Three's a Crowd!

Sex and the Psychological City: What the Girlfriends Taught us about Feeling Like A Third Wheel

Welcome back to Sex and the Psychological City!

If you have read my earlier posts, you are familiar with my confession that I was a hipper psychotherapist when my go-to girlfriends -- Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte -- were on the air, with fresh new material on everything from masturbation to marriage. Granted, their wardrobes and lifestyles were totally unrealistic, but the fashion and fabulousness worked well as a delivery platform for groundbreaking discussions about sex, commitment, friendship and love.

Since I specialize in relationships and intimacy, the show became an ideal co-therapist that I've brought into the therapy session whenever appropriate. A lot has changed since the show first aired in 1998. Try to imagine a dating world void of blackberries, iPhones, texting and Facebook! And yet, it is shocking to watch early episodes and realize that the core relationship issues remain the same. In honor of the show, I am taking a trip down Memory Lane that considers each first season episode, from a psychological perspective.

Episode eight, "Three's a Crowd", begins with Charlotte's whirlwind romance with Jack as Carrie cleverly narrates:

They locked eyes at a black tie benefit for Epstein Barr, and she chased him through every disease in New York.

As their passion intensifies, Jack asks Charlotte to share her fantasies and Charlotte naively admits to a desire to own a gallery and a new england cottage. Jack quickly clarifies that he wants to know about SEXUAL fantasies, and it becomes clear that he is more interested in his OWN fantasy of a threesome than he is in discovering Charlotte's inner emotional world. Jack's campaign to convince Charlotte to have a threesome with him and another woman of her choosing becomes and interesting backdrop for an exploration of when and why "Three's a Crowd".

Not surprisingly, Samantha is highly knowledgable on the topic and informs her girlfriends:

Threesomes are huge right now, they are the blow job of the nineties!

Miranda's feelings are hurt when Charlotte asks Carrie, then Samantha if they would consider participating in her potential threesome. She laments to her therapist:

I know it's juvenile, but it bothers me, I'm attractive, I'm smart, plenty of people should want me for a threesome!

Miranda then sets out to prove to herself that she is desirable as a possible threesome participant and eventually gets validation from a nice, mild-mannered Manhattan couple whom she proceeds to ditch in a bar.

Meanwhile, Carrie makes the shockingly antiquated move of searching the personal ads in the Village Voice to research the threesome phenomenon. Today's viewer can't help but notice how Craig's List has changed the world, as Carrie holds up a newspaper and reads about a "sweet suburban schoolteacher" in search of a couple to fulfill her fantasies and an "x-files fanatic twosome seeking a Scully look alike" and wonders:

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