one I abandoned in the middle and eventually finished months later. I didn’t care for it at all. If I had been the woman I’d have shot both of them and I remember being absolutely incensed at the scene where one of the other women told her that if she loved her husband and wanted him to stay with her she’d just have to accept the other guy and sacrifice…

    I’m with A.J. I’ve read MMF which had the emotional connection between all three and only those I find enjoyable. It certainly requires more suspension of disbelief, but I know triples in real life and they can work.

    Anne Douglas has two MMFs out, ‘Tea for Three’ and ‘Persuading Jo’ which are excellent and which I wholeheartedly recommend.

    ReplyReply


  • Katharina
    July 30
    11:41 am

    Karen you are totally right on this. The main reason for my disinterest in menages is the fact that the author can’t sell to me the dynamics. There are three menage stories out there I really like, one is Emma Holly’s take on the topic, the other one is Along For the Ride by Saskia Walker and Michèle de Lully’s La Bonne (ffm) . Generally, I avoid any kind of polyamory like crazy, because it seems to be a big trend right now, but very few authors take the time to develop a credible story.

    ReplyReply


  • Mireya
    July 30
    12:47 pm

    I’ve read several MMF that didn’t feel like that. “Demon’s Fire” by Emma Holly is one of those. I LOVED that book. Another author that uses MMF is Lora Leigh. Not all of hers have worked for me, but the woman is usually as important as the rest of the characters in the relationship. I know there are others, but my memory is totally shot.

    ReplyReply

  • I don’t have anything against menage stories, whether MMF/MFM/FFM/FMF whatever. I just really truly *hate*, with the fire of a thousand suns, the ones where the previously happy gay couple suddenly decides this one magic vajayjay is imperative to their continued happiness. A good portion of the time the authors don’t even sell the guys as bi, or maybe one of them will have had a couple encounters w/the pussy years ago. The thing is…gay is gay. It’s not a choice and by having gay men suddenly decide they like pussy after all, it comes off as entirely unrealistic and ruins the story for me because I’m a bit of a stickler for realism. Make them truly bi if you want to play that angle, but not gay.

    Because really, I’ve known a lot of gay men in my life, more than I can count, and not a *one* has ever turned over a heterosexual leaf.

    ReplyReply

  • I agree with most re Emma Holly, but for me, she was the exception, rather than the rule.

    Another author that uses MMF is Lora Leigh.

    Really? As far as I was aware, LL’s menages are usually MFM. I’ve never come across an MMF. Which of her books was an MMF?

    ReplyReply

  • The thing is…gay is gay. It’s not a choice and by having gay men suddenly decide they like pussy after all, it comes off as entirely unrealistic and ruins the story

    What she said.

    ReplyReply


  • Babz
    July 30
    2:16 pm

    That Lorelei James book was confusing to me as well. I enjoy her writing very much as she does the emotional stuff quite well amidst all the hot sexxoring, but Edgar and Trev is so attracted to each other emotionally I don’t get how a female can get in the middle of that. They had a great connection and I get annoyed at the way she keeps putting the F in the middle of everything!

    Cockblock? You bet.

    ReplyReply


  • Mireya
    July 30
    2:32 pm

    Karen, I don’t make a distinction between MMF or MFM or FMM. Sorry, I classify all as menages. I guess that makes my statement about LL’s confusing. Making that distinction, no, hers do not involve gay or even bisexual males.

    ReplyReply


  • Randi
    July 30
    2:41 pm

    I think the only MMF I’ve read was Megan Hart’s, Tempted. And I think it could be classified as EITHER MFM OR MMF; depending on where you are in the story.

    But I’m with Karen-unless the Men are set up as bi, a MMF doesn’t work. And why would it? Why would you even go there? Makes no sense to me. I also don’t see the point in FFM. Again, unless the women are set up as bi.

    ReplyReply

  • I think the issue here isn’t with menages themselves but with bad writing. I know that there’s only one author who has convinced me about an M/F/M story. I do tend to prefer the M/M/F stories, and to be honest the gay guys really need some pussy thing doesn’t bother me, because I’ve long given up on seeing actual, real polyamory as it’s practiced in real life reflected in what I’m reading. I tend to get more irritated when authors cop out and deliver a couple of menage scenes, then have one of the partners decide that’s not really what they want and disappear from the story altogether. Because then I feel like I’ve just read something that’s padded out for the sake of writing more sex.

    I haven’t read Menage by Holly, but I did like the M/M/F dynamic in Strange Attractions. And I enjoy Samantha Kane’s historicals, because I feel like she really does try to connect all of her characters to each other in a way that feels credible.

    ReplyReply

  • Thank you for the recs Growlycub 🙂

    The question I want to ask, are you reading books with threesomes in them, or books with ménage a trois? Same thing you might say, but really they aren’t.

    I blogged about the differences here: http://annedouglas.com/blog/?p=529 (I linked rather than reposting the whole thing here).

    Personally, I like ménage – where all parties are fully committed to the relationship (MMF or MFM); three people learning how to deal with one another is interesting to me. Straight out threesomes, not so much, although they were what initially drew me in. (Although, I’ve written stories over most of the threesome to ménage spectrum -after all, my preferences aren’t everyone else’s, and I found it interesting to explore the differences in the relationships).

    It’s been my (possibly flawed) observation that NY print books have embraced the idea of threesomes, but are still wedded to the mf ending in the most part. Some of Emma Holly’s books being the exception to that for me, I’ll admit to not having read many current NY print books in this genre as many appear to not have the type of ending I desire…and I’m cheap – much easier to spend 4-6$ on an eBook for a story with the right sort of happy ending for me.

    As for the ‘if you’re gay, you’re gay’ I guess that depends on whether you believe sexuality is black and white or shades of grey. I’m a shades of grey kind of girl – there will be people who will never waiver from straight or gay, but there are people in between, who when faced with the right person might/will make the choice to accept them despite their sex. Who was the guy who did the big study on sexuality… Kinsey wasn’t it?

    ReplyReply

  • If I’m honest, I don’t really get why a gay couple would decide that they need a female to complete them.

    There’s nothing more annoying to me as a bisexual woman than this kind of thing. It’s called bisexual erasure–the assumption that no one could possibly be bi and monogamous at the same time, and society’s insistence on defining a person’s sexuality based solely on the configuration of their current relationship. Just because two men or two women are in a monogamous relationship does NOT mean they’re gay or lesbian. Grr.

    You see it all over the place–even on Seinfeld. I don’t understand how people find it easier to believe George’s fiancee Susan could change her sexual orientation from straight to lesbian and back to straight easier than dying her hair, than to believe she could possibly be bi and not promiscuous, poly or a swinger.

    When you consider that probably only 20% of people are a 0 or a 6 on the Kinsey scale, that leaves a lot of gray area. That’s the kind of thing I love to read when it’s done well, and I love to write. Straight or gay don’t hold much appeal for me, because I don’t relate to either in real life.

    Being in a loving, committed, three-person relationship would be like having my cake and eating it too. But that doesn’t mean I can’t and haven’t been faithful and committed to one person I love.

    and Michèle de Lully’s La Bonne (ffm) .

    Oh oh oh, one of my absolute favorite books ever. And despite the fact that neither woman was portrayed as bi at the start, I completely bought the love they felt for each other and how the poly relationship developed. I bought their HEA, and I’ve reread it over and over.

    ReplyReply


  • Katharina
    July 30
    8:20 pm

    Oh oh oh, one of my absolute favorite books ever. And despite the fact that neither woman was portrayed as bi at the start, I completely bought the love they felt for each other and how the poly relationship developed. I bought their HEA, and I’ve reread it over and over.

    Absolutely loved it … and it was the first book after Emma Holly that made f/f scenes erotic to me. Honestly, I didn’t understand why she was categorised as erotica. This was a true romance for me.

    ReplyReply

  • Absolutely loved it … and it was the first book after Emma Holly that made f/f scenes erotic to me. Honestly, I didn’t understand why she was categorised as erotica. This was a true romance for me.

    It’s really the model I think for any f/f/m romance, as well as f/f eroticism (and I think the erotica designation was because Amanda was “cheating” on her fiance Petros with the maid–Samhain has some fairly strict rules about what they’ll allow to be categorized romance). Whenever I write f/f or f/f/m scenes (which I write rather a lot of in addition to m/f, m/m and m/m/f), I ask myself “Would Michele deLully find this sexy?” That book’s the benchmark for me.

    I’ll have to go look for some Emma Holly now, because good f/f(/m) is my favorite thing to read, and there’s just so little decent stuff out there…unless you’re interested in 100% men-not-welcome-lesbian romance, or porn, that is.

    I did an article not long ago about f/f versus lesbian romance, if you’re interested in reading it. 🙂

    ReplyReply

  • DI! I am supposed to be on a ebook ban, now I am going to have to go get La Bonne. (having already got Anne Ds books, and adoring them) I must admit I skipped over La Bonne the couple of times, as the blurb for some reason made me think of bad black lace books..

    ReplyReply

  • For those who believe you are either gay or you aren’t, may I recommend ‘Bob and Rose’? It’s available from Netflix.

    At first I thought this must be some female wish fulfillment and felt vaguely guilty for liking it so much, but I’ve since found out that this series was developed from the real life experience of a friend of the director’s. I highly recommend it!

    ReplyReply

  • I must admit I skipped over La Bonne the couple of times, as the blurb for some reason made me think of bad black lace books..

    Oh, this one had a lot of strikes against it for me–first person POV, contemporary setting, rich protagonists (except for the maid, of course), even a Mediterranean prince (ugh). I ended up buying it because of the relative dearth of f/f/m romantic stories out there. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

    DeLully’s writing and the relationship dynamics made me forget the fact that I don’t generally like first person, contemporary stories about rich people. It wasn’t some stupid porny fantasy about a rich dude with two hot chicks seeing to his manly needs–it was truly a love story between three people.

    I was so impressed I went on to read her next two which were pretty much “not my thing” as well, and loved them both.

    ReplyReply


  • Ann
    July 31
    8:31 pm

    never mind, id on’t care

    ReplyReply


  • Katharina
    August 1
    2:10 pm

    I did an article not long ago about f/f versus lesbian romance, if you’re interested in reading it. 🙂

    Hi Kirsten, sorry for the late response, I have been away for a couple of days. I added the article to my “check out” list and will read it when I am catching up with blogland. I never really liked f/f scenes in the few Black Lace books I read and never searched it out in erotic romance. With BL books it seemed to be part of the writing guidelines, no matter whether the heroine’s character arc needed it or not. Most often I skipped them because they turned me off, sometimes even disgusted me … and then I discovered Emma Holly. But it was La Bonne by Lully which convinced me that f/f scenes could be very erotic, even for a heterosexual woman.

    I don’t really like menage stories and especially those where the heroine needs to a) blow another man b) needs to be sandwiched between two men and c) needs to have a f/f experience in order to become a sexually grown up person.

    I know it’s a little paradox because while I would like to read some stories where women also have f/f experiences, I don’t like most plots (usually BDSM clubs or paranormal/sci-fi books – sorry, I know you write in this genre – and such) that deal with the topic.

    ReplyReply

  • I know it’s a little paradox because while I would like to read some stories where women also have f/f experiences, I don’t like most plots (usually BDSM clubs or paranormal/sci-fi books – sorry, I know you write in this genre – and such) that deal with the topic.

    Well, I write fantasy, but it’s almost “fantasy lite” because there aren’t any wizards/dragons/fairies/gods/etc. Might sound weird for a fantasy author, but I don’t read paranormal unless I have to (for review, or to get my f/f fix), and I don’t tend to read erotic sci-fi, either.

    Thing is, because f/f presented through the straight guy filter is kind of shoved in our faces every day (especially on TV after 9 at night), most women are very particular about what feels right to them, and what feels like it’s skating the edge of exploitation. And that line might be different from one woman to another.

    I’ve read a couple of BL books, and yes, the one f/f scene I’ve come across seemed almost perfunctory. I found myself wishing it had been more relevant to the story, or at least to the heroine because 1) it didn’t need to be there, and 2) it was so minimal, any relevance it might have had was kind of swept aside. It was just there.

    While I don’t think every single aspect of every single sex scene has to move the plot forward, I do think it has to be appropriate and relevant to the characters involved.

    ReplyReply

  • never mind, id on’t care

    Liar. You so do.

    ReplyReply


  • DD
    October 18
    7:12 pm

    Yeah, I know this is super old, but I just have to say–I kind of have a problem with the concept that if two men love each other, that means they’re gay. In our culture, for some reason there is no in-between for guys. Why is it that two men together equals gay, while two women together almost ALWAYS equals bisexual. And then when a penis shows up, the women are like, oh thank god–now we can have a real relationship! I’m not saying that you’re necessarily saying that–perhaps that’s just what you’ve encountered in MMF–but I love the idea of equal love between the three with men who aren’t exclusively attracted to other men. That doesn’t make sense to me. Actually, it happens the other way around in many m/m manga, where the guy is totally straight, but he’s down with that one penis. That’s due to underlying homophobia in the culture, but I think that’s reflected here, too, in a different way. At any rate, I could go on and on about it, but I wish there were more M/M/F stories out there. It feels like any M/M/F relationship I’ve seen is just the woman being present so the balls don’t touch. The guys are never intimate with each other, and that peeves me in A LOT of ways, because in M/F/F, the women are *always* expected to be sexual with each other. Anyway, I guess I’ll stop there, but seriously, that drives me nuts.

    ReplyReply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment