Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Joys of the Three-Way

Okay, now that I’ve got your attention, I guess this essay is technically more about the Love Triangle. Either way, it was inspired by a wallpaper created by my daughter featuring the triangle from ABC’s hit show “Lost”: Kate, Sawyer and Jack. Either way, you have a lovely woman we all wish we were, pursued by two really attractive guys.

Everyone knows how guys love the idea of being with two women at once, and my husband explained to me long ago that the reason for this is very simple: there’s twice as many women present, and the more the better. I theorize that for a woman, the appeal of being with two guys is much more subtle and interesting. I’ll take a shot at explaining it—sounds like fun!

You can pick up some cues from the expressions of the characters on my daughter’s Lost wallpaper. There’s a whole array of emotions going on, and all of them are elemental to certain aspects of effective sexual fantasy. First of all, the men are going head to head for the affections of the woman. The competition heightens their masculinity because it provokes aggression. This is as primordial as two bulls butting heads to the death for the prize of the female. Lots of sexy glaring—very nice.

But humans are not bulls, and the matter is complicated all the more by the mix of emotions in the woman. First of all, when she surrenders to the one, she is in effect betraying the other, giving the act a clandestine feeling that is always titillating. The mere fact that even while she is with the one, she may be thinking of the other, enhances that delicious feeling of guilt. Secondly, knowing that the one she is not with is hurt by her neglect, she feels compassion for him. He is vulnerable, and every woman knows how sexy that is.

Meanwhile, the great thing about the triangle is that it exploits the delights of the forbidden so wonderfully. Because there are two relationships going on, both of them are technically illicit. If you think one piece of forbidden fruit is alluring, imagine the thrill of having two.

And of course, the best possible triangle is like this one, in that it involves a “good” man and a “bad” one. Talk about having your cake and eating it too. When a woman has the option of being with a good man and nevertheless goes for the bad one, the bad one must have something really sexy going for him, or so it feels. And when she goes for the good one, and the bad one suffers, it proves he really does care for her and therefore isn’t so bad after all. There’s nothing so exhilarating as getting to a guy who pretends to be unmovable.

All this reminds me of a fantasy I had in bed for many nights running almost 25 years ago. In it I was the consort of a mad but sexy Roman emperor, and meanwhile fell in love with a good, noble centurion in his army. The centurion was an honorable man who would never think of betraying his emperor...until I came along and was more than he could resist. He treated me well and therefore was quite wonderful to be with. On the other hand the emperor was a twisted, depraved fellow (in a really sexy way) whose one redeeming quality was that it was my love alone that kept him sane. I was too addicted to his kinky charms and to his need to leave him for the centurion.

This triangle was so good, it was no wonder I kept the plot going in my head for nights on end. I guess maybe I need to write it down, hey? Anyway, it just goes to show you, like my daughter’s wallpaper, that nothing makes for an effective aphrodisiac like a nice, emotionally complicated love triangle.

Personally, I think Kate should pick Sawyer.

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