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November 11th, 2007

10:06 PM

Polyamory in romance

Three's company

Polyamorous romances (you know, threesomes, foursomes, tensomes, whatever) are not really my thing. I don't really find the whole "three in love" concept compatible with my old-fashioned idea of "romance". Maybe I'm not hip enough to get the whole thing, but a romance of this nature has been be really convincing or chances are I won't be receptive to the fantasy.

I'm not objecting on moral grounds, of course. If Hugh Jackman wants to share me with Simon Baker, for example, I have absolutely no objections to this arrangement so I have no problems with anyone who opts to follow this lifestyle. But in romance novels, I really don't get many of the concepts presented.

For example, I don't understand why we can have two or three apparently ordinary brothers who decide that they must have one woman to share and share alike. If these guys follow some religion where such behavior is normal, I'm all for it, but many authors have what seems like ordinary rancher or cowboy siblings deciding that they need one woman to "complete" them. What is this?

Likewise, it is often that I also find childhood friends, two males, one female, who will end up playing pony with each other. Do men really share women that they supposedly love so easily with other people? Perhaps, if they are raised in some kind of swinger community, I suppose. But again, these people seem to be everyday Joes and Janes.

I also don't understand why two happy men engaged in a homosexual relationship will want a woman to join them in bed. And I really don't get some authors' insistence that a bisexual person can never be happy unless this person gets simultaneously involved with both a man and a woman in one threesome relationship. Does bisexuality really work like that?

What really causes me to find the whole "I'm a luscious babe who sleeps with two men who also happen to bugger each other" fantasy rather hard to believe is the fact that we have one woman who will be living with three, sometimes four or even five men. I will not want to be that woman because this means she will be living with three or four or five horny toads who will want it every night. Even if these guys schedule a time-table, this means the poor woman will still have to service the men every night. How will she ever get enough sleep? Does this mean she shows up at work with bags under her eyes? And don't get me started about the cleaning, washing, and cooking these women have to do, especially when the men are invariably creepy cowboys whom you can bet will not lift a finger to help with the housework.

How will they sort out paternity issues of the babies? Poor Junior will be the only kid in school with five daddies at the same time. Who knows what people will say about his mother.

The idea of living with three, four, five, or - shudder - seven constantly horny alpha males is enough to make me want to run screaming for the hills.

I can only conclude that the whole threesome thing in a story works best for me if it is presented in an erotic situation that does not translate into a long-term arrangement. If we are talking about happily ever after, I don't know. Just the thought of all those bedsheets to be laundered is enough to ruin the fantasy.

1 comment(s).

Posted by Nonny:

Most of the "polyamorous" romances on the market aren't realisticly written, in my opinion. I'm polyamorous IRL; I'm married, I have a boyfriend, and there is a potential girlfriend in the mix too. The way that most poly relationships are portrayed in erotica/romance is for the most part not accurate.

It annoys me, because I can't tell you the number of novels I've picked up expecting a good story, and it's as though the characters only exist to be sex objects. Whether it be the twin cowboys or the couple who wants to experiment with the heroine's best friend. I hate reading about plastic characters.

I read romance for the characters and the story of the development of their romantic involvement. When it comes to poly, you don't have one relationship to deal with. Assuming a triad, you have four (letters standing for each of the characters):

A <--> B
B <--> C
C <--> A
and then the relationship between A, B, and C.

I think the writers don't understand how poly really works in practice, and approach it as a hot fantasy. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but when hot fantasy is more important than fleshing out the characters, their emotions, and their relationships... *grr*

The only recommendation I would give you is unfortunately out of print now. Kind of. Crystal Jordan has an awesome polyamorous story in her Wereplanets series, which was in e-print and has since been contracted by Kensington. I know that doesn't help much, unfortunately. :-
November 12th, 2007 @ 3:13 AM