Tessa Thompson enjoyed a PDA-spree, first with rumored couple Rita Ora and Taika Waititi, then with model Zac Stenmark. Now social media is celebrating Thompson's powerful expression of sexuality — and getting an education on "throuples," aka three-way relationships.
In photos published by the Daily Mail, the Creed actress, 37, singer Ora, 30, and the Jojo Rabbit film director, 45, kissed over drinks in Sydney, Australia. (Ora and Waititi have been reportedly dating since April, and Thompson stars in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Waititi.) In separate photos — and wearing the same outfit — Thompson was pictured kissing the 29-year-old model.
Social media keeled over at the bold display of affection. "Live your life Tessa" someone wrote on a Just Jared Instagram post, with other comments reading, "She’s embracing hot girl summer! Let her be!" "U get it girl" and "Go hard or go home." And the response surprised others who wrote, "Honestly these comments are inspiring!!!!!" and "Zero slut shaming to be found."
The reaction does not surprise Amy C. Moors, a sexuality scholar and assistant professor of psychology at Chapman University. Her 2016 study found that 20 percent of people had engaged in a consensual nonmonogamous relationship at some point in their lives, regardless of age, education level, income, religion, region, political affiliation or race, with the only predictors being sex and sexual orientation — men were more likely than women to partake, as well as those who identified as LGBT.
A separate paper co-authored by Moors and published in the Journal of Sex Research analyzed Google Trends over a 10-year period and found a "significant" increase among searches for "polyamory" (agreements between couples that include emotional and/or sexual connections with others) and "open relationships" (sexual connections that are not necessarily romantic or emotional). The research did not indicate who has experimented with specific sexual activities but reflected a general interest in the topics.
Still, sexuality is an understudied topic. "That's due to a hierarchy in academia that places it at the bottom unless related to reproduction or sexual health," Moors tells Yahoo Life. "Studying pleasure, never mind between multiple people, gets into marginalized and stigmatized terrain."
However, celebrities are progressively speaking up about their diverse sexual interests. On an episode of Red Table Talk, Willow Smith recently revealed that she's polyamorous. “With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that's what everyone around you says is the right thing to do," the 20-year-old explained to mother Jada Pinkett Smith and grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris.
Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie and Cameron Diaz have all raised doubts about the principles of monogamy. And support for nontraditional couples got legislative support in Somerville, Mass., which last year introduced a domestic partnership ordinance that expanded the definition of domestic partnership to include relationships between three or more adults.
The exposure bodes well for researchers like Moors who say that nonmonogamous couples generally develop healthy relationship habits that are similar to or even better than those in traditional pairings. "Consensual nonmonogamous couples don't have a [relationship] blueprint so they have to talk explicitly about what makes them comfortable and valued," Moors tells Yahoo Life. "By studying these couples, we can also learn how to positively influence those in monogamous relationships."
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