Threesome Subtext

Sometimes, Betty and Veronica stop fighting over Archie and simply enjoy him together.

Subtextual implications in the story, about the possibility of a shared romantic and/or sexual relationship between three characters. This can involve an Official Couple (or as close to an official couple as you can get) and their best friend, the participants in a Love Triangle (or more) being far more friendly than you'd expect, a Power Trio with a close emotional bond, or just any trio of characters that, by the nature of their relationship and/or the plot, spend an awful lot of time around each other.

Like most other Ship Tease tropes, it might be caused by the author fooling around, with the expectation that no one will consider this a serious romantic resolution, or by teasing the fans of that particular kink to stay tuned. It's possible for this to be accidental, though given the generally more complicated dynamics involved it's more likely to be intentional compared to other subtext tropes.

Three-Way Sex and Polyamory are the textual version of this. Twin Threesome Fantasy is a subtrope. Compare One True Threesome, the Shipping Goggles-induced counterpart. See also Homoerotic Subtext and Incest Subtext.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga  

  • Tenchi Muyo!
    • Ryoko x Tenchi x Ayeka. Ayeka and Ryoko hate each other, but plenty of Foe Yay occurs in universe.
    • Emperor Azusa and his wives Funaho (an Earthling, Yosho's mother) and Misaki (a Juraian, Ayeka and Sasami's mom). Neither woman sees each other as a rival for him, instead thinking of themselves as sisters married to the same man, and their respective kids are also fine with the arrangement (i.e., Sasami calls Funaho "aunt").
  • Aoba/Mairu/Kururi gets a bunch of this in Durarara!!. Mairu and Kururi thank Aoba with a kiss for turning in a group of bullies; Aoba has a They Are Not My Girlfriends moment when his Blue Square members refer to them as such, but turns right around and explicitly orders them not to involve the twins in the gang wars because he's taken a particular liking to them. And then there's all the Mairu/Kururi Twincest. Worth noting that they've all kissed at some point.
  • Star Driver is made of this trope, implying it so freaking hard between the three protagonists (Takuto, Wako, and Sugata) while never actually resolving it.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!
  • In Maoyuu Maou Yuusha the Light Novel series decided not to give a set in stone romantic conclusion to The Hero, The Demon Queen, and Lady Knightís ordeal; instead it decided to end with all three of them retiring and traveling to some faraway place, together in full realization that The Demon Queen and Lady Knight both love The Hero.
  • In School Rumble Eri and Yakumo are both in love with Harima. There has also been quite a bit of Les Yay / Foe Yay between the two of them, culminating in a episode where they both end up dancing with each other. Before the original manga suddenly stopped, Harima was also apparently engaged to Eri while living with Yakumo, with all three apparently content with the arrangement.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, similar to the Negima example, Yukari Sendou is a Shipper on Deck for two people she's attracted to, because if they get together, it'll be easier for her to score a threesome.
  • In Death Note during the first arc: Misa-Light-L and Second arc: Misa-Light-Takada / Light-Takada-Mikami and in the prequel novel Another Note Raye Penber-Naomi Misora-Ryuuzaki
  • Ranka/Alto/Sheryl in Macross Frontier. At the end of the series, Alto says "You are both my wings."
  • Carrot/Tira/Chocolat in the Sorcerer Hunters anime. It's strongly implied the sisters would not mind sharing the man they love.
  • In Otome Youkai Zakuro, there is a canon Twin Threesome Fantasy with Ganryuu and twins Bonbori and Hozuki.
  • Happens in Anatolia Story, also overlapping with Twin Threesome Fantasy. Kail's servant Kikkuri can't distinguish between the twins Ryuhi and Shala, Yuri's ladies-in-waiting, and they're both in love with him. He then gets both girls pregnant... and ends up marrying them both. At the end of the story, the three and their kids (twin boys mothered by Ryuhi and twin girls mothered by Shala) are seen living happily ever after.
  • Gets pretty heavy in the second season of Rinne no Lagrange. When the three leads are re-united after several months the argument between Lan and Muginami is settled when Madoka pushes them together and forces them to kiss. Later on Muginami returns the favour with Madoka and Lan. After that Lan pushes Madoka and Muginami together... and winds up knocking their foreheads together. Though Madoka does confirm several episodes later that she and Muginami did kiss at some point.
  • In Pokemon Special, Diamond/Pearl/Platinum is as canon as you can get with a bunch of twelve year olds, with it repeatedly being stated how the three of them together represent the perfect human spirit, them crying when they had to separate for the first time since they had traveled together, and them eventually ending up as parents for two baby Pokemon.
  • In the manga version of Magic Knight Rayearth, Hikaru says she wants to marry both Lantis and Eagle. Then she says she loves everyone and her feelings remain ambiguous... but those two are the only ones she mentions wanting to marry, so there's that.
  • In xxxHOLiC, there's the trio of Doumeki/Watanuki/Himawari, which has plot enforced implications: Watanuki is head-over-heels for Himawari, but Himawari's Doom Magnet status renders her dangerous to be around Watanuki... except when Doumeki's around, because Doumeki is a living Protective Charm. There's also a moment where Doumeki agrees to give Himawari a "date" with Watanuki alone, but insists that they will later "have lunch together, the three of us".
  • Yuyushiki runs on this. Sometimes the subtext goes dangerously close to actual-text.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, although Ed/Winry is the Official Couple (confirmed via Babies Ever After), a far greater focus is on the relationship between Ed, Winry and Al than any romance. They've been friends since childhood, are constantly concerned and worried about the others' safety and happiness, and it's clear Ed cares for Al just as deeply as he cares for Winry.
  • As far as Shino of Kin-iro Mosaic is concerned, it would be best if she had both Alice and Karen out of her fetish toward blondes. She even comments that she could have a blonde on each arm. She also likes to daydream about the two together.
  • Soul Eater has some degree of romantic subtext in all of the weapon/meister partnerships; them having compatible souls is sort of a requirement for getting it to work. Death the Kid, however, has two partners, Liz, and Patty, and his relationship with either of them seems to complement his relationship with the other. Kid's back story on how the Thompson sisters came to be his weapons looks quite similar to a teenager rejecting an arranged marriage and resolving to Marry for Love, and then embracing both sisters. Soul Eater Not! runs on this with the main trio of Tsugumi/Anya/Meme. Then there's the ship tease with Akane, adding a straight option to the mix.
  • In Sailor Moon Usagi fantasizes about Usagi/Tuxedo Kamen/Moonlight Knight, as well as Usagi/Tuxedo Kamen/Motoki.
  • Bleach
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S is nice enough to show us Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate in bed together, plus Reinforce Zwei up on a pillow. Granted, this was following an enormously exhausting, impromptu rescue mission, after which they simply needed to crash and sleep.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has Hayate/Hinagiku/Ayumu. Ayumu jokes about this in the anime, after Hinagiku decided she was ruined for marriage because Ayumu had gotten a little turned on drying off Hinagiku (who had fainted in the bath). The manga is a little tamer about it, but implications are still there. The 'That's it' when Hinagiku admitted she'd fallen in love with Hayate could be read for such.
    • Later on in the manga we get Hayate/Hinagiku/ Athena. This is reinforced by the fact that Hayate made a promise to always love Athena and she is considered his ex-girlfriend by other characters that he tells about her and Hinagiku is later revealed to have quite a history with Athena herself with a friendship that looks an awful lot like classic Yuri Genre setups down to a Meet Cute with Hina opening admiring her beauty (though she's usually on the receiving end now). Hayate shows a lot of affection for Hina and seems to still have feelings for Athena. Hinagiku also seems to be the only one that Athena ever opened up to besides Hayate and they were known by the whole school as an inseparable duo. Given Hayate and Hinagiku's noted similarity to each other it stands to reason that Athena would naturally like them both.
  • Love Hina:
    • Keitarou/Naru/Mutsumi seems so obvious it hurts. Besides Kei and Naru being the Official Couple of that series, Mutsumi was a childhood friend who participated in the infamous promise to get into Tokyo U and in the manga states flat out that she loves (not likes) both characters and wants to see their dream succeed, with Mutsumi kissing both of them. It's clear that Keitaro made a Childhood Marriage Promise to both of them (and that they both knew about the "other woman" and were fine with it - although at their age they clearly didn't understand why it was not okay). In chapter 59, Mutsumi flat-out states that she made a promise with Naru, which means that each member of the trio made a promise with both of the other two members. And just to make it weird, Mutsumi made Naru promise to get into Tokyo U because she knew Naru was too young to remember her first promise with Keitaro, a year before that.
    • Su has openly expressed interest in becoming a threesome with Naru and Keitaro. Given her character, it's very hard to tell if she was serious or not.
  • Bakuman。: Miyoshi/Takagi/Aoki. After a series of Love Triangle-related misunderstandings, the two girls have decided to be friends with Aoki supporting the idea of Miyoshi and Takagi getting married while she's admitted to them both that she's started to fall for Takagi.
  • In Angel Densetsu, Ikuno offhandedly and bluntly states that, should Official Couple Kitano and Ryoko get married, she will become Kitano's mistress to make sure they all stay together.
  • DearS has this in the ending of the manga. Takuya, here's your reward for choosing to Stay with the Aliens.
  • Berserk gives us Griffith/Guts/Casca, although that could be considered completely canon in some ways - Casca and Guts are the Official Couple, Casca was definitely in love with Griffith earlier in the series, and Griffith has been very strongly implied to be attracted to Guts, with slightly less (but still present) subtext with Casca. The feelings are there, it's just that canon never gives them a chance to sort them all out before things go really wrong.
  • The end of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica manga The Different Story says Kyouko/Mami/Sayaka "could give rise to infinite possibilities". And then there's the piece of official art with Madoka sandwiched between Homura and "Moemura", looking surprised but excited.
  • Jyu-Oh-Sei
    • Thor/Karim/Zagi has several hints. Basically, Thor is in love with Karim, who loves him back but also loves Zagi, who is at least sexually attracted to her and also has an unhealthy obsession with Thor. Throw in a line about Karim wanting to have both their children, and there you go.
    • Foursome Subtext in Thor/Karim/Zagi/Tiz; Tiz is in love with Thor but says she's willing to share him with Karim, Thor only loves Tiz like a sister but would sleep with her if it made her happy, and Tiz and Zagi share a touching moment that involves Taking the Bullet and Died in Your Arms Tonight.
  • Love Live! has this, most notably for Honoka/Kotori/Umi, but the other grade trios have their fair share as well. Just take this scene from Chapter 7 of the mobile game:
    Honoka: Umi-chaaaan!!
    Umi: Hey, Honoka!
    Honoka: Ehehe. Obviously, I'd be nothing without you, Umi-chan.
    Kotori: ...That's an odd way to word it, Honoka-chan.
    Umi: ...Oh, my..
    Honoka: The three of us together, always and forever! I hope you'll be with me forever and ever!
    Maki: This is sounding like a wedding...
    Hanayo: Then it'd be a a polygamous one...
    Rin: Hanayo and Maki, you two should be my brides too!

    Comics 

  • In Empowered, this is implied between the three main characters, Emp, Thug Boy and Ninjette. Emp and Thug Boy are in a very happy relationship with Ninjette as Emp's best friend. But not only are Thug Boy and Ninjette attracted to each other (he even accidently felt her up when the three of them were sharing a bed after Ninjette underwent a traumatic experience), but it's implied that Ninjette is attracted to Emp, and Emp has described herself as a "three drink bisexual." The possibility is even acknowledged during a conversation between Ninjette and The Caged Demonwolf, though Ninjette refuses to divulge her fantasies. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it's incredibly unsubtle.
  • Strangers in Paradise has Francine, David, Katchoo, Casey, Freddie and even Tambi all alternate between being friends, enemies, sexual partners and various places in between, and also rotate living with each other as one or more of those options. Eventually they all (well, most) decide for Katchoo, Casey and David to form a sexual relationship in order to produce a child, comfort David in his final days, and because they all do love each other, even though Katchoo only really loves Francine, David only really loves Katchoo, and who Casey really loves is more complicated than even the reader thinks at the time (yes, it is more complicated than what you just read). Once David dies the series settles down into Katchoo-Francine and Casey-Tambi (!?!?!?!?!?), though even then David sticks with both pairs in spirit and via his child with Katchoo... and no, Freddie does not end up with anybody, he ends up alone. Deservedley.
  • In Mark Waid's "The Kingdom" miniseries, the Kingdom Come versions of Clark and Diana have a son with Bruce as the godfather - and the grown-up kid refers to them as his three parents. And an AU featured in Trinity just had the three of them get married, basically.

    Film 

  • Johnny, Lisa, and Denny from The Room
    Denny: I just like to watch you guys.
  • Some people see a lot of this in TRON. Specifically, in the principle Love Triangle between the three main human characters (and their program counterparts, by proxy) and even homoerotic overtones between Flynn, Tron and Ram during the "Power Pool" scene.
  • Ben, Chon and O in Savages.
  • Sort of the whole idea of Jim/Plato/Judy in Rebel Without a Cause—they're sort of a weird blend of a threesome and a family unit.
  • The whole point of Y Tu MamŠ Tambiťn, when you remove the asides by the narrator, circumcision jokes, and everything else that is even vaguely political.
  • There's definitely some kind of vibe going on between Sophie, Nathan and Stingo in Sophie's Choice
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Butch/Sundance/Etta is just this side of canon.
  • Singin' in the Rain gives us this picture of Don, Kathy, and Cosmo laughing on the couch at the end of "Good Morning".
  • This shows up in The Last Temptation of Christ, of all things. Following Mary Magdalene's death, Jesus is depicted as moving in with the sisters of Lazarus and having many children with them. This truns out to be a temptful delusion by Satan.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas has some rather heavy subtext between Sinbad/Marina/Proteus. While Proteus/Marina and Sinbad/Marina are both canonical, the two men bear no jealousy towards each other. Proteus blindly trusts Sinbad to save his life, and they spend a lot of time embracing and staring into each other's eyes. Really, the only reason Proteus couldn't follow them to sea was because of his duties.
  • Tom, George, and Gilda in Design For Living. They all three sure do like each other a lot. Gilda dates them both. Tom comments on how he "loved you both". Gilda is pretty clearly going to be having sex with both of them, as indicated by the Call Back to the "gentleman's agreement" line. And they are all three clasping hands as the film ends.

    Literature 

  • Since Troy Denning started writing the Star Wars Expanded Universe, he's put a lot of this between Jaina, Zekk, and Jag. When Zekk and Jaina are part of a hive mind, Zekk finds Jag attractive. Then in Invincible, after one fight, Jaina invites both of them to bed with her at the same time.
  • In Isabel Allende's Eva Luna, Intrepid Reporter Rolf's first romantic/sexual experiences were with his two cute cousins. The two sisters are very close and have the same taste in boys, so they see nothing wrong with sharing the lover as long as the three agree; then, they pretty much glomp-attack Rolf as he works up the nerve to decide which one he likes the best, and one thing leads to another.
  • Arthur/Lancelot/Guinevere in The Once and Future King. Canonically, it's a Love Triangle, but the text makes it explicit that all three of the individuals involved love each other in some fashion.
  • Surprisingly, The Hundred and One Dalmatians had a lot of this. So Pongo and Missis are a Happily Married couple, very loving, very stable- and then they have a large amount of puppies that Missis cannot possibly feed all on her own. So the Dearlys bring Perdita, a new dog, into the family as a milk-nurse and have her nurse half the puppies, and this goes on for a few days. Missis initially feels jealous of Perdita, but Pongo reassures Missis that she doesn't have to be, and eventually all three dogs are eventually raising the puppies together and getting along really well. And then, when the puppies are stolen, Pongo and Missis go out to find them, leaving Perdita with the Dearlys to comfort them. The two often talk about Perdita while they're journeying and wonder if she misses them. Note that the novel barely mentions sex in any way, so the only reason this isn't canon is because at the end, Perdita finds this dog she had puppies with before and hooks up with him. The whole subtext of this was avoided in 101 Dalmatians through the magic of Composite Characters.
  • In Wicked, husband and wife Frex and Melena are both in love with Turtle Heart, though it's unclear whether Frex and Turtle Heart ever slept together (or even kissed).
  • The Revenge of the Sith novelization does everything but outright state that Padme/Anakin/Obi-Wan is canon. Anakin and Padme are explicitly married while Anakin and Obi-Wan have stupendous Ho Yay, the narration stating that they're "closer than brothers, closer than lovers", and Palpatine stating that Anakin isn't choosing between the Jedi and the Sith, but choosing which one of them he loves more. And Obi-Wan and Padme themselves get a brief scene that shows them to be very friendly, despite Obi-Wan's dislike of politicians and Padme's distrust of anyone who isn't Anakin.
  • Sword at Sunset's Artos, Bedwyr, and Guenhumara are happy as a close trio but screw up their one-on-one relationships: Artos and Guenhumara's marriage is irreparably flawed, Bedwyr and Guenhumara are unhappy in their betrayal of Artos, and Artos and Bedwyr are jealous of Guenhumara but also love each other more than they can acceptably express.
  • In the Hurog duology, there's lots of Ho Yay between Ward and Oreg. (Among other things, they share a magical bond). Ward is fascinated by a noblewoman, but after a while he can't stand her jokes about his allegedly stupid-looking eyes anymore, and catches up with Oreg (they're all traveling somewhere at the time), and tells him that the lady apparently doesn't like his eyelashes ... to which Oreg responds by fluttering his own eyelashes and saying "I'm sure she will like mine, they're prettier", and goes to keep her company. The lady, Tisala, becomes Ward's official love interest later on.

     Live Action TV  

  • Doctor Who
    • Rory/Amy/The Doctor have a lot. Amy has on occasion called them her "boys," and they don't disagree. Amy is in love with Rory but obsessed with the Doctor and wants to fit them both into her love life somehow, and the Doctor consciously represses his attraction to Amy (cf. "Amy's Choice"), but quickly grows to really like Rory with heaps and heaps of Ho Yay. Rory is completely Amy-sexual, though.
    • The Doctor and Rose have Unresolved Sexual Tension out the wazoo and Jack is canonically in love with both of them, managing to kiss them both before they kiss each other. Their short time spent on the TARDIS together plays up the subtext for all its worth, especially the end of "The Doctor Dances" and all of "Boom Town".
    • Blink and you'll miss it but there's the possibility for Ten/Martha/Shakespeare in "The Shakespeare Code", as the good Bard openly flirts with both of them.
    • It's just one episode, but Eleven/Amy/Vincent is pretty strongly hinted, since Vincent has strong chemistry with both the Doctor and Amy, to the point of the three lying in the grass stargazing, all holding hands. What with the Doctor's ginger fetish and Vincent asking Amy to marry him, things might have ended very differently had there been no Rory.
  • Glee: In the episode "Prom Queen" Rachel and Mercedes both ask Sam to the prom together. They go as a group of three (and are later joined by Jesse).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In the second season, Angelus/Spike/Drusilla is all but canon. Both the guys lust after her but also have massive Foe Yay with each other. There is an infamous line in later seasons where Spike claims to have not been intimate with Angelus except for "that one time" (implications confirmed by Joss Whedon himself) which probably happened when Spike was still with Dru. And, of course, when Angelus first shows up (after being de-souled) he kisses Spike passionately on the forehead, prompting Drusilla to gleefully squeal "We're a family again!" Was that even supposed to be subtext?
    • Before Spike came along, Angel, Darla, and Drusilla traveled together for quite a while...
    Drusilla: I'm full and warm, yet all alone.
    Angelus: That's not true, precious. You've got us.
    Drusilla: Not in the least. You won't even hurt me just a little bit.
    Darla: All you have to do is ask.
    • Buffy was involved with both Angel and Spike, and the two guys always had massive Foe Yay. The Season 8 comic book has Buffy's sexual fantasy, a threesome between her, Angel and Spike. While she wears a nurse uniform, and they're chained to her.
  • The joyful Abby/Becker/Connor reunion hug in the Primeval series 4 opener is bookended near the end of the series 5 finale: Our heroes walking off into the sunset: Matt/Emily in their own tight little pair, followed by our trio: Abby with an arm around Becker's waist, and holding hands with Connor. Becker also has an arm around Abby, and at the last second, he reaches over to put it around Connor, too. Awwww. Made all the more amusing by the fact that Becker once refused to answer a direct question about his orientation.
  • Happens a lot in How I Met Your Mother, in almost every permutation of the the five main characters, but most often and explicitly Ted/Marshall/Lily, where Ted is treated like an extra spouse in many, many gags. Marshall and Lily even once say "If we get married, we have to marry Ted!", when Lily gets pregnant, Ted keeps referring to it as "our" baby, and a montage in one episodes features Ted as the third factor in various famous couples (eg. Lady and the Tramp and the Bowl Of Spaghetti).
  • Boy Meets World:
    • Happens between Cory, Shawn and Topanga:
    Shawn: I think the three of us could be very happy together.
    • Revisited in the sequel when Shawn shows up for the Christmas episode. He greets Topanga as "Mrs Cory" and she greets him as "Mr. Cory". Also there is a good deal of this between Farkle, Riley and Maya. At their first dance he dances with both of them simultaneously and in another episode after competing with each other over him they essentially both go out with him.
  • In one Frasier episode, a case of misinterpretation leads Roz to believe that Niles and Daphne are asking her to have a threesome with them. The ensuing conversation is hilarious, and the fact that Roz doesn't seem too averse to the idea cause Niles and Daphne to mercilessly tease her after the miscommunication is cleared up.
  • In Degrassi, Holly J starts dating a boy named Declan. Unfortunately, Declan's sister, Fiona, is very...possessive of him, and constantly tries to sabotage their relationship. One especially blatant attempt at this ends with Fiona kissing Declan. Voluntarily. This wouldn't count as an example of the trope, except for the part in the next season where Fiona goes through character development, realizes she is bisexual, and kisses Holly J. Again, voluntarily. And Holly implies she is still in love with Declan, who, before their breakup, told both girls they had to make up because he wanted to spend the summer with both of them. Ahh, soap operas.
  • Leverage features this somewhat with Hardison/Eliot/Parker. It's not like they weren't already teased like crazy, but in the series Grand Finale, they died holding hands. Faked, of course, since Nate is a lying bastard of a narrator. However, when Nate and Sophie leave at the end of the episode, Parker, Hardison and Eliot go on by themselves. It's implied at least twice that the relationship between the three of them is meant to be permanent. When Sophie asks Eliot about his future he states that he wanted to open his own restaurant but now he's going to get stuck making sure Hardison's doesn't go out of business. In the finale when Sophie asks him to protect them, he says 'until my dying day'.
  • Eureka: Allison and Nathan used to be married, Jack and Allison have had UST since the very first episode and were married in an alternate universe, and Jack and Nathan have epic Foe Yay. Nathan's death seems to have merely spawned a host of resurrection fics, rather than stop the shipping. Nathan spent twelve hours in-canon analyzing Allison and Jack's relationship, tormenting Jack with his and Allison's romantic past, walking around without a shirt on, and implying the size of the... shoes that Jack must fill. In turn, Jack had quite a few jealous and Stupid Sexy Flanders moments, but slipped in there, "Still. It's really great seeing you again", implying that they're not all 'Foe' on the 'Yay'.
  • The Vampire Diaries plays up Damon/Elena/Stefan in promo pictures, which frequently portray the situation as less "I'm dating a vampire, and have a certain amount of sexual tension with his brother, which makes things a bit awkward" and more "Yeah, I'm totally doing them both, probably at the same time." This? Not happening.
  • Merlin: Merlin, Arthur and Gwen are destined to rule Camelot together, a dream sequence showed Arthur crowning Guinevere Queen of Camelot whilst Merlin watches with a look of abject adoration on his face (most of their scenes together involve them staring at each other lovingly), and oh look, Gwen and Arthur have gone on a private outing to celebrate their anniversary. Wait, is that ...? Yes, they brought Merlin along on their anniversary date. Clearly, he's also married to them both.
  • JD/Turk/Carla in Scrubs, what with JD and Turk's outrageous Ho Yay and JD and Carla's closeness (and Accidental Kiss that one time). It's almost adressed in the show itself by Carla: when Turk is about to ask JD to be his best man at their wedding, JD somehow gets the idea they're about to suggest a threesome. His Inner Monologue doesn't sound too averse to the idea.
    "Oh my god, would I have a threesome with Turk and Carla? Well, it's certainly flattering and I don't think they'd tell anyone..."
  • Lost Girl has Bo address the possibility of Dyson/Bo/Lauren.
    Bo: We've never done this before, huh? Just the three of us. Like a threesome. Not that I've thought about it that way or anything.
  • Psych: Shawn and Gus are incredibly close friends and Shawn is definitely Ambiguously Bi. When Shawn and Juliet start dating, Gus takes it quite hard, almost like he lost his boyfriend, but eventually the three figure out how to balance their relationships. The subtext hits hard in the series finale when Shawn proposes to Juliet with Gus standing next to him and actively delivering portions of the proposal. Shawn even says "Will you marry us?" since Gus is such an important part of their lives.
  • In the final episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the Gentleman adds to his creepiness by making such a suggestion to Lady Pole and Arabella.
    The Gentleman: My ladies, this is the very picture of beauty: to see my two rarest and finest flowers entwined so happily. You know, it is said, that in the lands on the far side of Hell, they dance a dance of three partners.

     Theatre 
  • Company: Although Bobby's relationship with his married friends seems entirely platonic, Side By Side By Side/What Would We Do Without You?, where Bobby sings about how he doesn't need anything other than the married couples who are his friends and the couples join in, talking about what a perfect friend he is and how his presence helps them through their marital difficulties, could be seen as this.
    Bobby: One is lonely and two is boring/Think what you can keep ignoring/Side...by side...by side...
  • Claude/Berger/Sheila Hair, leading to a three-way embrace.
    Jeanie: Sheila's hung up on Berger, Berger is hung up everywhere. Claude is hung up on a cross over Sheila and Berger.
  • The Merchant of Venice has a lot of subtext for Portia/Bassanio/Antonio. Usually in performance the implication is that Antonio is getting left out in the cold, but the odd production has run with these implications in staging the ending.

     Video Games  

  • Skies of Arcadia has so much of this between Vyse, Aika and Fina in-universe that Ship-to-Ship Combat among the three of them in fandom is nearly nonexistent. One of their boss fight opponents remarks on it!
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has Laharl/Flonne/Etna. Each one has incredible chemistry with the other two, and it's so obvious it hurts. Lampshaded when Laharl pretends to be Mao's father in Disgaea 3, and Etna and Flonne have some trouble over just who's supposed to be the mother.
    Almaz: Mao Has Two Mommies?
  • The Ar tonelico series lets you double date (and later triple date) the Reyvateil heroines in your party. While you still can settle with only one girl in the end, almost no one in the game's going to call the protagonists out for diving into multiple girls' minds at once. The subject is even more awkward since "diving" is given the same intimacy level as sex.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Sora/Riku/Kairi. Sora/Kairi is (probably) the Official Couple and the first game strongly implied that Riku also had a crush on Kairi (jury's out on whether he still feels this way about her), while Sora/Riku spend a lot of Kingdom Hearts II and Dream Drop Distance being pretty darn hoyaytastic to each other. When it comes to the dynamics of the three of them together, Kairi comments to Riku in Kingdom Hearts 2 that Sora is completely hopeless without them and holds Sora and Riku's hands between her own in order to let Sora see that what looks like Ansem Seeker of Darkness is, in fact, actually Riku. The opening FMV of Kingdom Hearts 2 briefly shows a scene of the three of them lying on a beach together, holding hands.
  • Fire Emblem
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, possibly. Seliph and Princess Julia will rule Bahara together... along with whoever you paired Seliph with (with the exception of Tinny or Patty unless you pair Tiltyu or Briggid, respectively, with a common dude)). The most obvious example would be Seliph/Lana/Julia; Lana and Julia are quite close and in her lover convo with Seliph in the final chapter, Lana tells him she loves him but feels terrible about Julia, implying she both ships Seliph/Julia and has special feelings for the girl herself.
    • Eirika/Ephraim/Lyon is practically canon, or at least it would have been had it not been for, well, you know...
    • Making Shipping a central gameplay mechanic means the series is rife with this, particularly among groups of three where all involved parties are on good terms with one another. For example, Gerik/Tethys/Marisa in The Sacred Stones (Gerik can marry either woman if he has an A Support with them, but Tethys and Marisa, despite being romantic rivals for their chief's affections, consider themselves to be friends all the same).
  • Played for Laughs in Mass Effect 3 with the Citadel DLC, where Tali drunkenly mentions the possibility of a threesome with a female Shepard romancing Garrus. This probably has more to do with her attraction to the latter, but considering how flustered she gets when she talks about the possibility of linking suits with Shepard in the second game, it's hard to say.
  • Dragon Age II has Hawke/Merrill/Isabela if Hawke sleeps with Isabela and later romances Merrill. Despite having several hints of Unresolved Sexual Tension towards Hawke herself, Isabela nonetheless wants them both to be happy and threatens a world of hurt on Hawke if they should break Merrill's heart. Her sister-like bond with Merrill has her Corrupt the Cutie, teaching her how to do body shots and giving her advice to spice up things in the bedroom.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim you can marry and have your spouse (who can be of any race or gender) move into your own home, which is likely to have a housecarl (sort of a live-in security officer/armed servant) living there too. It's quite possible to be greeted happily by both of them when you return home... and there's a good chance they'll do that while sitting in your bedroom and eating together.
  • Deadly Premonition, with York/Zach/Emily. Both York and Zach have feelings for Emily, and she in turn seems to like both of them as well. Although she favors York and ends up with him because they both Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence together, she still, in the twin boys' words, "really likes [Zach]", and tells him as her physical body dies that she "Wanted to be with [him]". Whether or not it's selfcest depends on whether or not you see York as a Split Personality that gained a life of his own or as a Guardian Angel.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tsukihime has support for both Shiki/Arcueid/Ciel and Shiki/Hisui/Kohaku. First in Ciel Good End where Arcueid and Ciel effectively and begrudgingly "share" Shiki, and there is much teased at, but unconfirmed attraction between them. Second is the main theme of Kagetsu Tohya's sidestory Flower of Thanatos in which Shiki together with humble serving Hisui and Kohaku live in the isolated Tohno Mansion, where Shiki can practically do with both maids whatever he wants, and Kohaku is very enthusiastic when they both serve him at the same time (including sexual desires, or periodic rapes) although it's not so simple as it seems and Shiki begins to have regrets.
  • Kanon: You might have the ability to choose to date either Mai or Sayuri, but Yuuichi/Mai/Sayuri is possible. Although she and Yuuichi get the most focus, it's made very, very clear that every relationship in that triangle is full of love and care, the three of them spend a lot of time time all together, and one of the most romantic moments comes when Yuuichi promises Mai that they'll all live together and imagines an extended sequences of the three being ridiculously domestic and cute together.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, all of the heroines come in pairs of friends, so there's plenty of potential for this.
    • Hanako and Lilly's routes have the most, as the two are extremely close Heterosexual Life-Partners and both of their routes feature the other to a great extent. Befriending the other is required to get either of them, and their routes in Act 1 don't diverge until the very end. It's repeatedly made obvious how much closer than normal friends they are, with Hanako saying that she loves Lilly in her route. To cap it all off, at one point in Lilly's route during one of their pyjama party/tea party get-togethers, Akira mentions that plenty of guys would be very pleased to see Lilly in such skimpy clothing, and goes on to add that he even gets to see cute Hanako in her nightie as well. Hisao deflects, but Hanako haltingly says that if it's Hisao, she doesn't mind. She doesn't seem to realise what she's implying, but everyone else sure does, and quickly change the subject.
    • Early in Emi's route, Misha teases Hisao about having lunch with both Emi and Rin, and mentions that the three of them are cute together.
    • Shizune's route features Misha very heavily, and Misha canonically is in love with Shizune, though it isn't requited. It focuses more on the friendship between the three of them than on Hisao and Shizune's relationship specifically.

    Webcomics 
  • Jordan, Vinnie and Rabbit from Skins. The three of them are shown to be very close. This strip shows that emotionally, if not sexually, their relationship is like a three-way marriage.
  • In Drowtales, since both bisexuality and polyamory are the norm in drow culture:
  • Girl Genius: Agatha/Gil/Tarvek, outright suggested by Moloch, Zeetha, Lucrezia, the Castle, Agatha's Animated Actor in a side story, the trio themselves on an opiate high, and Gil and Tarvek themselves, perfectly sober and in canon. In an apparent parody of Ship-to-Ship Combat, the Gil supporter proposes this compromise, and one of the two love interests is making jokes about it. The In-Universe betting pool gives One to Five Odds on it. In the last panel of this page, Tarvek's expression and dialog point to some genuine feelings towards Gil, though whether this is friendship or something deeper is still open for interpretation. Probably best exemplified in the aforementioned side story.
    Phil: Who thought having two boyfriends was a good idea?! *Cue Agatha, Zeetha, and Katja breaking into Cheshire Grins
  • In Schlock Mercenary, uplifted ape M'Conger explains to Nick that eating breakfast termites out of a girl's hair is romantic ("Hey, don't look at me like it's my fault. The uplift congress left that bit in."). Then Nick finds a termite in Kathryn's hair.
    M'Conger: Don't look at me, Nick. You groomed her, you get to eat the bug. If I eat it then things start to get a little kinky.
  • Homestuck
    • Trickster Mode makes Jake and Jane insanely plan to get married and have a ZILLION BABIES... with each other and with the "co-bride," Roxy. With Roxy coming along on the Trickster ride despite her attempts to escape, this OT3 then goes after Dirk, who rebuffs their advances. Otherwise it would the creepiest OT4 ever.
    • Karkat suggests this as a solution to the Love Triangle involving himself, Terezi and Dave (who insists he's not actually dating her), and suggests to Dave that they form a three-way relationship based on troll concepts that Dave responds predictably to. When Karkat tries to diagram it out it quickly degenerates into Dave grabbing the pen and making him draw penises with it.
  • This Sluggy Freelance strip has the possibility raised by Torg's shoulder devil regarding his Cannot Spit It Out crush on ZoŽ and the promise he made to Ax-Crazy Yandere Oasis.
    Torg's Evil Side: Take them both! Take them both to Disneyland and buy them concession stand drinks! Save the cups to sample their DNA later and create a harem of beautiful ZoŽ-Oasis hybrid loveslave clones!
  • In El Goonish Shive, some Sarah/Grace/Tedd subtext starts cropping up when Sarah becomes Tedd's lab assistant. Tedd has a (brief) Imagine Spot of all three of them in sexy outfits, Tedd gave Sarah clone forms of himself with the explicit understanding that she could do whatever she wanted with them, and Sarah is the only person other than Grace who has shown to be able to call him "Teddy" and get away with it. Plus, after Grace learns of Elliot and Sarah's amicable breakup, she feels the need to reassure herself by clinging to Tedd ... and Sarah.
    Sarah: Why am I being clung?!

    Web Original 
  • In DC Nation, Kory broke Babs's brain by saying she'd not be averse to inviting Barbara to bed if Dick gave permission. Nationverse also had a possible future where Gar Logan (Changeling), Fauna, and Raven had a long-standing "arrangement" and Green Shield's experience in a Lotus-Eater Machine caused her to hallucinate that Dr. Midnite, Green Arrow I, and Black Canary were in a happy three-way marriage.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Harry Osborn makes a rather... interesting comment about himself, his girlfriend Gwen, his best friend Peter and Peter's date Liz.
    Harry: Then it's settled! This Saturday, we're a foursome!
  • In Angela Anaconda, Johnny Abatti's uncle Nicky is always seen in the company of two unnamed women, heavily implied to be his long-term girlfriends.

Alternative Title(s):

Three Yay