Threesome Tips For Those Curious About Having One

A Beginner’s Guide To Having A Threesome

Two Men and a Woman in Bed
Martin Meyer/Getty

I don’t know about you, but I feel as if threesomes used to be much more taboo than they are now. Just as mysterious, perhaps, but the concept itself doesn’t seem to be quite as anathema or the relationship death knell it used to be. In fact, now, many folks are touting threesomes and the swinger lifestyle as a boon!

So, rejoice, my curious friends! Threesomes are no longer relegated to the Pornhub corner of the internet. And there are a multitude of preferred arrangements that go beyond the binary — or the heteronormative male/female/female triad. If you’re curious about threesomes or the non-monogamous lifestyle, read on for how to prepare for a three-way, what to expect, as well as some tips about etiquette. (After all, you don’t want to fuck it up before you fuck.)

How to get ready for a threesome

It’s one thing to say you want to add a third person to your sex life — or be that third person. It’s another thing entirely to actively pursue it. Here are some things to consider before you take the plunge. Obviously, you won’t really know until you know. But until then, a little self-awareness can aid in the process.

Know yourself

I don’t want to seem like Captain Obvious here, but … make sure you do the proper self reflection and assessments. Do you actually want to have one — or are you giving into pressure from a partner? (Pro tip: never have a threesome to please someone else if you’re not personally comfortable with it.) What are you looking for out of the experience? What are your emotional and physical non-negotiables?

Communicate

If you’re the one who wants it and you are in an established relationship, make sure you and your partner have very honest conversations (plural, folks) about your desires, needs, and concerns. Other than agreement on a person, consider location, what sexual activities are and are not okay, what sex acts and positions are acceptable or not, safety precautions, what would cause either of you to feel uncomfortable, and what would you like to happen to make it more enjoyable?

Of course, once you include another person, make sure you discuss these same things with that person, too.

Be open and up front

Remember that everyone involved is a person, and treat them with the inherent dignity due. Don’t masquerade as something you’re not. If you’re a couple actively searching for a third, say so. If you’re a straight couple, don’t unicorn hunt — a term for male/female couples looking for a permanent third (usually a bisexual female). Not only does it fetishize queer women, it’s reducing a person down to only what they offer the couple and offers none of the same emotional or physical consideration in return.

As a queer woman who used to do online dating and who’s relatively attractive, I have to say one of the more annoying things I had to deal with were the many straight couples looking for a third hitting me up,” Serena Cerezo-Poon told Scary Mommy. Cerezo-Poon would think a girl’s profile was cute, chat her up, and “…then find out she’s with a dude and they’re looking for a third. Blech. Like, be upfront with that shit.”

What to expect in a three-way

While nothing will prepare you quite like first hand experience (or a fifth and sixth hand AAAYYYYYYYY!), it never hurts to read accounts from folks who have actually participated in such activities. Do your research so you’re not caught unaware and you can proactively anticipate possible situations.

You will have to do some work

Far be it from me to insult the work ethic of a pillow princess, but if you’re hoping to just lie there and have two people please you and only you, you should get used to disappointment. Expect to check in on your partners’ emotional and physical well-being and comfort levels. The experience is for you to give as well as to receive pleasure — it’s not just about you. Try to include everyone and not leave anyone out (unless someone really likes to be a voyeur).

It can be overwhelming

To go along with the fact that you’ll have to do some logistical maneuvering, be prepared for it to be overwhelming for either yourself or your partners. There are a lot more moving parts, both literally and figuratively, and the threesome might evoke feelings such as jealousy, fear, or insecurity. If you — or anyone — need a break, call one. A pause doesn’t mean the experience is permanently stopped, ruined, or scuttled.

It might get awkward

Remember the first time you had sex? It likely didn’t go as planned, or even if it did, you likely have many stories of how sex didn’t pan out as expected. You’ve just added another person in a situation you’re not quite familiar with. There are going to be snags, discomfort, and awkwardness. Hopefully, if everyone relaxes and focuses on having a good time instead of a “perfect” experience — you will be able to move past the awkward moments and onto feeling good and having fun.

It isn’t porn

For many of us, our only script for what happens in a threesome is pornography — and that is generally extremely heteronormative. Spoiler alert: your experience won’t look anything like what you’ve seen (or read). Those are fantasies, and if you’ve had any life experience, you already know that real life is nothing like the movies (or in this case, the pornos).

Tips to have an awesome threesome (and some proper etiquette)

Be safe and take proper precautions

Proper modern dating safety still applies. Practice safe sex, use condoms and/or dental dams, and make sure someone else knows who you are meeting up with along with when or where.

Get to know your third before going at it

You may want to consider doing non-sex related activities with your other partners before just jumping into that funk, that sweet, that nasty, that gushy stuff. It’s not required, but you may find that it makes everyone feel a little more relaxed and comfortable. Whether it’s having a date, a casual hang out, or even a video call, the chemistry (or lack thereof) in getting used to each other as humans will likely transfer to when you’re fucking.

Stay sober

Hey, we don’t judge. It’s totally understandable to need a drink or joint to get over your pre-sexytime jitters. We get that some folks need a social lubricant along with their sexual lubricants. However. Don’t get sloppy. No one wants to end up in a dubious consent situation, nor does anyone want to hold the hair back of someone while they’re vomiting (but in other situations — hey!) or handhold a person having a bad comedown. Plus, it’s more difficult to keep yourself safe if you’re too high or drunk to pay attention.

Of course, this article is just the tip (pun intended) and by no means all-encompassing. Hopefully, we’ve given you enough of a start so that you can dive into the rabbit hole (or any hole) armed with a smidge more knowledge.