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Real Menage

By Lisabet Sarai

What does it feel like to participate in a ménage? Threesomes are hugely popular in erotic romance, but are the books realistic? Is it as easy as it sounds, to get three people together in a sexual situation without someone feeling like the odd man (or woman) out? Does everyone really end up satisfied?

I've personally been involved in a number of threesomes, both M/F/M and F/M/F (but never—or at least not yet!—M/M/F). Obviously I can't claim that my experience is universal, but I think I'm qualified to make a couple of observations:

1. There's usually some imbalance of intimacy in a threesome. Rarely do three individuals come together from three different directions. It's much more common for an existing couple to add a third person to the mix. It might be two close (straight) male friends who are both attracted to the same woman, but more often there's a couple have been lovers before the three-way scene occurs.

2. A threesome takes more emotional effort than a normal pairwise encounter. (Sometimes more physical effort, too!) This is a consequence of (1). I at least was always aware of the need to make both of my partners feel that they had my attention. I didn't want either of them to feel left out. Only occasionally could I simply let go and bask in the sensations. I suspect that this generalization would be less true in a polyamorous relationship, with a threesome who had a long history together. It might be also apply to a lesser extent to the “third” person, the one who just joined the triad. I've never been in that situation, so I can't tell.

3. A (successful) ménage requires a certain level of sexual self-confidence from each of the participants. Performance anxiety gets magnified in a three-way sexual situation. It can be difficult for the two members of the same gender to avoid some feelings of competition.

4. It helps to have a sense of humor. This is true of sex in general—sometimes sex can get pretty absurd! In a ménage, there are even more ways for things to become awkward, more situations where body parts just plain don't fit—more opportunities to laugh together while working out the details. In the threesome I enjoyed most, we all approached it a bit light-heartedly, as a fun adventure rather than a deadly serious encounter with earth-shaking implications. This doesn't mean that we all didn't care deeply about one another. (Another reason I enjoyed this encounter was the closeness I felt to both my partners.)

5. You don't have to climax to enjoy yourself. Actually this is true of more traditional sex as well (though you'd never know it from reading erotica or erotic romance!) No matter how hard you and your partners try, perfect equality is pretty difficult to achieve in a threesome. The thrill comes at least partially from the process—from the added sensory stimulation as well as the excitement of breaking taboos. At very least, it's unlikely that all participants are going to come simultaneously (as they so often do in literature). That's hard enough to accomplish with one partner!

When I write a threesome, I'm trying to fulfill my readers' fantasies, but I also try for at least a bit of verisimilitude. And speaking of threesomes, I just signed a contract with TEB for my holiday tale, Almost Home, a M/M/F ménage story featuring hot loving in the middle of a major snowstorm! Here's the blurb.

Suzanne and Gino have history going back to high school, but for years Suzanne has been three thousand miles away, preoccupied with her challenging career. A mistletoe kiss at a holiday party reminds her of their old bond and proves that some things get better with age. When Gino rescues her from a New England blizzard, though, she discovers that she's not the only love in his life. Gino shares his bed and his colonial-era farm house with taciturn painter Harris Steele. Snowed in, without electricity or running water, the three explore the many shapes a triangle can assume. Although she's far away from her everyday existence, Suzanne realizes that she's almost home.

You can read an excerpt on my website.

Have any of you who read this post have been involved in a threesome? If so, do your conclusions agree with mine? I'd love to know—and I'll bet others would, too!


nerinedorman said...

Mmm, I've inadvertanly drunk-stumbled into an orgy en route to the kitchen to make tea but I'm too selfish to allow a third party into my relationship. Besides, with the busy work schedule it's difficult enough to find time for just the two of us, but I can certainly fantasize about it!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Nerine,

Actually you've hit upon another truth about menages. They do require a certain level of unselfishness... you have to want the other members to have as good a time as you do.

Of course, in fantasy you don't really have to worry about that!

Annabeth Carew said...

I really loved the excerpt from Almost Home, Lisabet. The scene sounds convincingly realistic which always makes things hotter as far as I'm concerned.
The great thing about wtiting erotica, I think, is that you not only control what happens in a scene but also how all the participants are feeling.
Thank you for this stimulating post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing out that a polyamourous relationship is a bit different from a menage. While I've only had 1 threesome ages ago w/ my best friend & a gent we both thought was cute, I haven't found another couple that I liked both members of. And that's part of the trick - whether a M&M+me or M/F+me - I'm as picky about my female potentials as male.

But yeah - sex isn't nearly as clean or perfectly timed as books would have you think :) Don't get me started on the un-messiness of anal sex in deh books XD But they're still good reads.

And the books can help you re-examine some of your own beliefs/views, and perhaps open one up to exploring more of the variances to be had in human sexuality. Before erotica, triads, f/f or even light BDSM would never have been considered for my life. Now, I just need the time to go exploring.

Unknown said...

The idea of two people seeing me naked at the same time terrifies me more than a menage. *lol*

Plus, I think I'm with another commenter who says she's too selfish to share. The idea of watching someone else with my husband just doesn't turn me on, and I've never wished I had an audience in my bedroom...not even an audience of one. Call me boring with a capital B. But, I love hearing about your adventures. Keep em coming.

Will Belegon said...

I've had various encounters...and I have to agree that threesomes are more emotionally exhausting. n There is peril there, because it introduces situations where we don't necessarily have knowledge of the way we are "supposed" to react. As such, they can be stressful.

But they can be very rewarding as well.

I have been what I've heard termed "the guest star" and I must admit that there is considerably less pressure in that role.

Lisabet Sarai said...

What great comments! Thanks to you all!

Annabeth - Thanks for the compliment on the excerpt. When I submitted this story, the publisher was a bit put off because she said the situation was "unusual". Just what I aim for!

Okami - My husband and I looked for a long time for another couple or a woman with whom we could form a long-term relationship. Never worked out, alas. I think that perhaps you can't deliberately "look" for love.

Ginger - Whatever else one might call you, it would never be boring! I'll tell you a secret - when you're lying between two horny guys, both of whom want you, you don't think much about how you look. You feel beautiful regardless!

Will - Good to see you here at the Hot Spot. I remember your story in "Coming Together As One". I had a feeling it was based at least partially on personal experience!

Anonymous said...

In our younger days, my huband and I did invite another person into our bed. One time another guy, another time another woman.

They were each time just a one time thing but we both enjoyed it and I totally agree with your observations.

in Germany

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Valerie in Germany,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

My threesomes were all "one time things" too. But I cherish the memories.


Anonymous said...

Great blog Lisabet - I've written about menage with no actual experience but imagination is a wonderful thing!

Love the sound of your new book by the way.

Lily Harlem