Threesome

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"Der Gemeinsame Freund" by Peter Fendi, ca.1910 Peter Fendi - Der Gemeinsame Freund (1910).jpg
"Der Gemeinsame Freund" by Peter Fendi, ca.1910

In human sexuality, a threesome is commonly understood as "a sexual interaction between three people whereby at least one engages in physical sexual behaviour with both the other individuals". [1] Though threesome most commonly refers to sexual activity involving three participants, [1] [2] [3] it is also sometimes used to apply to a long-term domestic relationship, such as polyamory or a ménage à trois. [4]

Contents

A threesome is a form of group sex which may occur in private situations, such as spontaneous sexual activity among three friends or in the context of casual sex or a hook up. Alternatively, it may take place in specific contexts or environments which allow for sex, such as swingers events, orgies or sex parties.

A threesome is a common element of sexual fantasy, [5] [6] and it is commonly depicted in pornography.

Types

The people in a threesome may be of any gender and sexual orientation. Each participant may engage in any type of sex act with one or both of the others, such as vaginal, anal or oral sex or mutual masturbation. One or more of the participants may engage in autoerotic sexual activity, such as masturbation, possibly without physical contact with the other participants. It is a matter of subjective definition whether participation of a third person without physical contact constitutes a threesome and this sort of sexual activity might instead be interpreted as voyeurism or cuckolding. Triolism is a term that encompasses both threesomes and cuckoldry, although its usage across literature is inconsistent. [7]

Threesomes are sometimes described using shorthand to refer to who was involved in the threesome e.g. MMF (male, male, female); FFM (female, female, male); MMM (male, male, male); FFF (female, female, female). [1]

Lucky Pierre is slang for a person performing both receptive and insertive anal and/or vaginal sex simultaneously during a threesome, being positioned between the two partners. [8]

Academic research on threesomes

The first major academic work to address threesomes specifically was published in 1988, called: Threesomes: Studies in Sex, Power, and Intimacy [9] by Arno Karlen. In the work, drawing mainly from interview data, Karlen outlined how threesomes were often viewed as qualitatively different to other forms of group sex. Other notable findings include that threesomes were often viewed by women as a safe way to explore their sexuality; they often consisted of a couple joined by a third person; and that the third person was not necessarily viewed or treated equally. Karlen also suggested that the societal view of threesomes cast those who engaged in them as radically different to other members of society:

There is a common tendency to think of people who have been in threesomes as alien beings. Like swingers, homosexuals and others who deviate from basic sexual norms, they seem to many to have entered another social, psychological, and moral sphere.

Research exploring rates of threesome engagement suggest that men have both higher levels of interest and participation in threesomes. [10] One study soliciting responses to a sex survey via a British newspaper found that 34% of 1,862 men, and 15% of 2,905 women had experience of a threesome. [11] From a nationally representative sample in the USA, 34.1% of men and 11.1% of women found a threesome to be at least somewhat appealing and 18% of men and 10% of women had engaged in one. [12]

Sex positions

Threesome sexual activity may take place in a number of sex positions; for example, the following:

Media

Threesome scenes are featured in various films and TV series, including Summer Lovers (1982), Threesome (1994), American Psycho (2000), [13] Zoolander (2001), Y Tu Mamá También (2001), Ken Park (2002), The Dreamers (2003), Kiss Me Again (2006), Shortbus (2006), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Shame (2011), 21 Jump Street (2012), On the Road (2012), Savages (2012), Spring Breakers (2012), Knock Knock (2015), Love (2015). [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Human sexual activity Manner in which humans engage sexually

Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts, ranging from activities done alone to acts with another person in varying patterns of frequency, for a wide variety of reasons. Sexual activity usually results in sexual arousal and physiological changes in the aroused person, some of which are pronounced while others are more subtle. Sexual activity may also include conduct and activities which are intended to arouse the sexual interest of another or enhance the sex life of another, such as strategies to find or attract partners, or personal interactions between individuals. Sexual activity may follow sexual arousal.

Orgasm Sudden discharge of accumulated sexual tension

Orgasm is the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual excitement during the sexual response cycle, resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region characterized by sexual pleasure. Experienced by males and females, orgasms are controlled by the involuntary or autonomic nervous system. They are usually associated with involuntary actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body, a general euphoric sensation and, frequently, body movements and vocalizations. The period after orgasm is typically a relaxing experience, attributed to the release of the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin as well as endorphins.

Sexual orientation Pattern of romantic and/or sexual attraction

Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender. These attractions are generally subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, while asexuality is sometimes identified as the fourth category.

Group sex Sexual behavior involving more than two participants

Group sex is sexual behavior involving more than two participants. Participants in group sex can be of any sexual orientation or gender. Any form of sexual activity can be adopted to involve more than two participants, but some forms have their own names.

Kinsey scale Scale for measuring sexual orientation

The Kinsey scale, also called the Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale, is used in research to describe a person's sexual orientation based on one’s experience or response at a given time. The scale typically ranges from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to a 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the male and female volumes of the Kinsey Reports, an additional grade, listed as "X", indicated "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions" (asexuality). The reports were first published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) by Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, and others, and were also prominent in the complementary work Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).

Swinging, sometimes called wife-swapping, husband-swapping, or partner-swapping, is a sexual activity in which both singles and partners in a committed relationship sexually engage with others for recreational purposes. Swinging is a form of non-monogamy and is an open relationship. People may choose a swinging lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Practitioners cite an increased quality and quantity of sex. Some people may engage in swinging to add variety into their otherwise conventional sex-lives or due to their curiosity. Some couples see swinging as a healthy outlet and means to strengthen their relationship.

Sexual attraction Attraction on the basis of sexual desire

Sexual attraction is attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest. Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal is an individual's ability to attract other people sexually, and is a factor in sexual selection or mate choice. The attraction can be to the physical or other qualities or traits of a person, or to such qualities in the context where they appear. The attraction may be to a person's aesthetics or movements or to their voice or smell, among other things. The attraction may be enhanced by a person's adornments, clothing, perfume or style. It can be influenced by individual genetic, psychological, or cultural factors, or to other, more amorphous qualities. Sexual attraction is also a response to another person that depends on a combination of the person possessing the traits and on the criteria of the person who is attracted.

Sexual fantasy Class of mental image or patten of thought

A sexual fantasy or erotic fantasy is a mental image or pattern of thought that stirs a person's sexuality and can create or enhance sexual arousal. A sexual fantasy can be created by the person's imagination or memory, and may be triggered autonomously or by external stimulation such as erotic literature or pornography, a physical object, or sexual attraction to another person. Anything that may give rise to a sexual arousal may also produce a sexual fantasy, and sexual arousal may in turn give rise to fantasies.

Heteroflexibility is a form of a sexual orientation or situational sexual behavior characterized by minimal homosexual activity in an otherwise primarily heterosexual orientation, which may or may not distinguish it from bisexuality. It has been characterized as "mostly straight". Although sometimes equated with bi-curiosity to describe a broad continuum of sexual orientation between heterosexuality and bisexuality, other authors distinguish heteroflexibility as lacking the "wish to experiment with ... sexuality" implied by the bi-curious label. The corresponding situation in which homosexual activity predominates has also been described, termed homoflexibility.

A rape fantasy or a ravishment is a sexual fantasy involving imagining or pretending being coerced or coercing another into sexual activity. In sexual roleplay, it involves acting out roles of coercive sex. Rape pornography is literature or images associated with rape and sometimes Stockholm syndrome as a means of sexual arousal.

A gang bang is a sexual activity in which one person is the central focus of the sexual activity of several people, usually more than three, sequentially or simultaneously. The term generally refers to a woman being the focus; one man with multiple women can be referred to as a "reverse gang bang". The term has become associated with the porn industry and usually describes a staged event whereby a woman has sex with several men in direct succession. Bukkake is a type of gang bang originating in Japan that focuses on the central person being ejaculated upon by male participants.

Casual sex is sexual activity that takes place outside a romantic relationship and implies an absence of commitment, emotional attachment, or familiarity between sexual partners. Examples are sexual activity while casually dating, one-night stands, prostitution or swinging.

Non-monogamy is an umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of non-dyadic intimate relationship that does not strictly hew to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and/or affection. In that sense, "nonmonogamy" may be accurately applied to extramarital sex, group marriage, or polyamory. It is not synonymous with infidelity, since all parties are consenting to the relationship structure, partners are often committed to each other as well as to their other partners and cheating is still considered problematic behavior with many non-monogamous relationships.

Blanchard's transsexualism typology is a proposed psychological typology of gender dysphoria, transsexualism, and fetishistic transvestism, created by sexologist Ray Blanchard through the 1980s and 1990s, building on the work of prior researchers, including his colleague Kurt Freund. Blanchard categorized trans women into two groups: homosexual transsexuals who are attracted exclusively to men and are feminine in both behavior and appearance; and autogynephilic transsexuals who are sexually aroused at the idea of having a female body.

Transgender sexuality Sexuality of transgender people

Sexuality in transgender individuals encompasses all the issues of sexuality of other groups, including establishing a sexual identity, learning to deal with one's sexual needs, and finding a partner, but may be complicated by issues of gender dysphoria, side effects of surgery, physiological and emotional effects of hormone replacement therapy, psychological aspects of expressing sexuality after medical transition, or social aspects of expressing their gender.

Environment and sexual orientation Field of sexual orientation research

The relationship between the environment and sexual orientation is a subject of research. In the study of sexual orientation, some researchers distinguish environmental influences from hormonal influences, while other researchers include biological influences such as prenatal hormones as part of environmental influences.

Bisexuality Sexual attraction to people of either sex

Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or to more than one gender. It may also be defined to include romantic or sexual attraction to people regardless of their sex or gender identity, which is also known as pansexuality.

Sexual fluidity is one or more changes in sexuality or sexual identity. Sexual orientation is stable and unchanging for the vast majority of people, but some research indicates that some people may experience change in their sexual orientation, and this is more likely for women than for men. There is no scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed through psychotherapy. Sexual identity can change throughout an individual's life, and may or may not align with biological sex, sexual behavior or actual sexual orientation.

Sexual arousal Physiological and psychological changes in preparation for sexual intercourse

Sexual arousal describes the physiological and psychological responses in preparation for sexual intercourse or when exposed to sexual stimuli. A number of physiological responses occur in the body and mind as preparation for sexual intercourse, and continue during intercourse. Male arousal will lead to an erection, and in female arousal the body's response is engorged sexual tissues such as nipples, vulva, clitoris, vaginal walls, and vaginal lubrication. Mental stimuli and physical stimuli such as touch, and the internal fluctuation of hormones, can influence sexual arousal.

The orgasm gap, or pleasure gap, is a social phenomenon referring to the general disparity between heterosexual men and women in terms of sexual satisfaction—more specifically, the unequal frequency in achievement of orgasm during sexual encounters. Currently, across every demographic that has been studied, women report the lowest frequency of reaching orgasm during sexual encounters with men. Researchers speculate there are multiple factors that may contribute to the orgasm gap. Orgasm gap researcher Laurie Mintz argues that the primary reason for this form of gender inequality is due to "our cultural ignorance of the clitoris" and that it is commonplace to "mislabel women's genitals by the one part that gives men, but not women, reliable orgasms."

References

  1. 1 2 3 Scoats, Ryan (2019). UNDERSTANDING THREESOMES: gender, sex, and consensual non-monogamy. ROUTLEDGE. ISBN   978-0-429-84237-5. OCLC   1110711748.
  2. Thompson, Ashley E.; Byers, E. Sandra (April 2017). "Heterosexual Young Adults' Interest, Attitudes, and Experiences Related to Mixed-Gender, Multi-Person Sex". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 46 (3): 813–822. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0699-1. ISSN   0004-0002. PMID   26943139. S2CID   39487837.
  3. Scoats, Ryan; Joseph, Lauren J; Anderson, Eric (February 2018). "'I don't mind watching him cum': Heterosexual men, threesomes, and the erosion of the one-time rule of homosexuality". Sexualities. 21 (1–2): 30–48. doi:10.1177/1363460716678562. ISSN   1363-4607. S2CID   151580022.
  4. Suzanne G. Frayser; Thomas J. Whitby (1995). Studies in Human Sexuality: A Selected Guide. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 340–341. ISBN   1563081318 . Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  5. LEHMILLER, JUSTIN J. (2018). TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. ROBINSON. ISBN   978-1-4721-4223-8. OCLC   1013584575.
  6. Jonason, Peter K.; Marks, Michael J. (March 2009). "Common vs. Uncommon Sexual Acts: Evidence for the Sexual Double Standard". Sex Roles. 60 (5–6): 357–365. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9542-z. ISSN   0360-0025. S2CID   53548047.
  7. Ley, David J. (2009). Insatiable wives : women who stray and the men who love them. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   978-1-4422-0030-2. OCLC   373474387.
  8. Claire Maniez (2012). Science and American Literature in the 20th and 21st Centuries: From Henry Adams to John Adams. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 164. ISBN   978-1443835190.
  9. Karlen, Arno (1988). Threesomes : studies in sex, power, and intimacy. New York. ISBN   0-688-06536-8. OCLC   17104896.
  10. Thompson, Ashley E.; Cipriano, Allison E.; Kirkeby, Kimberley M.; Wilder, Delaney; Lehmiller, Justin J. (2020-11-11). "Exploring Variations in North American Adults' Attitudes, Interest, Experience, and Outcomes Related to Mixed-Gender Threesomes: A Replication and Extension". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 50 (4): 1433–1448. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01829-1. ISSN   1573-2800. PMID   33175272. S2CID   226302189.
  11. Wilson, Glenn D. (1987-01-01). "Male-female differences in sexual activity, enjoyment and fantasies". Personality and Individual Differences. 8 (1): 125–127. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(87)90019-5. ISSN   0191-8869.
  12. Herbenick, Debby; Bowling, Jessamyn; Fu, Tsung-Chieh (Jane); Dodge, Brian; Guerra-Reyes, Lucia; Sanders, Stephanie (2017-07-20). "Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men". PLOS ONE. 12 (7): e0181198. Bibcode:2017PLoSO..1281198H. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181198 . ISSN   1932-6203. PMC   5519052 . PMID   28727762.
  13. American Psycho threesome scene. Archived from the original on 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  14. Hoarde, Peter. "The 10 Most Memorable Threesome Scenes in Movies". Complex.com. Retrieved 29 September 2018.

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