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Is Three A Crowd? The Truth About Threesomes

The threesome: “the pinnacle of masculine sexual achievement,” “better in theory than in practice,” or “unnatural and disgusting”? From what I’ve always heard, the threesome seems like an overwhelmingly popular fantasy; that is, an experience to check off your bucket list at least. It also sounds more realistic than a lot of situational fantasies: instead of special storylines, outfits, or other supplies, all it requires is one more willing party in addition to the usual two. Whether it be a man drooling over two women, a woman ravished by the attention of two men, or a same-sex group drowning in passion, it seems like an easy way to double the amount of pleasure given and recieved in one sexual session.

But maybe threesomes are more complicated and attitudes toward them more variable than I’ve always thought. Before having one, you must consider your relationship with the participants, their relationship with each other, the amount of attention each of you will give and receive, possible disaster scenarios, and other variables that could throw a wrench in your plans.

After surveying Pomona students, it’s clear that opinions, preferences, and past experiences with threesomes are incredibly diverse. Here are the results: Of 165 student participants, 15.2 percent of males and 11.6 percent of females reported having had at least one threesome. The vast majority of them reported having had only one, although there were two respondants who said they had had four theesomes—the most reported. A threesome with two females and one male (MFF) was experienced most often, followed by three females (FFF), two males and one female (MMF), and three males (MMM).

Participants who hadn’t had a threesome were asked to rate their desire for the experience on a scale from one (I definitely want to have one in my lifetime) to five (I definitely don’t want to have one in my lifetime). Forty-nine percent of males rated their desire a 1 or 2, meaning that they do want to have a threesome in their lifetime, whereas only 18 percent of females rated their desire a 1 or 2. Forty-three percent of females reported their desire at a 4 or 5, meaning that they would prefer not to have a threesome, while only 28 percent of males reported the same. Sixty-nine percent of males who desire a threesome would prefer it to be MFF, while 16 percent said they would like MMF and 4 percent MMM. Females preferring MFF or MMF were evenly split at 40 percent each, and 10 percent preferred FFF.

Those who had had threesomes reported an equal mix between positive, neutral, and negative experiences. One female described her MMF as “horribly awkward and not especially sexually satisfying,” and another described hers as “not really worth all the hype.” A male described his as “incredible; the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had.” Some said their relationships crashed and burned afterward, while others said their relationships improved or remained the same. Many respondents reported being drunk or high during the threesome. Some reported their experiences as spur-of-the-moment, while others said they had spoken about it beforehand.

People’s overall thoughts and advice about threesomes were, again, remarkably scattered. One male said threesomes “suggest that sexual experiences with one’s partner are no longer a physical way to imply one’s level of singular emotional attachment to his or her significant other,” and another called it “a last-gasp attempt of a failing couple, trying to provide a spark to their relationship with something that is ultimately centered in lust.”

Another male called it his “primary sexual goal before graduating from college.” Some suggest a threesome with strangers as to not risk harming a friendship or relationship with awkwardness or jealousy. Others suggest threesomes with acquaintances, so you know the sex will be safe, but still maintain that sexy level of mystery. Some suggest a threesome with those who are closest to you, as it could be a “beautiful bonding thing” and “a great way to explore a romantic relationship.” Some think a threesome is very realistic in this alcohol-fueled college environment, while others say they will never take it to a level beyond a fantasy.

The results of the survey make it surprisingly difficult to come to any hard and fast conclusions about threesomes or the attitudes toward them. First, there are many people who are completely turned off by the idea of a threesome. Some males feel like pleasing two women at once would be overwhelming. Others aren’t willing to risk relationships due to the possibility of a negative experience, or say they’re serial monogamists who know that they would be unable to handle feelings of jealousy. And others simply say that the idea of a threesome just isn’t appealing.

It’s easy to believe the hype from books, movies, television, magazines, and porn, which imply that everyone wants a threesome and that they’re always hot and easy to have. According to this survey, this is not the case. Individuals and their preferences, desires, fantasies, and emotions are incredibly different. A threesome has the potential to toy with your emotions; while it can be a fabulous experience, it’s important to tread carefully.

If you do want to have a threesome, with whom should you have it? How should you go about doing it, and most important, how can you ensure that it will be a good experience? It’s important to think about yourself and talk about it with your partners before you go for it. If you know that you’re a jealous person, it might be best to have a threesome with people with whom you are not romantically involved, or not to have one at all. If you know that you are sexually open and don’t tend toward jealousy, then make it work for you. If you’re in a relationship and want to have one with your partner, talk about ground rules (maybe no kissing, only oral sex, only watching, etc.), potential negative outcomes, who the third person should be, and your expectations. If you plan to have a threesome in your lifetime, think carefully about what would feel the most comfortable and make it as fun as possible. While spontaneity often contributes to some of the excitement in a sexual experience, in reality, you will likely benefit more from careful considerations. Learn about your preferences and how to communicate them comfortably, and perhaps your fantasy will come true.

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