Every woman needs a 'gaggle' of men
June 14th, 2012
08:46 AM ET

Every woman needs a 'gaggle' of men

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

If you’re a single woman and you’re looking for love, forget about “The Rules” and stop worrying that “He’s just not that into you.”

That was then, this is now - it’s a post-dating world you’re living in, and that means you have to shed your one-to-one mind-set and start thinking in terms of one to many.

In other words? Stop searching for Mr. Right and look around at all the Mr Right(s).

That’s the premise of "The Gaggle," a new book from Jessica Massa, who, along with Rebecca Wiegand, runs the website “WTF Is Up With My Love Life?!

According to Massa and Wiegand, every woman - single or not - should have her own gaggle, a group of guys that occupy different roles in her life.

“You probably have a gaggle of friends, who all play different roles and fulfill different needs for you,” explains Massa. “You might call one friend to go shopping versus another friend when you’re upset versus another friend when you need a serious professional opinion. Your romantic gaggle is just another piece of the much larger, long-term puzzle of how you structure the relationships in your life to feel full, happy and loved.”

The men in this gaggle can include anyone from the barista you flirt with, to the ex-boyfriend you Skype, to the work buddy you commiserate with over lunch. Whether you end up dating one or more of them is just an added bonus.

“As a woman, having a gaggle provides you with a love life full of possibility: you have many men in your life, in many ambiguous but enriching ways, who are all teaching you about yourself and your needs and desires and leading you closer to the guy and relationship you want,” say Massa and Wiegand.

Terri Trespicio, a New York-based dating and relationship coach who is single herself, exuberantly extols the “uncoupled state” and takes things a step further: If you’re happily single but enjoy dating, she recommends seeing three different men regularly.

“When you date just one guy, you might feel pressured to commit, even if you’re not ready,” she says. “If you see two men, there’s often this unspoken need to choose between them. But three guys tend to balance each other out, like a tripod.”

Like the “Gaggle," these three men can fulfill different needs - maybe you like to see movies with one, travel with another and cuddle with a third - which removes the burden of one man to fill all those slots.

“This can also help you worry less about whether or not someone is your ‘match’,” says Trespicio, “and shifts your focus to the sheer joy of connecting with other people.”

Nor does being single have to equal celibate. Your gaggle may well include ex-boyfriends, hot sex prospects, and perhaps even a cuddle-guy. It’s your love-life, so do it your way. As long as you’re open and honest with your dates - and practice safe sex - there’s no reason why you can’t be intimate with more than one person.

Just as different people can serve different roles outside of bed, so too, can they satisfy different needs between the sheets. In their groundbreaking book, "The Ethical Slut," Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy describe the ways in which single women (and men) can juggle multiple sexual partners and enjoy intimacy safely and “ethically."

Marriage is wonderful for many, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. Whether you’re sexually intimate with more than one person or simply enjoying a variety of friendships and dates, one doesn’t have to be the loneliest number.

Say Massa and Wiegand: “We are living in a post-dating world because traditional dating is no longer the most common path that people are following to romantically connect and fall in love. And the more that women judge themselves and their relationships by traditional dating standards that no longer exist, the more they are going to feel an unnecessary despair and confusion and hold themselves back from finding love in this new romantic landscape.”

So go forth and gaggle!

soundoff (1,428 Responses)
  1. Professor Jimmy Rustler

    gaggle on these nutz bish

    June 21, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rustle Jimmy

    Sounds good. I'm sure she'll enjoy cuddling and watching The Avengers with me, while Tyrone here will be hittin' it from behind later that night.

    June 21, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zach AZ

      Seriously! This article seems like it came from disease world.

      Plus it doesn't even put men's feelings into consideration. How long are they gonna hang around when you're with ten other people?

      July 9, 2012 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
    • Igneel

      I love your comment, I can practically feel the sarcasm reeking off it 😀
      This gaggle is great in theory, terrible in reality.
      Very Very Terrible...

      July 11, 2012 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
    • Kay Allen

      Sounds terrible? Not at all! How can one judge what sort of person and which particular person would suit you best without some experience in the matter? I know – you want everyone to waste their precious time getting all wrapped around the axle and participate in 'drama' over one other person at a time whereupon, if unlucky, there they end up 50-something and no one to love. Serial monogamy before you're even married – you've got to be kidding. If you're ego can't handle it then that's your problem and you should be working to fix that rather than inflicting your insecurities upon others.

      July 14, 2012 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
  3. Tyrone

    Sounds good to me.

    June 21, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jamal Jomama

      Share wich yo brotha yo! How bout dat der spit roast?

      June 21, 2012 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
  4. Cereal Man

    Fair is fair. If women can have their "harem" of men then don't complain if guys want the same.

    June 21, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kay Allen

      Of course not. Go right ahead.

      July 14, 2012 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
    • pyjoshua

      @Kay, you sound like a tramp

      July 25, 2012 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
  5. Pepper Potts Angus

    Tyrone I would like to take her out to dinner when you are done... I will be waiting at my phone give me a ring.

    June 21, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tyrone

      No problem, bro. I'll fill'er up good for ya.

      June 21, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Pen Issukker

      I'm her personal chauffer, I'll try her to your place for you or even straight to the date location if you want. Gaggle gaggle.

      June 22, 2012 at 00:42 | Report abuse |
  6. ZyzzBrah

    Sloots gonna sloot

    June 21, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jimmy Rustle

    Women looking to "fool around while they're young" end up "fooling around" their entire life. Good luck on your dating 40 year old losers goals of 2022 when you finally feel like settling down and wondering where did your beauty go.

    June 21, 2012 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ann2323

      That's a blatant falsehood. Many people fool around when they are younger and when they become older, they mature and find stable monogamous relationships.

      June 27, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
    • james

      Jimmy is right.

      July 10, 2012 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • Kay Allen

      Nonsense! FYI fully 20% of all married folks are in the polyamorous/Swing lifestyle. Also FYI – those who don't fool around when young – don't fool with you when they're older. They are all the more likely to say "Thank God I don't have to do that any more.." mainly because they 'bought into' your anti-sex-for-fun ethos.

      July 14, 2012 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Most women I have fooled around with, married or not, are 40 or older. Didn't ya hear.... Cougars are the in thing now.

      July 16, 2012 at 08:07 | Report abuse |
  8. JoosBrah

    Listen up you bishes... it's your nurturing and selective nature that makes you anything more than a fleshlight to us. By slooting yourself around you turn yourself into the very "sex object" you supposedly deplore being seen as.

    June 21, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kay Allen

      Fleshlight? Now who does that fit better – men or women? Seems there's only one gender with something that looks more like a flashlight, hun. Now here you are, let's imagine, 56 yrs old with A. A 'sloot' of a wife who adores sex with you frequently – cause she likes it and likes you or B. that dried up, never liked sex anyway, ex-virgin wife who barely tolerates your presence. Why those two choices? Because far too often in real life those who DON'T get waay too good at saying NO.

      July 14, 2012 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
  9. Clive Gagglesworth

    What the hell is the world coming to? This is not thick tight solid. Gaggle on my aesthetic man genetics.

    June 21, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kingofthemiscbrahjimmy McRustledsonzyzzbrah

    Gaggle on deze nutz biatch

    June 21, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. GBrah

    Welcome to America...

    June 21, 2012 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jimson Rustler

    Beta males of the 21st century.

    June 21, 2012 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ann

    but you'll regret when that guy is an STD carrier so think more that twice to gaggle.

    June 22, 2012 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. AFS

    Terrible advice for any woman seeking a semblence of individuality and real self worth. ANY woman could easily have 10, 20, or even more "guy friends" who are all fawning over her and providing her with whatever she wants just because she has female private parts. We all have seen women who take advantage of this, and these women are for the most part very unhappy and unsatisfied with their relationships. Imagine what its like not to have any real friends, just people who want to have sex with you. You never know your real self worth. You get everything because of your gender, and never have a chance to prove yourself. Worst of all, it is very destructive to female/female relationships. Her friends will never trust her around their boyfriend. Finally she will never be able to find or settle down with "mr.right,' as mr.right is not going to stick around with a woman who is flirting with so many men. And no long term relationship will survive will survive the pressuer of 1000 beta genitals pointed directly at it every second of every day. The author knows little about female psychology, and it's sad that trends like this will continue to destroy male-female relations.

    June 22, 2012 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gender feminism hater

      You are absolutely right. This is the most blatant piece of gender feminist induced relationship destroying garbage I've read in awhile. What's sad is this way of thinking is insidious promoted in all forms of media in our modern society.
      I spent several years dating 30 something women that were like this. I finally gave up and spent time in Latin America to find a woman worthy of a one-on-one quality relationship. I would recommend that to any single man looking for a non-princess quality woman.

      June 27, 2012 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • mark d

      You called it...

      July 27, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  15. Dagorath

    The problem with this article is that the author assumes that every person is their own individual puzzle when it comes to love, but in the creation and maintenance of "love" the puzzle is made of both sides and the life they create together. No person, man or woman, should be seeking to use other people to fulfill individal pieces of their own puzzle. To do so, would be a perversion of love.

    The other issue is that we as people don't have the capacity to break our lives into pieces like this. No person that I have ever met has been able to categorize their emotional needs like this. As though you can have a cuddle buddy, and then a sex buddy without the lines becoming blurred. Furthermore, it is an illusion to pretend that the cuddle buddy doesn't want to be the sex buddy as well. When this is the case, the act of using that person for a role is teasing them and leading them on. It is inherently immoral.

    The notion of "ethics" when it comes to this is flawed as well. Saying that it is ok to have multiple partners as long as you are honest is a perversion of morality to say the least. It is like when a person says, "no offense," before insulting you. The act of prefacing their statement with that does not exonerate what is said after; any more than saying, "i'm not racist, but" removes the racisim of the statement that follows. It is a logical fallacy to believe that moral truth about immoral actions equals a sum of morality.

    The reason I say this action is immoral, is because when people engage in intimacy with one another, their brains release chemicals which form the basis of love. No matter what we pretend, if we are sex buddies long enough, we will grow to cherish one another. It is a chemical reaction, not a social choice. Our social reality is not paramount to our primordial instincts, or the chemical reactions that occur in our brains. Because of this, in this scenario where a woman has multiple men chasing her, the men who want more and cannot have it, are going to be the ones getting hurt.

    To concede, temporarily; I do agree that women become a part of relationships and feel the need to commit or accept unacceptable flaws from the person they are with. The solution here is not to date everyone at the same time, but to not fall into such deep committments, and to have goals outside of the relationship and make them paramount. A woman who makes her success paramount, won't fall into crummy relationships that force her to sacrifice. We cannot overwhelm our instinct, and if we try, we will often lose. The trick is not to play with fire and not get burned, the trick is to be cautious when playing with fire. The trick is to set a bulwark, to set standards, and to set goals, and to have the conviction to see them through. As I say, "Today I build the wall that will defend tomorrow."

    June 23, 2012 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      Outstanding and perfect.

      June 27, 2012 at 19:51 | Report abuse |
    • A.M.

      Perfect. Logical and well-thought out honest response.

      July 29, 2012 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
    • David

      This post makes me feel good on the inside.

      September 6, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
  16. Chester Vanderbilt

    Moronic article.
    "According to Massa and Wiegand, every woman – single or not – should have her own gaggle, a group of guys that occupy different roles in her life. "

    I let my wife have a "friend" and they were supposed to work together. He was one of our best friends, with his wife.

    They were banging each other for years.

    Worst advice ever. Ladies, find a guy you like, trust, and all the rest of the things you value and stay true.

    Thats it. Stupid book.

    June 27, 2012 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pyjoshua

      You got it Chester. I hate to be so frank but there's no reason to be a narcissistic tramp, and that's exactly what this article is encouraging.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
  17. Gaggle Hater

    At least we can all agree that the PHD author of this article has posted nonsensical crap. What ever happened to fun, trust, and emotional intimacy as being the basis for a healthy relationship?

    Far be it from me to tell people how to live there lives, but this article screams narcissism. If women and men appreciated there partner more and were less superficial and self centered we would not even read about stupid articles such as this.

    I want the last 20 minutes of my life back... to the author... you may have a PHD, but most of us agree you are not promoting healthy relationship advice in this article.

    June 27, 2012 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. CR

    And if you believe this article, I have a bridge to sell you. Behavior such as this on an open and accepted basis will accelerate the moral and already decadent decline of America. That is one website I won't be viewing.

    July 1, 2012 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Mark

    Narcissistic Behavioral Disorder - look it up.

    July 3, 2012 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dr. B

      Exactly. Correct diagnosis.

      July 3, 2012 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
  20. Richard

    Gagglettes ... I have a PHD (Pretty Huge D!@k)

    July 3, 2012 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pyjoshua


      July 25, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • vanessia

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      October 24, 2012 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
  21. aimeedorsey3351

    Single or not? If you are married you should only have one man in your life, not a gaggle! I wonder why I continue to read this man's articles. Oh yeah, it is because I need a dose of daily dumb.

    July 5, 2012 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jamal

    Hey Tyron,

    I got the HPV all over these nutz, but was gonna bang your gaggle GF tonight. You can join in if you want. Trust me, you don't even notice the warts if you don't look at em!

    July 5, 2012 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ryan

    Call me old fashioned but I think that this sort of mental process is self defeating. I guess if someone were okay with keeping their relationships at a surface level, purely sexual, honest, and open that this could work for some. However, if someone were looking to find their actual soul-mate or match, I think this sort of way is a step in the wrong direction. If it works to love like this for you. Then... Good for you! I personally prefer deeper one on one connections!

    July 6, 2012 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. EDX

    Wow, lot's of negativity in these posts. Haters gonna hate.

    July 11, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Middle-Aged Mary

    Just single again at age 51 – yeah, cougaring is in, I don't want a man/men my age, especially if they can't do anything for me around the house, etc. May as well go out with somebody with stamina to keep up with my hormonal craziness for now.

    July 12, 2012 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. erinH


    July 13, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Erin

    This makes my stomach hurt just reading the first few sentences. Not only is it disgusting, but this is not the plan that God has set for us. I don't know what else to even say.

    July 14, 2012 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Loleika

    I guess if you sleep with one you know you have slept with a whole town at the same time
    what a disgusting idea!

    July 16, 2012 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. pyjoshua

    Apparently the author got their Ph.D online...this article encourages behaviors DISASTROUS to the reader having any chance at a real, meaningful relationship. It encourages, as stated before; narcissism, unfaithfulness, and frankly whoring! I'm disgusted.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jess

    God...these comments lol...I don't see anything wrong with it...if this article were about Men and not Women...commentators would be saying things like "man, I wish it were me" or "this could be a thing" un-shamefully...well some women wish this were a thing too...then again...I would have to go through seeing the girl of my dreams sleep with the rest of her "gaggle"...so...everyone would have to be grown-ups about...well...the grow-ups things...I don't know if the men would be so old-fashioned as to discard her like garbage when they're older though...or if she would do the discarding...IDK I'm gay I could care less XD

    July 26, 2012 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vanessia

      I was married to my husband for 8years and we were both bless with three children, living together as one love, until 2010 when things was no longer the way the was [when he lost his job]. But when he later gets a new job 6 months after, he stated sleeping outside our matrimonial home. Only for me to find out that he was having an affair with the lady that gave him the job. Since that day, when i called him, he doesn’t longer pick up my calls and nothing since to come out good. Yet my husbands just still keep on seeing the new girl friend till Dr. Opingo cast a spell for me, now is with me and me only .And i am happy with my family if you need his help contact on via email, alterofcandletemple@gmail.com

      October 15, 2012 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
  31. Bill

    Just as long as one of her "gaggles" takes care of the baby when I get her pregnant and hit the road I'm totally okay with it.

    July 27, 2012 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dre

      Thats when she gets to go on the Maury show. LOL

      July 27, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • David


      September 6, 2012 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
  32. Dre

    It doesn't seem healthy to the guy providing the emotional support to a woman who is using some other dude in her "gaggle" for the D. It gets even better when she falls in love with Mr. D., who is not accustomed to providing the emotional support end of things. That relationship will end well huh? She'll be heartbroken and fall back to using mr emotional support for her own selfish needs of rebuilding her self esteem, meenwhile he still isn't getting anywhere.

    Your method basicaqlly tells women to prey on men for w/e they so desire with no regard to the men she is abusing... LOL G.L. ladies. LOL

    July 27, 2012 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tarun

    Hey man!! Why did you remove your post? ya freak!I'm looikng forward to spending time with the likes of you and your compadres, you say it's a family affair? well, I believe you, just don't ask me to have sex with my 14 year old cousin, up here, in the empire state, that sort of thing is punishable by a hefty fine, imprisonment or both 🙂

    August 1, 2012 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
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  38. David

    While I don't agree with the author, people need to understand that there are a lot of different roles that women(/people) will need fulfilled during the course of their lifetime, and isn't reasonable or even appropriate to expect to have them fulfilled by any one person.

    Whenever I'm seeing a woman, I will naturally expect there to be all sorts of different men in her life, fulfilling all sorts of different roles eg., the guy she gets advice from, the guy she catches up with over coffee, the guy she goes to the movies with, the guy that buys her presents etc.

    As long as I'm the guy she chooses to fulfill her emotional/sexual need with, I'm okay with that. At the end of the day, that's pretty much what an intimate relationship represents for me.

    September 6, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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  41. Candy

    As a person who believes in trying to live above reproach, I really detest the suggestion of this article.
    If you were trapped on a desert island with only one person for company and your partner/spouse isn't the first person you think of to fulfill your needs, I sincerely doubt they are the right person for you.
    Don't get me wrong. I've known my best friend for 17 years and can't imagine my life without her, but when it comes to the desert island game, my bf is who I could choose and I know she would choose her husband of less than 1 year over me and I would never blame her for that. I understand completely.

    September 20, 2012 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. AKBSKE

    Pretty bad advice. Divorce will rise, broken families, and so many women ending up single old ladies.

    September 27, 2012 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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    he can help NEW
    by: jark

    I was crushed when my lover of five years left to be with another man. I cried and sobbed every day, until it got so bad that I reached out to the Internet for help. I threw away so much money – all for nothing – until I hit on the real thing. And that is you, ultimate spell. You were different from all thjarke rest – you are the diamond in the rough. Thank you from the depths of my soul! I am extremely happy now. I hope God blesses you as much as He has blessed me. Love, visit him on (shamuspiritualtemple@gmail.com) he can be a great help to you all.

    October 4, 2012 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Jorge

    OK with me on two conditions, condoms 100% of the time and don't tell me you thought we had something special going after I tap that thang.

    October 11, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. 954A

    I just broke up with a woman that follows this train of thought. She is lost, unhappy, can't be with any one for long, guys use her. Wanted me as her "safe" "date", but only until she found someone that was "her type". She is a wonderful person, I care for her, but she is so lost, life is not a menu or a buffet. Relationships are hard, sometimes boring, but true love and happiness is deeper than having excitement and thrills and having the perfect mate.

    October 12, 2012 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. deborah

    i am giving this testimony cos l am happy

    My name is mrs. Deborah Collins from Houston,taxes.i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once. when i went to Africa in june this year on a business summit. i ment a man called dr. Atakpo.He is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love’s gone,misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you, bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job.i’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 3 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 2 years… i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job. so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him..at first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. and in 6 days when i returned to taxes, my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married..i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do… well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid,and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better. in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help, email address atakpospelltemple@yahoo.com

    Great Atakpo i thank you very much thank you in 1000000 times.. if not you i would have been losted and wasted thank you.

    please make sure you contact him for any financial difficulties okay..

    What a powerful man such as Dr Atakpo.. he is so much powerful..\\ email him for any difficulties.. atakpospelltemple@yahoo.com

    October 15, 2012 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Meagan

    This is a load of crap.

    I dont know anyone who wants to date someone who has a "gaggle" of other people they are dating. You assume we want this lifestyle. I dont and i dont know many people who do.

    October 15, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Barry Price

    I couldn't disagree more! As a Relationship and Dating Mentor for women I see women try this gaggle approach and end up unhappy. Sure they temporarily feel like they have all their needs being met but sooner or later every one of them comes to me feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with the lack deep love, security and commitment in their life.

    Doing this 'date a gaggle' approach is just a way to avoid facing the real problem: what isn't about me and the way my life is set up that's keeping true intimacy away? Because the truth is intimacy is risky and requires vulnerability, growth, a willingness to look at who we are or aren't being.

    All of these can be conveniently avoided with a team of separate superficial 'need meeters'.

    It's great to have friends who help fill your life but true love is not about spreading it around, but about going deep into yourself and letting someone else in there too.


    October 19, 2012 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. vanessia

    Dear DR Okpako, When I contacted you I was 6 months into a bitter divorce battle. I thought that my marriage and family was ruined. I found your Email: okpakospelltemple@gmail.com and breathed a sigh of relief. Not only did your Stop Divorce love spell work super fast but you and your circle was there to help me and counsel me through every step of the process. You have helped me so much and I am happy to update you on our progress. Jordan and I have reconciled and have since renewed our vows. We are stronger than ever. I am so happy that you were able to help me keep my family intact. Without you I am not sure what I would have done.

    October 24, 2012 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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