The summer of the group is upon us

Hot girl in summer end. This year, it’s all about ménage à trois. That’s right, the trio has had a moment across the entertainment landscape this year — from movies to scripted television to reality TV — adding thrills to steamy stories while Move the Overton window to the audience. What’s most thrilling is that these new groups of people are also marked by power dynamics that are even more subversive than three people kissing at once.

In popular culture history, threesome sex has been a predominantly male-dominated activity. Man, what are the movies from the early days like? Euro trip, Road trip, Old school, And American Cake positions the threesome as the pinnacle of male sexual conquest, where the man is in control and the woman (always a man with two women, often twins) is the object to follow chase and win. Threesomes are sexy stories meant to crush men’s egos.

But not anymore. The most obvious threesome of this new era turns that very concept on its head. by Netflix Bridgerton steam everything appears in the second half of the third season (coincidence?!) with a weird and unexpected threesome subplot revolving around Bridgerton’s second oldest brother, Benedict, played by Luke Thompson. Benedict romances adventurous widow Lady Tilley Arnold (New Hannah), only to end up toying with Tilley and her male friend Paul Suarez (Lucas Aurelio), at Tilley’s request.

Before the excitement rose Bridgerton, The three-person trend has begun to move thanks to Luca Guadagnino‘S Challenger and its central trio, tennis phenom Art Donaldson (Mike Faist), Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor) and Tashi Duncan (Zendaya). The excessive sexual tension and ever-changing power dynamics between Art, Patrick and Tashi have the internet ablaze with it Challenger-centric group memes and helped challenger, rare R-rated movie not based on any existing IP, diving deep into the zeitgeist.

Although its protagonists never consummate their three-way relationship as explicitly as Bridgerton crew, the film is full of holographically encoded moments, from hotel room hangouts to churros to sauna sessions. And when the movie ends may have been intentionally vague, Guadagnino seemed pretty clear about what happened as soon as the credits rolled. “They went back to the hotel room,” Guadagnino talk to time reporter Kyle Buchanan. We all know what happens in hotel rooms.

Naturally, Luke Thompson parallels can be seen between his show and Guadagnino’s films. “Challenger I watched it recently and I thought it was really interesting,” Bridgerton the star said in a recent interview with VF. “It’s an interesting relationship and the dynamics within it are very interesting.” But he also notes that similar dynamics have been depicted in older stories, such as Noel Coward’s 1932 play, Designed for life. “You’re talking [threesomes] are having a moment, but I guess what I’m saying, for Coward, is that they’ve always been there,” Thompson said.

That’s true — but both the group and polyamory in general have become much more visible in mainstream culture in recent years. In April, New York Times been gone for a long time on a 20-person polygonunpacking the trials and tribulations of maintaining a polyamorous relationship in one post Sam Bankman-Fried society. New York Magazine published separately The issue focuses on polyamory back in January, around the same time Molly Roden Winter‘S See more: Memoir of an open marriage became a bestseller. Traditional comedies known for their more wholesome content are also seeing strong growth this year, with the hit CBS sitcom ghost Introducing a spooky trio of its own.

The practice of dating multiple people at once has been a hallmark of reality television since the genre was invented (see Bachelor, for beginners). But the explicit focus on threesomes and polyamory is relatively new. In February, Peacock launched a reality show titled The couple came to the group that took four new couples into non-monogamy, introduced them to more experienced singles, and gave them the choice of pursuing a threesome or returning to monogamy husband. Although we’ve seen almost every possible ending for two romantics looking for love, for example, Bachelor, we never saw the Bachelorette end the show in a relationship with her two lovers.

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