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An Empirical Investigation of Variations in Outcomes Associated with Heterosexual Adults’ Most Recent Mixed-Sex Threesome Experience

A Correction to this article was published on 28 July 2022

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Abstract

Research reveals that a substantial proportion of North American adults report interest in and experience with mixed-sex threesomes (MSTs; sexual activity involving three people at the same time in which persons of more than one sex are present). Despite the prevalence of MST participation, little is known about the outcomes of MST experiences. Thus, the current study assessed MST outcomes using various metrics including the extent to which one’s most recent MST met expectations, the likelihood of participating in the MST again, and whether an orgasm was experienced. In addition, the extent to which one’s sex, the sex of those involved, and the inclusion of one’s romantic partner impacted outcomes was examined. Data from 276 heterosexual adults (217 men, 59 women) revealed that, overall, adults report fairly positive outcomes from their most recent MST and that males reported more positive outcomes than did females (particularly when engaging in a MST with two members of the other sex). In addition, MSTs involving one’s romantic partner resulted in more positive outcomes than did those with casual partners. These results confirm that MSTs can be a satisfying experience particularly for heterosexual males and those participating with a romantic partner. Implications for educators looking to destigmatize various forms of nonmonogamies and for practitioners who intend to assist adults interested in safely exploring multi-person sexual behavior are discussed.

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Notes

  1. Additional measures administered in the current study include the General Homonegativity Scale (Morrison et al., 1999), Internalized Homonegativity Inventory (IHNI; Mayfield, 2001), and the Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R; Penke, 2011). See our OSF page for all measures used (https://osf.io/47z52/?view_only=31944194573540d69af8abc038f795d8).

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank 3Fun for allowing us to recruit among their users and for generously providing incentives.

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This study received no funding or financial support.

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Correspondence to Ashley E. Thompson.

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The authors have not disclosed any competing interests.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The original version of this article was revised: The term “Mixed-Sex” in the title of this article read “Mixed-Gender” in the article as originally published.

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Thompson, A.E., Osborn, M., Gooch, K. et al. An Empirical Investigation of Variations in Outcomes Associated with Heterosexual Adults’ Most Recent Mixed-Sex Threesome Experience. Arch Sex Behav 51, 3021–3031 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-022-02299-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-022-02299-3

Keywords

  • Mixed-sex threesomes
  • Threesomes
  • Multi-person sex
  • Sexual satisfaction