Is This Sex Taboo Such A Big Deal?

threesome_1_altIllustrated By Ly Ngo.
I don't even remember how old I was when I had my first threesome — though it was sometime in college. I was definitely naive enough that I didn't really have any idea what was going on when an attractive couple at a camping festival sidled up to me. Eventually, they made their intentions known and instead of wrestling with my feelings or asking what they specifically had in mind, I just said, "Sure, why not?" After less than an hour of cramped and sweaty rolling around in a dome tent where we all fell asleep in flagrante delicto more than once, we called it a night and went our separate ways, never to speak again.
Since then, I've had a variety of threesomes — all two women, one man (FFM, for short). I had one, golden opportunity to have an MMF (two men, one woman) threesome when I was diving in Honduras, which was scuppered by lack of condoms. I've been part of a couple pulling in a third, I've been the third to a couple, and the vast majority of my threesome experiences have been pleasant and enthusiastic. Occasionally, they've even been a bit boring. But, the truth about threesomes is that even boring is far better than dramatically unpleasant.
There's this assumption that threesomes are automatically going to be really hot and erotic, everyone will be equally attracted to each other, and nobody will feel weird. Then, there's the reality. In reality, sex between two people is often awkward and confusing enough; adding another set of arms and legs into the mix can be even more difficult to navigate. People's feelings about each other and their genitals may have been influenced by alcohol or other substances, which may lubricate social situations but don't necessarily make for the best sexual experiences. Emotions can run high in multiple-partner sexual encounters, especially if it's a maiden voyage for anyone involved — and especially if there hasn't been enough soul-searching beforehand.
All of that said, threesomes can be rewarding, fun, and definitely very, very hot. So, let's say you're interested in negotiating a threesome. Where do you start?
threesome_2_altIllustrated By Ly Ngo.
Most importantly, figure out why you're interested in three-in-a-bed. Do you want to explore your possible bisexuality? Do you simply want to try something sexy and fun because you like to experiment? Are you attracted to a particular person or couple and want to find out what they're like in bed? Are you doing it to please your partner? All of these reasons but the last one are good solid reasons for threesome-ing. If you find that the only reason for having multiple-partner sex is because your partner really REALLY wants you to? Put on the brakes and talk things out. Nobody in a threesome should feel coerced. Consent is a very important part of all sexual experiences, and three people means confirming three times the consent.
If you're part of a couple who wants to bring in a third, confirm some boundaries with each other before you go looking. Maybe you're happy to have your partner kiss someone else, but not perform or receive oral sex. Or, maybe you'd prefer that your partner just watch while you explore the new person's body. Whatever your boundaries are, be clear and honest about them before you start. Still, you may not know that something will be emotionally charged for you until it happens.
A friend describes an experience that went sour when her boyfriend went down on their playmate, and she was overcome with waves of jealousy. If something comes up in the middle of everything, it can help to establish an escape hatch, like a safe-word that means, "I'm really uncomfortable, and we need to stop." If you are very self-possessed and good at communication, you can discuss it on the spot, but it may be better to put on your clothes, have a cuddle, and talk about it in the morning.
You can also verbally check in with your partner as you go. One foursome encounter I had was improved by the other couple consistently and clearly asking each other, "Are you okay with this?" It was also really sweet to see them so invested in each other's emotions and a definite mood booster for my boyfriend and I, since we knew they were being honest and open about their consensual participation. No drama for anyone is the best way to go.
threesome_3_altIllustrated By Ly Ngo.
The best threesomes involve mutual rotational play. That is, nobody hogs the attention for the entire encounter. Often, the focus of attention can fluidly move back and forth, although it's helpful to discuss beforehand if someone is uncomfortable with a particular action. Since many threesomes involve straight participants (i.e. a male/female hetero couple and their straight male friend), not everybody may want to engage in all activities. Negotiation or even just a few words of intention can make a world of consensual difference and save hurt feelings (or hurt body parts).
Not all threesomes need to involve penetration, either. My most recent threesome was full of fondling, kissing, and a little bit of cunnilingus before we all fell asleep. If you, your partner, or a third are not excited about penetrative sex, remember that caressing, kissing, stroking, masturbation, and toys are all options. Threesomes can be fun even if one person just watches the other two go at it — so long as the watcher is happy about the situation. It all boils down to comfort level and making everyone feel welcome and cared for.
Just as sex can be intensely personal and intimate between a couple, it can be the same between three people, as well. Some tantric practitioners claim that having another person in the mix multiplies the sexual energy of an encounter exponentially. You may find yourself having sweet, affectionate love-making in a cuddle puddle rather than porn-like banging, and that's okay. Sometimes threesomes can even lead to triadic (three-person) relationships, where all partners end up emotionally committed to each other. They don't always, but they can if you're interested.
The bottom line is: If you're worried about what might happen to your relationship if you try out a threesome, talk to your partner some more. Don't rush into anything. Investigate how you really feel. Remember that things in your head are always a little bit scarier than what actually happens, though, and if you're willing to give it a shot, you may find it intensely rewarding in more ways than you expected.

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