Group Sex

While many people view sex as an act between two partners, there are some who enjoy having more than two participants involved in their sexual encounters. Group sex is a type of sexual activity that involves sexual interactions between three or more people at the same time. Group sex can include individuals of any gender identity and sexual orientation. Group sex even occurs in populations of non-human animals such as bonobos, apes, and chimpanzees. The sexual behaviors of group sex can be both heterosexual and homosexual in nature. The types of sexual activities can vary from manual stimulation to oral sex to penile/vaginal intercourse or anal sex - and more.

Group sex is very popular in kink and BDSM communities, where the norms of sexuality and sexual boundaries are constantly broken. Though group sex is a common porn category and practiced among all kinds of people and communities, group sex tends to remain a taboo form of sexual activity in many parts of society due to the many cultural and societal norms against it. However, group sex is not a new concept and there have been references to group sex throughout history, such as in Roman art and literature and in the Kama Sutra, an ancient Indian Sanskrit text. There is also evidence that early humans engaged in group sexual acts to mark natural cycles and transitions in certain tribal societies or to gain attention from the gods.

While there have been references to group sex in the past, group sex is becoming more common in contemporary society due to a remarkable shift toward acceptance of sexual expressions typically considered taboo. Conservative attitudes toward group sex are now changing, as a result of the Internet and the open-mindedness younger people might have toward different forms of sexuality. There are many different motivations for, experiences of, and attitudes towards group sex and for most people, it seems, multiple-partner sex is part of sexual exploration and experimentation with specific partners or during specific life stages rather than a go-to behavior.


Types of Group Sex

Depending on the number and gender of the participants, group sex can vary in its forms.


When there are three people engaging in sexual activity together, it is called a threesome or a ménage à trios. The participants in a threesome can include three females, three males, two males and a female (MMF), or two females and a male (FFM). Given the varied combinations of people, the amount and types of sexual behavior can be quite diverse in a threesome. One example of a threesome would be a couple choosing to include another person (either a friend or a stranger) in their sexual experiences, in order to fulfill a fantasy of group sex and to increase novelty in their sex life.

According to a study of over 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18+, about 10% of women and 18% of men reported having a threesome. This study also found that, on average, men found threesomes and group sex more appealing than did women. Furthermore, one US study found that 82% of male and 31% of female respondents to an online survey of heterosexual 12-24 year olds said they were interested in having a threesome. Threesomes may be more acceptable in our modern day world because as sex between people of the same sex loses its stigma, threesomes are becoming more acceptable. In fact, Pornhub shows that ‘threesomes’ are the second most commonly searched category of pornography by women. However, threesomes are still often portrayed as deviant because of the suggestion that if a woman has a threesome people will think she is promiscuous, or if a heterosexual man has a MMF threesome then he is a homosexual. Another assumption is that, for couples, having a threesome will ruin their relationship. Despite the incorrect assumptions, threesomes are becoming much more socially-accepted and they can be fun and fulfilling for all partners as long as good communication is practiced.


An orgy is another type of group sex that usually includes four or more individuals. Orgies can consist of all same-sex participants or a combination of individuals of both sexes. Orgies typically involve several people having sex with the same or multiple partners at the same time in the same place. Orgies can also be called 'sex parties', and they can be held at specific locations, such as sex clubs, where people go to have group sex. There are some people who pursue this type of sexual activity regularly and may belong to 'group sex clubs' or attend 'group sex parties'. These group sex parties are available for all types of people and they emphasize consent and respect for boundaries. In some cases, group sex is used in alternative communities to transcend boundaries and enter a different headspace. For example, every year, about 5,000 people take part in group sex at Burning Man Festival’s Orgy Dome. Furthermore, pornographic films frequently portray group sex scenes, but in reality, this behavior is far less common than is shown in porn.

Gang Bang

Another type of sexual activity that is considered group sex is called a gang bang. This occurs when an individual (most commonly a woman) has sexual intercourse with multiple people one after the other or all at once. For example, a woman may perform oral sex on several men in a row, or she could also be penetrated by more than one man at the same time. In this case, multiple males would be 'gang banging' one female. Several women can also gang bang one man, however this is not as common. It is also possible for gang bangs to be entirely of the same sex. The term 'gang bang' can invoke negative connotations, such as gang rape, coercive sex, and female objectification. There is a strong social stigma against coercive gang banging, because many people view it is as brutal, forceful, and nonconsensual sex - especially when a female is the recipient. There is a distinction between gang rape and a consensual gang bang, and a number of people do engage in this behavior willingly, because they find it to be adventuresome and exciting.

While there are many types of group sex, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, a large orgy could have several threesome interactions or a gang bang at times. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that although we may classify group sex activities, the boundaries of each type are fluid and often overlap one another in certain situations.


Consent and Safety

Because group sex is quite different from sex between only two partners, it can often be more difficult for people to consent to having sex in all the ways possible. People may have several reservations to the idea of group sex, which can result in feelings of possible shyness, fear, regret, or jealousy if they were to actually have group sex. Voluntary consent is of vital importance when engaging in any sexual activity. If a person feels uncomfortable before, during, or after a group sex experience, this can result in a variety of negative feelings. We want to stress the importance of every partner's willing participation in a group sex experience, in order to avoid the unwanted feelings of pressure, coercion, or regret.

People who participate in group sex may have sexual contact with multiple partners who they may or may not know. The more sexual partners that a person has, the more chance he or she has to contract an STI or accidentally become pregnant. For this reason, it is important for people to know who their sexual partners are, practice safe sex with multiples forms of contraception, and use proper hygiene. It is important to use condoms and dental dams while engaging in oral or penetrative sex with one or more partners. Since group sex often involves having sexual contact with multiple partners, it is also important to remember to use a new condom each time a person begins sexual contact with a new partner. If any sex toys are used, they should be cleaned before being used by another person to reduce the risk of contracting an STI.

In addition to contraception and hygiene, the best way for people to protect their sexual health is to choose their sexual partners wisely. Although many group sex partners are often strangers to one another, it is a better idea to know sexual partners and the status of their sexual health before engaging in sexual activity with them. As a result, people will be able to better build trust with their sexual partners and further protect themselves from any unwanted pregnancies or STI's.



Group sex is very different than sex between two partners and therefore it is very important that all participants engage in voluntary consent to make sure everyone is willingly engaging in this experience without any feelings of pressure, coercion, or regret. It is also important to note that during group sex, consent can be taken away at any time and if participants are consenting to one activity, they are not necessarily consenting to all activities. Therefore, communication is crucial to having a safe, pleasurable experience for everyone involved. There are also many other important safety precautions individuals should take while participating in group sex because the nature of group sex can leave an individual more likely to contract and STI or accidentally become pregnant. Therefore, participants in group sex should know who their partners are and practice safer sex with multiple forms of contraception.



  1. Bernstein, Elizabeth. “New Research Delves Into Sexual Fantasies.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 25 June 2018
  2. Group Sex. (n.d.) Retrieved April 23, 2007  
  3. Scoats, Ryan, et al. “‘I Don’t Mind Watching Him Cum’: Heterosexual Men, Threesomes, and the Erosion of the One-Time Rule of Homosexuality.” Sexualities, vol. 21, no. 1-2, 2017, pp. 30–48., doi:10.1177/1363460716678562.
  4. Vrangalova, Zhana. “One In Seven Americans Has Had A Threesome And One In Five Finds Them Appealing.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 20 Sept. 2017
  5. “Would You Have a Threesome with Two Opposite-Sex Partners?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers

Last Updated: 10 March 2019.