About Reverse Harems

Note: When I talk about novels, I mean the ones on Novel Updates, translated from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc…

There are currently 103 titles listed on NU that include the polygamy tag. I’m not sure whether there might be other novels that have the MC (male) sleep around, but since he’s not two-timing, it’s not under polygamy. I’ll leave the open-ended harems alone as well, since it’s never stated for sure whether he gets with all the girls…

Now take a look at the reverse harem tag. Nearly all the girls pick one dude and stay loyal to him, while their harem full of dudes is kinda just there… Or it can’t even classify as harem, because they’re just bros who consider the MC (female) as a little sister. In other cases, you get those dude who pine after the MC, but she has eyes only for her main guy. There’s no sleeping around involved, or else she’ll get dirty (/sarcasm).

I want to note here, I didn’t write this rant to complain. No sir, I find the hypocrisy hilarious. For example, I was reading this dude’s comment on a certain novel I like (with a female MC). And he was going on about how he disliked the reverse harem aspect, how there were shotas who fell for the MC for no substantial reason. And there I was nodding along, thinking to myself, “I totally get it. Like the shotas can be uncomfortable, and if I was a guy I wouldn’t be into the reverse harem thing.” And then he goes on to write how it’d be more realistic if the shotas were lolis and the MC was male… And here I burst out in laughter. I think he was being serious? Not to mock other people’s opinions, but geez… I don’t think there’s a need for me to elaborate on how I felt about this. Only, this is a prime example of being stuck in your own perspective.

Leaving that aside, I can count the translated novels (on NU), where the female MC sleeps around, on one hand (I’ll a few fingers left over, too). I don’t feel that strongly about it, to be honest. I really couldn’t care less. I enjoy a 1 on 1 romance a lot better than harems and reverse harems. And I really get why guys would salivate over polygamy in novels. I’m not a harem hater and I don’t think people should hate it. It’s a fantasy, let people dream.

But I also want something equivalent for the ladies. Like, for that option to exist, you know. Not saying it doesn’t, but you have to admit there’s some hypocrisy still surrounding it. Even when I was a teen, I wasn’t so prim and proper that it would be unacceptable to me if a woman slept around and enjoyed her sex life. I am more romantically oriented, so I’d rather have love involved though. And where can you get both, if not in a novel. Hence the specific type of reverse harem novels, where the female lead gets to be intimate with the guys. Yeah, there are novels like that, and they do enjoy some popularity among the targeted demographic. (I’ve mostly seen this in Western novels however. But they’re too boring, the guys are too overbearing, and the women too submissive. There’s almost always spanking included. No, thanks.)

And this, boys and girls, brings me to what I originally wanted to say in this post. I occasionally look through the ratings of the novels I’m translating on NU and count the number of 1 star ratings for fun, trying to imagine the thoughts involved. Don’t get me wrong. Not only the Female Protagonist tag gets the hate. Look at any new novel, and you’ll see a bunch of 1 star ratings within a few moments. So I’m not feeling like a victim when I look at those ratings. I looked at the Captivating Crown Prince’s page and just tried to guess, “Was it the Female Protagonist, the Reverse Harem, or the shonen-ai subplot… Hmm. Or did they read the novel and really, really hated it? If it’s the former, I wonder why they feel that way. A general hate for harems?” Those kinds of random thoughts…

And here’s the real real reason I wrote this post:


Yes, it was to post a meme. Don’t judge me~

I swear I’m sober. I’m just sitting alone in my room, feeling bored, so… I got this rant in my head and thought… Others deserve to know. Ah, I should go out and enjoy the snow…


23 thoughts on “About Reverse Harems

  1. I do get annoyed at the double standards and the “must keep the female pure” mentality that goes around, which is why I don’t read certain transmigration novel, even though I LOVE the trope. I do sometimes wish there were good novels on NU that had a legit reverse harem, but I also agree that personally I like the 1:1 romances best . . . . . . although there are a ton of them where I go, why couldn’t she end up with the 2nd or 3rd Male Lead! The main ML is a douche!!! And no, his 180 degree turn in the last 2 chapters does not suddenly erase all his assholery . . . . . . . . *cough* sorry for the sudden rant, I did not plan that xD. Sometimes I’ll rate a story a 5 if I see needless 1 star ratings, like a ridiculous amount and the story has aspects that would make a certain sector of readers flip their shit bc of shonenai/yaoi, female protagonist, reverse harem, etc. I saw one review complaining about the BL aspect of a story and rating the story 1star based on that alone and then saying they had nothing against it . . . . . .

    And the meme is ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, it’s like I’m reading my own thoughts here. I totally get it. Like about the trash MLs, I really want the MC to dump his stupid, abusive, easily manipulated by other females ass, and get with the second ML who’ll treasure her. I know it’s all for the sake of drama and playing on the readers’ emotions, but I’m just really the opposite of masochistic, so it’s not for me. Oh, and it’s also about how you can’t pick who you fall in love with, and love requires sacrifice, and it’s not all rainbows and daisies, so you should stick to your asshole of a man… I get it, but still… I think it’s better to be picky with your love. Devotion and sacrifice in love is great, but it needs to be reciprocated for me to consider it love. When it’s one-sided, it’s just pitiful and a waste of time. Like, don’t be clingy, move on, the world is full of dudes.

      And also, just like you, I’ve gotten pretty generous with my ratings. I also rate some novels 5 stars just to balance things out. I’m starting to think the ratings system is pretty useless, lol. Personally, I don’t even look at it when I’m deliberating on whether to read a novel. I may read the reviews tho. So I don’t even mind it that much, but it does provide me food for idle thoughts. xD

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Haha, did you come up with the rant to accompany the meme or the opposite? 😁

    I’m the same, I prefer one on one romance. But sometimes I want to read reverse harem and it’s quite hard to find one that fit what I want (in which I mean the female protagonist is not submissive or dense).

    Hm, now I’m wondering what is the title of the novel that has a girl sleeping around. The only one I know is the princess one, and it was the ‘previous princess’. Once the protagonist wakes in her body, she is uncomfortable with it and want to stop it and I don’t know if it will continue… (I think not though) Can you tell me the title? Maybe it’s a different one. And any good novels that has a female protagonist if you’re willing. One thing I really like from CCP is there’s a female dominant, which, to be honest, I almost never read before in NU. Sigh, it’s so hard to find a confident woman character as the protagonist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guarantee you, the meme came first. The rant came second. Like I had to write something to accompany the meme, and it just… exploded.

      Here are the novels with the MC sleeping around:

      http://www.novelupdates.com/series/the-corpse-ruler-confuses-the-world-all-seven-husbands-are-devils/ <— I'm not a big fan of gender dominated countries/worlds, but this one paints women as some vicious, lustful, insane creatures who constantly fight over men. I didn't see one female friendship, though I started skip-reading after the first fourth of the raws, so who knows. But women were very competitive with each other. As a novel meant to cater to the female demographic, I found it strangely misogynistic, lmao.

      http://www.novelupdates.com/series/%E3%80%8Eshirayukihime-to-7-nin-no-koibito%E3%80%8Fto-iu-18-kin-otomege-heroin-ni-tenseishiteshimatta-ore-ga-zenryoku-de-oujitachi-kara-nigeru-hanashi/ <— Okay, I know it's kinda arguable, but in the end, we got a female MC getting f***** by more than one guy. Note the passive tense. It's kinda okay if you're in a horny mood, but not okay if your personality is more dominant. And there are some weird plays mixed in there that really turned me off.

      http://www.novelupdates.com/series/hunting-for-beautiful-men-a-journey-through-time/ <—I'm tentatively counting this one. I need to read the raws to know for sure, but it gave me the vibe. I may be wrong.

      The on you were talking about is http://www.novelupdates.com/series/a-tale-of-two-phoenixes/ I'm not counting it, because she remains loyal to one guys and doesn't sleep around through the novel.

      http://www.novelupdates.com/series/happy-days-tied-with-a-knot/ <— The MC is most likely devoted to one guy. The cover is giving me ideas tho… But I'm not counting it yet.

      http://www.novelupdates.com/series/prince-you-are-so-cheap/ <— I'm also not counting this one, I'm almost certain she ends up with one guy, but who knows… It's difficult to translate the Taiwanese slang, so I'll have to wait for the translation and see.

      So yeah, it's the first two titles I've listed, and the third one is tentatively counted in.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep. It’s not much of a spoiler I think. There’s a ‘mature’ in the listed genres if you look at the NU page. xDD

            I wasn’t too pleased with the ‘how’, but at least it didn’t cross my bottom line (like Beloved Empress did). And she was in control, which I find the most important here.

            I’m thinking of getting the plugin for that…

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I am curious. Which Asian novels have legit reverse harem (in which the female lead does get with all her love interests)? Also, are they ancient or modern stories? I think I’d like to check them out. & yes, I’m cursed with second or third male lead syndrome. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also like the one on one romance. I would avoid novels with “harem” tags. It’s probably because I’m a little bit possessive myself and can’t quite understand how you’re suppose to share a person and still feel reassured that your status in their heart has not changed when there are multiple lovers. Besides, where does the MC get the energy and stamina both emotionally and physically to handle all the love from multiple people?

    I’d prefer the MC to have a healthy relationship and it’s hard enough in these novels to get that between two characters. (There are not enough cute couple scenes!) Someone almost always seems to be putting in more effort than the other one. It’d be great if they put in equal amount of effort. So when I apply that logic to a harem, I tend to think that not everyone is getting equal amount of appreciation (panel and monologue time in the novel), not to mention the dynamics between secondary leads.


  5. This is a funny list – but a good topic. Reverse harems are fun because heroines are often stuck in that “one true love” zone while the MC is still being a jerk. My favorite ones are when they are not all concurrent – more like a girl who gets to know a group of guys in different ways but doesn’t choose to date them all at once or even at all. It’s the unspoken part of a harem that is nice – the “if this doesn’t work out, I have others who will appreciate me” of a story. Whether that’s sexual or not – it can be very nice!

    It’s not totally a main part of the story but my favorite “kinda harem” are the Princes who accompany the heroine in the middle section of “Falling Dreams of Fan Hua .” She’s brought them one by one into her household because each one reminds her of her love in some small way. Each one comes to love her and be loved but in different ways. When they think she’s decided on one as her lover – whew, they begin to quarrel over her in very funny and touching ways. Now, I’ve got some books to go look up . . .


  6. I am no with you if love I am great , if rape I hate (I leave some novel for that ) . they important for me is it’s the characters and the love betwen the characters If you put a good couple or good polygamy dont care if all boys , one boy a lot girls or a girl and a lot of boys (I dont like yuri but I have my support )
    Example for me good harem Mushoku Tensei good characters with I feel the love betwen characters , bad harem Long Live Summons The girls one more not characters for me they are almost a new ornament , I read gay novel with 6 in a relation and are great , but with any relation have problems of the relations and the author put that and was great . Me problem I can remember the name for read again XD
    But i dont think that is a fantasy , about polygym exist like love . I am not in love , but I know in this moment someone is in love and in the world also there polygym . If I have to choose for me a girl with a lot of boys XD , but I dont think I can care a relathions of more of a boy


    1. There is polygamy in reality, but it’s usually for financial reasons rather than love. People are too possessive. Being in a loving relationship with more than one person is an extreme rarity. That’s why novels give us this fantasy, because it’s possible there.


  7. I’ve read spoilers for CCP just to find out if it’s legit reverse harem since as you say it might have the tag but at the end the MC will just end up with just one ML… I am looking forward to more chapters. More reverse harem novels, please. No rush though since you just barely started CCP. As you said, it’s just s novel…allow us to dream. Lol

    I do not encourage (…condone or tolerate) having multiple partners irl wether it’s done by a man or a woman specially those that are considered (illicit) affairs but I can accept it on novels. Needless to say, one on one is my preference but since I’ve read lots of those with harem tags as well as those with reverse harem tag but ended up as one MC and one ML, I’ve started to look forward reading a novel that lives true to the reverse harem tag. As long as it’s not just lust, how come it’s okay if the lead is male with multiple wives but not the same case for a woman? I think I’ve read somewhere that it was once okay for a certain country to have one female marrying multiple men as long as it’s for power. I wonder how the men during that time think of such practice…


    1. I reckon they felt the same way that women felt in a harem. Some resentment and unwillingness, any existing love disappearing after witnessing their partner doting on someone else and discarding them like old goods. Most stayed for the profit, be it financial stability, clan power, the future of their children, etc. In reality, love wouldn’t have much to do with it. That’s why novels are perfect, letting us dream of impossible things haha.


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