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Postcard, c. 1910

Ménage à trois is a French term which originally described a domestic arrangement in which three people having sexual relations occupy the same household – the phrase literally translates as "household of three".[1] In contemporary usage, the meaning of the term has been extended to mean any living relationship between three people, whether or not sex is involved, but because it has also been extended to refer to the actual sexual act between three people, otherwise known as a threesome, the term retains its suggestive quality.


Historical instances

Some known examples are

In popular culture

The ménage à trois is a recurring theme in fiction and has been the subject of a number of books, plays, films and songs. Some notable examples include:





  • The Brady Bunch, A Very Brady Sequel: Marcia and Jan are walking home from the last day of school reading each other's yearbook messages. Marcia reads one to Jan that says "ménage à trois". Marcia replies saying "I bet that means 'you're the most'". This joke becomes a recurring gag throughout the course of the film between Marcia, Jan, and her fictitious boyfriend, George Glass.
  • Three's Company
  • Friends (1994): Phoebe meets her real mother and learns that her real mother, her father, and the woman who raised her were extremely "close" and all had sexual relations together (#3.25).
  • Seinfeld:
    • "The Label Maker": George Costanza attempts to terminate a relationship by suggesting a ménage à trois, only to have it blow up in his face.
    • "The Switch": Jerry Seinfeld attempts to end a relationship with one roommate, and start one with another, using a suggestion by George.
  • Star Trek TNG also aired an episode entitled "Menage a Troi". The title is a pun on the French phrase.
  • Gossip Girl, a series about teenagers and their experiences.


  • David Crosby, "(Triad)": a song about a ménage à trois
  • "Feel So Good" (1997) by Mase has a line that says "From no hos at shows to ménage in suites".
  • Adam Lambert, For Your Entertainment, "Fever" (2009): the song references "ménage à trois," but ostensibly as a metaphorical threesome between two people and "the bar" or "the stars". This song was written and is also sung by Lady Gaga.
  • Pretty Ricky "Ménage à Trois" (2009).: a song about a "ménage à trois" between a man, a woman, and a guitar
  •, Let's Express Our Love with a Threesome (2009): a comedy album of eight R&B songs that beseech a woman to give her boyfriend or husband a threesome.
  • Interpol "No I in Threesome" (2007).
  • Type O Negative, "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend" (1996).
  • Britney Spears, "3" (2009)

See also


Further reading

  • Barbara Foster, Michael Foster, Letha Hadady. Three in Love: Ménages à trois from Ancient to Modern Times. ISBN 0595008070
  • Vicki Vantoch. The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to sleeping with three. ISBN 1568583338

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