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

Ashley E. Thompson, McKenna K. Osborn, Katie Gooch, Mariah Ravet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3021-3031
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of sexual behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study received no funding or financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Mixed-sex threesomes
  • Multi-person sex
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Threesomes
  • Orgasm
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Heterosexuality
  • Humans
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Male
  • Sexual Partners

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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