Useful Lessons I've Learned From Having Threesomes (So Far)

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Despite the fact that I've had several threesomes in several different configurations over the years, I've been afraid, up until now, to write about my experiences with them. I came out as non-monogamous a few months ago, so you'd think that would have been the final step in letting all my dirty lingerie air on the internet. Not so.

I guess it's because being someone who now finds herself regularly having threesomes puts me in the category of "sexual deviant" or "slut" in many people's minds, and as much as I mostly don't care, that also feels sh*tty. It's the same reason I put off coming out as non-monogamous; I didn't want my professional respectability or the validity of my very serious primary relationship to be judged. But I've decided to keep following the path of saying f*ck that noise — because the truth is, like my other experiences with non-monogamy, having threesomes has been empowering, interesting, and absolutely nothing to be apologetic about.

Another reason I put off writing about threesomes is that I felt like I didn't have enough "authority" on the topic yet. Well, having now had several different MFM (that's where all the attention is on the woman, and the men don't have sex) and FFM (where two women and one man all have sex) threesomes, I can finally say I have some pretty solid takeaways. I can't speak beyond my own experiences, but I think they are emblematic of some of what you might be able to expect if you're diving in to the exciting world of group sex as well.

Talking It Out & Fantasizing Beforehand In Detail Makes Things Hotter In The End

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When I had my first threesomes, they were super casual. The first one wasn't planned at all. The second one was, but we didn't talk in detail about what we wanted the night to look like, or our preferences in bed. The third time, we talked a little more beforehand about the fantasy, but not as sufficiently as I'd thought about boundaries and preferences, based on how the guest felt afterwards.

It can feel awkward to talk in detail with all parties involved beforehand about what you'd like the threesome to look like, and what your boundaries are. We're not taught to think communication in practical detail is sexy, and women especially are brainwashed into thinking it's not hot unless you're taken in the spontaneous moment and your partners "just know" how to please you.

Having tried it both ways, I can tell you that winging it leads to far more underwhelming sex. Talking beforehand, however (maybe even just over text at first) about what your fantasy is, what you like in bed, when the other person was last tested, boundaries, and safe words, makes everything flow much more naturally and sexily. Bustle's sex columnist Vanessa Marin has a great guide you should check out about how to do just that.

Drinking To Alleviate Nerves Is Natural — But It Will Rob You Of Excitement

It's normal to want to drink or use other substances to feel a little less nervous before any threesome. I've always been nervous the first time I have a threesome with someone new, no matter how well I know each party involved — I was even nervous when all three of us had already been dating each other for weeks.

That said, I've found drinking to alleviate your nerves is only useful in moderation. Any time any party involved has drank or smoked more than they normally do out of nervousness, it's only ended up making them feel less on their game and present. Sure, have a drink or two — but not five. So much of what's hot about a threesome is being present for what is truly an already-heightened and thrilling situation.

If Things Aren't Getting Started, One Of You Should Go To The Bathroom

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It's usually at least a little awkward to transition from causal conversation to threesome, even if that's what all three people know they are there for. In general, when it reaches that painful standoff point of no one making the first move, I've found the best thing is for one person to go to the bathroom to let the other two either talk about what's happening ... or finally kiss (assuming that's cool with the person who left the room). It's a simple tip, but it helps get things started every time if you're all at a standstill.

Threesomes Magnify Whatever Dynamics Already Exist — They Don't Override Them

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Even though I know better now, I still sometimes get frustrated when I catch myself having the same, self-conscious interior dialogues during threesomes that I have during "normal" two-person sex. Shouldn't I just be swept up in the moment? If this doesn't make my mind shut up, what will? If you often struggle to relax when receiving pleasure or have performance anxiety around orgasm or whatever else, a threesome will not magically be so erotic that it erases those thought patterns. In fact, it can often accentuate them.

When I had my first threesomes with two men, I thought I would feel so overtaken by pleasure and taken care of that I would lose all sense of control and orgasm more easily than usual. Instead, I found that while it did feel wonderfully overwhelming and sexy to have all that attention on me, it also magnified my already-existing insecurities. If I was worried about protecting male partners' egos before, I now had double the male egos to worry about. If I already tended to beat myself up for not being able to come more easily, having all that attention and pleasure coming at me only intensified that insecurity.

Similarly, if you tend to get jealous when you think about your partner with other people, those feelings might be heightened, too. If you and your partner are having threesomes for the wrong reasons, my guess is that those problems in the relationship would be accentuated as well. Everything is heightened during a threesome — pleasure, pain, and your sexual patterns. That's one of the most productive things about them. It's double the magnification on your sexual psychology.

Being Extra-Sensitive To A Guest's Feelings Is Mandatory

When I first started having threesomes, someone else was always the third "special guest." Later, I experienced being a guest, and was incredibly grateful that I was made to feel totally included, special, and anything but used. Here are some tips on how to ensure that happens, but in general, a few things are key: always talk about expectations and boundaries beforehand with the guest; be wary of making them feel excluded; agree on boundaries about staying over etc. beforehand so they don't end up feeling kicked out, used, or rejected.

If you're inviting someone into your couple zone, you have to recognize there is an inherent power dynamic in that, and proceed with extra-respectful caution. Making someone feel special, (usually) ensuring there is more to the interaction than just sex, and that everyone feels comfortable with each other beforehand, is key.

You're Not As Much Of A Novice As You Might Think

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Before I had my first FFM threesome, I'd never slept with a woman. Luckily for me, I waited for the right person. She was truly as equally into me as she was the guy we were both also dating, and we had an independent chemistry and relationship outside of him as well. Still, I was worried that I would be a fumbling idiot, or freak out when faced with the actual opportunity to go down on a woman.

While there is always a certain amount of fumbling involved in all sex, I was relieved to find that I knew much more about sleeping with a woman than I thought I did, simply by following my instincts of how I wanted to give, listening to her cues, and thinking about what I generally like in bed as a female-bodied person. I would add to this that if you're attracted to women but are afraid you won't like the taste of pussy or will be bad at going down on a woman, you probably don't actually need to worry about that. Just start from the point of what you generally like, take it slow, be enthusiastic, and as always, just don't do anything you don't want to do. If you find you're in the middle of any threesome situation and aren't feeling comfortable with any part of it, don't be afraid to say so or break out that safeword/pause button. There's no rule that says you have to do everything at once, and any people worth sleeping with won't pressure you to.

If you've never had a threesome before, I would reassure you that you probably already know more about how to have one than you think. Just tune into the present moment and follow your most generous and genuine sexual instincts. Assuming you keep communicating and everyone keeps consenting, things can flow remarkably naturally. In the best case scenario, you might even feel like one big body with multiple limbs.

Your Bucket List Is Not Reason Enough To Do Anything You're Not Super Into

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In my experience, FFM threesomes where everyone is touching one another in some sexual capacity do flow slightly more seamlessly than MFM threesomes, where the men don't touch (and I'd imagine any configuration where there are limits on certain parties). It really facilitates that "octopussy" sensation I was just talking about.

But just because things might flow more easily if everyone is involved, I think it's important to note that absolutely doesn't mean you should pressure yourself, a guest, or a partner to touch anyone in any way they don't fully want to. Similarly, if you're part of a couple, you need to be honest with yourself about your boundaries for your partner's actions. If you feel like you're ready to see them go down on someone else but not penetrate someone else, for example, you need to vocalize that beforehand with all parties involved.

Sometimes, of course, you won't know you can't handle something until it's happening, which is why it's both important to learn how to check in with yourself and know whether you need to call pause — and when you're OK with channeling those intense jealous feelings into erotic pleasure. I know I wasn't ready to see my partner with another woman until it was a woman I also had an independent relationship with — and while that likely won't always be the case, I'm glad I knew not to place myself in a situation that I wasn't ready for.

The point of a threesome isn't to please your partner or to blindly check something off your bucket list — the same rules as usual for good sex apply: everyone's total enthusiastic consent, including yours — is mandatory. It's supposed to be fun and maybe a little scary, not vice versa.