Ease Yourself Into MMF Romances – Part II
How can MMF be Romantic?
This is Part Two of a Series
Part 1: Ménages Categorized
Part 2: How can MMF be romantic?
Part 3: How To Read Your First MMF Romance
Part 4: Where To Find Your MMF Romances
Part 5: Narrow Down Your List of Potential MMF Novels
Part 6: Keeping Track
If you’re new to the idea of MMF then the most frequent newbie question is: How can MMF romances possibly be romantic? With two guys, er, doing it to each other? Doesn’t it turn into a pornographic sex-fest?
Well, with two hot alpha-style (usually) guys and their hormones in the driving seat, there’s no denying the sex gets hot in MMF romances.
Oh wow…that just about qualifies for the understatement of the year.
There’s plenty of hard evidence (pun not really intended, but I’ll let it stand) that MMF romances are more romantic than straight MF romance, by, oh, a factor of three to one.
Some Basic Math
Straight MF romance novels work well — they’re at their most romantic and effective best — when the romantic conflict is pushed as high as it will go. In other words, the author has arranged it so that the hero and heroine are as tested, romantically, as it is possible to strain two people and still keep their love for each other alive. It’s these sorts of books that readers find un-put-downable.
In a straight MF novel, there is only one set of romantic conflict. There is only the hero and heroine: M <–> F .
In an MFM novel, you have three people interacting, but the two males only interact romantically with the female. The males are often related to each other, and therefore may love each other in filial ways (brotherly love), but do not grow to love each other romantically.
In MFM romances, therefore, there is only two possible sets of romantic conflict: between hero A and the heroine (1) and between hero B and the heroine (2). These romances provide twice the amount of romantic conflict, and some confusion for the heroine — especially if she feels she has to pick between the two heroes.
You can imagine that if an MFM novel sets up twice the amount of conflict and confusion, how much better an MMF romance gets.
Hero A and heroine (1)
Hero B and heroine (2)
Hero A and Hero B (3)
Plus, all three characters are facing romantic dilemmas:
- They’re falling in love with two people at the same time (or they might already be in love with one and falling in love with the second).
- Romantic guilt is rampant, until the menage is settled (that is, if these characters have any sort of moral conscience at all!),
- If the author sets her plot up for maximum romantic tension, then the characters will also have to consider romantic sacrifice, too: giving up the one they love so that the second one they love will be happy.
Neither of these last two romantic dilemmas is possible in any sort of romance but an MMF romance!
Then, consider the Character combinations.
MF has your basic girl/guy combo. The hero can be alpha, or beta or the new style Gamma (A short-hand definition of a Gamma would be a politically correct Alpha male).
MFM opens up all the possibilities: The two heroes could be any combination of all the endless types of heroes we like. Alpha and a Beta, or an unredeemed bad boy with a metro-sexual beta…the author’s imagination and the heroine, genre and inspiration provides unlimited possibilities.
Except…neither of the heroes interact with each other romantically, so dreaming up fabulous combinations means very little. They’re just two more interesting heroes for the heroine to fall in love with. A Yin and Yang bookend for her heart to collect.
Let those two heroes romantically collide and all sorts of romance possibilities can develop. The character of the two heroes adds depth and layers to the romantic conflict already in place, can provide fuel to fan the fire and really blow the conflict into a raging inferno. Add in the heroine’s drives, ambitions and character, and the romantic conflict takes on nuclear meltdown characteristics.
How the romances are resolved in an MMF provides endless novel possibilities, too.
When you consider the many thousands of straight MF romance novels that have been written and published over the decades, coming up with a fresh way to bring the hero and heroine happily together at the end of the novel just isn’t possible these days. It’s all been done before. Authors rely on the uniqueness of their characters and situations to provide the novelty, now.
There is a reason why romantic “tropes” are listed and laughed over: The amnesia plot, the pregnant bride plot, the big misunderstanding plot…. They’ve all been done before.
In MMF romances, because there are three characters in the romance, and the genre is so new, the plot possibilities are still fresh and novel, and the way the romance is resolved at the end is still often a mystery until the end for you, the reader. You get to be genuinely surprised by how it all gets sorted out.
How can two guys “falling in love” be romantic?
- Brokeback Mountain
- If you haven’t tried reading an MMF yet, you’re going to have trouble with the concept, plain and simple, because you’re getting the idea of the sex act mixed up with love. Two different things. And yes, both sex and love between two men are included in an MMF novel. But it’s possible you’re thinking ewww, gay porn. Or even, simply, oh, bisexual, then?
- Stop. Don’t put labels on it. Love is love. We’re talking about a romance novel and about love, the greatest emotion on the planet. Romance novels celebrate that emotion and its power to move mountains, conquer heroes and bring them to their knees. And that’s exactly what happens to the two men in an MMF romance. They’re humbled by love for two people, one who just happens to be male, the other female. And their lives are utterly changed by that love. You will thrill to see it happen, I guarantee it.
- Here’s another reassurance. MMF romances are written for a female (primarily – something like 99.8%) audience. The book is designed to thrill and entertain you, the reader. Therefore the heroes are gorgeous, hunky, driven, and desperate..and sexy to the nth degree. They aren’t going to do anything that will turn off a female reader who understands the MMF genre. The books are romance, first and foremost, designed to appeal to you.
- And don’t forget, the heroes in an MMF novel are also falling in love with the heroine at the same time — the romantic tension is tripled and conflict, the engine of any good book, spirals.
MMF is more romantic than MF or MFM because:
- It has two sexy, desperate heroes that interact with each other, not one or two independent heroes
- It holds three times more romantic conflict than MF novels and a third more than MFM novels.
- It has more emotional tension and
- more potential for novel romantic entanglements and difficulties
In the right author’s hands, MMF will melt your heart, and you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated to read one.