Two's a company, three's a threesome


The Great Male Survey for 2010 from AskMen.com has just been released, and it reinforces what we always suspected. Men love to think about threesomes.

In the survey, 34% of men chose a threesome as their top sexual fantasy, and although only 10% said they'd had one, 63% volunteered they were up for the chance. In an accompanying female survey conducted by Cosmopolitan Magazine, less than 10% of women confirmed they had ever taken part.

1 in 7.36 adults has ever had a threesome. An adult is more than twiceas likely to have had one than to have four older siblings.

1 in 7.36-almost exactly the odds a dollar spent at the box office will be for a superhero movie (1 in 7.35And there are a lot of superhero flicks out there this summer, folks. Wild Things, while not about superheroes, heroically foisted the threesome on the world-a memorable one starring Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, and Denise Richards (whose soon-to-be husband, Charlie Sheen, is now notorious for threesome participation).

Take a look around: nearly 1 in 7 adults has had sex with another two adults simultaneously. In the interest of full disclosure, threesome odds diverge sharply by gender: While over 18% of men has ever had a threesome (that's 1 in 5.37, also the odds a person 18 - 39 has a bachelor's degree and no higher), "only" 1 in 12.89 women, or about 8%, has ever had one. To put it in perspective, 1 in 12.89 adults will use illicit drugs in a month.

What does this gender gap mean for threesomes? That's anyone's guess; ABC, who collected these numbers, did not inquire further. Male fantasies aside, it is tempting to conclude that the majority of three-way sexual encounters involve one woman and two men. No evidence, though, points to this. It is true that women are likelier than men to have had only one sexual partner (precluding a threesome), and less likely to have had many-i.e., 21 or more. But maybe men just try threesomes more, while women more often repeatedly participate. Or, maybe threesomes between three men account for some of the difference (but then, what about all-female threesomes?).

Still, 1 in 1.16 adults (86%) has never had a threesome. The difficulty in successfully pulling it off, with no hurt feelings or shifted interests or lingering diseases, may be part of what keeps so many from ever trying.

In Marie Claire, Pamela Druckerman, the author of Lust in Translation, an exploration of adultery, quotes Gossip Girl ("Inside every threesome is a twosome and a onesome") and goes on to describe a threesome planned for her husband's 40th birthday. It goes about as well as could be reasonably expected-one time only, no wrecked feelings, no STD's-while still ending in lingering confusion.

Ewan Morrison, author of the novel Ménage, reports that he participated in a long-term ménage à trois (a three-way relationship, not necessarily with the three-way sex of a threesome) with no ill aftereffects-though he tempers things by throwing this statement out there: "The ménage is certainly not for everyone, its demands are taxing and there are victims."

Faced with so many obstacles, do many threesomes make it off the ground? Sure, they do. History is full of examples:

  • Giacome Casanova reports that, at 17, he lost his virginity to two sisters at once.
  • Jack Kerouac (author), Neal Cassidy (friend and Beat Generation icon), and his wife, Carolyn, reportedly made an abortive attemp at a threesome.
  • Charlie Sheen and his girlfriend Brooke Mueller are known to have engaged in multiple, drug-fueled threesomes.
  • William Moulton Marston, the inventor of the lie-detector and creator of the Wonder Woman comic, lived for years with his wife and a woman named Olive Byrne, by all reports as a happy, untroubled ménage à trios.
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