Proposition Season: Is Three Really A Crowd?

Proposition Season: Is Three Really A Crowd?

Anyone that knows me can tell you that I'm the less adventurous friend out of the group. The designated driver...the one that doesn't do all of the crazy ish that the powers that be say we're supposed to do during our 20s. But I'm also what you may call an introverted extrovert. You know the type of person that isn't overtly friendly, but friendly enough to make you comfortable. Sometimes people get a bit TOO comfortable with me. Within 5 minutes of meeting them, I know their entire life story from how many kids they have to the latest episode of "Cheaters" they were featured in last week. Not that I'm complaining, but my ears have heard some pretty wild things and I often end up in scenarios like the ones I'm about to describe. Despite me being used to folks divulging too much information on a first encounter, I was still shocked to find out that I was set to star in the local rendition of Trois at a party a little while ago. If you're not familiar with the film here's a hint: three bodies...getting freaky, at the same time, all in agreement. Enough said.

Let's start with one of the first times I was presented with the option to experience whether or not "two is better than one." Like any other single gal in the city, I was at a house party with friends one weekend. The atmosphere was nice, people were cool and the hosts were very hospitable. After a good couple of hours, the atmosphere sort of...changed. It went from a good time to well...potentially a really good time for a few people there. Just imagine being on the Gold Coast and driving west into Cabrini Green. A quick change of scenery. Lights off. Music switched to something that you're more likely to hear at a strip club than a house gathering. So I'm a good three drinks in and it's obvious that I'm slightly buzzed. I guess that's what the couple was waiting for in order to make their move. I'm approached by the guy first:

Him: "You're very attractive Shantell, yea... you're real ****ing sexy."

Me: "Thanks..."

Him: (calls girlfriend over) "Baby what you think? I'd give her a go."

Her:  (big smile) "Yea...I've had my eye on her since she came through the door. And you know what? (steps up to me) If I want you I'm going to get you."

Me: (nervous giggle) "What the hell? Look...I don't know what's popping off here but I'm gonna have to pass." (politely excuses self)

Now if this would have only happened once to me I wouldn't have found it to be so odd; but the fact that it has occurred on more than one occasion has me wondering if I'm the only one that wasn't aware of what I'd like to refer to as "proposition season." While catching up with a very married, seemingly faithful friend on Facebook, it was revealed that he's in a similar relationship. So when he invited me into he and his wife's bed, floor, couch and/or hotel suite, I kindly declined and we went on with regular conversation. I'd like to disclaim that by no means was I offended. Hell I was even flattered. Threesomes just aren't my thing.

The two instances above, along with a few others got me to thinking about relationships, marriage and how it's evolving. There used to be a time when couples only shared their bodies and bed with each other. Having a threesome could only be a fantasy. Not so much in this day and age. This isn't particularly surprising to me seeing as though marriage is constantly being redefined to accommodate a growing population of those who don't fall into traditional categories and as these subgroups continue to strive for marriage equality, we can only expect for the definition to change.

One thing that I can say is the couples seemed to be very comfortable with their arrangements and have a pretty solid understanding of each others' needs, wants and desires. They also seem to do it regularly. After I politely rejected the couple's proposition, they simply moved on to someone who was more comfortable with their request. They exited to the bedroom and the party didn't see them for the rest of the evening. As for the friend who I connected with on Facebook, he's been married to his wife for 6 years now. They credit most of the success of their union to their blatant honesty with each other in terms of attraction and desire for other people. I wonder if this forced idea of traditional monogamy is doing more harm than good to relationships. Perhaps if people were more honest with each other there would be less cheating and divorces. Who knows? Now I prefer fully committed, monogamous relationships, but I can't help but ask, Is three really a crowd?


Filed under: Sex and Relationships


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  • Dan Savage calls it "monogom-ish."

    I think the trend towards equal marriage rights has opened the door for bi-sexuals to feel more comfortable being honest with themselves. Hell -- it's even become sort of mainstream (Katy Perry, girl kisses everywhere, etc.).

    And yeah, if both parties are honest and down it can help bring some fire back into a monogomish relationship. ;-) (I can see where being the third party might be an awkward position, though!)

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Good point Dan. What's interesting is that the couple's who propositioned me claimed that the fire never left. They were merely acting on the natural instinct of wanting to be intimate with more than one person at the same time.

  • I would think a successful three-way would depend on your perspective. If you're the man and you have two chicks with low self esteem just trying to impress you, then yes, I'm sure it's great.

    If you're the "extra" the couple picks up at the bar, I'd just it would be awkward. Obviously the man isn't going to pay that much attention to you as not to make the wife jealous because one wrong move and there would be long-term repercussions so basically you're dehumanized and used as purely a sex object. Come on feminists, what have we learned?? Chop chop, just say no to this crap!

    Finally, from the wife's point of view it seems like a control thing over the husband. Like, "do this, but the second you take it too far, I'll kill you" etc. Like waving a giant pizza over a starving person and saying "just one bite!" Either that, or the wife knows the man is going to cheat anyway and she's trying to save her marriage. Either way, these are not healthy attitudes in a relationship.

    I'd never have a three way in my marriage. You don't want to open that door because it will stay open when you're not around. I've never bought this "spice it up" crap because the only thing spicy will be the divorce battle.

  • Interesting perspective Jenna. From what I gather, you feel like threesomes are a result of negative feelings such as control or low self esteem. So no to people just acting on what they feel are natural urges?

  • In reply to Shantell Jamison:

    Oh, sure they're natural urges - to control, to conquest, to appease, to be admired. But are they the smart thing to do in a marriage? No.

  • I know plenty of feminists who engage as the third in a threesome. I think they see themselves as holding as much power as anyone in the sex act. I mean... there are different levels of what the man AND the woman who are in the relationship are allowed to do (and plenty that allow each other to go all the way). I'm not sure anyone holds anything over anybody else's head if all three are equally attracted to each-other. Since no other animal even attempts to be monogamous, I've no doubt that two people who feel the same way could find each other and have a long and healthy relationship.

  • I completely agree with Jenna...

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    I really enjoyed this post Shantell Jamison. I truly do think that three is a crowd. I never understood the idea of open relationships and allowing people into your bedroom. I personally think that open relationships aren't real ones because you're taking self-control out of the mix. However, as always, to each his own....or should I say to each their own, hehe.

  • In reply to Terrence Chappell:

    lol..Terrence I agree. I don't think it's a matter of self control though, just a matter of preference but I do wonder how much traditional values of marriage influence monogamy. Good observation.

  • Interesting post. Self control is clearly a major deciding point but for whatever reason, this is a growing and ongoing choice for many couples. For many it works and others it does not . But it will not go away anytime soon. To each his or her own I say.

  • No way is it a good idea to have a threesome. You are giving away intimacy with your husband or significant other. Also if they have been with you x number of years and there is new excitement with the other they will pursue them outside of your relationship for fun on the side and frequently leave the wife in the long run. That is the least of your concerns if the other falls for them and starts to want them to love them back or even stalk them. If you want a threesome stick to doing it with 2 people that are not important to your soul just for fun.

  • I've never been in a threesome but I do find the idea exciting. (as would most other men) If I were to engage, it would be because the woman would be into it as much as I. I've nearly been there on a couple of occasions. The woman was actually the aggressor into that space and definitely not lacking for self esteem or otherwise. She had been in a marriage previously where they would share other women together and separately.

    Jenna's opinion on this topic is clearly negative and condemning.
    The point being, just because it's not for you and you can't wrap your mind around the fact that some people enjoy sex in different ways - you should not demonize them for their likes and preferences.
    It's not just about being treated as an object. Yes there are girls out there that just do things because they want the attention of a guy or what have you (such as those that start out making out with other girls at the bar for men's attention) but somebody who is confident in themselves, their sexuality and knows that they want. That is a different playing field altogether.

  • In reply to thecombine:

    To add to my comment, the simple basis for a healthy experience (as well as a healthy monogamous relationship) is this:
    Open communication, understanding expectations and honesty.
    If you both want it, then you can go for it and it be a great experience. If you're insecure and jealous, then you should not by any circumstance even attempt such a thing.

  • In reply to thecombine:

    I'm not condemning them. Fine, do whatever you want, it's not my life. You make it sound like I don't approve, like a person might not approve of gay sex etc. That's not my opinion at all! No one needs "approval" to do anything anyway. Free world.

    I just don't think it's a wise thing to do in marriage because while in an ideal world, sure, everyone's just after good times, but in reality, someone is going to get hurt.

  • Jenna, that's because your comments all are judgmental and negative:
    "two chicks with low self esteem just trying to impress"
    "If you're the "extra" the couple picks up at the bar, I'd just it would be awkward."
    "Obviously the man isn't going to pay that much attention to you as not to make the wife jealous"
    "basically you're dehumanized and used as purely a sex object"
    " just say no to this crap!"
    "it seems like a control thing over the husband."
    "the wife knows the man is going to cheat anyway"

    Have you ever had a threesome or do you just expect every situation to come out like this?

    For a lot of people, they should only have a threesome if it's before emotional attachments come in to play sure, because most people can't handle it. It takes a certain level of emotional maturity and self confidence to be able to handle it. Also the fact of the matter is, if you're looking at it as a means to revive a dying sexual relationship, then you should consider other options. If you already have a good sex life and want to push the boundaries and expand your sexual horizons, this is a more ideal situation to explore.

    There are certain circumstances with which this is good and which it is bad. You made it out to be a negative all around. I am here to provide another perspective. It's not all bad. It's not all good. Though a threesome usually is going to be best done with someone you don't know so that there isn't a potential issue along the way.

  • In reply to thecombine:

    1. My sexual history is none of your business.

    2. Your sex life is none of my business. I don't care what you do. Swing from the rafters. And when your wife leaves you, I'll say I told you so.

  • PS - My apologies Combine. I just realized you are not married. You are a single guy hoping to score *two* presumably attractive, unattached girls with no promises for a threesome. HA HA. Good luck with that, big guy. You and every other guy out there.

    I didn't understand why you were so mad at my comment - you're afraid of me dissuading your potential "lovers". It makes sense why you're mad now. You may fine you'll have enough trouble without my measly comment on a blog ruining your game.

    If you're still "excited" for this to happen, just keep in mind a party like that might cost you something ;)

    Good luck!

  • I agree with thecombine. I have a "friend" (ahem, ahem) who's had a threesome with her significant other. It's what works for their relationship so far (and let's be honest, in any relationship, you can only comment about how well something is working in the present tense, as we are creatures who grow and learn new things and change our minds and develop new opinions, ideas, wants, etc.), and the only hard thing -- and it can be a very hard, lonely thing -- about it for her is knowing that there are many women out there who would judge her negatively for doing this. A man has a threesome with his girlfriend and his friends high-five him and say "cool" and that's the end of it. A girl has a threesome with her boyfriend and, unless she's lucky enough to have some pretty open-minded friends, she either keeps it to herself or she has to endure hours of the judgment-tinged, "wow, there's no way I could let my guy be with another woman," or the sudden weirdness where now her friends wonder if they are being considered as the next third party to be brought into the mix.

    So, based on my "friend's" advice, I would say a few things:

    1) again, thecombine is right -- threesomes are not for everyone and what works for one relationship or one person might not work for another. If you get jealous when you catch your partner checking someone else out or if you have trust issues due to being hurt in the past -- a threesome probably isn't right for you. Also, if you are curious and want to give it a try, remember that what works for you one time might need to be left as a one-time thing ... so be sure you are honest with your partner. He/she might be disappointed if you agree to a threesome one time, have an awesome time, but then decide that it's not really something you have an interest in doing again. But it may just have to be the way it is. A threesome only works if everyone is comfortable with it and knows the parameters. If you're faking your enjoyment of it to make your partner happy, or if you're feeling bad in some way about doing it and hiding it from your partner, that will only work for so long before it bites you and your relationship in the fanny.

    2) to any girls out there who are on the fence, it might be important to consider whether you are the sort of person who needs to have a friend -- other than your partner -- whom you can talk to about it. And if it is important to you, you'll need to think about whether you do have friends who are open-minded enough to let this be about your relationship and about how it affects you, with no judgment -- intentional or otherwise.

    3) Make sure you and your partner are in agreement in advance about how openly you each can talk about your adventures with friends. If you choose not to tell your friends, but your guy tells all his friends ... guys, I love ya, but you're worse for gossiping than most women, and therefore it ultimately will end up out there among people whom you may not have wanted to know too much about your personal life.

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