How To Have Your First Threesome as a Couple, According to a Sex Therapist

Threesomes can be tricky for anyone, but especially for first-timers.

16 November 2021, 7:21am

Ah, the threesome.

It’s one of the most common sexual fantasies, and yet is still so often plagued with mystery and confusion—more so for committed couples looking to engage in one for the first time. How does one bring it up with the other? What might it reveal about their sexuality and their relationship? Should they set rules? Where do they find the third person?

Greg and Pauline, a couple in their 20s based in Manila, Philippines, have been together for four years and recently started toying with the idea of having their first threesome. They preferred to go by pseudonyms to keep their sexual lives private. Pauline had hinted at being attracted to women in the past, but they said the threesome was Greg’s idea. 

“It all started in this party that we went to and it was getting late into the evening. When people were just having too much fun, I asked Pauline to kiss a girl friend of ours thinking that she wouldn’t. But she did and it turned me on. I brought the idea of a threesome up shortly after and luckily she’s considering it,” Greg told VICE. 

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Pauline said that she’s excited about the prospect of having sex with two people. She thinks having a threesome would be a win-win for her and Greg, because it would satiate her personal curiosities about being attracted to other women, while also arousing her partner. 

“The only hesitation I have is finding a person who would be game to do it with us, and personally acknowledging that Greg and I are still faithful to each other moving forward,” Pauline said. Although she’s keen on the experience, Pauline admitted that she may feel jealous once she actually sees Greg with another woman.

More than the sex, however, Greg said he’s also excited about the planning that goes into it. 

“Sex is always amazing with my partner. Having a threesome is just a way to spice up our sex drive and experiencing this together will ultimately bond us closer than ever. I really get turned on when there are a set of rules to abide by. Formulating the rules also excites me. I think the overall experience of planning, to selecting and onwards, is something that I am looking forward to aside from the sex,” he said.

Engaging in a threesome to bond with your partner may seem counterintuitive but Patrick Hess, a couples and sex therapist based in Berlin, said that, at least for some couples, it may very well work. For him, the idea that partners should be able to satisfy all of the other’s needs is a dated one. 

“This is the point of view that Hollywood and society brought on us—that one partner has to fulfill all our needs. It never happens, and it’s not the truth. Now, we’re so fixated on one person being the perfect partner, and the pressure for this person, and the pressure you put on yourself for being with this person, is unfulfillable,” Hess said.

Hess said that threesomes help couples spice up their sex lives while taking the pressure off each other to perform a certain way. He believes it also opens conversations about sexual needs and carves a path for those needs to be met—all of which could ultimately bring couples closer together.

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“People have to learn that it’s OK that sex with another person feels different, or this person is really good at oral sex and my partner maybe is not. That’s fine, and it doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t love you,” Hess added.

For some, threesomes are also an opportunity to learn fresh perspectives on sex. The third person involved, for example, might do something that one partner really enjoyed but the other never thought of doing. The next time the couple has sex with just each other, they can try that move out. 

The success of a threesome hinges on the strength and security of the couple’s relationship, Hess said. 

“The most common reason [couples want to have threesomes] is they have problems in their relationship or their sex life, and they think that opening it up will help and solve the problem.”

When done for this reason, Hess said threesomes may not be the best idea, because it could mean that the couple is looking to another person, instead of each other, to solve their problems. 

The therapist said that there are a few tell-tale characteristics in couples who will likely thrive after a threesome.  

“They have a good sex life, they are not jealous, they take happiness if their partner is happy,” he said. 

Greg said that part of the appeal for him is getting to see his partner have a good time. 

“The thought of being able to share my woman and see her being pleasured by another woman turns me on and is one of the things that I would absolutely love to experience,” he said.

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If a couple is in a secure space, then a good first step to take on their road to a threesome is figuring out what in sexual therapy is called an “Ideal Sexual Scenario,” Hess said. 

Couples can individually write out their ideal sexual scenarios—fantasies, rules, logistics—in as much detail as possible, then read it to each other and discuss.

Will they look for the third person online, or go out to a bar or club? Do they take the third person home or have sex somewhere else? Do they both want to play an active role, or does one only want to watch? Are they okay with penetration involving the third person, or is that something just for them? 

The discussion is especially important to help couples find out what they feel safe and secure doing. It should be free of judgment and filled with curiosity. It’s also the time for partners to identify their boundaries. What results from the discussion are the “rules and regulations” of that first threesome, Hess said. 

Then it’s time to find the person willing to have a threesome with them.

“When it comes to this person, both of [the partners] have to agree and find them sexy. Is it a male person, a female person, someone non-binary?” Hess explained. 

Even after defining the ideal sexual scenario, however, anything can happen. 

“First times are always exciting and nerve-racking because of all the things that you want to plan out, despite knowing that the plans won’t matter when the time comes,” Pauline said.

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Plans are important, but they’re not set in stone. 

According to Hess, plans are good because they can help make everyone feel safe and secure, but being in the moment and paying attention to each other’s cues will make for a more fulfilling experience. Ultimately, it is this constant communication—through words and body language—that makes threesomes work, Hess said. 

Success, of course, is not guaranteed. If at any point any of the three parties involved are not enjoying themselves, they should say so. For the couple, that may mean never trying threesomes again, or talking about it and trying again with a different person.

“Don’t put the pressure on yourself for it to be amazing,” Hess said. “Just go with the flow and experience.”

Greg and Pauline are in no rush themselves.

“I am surely taking it slow and letting it happen naturally,” Pauline said. “The ball will just keep rolling once we find the perfect person.”

Follow Romano Santos on Instagram.

Tagged:

Sex, relationships, therapist, sex therapist, threesome

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