It seems that I get to carry the ball onto the field. Monday, a new week, a new subject. This week the subject is menage in romance. I didn't bother to specify erotic romance because mostly if it's a menage, then by definition, it's in an erotic romance. There's been a lot of speculation about the reason that menage is so popular at the moment. I think it's pretty simple. The two males, one female romances allow for the fantasy of two men pampering and making love to one lucky woman. Notice that I said it's a fantasy.
Yep, I know there are people out there involved in polyamorous groups, but the truth is that there aren't a lot of them in long-term relationships and that is what most romances are about. Most romances after all, are going for the happy ever after ending. So in that sense yeah, they're mostly fantasy. It is difficult enough sharing your inner self with one person. Sharing that way between three people is even more difficult.
There are some menage stories where the actual events are short term--sort of an experiment and not meant to be long term. I have trouble justifying those kinds of stories for myself as I'm pretty much an all or nothing kind of woman. I know that there are many readers and writers that have no problem with short-term sexual relationships. They are just no part of my lifestyle. And because of that, I have difficulty in setting up a situation for my characters where that would be part of the story.
So, how do I write a menage? In every single one I've written, there is a permanent relationship between the three characters from the very beginning. Since I write fantasy genre, it's relatively simple to set up the story so that there is a permanent marriage or relationship that is legal. Then the trick is to develop three characters who fall in love, yet are different and independent. The sex is the easiest part.
I have talked to other writers who have difficulty writing menage scenes and I think...I think it has more to do with whether the characters are truly loving toward each other--or not. If they don't love each other, then there is no love scene. I once wrote a scene and sent it off to a critique partner. She wrote back... "If you're trying to convince me that they love her...well, I don't believe you." I took a long hard look at the scene and she was right. It was simply insert tab "A" into slot "B", etc.
Whether writing two or more in a romance, the key point is the feelings between them. If those don't ring true, then the rest of the story won't either. After all, the emotions are the key to any story--even a menage. That's what makes the fantasy "real".