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This article is about sexual activities involving three people. For other uses, see Threesome (disambiguation).
"Three-way" redirects here. For other uses, see 3-way (disambiguation).
Sex acts involving a man and two women

In human sexuality, a threesome is sexual activity that involves three people at the same time.[1][2] Threesome can also refer to a love triangle, a three-way romantic relationship. Though threesome is most commonly applied to a casual sexual activity involving sexual activity among three participants, a threesome may also be found in a long-term domestic relationship, such as polyamory or a ménage à trois.[1]

A threesome is a form of group sex, but involving only three people. It may occur more frequently in private situations, such as spontaneous sexual activity among three friends, or arranged in a community of like-minded swingers or planned as a once-only experience;[3] and rarely in anonymous settings, such as at orgies or other sex parties. Among swinging couples, one of the two partners is often the driving force and the other is more passive-supportive of the addition of additional sex parties. Some couples use a threesome as a way to develop a love triangle (ménage à trois).[4]

A threesome is a common element of sexual fantasy.[1] It is commonly depicted in pornography, but very rarely in mainstream cinema.


The people involved in a threesome may have any combination of gender and sexual orientation. Each participant may engage in any type of sex act with one or both of the others, such as vaginal, anal or oral sex or mutual masturbation. One or more of the participants may engage in autoerotic sexual activity, such as masturbation, possibly without physical contact with the other participants. It is a matter of subjective definition whether participation of a third person without physical contact constitutes a threesome. This may relate to fetishes such as voyeurism or cuckolding. Lucky Pierre is slang for a person performing both receptive and insertive anal and/or vaginal sex simultaneously during a threesome, being positioned between the two partners.

A heterosexual threesome may involve two men and a woman, or one man and two women - that is, two men having sex with a woman (for example, in double penetration), or two women with a man. A bisexual threesome may involve a man having sex with a man and a woman, the woman having sex with a man and a woman, or all three having sex with each other. A homosexual threesome would involve either three men or three women. Other possibilities are possible, such as a man having sex with two women who are having sex with each other.[4]

Sex positions[edit]

Threesome sexual activity may take place in a number of sex positions; for example, the following:


As with all forms of sexual activity that exchange bodily fluids and involve the contact of mucous membranes, a threesome may lead to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, safe sex practices are available.


One of the few films with a threesome is the erotic thriller Wild Things (1998) and its sequels Wild Things 2 (2004) and Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (2005), all of which involved a threesome of one man and two women. Zoolander (2001), Ken Park (2002), The Dreamers (2003), Savages (2012) and On the Road (2012) all contained a threesome of two men and one woman.


  1. ^ a b c Suzanne G. Frayser, Thomas J. Whitby (1995). Studies in Human Sexuality: A Selected Guide. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 340–341. ISBN 1563081318. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ Tasha R. Howe (2011). Marriages and Families in the 21st Century: A Bioecological Approach. John Wiley & Sons. p. 109. ISBN 1405195010. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ Marie Claire, September 10, 2011: How I Planned a Ménage à Trois
  4. ^ a b Shere Hite, The Hite Report: The sexual experience of women, Munich, 1989