Group Sex Meets Information Theory

A while ago, I got to wondering, as I sometimes do, exactly what makes an orgy. For example, if fifteen people are all in a room having sex, but only within existing partnerships, and there’s no “extra-partner” sex happening, is it an orgy? If four people are all fucking each other, is that an orgy, or is it just a foursome?

As it turns out, the dictionary is of precious little assistance with answering questions like this. I consulted a number of different dictionaries, and got a number of different answers–one said an orgy is five or more people having sex, one said more than two, one said an event dominated by “excessive” sexual activity (whatever the hell that means), and so on.

Now, to me, three people having sex is a threesome; four people having sex is a foursome; it doesn’t get to be an orgy until you’ve got five or more people.

But is a play party an orgy? Clearly not all orgies are play parties, but is a play party an orgy? What about a play party where people aren’t having penetrative sex? How about a mutual masturbation event…is that an orgy? My impulse is to say “no;” it isn’t an orgy unless there are five or more people and there’s fucking going on, so mutual masturbation doesn’t count. (Edit: There are many kinds of sexual activities that aren’t penetrative sex that I would consider to be an orgy, so I’m still not quite sure exactly where the borderline for the definition of “orgy” is.)

From there it was a short intellectual hop to wondering how many different kinds of group sex there are1, and what the relationship between them is.

So I started working on a Venn diagram of group sex. Then I started enlisting the help of all the people around me.

Then I started realizing that some of the potential overlaps are complicated beyond what you might at first think. For example, not all swing parties include group sex, yet most folks would probably think of a swing party as a group sex event.

And it soon became clear that certain rules of geometry2 precluded doing this as a traditional Venn diagram, because it’s not possible to show all the overlaps and exclusions with circles.

So the project got a little more complex.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with: Where group sex intersects with information theory!

Some assumptions I’ve made for this chart:

1. An orgy must involve penetrative sex of some kind (including manual sex) but can not involve all the participants being sexual with one and only one person; a gang bang and an orgy are exclusive, non-overlapping sex.

2. An orgy can never bee a threesome or a foursome.

3. If penetrative sex happens, it is no longer a puppy pile; ergo, orgies and gang bangs exclude puppy piles.

I have the feeling I missed some categories of group sex, though, and I don’t know how universal these assumptions are.


1 As opposed to how many different kinds of sexual activity you can have in a group sex situation, which is a completely different question altogether.

2 Specifically, group theory, about which I know less than what would fit in the white space of a postage stamp.

102 thoughts on “Group Sex Meets Information Theory

  1. The focus on defining “sex” as “penetrative” seems odd to me. I’d assume this would exclude hand-jobs? Otherwise, it creates a baffling gender discrepancy that penis hand jobs don’t qualify, but vaginal ones do 🙂

    • Hmm. That’s an excellent point.

      Most folks seem to think that if there’s no actual ‘fucking’ (for whatever value of ‘fucking’) then it’s not an orgy.

      Now, I think of oral sex as sex, anal sex as sex, and in the right context, whipping as sex. But loosening the definition of ‘sex’ too far could make every BDSM play party an orgy–and I don’t think that’s the case at all (though I have seen orgies at play parties, I’ve also seen play parties that I wouldn’t call orgies, and orgies that I wouldn’t consider to be a play party).

      Still, I think it could be an orgy if everyone is having oral sex.

  2. The focus on defining “sex” as “penetrative” seems odd to me. I’d assume this would exclude hand-jobs? Otherwise, it creates a baffling gender discrepancy that penis hand jobs don’t qualify, but vaginal ones do 🙂

  3. I’ve always defined an orgy the same way that I’ve defined any interaction that involves more than one person: mutual recognition.

    Are person A and person B in a relationship? If both persons A and person B say they are, then they are. There may be disagreements when translating to people outside of the relationship (ie, people who say: you must have sex to be in a relationship, you must have a contract, you must have X, Y, or Z that persons A and B don’t have), but they’re still in a relationship for all practical purposes. Their definition may be different than mine, but I’m not part of person A and person B’s relationship, so what the fuck does it matter?

    However, once you request recognition from an outside source, then you have to accept their definition. Ex: I’ve always considered a commitment to be with a person until death to be marriage; hence, I agree that my half-brother and his permanent girlfriend are married, despite a lack of marriage certificate. However, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia, if they wish to claim certain tax benefits, than they must be married in the eyes of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    In this case, if all the parties involved sit down and say “We had an orgy last night”, then they had an orgy last night.If they say “We had a gang-bang last night”, then they had a gang-bang last night. If they say “We had an excellent knitting circle meeting last night”, well… you get the idea.

    The problem with that argument is that the self-determinate definition given by the people breaks down in translation without a definition of terms. If I had penetrative sex with three women and a man last night, and define myself to be a heterosexual monogamous person, you can argue that the socially constructed definition of my self-descriptors appears contrary to my actions, and that, if I wish to communicate clearly in a social setting, I should find new terms and/or describe exactly the angles within which I draw myself.

    Verbose post is verbose. I’ll go sleep now.

  4. I’ve always defined an orgy the same way that I’ve defined any interaction that involves more than one person: mutual recognition.

    Are person A and person B in a relationship? If both persons A and person B say they are, then they are. There may be disagreements when translating to people outside of the relationship (ie, people who say: you must have sex to be in a relationship, you must have a contract, you must have X, Y, or Z that persons A and B don’t have), but they’re still in a relationship for all practical purposes. Their definition may be different than mine, but I’m not part of person A and person B’s relationship, so what the fuck does it matter?

    However, once you request recognition from an outside source, then you have to accept their definition. Ex: I’ve always considered a commitment to be with a person until death to be marriage; hence, I agree that my half-brother and his permanent girlfriend are married, despite a lack of marriage certificate. However, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia, if they wish to claim certain tax benefits, than they must be married in the eyes of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    In this case, if all the parties involved sit down and say “We had an orgy last night”, then they had an orgy last night.If they say “We had a gang-bang last night”, then they had a gang-bang last night. If they say “We had an excellent knitting circle meeting last night”, well… you get the idea.

    The problem with that argument is that the self-determinate definition given by the people breaks down in translation without a definition of terms. If I had penetrative sex with three women and a man last night, and define myself to be a heterosexual monogamous person, you can argue that the socially constructed definition of my self-descriptors appears contrary to my actions, and that, if I wish to communicate clearly in a social setting, I should find new terms and/or describe exactly the angles within which I draw myself.

    Verbose post is verbose. I’ll go sleep now.

  5. Not fairy-tales – we once had a saying among my social circle, collectively referred to as The Freaks:

    “I went to an orgy and a Freaks Party broke out”

    Meaning, “orgies” (for some definition of them) happened spontaneously often enough to be jokingly synonymous with our social events in general.

    Unfortunately, it *is* a joke, and they don’t *actually* happen at every social event, but they have been known to happen.

  6. Not fairy-tales – we once had a saying among my social circle, collectively referred to as The Freaks:

    “I went to an orgy and a Freaks Party broke out”

    Meaning, “orgies” (for some definition of them) happened spontaneously often enough to be jokingly synonymous with our social events in general.

    Unfortunately, it *is* a joke, and they don’t *actually* happen at every social event, but they have been known to happen.

  7. Love the graph!

    I tend to define “group sex” as anything more than 2 people, but 3 people is a threesome, 4 people is a foursome and 5+ is an “orgy”. So I can have “group sex” but not an “orgy”.

    I do not classify a “gangbang” as an “orgy” because, in my head (and I may be incorrect about this) a gangbang is several people taking turns (or simultaneously) penetrating a single person. I also tend to imply some element of resistance, but I don’t think it’s *necessary* to fit under the category of “gangbang”.

    But an “orgy”, in my head, requires more mutual activity and does not, necessarily, require penetration.

    I was just talking tonight about how there needed to be some other word to distinguish between an “orgy” where there was cross-partnering (meaning most of the participants have sexual contact with at least one person other than their dyadic partner) and an “orgy” where it’s simply a bunch of dyads in a single room fucking each other simultaneously.

    In my head, the infamous Necro “orgy” counts as an orgy, even though it was almost exclusively pre-existing couples having a range of sexual activity almost coincidentally in the same room, not all of it penetrative. But when discussing my interest in participating in an “orgy”, I’m specifically referring to an event where there may not be any clear set of dyads or, if there are, there is some cross-over with other participants.

    I hesitate to require penetration being a defining element, because of gender/orientation issues. Although I often use the word “sex” as a shortcut for PIV, the word “sex” isn’t actually limited to PIV in my head, and I often have to clarify which use of the word I’m using when I say it. But, for instance, I wouldn’t rule out a lesbian orgy if there weren’t any dildos present, and I’ve seen (and participated) in some activities that *could* be described as “fucking” but didn’t include PIV.

    I don’t think of play parties as orgies, because I tend to think of play parties as being more focused on fetish activity and orgies as being more focused on just good ol’ sex. The image in my head for a play party includes scene music, furniture, toys and gear – and not all that much fucking or penetration (whether we’re talking penises, dildos, fingers, or what orifices), whereas “orgy” brings to mind piles of naked, sweaty bodies and not much in the region of toys, gear, pain, resistance, or dominance, even if some of that happens to trickle in here or there.

    • But an “orgy”, in my head, requires more mutual activity and does not, necessarily, require penetration.

      Using “penetration” as a criteria is problematic, but I’ve been struggling to come up with alternate phrasing. I think it might be impossible to come up with something because it boils down to personal, and possibly situational definitions of sex. I can certainly imagine an orgy where no one takes their clothes off at all. Whether something is “sex” can often depend on the subjective arousal of the participants. If someone gives you 10 orgasms and you never take your pants off.. well, it certainly sounds very sex-like. But at the same time, you could be totally naked but only casually aroused, in which case I wouldn’t feel much like I’d been participating in sex.

      So, I think it’s impossible to come up with satisfactory phrasing, but probably “genital stimulation,” would be better than “penetration.”

      • I whole-heartedly agree on your statements about what constitutes “sex” and what doesn’t. I’ve been to parties where there was lots of nudity but no sex, and I’ve had some of the most awesome sex ever that didn’t involve nudity or penetration (and was in public).

        I’m OK with not being too locked into a definition and allowing it to be more user-defined, situational (which, for someone who *really* likes categories, was a hard thing for me to accept, but I think it’s necessary).

    • Is “foursome” really a common enough term to knock four out of consideration as an orgy? I always thought it was like when I call a three-tined fork a “threek”.

      • Yeah, I’d say it’s common enough. Partner-swapping, 2 couples, swingers, etc. all get into foursomes. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of a fivesome.

  8. Love the graph!

    I tend to define “group sex” as anything more than 2 people, but 3 people is a threesome, 4 people is a foursome and 5+ is an “orgy”. So I can have “group sex” but not an “orgy”.

    I do not classify a “gangbang” as an “orgy” because, in my head (and I may be incorrect about this) a gangbang is several people taking turns (or simultaneously) penetrating a single person. I also tend to imply some element of resistance, but I don’t think it’s *necessary* to fit under the category of “gangbang”.

    But an “orgy”, in my head, requires more mutual activity and does not, necessarily, require penetration.

    I was just talking tonight about how there needed to be some other word to distinguish between an “orgy” where there was cross-partnering (meaning most of the participants have sexual contact with at least one person other than their dyadic partner) and an “orgy” where it’s simply a bunch of dyads in a single room fucking each other simultaneously.

    In my head, the infamous Necro “orgy” counts as an orgy, even though it was almost exclusively pre-existing couples having a range of sexual activity almost coincidentally in the same room, not all of it penetrative. But when discussing my interest in participating in an “orgy”, I’m specifically referring to an event where there may not be any clear set of dyads or, if there are, there is some cross-over with other participants.

    I hesitate to require penetration being a defining element, because of gender/orientation issues. Although I often use the word “sex” as a shortcut for PIV, the word “sex” isn’t actually limited to PIV in my head, and I often have to clarify which use of the word I’m using when I say it. But, for instance, I wouldn’t rule out a lesbian orgy if there weren’t any dildos present, and I’ve seen (and participated) in some activities that *could* be described as “fucking” but didn’t include PIV.

    I don’t think of play parties as orgies, because I tend to think of play parties as being more focused on fetish activity and orgies as being more focused on just good ol’ sex. The image in my head for a play party includes scene music, furniture, toys and gear – and not all that much fucking or penetration (whether we’re talking penises, dildos, fingers, or what orifices), whereas “orgy” brings to mind piles of naked, sweaty bodies and not much in the region of toys, gear, pain, resistance, or dominance, even if some of that happens to trickle in here or there.

  9. But an “orgy”, in my head, requires more mutual activity and does not, necessarily, require penetration.

    Using “penetration” as a criteria is problematic, but I’ve been struggling to come up with alternate phrasing. I think it might be impossible to come up with something because it boils down to personal, and possibly situational definitions of sex. I can certainly imagine an orgy where no one takes their clothes off at all. Whether something is “sex” can often depend on the subjective arousal of the participants. If someone gives you 10 orgasms and you never take your pants off.. well, it certainly sounds very sex-like. But at the same time, you could be totally naked but only casually aroused, in which case I wouldn’t feel much like I’d been participating in sex.

    So, I think it’s impossible to come up with satisfactory phrasing, but probably “genital stimulation,” would be better than “penetration.”

  10. I’ve never seen such a complicated venn diagram.. I think you did a good job trying to make the intersections clear. I’ve been pondering about other options for expressing the same information and not coming up with anything obvious.

  11. I’ve never seen such a complicated venn diagram.. I think you did a good job trying to make the intersections clear. I’ve been pondering about other options for expressing the same information and not coming up with anything obvious.

      • Sure, some people would say that without grapes, it’s just group sex….

        But I use “grapes” as a mental short-hand to point out that everyone has different definitions of what makes an orgy. For some, it’s 5 or more people all having sex in the same room; for others, the sex has to be with each other; for some few, the presence of grapes.

  12. I am a little confused about what “Daisy Chain” means. I’ve always heard it used to refer to when a bunch of people at a party sit down sort of in a line and give the person in front of you a back rub. Clearly this definition isn’t what you mean, or it would be outside the circle with the “Puppy Piles.”

    • I was under the impression that a “daisy chain” was a group of men (traditionally, although women w/dildos would work), each of whom was fucking the guy in front of him and being fucked by the guy behind him; I suppose it would have to be a circle for everyone to be a full participant in both activities. Is that what you were thinking, Franklin?

    • The term “daisy chain” as I’ve heard it used means a group of people (often but not always men) in a line, in which each person either has sex with or gives oral sex to the person in front of him (or her) while receiving sex from or oral sex from the person behind him (or her).

      • Let the Circles Be Unbroken!

        You’re close. The defining element in a daisy chain is to have the ends connect. Think of a crown of people linked orally at the genitals, with legs tangling around bodies for that woven flower crown look.

        An overhead shot of a complete chain is porn gold. Very popular in the 70s (where I got most of my mag porn).

        Likewise, a “true” circle jerk involves a circle of men each stroking the man to his right. Again, 70s porn.

          • Re: Let the Circles Be Unbroken!

            Perhaps, in a primarily left-handed community. I guess it’s that old sinister/dexterous argument.

            Remember George Carlin paraphrasing the Bible — “Never let the left hand know.”

  13. I am a little confused about what “Daisy Chain” means. I’ve always heard it used to refer to when a bunch of people at a party sit down sort of in a line and give the person in front of you a back rub. Clearly this definition isn’t what you mean, or it would be outside the circle with the “Puppy Piles.”

  14. I was under the impression that a “daisy chain” was a group of men (traditionally, although women w/dildos would work), each of whom was fucking the guy in front of him and being fucked by the guy behind him; I suppose it would have to be a circle for everyone to be a full participant in both activities. Is that what you were thinking, Franklin?

    • Key parties were actually discussed last year on network television on a wonderful, short-lived, little show called “Swingtown.” If you haven’t seen it, go look it up. It was well written and thoughtful and really good — too good for mainstream America.

  15. I whole-heartedly agree on your statements about what constitutes “sex” and what doesn’t. I’ve been to parties where there was lots of nudity but no sex, and I’ve had some of the most awesome sex ever that didn’t involve nudity or penetration (and was in public).

    I’m OK with not being too locked into a definition and allowing it to be more user-defined, situational (which, for someone who *really* likes categories, was a hard thing for me to accept, but I think it’s necessary).

    • I don’t think that spontaneity is a requirement for an orgy – and in fact, my experience is that they often take quite a bit of planning! But that doesn’t mean they *can’t* happen spontaneously, such as with the Freaks 🙂

  16. Hmm. That’s an excellent point.

    Most folks seem to think that if there’s no actual ‘fucking’ (for whatever value of ‘fucking’) then it’s not an orgy.

    Now, I think of oral sex as sex, anal sex as sex, and in the right context, whipping as sex. But loosening the definition of ‘sex’ too far could make every BDSM play party an orgy–and I don’t think that’s the case at all (though I have seen orgies at play parties, I’ve also seen play parties that I wouldn’t call orgies, and orgies that I wouldn’t consider to be a play party).

    Still, I think it could be an orgy if everyone is having oral sex.

  17. The term “daisy chain” as I’ve heard it used means a group of people (often but not always men) in a line, in which each person either has sex with or gives oral sex to the person in front of him (or her) while receiving sex from or oral sex from the person behind him (or her).

  18. I’ve heard “circle jerk” defined in two ways: either a group of people all masturbating in the same room, or a group of people all masturbating each other/having manual sex in the same room.

  19. Sure, some people would say that without grapes, it’s just group sex….

    But I use “grapes” as a mental short-hand to point out that everyone has different definitions of what makes an orgy. For some, it’s 5 or more people all having sex in the same room; for others, the sex has to be with each other; for some few, the presence of grapes.

  20. Let the Circles Be Unbroken!

    You’re close. The defining element in a daisy chain is to have the ends connect. Think of a crown of people linked orally at the genitals, with legs tangling around bodies for that woven flower crown look.

    An overhead shot of a complete chain is porn gold. Very popular in the 70s (where I got most of my mag porn).

    Likewise, a “true” circle jerk involves a circle of men each stroking the man to his right. Again, 70s porn.

  21. Is “foursome” really a common enough term to knock four out of consideration as an orgy? I always thought it was like when I call a three-tined fork a “threek”.

  22. Yeah, I’d say it’s common enough. Partner-swapping, 2 couples, swingers, etc. all get into foursomes. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of a fivesome.

  23. I don’t think that spontaneity is a requirement for an orgy – and in fact, my experience is that they often take quite a bit of planning! But that doesn’t mean they *can’t* happen spontaneously, such as with the Freaks 🙂

  24. Our society romanticizes spontaneity way beyond what I think is healthy. It uses spontaneity as an excuse for poor behaviour and it discounts planned sex as unromantic and therefore unwanted. That kind of thinking is what gives us situations like “accidental sex” and “oops, I don’t have a condom” and “oh shit, where can we go?”. While spontaneity *is* fun, it also shouldn’t be elevated to the end-all-be-all of sex, nor should a little contingency planning take all the fun out of it.

    Requiring that sex be spontaneous also allows society to “blame” people for having sex. You’re a slut, a whore, a Bad Person because you Planned the sex, but if it Just Happened, well, we’re only human after all.

    Plus, as an adult with other obligations and responsibilities, sometimes you just *do* have to schedule in time for sex, or it might get put off and put off and put off until months go by and you suddenly realize you haven’t had sex in ages. Greta Christina writes a good article or two about planning sex.

    Planning for sex is part of being a responsible sexually active adult. And planning an orgy is part of being a responsible romantic partner (for those who have or want orgies). That way, there aren’t any unpleasant surprises. Without “planning”, you have to make decisions spur of the moment regarding who does what with whom, when hormones are clouding your judgement, and that has repurcussions later.

    But if you plan the orgy, you can have the discussions with your partners and potential partners beforehand. You can decide up front who does what with whom, when and how. That way, when you finally *do* get to the orgy, you don’t have to stop and think about it, you don’t have to stop to ask permission, you don’t have to stop to have a disagreement, and you don’t have to deal with hurt feelings afterwards.

    It’s actually the ability to plan for the what-ifs that make the spontaneous orgies possible. If everyone is in the room, and the mood strikes 2 or 3 or all of them, the fact that all the details have been planned out, like what to do in the event of… and who can do what with whom make it that much easier to just go with the energy and join in.

    I think part of the confusion here might be the idea that the orgy is “planned” in the sense of sending out invitations “Orgy at the Jones Residence. Door opens at 7 PM, all clothes must be off by 8 PM, BYOL (Bring Your Own Libido). Sarah, John, Julie and Mark will start things off by swapping partners, and then Sally and Jane will join in, but Paul has restrictions from his wife and can only watch…”

    But an orgy can be both spontaneous and planned. For instance, I have been having lengthy discussions with my two partners, who have been having discussions with their other partners, and so on, for the last 2 or 3 days, where we are exploring our comfort levels regarding certain activities with certain individuals. Who is it OK to go down on? Who is it OK to have PIV sex with? Who has traded test results so far? We have an OK List of people that everyone in question is comfortable being in a sexual setting with everyone else on the list, everyone knows each set of actions that are acceptable and not acceptable with each other person on the list, we have agreed to safety limitations, we have traded test results or are going to at the next opportunity, etc.

    This allows us to “spontaneously” have an orgy should people be so inclined. It helps to have the people on an orgy-OK list actually be looking forward to an orgy – that makes it much less like an obligation. It’s like planning a date with someone where you’re *hoping* to have sex, as opposed to adding it to your daily itinerary like a To Do list.

  25. Our society romanticizes spontaneity way beyond what I think is healthy. It uses spontaneity as an excuse for poor behaviour and it discounts planned sex as unromantic and therefore unwanted. That kind of thinking is what gives us situations like “accidental sex” and “oops, I don’t have a condom” and “oh shit, where can we go?”. While spontaneity *is* fun, it also shouldn’t be elevated to the end-all-be-all of sex, nor should a little contingency planning take all the fun out of it.

    Requiring that sex be spontaneous also allows society to “blame” people for having sex. You’re a slut, a whore, a Bad Person because you Planned the sex, but if it Just Happened, well, we’re only human after all.

    Plus, as an adult with other obligations and responsibilities, sometimes you just *do* have to schedule in time for sex, or it might get put off and put off and put off until months go by and you suddenly realize you haven’t had sex in ages. Greta Christina writes a good article or two about planning sex.

    Planning for sex is part of being a responsible sexually active adult. And planning an orgy is part of being a responsible romantic partner (for those who have or want orgies). That way, there aren’t any unpleasant surprises. Without “planning”, you have to make decisions spur of the moment regarding who does what with whom, when hormones are clouding your judgement, and that has repurcussions later.

    But if you plan the orgy, you can have the discussions with your partners and potential partners beforehand. You can decide up front who does what with whom, when and how. That way, when you finally *do* get to the orgy, you don’t have to stop and think about it, you don’t have to stop to ask permission, you don’t have to stop to have a disagreement, and you don’t have to deal with hurt feelings afterwards.

    It’s actually the ability to plan for the what-ifs that make the spontaneous orgies possible. If everyone is in the room, and the mood strikes 2 or 3 or all of them, the fact that all the details have been planned out, like what to do in the event of… and who can do what with whom make it that much easier to just go with the energy and join in.

    I think part of the confusion here might be the idea that the orgy is “planned” in the sense of sending out invitations “Orgy at the Jones Residence. Door opens at 7 PM, all clothes must be off by 8 PM, BYOL (Bring Your Own Libido). Sarah, John, Julie and Mark will start things off by swapping partners, and then Sally and Jane will join in, but Paul has restrictions from his wife and can only watch…”

    But an orgy can be both spontaneous and planned. For instance, I have been having lengthy discussions with my two partners, who have been having discussions with their other partners, and so on, for the last 2 or 3 days, where we are exploring our comfort levels regarding certain activities with certain individuals. Who is it OK to go down on? Who is it OK to have PIV sex with? Who has traded test results so far? We have an OK List of people that everyone in question is comfortable being in a sexual setting with everyone else on the list, everyone knows each set of actions that are acceptable and not acceptable with each other person on the list, we have agreed to safety limitations, we have traded test results or are going to at the next opportunity, etc.

    This allows us to “spontaneously” have an orgy should people be so inclined. It helps to have the people on an orgy-OK list actually be looking forward to an orgy – that makes it much less like an obligation. It’s like planning a date with someone where you’re *hoping* to have sex, as opposed to adding it to your daily itinerary like a To Do list.

  26. Key parties were actually discussed last year on network television on a wonderful, short-lived, little show called “Swingtown.” If you haven’t seen it, go look it up. It was well written and thoughtful and really good — too good for mainstream America.

  27. Re: Let the Circles Be Unbroken!

    Perhaps, in a primarily left-handed community. I guess it’s that old sinister/dexterous argument.

    Remember George Carlin paraphrasing the Bible — “Never let the left hand know.”

  28. That’s the thing, I don’t think a lot of people really *are* forced to deal with things when it happens “spontaneously”, because the idea of spontaneity is romanticized as much as it is. It’s used as an excuse and that gives people permission to avoid it sometimes.

    Take, for example, the scenario of a person who cheated. How often do we hear “but honey, it just happened, it’s not like I *planned* it”? As if the spontaneity of the event makes it less detrimental. I would *rather* someone planned it, because then he would have taken more precautions (of course, I’d rather there be no cheating at all, but if one is going to, at least he can be prepared with condoms and testing – that’s partly why I’m poly, the planning requires that degree of honesty, which in turn provides a higher level of safety).

    I think the opposite is true, that the act of planning forces more people to be more honest with themselves and with those around them because they cannot hide behind spontaneity or hormones or “the devil made me do it” or whatever. Planning something makes one take full responsibility for their actions.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily more natural to elevate the more dangerous option. If we really did do that, it would have been selected against because that would cause less chance of reproduction due to the fact that those who did would keep dying off thanks to dangerous choices. Some people *do* get a thrill out of “danger”, but if you notice, most of them *also* take safety precautions, like taking the parachute with them when they jump out of a perfectly good airplane. And that requires planning.

    There’s a bit of irony in the statement that planning an orgy gives you the freedom you’d need to enjoy it, but it is true. Having contingency plans gives one *more* freedom, not less. A spontaneous orgy is more likely to break out when the people involved have made something resembling “plans” for the occasion. When a group has a history of such behaviour and a history for it working out well, it’s more likely to result in future spontaneous orgies. As a group (or individuals) develop those sorts of histories, they also develop the contingency plans necessary to pull it off again in the future. Such as having condoms handy, knowing your partners’ feelings before doing any particular activity, having cleaning products for afterwards, keeping or packing certain toys to increase the enjoyment, having changes of clothing, having overnight items like a toothbrush, etc.

    When I have all these sorts of things available “just in case”, I have much more freedom to accept and enjoy an orgy on the spur of the moment, when everyone’s chemistry and the mood just *happens* to be right. I’m not necessarily predicting the exact time when everyone will be in the mood, I’m making plans for what to do in case the mood happens and evaluating likely situations for an orgy to occur.

    Although, as I said before, being excited about participating in something makes it pretty likely that you’ll be able to predict if you’ll be in the mood for it at a given time, even if the orgy is actually “scheduled” (as opposed to just planned for). That’s what being excited about it *is*. And, as one of the Greta Christina articles points out that I linked to above, sometimes just being willing to be aroused is all it takes to eventually *get* aroused, so one does not necessarily need to already be aroused in order to enjoy and participate in an orgy.

  29. That’s the thing, I don’t think a lot of people really *are* forced to deal with things when it happens “spontaneously”, because the idea of spontaneity is romanticized as much as it is. It’s used as an excuse and that gives people permission to avoid it sometimes.

    Take, for example, the scenario of a person who cheated. How often do we hear “but honey, it just happened, it’s not like I *planned* it”? As if the spontaneity of the event makes it less detrimental. I would *rather* someone planned it, because then he would have taken more precautions (of course, I’d rather there be no cheating at all, but if one is going to, at least he can be prepared with condoms and testing – that’s partly why I’m poly, the planning requires that degree of honesty, which in turn provides a higher level of safety).

    I think the opposite is true, that the act of planning forces more people to be more honest with themselves and with those around them because they cannot hide behind spontaneity or hormones or “the devil made me do it” or whatever. Planning something makes one take full responsibility for their actions.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily more natural to elevate the more dangerous option. If we really did do that, it would have been selected against because that would cause less chance of reproduction due to the fact that those who did would keep dying off thanks to dangerous choices. Some people *do* get a thrill out of “danger”, but if you notice, most of them *also* take safety precautions, like taking the parachute with them when they jump out of a perfectly good airplane. And that requires planning.

    There’s a bit of irony in the statement that planning an orgy gives you the freedom you’d need to enjoy it, but it is true. Having contingency plans gives one *more* freedom, not less. A spontaneous orgy is more likely to break out when the people involved have made something resembling “plans” for the occasion. When a group has a history of such behaviour and a history for it working out well, it’s more likely to result in future spontaneous orgies. As a group (or individuals) develop those sorts of histories, they also develop the contingency plans necessary to pull it off again in the future. Such as having condoms handy, knowing your partners’ feelings before doing any particular activity, having cleaning products for afterwards, keeping or packing certain toys to increase the enjoyment, having changes of clothing, having overnight items like a toothbrush, etc.

    When I have all these sorts of things available “just in case”, I have much more freedom to accept and enjoy an orgy on the spur of the moment, when everyone’s chemistry and the mood just *happens* to be right. I’m not necessarily predicting the exact time when everyone will be in the mood, I’m making plans for what to do in case the mood happens and evaluating likely situations for an orgy to occur.

    Although, as I said before, being excited about participating in something makes it pretty likely that you’ll be able to predict if you’ll be in the mood for it at a given time, even if the orgy is actually “scheduled” (as opposed to just planned for). That’s what being excited about it *is*. And, as one of the Greta Christina articles points out that I linked to above, sometimes just being willing to be aroused is all it takes to eventually *get* aroused, so one does not necessarily need to already be aroused in order to enjoy and participate in an orgy.

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