Op-ed: Are You the Odd Man Out?

By Tyler Curry

Originally published on Advocate.com March 01 2013 5:00 AM ET

The introduction of a third party into the bedroom hardly raises an eyebrow in the gay community. The inevitable flirtation with the idea has fluttered through the minds (and computer screens) of every gay man at one point in time. And how could it not?

A threesome used to be something confined to the late hours of a Saturday night or a winter getaway to Fort Lauderdale. But ever more often, we see the guest star stay over and even show up at the brunch table the next morning for what is typically reserved for gossip about the night before. Yes, threesome relationships are practically a trend in gay culture. However, it seems only a matter of time after the third person hops into the bed that someone inevitably falls out.

Over the past decade, I have observed several of these “thruples” in action. Although the beginning might bring back a spark that had all but fizzled out in an existing relationship, the spark typically leads to a flame that turns into a fire. Eventually, one of the three lovebirds is burned altogether and we’re back to two.

In every gay man’s circle of friends, there is always that couple known for owning a “California King” for a good reason. I know that in my gaggle, I can think of more than a few.

Usually, one person in a relationship has more of a wandering eye than the other. The other may enjoy the act but is more concerned with keeping his boyfriend content (come hell or high sex drive). To this man I give caution. Far too often I have seen this poor guy eventually annexed only to have the new fixation take his place on the Christmas card.

If you must allow your boyfriend to bring home strays, keep an eye on them and kindly prepare their belongings once you all have caught your breath. If you notice that your boyfriend is interested in cuddling afterward, you have a problem on your hands. Nobody wants to cuddle after sex unless there are feelings involved. Nobody.

Now, if you are reading this on the doorstep of what used to be the house you two shared, don’t fret. The type of man who requires an extra in the bedroom and wants to keep him around for breakfast is never satisfied. He’s the kind of guy who typically holds the power in the relationship (whether that be money, good looks, or both) and is used to getting what he wants. Eventually, the bedroom will start taking applications again, and the new boyfriend will start to sweat. So if you are still sore after the fall from the bedside, don’t worry. They go out the same way they came in.

Sometimes two men of the same insatiable disposition will meet. This couple can create a bond that withstands a repeat guest. They might even develop feelings for their newfound plaything, but don’t be fooled. If two men can build a life together where their “happily ever after” includes a few guest stars here and there who are welcome to take an extended stay in domestic bliss, it is the third party who should take heed. If you meet this couple, don’t be fooled by their sweet talk, beautiful home decor and stellar cooking skills. You are a pawn in their game, and the pawn always gets played. In this case, it is you who needs to make a swift exit before the sun rises.

Of course, discerning between the desires that straddle the line of love and sex is about as easy as trying to talk some sense into a Tea Party member. No matter how logical your reasoning may be, it can be lost once tight T-shirts, cute smiles, and vodka come into play. But in the cold light of day, there is still a method to how the heart works once our libido has waned.

Dating is tricky, to say the least. More and more so in the gay community, the barrier lines that define a couple become blurred. For the romantic at heart, this can lead to unrealistic expectations — especially if there is one of the two in particular that strikes your fancy. That handsome face may light up for you at night, but most likely it will still hold allegiance to the boyfriend who is now making you coffee. And if you do, in fact, succeed in stealing one of them, you better have a strategy in place to ensure the 2.0 version of you doesn’t come along and do the same.

Ultimately, it’s your choice to flirt with a threesome every now and then. But if it's love you are looking for, just remember you deserve more than playing the understudy when you should be the leading man. Whether you are a couple or the new edition, make sure to never compromise what you want for someone else’s benefit. Sex can be just that, but if your heart is in play, then it will surely get hurt when you share the spotlight.

And no matter what, “thruples” will never be the new couple.

 

TYLER CURRY created the Needle Prick Project, photographed by David Leggett, as an editorial campaign to elicit a candid and open conversation on what it means to be HIV-positive today. To learn more about the Needle Prick Project, visit Facebook.com/getpricked or follow Tyler Curry on Twitter at @iamtylercurry.