What Do YOU Think of MMF?
As soon as you start talking about ménage, and MMF ménage in particular, readers polarize like crazy. It’s not just that some readers like them and some don’t. Readers really, really love MMF ménages or they find them disgusting, perverted, unrealistic and in most cases, offensive. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of readers hanging out in the middle ground.
I had an interesting email exchange with a reader this week who found the idea of a 14th century highlander being open to ménage just as offensive. (Rob, in Bannockburn Binding).
As it happens, polyandry (multiple husbands) and polygamy (multiple wives) are ancient forms of marriage, dating back into pre-history. Even the word ménage originates from medieval French, and first appeared in the twelfth century!
Despite that, the reader remained adamant that I was insulting her intelligence.
As I said, MMF ménage tends to polarize people.
And this is just the fictional kind!
Take it a step further. What about real life MMF ménages?
Years ago, I wrote a post, “Do Women Like MMF“, where I speculated about real MMF relationships. The post had a huge number of comments, which have been lost in the switch over to the new site.
I’ve brushed up the post and it is now an article on the Articles for Readers page. I will also link to this post you’re reading right now. If you’d like to offer your opinion, anonymous or not, feel free to comment, below. “Do Women Like MMF” was one of the most heavily trafficked posts on the old site, and may pick up traffic all over again (as people are still searching in droves on this topic), so readers and browsers will be directed here where your comments will be seen, too.
Interestingly, I sit on the fence with MMF fiction, and i think its partly to do with the overall themes and non-sexual part of the storyline as well as the characters relationships…for example, I devoured your Kiss Across Time series; the whole story was intriguing so i wasn’t ‘put off’ by any of the menage…but yet i slowly worked through about 3/4 of Beth’s Acceptance and i gave up – the vampire/elf theme and character didn’t hold my attention and their sexual relationship didn’t interest me at all (vampire stories rarely get me interested though).
Thanks for stopping by.
It sounds to me like story is more important to you than any other element in a romance, including the romance itself. There are many readers like you who want a good story told well, with just the right elements and the inclusion or not of menage doesn’t matter if the story is good.
On the other hand there are readers who read for the sex and any story elements just hold the sex scenes together for them and they’re less fussy about how the story is told.
I’m not judging either end of the spectrum at all — I find considering readers’ reasons for reading some of the most interesting psychology in the world. The function of story in a society is a complex and rich one.
It’s interesting that you couldn’t get through Beth’s Acceptance — there are thousands of readers who love and adore the series. Clearly, these are elements that don’t work for you because you’re reading for story, first.
In the realm of fantasy, I think the MMF is a fantastic model on so many levels. Acceptance, love, eroticism, not to mention a generally much more feminized version of the often more masculinized MFF model. Is it for everyone? No. Is it a bit of a unicorn in the real world? Maybe (at least, thinking that MMF fiction is any more representative of real life than the monogamous fiction is), but that’s a conversation for another thread.
Hi CJ, thanks for stopping by.
It’s true that MMF in fiction really is a glorified version of real life, just as MF romances are. I think many women understand this intuitively and for that reason also, they hesitate to try MMF sex or consider MMF relationships for themselves, regardless of how much they like menage in their fiction.
It’s absolutely a personal choice for every woman.
Love reading your books that include MMF relationships because of the way you present them. Having no idea how it works in real life, its certainly entertaining to read about. I don’t get offended, but because of cultural differences etc I can see how some might. Keep writing 🙂
Hello, Heidi! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the encouragement.
Personally I’m not a big fan of menage, male/male or combinations thereof. But not because I’m offended. Because it just doesn’t interest me as a reader experience. 🙂 I think people who are offended by it really just need to spend more time in their own realm of reading and let other people enjoy their own experience. I’m a big defender of freedom of speech…and to me that means authors should write whatever they are moved to write regardless of what anyone else thinks of it. 🙂 Live and let live!
Thanks for commenting. You have a good point — I admit I’m often puzzled by reader reviews where they’re offended by the content. The blurb, the book description and inside the book itself carries warnings about the sexual content on all my books, so I’m not sure why they read them if they feel that way about menage.
But I also have to remind myself that for every review that says “this is dreadful!” there may be other readers out there that took a chance on the book and ending up loving it — the big, silent majority, to whom I am ever grateful.
It takes all sorts!
Yep! I’ve certainly had that experience with reviewers myself. I always have to remind myself that some people just have “problems.” LOL. They are running around constantly looking for things to be offended by, and they are also extremely judgmental people. 🙂
To be honest, I’ve always been self conscious of my body to try a MMF, as I know in he situation everyone involved is going to get a good look. But that has never stopped me of enjoying it in books or my thoughts. Your stories are always filled with passion and love not just “hey why not” scenarios. You keep writing them, I’ll keep reading them.. I think you know me well enough to know if I think something doesn’t feel right or have a question that I’ll be sure and write to you about it.
Yep we gotta write what we gotta write! 🙂 I like my characters to have sex the way those characters would have sex. I’ve never liked (much) putting characters into situations to make sure they have sex. I see a lot of stories written these days with the idea that there has to be a certain number of sex scenes and even when I was writing those types of books I honestly didn’t want it to be about the number of sex scenes. I wanted it to be about “what would these two types of characters do.”
Thanks as always, Dina!
Actually, that’s a really good point I completely missed in the original article. SO many women are self-conscious about their bodies, I can see that being one of the major reasons for NOT experimenting with anything beyond basic missionary.
I’ll keep on writing….!
I have written MMF and MF. If MMF is in the story it’s because that’s where the characters took the story. In all cases, it was a ‘fantasy’ background…whether contemporary setting on another planet or historical type setting. Generally, it’s a culturally acceptable relationship, though not necessarily the ‘norm’. And in most cases, each “couple” within the relationship have their own background that makes their acceptance possible. And…the story centers around how the MMF relationship deals with the conflicts that might arise–whether from inside or out.
Yeah, the genre really makes a difference, I think. It would be a lot easier to ‘splain in a speculative fiction genre. Alas, most of my MMF settings are urban fantasy, so contemporary standards apply. So I get the odd nay-sayer.
Although I do try to write menages that occur naturally, fit with the characters and are long term, loving relationships, rather than quick group sex. I think that makes a difference for most readers — if you’re just telling a story, it shows!
To answer your question, yes I do find MMF erotic as long as the storyline and romance go along with it. And you, my dear, have that ability in spades. I have read many of your books and am slowly reading through the rest, when the budget allows. I believe most women really want the romance and not just fu*king for the sake of fu*king. Don’t tell anyone, but growing up in the 50’s and 60’s and finding myself sexually active in the 70’s proved very interesting and MMF wasn’t uncommon in my sphere of influence. Participating was really fun, so as an old girl I enjoy reading about it.
I also believe that if a person finds they don’t like reading something then don’t buy the book and don’t bitch about it and definitely, don’t scold the writer for writing it. Geez, I really hate that. Tracy, don’t quit. We love your work.
Thanks for stopping by. I think you’re the first person I know that has admitted to trying MMF, although the 70s was pretty loose and free and easy. Everyone got so uptight in the 80s with STDs and AIDS.
I love writing about MMF menage romances. For me the romance is the most critical part — without that, I would find the sex mechanical and would be interested in writing it.
Thank you so much for your encouragement!
Thanks for responding. I do admit that those relationships were casual with no commitment required. As you said, free and easy. But once marriage happened it evolved to monogamy and definitely after AIDS started. But it was part of my life and I own up to it 🙂
I do know one couple from those days that the three feel in love with each other, got married/committed to each other, had several kids tossing the dice on who fathered the kids and they are still together.
Keep writing Tracy, we love it.
Thanks so much for the encouragement, Rita!
I’ve found I don’t mind the MMF menage stories, but even those differ between the types with male on male action and those where two guys “share” the woman…not usually homosexual action in those. I do prefer the latter type of MMF, however. Not so crazy about lesbian action either…but I don’t think I’m a “homophobe” either. 😉 Of course, I just choose not to read the types of books that I don’t care for…and would not complain about the content if forewarned.
Thanks so much for your feedback. I think you might be tripping over some definitions. MMF menage always includes MM action — that’s why the M’s in MMF are together. MFM, on the other hand, is two guys concentrating on the girl, with no interaction between them. So when I talk about MMF menage, I’m always talking about menage with MM sex acts. If you’re curious, this might held explain it better. MFF is the third kind of menage. I don’t think I need to define that one for you now. 🙂
Having said that, even finding decent menages of any sort can sometimes be a bit of a potluck venture! Mostly, you have to dive in and see if it works for you. I think that’s where getting to know and trust an author can be a huge help.
I started reading Jayne Rylon when i found erotic romance. I found the ‘sharing’ of partners a little off putting not the actuall mmf side. Then i found the kiss across time series and was hooked on mmf. I get a little disappointed if its mfm now. I love the bond the male characters have in an mmf romance. I dont find it disgusting at all, I think it makes for a more complex story. I understand people reading an mmf romance can get a little turned off but it shouldnt matter if the story is amazing yet you still get the odd complaint (sometimes very odd). However if they read the whole description there is the warning you put on all your mmf books and if they don’t like that sort of story then they shouldn’t read it.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think you’ve put a finger on what *I* like most about MMF — the relationship between the two guys and how the heroine changes the dynamic — how they all related together in the most intimate circumstances. It’s very intense!
Hello Tracy (and all who have commented here),
I think the story and romance need to be really strong, or then I find the book is ‘limp’! On top of that I really like the complexity and angst that the MMF creates compared with MF. I find myself bored or a little disappointed when it is MFM, as the MM part is again adding further richness to the story.
I enjoy your writing Tracy, compulsive stories and enticing characters, and worlds where I would like to hang out. Brilliant, what more could a person want in a story.
Thank you for the day-dreaming you have given me over the years. Like some have mentioned above, I would be incredibly self-conscious in a real world MMF situation, and therefore would never …
Hi A — thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Yeah, I think that body image thing is a big tripwire for a lot of women…and not just for MMF, either!
And thank you so much for your encouragement!