Group sex

Group sex
Illustration by Édouard-Henri Avril.
Another illustration
Kama Sutra illustration

Group sex is sexual behavior involving more than two participants. Group sex can occur amongst people of all sexual orientations and genders. While this article discusses group sex among humans, the behavior also occurs in other animal species such as bighorn sheep and bonobos.

Group sex may take place in public (for instance, at outdoor events or nightclubs); at massage parlors, brothels or soaplands; at sex parties or, in some jurisdictions, at purpose-built locations such as sex clubs or gay bathhouses. In places where non-monogamous sex is taboo or illegal, group sex takes place in private or clandestine locations, including homes, hotel rooms, or private clubs.



In principle, any sexual behaviour performed by more than two people can be referred to as group sex, but various terms are used to describe particular acts or combinations of people:

Circle jerk
Group masturbation among men, usually sitting in somewhat of a circle formation.
Gang bang
One person performing sex acts with a number of people, either in turn or at the same time.
Threesome or three-way
Three people all having sexual relations, not necessarily simultaneously. Not to be confused with ménage à trois (literally, "household of three").
Ménage à quatre or four-way
Sex between four people.
Group sex or a sex party.
Bunga bunga orgy: An orgy in which the participants have sex underwater, such as in a swimming pool or a hot tub. [1]
Double penetration
When a person is entered or penetrated in the vagina and/or anus by two people at the same time. This usually is when one enters the anus while another enters the vagina, although it does also refer to two simultaneous penetrations in the same orifice.
Term used by Suetonius to describe sexual group practices indulged in by the emperor Tiberius on Capri[2]
Monogamous Group Sex or Same Room Sex
Couples engaging in sexual activity in the same room but in separate pairs, without any swapping of partners or other major sexual activity between couples.


Fantasies of group sex are extremely common among both men and women. In major studies, between 54%-88% of people fantasize about watching others have sex, 40%-42% fantasize about being watched by others, and between 39%-72% fantasize about bondage.[3] Many forms of sexual behavior were reported by Kinsey's subjects, but the official Kinsey Reports web site does not mention threesomes or group sex in the summary of Kinsey's findings.


As with all sexual activity, the relative risks of group sex depend on the specific activities engaged in, although having a large number of sexual partners increases one's risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

From the mid-1980s there was lobbying against gay bathhouses blaming them for the spread of STIs, in particular HIV, and this forced their closure in some jurisdictions, particularly in the United States.[4][5] Sociologist Stephen O. Murray, writes that, "there was never any evidence presented that going to bathhouses was a risk-factor for contracting AIDS."[6] In other countries, fears about the spread of STIs have prompted the closing of bathhouses—with their private rooms—in favour of sex clubs, in which all sexual activity takes place in the open, and can be observed by monitors whose job it is to enforce safer sex practices.[7]

Proponents point out that venues where group sex takes place often provide condoms, dental dams, latex gloves, lubricants and other items for safer sex. Bathhouses in particular are a major source of safer sex information—they provide pamphlets and post safer sex posters prominently (often on the walls of each room as well as in the common areas), provide free condoms and lubricants, and often require patrons to affirm that they will only have safer sex on the premises.[8][9][10][11]

Group sexual positions

See also


  1. ^ Berlusconi’s "Bunga Bunga Orgies"—Daily Beast 7 November 2010
  2. ^ Forberg, Friedrich Karl (1963). Manual of classical erotology (De figuris Veneris). Medical Press of New York. p. 233. 
  3. ^ Howell, Teresa M.; Cooper, Barry S.; Williams, Kevin M.; Spetch, Ashley; Yuille, John C.. "The Association Between Sexual Fantasies, Behaviors and Pornography in Undergraduates". Poster presented at the 112th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. 
  4. ^ Gross, Jane (October 14, 1985). "Bathhouses reflect AIDS concerns". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2006. "At the St. Marks Baths, for the price of a locker or a room, patrons now get a free condom, enclosed in a package that bears the legend the contents of this envelope could save your life." 
  5. ^ (Woods & Binson 2003)
  6. ^ (Murray 1996)
  7. ^ Woods, William J.; Diane Binson (2003). Gay Bathhouses and Public Health Policy. Haworth Press, ISBN 1560232730. ISBN 9781560232735. Retrieved 10 July 2008. 
  8. ^ Westerfelt, Alex (August 2005). "Bathhouse Norms: What goes on in the Bathhouse?". Healthy Living. Retrieved 10 July 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (March 23, 2004). "Rising Rate of HIV Infection Renews Bathhouse Debate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 July 2008. 
  10. ^ "NHS to hold STI testing in gay sauna". Pink News. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  11. ^ QX Magazine London (QX) (758): 44. September 17, 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2009 


External links

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