[Two Pronged] Threesome troubles

A girl agrees to a threesome but gets backlash from a jealous girlfriend

THREESOME TROUBLES. 'Maria Clara' shares her threesome troubles with Dr Margie Holmes and Jeremy Baer

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes. Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he enrolled in, and subsequently gave, workshops in work-life balance and gender sensitivity training. He has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years, as co-lecturer and occasionally as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives. Dr Holmes needs no further introduction. 

Dear Dr Holmes and Jeremy:

I am writing about a situation that I have recently experienced. Since this may be quite a controversial topic, I wish to be simply addressed as “Maria Clara.”

A man I had worked with in our industry got in touch with me via Facebook. After going around in circles, he finally admits that he would like to go to bed with me, but his girlfriend, who is bisexual (and someone I have also met,) had been asking him to invite me to have 3-way sex, or a three-some.

He claims that this would be their second time, and I tell him upfront I never had one, but that since I am very curious and adventurous sexually, I say yes.

When we meet finally, I ask if there are any rules. Both shake their heads.

“We 3 will go where we all want to.”

Now, I feel it important to note that I am very heterosexual, and have never dabbled into any sexual stuff with a girl. However, my credo on everything is that if I try one thing, no matter how unfamiliar, I must always give my 100%.

That night, I do.

But in the second hour, girlfriend becomes all weird and pushes guy away whenever he wants to focus on me. It ends up a battle between them, and I suddenly feel that the situation has become so ridiculous, curiosity be damned, as well as lust.

When she says, “You know, I can go home if you want, and you both can just finish up” to her boyfriend, I finally ask them to please dress up and leave.

Two days after, the girlfriend sends me a message asking for another night. I do not respond.

Now this is my question: 

Does a target have the right to also claim what she desires? Has she the right to have equal control of the situation?

Based on this, please help me find answers on these. Though once has been enough, perhaps other couples and singles would not have to experience such confusion as I have.

I would like to include people of all sexualities here. Perhaps, through you, and your pieces of advice and openness, we may all learn from each other regarding this topic.

I have been a “student” of yours, Dr. Holmes, since I was a teenager. Raised in a Catholic family where I always felt different about God, love, and sexuality, your books made me feel so normal, and they liberated me. –“Maria Clara”

***

Dear “Maria Clara”:

I have to admit that my gut reaction to your letter is a trifle censorious. I know intellectually that we live in a liberal age and that in theory what consenting adults do in private is entirely their business, provided no harm is done. So I should be relaxed about your story, just as I should presumably be equally relaxed when 4 guys tell me about the great time they had with a sheep over the weekend.

My wife would argue it might not have been consensual and how terrible for the sheep if it weren’t; so let me change that example to a dead chicken like the one described in her latest column: It was dead, no-one suffered, not even the chicken.

Yet whatever way I look at it, I cannot avoid feeling that there is something wrong per se about both these sorts of behavior, just as there is with coprophilia and the like. Maybe it is just a question of degree, where we each draw the line as we survey the vast spectrum of sexual behavior.

Putting aside my qualms, however, and trying to see the events through your eyes, you all willingly entered into these arrangements on the understanding that there was one basic guideline: “We 3 will go where we all want to.”

Only when it came down to it, the 3 of you were not in agreement and so the evening ended both prematurely and unsatisfactorily.

I do not have the data available to know whether such an outcome is more or less likely to occur when 3, rather than two, people come together, nor whether it is more likely if there are two men and one woman rather than one man and two women.

It strikes me though that if there are so many problems besetting relationships between couples, how much more difficult it must be to satisfy 3 people.

Perhaps deep down beneath the ‘sophisticated liberal’ veneer I am a conservative at heart because I feel your two questions “Does a target have the right to also claim what she desires? Has she the right to have equal control of the situation?” address merely the mechanics of the encounter stripped of any emotional content. Yet who am I to criticize that if it is what the 3 people involved actually want?

So my answer is that the 3 of you should set your own rules since that is the clearest way to achieve the outcome you desire. Any subsequent change to those rules should also be agreed unanimously and  anyone can leave at any time they become dissatisfied with how matters develop.

I guess this truly shows that I am a commentator rather than a professional psychologist, as comparison with what Dr Holmes writes below will only confirm. I wish you the best. — Jeremy

***

Dear “Maria Clara”:

Thanks so much for your kind words and your appreciating Jeremy’s own style of helping, which focuses a lot on the logistics and pragmatics of the situation which are just as important as the clinical, if not more so, under certain circumstances.

Focusing merely on the clinical, I feel you have been “ triangulated,” a verb I invented but which should be part of every family therapist’s lexicon. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Triangulation occurs when two people need another to prop up their relationship. Triangulation first pertained to relationships where the husband and wife are no longer a real couple and thus pretend to be concerned parents focusing on their children’s misbehavior. Usually, it is only one child, thus labeled as the “black sheep.”  

With the black sheep taking up all their time and energy, the parents can ignore the problems in their own marriage and yet not look like they are, and the other children are free to be successful.

Looked at this way, the black sheep (BS) is actually performing a valuable service, at least to families who avoid, rather than address, their problems. In this sense, the BS is actually merely the identified patient (IP), the purported reason the family initially goes to the therapist for help.

If the therapist is a true professional, s/he can uncover the underlying dynamics of the situation and her/his timely interventions can actually help the couple and thus help the entire family. Rarely is the BS the real problem.

I have not observed the dynamics among the 3 of you, and thus cannot be sure my hypothesis (that you have been triangulated because even if only on an unconscious level, they knew their relationship needed help) is the only reason they behaved as they did during your threesome.

If you wanted to be poetic/dramatic, one might even say that your body was the battlefield on which each hoped to establish dominion over the other and I am so happy you stopped the engagement before it got any further.  

Thank you for refusing to be the BS and with any luck, you as the therapist will help them look at their relationship more closely.

Being therapeutic was not a role you signed up for.  You may have been “the target” as you so accurately described, but if they followed the rules of engagement they themselves set, you would definitely have had your curiosity satisfied and your lust slaked.

You were not only fair, but wise, to refuse to go further when they broke their own rules.  I have a feeling you will continue imbued with that wisdom, should you change your mind and engage in another threesome, or indeed, decide not to (a concession added to appease Jeremy and societal norms).  Good luck and take care of your bodymind — Margie 

– Rappler.com

(Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email desk@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED.)

               

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