6 Tips For Having a Threesome Without Ruining Your Relationship in The Process

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we actually hear the nitty-gritty details of how we might actually achieve those things? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex psychotherapist based in San Francisco, to help us out with the specifics. This week’s topic: How to have a threesome when you're in a relationship

Q: My boyfriend and I have talked about having a threesome (with another woman) for close to a year. We’re both into the idea, but the opportunity to have one hasn’t exactly fallen into our laps. I think one of the problems is that we’re attracted to very different types. He likes tall and thin, which makes me feel self-conscious because that’s not exactly my body type. I like more androgynous-looking women, but my boyfriend jokes that I must be a closet lesbian if that’s my type. Is there any hope for us?

A: Finding your third wheel is truly one of the hardest parts of having a threesome. Dan Savage calls them “unicorns” because it’s so rare to find a person who: a) you are both attracted to, b) is attracted to both of you in return, c) is willing to sleep you no strings attached, and d) is sane enough to not wreak havoc on your relationship. It’s a tall order!

So many people have fantasies of the perfect threesome situation effortlessly presenting itself on a silver platter, but this is rarely the case in reality. The bottom line is that setting up a successful threesome takes work. If you really want to make this happen, you’re going to have to try harder. Here's where I suggest you start. 

Step 1: Decide If It's Actually Worth It

If you guys have been half-heartedly trying to make this happen for a year, it might be time to reevaluate. Do you want to keep waiting for it to magically happen on it’s own, and if so, are you fine with the very real possibility that it might not ever happen? Or does it feel like it’s time to step it up and put in a little more effort?

Sometimes having the fantasy is more fun that actually living it out. When it’s just a fantasy, you and your boyfriend can dream up endless scenarios and details, watch threesome porn, or read erotic threesome stories. When it’s a reality, you might have one awesome night to reminisce about, or you might have a flurry of awkward and uncomfortable memories.

Step 2: Get Clear On Your Boundaries 

So you’ve thought about it and decided you do want to go ahead with trying to have a threesome. The next step is to make sure you’re both crystal clear about what you’re looking for.

Talk about what’s on and off the table. Is your special guest going to play with just you, or does your boyfriend get to get in on the action too? Are you rounding the bases, or just sticking with foreplay? Is kissing OK? Would you feel comfortable letting her stay the night, or do you want her to leave right after the fun?

Keep communicating throughout the process to make sure you’re both on the same page. Come up with a code word or signal that you could use to say “time out, I need a second to check in” and one for “this needs to stop right now.”

It’s also important to communicate those boundaries to your unicorn. You may feel overly clinical or awkward doing so, but threesomes require more communication than twosomes. Be explicit about what’s on and off the table for the two of you, and ask her what she’s comfortable with. For example, “we’re looking forward to playing with you, but we just want to be clear that we want to draw the line at intercourse. What are you looking for?”

Step 3: Get On The Internet

A unicorn is not going to come to you; you have to go find one. Doing so is hard, but the Internet has made it a whole lot easier. There are threesome-specific websites and even a threesome app. If you’re worried about having your pictures up on these kinds of sites, describe yourselves and write, “we’re shy, but happy to exchange pictures privately.” Or you can put up a note on OkCupid explaining what you’re looking for. If you’re totally clear in your profile, you can avoid some of the awkwardness of having to spell it out in person.

I strongly recommend against having your third be someone who is a friend. There’s no undoing a threesome, and they can make things extremely awkward and uncomfortable. You don’t want to lose a friendship for one night of fun. If you’re on the fence, just think through a few scenarios … what if it seemed like your boyfriend was enjoying having sex with your best friend a little too much? What if your best friend seemed to be enjoying having sex with your boyfriend a little too much? Unless you feel extremely confident that your friendship could withstand the strain of a threesome, it’s just not worth the risk.

I’m not going to lie to you; if the two of you are into very different types of women, it’s probably going to be hard to agree on someone to invite into your bedroom. Here’s where it might help to revisit Step 1: Is it really worth having a threesome if you have to compromise and hook up with someone you’re not all that attracted to?

Step 4: Evaluate Your Options

Your ad is up, and you’re starting to get some nibbles. You might be so excited to get your first few responses that you feel tempted to invite a lady over ASAP, but I recommend giving yourselves a little bit of time to feel it out in person before committing.  

Say to your potential unicorns, “how do you feel about getting together for a cocktail? If it feels like a good fit, we can talk about what we’d like to do for the rest of the evening. If it doesn’t seem like a match, we can go our separate ways, no hard feelings.” Agree on a signal with your boyfriend beforehand, like if you both touch your right earlobes, it’s a go.

Have a drink if you want to calm your nerves, but don’t get drunk. Being intoxicated makes it so much harder to make good decisions. Plus, you want to be able to actually enjoy your threesome, right? How sad would it be to wake up the next morning with only foggy memories?

In case it’s not a match, you may also want to have a plan for politely excusing yourselves for the evening. Getting turned down is always painful, no matter the situation, so try to spare her feelings with something gentle like, “you’re so lovely, but I think I’m too nervous to go through with this.”

Step 5: Take Baby Steps

You don’t have to go all the way the first time you hook up with your special guest. You may want to dip a toe into the threesome waters by having a makeout or cuddle session before doing anything more serious. Take the opportunity to check in with your boyfriend afterwards. See how you each felt, and if you want to continue moving forward.

Step 6: Consider The Jealousy Factor

Jealousy is unavoidable with threesomes. If you care about your boyfriend, some part of you is going to get fired up seeing his hands on another woman. The challenge is figuring out if the uncomfortable feelings are worth the thrill.

It seems like you’re both already getting a little triggered by each other’s aesthetic preferences. You’re worried about him liking other body types more than your own, and he seems concerned that you might be a little too into women. I don’t mean to be a threesome party-pooper, but I’d spend some time thinking about whether or not you can actually handle the jealousy that a threesome might evoke. You’re the only one who can honestly answer that question!

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