Ménage à trois

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Postcard, c. 1910

A ménage à trois (English: "household of three") is a domestic arrangement in which three people have romantic or sexual relations with each other, typically occupying the same household. A form of polyamory, contemporary arrangements are sometimes identified as a throuple[1] or thruple.[2]

Historical instances[edit]

History has a number of examples of ménages à trois relationships.

Speculation exists that, in 1547–48, Queen Catherine Parr, widow of Henry VIII, and her fourth husband Thomas Seymour were involved in a ménage with the future Queen Elizabeth. This is probably exaggerated, although episodes of sexually charged horseplay involving the three were well attested.[3][4]

In his youth, thirteen years her junior, the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a protégé of the French noblewoman Françoise-Louise de Warens, who would become his first lover. He lived with her at her estate on and off since his teenage years, and in 1732, after he reached the age of 20, she initiated a sexual relationship with him while also being open about her sexual involvement with the steward of her house.[5]

The German intellectual Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer, her husband Mattheus Rodde and the French philosopher Charles de Villers also had a ménage à trois from 1794 until her husband's death in 1810.[6]

Sir William Hamilton (British ambassador to Naples), his wife Emma Hamilton, and her lover, the naval hero Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, were in a ménage à trois from 1799 until Nelson's death in 1805.[7]

At the age of 16, in 1813, the future author of Frankenstein, Mary Godwin, eloped with her to-be husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and engaged in a ménage with Claire Clairmont, future lover of Lord Byron, with whom the Shelleys would later have an extensive relationship.[8]

The political philosopher Friedrich Engels lived in a ménage à trois with his mistress Mary Burns and her sister Lizzie.[9]

In 1882 the Russian-born psychoanalyst and author Lou Andreas-Salomé invited the German philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Paul Rée to live with her, both of whom were in love with her. She kept her relationship with the two men celibate.[10] Later she married a third man, Friedrich Carl Andreas, with whom she was also celibate.[11]

The author E. Nesbit lived with her husband Hubert Bland and his mistress Alice Hoatson, and raised their children as her own.[12]

In 1913, psychoanalyst Carl Jung began a relationship with a young patient, Toni Wolff, which lasted for some decades. Deirdre Bair, in her biography of Carl Jung,[13] describes his wife Emma Jung as bearing up nobly as her husband insisted that Toni Wolff become part of their household, saying that Wolff was "his other wife".

The Russian and Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky lived with Lilya Brik, who was considered his muse, and her husband Osip Brik, an avant garde writer and critic.[14][15]

The writer Aldous Huxley and his first wife Maria engaged in a ménage with Mary Hutchinson, a friend of Clive Bell.[16]

From 1939, Erwin Schrödinger, his wife Annemarie Bertel, and his mistress Hilde March had a ménage à trois.[17][18]

In 1963 the actress Hattie Jacques lived with her husband John Le Mesurier and her lover John Schofield.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Throuple Relationships vs Threesomes Explained: What It's Like To Be In A Three-Person Romance, HuffPost, 2016 July 28.
  2. ^ A thruple of a married male couple and their girlfriend want to have kids, PinkNews, 2017 November 22.
  3. ^ Starkey, David (2000-04-27), Elizabeth, Chatto & Windus, ISBN 0-7011-6939-7
  4. ^ Porter, Linda (2010-03-19), Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, Macmillan, ISBN 0-230-71039-5
  5. ^ Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1987), Confessions, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-31500-5
  6. ^ Poulet, Anne L. (2003-12-12), "Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer (1770–1825)", Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment, University of Chicago Press, p. 319, ISBN 0-226-67647-1
  7. ^ Constantine, David (2001-03-08), Fields of Fire: a life of Sir William Hamilton, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, p. 242 et seq., ISBN 1-84212-581-8
  8. ^ Treasure, Geoffrey Russell Richards (1998-01-01). Who's who in British History: A-H. Taylor & Francis. p. 1115. ISBN 9781884964909.
  9. ^ Hands, Gill (2015). Marx: A complete introduction. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. p. 35. ISBN 9781473608696.
  10. ^ Hollingdale, R. J. (28 April 1999). Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 149–151. ISBN 9780521640916. JSTOR 2024055.
  11. ^ Mark M. Anderson, "The Poet and the Muse", The Nation, 3 July 2006, pp. 40–41.
  12. ^ Perrin, Noel (2003-09-01). A Child's Delight. University Press of New England. p. 106. ISBN 1-58465-352-3.
  13. ^ Bair, Deirdre (2003-11-13), Jung: A Biography, Boston: Little, Brown, ISBN 0-316-07665-1
  14. ^ Gray, du Plessix Gray (2006-06-06), Them: A Memoir of Parents, New York: Penguin Press, pp. 51–52, ISBN 0-14-303719-6, In 1918, when Mayakovsky and the Briks became inseparable, he simply moved in with them. Throughout the rest of his life, he made his home at a succession of flats that the Briks occupied.
  15. ^ Elena Golovin (June 2000), Караван Историй [Caravan Stories] (in Russian), retrieved 2013-09-06
  16. ^ Mars-Jones, Adam (2002-04-06), "Aldous and His Women", The Observer, retrieved 2013-09-06, Aldous was shy and impractical, not the sort of man who could manage adultery without help from his wife. The correspondence with Mary Hutchinson makes clear that Maria was not merely complicit but actively 'omnifutuent', to borrow her husband's splendid word for bisexuality.
  17. ^ Moore, Walter J. (1992-05-29), Schrödinger: Life and Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-43767-9
  18. ^ Daugherty, Brian. "Brief Chronology". Erwin Schrödinger. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  19. ^ BBC Four: Hattie

Further reading[edit]

  • Birbara Finocster, Michael Foster, Letha Friehakd. Three in Love: Ménages à trois from Ancient to Modern Times. ISBN 0-595-00807-0.
  • Vicki Vantoch. The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to sleeping with three. ISBN 9781568583334.

External links[edit]