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When did the word throuple become mainstream?

Has society matured? Are alternative families and lifestyles really becoming more mainstream?

By Belle du JourneyPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
When did the word throuple become mainstream?
Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Words can tell you a lot about society. They reflect who we are. Some words come and go. Others are here to stay.

Political Satirist Bill Maher mentioned rather offhandedly that Rudy Giuliani’s daughter Caroline was part of a throuple. I looked at my husband and asked “Did I just hear him say throuple?”

Two years ago I wouldn’t have known what the word throuple meant. But now that it was mentioned by the host of one of my favourite tv shows I took note. Like a cat, my curiosity was peaked.

So I started digging. I needed to learn more about this word. Yes, its genesis was important but the historian in me has always been fascinated by how society adapts and evolves.

Etymologically, the word ‘Throuple’ is a bringing together of the word ‘three’ and ‘couple’.

While the word’s origins might be obvious, its meaning isn’t as simple.

A throuple is an ongoing relationship between three people who have all unanimously agreed to be in a romantic, loving, relationship together with the consent of all people involved.

Now, this is where this word can get a little confusing. Yes, throuples can, and often do, have sex with each other. But, and it’s a BIG but, throuple relationships are likely to be about more than just sex. Otherwise they’d be called threesomes.

A throuple can include any combination of people of any gender or sexual identity. It is a subset of the many philias that reside under the polyamory umbrella.

Back to the present. The word ‘throuple’ has now been mentioned by the host of a popular, albeit very liberal (I’m Canadian), TV show -- Schitt's Creek. When did this word become mainstream? My curiosity piqued, I decided to do some more digging.

The earliest mention of the word ‘throuple’ I could find was online in 2017. On January 17, the award-winning Schitt’s Creek aired an episode entitled ‘The Throuple’ in its third season.

Three years after, the word ‘throuple’ showed up on the speciality channel HGTV. The popular show House Hunters featured a polyamorous throuple in an episode entitled 'Three is no Crowd in Colorado Springs' that aired on February 13, 2020.

The more you love, the more you can love—and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had time enough, he could love all of that majority who are decent and just.— Time Enough for Love

On February 14, 2020, USA Today ran a story entitled 'What you need to know about polyamory — including throuples — but were too afraid to ask.' After this article, the throuple floodgates opened.

A month later, publicity hungry Jada Pinkett Smith spoke openly to about being a part of a polyamorous throuple with Will and his ex-wife, Sheree Zampino.

By mid-summer, People was telling mainstream North America about how two of the stars on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills were exploring life as a throuple.

Now, I get Real Housewives is a show that attracts its audience by being sensational. But I find the fact that an audience of 3.5 million is aware of the word ‘throuple’ fascinating. To me, audience acceptance of this new plotline means the public interest in polyamory may be more widespread than research indicates.

On March 22, 2021, the courts in California declared three names could be placed on a child’s birth certificate. This was a significant legal victory for all people involved in polyamorous throuple relationships.

Reflecting back on the timeline of the word ‘throuple’, I wonder did the media merely pick up on this story line? Or, did art reflect a plot going on in the world?

Who knows? Only time will tell.


© Copyright Belle Du Journey, 2023


About the Creator

Belle du Journey

Belle du Journey writes about her adventures in life. Her interests are diverse and include sexuality, polyamory, parenting and travel.

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