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 (1,429 Responses)
  1. Rounder99

    This is unrealistic and is a direct conflict with the instincts of a woman. Additionally, any man with any self respect wouldn't live like this nor would any woman. For example – Does anyone think Clooney would be one of three men vying for Stacy Keibler's attention? LoL no. Have some self respect, some self disclipline, and treat people in the manner they deserve.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jason streiner

      this article is so ignorant, keep having a gaggle of men around and you will be part of the ridiculously high divorce rate.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • JusDav

      WOW.. I would have no problem being part of a woman’s "gaggle"
      I would welcome the prospect.

      Anyone interested.. 🙂 50's, single, professional, financially stable.

      I have a "gaggle" of women, why cannot the woman have a "gaggle" of men.
      and no, I am not what is typically called a "player". any woman I date knows in advance that this is not a commited relationship before our first date. works for me. and seems to work for them as well. some of my girlfriends have been "with" me for years.

      no need to live in the 1800's. it is now, one to one relationships rarely last.

      cheers to all women


      June 14, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      I'll give her something to GAG-gle

      June 14, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Monogamy, marriage, sexual oppression are not instincts.

      June 14, 2012 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
  2. BonaFied

    My husband, my boyfriend, my lover and my accountant do not need to know each other.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • x277

      Hey, I still need to get those w2's from your old job if we are to get your taxes in by the extension deadline.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • angryersmell

      You don't need to know the 4 different women each of them are b@nging either.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Women having a gaggle is fine for men but men call these women hoars is the correct word. These are the women who will never be married, alone when older, and STD carrier

      June 14, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
  3. B

    rabble rabble rabble rabble

    June 14, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. DEAL!

    Great news . Where can I find these women? Now I don't have to pay for it. Hopefully they will be cool when I've had a few and want to 'cuddle'. I'm good with that.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Poet Boy

    they shoulda posed the chick w/a martini, not a beer.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LT

    I have no desire to have a “gaggle” – so unfulfilling in fact it doesn’t fulfill any “slots” at all – women really are stupid if they think having multiple men will fill her available “slots” of companionship in all shapes and forms. I prefer companionship with one person. Been with the same guy for 4 years, still no marriage proposal but he certainly claims he wants to get married… I wish men and women would stop stringing each other along, just be honest with what you want, there are men and women who are fine with bo oty call and there are equally the same that want committed relationships. If we were up front with what we want we could find people who want the same thing a lot more efficiently and be satisfied by getting what we want within our relationships.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Barkles

      you lost me at "fill available 'slots'"

      June 14, 2012 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
    • yang

      i don't see good things in your future, for some reason.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • DougNoName

      hehe she said "slots"

      June 14, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      You are right on.

      June 14, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
  7. ShockeyShah

    I wanted many woman as a child but instead played cricket all day.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FROST

    different roles in her
    her mouth ......
    her but .....
    her .... yea they wont let me right it .

    June 14, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FROST

      give that chick my number so i can get her drunk and fill one of her slots.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
  9. Obvious Guy

    Not to be the obvious guy in the room, but maybe this is why women only get 77 cents to the dollar of what a man makes. If they were honest and had more self respect for themselves, maybe they could do much better in this world. And to all the normal women out there, do NOT follow anything said in this article. In fact, if you do the opposite, you'll be a lot happier and more successful and you won't be alone and disgusting at age 38.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • saidso

      Men have their gaggles too. It has nothing to do with how much money they make.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      What world are you living in. Sir? That's why women make 77 cents on the dollar? First of all, if anyone is actively engaging in the choice to date/be close to a few men at once, it ain't common! Secondly, how many high profile, god-rearing "family men" are caught in perverse acts or cheating scandals? You are ignorant, prejudice.

      June 14, 2012 at 22:15 | Report abuse |
  10. rufus

    At the risk of stating the obvious (and probably repeating what other posters have said) does the magic number of 3 for the gaggle equate to the number of holes in the woman?

    Also, insecure/immature men have been doing the "gaggle thing" for years. There's the steady, helpful wife who runs the household and raises the kids (traditionally). Then there's the hot mistress on the side who is there for sex. Then the co-worker who is more of a friend. Etc., etc. etc. Stupid article. We are all dumber for having read it.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Hookay

    I'm perfectly fine with a woman seeing 3 guys regularly. They should be fine with a guy seeing 3 girls , also. For both
    parties, just a reminder that talking about the other people dating them is the most boring, belittling thing in the world, though your date won't say it.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TPM

      If I go on a date with a girl who's dating other guys I hope she talks about them. That way I know not to call her back.

      June 14, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • DougNoName

      Sounds like an HIV case

      June 14, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
  12. Aaron

    Sounds to me like CNN is advocating being a W H O R E....way to go CNN

    June 14, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. jj

    so this article is to put be a wh.....in a polite way

    June 14, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Herpes

    This gaggle made me giggle! TeHE

    June 14, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. AMBoyd

    I have required a "gaggle" of men since I was about 16. It helps to have reinforcements. AMB

    June 14, 2012 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Rajji

    I agree, every woman needs to gag on multiple...

    June 14, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. SpacemanNYC666

    Lmao all of you people whining about the decline of the culture are idiots, this article isn't based on opinion, its fact. Dating is dying, and if you're still busy trying to find one person to fulfill all of your needs then you're going to continually be disappointed. To hold oneself to a standard of monogamy is to deny one's own humanity

    June 14, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Karaya

    The picture looks exactly like a pack of stray male dogs following a female dog in heat...
    With exactly the same result – fight over her, the winner f-k her, and then everybody goes his way, leaving her pregnant and alone.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. gaggle on this

    i dated a girl who was an attention (rhymes with bore) and seemed like she liked to have a gaggle around. past tense, dated... who wants to be with a sperm bank?!

    June 14, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kevin

    I despise this new "me, me, ME" mindset these days. Relationships are about give and take. Want better relationships? Why not evaluate what you can PUT INTO them rather than plan your life around what you can take from people? Funny how that works, and actually makes people want to be around you. This sounds like a great way to be 45, lonely, and miserable.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FROST

    give that chick my number so i can fill one of her slots after a intoxicating night.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. sao


    June 14, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JM

      Hey – I proudly resemble that!

      June 14, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  23. GMan

    This is one of the most ridiculous articles I've ever read. Good luck with this idea......Glad I'm married and not out there trying to date all you mind F*%&$#ed woman. I would NEVER even think of dating a woman with this type of mentality and no other self respecting man would either.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liz

      Good for you. But we don't care what you think.

      June 14, 2012 at 22:17 | Report abuse |
  24. ficklemookie

    Yes.. Thank you for changing it so that we are no longer degrading women by making them objects of fullfillment to me and now making it so that men are no more than mere possesions to fulfill women. I really love to read about how we're taking one bad thing and making it "better" by saying everyone should be doing the bad thing equally.
    Dating a "gaggle" of men just means that you're failing to recognize that they do have feelings and are, more often than not, actually looking for a relationship and not to be considered and object of your amusement.
    To say that men really are that stereotypical cave-man who just wants to get in your pants (and that you, as a woman, should just roll with it) show how ignorant these women are. Men and women are different, yet both do (quite frequently) long for a solid connection and committment to another loving individual. ONE individual. To encourage otherwise is folly.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. creative36

    Yeah, this is a good idea. Being a man it took me awhile to enjoy women. Usually women meant I had to deal with a lot of bs in order to sleep with them. Now I enjoy lots of women in different points and levels of my life.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. TPM

    Girls who follow the article's advice are why you get a DNA paternity test before signing the birth certificate.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. The Stugatz

    Lol...what a stupid article. Yeah, good luck with that girls. And yes, please be wh o ri sh. The guys like that. We'll bang and move on to the bevy of girls we already have. Problem is, girls cant compartmentalize like guys can. Wont work.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Karaya

    I am sure all those dudes will "gaggle" around her at 3 am in the morning when she is a single mom and her baby runs a fever...

    June 14, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. DEAL!

    Please call The Colbert Show or Jon Stewart. Could be the funniest book promotion segment in years when someone with a brain and sense of humor was able to talk about this concept on national v. Of course, afterwards the author will feel like crap but the nation would certainly appreciate the laughter albeit at the authors expense.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. vulpecula

    This lifestyle isn't for everyone, but honesty could make it workable. The problem is that if she should decide to pick the one she wants to keep, who's to say he would want to make that change too. Why buy the cow if the milk is free? But if she is committed to never getting married, why not.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Marco

    This article reminds me of this set of "rules" for a perfect relationship from the man's perspective:

    1. Its important to have a woman who helps at home, cooks, cleans & has a job.
    2. Its important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
    3. Its important to have a woman who you can trust and doesn't lie.
    4. Its important to have a woman who is good in bed and likes being with you.
    5. Its very, very important that these four women don't know each other.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. PVS1

    if it smells like cologne, leave it alone. this chick smells like 4 brands of cologne.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FROST

      if it smells like tide then three for the ride

      June 14, 2012 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
  33. Really?

    Of course the author would be a New Yorker.

    Look, there's nothing with with dating – most people understand that the person you're dating for the first time could be seeing other people at the same time. Whether sex is involved and etc. will depend on the values of each individual. I think, however, that the argument presented here is highly disingenuous. To buttonhole the "gaggle" into roles would require that you date them for a while and get a deeper understanding of their personality/compatibility. At this point, most people no longer just want to be "just one of many" – adding the tired escape clause of "Oh, so long as they're ok with it..." is just silly. People who become attached rationalize and many would SAY that they wouldn't mind while secretly hoping to "win you over".

    Overall this entire approach is horrendously self-serving.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • saidso

      Agreed. Too many say they don't mind while they obviously do mind and the kindest thing to do is either let that person go or choose. Stringing someone along is wrong. Furthermore, you aren't going to be young and adorable all your life. We aren't elves. Eventually it will get harder and harder to get the opposite sex to look your way and give you a chance. Don't take someone's willingness to commit to you for granted.

      June 14, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  34. Shmeckell

    And the quickest way to lose the guy you want is to have a gaggle.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mike

    No wonder things are so messed up with high divorce and so forth with nonsensical advice like this.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. sugarmomma1

    Tripod? Oh me, here come the wet dreams.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. oyvavoy

    Rome all over again.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. mordrud

    Good article. of course it needs editing. Should read "Every Ho needs a gaggle of men around her."

    June 14, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Tom

    Men might be interested in being in a girl's gaggle, but at the end of the day, he is going to settle down with a girl who likes just him. And the gaggle girl? She gets deleted from his contacts. So this book is surefire path to loneliness. Don\'t spread yourself too far (literally and figuratively), ladies.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. PVS1

    this advice is great for women who aspire to one day be lonely bitter old cat ladies, wondering why all the men they ever dated were selfish cheating d-bags. never understanding that those men also had their own 'gaggles'. thats how it works.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tara

      Not true the cat ladies are usually the 1st ex-wife who husband left him for a younger woman while she wasted the best years of her life with him. Now that her hands, face and body is wrinkle he doesn't want her. So now she's bitter and keeps a stock of peanut butter for her & her cats. I would rather have the gaggle than to waste my good years on a cheating man eventually.

      June 14, 2012 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
  41. saidso

    You better know what you're doing and what you want out of life. Even if a man accepts that you're cuddling other men, most are not going to see you as a serious marriage prospect.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Mike

    I love the double standard. In my day, when a girl finds out a guy is dating other women, the heavens fall and its relationship Armageddon. "I should be enough for you." Is what she’ll usually say. If we are going to equate this “gaggle theory” to a bee-hive where drones with redundant genetic information vie for a shot at the queen, then both women and men should be clear as to their intentions and interests going into the relationship. I’ve seen the sex commodity card played since I was 20. I’m 50 now and much wiser to the games men and women play with each other.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. FROST

    women have gaggles
    men have hos

    men just choose not to hang out with them all at the same time.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Bobington

    Because the writer is a hoe she writes an atricle stating that all girls should be hoes to make herself feel better. NICE!

    June 14, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. DEAL!

    I'll buy you shoes and dinner if you're good looking and put out. Call me a customer or part of your gaggle. If you're looking for a guy of quality, don't follow this advice....

    June 14, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. FROST

    after she finishes that beer what do you think she will do next.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PVS1

      she'll test out her gaggle reflex on those 3 guys

      June 14, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
  47. saidso

    Gaggles are fine when you're just starting to date and you aren't fooling around with them. It's good to figure what kind of man you're compatible with. But just remember that they'll all leave you if you just string them along.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. jrs

    I decided recently I have no desire to get married or have children. I have a great job, love to travel, volunteer when I can, and am a mentor. I happen to work in an industry that is mostly make dominated, I am one of two women who work in my company. I have a close male friend at work (who is happily married- and I am friends with his wife) who I have lunch with from time to time to vent about work with, a downstairs neighbor who is male and I have coffee with regularly to talk about our dating escapades, and my professional mentor is male. I have been dating off and on for the last 2-3 years after my last serious committed relationship and I am currently seeing two men- one who is very outgoing, athletic, and funny, while the other shares more of my intellectual interests. Neither one has expressed a desire to become exclusive, and I don’t feel the need to choose- or push for more of a commitment. I feel that if either one of them asked for more, I would have to let them go, and continue dating other people. I am honest and don’t promise more than what I can give because I have been on the receiving end of a person was dishonest with me. I was hurt terribly in my last relationship because my partner put on a show of being committed, talking moving in and marriage, and then it turned out he just passing time with me. I know some men have no problem dating more than one woman and it’s ok as long as you aren’t promising something you have no intention of delivering, so why shouldn't it be the same for women?

    June 14, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Durundal

      But how much of that reaction is due to past trauma? Look at the rationale behind it....if thats what truely floats your boat, enjoy. From the point of view of a casual observer it looks more like an emotional knee jerk reaction to avoid vulnerability

      June 14, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Why fetishize vulnerability? Opening yourself up to the possibility of being tragically disappointed yet again loses its charm after the first few times, and it takes billiions of dollars in Judd Apatow fairy tales to keep the prospect interesting. Better to deal with the fact that nobody's perfect and measure out your exposure, so long as one is scrupulously honest about it.

      Not that I think friend-zoning a gaggle of guys and using them, without reciprocity, for one's own personal enrichment is scrupulous or honest.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  49. Luke Cirillo

    Here I go, posting on one of the dumbest things I've ever read. But I feel like I just have to say it. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever read.

    June 14, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. honest john

    Whatever school gave these women a degree needs to be dis-accredited so they do not give the incorrect impression that they can educate.

    June 14, 2012 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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