What a man who did a PhD in threesomes learned about sex

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What a man who did a PhD in threesomes learned about sex

Men are more open than women to threesomes but are also more likely to be disappointed, according to a sociologist who has researched the sexual activity.

Dr Ryan Scoats, who works at Birmingham City University, was inspired to investigate threesomes by his own three-way experiences because he wanted to understand other people’s perspectives.

“I was surprised by how little threesomes were talked about in academic literature considering the wealth of literature on things like anal sex, swinging, open relationships,” he told The Independent. “Being that a PhD should be about expanding knowledge and understanding I felt that the topic of threesomes gave me the greatest scope to do this.”

Dr Scoats delved into the phenomenon at what seems like a turning point, as the stigma surrounding it falls away. The prevalence of porn and relationships which deviate from the monogamous norm mean have helped to “normalise” behaviour like threesomes, Dr Scoats suggests.

A separate 2016 survey of 274 heterosexual people aged between 18 to 25 published in the ‘Archives of Sexual  Behaviour’ showed that almost a quarter of men and eight per cent of women have had a threesome, while 82 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women are interested in hooking up in a trio.

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In one part of his study, Dr Scoats spoke to 30 male students: a third of whom had threesomes by their second year of study and six who had more than one. Another test involved him speaking to a number of women.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, young people are more likely to engage in three-ways than older people, as they are at a stage in their lives when they are interested in exploring their sexuality. However, Dr Scoats was surprised to find that some people had threesomes at the age of 15, 16 and 17. “To me this suggests that it is important to educate young people in how to navigate these sexual experiences in a positive way, because some of them are going to do them anyway,” he says.

Men are often motivated to indulge in threesomes in order to gain sexual experience and to say that they have had one, he added, while women are more diverse in their reasons. Some of the women he interviewed used threesomes to explore their sexuality, to make their partner happy, and to seize the opportunity to sleep with a specific person.

But he noticed a trend that men tended to be more disappointed in their experiences, thinking they were not as good as they had expected, whereas women tended to feel that they had been better than they would have imagined them being.

The research also revealed that as homophobia has diminished, men appear to be more comfortable having sex in the presence of other men, although a lack of data makes it difficult to compare this to anything stresses Dr Coats.

“For a long time women have not faced the same sort of stigma as men for engaging in sexual acts with and or around other women, in fact, it is sometimes a cultural expectation,” he said. “Thus this lesser stigma allows women more opportunity to engage in FFM threesomes should they so wish.

“Men see it as a bonding experience, rather than a homosexualising experience,” he suggests. “This bonding was also usually not at the expense of the woman – although on occasion it was. Related to this, the women I spoke to frequently appeared to feel free to pursue the types of sex they wanted to, and were comfortable in saying no to things that they didn’t want- they demonstrated a lot of sexual agency.”

“The overarching theme of my findings would be that threesome sex is very similar to two person sex in that people do it for all sorts of reasons, and have both positive and negative experiences,” he added.  “Likewise, the people that have threesomes are from all walks of life, and are just regular people.”

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