Friday, October 27, 2017

Reverse Harem Guide Part 1: What is RH?

Hello everyone! Today I am here to begin your journey and education on a lesser-known sub-genre that I have been reading for almost three years and absolutely obsessed with for a year. I'm definitely not the forefront or most knowledgable person who reads this genre and is actively involved, but I have had a lot of experience. There is also not a lot of information out there for those who are interested or looking into reading this specific sub-genre. I have decided to do a 4-part blog series to introduce new readers to this genre! All 4 parts will be finished by the end of the year, so potential readers will have a new genre to dive into in the new year. Let's dive in.

What is RH?

First and foremost, we need to define what exactly RH is. RH stands for Reverse Harem. As you may or may not know, a traditional harem (in former times) was part of Muslim culture and usually consisted of multiple wives, concubines, and female servants all belonging to the man of the household. Essentially, it was multiple women and one man. Many times, the women would only sleep with the man and not each other. Reverse harem is the opposite: it includes multiple men and one woman. Usually, the men are only attracted to the woman and not to each other, but the woman is attracted to all of them. They "share" the woman.

It's actually very interesting, of course. In many books, the argument that different characters have is that if something were to happen to one of them, there would still be someone there to take care of the others. In fact, in many cultures around the world, that is exactly why they focus on polyamory instead of monogamy. There is also the notion that true love is not confined to just one person: someone could have multiple "true loves."

That is just a way to explain it, of course. The focus on RH in literature and art is not the same as taking a traditional harem and gender-swapping everything. The men are not owned and the woman does not control them. If any of you readers watch anime, occasionally there is harem or reverse harem situation. It is widely accepted in Japan already, but there is not much knowledge about it here.

Reverse-harem--in terms of reading--is a sub-genre that is not focused on any religion or culture. Most of the time, the story is about a group of guys and a girl, and somehow things start to progress romantically or platonically towards where a book can be considered RH. This may seem confusing, but it really isn't. The only time it gets confusing is when you have to compare ménage and reverse harem (which I talk about more below).

There is a lot of different misperceptions and judgements associated with RH. Many people do not know what the genre is, and when it is described to them, they get judgmental. There have been many times when people have explained this sub-genre and people have looked at them like they are crazy or dirty. I'd like to point out that RH is just a form of polyamory. Polyamory is not accepted by everybody, but it is a growing common occurrence. In many cultures across the world, polyamory is more widely practiced than monogamy. RH is a newer sub-genre that is continuing to grow, but the idea behind RH is not new. 

RH vs Ménage

A lot of confusion that readers new to this sub-genre have is between reverse-harem and ménage. It is something that can get confusing, even for readers who have been reading RH for a while. Ménage, in non-book terms, simply refers to the members of household. In regards to the topic we are talking about, ménage is very similar to RH. The main difference is that RH has 3 or more male characters to the female character or protagonist. Ménage is when there is 2 (usually male, in this genre) characters for every one protagonist (female) character. I have seen some ménages or RH books where it's been multiple men all attracted to one male character (I haven't read them yet, but I'm excited to get to them soon). 

Smutty vs Clean

I think that a lot of people have the notion that RH and ménage books are just one big orgy. This is not the case. Some books do have extremely detailed smut scenes and some books do contain orgies, but many of the books that are out there do not contain any smut at all. In fact, about half of my favorite RH books are clean and contain no mention of sex. 

There are plenty RH books out there that do contain a lot of smut. But, there are also a lot of RH novels out there that do not focus on sex. Both types usually also focus on the regular relationships and a conflict or problem that the characters have to deal with. If you don't like smut, there's definitely books for you. If you do like smut, there's plenty to chose from. 


Thank you all for reading! Part two will be about book recommendations. Part three will talk about popular RH authors and go more in depth on recommendations. The final part will talk about resources to where you can find even more information on this sub-genre. I have a lot of other guide series and interesting post ideas planned for the upcoming months!  See you next time and stay tuned!


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