Threesomes

The problem with threesomes

Share

This is my response to the criticism of the Spunout.ie threesome page by Michelle Mulherin.


 

I would like to offer my opinion on today’s publicity around Spunout.ie’s section on Threesomes on their website.

I am in fact a huge fan of the website, and as a sex educator with teens myself feel an alliance with people who are willing to offer fact based sex education in a country where we are still utterly lacking in good quality sex education for second level students.

There has been quite a negative reaction to the site’s section on Threesomes, notably the reaction of TD Michelle Mulherin. With regard to threesome sexual activity, which incidentally appears to be relatively rare, I can honestly report that I don’t hear about positive experiences. (Of course there may be psychotherapists out there who may well report something entirely different to my experience).

I am however aware of negative experiences.

What I have seen happening is that one, or more, of the threesome members have been coerced by an abusive or narcissistic person to participate in this practice. Also, I am aware that among young people in particular, pornography and its common portrayal of threesome or group sex has been used as a vehicle to normalise the behaviour and ridicule the person(s) who feel(s) uncomfortable with the notion of a threesome. It is for this reason that I am cautious about offering advice that could be perceived as ‘promotional’ around this particular practice.

But I don’t believe that Spunout’s intention is to promote. It is good and important to list how to stay safe, and they clearly refer to this. But what I would like to highlight here is that it is quite likely that people involved in threesome sex may already be unsafe in their relationship and/or have serious self esteem issues. Again, this is anecdotal and based entirely on my own professional experience. I think it’s important to reassure anyone who finds the suggestion of a threesome uncomfortable that their opinion is perfectly valid. If they feel manipulated (in any aspect of the relationship) that feeling is very much worth attending to.

Also, the fact that someone will consult sites offering advice on sex implies that they may need advice, or are less than confident already, not just simply curious. And so any sex advice site is powerful and a ‘virtual’ role model. We need to be careful about what we normalise and how we can unwittingly facilitate what many people experience as uncomfortable or worse, abusive. This is particularly so when dealing with people who may not yet be sexually active, who are just starting out. We are at our most vulnerable at this point in our lives. We need emotional education around sex as well as fact based information on sex and different sexual behaviours.

The ‘Factsnotfear’ tagline is one I like. I am glad that this discussion is happening and am strongly of the opinion that we need to talk about sex more openly with our young people. There are a lot of heads firmly planted in the sand. Young people are having sex, lots of it, and they are not being given enough information about how to enjoy it, and how to do it safely.

Because we are not giving it to them.

I accept that perhaps though, when it comes to ‘less common’ practices a more serious tone is required.

Leave a Reply