How to Have a Threesome Without Coming Off As an Idiot

This relatively vanilla sexual fantasy is hard to organise and plagued with drama. Here's how to make it happen in the best way possible.

26 April 2021, 8:00am

According to a recent poll of VICE UK Instagram followers, only 21 percent of us have had a threesome or an orgy. Sixty-four percent of those who haven’t would like to, though only half of those who’ve had group sex said they’d do it again.

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Maybe that’s because it’s just something to cross off the bucket list and once is enough. Or, more likely, a lot of you have been having really shit threesomes that have ruined them for you forever. 

Are threeways better kept to porn? Or are they a double-the-fun sexual nirvana? I asked a sexpert, and people who’ve had great successful threesomes, about how to organise them and make them work.

Quick disclaimer: all the usual sex rules apply and I shouldn’t need to recite them but – get tested for STIs, use condoms, meet in public, get enthusiastic consent, don’t break COVID lockdowns for threeways and don’t take advantage of people who are too drunk or high. This piece mostly focuses on couple-plus-third scenarios as that’s my experience of threesomes, but is not prescriptive. If something different works for you, great!

DON’T HAVE A THREESOME FOR THE WRONG REASONS

Reasons to have a threesome:

  1. You want to have a threesome. 

Not reasons to have a threesome:

  1. The relationship is stale and you think this might “spice things up”.
  2. Your partner really wants it so you feel like you have to.
  3. You fancy someone outside your relationship (or in a relationship) and think a threesome is a good excuse to get close to them.

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There’s a reason it’s called a threeway – the desire should go three ways.

Sex educator and Sexual Essentials creator Samia Burton runs kink and sensuality classes on Patreon. “Regardless of the reason you’re having the threesome, it’s good to discuss and know why each partner is interested,” she says.

“It can spoil the fun when one person thinks this is just to try it out, and another literally needs it on the regular. You need to be on the same page. Also, understand that a threesome is not a ‘gift’ or a reward. Your sexuality is not something to dangle.”

DITCH THE APPS – OR AT LEAST, USE THEM WISELY TO FIND A THREESOME

It’s hard to deny the convenience of organising a threesome through dating apps. But if you’re gonna go down this route, do it ethically.

Couples, remember that your third is a real person with real feelings and vulnerabilities, and not just an extra pair of hands. Make it very clear in the bio that it’s a joint account and say what you’re after. Post photos of both of you and don’t say you’re up for dating solo if you’re not. If both of you are reading the messages, say so.

If you’re a heterosexual couple looking for a third, don’t use the female partner’s profile to lure in queer women without being transparent about there’s a guy involved. Even if they match with you, don’t ambush potential partners on dating apps with instant threesome chat. It’s cringe at best and harassment at worst. Flirt, chat and go on a date with them first like any other person. 

Elisa*, 26, has had many great threesomes, all organised through dating apps, but never Tinder. “One was organised through Gleeden, another through OkCupid and another through FetLife. I set out with the purpose of having a threesome, so I was really honest and my bio said I was ‘up for anything’. If, like me, you have those needs but it’s not easy to accept [them] in front of the people you meet in your daily life, it’s much easier to just have a parallel life online.”

If you’re going the app route, maybe choose one that’s raunchier than Tinder, but isn’t too niche. FabSwingers is a very popular site for threeways. There are apps specifically designed for threesomes, but be aware that the user pool is usually pretty small. From my experience, you can swipe through all of London in 15 minutes without getting the right match.

BOUNDARIES! ESTABLISH THEM BEFORE YOU GET SCREWED

Threesomes don’t often happen after you’ve necked an orange squash. But when drugs and alcohol get mixed up with a sex act that can be ~emotionally turbulent~, it’s worth pausing to reaffirm your boundaries and how they will work in practice. What you’re OK with might change in the moment, which is fine, but it’s important to communicate this.

“Establish boundaries before even looking,” Burton emphasises. “Some things you won’t know that you don’t like until you’re in the situation, but there will probably be plenty of things that you know you don’t want beforehand.”

Boundaries aren’t just for couples. Ryan*, 29, had his best threesome experience with Martin*, his closest mate. It was good for the very reason that they had established boundaries beforehand that got reviewed as things got heated.

“I was in an open relationship with someone else, and though there was definitely a sexual energy between myself and Martin, for various reasons we’d made the conscious decision not to go there together,” Ryan says. “Then one day we took mushrooms with this amazing girl we knew called Louisa*. She started coming onto us both, and we all wanted to, but Martin paused it as this boundary we’d previously established was being broken. We spoke and decided to still go for it but make Louisa the main focus, and just give her a great experience.” 

“It was such a wonderful way of having a threesome. I usually avoid them because you’re always thinking about whether the attention is being divided equally, but we didn’t have to worry about that in this scenario. I was definitely happy to be that person at the side while they were having sex, and joining when it was right.”

APPROACHING A FRIEND FOR A THREESOME CAN WORK – BUT DON’T DM ANY OLD BISEXUAL YOU KNOW

The “horny couple approaching their bisexual or pansexual friend for a threesome” approach can be a cliche, but when done properly, it’s high risk, high gain. You get to comfortably have the boundary-setting conversation before anything happens, with the bonus of it being with someone you know and trust.

The downside is they could reject you and take the piss out of you with everyone you know. Plus, it can feel a bit like creepy unicorn hunting, where couples go on the prowl for a third partner. If you’re going this route as a couple, approach someone you’ve previously had open sexual conversations with, so it’s not completely left field. Maybe ask to meet in person to ask them so you can flirt and assess their consent cues. Way better than dropping “3sum? 🙈 haha” in their DMs.

This approach worked well for Andrew*, 24, when the girl he was seeing floated the threesome idea. “I approached a girl who was a friend of a friend for both of us. We often went to the same parties and had had those intense 4AM chats when everything was dying down. We’d talked about sex and threesomes and stuff. I messaged her one day and asked if she fancied a coffee, which is where I set it all out and she agreed to go for drinks with me and the other girl.

“Once we were out we were all on board and decided to go for it, setting a date. But the drinks kept flowing and we ended up going back to her flat and doing it there and then.”

IF YOU’RE SINGLE AND FANCY A COUPLE - TELL THEM

Being attracted to a couple as a package is normal and single people should feel empowered to initiate. (Trust me.)

So how should you initiate as a third? “Use joint compliments and make sure the attention is on the couple as a whole, and that you’re interested in them,” Burton says. “Make yourself approachable and ditch the mysterious air. Make your intentions and flirting clear so that everyone feels involved and special.”

It’s a nice compliment for the couple too. “My first threesome was after a frat party in my first year of university,” says Maddie*, 28. “This girl I’d got close to and had a minor crush on was in my boyfriend’s room with me. When he went to the bathroom, she turned to me and said, ‘We should have a threesome!’ I was up for it. When she went out of the room I told my boyfriend, who was on board and initiated by kissing her when she came back. It was really nice, and we stayed friends after. She was even there for me when my boyfriend and I broke up a year later.”

AFTERCARE IS FOR EVERYONE

Having sex with one person can be an emotional whirlwind in itself, so extra care should be taken when three people are involved. Couples, check in with your third the next day as you would (hopefully) if you’d slept with them as a single person. There doesn’t need to be any expectation that it will happen again, but be considerate of their feelings.

If you’re in a couple, it’s normal to find watching your partner have sex with someone else a bit strange, even if you enjoyed it. Having a debrief the next day – just the two of you – should be considered part of your sexual aftercare. Talk about what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy, and whether you want to treat it as a one-off or do it again. And if you do – have fun!

*All names changed to protect identities. Quotes edited for length and clarity.

@iamhelenthomas

Tagged:

relationships, Orgy, group sex, Swinging, threesome, dating app

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