159370318_m.jpg

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our sexual interests and behaviors in many ways, which I’ve covered extensively on the blog (see here for a recap). But something that hasn’t really been explored yet is how interest in threesomes and group sex have changed. How do people feel about multi-partner activities in a time of social distancing?

During the pandemic, sex clubs and parties (places where group activities often take place) were largely shut down. Thus, people’s opportunities for threesomes, foursomes, and moresomes were quite limited. So did this create some pent-up interest? For many, it has.  

At the Kinsey Institute, in partnership with Lovehoney, we conducted a demographically representative survey of 2,000 Americans over the summer of 2021 to explore how people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors have evolved during the pandemic. 

One of the specific things we asked about was interest in threesomes and sex parties—and whether people are now more or less interested in these experiences. When it came to having a threesome, here’s what we found:

· 23% of Americans said they are more interested in having a threesome now than they were before the pandemic

· 29% said their interest in threesomes hasn’t changed

· 48% said they’re less interested in threesomes now

When it came to attending a sex party, the numbers were similar:

· 20% of Americans said they are more interested in attending a sex party now than they were before the pandemic

· 25% said their interest in sex parties hasn’t changed

· 55% said they’re less interested in attending a sex party now 

That said, it’s important to note that interest level varies according to several demographic factors, including age, gender, and sexual orientation. 

For example, whereas 19% of 18-24 year-olds say they’re more interested in having a threesome now, the number jumps to 27% for those in their 30s and 40s. Likewise, whereas 13% of women say they’re more interested in having a threesome, the number for men is 33% (non-binary folks are in between at 18%). Among LGBTQ+ folks, 26% are more interested in having a threesome compared to 22% of heterosexual adults. 

While more Americans say their interest in threesomes and sex parties has decreased rather than increased, the proportion saying their interest has increased is significant because most Americans have never done either of these things before. 

For example, data from a nationally representative survey conducted before the pandemic found that 18% of men and 10% of women had a threesome before, while just 6% of men and 5% of women had been to a sex party. 

So based on the numbers reporting increased interest now, we might very well see a rise in participation going forward. Data from online dating apps supports this idea. For example, Feeld (an app that caters to open-minded singles and couples) told me that threesomes have become the top desire for people using the app. 

Specifically, they said they’ve seen a 670% increase among singles reporting a threesome as their top desire. Likewise, among couples, there has been a 50% increase in seeking threesomes since 2020.

If you’re among those who are now more interested in threesomes, a question you might be wondering is how to make one happen. I get asked this a lot! So here are some things to think about:

Start by doing a little research. In my own work, I’ve seen people report a wide range of experiences with threesomes. For some, they’re great—for others, not so much. But a big part of the reason some people have less than ideal experiences is because they didn’t know how to navigate the situation. After all, this isn’t something that’s covered in sex ed! 

So you might check out a book like The Ethical Slut, which can offer some ideas on things to think about and how to determine whether threesomes and other forms of consensual non-monogamy are right for you. You’ll also learn how to communicate about boundaries with your partners, which is important for everyone—but especially when you’re going into a threesome with a romantic partner in order to prevent jealousy and other negative feelings from arising.

You might also consider a virtual threeway as a starting point to test the waters. See here for a handy guide I wrote on this subject. The virtual approach has the advantage of encouraging more communication among participants—and good sex (whether with two or more people and whether it’s online or offline) is all about the communication!

Lastly, when it comes to finding like-minded others, this is where technology can be your friend. Apps like Feeld can help you to identify people who share this interest, which can make it much easier to get the conversation started. Just introducing the idea is one of the biggest obstacles for many people, so if you can join a community where others share your interests and talking about these things is normalized, that can remove a lot of the anxiety and uncertainty.

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology? Click here for more from the blog or here to listen to the podcast. Follow Sex and Psychology on Facebook, Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit to receive updates. You can also follow Dr. Lehmiller on YouTube and Instagram.

Image Source: 123RF/charmedlightph

You Might Also Like: