Menage.

First thing, I’m going to admit that I’m not a big fan of menage.  That doesn’t mean I think it shouldn’t be written, it means I don’t usually read it.  I’m a flaming one man/one woman fan and for me, a work of menage is generally a big, fat, red stop sign.  Why?  The ick factor.  While the concept of menage on paper is intriguing, not to mention stimulating, the reality can be somewhat less than scintillating.  There are only so many things of so many sizes that can fit into so many orifices at one time and still be pleasure inducing.  There…said it.

As a result, unless a friend writes a menage, I pass right on by without a second glance and yes, I know how popular menage is right now.  That message has been drummed into me by many, many writers…editors…advisers.

However, author Mia Watts sends me sliding down that slippery slope toward M/M and Menage without even trying.  Because the sex is so great?  Well…yeah, that goes without saying, but more because her writing is so evanescent.  She writes about love, whether it’s male-male or multiples, like her new work, F.U. I read it in one afternoon.

As I told her, it’s not your usual menage.  Most menages that authors send me are about shifters and I rarely read them, other than Fran Lee’s Hallie’s Cats, which is a spicy little number.  I skip most shifter menages because after reading a few, I began to feel like the cougar or were or bear should just pee on the woman’s leg and be done with it.   The machismo and territory marking become almost comical.  And…here’s where the ick factor comes in for me – sometimes the contortions these characters go through during sex are just god-awful unrealistic and flat out painful and I have to assume they are thrown in for shock value.

Here is why Mia’s F.U. multiple, cuz it ain’t menage, works for me.

The story is damn good.  The writing, superb.  The style, spare, clean and clear.  Despite the fact that four men share one woman, there is a building love story between the guy I consider the alpha dog and the woman, who I consider his mate.  When he shares her, he still directs all the action.  It’s as if the secondary characters, who are drawn quite vividly, are an extension of the alpha dog’s own personality and soul.  F.U. may be a multiple, but it’s overarching theme is that of soul mates – two sets of eyes meet across a room and you know to the depths of your soul he or she is the one and it scares the bejeezus out of you.  Because there are four men involved, the story could easily have crossed the line into sleazedom, but thanks to the author’s skill at shaping characters and situations, it never does.  The female character is an assertive, confident woman and the male characters not only want to fuck her…they respect, cherish and protect her.  It’s actually pretty dang cool.

This is probably the only time I’ll ever post something remotely resembling a review because I believe – to each his own and I respect the time and effort writers put into their creations.  In this case, I have to tip my hat to Mia Watts.  She’s made a believer out of me.

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50 Responses to Menage.

  1. Oh, it was/is my pleasure. j

  2. I’m beginning to feel an urge to try…try, mind you…to write one. But still…I am so bloody one man one woman…

  3. Mia Watts says:

    Julia, you make me blush and that’s not easy to do. Thank you for the huge trust in reading my menage and for the pleasure of your review. :)

    I’m all goopy inside now.

  4. I kind of felt the same way about menage, Julia, but after I wrote my first one…a menage shifter (and NO no one peed on anyone or marked territory…lol) I actually found I liked writing them. Mine don’t have m/m interaction, it’s all about the woman. Normally, I keep mine in the paranormal world simply because the rules can be different in a otherworldly setting. Granted I still enjoy writing straight m/f best, but a menage here and there, helps shake the cobwebs out of my brain and keeps me from becoming stale.

  5. Gail Roarke says:

    Hi Julia, I love menage–if by “menage” you mean threesomes or moresomes. While I’ve published one mmf menage story, I’m actually more partial to ffm or fmf stories, though those aren’t very popular in erotic romance circles. But they turn me on plenty. I also like public or group romps, both in fiction and in real life (they say, write what you know…)

    Avoiding the “ick” factor is simply a matter of writing (or reading) what turns you on. If menage does, great; if not, you don’t have to write OR read it. I’m not a fan of M/M erotica, so I seldom read it. And for the same reason you don’t usually read menage in general. It just doesn’t do much for me.

  6. I can totally relate. I honestly believed I would NEVER write a menage. One man and one woman love stories seemed the only way to go. But, I gave it a shot and was surprised how much I enjoyed writing one. It doesn’t have to be smut or icky. You can create a beautiful and emotional world with a menage. I’m actually writing another one now :) First one comes out in July.

  7. Tessie, ICAM. And Regina – menage is something I have been afraid to touch with a ten foot pole – I may have to take the plunge, but boy – what a tough genre! I admire any of you who attempt it.

  8. Julia, I also read Mia’s F.U. in one afternoon. I have never read a story involving four men and one woman but, based on my love of Mia’s unique style and voice, figured she’d be the author to do it right! I agree completely with your reasons why the story works. Mia expertly created a wonderful love story between Kei and Parker while perfectly integrating wonderful secondary participants.

  9. Kathryn, your comment made me laugh! I think you’re right, there has to be a relationship between all partners, not just the fight over who the woman belongs to.

  10. Fran, between you and Mia I am trying hard to broaden my horizons!

  11. Kathryn Scannell says:

    Love the line about peeing on the woman’s leg and getting it over with. That had me and my wife laughing out loud.

    My first M/M/F menage short is coming out later this month in an anthology from Torquere. I couldn’t convince myself that you could coordinate all those body parts at once and have it be fun either. I resolved that by having them essentially take turns. With 3 people, you’ve got 3 possible pairings. Partner A gets to either watch or cuddle with B or C while B and C play with each other’s orifices. Then you rotate partners and repeat, until everyone is satisfied.

    Emotionally it works because all three characters have strong ties to each other. I thikn if you have 2 men making love to a woman, but not interested in each other it’s an emotional meltdown waiting to happen. But if the two men are lovers too when she isnt’ around, that makes the emotional chemistry a lot more workable.

    To be believable to me, the relationship in a menage has to be a balanced triangle – everyone in a relationship with each other, not two people each in a relationship with a 3rd, but not not really connected to each other. That’s where a lot of menage fails horribly in my estimation. (Along with a compulsive insistence that everything happens for everyone simultaneously.)

  12. The quality of Mia’s writing didn’t surprise me. The fact that I genuinely enjoyed the book did. Because I am such a prude!

  13. Fran Lee says:

    Speaking of ten-foot poles…*blush* I can handle a mfm menage, and in Her Own Set of Rules, I cracked up one reviewer who thought the accidental contact between the two guys was a scream. I do love one-on-one romances with a guy and a gal, though. Hallie’s Cats and Double Your Pleasure were fun to write, but believe me when I say I would hesitate to do something that intimate with two guys! LOL! I did a bit of research before I wrote, and was given some highly erotic first hand info from practitioners…but I’m not the type two guys would chase after for ANY reason, even if I walked naked down the street with hundred dollar bills taped on like pasties. I might have two guys rushing to put their coats around me, but…

  14. You may have hit the nail on the head, Anny. My ick factor seems unrelated to the emotional side – I guess because sometimes it’s all about the sex and the emotional side is missing – but then, that’s the exact same ick factor I experience with porn. I want the emotional side.

  15. Katalina Leon says:

    A good menage is difficult write but a few wonderful authors have mastered it and I do enjoy reading them.
    I’ve written a few menage scenes They’re as tricky as a three ring circus to control but I had a great time doing it. I’m sure I’ll write menage again in the future.
    XXOO Kat

  16. * SEE MIA’S ABOVE POST. CONTEST ALERT! I’LL DRAW ONE LUCKY WINNER OF F.U. ON MONDAY. LET’S SEE HOW MANY – PUN INTENDED – COMMENTS ON MENAGE WE CAN FIT IN. C’MON POSTERS – I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.

  17. I’m game, Anny…now that I’ve been initiated! Send me your favorite! Thanks!

  18. Chris says:

    Hmm…. maybe. Not a big fan of menage, either, but if anyone could make it work, it’d be Mia.

  19. You all are so perverting me!

  20. anny cook says:

    Huh. I must be the strange one in the bunch. I enjoy writing ménage. I have, er, three published and another submitted. I love watching the trio grow and change together. I have one m/f/m and two m/m/f (plus the most recent which is also m/m/f.

    Perhaps the ick factor has more to do with the technicalities than the emotional relationship. For me, lovers should be able to do anything with and to their partners. Or perhaps I just not very shockable.

  21. Mia Watts says:

    Hey, let’s do a contest. Wanna?? I’m just tickled to pink punch that you feel I can introduce you (along with Fran) to multiples! So if anyone is interested in possibly winning a book by drawing, post “Enter me, enter me now” (c’mon, ya gotta stay in theme here) to this blog post and I’ll draw from the interested parties whatever date Julia wants.

    Win a copy of FU.

    SWAK!
    Mia

  22. anny cook says:

    Well, Julia, if you want to try another ménage just to see if you like it or not, let me know. I’ll send you Honeysuckle or Kama Sutra Lovers.

  23. Mia Watts says:

    ooooo!!!! Kama Sutra is AWESOME! Seriously, she did it by pulling cards from the deck to know which scene to write next. Anny fascinates me in her awesome impromptu way.

  24. anny cook says:

    Thank you, thank you, Mia…

  25. dine says:

    contests for free (good) books are wonderful – so “Enter me, enter me now”

  26. Mia Watts says:

    Woo hoo!!! DINE is the first one!!! Go Dine!

  27. Kathy B says:

    “Enter me, enter me now” !!

    I am ok with a 3 person menage, anything beyond that just kinda gets out of control, and does end up with an ick factor.

  28. Gail Roarke says:

    “Enter me, enter me now!”

    Or in the immortal words of Zuul/Dana/Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, “Take me now, sub-creature!”

  29. Sue A. says:

    “Enter me! Enter me now!”
    I hope it’s not who comes first that’s all important.

  30. Beverly Gordon says:

    Enter me! Enter me now!

    Ill read anything manage is hot if written write tho i dont like it if it sounds like acheesy porn flick it has to have substance and a story line but love when some peopl write worth while stories

  31. Chris Roberts says:

    I personally like menages when love is the factor and not the oh let’s see how many is the idea behind it. I also personally love paranormal stories, especially the weres. I see the hero as being protective while the smart heroine still pretty much gets what she wants.

    Since you who doesn’t like menages suggests this book,
    “Enter me, enter me now.”

    thank you

  32. Kathryn Scannell says:

    “Enter me, enter me now!”

  33. Mina Gerhart says:

    Enter me! Enter me now!, PLEASE!
    Julia , you’re so right about the ick factor. The agressive/possessive hero doesn’t attract me at all. Mia, I’ve read quite a few of your books, keep up the GREAT writing! I LOVE that your hero’s /menage are just downright SEXY & believeable.

    Mindy :)

  34. Will Belegon says:

    Hmmmm…followed this not knowing what to expect, never having read your blog. I think that if you have a personal ick factor, that is perfectly valid. I mean, real freedom is about choice. And that includes choosing a traditional POV on things.

    I was worried seeing a high comment count. So often it denigrates into flaming, and I was pleased to not see that here.

    I’ve written menage with Alessia Brio and done well with it, at least critically. And I’ve edited quite a bit of it for Phaze.

    The menage stuff we’ve written is more exploratory. By which I mean that it happens during transitions — we haven’t written anything where a permanent triad resulted from what happened. But we have been faced with a situation in those where we had a MMF scene that needed to be both hot and loving & not include any homoerotic activity, since both guys were straight. It was challenging, but I am proud of the results.

    I am currently working a shifter story that involves a triad, although the only piece published so far only talks about that relationship. I am enjoying the emotional complexity. But you may have noticed from my phrasing that I like to stretch my abilities.

    I’ve had my interest sparked about how Mia handled it. May need to add that to my ridiculous TBR pile.

  35. Don’t worry, definitely not first come, first served. I’ll draw names at random. I love all your comments!

  36. Nikyta says:

    Enter me, enter me now!

  37. Jennifer – ROTFLMAO! Hilarious! I’m going to try it with my hubby!

  38. jennifer mathis says:

    enter me enter me now. wow hubby wishes i’d tell him that lol.

  39. Miranda says:

    enter me, enter me now!

    I have to say that I enjoy reading menage and trying to imagine contorting those ways IRL! LOL

    Miranda @ Sweet Vernal Zephyr .blogspot

  40. Cathy M says:

    Heck yea! Enter me, enter me now! Love all kinds of menage stories, my favorite combo is m/f/m, when its all about the pleasure of the woman.

  41. I’m so glad Chris directed me to this place! I love Mia’s writing, so please enter me for this contest :)
    I’m a little envious that Mia never drops by at my place with an offer like this ;) She’s great like that, isn’t she?

  42. Rasha says:

    “Enter me! Enter me now!” :) I love menage stories

  43. Julie says:

    “Enter me! Enter me now! :D I’ve gotten a little fatigued of menage, but I’d like to give mia a chance to change my mind!

  44. annalisa says:

    I’ve never read any of Mia Watt’s books, but this sounds good soooo….Enter me! Enter me now! :)

  45. Oh. My. Gawd. Mia, that will just be TMI! Actually planned on using it tonight but my poor baby kitty is so sick I don’t have it in me! Yet…

    Boy are these women hot and horny!

  46. Mia Watts says:

    Wow! Lots of sex happening up in here. :) Isn’t it great to hear all of you fantastic hotties claiming your sexuality with a command for action? Does my heart good.

    Thank you for all the encouragement. Janna, you know I love ya babe, I’m heading your way next. I have two upcoming books, Dangerous Distraction and Freeze Frame. Pick one and we’ll run it on your blog when release date draws near.

    Love the enthusiasm here. Hey, Julia? Lemme know what the man-candy says when you drop him that line, k?

  47. Aw Mia, you are the best!! You know I love ya too & that I heart your books. I’d really like to run a contest with one of your books, thank you so much for the offer :) Freeze Frame sounds as one of your Faerily Imperfect tales, right? That would be perfect! I want everyone to read about these funny faery siblings.

    Julia, you’ve got a nice group of hot and horny women coming over to your place here, lol. It’s always great to see when readers find their way like that to authors’ blogs :)

  48. Little Lamb Lost says:

    Enter me, enter me now!

  49. Fedora says:

    Hi, Julia–really enjoyed your thoughtful post on menage. I have some of the same feelings and reactions to menage as a concept, so I’m definitely curious to read Mia’s book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it–I’ll be adding it to the TBB :)

    And Enter me! Enter me now!
    Please :)

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