A discussion on a writer’s group I’m on prompted this post. While many readers understand what the different acronyms mean on romance book descriptions, some don’t. (Witness how many people complain about male-male sex in a book labelled MMF. LOL)
So here is a quick primer of terms for you. (Feel free to share the link.)
- MF – Male/Female
- MM – Male/Male
- MMM – Male menage (a + sign might mean more men)
- FF – Female/Female
- FFF – Female menage (a + sign might mean more women)
- MMF – Male/Male/Female (meaning the guys do each other as well as the woman in the book–crossed swords)
- MFM – Male/Female/Male (meaning the guys ONLY do the woman, not each other)
- MFMM (or MFMM+) – One Alpha male who gets the woman, but there are other males in the menage as well, who only do the woman, not each other. May also be called a “reverse harem.”
- MMMF (or MMM+F) – The guys “do” each other in addition to the woman. Crossed swords, in other words.
- RH – Reverse Harem, which the definition can change depending on who you talk to. It’s basically a menage with one woman and multiple men.
(Note: The + sign is added on sometimes rather than writing out all the letters for additional people. LOL)
General rule of thumb: The pairings that come before the F designation determine if it’s GLBT or not. Yes, it’s an alphabet soup, but careful reading when warnings are given can help you find what you’re interested in.
WHY are these designations important? Because if you do not enjoy guy-on-guy action and you buy a MMF book, if the book description or publisher warning lists it as such, it’s not fair to ding the author for having male-male action in their book when it’s labelled. (Obviously, if it’s not labelled, unless you read reviews that listed it, it’d be hard to know ahead of time.)
ALSO… Pay attention to the CATEGORY a book is listed in. If you see it’s listed as an LGBTQ+ book and you don’t enjoy same-sex action, please don’t buy it and ding the author for that later in a review.
IR – Interracial
HFN – Happy-For-Now (meaning the pair/menage ends up happy for the immediate future)
HEA – Happily-Ever-After (meaning they metaphorically ride off into the sunset together.)
DubCon – Dubious Consent. Seen more in historical, paranormal, and sci-fi than in contemporary books, it’s basically where the heroine (or beta hero) is “taken.” Some equate this to rape, and in some cases it isn’t much better than rape, but in some cases the heroine/beta hero does give consent before the relationship is consummated.
MPreg – Male pregnancy. (Usually seen in paranormal/sci-fi.)
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