Annals of sex research

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 5–20

The nature of explanation in sexology and the riddle of triolism

  • Uri Wernik

DOI: 10.1007/BF00849719

Cite this article as:
Wernik, U. Annals of Sex Research (1990) 3: 5. doi:10.1007/BF00849719


Triolism is an uncommon sexual variety. Through its examination, the nature of explanation itself in Sexology is clarified and much is learned about sexuality in general. The prevalent explanations based on voyeurism, exhibitionism, latent homosexuality, and the Oedipal complex, are rejected as pseudo-scientific "one factor" theories, nonhumanistic, and anti-therapeutic. Content analysis was performed on letters written by triolists. This analysis supplied information on the couples involved, the nature and development of their sexual practices, and the effects on the couples' relationship. Based on this analysis, an alternative explanatory model is presented. It consists of an interplay of three groups of factors: Sexuality in the framework of marriage, the role of visuality in human sexuality, and coping with inhibitions in sexual functioning. Thus, triolism can be conceived as a result of a problem solving process in which a person finds a creative combined solution to these and other concerns.

Copyright information

© Juniper Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uri Wernik
    • 1
  1. 1.Misgav Ladach HospitalJerusalemIsrael