Network sitcom introduces a "throuple"

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Single Parents on ABC (now in its 3rd season) had a couple characters, a male and a female, in a relationship, and it's just been revealed they share a lover. Of course a MF couple is sharing someone! At least, this time it's a male.

https://www.salon.com/2020/01/29/polyamory-single-parents-throuple-non-monogamy-jj-philbin/

But good lord. Once again, it's assumed that polyamory (or polyam, as this article insists on calling it) is all about threeways and group sex.

There is an invented poly dating app where the characters met, called Big Bed. The article reveals other ideas the show's writers had for names for this app. Oh lord.

Everybody Get in Here!
Stackr
Group Hug
Thrindr
Repeat the Threepeat
Tryangle
The More the Merrier
All Welcome
California King

Excuse me while I go puke. Those terms describe a swinger's orgy, NOT POLYAMORY!

In the group of writers for the show, supposedly one of the women is poly. She was their only source for poly issues. Yay.

Discuss.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
It's probably going to be a long time before polyamory is represented properly on (movies and) TV. Possibly longer than I'll be alive. I expect most of it to be "unicorn poly," it is actually lucky that in this case it's M/F + M instead of the usual M/F + F. Most people, when they think of poly, think of swinging and orgies, that is the most popular perception of poly and hence what I expect to see on TV, when poly is represented at all. I only hope (and expect) that realistic poly will eventually become popular.

There is a web series called Unicornland, it's all about M/F + F arrangements which is disappointing, but other than that I think it's well done and an enjoyable series, if one must get more of the unicorn trope, this is the series I recommend.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
It's very rare that I watch something on network television so I haven't seen it. I think it is cool that at least they didn't make it the usual mff throuple. It's still the mononormative 2+1 though. I would love to see a series based on a more complicated polycule, but I think someone would actually have to be poly to write it.

On the positive side, at least it's something. Yes it's frustrating, but it takes a long time to make something mainstream. Remember when there were no gay characters on TV? Then they would have a quick bit part that was usually a very swishy gay guy mostly poking fun at it. Now it's not even a big deal to have gay characters or even a show based around it. What I just described took 40 years to accomplish.
 

AlwaysGrowing

Active member
I watch the show. Saw the episode. Thought it was handled okay-ish.

Two of the main characters sees their friend's gf with another man. They go to his house later to tell him and find that the gf and the guy are there. They all then sit down as the three polyamorous folks explain their relationships and that they all spend time together as a "throuple" and in individual dyads. Yeah, the app name is iffy but overall it showed two guys who are comfortable with fluid sexuality, a woman who has and respects boundaries, and a group with good communication and no shame.

Perfect? Far from it, but much better than the typical mf couple needing a female third to complete them.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I watch the show. Saw the episode. Thought it was handled okay-ish.

Two of the main characters sees their friend's gf with another man. They go to his house later to tell him and find that the gf and the guy are there. They all then sit down as the three polyamorous folks explain their relationships and that they all spend time together as a "throuple" and in individual dyads. Yeah, the app name is iffy but overall it showed two guys who are comfortable with fluid sexuality, a woman who has and respects boundaries, and a group with good communication and no shame.

Perfect? Far from it, but much better than the typical mf couple needing a female third to complete them.

Why is needing a a male to "complete" a MF couple "better"? Oh yeah, the greater stigma against male/male sex stuff stuff, I guess.

It still has nothing to do with how poly is actually practiced. It's more like the porn these days, where 2 guys can get it on, but only if there is a female sexy assistant there, as a bridge. Then it's not really "gay," because having a woman there makes it OK.

I guess they didn't actually show the 2 men out on a romantic date, or in bed in a network friendly sexual situation, without the woman present?
 

AlwaysGrowing

Active member
Why is needing a a male to "complete" a MF couple "better"? Oh yeah, the greater stigma against male/male sex stuff stuff, I guess.

It still has nothing to do with how poly is actually practiced. It's more like the porn these days, where 2 guys can get it on, but only if there is a female sexy assistant there, as a bridge. Then it's not really "gay," because having a woman there makes it OK.

I guess they didn't actually show the 2 men out on a romantic date, or in bed in a network friendly sexual situation, without the woman present?

It was a 2 minute thing on the show, so no. They did not show them without their shared female partner present. But it was not set up like they needed him to complete them either. And I didn't get the impression that they needed her to feel "not gay." Have you watched it?
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Well they couldn't possibly just be bi...lol

Speaking as a man who has had a few mmf threesomes, it doesn't feel any "less gay" (whatever that means).
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
It was a 2 minute thing on the show, so no. They did not show them without their shared female partner present. But it was not set up like they needed him to complete them either. And I didn't get the impression that they needed her to feel "not gay." Have you watched it?

No. I read the article I linked above. It maddened me with its emphasis on group sex as seemingly the point of polyamory, especially the terms they used for the so called poly dating site that was all about threeway sex. Thanks for your input.

I guess it's real progressive to have a MFM or MMF "throuple" in the show, and I should be grateful for the crumbs. But it's still so wrong. It's like they're just adding in poly to "spice things up." I was recently asked to join a 25 year old MF couple to help them "spice up" their marriage (once again), so it just gets my goat.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Well they couldn't possibly just be bi...lol

Speaking as a man who has had a few mmf threesomes, it doesn't feel any "less gay" (whatever that means).

Are you bi? Where the men doing sex stuff to each other?
 

AlwaysGrowing

Active member
They didn't show them in sexual situations. They showed the woman and man on a date in public then all of them were fully clothed in the home. The main character (male) sat in the middle, having physical contact with both his partners.

I personally didn't find it very sexual at all besides the app name. But it's a sitcom. Even the heteronormative apps on sitcoms have borderline offensive names so I count it as a win that it was portrayed as a valid choice that was met with (shock but) acceptance.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
They didn't show them in sexual situations. They showed the woman and man on a date in public then all of them were fully clothed in the home. The main character (male) sat in the middle, having physical contact with both his partners.

I personally didn't find it very sexual at all besides the app name. But it's a sitcom. Even the heteronormative apps on sitcoms have borderline offensive names, so I count it as a win that it was portrayed as a valid choice that was met with (shock but) acceptance.

Thanks!
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Are you bi? Where the men doing sex stuff to each other?

I'm... complicated...lol. I think I fall under heteroflexible more than bi. To me, bi suggests a sort of equality, same with pan. I prefer women, but will have sex with guys on occasion. My ratio of women to men is around 50:10 so around 5:1 or thereabouts.

I've only had one ongoing threesome that was mmf. He was gay, not bi. The girl was my live-in gf at the time. She was the one I've mentioned before that was super jealous when we had a mff thing going with a friend. I chuckled at what you said because it actually felt super gay as it was the first time I had sex with a guy in front of a woman. It was all good though. Funny thing was she had absolutely no jealousy when it was with another guy, but was very jealous with the other girl even though she initiated that.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Oh, meant to add that you would probably be surprised how into group sex younger poly people are. It was huge in that big Seattle group I belonged to. It was so bad that people started complaining.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Oh, meant to add that you would probably be surprised how into group sex younger poly people are. It was huge in that big Seattle group I belonged to. It was so bad that people started complaining.

Oh stop. I'm not naive. And I was young once myself. I am sure it is. Young people are horny and do not think ahead to consequences.

It's more the assumption that poly=group sex that bothers me. Vs are never portrayed!
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I'm... complicated... lol. I think I fall under heteroflexible more than bi. To me, bi suggests a sort of equality, same with pan. I prefer women, but will have sex with guys on occasion. My ratio of women to men is around 50:10 so around 5:1 or thereabouts.

I don't think bisexual implies equal desire for both sexes at all, for sex or for love. I'm bi (pan, actually but that's a newer convenient term). My desire for sex and/or love for or with one gender or another varies quite a bit.

It's a continuum for almost everyone. There are few people that are entirely gay or straight. Most people are in the middle somewhere. I once went to a queer conference, with straights, gays and transgender folks. In one workshop we were asked to pick our spot on a line where our desire for this or that gender laid. For femme IDed people was on one end. For masc IDed people was on the other end. We ranged across the room rather evenly.

[/quote]
I've only had one ongoing threesome that was mmf. He was gay, not bi. The girl was my live-in gf at the time. (She was the one I've mentioned before that was super jealous when we had a mff thing going with a friend.) I chuckled at what you said, because it actually felt super gay, as it was the first time I had sex with a guy in front of a woman. It was all good though. [/quote]

It is surprising a gay guy would want to have sex with a woman involved, but you never know... maybe he was a wee bit bi.

Funny thing was she had absolutely no jealousy when it was with another guy, but was very jealous with the other girl, even though she initiated that.

I never knew you'd been with guys! I don't remember you ever mentioning it before. Interesting!
 

vinsanity0

Active member
I don't feel like messing with the quote function right now so I'll just wing it lol

I didn't make my point clear. It wasn't weird that young people like group sex. It was weird that so many young poly people felt group sex was a requirement for poly, as in if you weren't into group sex then you weren't poly enough. It's debatable which came first, the chicken or the egg. Is it portrayed as group sex because so many poly people see it that way, or do so many see it that way because that's how the prevailing (mono) society has imagined it?

I agree with you that sexuality is a spectrum. I'm not biromantic though, and that has a lot to do with how I self-identity.

As for the mmf thing, I'm pretty sure he just tolerated her being there for my sake. The first time it happened we were all hanging out at his place.

I've mentioned this all before here and there, but my sexuality isn't what defines me. It's all just sex lol.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
The description of the episode doesn't sound terrible to me...I mean sure, it's silly to equate polyamory with threesomes/orgies...

But my partner would absolutely make a profile on an app called Big Bed or Everybody Get in Here! in a heartbeat. LOL.

Grindr is a pretty silly name...if it weren't real and someone made it up for a show, I would think it was ridiculous and borderline offensive!
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I didn't make my point clear. It wasn't weird that young people like group sex. It was weird that so many young poly people felt group sex was a requirement for poly, as in if you weren't into group sex then you weren't poly enough.

And you said some people complained about this idea. So that's good. Some people believed that group sex was not a definition or requirement of polyamory.
It's debatable which came first, the chicken or the egg. Is it portrayed as group sex because so many poly people see it that way, or do so many see it that way because that's how the prevailing (mono) society has imagined it?

That's a good question. I think everyone is equating rather casual sex with the "love" word in polyamory. It's just becoming defined as polysexuality!



The description of the episode doesn't sound terrible to me. I mean sure, it's silly to equate polyamory with threesomes/orgies.

It is "silly," although I would use a stronger word. I remember being confused and put off by that equation in the Ethical Slut though, come to think of it, 20 years ago. I remember an all female sex orgy being described. And I thought, that's not what I want, free for all group sex parties, watching each other fuck and cheering each other on. I just want to be able to have more than one lover at a time, to be with one-on-one!

But my partner would absolutely make a profile on an app called Big Bed or Everybody Get in Here! in a heartbeat.

So, your partner likes group sex. But do they think that is polyamory, or is it more like swinging?
 

MeeraReed

Active member
So, your partner likes group sex. But do they think that is polyamory, or is it more like swinging?

For him, yeah, it's part of how he does polyamory. He's never been interested in swinging.

For me, no, because I don't like group sex.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
For him, yeah, it's part of how he does polyamory. He's never been interested in swinging.

Well, what's the difference? Is he looking for group sex, or people to love? Is the difference that he is open to love with his many many casual sex partners?

For me, group sex will never equal polyamory just in some sort of magical leap. Variety in sex partners, and enjoying voyeurism, or whatnot, does not equal love.
 
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