Picture: Max Pixel
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 said. 

“A PhD should be about expanding knowledge so I felt the topic of threesomes gave me the greatest scope to do so.”

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 that deviate from the monogamous norm have helped to “normalise” behaviour like threesomes, he said.

A 2016 survey of 274 heterosexual people aged 18-25 published in the “Archives of Sexual Behaviour” showed almost a quarter of men and 8% of women have had a threesome, while 82% of men and 31% of women are interested in hooking up in a trio.

Scoats spoke to 30 male students; a third of whom had threesomes by their second year and six who had more than one. He also spoke to a number of women.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, young people are more likely to engage in three ways than older people, as they are interested in exploring their sexuality. 

Scoats was surprised to find that some people had threesomes at the age of 15, 16 or 17. 

“To me this suggests it is important to educate young people in how to navigate these sexual experiences in a positive way.”

Men were often motivated to indulge in threesomes to gain sexual experience and to say they’ve had one, he said. Women are more diverse in their reasons. 

Some used threesomes to explore their sexuality, to make their partner happy or 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 they had been better than they would’ve 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.

“Men see it as a bonding, rather than a homosexualising experience,” he suggests. 

“The overarching finding 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. 

"Likewise, those who have threesomes are from all walks of life.” 

The Independent