Aporia: Threesomes

by Jason Stotts

I’ve long been interested in the moral ramifications of a threesome and for just as long I have been unable to come to any firm judgement on the issue. Frankly, as I sit down to write this, I have no idea if a threesome is moral or not; which is not really the optimal position for an author to be in at the beginning of an essay.

What is holding me back from judgement is the fact that I do not ascribe to a rule based morality. I cannot merely tell myself “it is immoral because heavenly father says so” or that it’s “moral because whatever satisfies desire is moral” – they are both the positions of fools. Morality is not a set of rules about what not do to, but an integrated system of principles in order to help a human live the best life possible. As such, I am responsible for all moral judgments relating to my life. While the moral principles will help to guide me, I am responsible for applying them to the context of my own life.

With the issue of threesomes, there are no pre-existing principles that others have discovered for me. Here, as with most sexual issues, there is much work yet to be done. In order to get the foundational principles that will guide me to the answer to my question, I have had to do the work myself. To this end I wrote the essay below “What is the Purpose of Sex”. I think it answer some of the foundational questions and sets up important distinctions that are needed for any other inquiries into sexual ethics.

However, there are many questions yet to be answered. I’ve compiled some of the ones that come immediately to mind and I ask that people contribute more. I’ll use these questions as the starting point for my new essay on threesomes, so write as many questions as you can on anything even marginally related to threesomes.

  1. Should a threesome be with a couple and an outsider or with three single people?
  2. Would having a threesome with a couple hurt the established relationship?
  3. Is it morally permissible for the outsider person to join with a couple?
  4. Is sex necessarily unifying?
  5. If sex is necessarily unifying, is a threesome an improper union?
  6. Must the third person conform to the same rigorous standards of character that one would apply to a potential relationship partner or could the person merely be attractive and willing?
  7. Is there a difference between homosexual and heterosexual threesomes?
  8. Are certain actions improper in a threesome?
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