Sounds obvious for certain but not necessary for everyone. You’ll be surprise how many people associate menage with gang bang.
So here is my humble contribution to describe what is a menage 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[who?] 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), 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 menage or straight menage?
Most publishers and authors will mix M and F so we know right away if the story is or not a menage and if it is a menage if the same sex are bisexuals or not. It is quite easy.
The basic is:
MF: a couple of 1 male 1 female
MM: 2 gays
FF: 2 lesbians
Then you can add more into the mix:
FFM is a menage with 2 lesbian females with a 1 guy in the relationship.
FMF is a menage but the girls are straight with 1 guy but no sex between the girls
MMF: is a menage with 2 gay males with 1 girl.
MFM, is a menage with 2 straight guys with 1 girl but no sex between the guys.
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.
MF with menage sex scenes: that means that the 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. The cover is also an indication (not always) if the story will focus on a menage or a MF.
NEW: this is rare but I do find it very clever to make a difference between HEA menage and a HEA MF with threesome sex:
► MFm is a MF relationship with a threesome sex scene but MF ending. (the small “m” indicating that it is not part or the romance or will not be permanent). hat would work if the third partner is a main character in the story. If secondary character, then “threesome” or “menage sex scenes” should be enough.
The small letters are just stating the non permanent relationship and not part of the HEA.
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 more people or all the same sex. It can be also 3 guys MMM or 3 girls FFF or MFMMM and even more.
Ménage à trois, Multiple Partners, Menage sex scenes, Threesome or Love triangle?
Everyone is using the shortcut of MENAGE A TROIS by using MENAGE when they should be way more precise to explain the real dynamic of the relationship.
But first… WRONG SPELLING: some authors and publishers are using TRIOS (instead of trois). They think they are adding a sexy image 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!
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. But not always: sometimes it is a love triangle..
A LOVE TRIANGLE has nothing to do with a menage. It is 2 distinct love relationships with one same character only in both relationship: the heroine. You will never find sex interaction between all and it will end MF.
Some publishers 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 bang-gang/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.
MENAGE SEX SCENES is generally another way to attract menage romance readers. It is not a menage love relationship. It is a MF story with a THREESOME (menage) sex scene. Sometimes, a third character will be included in the MF love story, sometimes it is only a threesome or orgy sex scene to include some voyeurism into the story but the main characters are not directly involved.
Little reminder: HEA means Happy Ever After (everyone end with a committed relationship) and HFN means Happy For Now (ends generally MF with sometimes a sequel with a HEA menage in the next book). So if you are like me an unconditional menage HEA romance lover, you will remember this important detail.
A consensus in erotica is that a MÉNAGE is a permanent relationship with a happy ever after ending: all people remain together committed
Everything else would have no permanent commitment and would be more sexual and less emotional.