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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: What’s the big deal about threesomes?

Published: November 12, 2010
Section: Opinions

What is the big fuss about threesomes? Every straight guy’s college dream (pre- and post-college too) is to somehow get two girls to go somewhere with him and rip off their clothes. Ideally, one will be a tall hot blonde, and the other a small Asian, each with bi-sexual tendencies so that they’re almost as into each other as they are into him. This fantasy then leads to just about every guy aged 17 and older asking every girl he dates if she’d be down.

Now, it’s not for me to say how love and relationships should work. My brother practices non-monogamy, while I am an ardent believer that you can only ever truly feel comfortable in a relationship if it’s just the two of you. For some girls, the idea of opening your bed to a third person can be exciting for any number of reasons. They may indeed be interested in sexual encounters with other women, or they may aim to convince their partner that the third should instead be a man, which allows for a whole other set of both male and female fantasies. They may desire the excitement and additional stimulation of a third party. Some may just want the experience, or want to please their partners. Whatever the driving force, threesomes do happen.

In my (limited) experience, it would seem that men are usually the driving force behind threesomes, but I have no doubt that there are occasions when women are the instigators. I have a number of friends who have participated in menages-a-trois, most of them men, and most of those encounters being the M-F-M version, whether or not that was what the guys were hoping for. After our rough break-up, a boyfriend of mine bragged to me that the next sexual encounter he’d had was a threesome, aiming to make me feel inadequate in some way, as though I had stifled his sexual dreams or not been game enough for the things he wanted to do. After some prodding, he reluctantly admitted that it had been with a girl he had gone to high school with and a close guy friend of his. While the admission itself was surprising to me, I found it almost laughable that this was what he was bragging about. After all, the true bragging rights for a heterosexual male come from having sex with two girls at a time, right?

So why does it seem that men are so gung-ho when women are iffy on a good day? I believe it’s based on two things, because those are the two things that make me reluctant. The first has nothing to do specifically with the sex, but instead with the connection made between people during sex. Even if you’re having a one-night stand, you’re connecting with the other person in a very distinct way. You are focusing solely on each other’s bodies, and (hopefully) on each other’s pleasure. Bringing a third person into the mix can complicate this connection. What goes through my head is, “What if one person gets pushed out? Worse, what if it’s me, and I end up watching my boyfriend and another girl?” I’m not sure that I could recover and settle back into a relationship after an experience like that. Of course, this fear is all predicated on the second point that I believe makes women reluctant: the third person. In the case of a second woman being brought into the mix, it’s about sex with another woman. I have no desire to go down on a woman, or necessarily have one go down on me either. Someone will have to be left out because the sexual interaction between myself and another woman would be limited, making the male participant have to focus on one or the other, who would effectively be the center of the fantasy. In the case of a second man, I don’t know many women (although I do know a few) who dream of having to handle two penises, alienating one of the men in the scene.

So what’s the big deal about threesomes? It’s like, what’s the big deal about the guy who doesn’t know you exist? It’s a treat … something most men know they can’t have, but they want it anyway. If they end up getting it, it may not always be what they hoped for, but at least they had the chance. Maybe it’s a sign that their girl is super cool, or sexy, if she’d be down, but I know a lot of guys who are OK with the idea that it will probably never happen for them. The big deal is that we all want what we can’t have.