Okay, long title for what probably be a rather short post and make little to no sense, but…whatever.
See, I’m still pondering the comments to the ménage books on sale, over at Dear Author, particularly the question of realistic triad relationships, as well as past conversations there on slut shaming. One of the things that strike me is the disdain with which many treat the power of the wang.
Let me explain…no, too long, let me sum it up:
We see our heroine* living her life according to the usual rules of society. She may or may not be looking, but she expects to fall in love with one person (usually, at least in genre romance, a man) and have a monogamous relationship, preferably a happily forever after kind of relationship. Then suddenly here she is, attracted to and/or pursued by two (or three) guys–and these guys are okay with ‘sharing’ her!
Cue shock, perhaps even some outrage, internalized shame and/or guilt (i.e. good, “normal” women do not entertain such fantasies, feel this way, etc.)
In some cases (and this is my preferred fantasy), the guys are in a relationship with each other, and their attraction to the heroine doesn’t detract from it–on the contrary. Lauren Dane has written some of the best of these triads I’ve read so far–Undercover is not fully a triad in this sense, because while Brandt and Ash do have a sexual relationship prior to the mission with Sera, after that she becomes their focus. Both Laid Bare and Captivated are true triads, though. In other cases (and I think Maya Banks’ Colters’ Woman and sequels are pretty stereotypical examples) it’s true sharing with a hard don’t cross the streams! line.
Hijinks ensue, as they are wont to do, and finally the three/four come together¹ for their very own HEA.
The interesting thing to me is how much we complain about the mighty wang, or the magic hoo-haa, as a literary device that solves all of the protagonists’ problems. True, it’s overused as a shortcut to end the story: once our couple (or three-/foursome) have agreed that they love each other and are committed to the relationship, suddenly no obstacle is big enough. It can be pretty lazy writing if there is no true build up to such a resolution.
We criticize the heroine for depending on the hero’s support as a bad thing–and to a point, we are right. But in other cases, it’s pretty much what life is about for many of us. We can and do overcome a lot of shitty things in life with the support of those who love us–just as we help them when they need it. But sometimes parents, siblings and friend just aren’t enough–or are not on our side.
Sometimes we need that one person (or couple, etc), that hero or heroine of our very own story, the one who will prop us up and stand by us when we are ready to give in. Why is this fantasy any less valid than any other?
So, back to the original question: why would a woman who up to this moment has had no overt kinky inclinations suddenly be okay with a singularly atypical lifestyle?
Blame it on the magic wang!²
It’s guaranteed to overcome all scruples and doubts.
Except, it really isn’t–and yet it is.
The key word in the above question is “overt“–only she knows whether or not a ménage has always been her dream relationship. Hell, depending on age, maturity, self-awareness, upbringing and a host of other things, even she might not know for sure until such a situation presented itself.
Or let’s say you have someone who has always been attracted to, or even just intrigued by, the idea of a ménage of two men and a woman. S/he is not particularly looking for it, it’s just something for fantasy time. Then, out of the blue, the two other people in this fantasy are real and in this individual’s life, and what was strictly fantasy fodder is within your grasp.
Can you imagine the conflict, the fear?
As with any sexual choice that defies whatever is perceived as “normal” in your life, it’s not about random people’s opinions of you, or even about your relationship with these other two people³. It’s about the other people in your life.
It’s about your siblings, your children, your parents, your friends–hell, it’s about your neighbors and, depending on where you live/work, it’s even about your employer!
In such circumstances, with so much emotional stress, a person would need all the support she could get, wouldn’t you agree?
So hell, yeah, it would take a couple of pretty mighty magic wangs (since I’m fully hetero) to get me to openly engage in any relationship deviating from the socially expected–and no, it would not be a sudden, radical change in who I am, it’s that I would honestly need a hell of a lot of emotional support to face the certain disapproval–and hurt–of most of the people I love who also love me.
Call me a wimp if you like, but regardless of whether they would have any right to feel hurt by my choices about my own life, this is a reality for most if not all of us, and therefore a factor we cannot simply wish away.
~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~
* Actually, insert any gender and sexual preference here.
¹ Yes, I’m really a 12 year old boy at hear.
² Or, as Scarlet Parrish calls it, the Magical Peen of Multiples
³ Or with a person of a different ethnicity, religion, same sex as you, whatever is different.