Today we welcome author Elle Kennedy to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Earlier this year, Elle wrote about kick-ass heroines, but today, she's got something else on her mind. Namely, what her heroine might be getting up to when she's not kicking ass. Her latest release, Feeling Hot, continues her Out of Uniform series, and it includes the hero and heroine inviting someone else to their party. Here's Elle talking about the difficulties of writing menage scenes. Thanks, Elle!
Threesomes. Man, are they hard. (That’s what she said). Okay, mind out of the gutter. I mean, hard to write. As a reader, I always love a good threesome in my erotic romances. As a writer, I find it difficult at times to construct a ménage a trois, not just in terms who-does-what-where-does-this-body-part-go but also the emotional ramifications that follow.
I think the following exchange between Ross and Joey from Friends really sums up some of the problems that can arise when it comes to threesomes.
Ross: Hey Joey, did you ever have a threesome?
Joey: Well uh .. look Ross I uh .. I think Carol’s great and I’m sure you’re a very attractive man, but I ...
Ross: No! The reason I’m asking is that ... I sorta had one last night.
Joey: All right! So, was it amazing?
Ross: It was ... okay.
Joey: Just okay? Did you do it right?!
Ross: Look, it’s just; did, did you ever go to a party and think, “Would anyone really miss me if I weren’t here?”
Joey: Huh. But still Ross, your worst day with two women, pretty much better than any other day! Y’know what I mean?
Ross: Oh-oh, absolutely!
(They both laugh.)
Ross: It’s just, my part seemed to be over pretty quickly and then, there was a lot of waiting around.
Joey: But you got to be with both of them, right?
Ross: No-not really. Th-there was just Carol.
Joey: Not the other one?
Ross: No, she kept kicking me away!
Joey: Yeah, you don’t want that.
Joey: Well hey, at least you got to see a lot of stuff, right?
Ross: Oh I got to see a lot of stuff!
Joey: You got a little bored?
Ross: A little. Yeah. I made a snack.
Joey: Yeah? What did you have?
Ross: Just a sandwich. Turkey, a little mustard ...
Joey: Sounds good.
Ross: It really was!
Okay, so Ross’s ménage was m/f/f, which I think is even harder to manage because I feel like one woman can accommodate two men better than one man can accommodate two women. But the potential for being left out still occurs in either version.
My latest sexy contemporary, Feeling Hot, releases next week, and the book features a threesome that did offer a few problems for me.
1) It was my heroine’s first ménage, and she was also an anal virgin and not interested in back door action, so I couldn’t make this ménage too raunchy or overwhelming for her.
2) The hero’s best friend participates, and the two men share an intense heat-of-passion type moment, so I was worried their friendship would suffer or become awkward as a result.
One of the most important things for a scene like this to succeed is to make the heroine feel as comfortable as possible. The needs of the men in such a scene should be secondary. I think all ménages need to include that element, and not just on the part of the men. Everyone involved should feel that way—Wanting to give rather than take. Actually caring about the person/people in your bed, considering their feelings, their comfort, instead of focusing on yourself.
For a menage scene to have resonance, it helps if all three of the characters care about each other, but are not moving towards a committed ménage romance. This is a romance between a hero and a heroine, who happen to engage in a threesome during their sexual journey. You always hear people say “the third person has to be a stranger!” when talking about three-ways. I agree that it’s definitely easier to resolve any post-menage awkwardness if the third is someone you won’t see (or see often) ever again.
But I find that threesomes are hotter, more effective, have higher stakes, offer more tension, etc. if the third person is someone you know. It provides drama and conflict that needs to be dealt with, which is another obstacle for a writer. If the third is the hero’s best friend, how is it NOT going to be awkward afterward? It's important to emphasize how close the men are and how solid their friendship is, so that when the morning after came, readers would be able to believe that these two men care about and respect each other and won’t let a night of hot sex put a strain on that close-knit bond.
One of my favorite authors, Lorelei James, is a master at writing sizzling sex scenes, and her book Rough, Raw, and Ready offers several of intense ménage scenes that I think meet the criteria of what makes a great ménage—passion, respect, comfort, trust, humor, and dirty dirty details. And the emotional connection between the three characters is what grounds each encounter. She also handles the aftermath of these encounters like a pro, making the readers believe that these three people can make it work.
So…the threesome. Personally, I love reading a good ménage scene, but like I said, I prefer it if there is some sort of emotional connection between the characters as opposed to a loving couple bringing a stranger into their midst. And I think it’s very important that every participant gets equal attention. No one should be going to get a sandwich mid-menage. No one!
What are your thoughts about threesomes? Love 'em? Hate 'em? What are your favorite romance novels that feature a ménage?
One commenter will be entered in a draw to win an e-copy of Feeling Hot,* so don’t be shy. Share your opinion J
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