Sounds obvious for certain but not necessary for everyone. You’ll be surprise how many people associate menage with gang bang porn.

So here is my humble contribution to describe what is a ménage in Erotica 😉


Ménage à trois is a French term which originally described a domestic arrangement in which three people having sexual relations occupy the same household – the phrase literally translates as “household of three”. In contemporary usage, the meaning of the term has been extended to mean any living relationship between three people, whether or not sex is involved, but because it has also been extended to refer to the actual sexual act between three people, otherwise known as a threesome, the term retains its suggestive quality.

There are many names for menage:



Some threesomes may involve one who has a voyeur role, sometimes the invited member is there for enhancing the experience which does not involve having intercourse with the couple role (this is sometimes referred to as soft-swinging); other threesomes may involve some same sex contact, while others may actively involve all three members. Some people have made the argument that if the act does not involve sexual involvement between all three members that it is not a threesome at all and could be more accurately called a double team. This would be when two members of the threesome engage with one person but not with each other, used sometimes in classifying pornography, stating whether there will be any same sex intercourse. The most common example being two men not having intercourse while double teaming a woman, while two women would have intercourse while having a threesome with a man.

One activity is when sexual intercourse and/or anal sex are performed on the woman/man by two men in a double penetration. Another form of threesome is when a woman/man is given either intercourse and/or anal sex by one man (doggie style),[1] while she/he gives the third person oral sex. Yet another example is a man and woman perform vaginal sex (from behind or reverse cowgirl), while a third person performs oral sex on the woman (clitoris) and/or on the man (testicles).

There are many names for threesome:

Bisexual pornography

Ménage à trois, Multiple Partners or Threesome?

Everyone is using the shortcut of MENAGE A TROIS by using MENAGE (some authors and publishers are using TRIOS (i.e. trois). They think they are adding a sexy note since the french language has always been assimilated as the language of love but unfortunately for them… menage a trios is NOT french at all! oups).

Ménage should have a é instead of a e. But most of the us keyboard do not offer the easy access to the accent so it is mostly written without the accent: menage. Same with the à, it should be with an accent but yet it is not: Ménage à trois turned Menage a trois.

The main difference in romance is mostly with the ending. If you look for a happy ending, then it is mentioned menage but yet again read the synopsis to be sure or if you see 3 people on the cover, then it is a good indication if it is a menage happy ending or not.

Some publishers like NCP Publishing wish to generalize and mention MULTIPLE PARTNERS and in doing this they do not scare their customers/readers. It includes pretty much everything from MF with an occasional menage sex scene or orgy to real committed menage with more than 2 people no matter the sex. If you see Multiple Partners, I strongly suggest to read the synopsis and read between the lines to see if there is a MM or not.

A consensus in erotica is that a menage is a permanent relationship with a happy ever after ending: all people remain together committed. However make the difference between a menage and menage sex scenes: very different ending!

A threesome would be more sexual and less emotional but it is rarely used in Erotica.

3 possibilities: Bisexual, Straight or GBLT/LBGT (Gay/Lesbian) menage

These are the only possibilities: either they are all sexually involved (bisexuals or gay/lesbian) or they are committed to the opposite sex only (straight).

I wrote my opinion on this. I believe that a menage cannot be 100% straight because no matter what, each individual will touch one way or the other everyone involved. However 2 men in a menage do not have to be sexually attracted to each other and therefore we can let go the fact that they get sexually excited when their penises touch each others when there is  double penetration. But this is my opinion.

However, I understand that when for example some twins are involved in a menage, the publisher must make a choice to describe it as incest or straight. They generally add a note saying that the brothers are not sexually involved to each other. For some reasons I rarely see the disclaimer with brothers who are not twins.

What the heck means all those letters together?

Lets start with the basic:

MF: a couple of 1 male 1 female
MM: 2 gays
FF: 2 lesbians

Then you can add a third into the mix:

MFM: is a menage with 2 straight guys with 1 girl but no sex between the guys.
FMF is a menage but the girls are straight with 1 guy but no sex between the girls

It becomes bisexual if 2 letters are next to each other:

MMF: is a menage with 2 gay males with 1 girl.
FFM is a menage with 2 lesbian females with a 1 guy in the relationship.

If you associate FF or MM next to each other, that means that they are bisexual. Most of the time, the description will mention MM or FF interactions.

It becomes gay if all the letters are the same:

MMM: 3 gay males
FFF: 3 lesbians

it is not a menage if the story ends MF:

In the description the relationship will involve 2 people and the description will generally mention: MF with menage sex scenes

Which means that story is about a couple of 1 male and 1 female but they will have sexual partners that will not change the ending which will remain MF.

Tips: The cover is also an indication (not always) if the story will focus on a menage or a MF.

And a menage a trois can become a foursome and more:

A menage is generally 3 people committed with a happy ending. But a menage can involves unlimited number of people with or without the same sex.

MFMM: foursome composed with 1 female and 3 straight males. If the males are bisexuals, a mention MM will be added in the description

MFMF: foursome composed of 2 couples of 1 male + 1 female. It the males or females are bisexuals, a mention MM or FF will be added in the description. If they are straight, they generally say “swinging”. A happy ending with all involved is generally rare.

MFMMM: 1 female with 4 straight males. If the males are bisexuals,  a mention MM will be added in the description

So far only Siren Publishing is using all the letters. You’ll find in the description of their LoveXtreme categories some MFMMMMMMMM for example.

Ready for a little game?

In the description it says :

question #1: MFM with MF
question #2: MMF with MM and MF

It seems complicated but once we understand how to place the letters, then it makes sense 😉



About Mary's Ménages Reviews

I read, review, beta read and blog about erotic ménages romances since 2005. Welcome to my world! :)

2 responses

  1. Sharita Lira says:

    What an informative post Mary!

    Why wont people listen and get these right?

    I love MMF’s but I will read an MFM or FMF

    Also looking for FFM too!

    I love multiple people in a relationship that ends up in love. 😀


  2. As usual, Mary, you manage to clarify what should be simple concepts over which readers have a lot of confusion, when not downright misconceptions. Said by you, it all seems so clear and logical, how can we mistake it again?
    Thanks for setting it straight once and for all!