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Bed, Bitch & Beyond-Menage a Trois: Part Deux

After I posted about threesomes over the weekend, a bunch of comments came flooding in. The responses—both on Bitch and on Facebook--were smart, expressive and even funny. Kudos to those of you who shared advice and stories about threesomes gone right—or wrong! Readers also posted comments that touched on some very relevant issues about female sexuality that I didn't mention in the original post.

With regard to my blaming porn for the mythification of the FFM threesome, a reader on Facebook commented:

While I am bi, I also know that the power shift from being a couple to FMF is fed by porn's idealization of "They're fawning all over me! I am King Cock!"

This. It's not that women didn't have FFM threesomes before porn. Erotic art and literature from around the world provides plenty of depictions of our foremothers in threeways. But the de-stigmatizing of it, and the glorification of the girl-on-girl pleasure that's supposed to be every guy's fantasy, is definitely driven by studio-produced hetero porn. There's been a definite creep of that fetishization from porn into pop culture, starting in the 90s with girls kissing in music videos, making out in movies like "Wild Things" and "Cruel Intentions," etc. Now, as one commenter observed:

Yay, yet another effect of porn culture. If a woman doesn't want to have a FFM threesome, and it is almost always FFM, then shes considered boring vanilla. Yay.

(For the women who do enjoy this, more power to you. But for the rest of us this kind of sucks.)

There was real consensus on that point. Said another commenter:

I sort of hate to put it out there - it smacks a little bit of the "what about us poor marginalized hetero women?" But I certainly felt some pressure to label myself bi as a young woman. Declaring oneself wholly heterosexual seemed to be (at least in my artsy, lefty circle of friends) akin to saying "I'm uptight" or "I'm in denial" or at the very least "I'm asensual."

Another commenter agreed, saying:

But there is also an expectation that all women are "curious" and are supposed to have a time in college/their early 20s/their mid-20s in which they are supposed to be interested in sex with women--and particularly sex with women in front of or with a man.

This is definitely true. I know plenty of college-age girls who complain that dudes almost expect them to make out when they get drunk--having two chicks making out at your party is the ultimate in sexy hedonism. Young women are constantly fed the message the way to be truly liberated and hot is to be bi- or at least bi-curious, because OMG two girls together is so sexxxxy! This is bullshit and I blame porn for it.

One commenter took others--and me--to task for perceived straight privilege:

Bi/gay women face extreme pressure from all facets of society to live heteronormative lifestyles, and I don't think it does a lot of good to hear women like you "speak out" against the so-called pressure to go gay or bi. Why not encourage and support queer expressions of sexuality, which are marginalized enough as it is?

To be clear: I'm not disrespecting women who are bi or gay, though, and neither were the commenters she was addressing. One defended the "Why can't we be heterosexual?" argument by saying:

I think everyone is trying to support genuine expressions of sexuality, rather than performative ones. You're right that gay and bi women suffer in our culture and there is substantial pressure to conform to a heteronormative life.

What we were talking about the pressure for hetero women to seem bi because men--and pop culture--find it hot. It's actually another form of the domination of male privilege; women having sex with one another as one more way that straight women are supposed perform for men's sexual pleasure. Male privilege demands that straight women do this if it's a sexual act we don't like and don't find arousing. That's vastly different from true expressions of queer sexuality. The fetishization of female bisexuality by straight men is just co-opting elements of queer sexuality for hetero entertainment/gratification, which strikes me as biased and unhealthy for pretty much everyone.

But elements of queer male sexuality don't make the cut in the straight world, as I pointed out in the original post. MMF threesomes are not every straight man's fantasy, and one commenter offered up a good rationale for why:

I think one of the reasons why two guys isn't as often a holy grail of sexual experimentation for women as FFM is for men is women's fear of male pack mentality when it comes to women's bodies and sexual competition.

That makes sense to me, although I'd also argue that in addition to sexual Darwinism, it's also proof that social conditioning for men is exactly the opposite of what it is for women. Young women are being told that it's hot and sexy and liberated to want to get it on with their own sex. Young men are getting exactly the opposite message.

Feel free to continue to discuss in the comments…

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Comments

3 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Intelligent analysis but, as

Intelligent analysis but, as in many discussions of threesomes, totally ignores FFF as it weren't a threesome option at all. While you are intelligently examining the FFM connection to porn, you're also coming from the Bisexuality as The Only Threesome TM angle that dominates pretty much all discussions of threesomes just as the FFM threesome dominates hetero porn.

So while it implicates some bisexuals and straight women, it probably leaves out a good chunk of queer women. Granted, this is an essay from your point of view and it is not necessarily the place for a cultural analysis of FFF threesomes. However it's good to think about the degree to which queer people are implicated in this discussion even as you talk to some degree about queer sexuality.

I suppose

there's also MMM threesomes too, then. There's all kinds of threesomes that may not have anything to do with sexual orientation at all.

yo

I love your posts on how porn is affecting mainstream culture. Please keep them coming!