Bed, Bath & Beyond: Three Times the Fun? Or Just Sloppy Thirds?

From the reader mailbag: Curious to know what you and Bitch readers think about threesomes. I tried a threesome, and feelings got hurt just like I'd feared they might. I think you gotta be very sure there's no competition between the three, and everyone really is into it (probably obvious, but you know...)

She's certainly not alone in her curiosity. In my dating life I seem to encounter a lot of guys who are not shy about hinting—or just plain asking outright—that they would like to have a threesome with another woman. And apparently they are in good company:

"Threesomes are undoubtedly the new 'Holy Grail' of sex," says Vicki Vantoch, author of The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to Sleeping with Three (Thunder's Mouth Press). "Most people have either had a three-way or thought about it. Yes, even women." (ed: because all women are vanilla and only men have kinks? FAIL.) A recent ABC poll ranked threesomes as the most popular fantasy in America."

Porn is rife with depictions of FFM threesomes, which at least partially explains straight mens' enthusiasm for them. If mainstream studio porn is all about women performing on men strictly for the man's enjoyment, two women performning on men strictly for their enjoyment is twice as nice! It's hard to find a mainstream porn flick these days that doesn't feature at least one obligatory FFM threesome. (Yes, I'm blaming porn for influencing sexual behavior again. Flame me in the comments if you must). When so much threesome porn is out there, it's no wonder that people--male and female--are curious. But you might want to look before you leap.

Sex advice columnist Dan Savage calls them a "minefield" and says of threesomes:

"Although threesomes, for example, can sometimes "just happen" (often when three young people "just happen" to get drunk), most threesomes require some advance planning (particularly when adults want to have them). Finding the third, vetting the third, establishing the ground rules, talking about safety, etc.---all of that requires advance planning."

This strikes me as excellent advice. Spontaneity is great, but rarely practical. I've happily participated in a couple FFM threesomes. Out of respect for the other parties, I will not overshare here. Suffice it to say totally agree with the reader who wrote in when she says that it's important to be sure everyone is really into it and that jealousy issues have been worked out ahead of time (or that the other two parties are not in a relationship and you're all free agents looking for a good time).

Unfortunately, while FFM threesomes are the Holy Grail for straight guys, MMF ones are not. You do see MMF in porn, but in mainstream porn MMF threesomes are often a rather creepy, vaguely gang rape-y scenario with two men ignoring each other and taking turns on one woman who wears the usual slightly bored or fake-excited porn expression. I have found amateur threesome porn with two men focusing on a woman's pleasure (or pausing to get it on with each other), and it's very exciting. But your average dudely hetero porn studio isn't going to go there. And neither are many hetero guys. Every time I say, "Okay, we can do it with another woman, and then can we get it on with another guy?," the threesome-lovin' dudes start backpedalling so fast they kick up a dust cloud. OMG, you mean being around another dude's hard cock?! The inherent homophobia and double standard--two women, sexy! Two men, eww, gay!—irritates the shit out of me.

Dan Savage seems to think that the best way to make my MMF threesome fantasies come true is for me to, well, become a gay man. When a straight reader asked sex advice columnist Dan Savage about FFM threesomes, he responded:

"I've neglected threesomes cause they're about as controversial as brunch plans for us gay guys...What can I say? For every straight couple out there arguing about threesomes, there are 10 gay couples having them."

Not helpful advice for his straight readers…but hey, congratulations to all those gay couple who aren't "arguing about threesomes." I don't think that straight couples should be arguing over it either. If there's a chance feelings are going to get hurt or one person is going to feel pressured or jealous, don't do it (also true for just about every sexual situation). Otherwise, enjoy.

Bitch Media publishes the award-winning quarterly magazine, Bitch:Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Pitch in to support feminist media: Subscribe today

Subscribe to Bitch


Comments

35 comments have been made. Post a comment.

"two women, sexy! Two men,

"two women, sexy! Two men, eww, gay!"

I'm not saying there isn't homophobia rooted in this (because it obviously is), but where is the line between homophobia and plain ol' heterosexuality drawn?

"eww gay!"=homophobia

There's nothing icky or gross or "eww" about being gay. Only homophobes think that way.

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

Well...

What about "eww" like "eww, I don't like milk on my cereal" and not "eww, gays are gross"? As in a male who has no problems with gays doing what they do, but it isn't their cup of tea?

Is a male who is into FFM but not into MFF because he's straight automatically a homophobe?

Just curious what the bitch readers think.

No.

"Is a male who is into FFM but not into MFF (I'm guessing you meant MMF:) because he's straight automatically a homophobe?"

No. Expecting that getting a woman involved can make a guy forget his aversion to man on man seems a little odd. Labeling him a homophobe because of his aversion to sex with guys is ignorant and counterproductive. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying anyone here has made that claim. Or at least I don't think anyone has. Might have to read through the comments again. I do know guys who for some reason (discuss) have a hard time understanding why their girlfriends don't want in on an FFM...you know, the same reason the dudes don't want anything to do with an MMF. There are of course a number of reasons why someone might not want to engage in a threesome, but I am speaking here specifically of those straight folks (like myself) that like their sex strictly hetero.

just throwing this out

just throwing this out there, but if a couple were both just plain ol' heterosexual, why would they be particularly interested in a threesome in general? threesomes, by their very nature, involve some homosexual-style lovin'. and isn't it just kind of basic golden rule type stuff to not expect your partner to want to do something that you personally would find distasteful?

and seriously, why is it that women are never allowed to just be heterosexual? i went through a phase where i wasn't really sure if i liked girls or guys. i hadn't had a lot of experience, was always seeing women presented as sexy and could appreciate that, so i though, hmm, maybe i go both ways. but i really, really don't. i'm glad a went through that phase because it helped me be comfortable with my sexuality and gave me a great connection with the gay community in my area, but my interest in the ladies came from a strange, performative place that isn't really the same as how i experience my desire for men. but it was hard to see through this onslaught of imagery that says, women are sexy! everyone thinks women are sexy! everyone wants to have sex with women!

i get the appeal to a man of a FFM threesome... if you like looking at naked women, two naked women is even better. i can get down with that. but you know, in all fairness, for me two naked men is better, being a heterosexual and all, so i would expect my partner to be able to exercise the same amount of mental energy and see things from my perspective, just as it is taken for granted that i do for him. if you say "ewww gay," not only are you being a homophobe but your refusing to grant the same sort of sexual agency to your partner that you give to yourself.

"And seriously, why is it

"And seriously, why is it that women are never allowed to just be heterosexual?"

So true. 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." (Okay, probably not a real word.) And I did my damnedest to try to be attracted to other women. Yet when I tried to fantasize about sex with a woman, somehow my fantasy would turn me into the other woman, and suddenly there'd be a faceless man crashing the imaginary party. Yes, I really did give it the ol' college try. Ultimately, it was like trying to convince myself that I wanted the fruit plate instead of the chocolate mousse. I'm too much of a natural hedonist at heart to keep trying to want something that I really don't want.

And eventually I came to the stunning conclusion that, much like I'd never try to talk a friend who identified as gay or lesbian into admitting their latent heterosexual yearnings, perhaps it was possible that I really was massively straight.

So, now I can proudly admit it: I don't want to sleep with Angelina Jolie. I don't find women's breasts fascinating and intoxicating, at least none other than my own. I don't want an FFM threesome, because the idea of making love to another woman is about as exciting to me as the prospect of watching paint dry. Though I must say, the idea of a MMF threesome is only appealing to me if the male participants are bisexual. The idea of two men taking turns or egging each other on is disturbing to me, and not in a fun, edgy way. It would be completely different if they were sexually interested in each other as well. 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.

good point

I agree with both of you ladies and I think you're making a really good point. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being plain old heterosexual and not wanting to make out with another woman, play with another woman's boobs, or be in an FFM threesome. And yet, women do get the message A LOT from our media culture that in order to be truly sexy, we should be bi- or bi-curious, because two women together is so sexxxxy!

This is bullshit and I blame porn for it. It's no coincidence that the fetishizing of female bisexuality really ramped up in the 90s when porn started being widely available. There was a slow creep of the "girls getting it on with girls" meme into music videos, television, advertising, etc etc. Now it's gotten lodged into our pop-culture mentality.

I'm not disrespecting women who are bi or gay here. I'm talking about the pressure for hetero women to SEEM bi because men--and pop culture--find it hot. It's often just another way that women are supposed to perform for male sexual pleasure.

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

I hear ya girl!

I remember when I was about 16 years old, a guy friend of mine told me how he and all guys thought it was hot to watch lesbians. I was so confused because the first thing that came to my mind was, why would lesbians want to be watched by men? As a heterosexual girl, I was disturbed and quite peeved to be hearing this. It continued to baffle me and guys as well as to why I would be so bent over this.

As time went on, I continued to hear men’s approvals of two girls to mess around because of women are beautiful, soft and gentle and sexy. I eventually realized why I was so annoyed by the double standard of, "oh two girls hot!", and “two guys what! Gross!" I’ve always found myself to be very attractive and then all of a sudden, hearing this makes you feel that your attractiveness doesn't measure up to the standard of what hot and sexy is. I would be outraged because it sends the message that you need to be bi in order to be put on the sexy pedestal and that any man I was with would always desire bi women more than me as if bi women are the epitome of sexy.

So, me being as bold as I am would ask, well what about two guys together? Men would respond with disgust and be compelled for me to be shamefaced for even suggesting such a thing. I would just be boiling inside that women were made to feel like odd balls for having such "unnatural" fantasies, but for men to fantasize about two women is "normal". Many men will even further say that two women together is a natural act! No! Sorry dudes! Two women together (who are also hot for you) is something that you enjoy wrapping your mind around so much that you have actually entered into denial that all women are naturally bi. I've even heard guys say that if other guys don't like watching two gay women get it on, that dude is gay lol! What an oxymoron!

I eventually presented the idea of guy on guy to women, only to be twice as annoyed with their response. Many women would say, no yuck, two men! So I would be utterly pissed because I knew that these women never even bothered to entertain the thought and only bought into what society told them to think. It wasn't till years later when some of these same women started realizing that it’s ok for women to have this fantasy and even have it themselves. If a guy dares to ask me if women have this fantasy, I anticipate that I'm about to tell him everything he and the bro club doesn't want to hear, with a big smile on my face lol. Yeah, sorry dude, but my mind is free and I will resist mental imprisonment. Sorry this disappoints the “bro club” – not lol!

Well, recently many men have loosened up (no pun intended lol) about the idea that women can have guy on guy fantasies, even if it’s something that he wouldn't participate in. I feel I have done my share for women's sexual liberation by not backing down when others would frown upon guy on guy fantasies and helping to not perpetuate the shaming of women sexually liberating themselves. My mention of sexual liberation doesn’t necessarily refer to promiscuity, but the freeing of our minds to know what we enjoy and not be ashamed of it. When we stand bold, we make a difference, just by our attitudes alone!

Just a little gay

I think the majority of the male population thinks that all women are just a little bit lesbian, or at least curious. I am not curious in the least. The idea of myself making love to a woman repulses me, as does the idea of watching my husband suck off another man. And I always thought MMF's were 2 men servicing me. Why is it necessary that the 2 males or the 2 females get it on? Also, I agree with all the 'don't be in a relationship' advice. My husband and I have entertained the idea of a threesome, both ways, and decided it could never happen. I'm insecure and I could never enjoy pleasuring another man while my husband is in the room, or letting said man pleasure me. Nor could I watch my husband pleasure another woman and possibly enjoy it. Plus, it would make things weird, considering the person we were thinking of asking is a friend of ours who I think is fucking gorgeous. Nothing good would come of it for us. But all couples are different. And some people really are curious.

"and seriously, why is it

"and seriously, why is it that women are never allowed to just be heterosexual? i went through a phase where i wasn't really sure if i liked girls or guys. i hadn't had a lot of experience, was always seeing women presented as sexy and could appreciate that, so i though, hmm, maybe i go both ways. but i really, really don't. i'm glad a went through that phase because it helped me be comfortable with my sexuality and gave me a great connection with the gay community in my area, but my interest in the ladies came from a strange, performative place that isn't really the same as how i experience my desire for men. but it was hard to see through this onslaught of imagery that says, women are sexy! everyone thinks women are sexy! everyone wants to have sex with women!"

COSIGN. A MILLION TIMES.

not allowed to be heterosexual?

"and seriously, why is it that women are never allowed to just be heterosexual?"

Not sure what universe you're living in, but women ARE allowed to be heterosexual. In fact, mainstream culture encourages it. 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?

I think everyone is trying

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. 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. Then, we're supposed to settle down with a dude and get married after those wild times. This goes for all women, gay, bi, or straight. It's a pressure that we all face--and the pressure gets stressed at different times in our lives. Young hetero women don't want to have sex with women, and older gay (and sometimes bi) women don't want to marry men.

i do, wholeheartedly,

i do, wholeheartedly, support queer expressions of sexuality. i don't think a straight woman having sex with another woman -- misinterpreting her own desires due to being over-saturated by media images of women as consumable objects -- really counts as a queer expression of sexuality, though. i would stand by my statement that women aren't allowed to be *just* heterosexual -- certainly not in the way that men are, at least.

and i would agree with you, absolutely, that women are *also* not allowed to be bi or gay -- and they're certainly not being pressured to be so, in the sense that you mean. the media is in no way putting up, say, melissa ethridge or ani difranco (or, hell, any actually queer woman i can think of), as some kind of exemplars of female behavior. what i'm referring to is more the idolization of a katy perry type of queer -- which is to say, not queer at all. it is the fetishization of a lesbian act, without the reality of actual lesbianism or bisexuality to deal with. hell, that song in particular is so offensive i can't stand to hear it -- at some point she says that the other woman is just a game to her. this kind of "expression of queer sexuality" marginalizes both queer and straight female sexuality and prostrates them to straight male desire and sexuality.

clearly, this marginalization is much more drastic in terms of it's negative effect on queer women, but as a straight woman, addressing the topic that was brought up, i was speaking only to my own experiences. i did not mean to imply any kind of denial of the marginalization of queer women's experiences by sharing my own, though i could certainly see how it could be read as such. so, you know, sorry to have offended.

I see where you are coming

I see where you are coming from. I am not gay or bi so I'm not going to say that I understand a such persons' experiences because I don't. I think the point here is that women are saturated with images of doing things that PLEASE men. We can be bi to the extent that it turns horny men on. But not to the point where they find it offensive. Then it's just "unnatural". I mean, I have bi friends, and the most common question they get asked by men, STRANGERS no less, is whether they will kiss another girl in front of them, or have a threesome with them.

Essentially, whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, it's all good so long as you fit into the constructed version of what's "sexy" to men. If you don't then you are either uptight or man-hating or some other negative stereotype.

Like I said, that's my opinion.

Sorry I didn't see this

Sorry I didn't see this before now...

But I wanted to say that I mean this in terms of how female bisexuality is practically expected among some parts of the hetero population. I recognize that heterosexuality is still seen as the default, and I'd argue that even those who think all women should be bisexual still think heterosexuality is the default - they just want the performative, non-threatening bisexuality that plays out like a real-life porn movie they get to watch.

I am completely supportive of any and all sexualities (even if they are performative, if that's what gets the performer off). I just get tired of the men who demand bisexuality like it's some sort of mandate of hotness.

That's all.

Don't mean to necro but...

According to statistics, 33% of females fantasize about having sex with a woman. Only 13% of males fantasize or would even consider having sex with a male.

For the most part I agree with everyone here, but psychology actually plays a role in this subject. Women are statistically proven to have a MUCH higher ratio of bi curiosity/ things of that nature than males. It can't really be blamed on society as a whole, but rather, it falls into the aesthetics of the female form. There are volumes upon volumes of texts describing this very subject and why even women find other women attractive.

Blame society for the things society causes, but remember that psychology and synaptic wiring DO play a part. Statistically, no matter how ironic it is, even many straight women don't find the male form to be as attractive as the female form, simply because of the way most of our bits and pieces are put together. :P

you don't think that women

you don't think that women are seen as sexy more often than men are by both (or any) genders because that is how we are conditioned to see the female body?
we constantly see "sexy" images of women in the media, we see women in "sexy" skimpy outfits, "sexy" lingerie is marketed exclusively to women. even at a gay bar you will see men dressed in women's clothing in an attempt to look "sexy".

we are hardly giving men a chance to be sexy, so maybe we don't know what a sexy man looks like when we see one?

i'm not saying your theory is definitely incorrect, and that wiring definitely doesn't play a part, i'm just asking how you could know, when "sexiness" is so socially gendered anyway.

Dead wrong and lying through

Dead wrong and lying through through your teeth with your fake implication statistics! I don't find lesbian sex gross, but the idea of it and the appearance, touch and scent of a woman do nothing for me. When I see an attractive man it makes me want to have sex with him. When I'm close to him. his touch and smell make me want to have sex with him and the visual of two hot men experimenting with each other is a real turn on for me; yet I would never try to impose on a guy, making him feel he's required to engage in sex with another guy to feel adequate.

What is worst is how women

What is worst is how women have bought into the idea that FFM threesomes are better than MMF threesomes. As if being with two men at the same time will make them queen of the slut people, or that it's just plain too dirty or kinky. One must remember that it's easier to fill 2 or 3 holes with 2 poles than it is to fill 4 or 6 holes with 1 pole.

Mmf=being the "star"

I have found MMF threesomes are empowering to women in that it is one of the few mainstream heterosexual fantasies that favors the female experience. I don't for a minute regret participating because I was the star of the show. Ultimately, a sex positive feminist can have a great experience if the other participants (male or female) do not allow it to become an interpersonal drama. This is most easily achieved among 3 singles. I've found that if you're not the "star" and/or you are in a couple, ancillary questions of loyalty overshadow the experience. I would like to believe that there are some heterosexual men in couples who can behave tastefully in an ffm setting to make his partner feel safe, though.

You are assuming that MMFs

You are assuming that MMFs only take place between two non-touching heterosexual men and a hetero women, when there are many different orientations who could be interested and wide variety of "stars".

"I would like to believe

"I would like to believe that there are some heterosexual men in couples who can behave tastefully in an ffm setting to make his partner feel safe, though."

I can affirm that there is at least one. I was the third wheel in an ffm with a married couple whom I'd met online. We communicated for a while by email, then met to "vet" each other and clicked. We were only together once but it was great all around. It really was all about the other woman and I - we are both bi/bi-leaning - and the husband just took the back seat and rolled with it; he was really there to support his wife (not that he didn't have some fun, too). The next time they were in town (they were from out of state) they called me, but by then I had moved on to a committed relationship - too bad, especially since that reln didn't work out.

I think it really helped that we weren't friends and didn't have to interact with one another outside of this setting - it was really freeing, and helped reduce the possibility for jealousy. [/TMI]

Amen lol!

Well stated and appreciated!

As a woman into BOTH a MMF and FFM

I have always wanted each, but it is hard to navigate toward achieving them in the feminist, sex& queer-positive way I would like. Fortunately, I am dating a very feminist man who says he would be comfortable with either type of threesome.

The problem now is finding the third person. I am young and travel in many queer/feminist circles, but there seems to be a mindset that planning a threesome is "skeevy" but getting drunk and having a threesome "happen" is less so.

good experience!

I'm commenting here rather than Facebook so I can remain anonymous. :) I saw that most of the Facebook commenters had had negative experiences with threesomes or thought of them as surefire relationship-ruiners. I just wanted to throw out there that my (male) partner and I just had our first threesome with a female friend, and it was awesome. We're all still friends and no relationships were ruined. I think it worked because it was something we all wanted to do--in no way was it a performance put on by the women for the guy. Also, it took my partner and I four years of monogamy and a lot of discussion/negotiation to feel that we were ready to fulfill the fantasy.

Now we're on the lookout for a guy to join us... and no, the two guys will definitely not be ignoring each other. ;)

another good experience

I have experienced a MMF and several FFM threesomes. All were enjoyable, positive experiences for me. I have been part of the established couple as well as the third for an established couple, none of my experiences were between unattached people. Threesomes can be wonderfully sex positive and help the couple think outside the ownership paradigm of relationships in addition to creating a fun way to really talk about sex and sexual fantasy.

Porn culture

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's often an assumption

There's often an assumption that threesomes are something that happens purely for sexual reasons as well, and that it has nothing to do with love or a connection. Usually threesomes are spoken of as a couple looking for a third person, or three people who are not involved with each other at all and just looking for a good time.

I am in a committed polyfidelitous triad.

I did a MMF with two guys

I did a MMF with two guys I'd never seen before and never saw again. I think there can be some balance between "doing your best friend" and "doing a stranger." That's why swingers sites (adultfriendfinder, etc) are kinda cool, because you can "meet" people online, get to "know" them, maybe meet up (just like any other dating site, or hell, even us Jezzies meet up for drinks and discussion) and kinda become friends, but yet not in the same circle of friends. So you get to do someone who a) knows what you like and what you're into, b) is cool but not your bf, so you can keep those worlds separate if you so prefer, and c) isn't a complete stranger.

As a veteran.....

.....of a MFF threesome with a married couple and a FFF with a good pal and her then-girlfriend I can emphatically agree with the idea that threesomes should be planned out ahead of time as much as is humanly possible to avoid the oft-inevitable drama and minefield effect. Frankly, in my world view--I don't understand all the up tight crap that ensues. The drunken, casual hot tub orgy has it's place under certain circumstances but it's best to negotiate even the most basic boundaries and parameters. I think the new age sexual pressure to engage in ANY type of threesome needs to be banished from our collective consciences. As the author stated, "If you ain't into it, don't do it." Down with tyrannical sexual pressures!

Men will never admit that

Men will never admit that they have wondered what it's like to be with a man. The straightest of the straightest men have had these thoughts, but societies standards would never let a man live it down. So I can't really let it piss me off anymore. Well, let's say that I don't like that it is the way it is, but I'm not going to hold it against a guy personally.

Renegade Bitch!
AKA Wicked Bitch of the Best!

mmf

Id love to have mmf 3sums,but if the other guy was "strait" ,it would be a waste of effort.I think I need a sexy gay FWB guy.A 3way would be the perfect setting for any guy that wanted to experiment,but as a guy,I have a hang up about the other guy not wanting the guy guy part of a 3way. It would be a let down if it was a "strait" only experience

I've never considered sex

I've never considered sex with a dude. It just doesn't get me going.

I would do a FMM if my girlfriend said, hey. can I bang you and another guy at the same time? I'd be pissed personally if she went oh yeah we can do FMM but no MFF, that's gross, so I feel for women that get that response for FMM.

The Golden Rule LMAO!

Just for shits and giggles! It's not gay if it's in a 3-way lol!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/243571

Bed, Bath & Beyond: Three Times the Fun? Or Just Sloppy Thirds?

Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this website before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it's new
to me. Nonetheless, I'm definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back
regularly!