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After Memorable Ménage à Trois, Researcher Gets PhD in Threesomes...

After Memorable Ménage à Trois, Researcher Gets PhD in Threesomes...

VICE reports:

Social scientists have a way of digging into just about every corner of social and sexual life. And Ryan Scoats, a researcher at Birmingham City University, has a very specific niche.

Years ago, Scoats and his girlfriend developed a friends-with-benefits-type relationship with another woman. Curious, Scoats went looking for academic studies about him and his partner's new relationship coupling. He didn't find much, and what research did exist about threesomes often lumped them in with polyamory and swinging. But this didn't reflect his own experiences—he wasn't in an open relationship and didn't consider himself a swinger.

Wanting to know more about threesomes in their own right, he decided to conduct research on the subject himself. This led to a PhD about threesomes among two men and one woman (MMF), and a book on the same subject, to be published in 2018.

Why are threesomes worth studying? For one thing, they offer a window on attitudes toward gender roles and sexuality. "For women, for the longest time, there's been almost an inherent expectation of their inherent bisexuality or gender fluidity," Scoats notes. In some ways, in Western countries, women have more space to experiment with sexual orientation.

Still, fewer women than men have had threesomes. According to one Canadian study published earlier this year, eight percent of women and 24 percent of men reported having had a mixed-gender threesome. This research also shows that participants were also kind of lazy about arranging threesomes—unless they were men. "It is likely," authors Ashley E. Thompson and E. Sandra Byers note, "that any increase in [mixed-gender threesome] experience among heterosexuals will be driven by men rather than by women."

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