Three's a Crowd!


Three's a Crowd!
Sex and the Psychological City: What the Girlfriends Taught us about Feeling Like A Third Wheel

Are threesomes the new Sexual Frontier?

While the episode entertains and amuses as the girlfriends discuss threesomes, a more mainstream and more relevant storyline unfolds when Carrie asks Big if he's ever had a threesome, and Big admits to once trying a threesome with his EX WIFE! Carrie is much more shocked to learn that Big was married than she is to learn about the threesome. She proceeds to obsess over Big's glamorous and fabulous ex, Barbara. Since it turns out that Barbara is a children's literary agent, Carrie outrageously sets up a meeting with Barbara and proposes a children's book about "little Kathy" and her "magic cigarettes"! Barbara and Carrie hit it off, which unfortunately leads Carrie to envision Barbara's powerful presence during each and every interaction with Big. Even when Carrie and Big are in bed, Carrie tortures herself, imagining Barbara laying beside them, schooling her in the proper way to sexually perform!

On the threesome topic, Carrie is able to give Charlotte the sound advice:

Don't you think its weird your trying to get closer to Jack by sleeping with someone you don't know!?

Unfortunately, Carrie struggles to take her own advice and continues to attempt to get closer to Big by connecting with Barbara. Not surprisingly, this backfires and Carrie is seriously embarrassed with Big learns (from Barbara) of Carrie's covert and manipulative "research" strategy. Frustrated, Big makes an important comment which connects the episode's theme about threesomes to the more interesting theme about the impact of past relationships:

The reason we had a threesome is because we were both looking for something, or someone else! 

My Advice?

This episode touches on two important relationship risks -- the risk of compromising your own values to fulfill the needs or fantasies of another, AND the risk of compromising your view of yourself and your relationship by over-analyzing your partner's past. In order to enjoy your life and enjoy your relationships, it is so important to possess the confidence to be able to let someone know if something (like a threesome) won't work for you. It is equally important to trust your judgement of yourself and your relationships rather than to constantly compare yourself to others.

It is never easy to contemplate your partner's past. And yet, it is likely that anyone you date will have dated someone other than you. The mistake that many people make is spending way too much time comparing themselves to their partner's PAST relationships which only gets in the way of CURRENT happiness and intimacy. Sure, it's fine to ask a few questions about the past. But stick to one conversation, maybe two, and then drop it. The more questions you ask about someone's past, the more insecure you are likely to appear. And the more cyber stalking and mental gymnastics you do on your own, the more anxious and embarrassed you are likely to feel. Everyone comes with a past and it is important to take each person at face value and not put yourself down in comparison to someone else. Treat your urge to obsess over your partner's ex the way you should treat your urge to obsess over your own past relationships -- LET IT GO!!!

Consider Carrie's eventual observation following lots of wasted time and energy micro-analyzing Big and Barbara:

I [finally] realized the real appeal of a threesome [is that] it is easy, it's intimacy that's the bitch.

Check back soon for a psychoanalysis of the classic SATC episode about the Turtle and the Rabbit that considers whether it is best to marry someone who loves you more than you love them.

Connect with me at and follow @elisjoy

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elisabeth LaMotte


Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
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