I’ve been talking to someone new. He really likes the blog, a good sign. I asked him what I should write about next. I want to write about antitrust. And Quillette (again). And so many things but I am behind at work and am having trouble justifying the hours of research required to do them even close to justice.
“What are your thoughts about a married couple inviting a third for making things exciting?”
I’m not a relationship expert, but I’ve had a few threesomes. My first threesome was on my first date with a woman. I didn’t expect it. I thought we were just going up to her apartment to grab something before dinner. The best part was when she remarked, “You’re so sweaty!” She was absolutely stunning and honestly it would have been perfect if her boyfriend hadn’t been there. What can I say? You live, you learn.
So I can, with minimal research, tell you what I’ve learned from my experiences and summarize some of what I’ve read about other people’s experiences for the purposes of making your life a little easier.
How common are threesomes? I found polling showing that 14% of Americans have had a threesome and 35% have fantasized about it.
Roughly a third seems low to me. My understanding was a threesome is one of the most common sexual fantasies, especially among men. But who knows. Based on what porn people search for, it appears people aren’t always honest about their desires. (Reminds me, I need to read Tell Me What You Want.)
Based on the fact that a man who has sex with women asked me the question and men are more likely than women to say they want a threesome, I’m going to mostly address this advice to otherwise monogamously married men. So if that’s you, allow me to offer some advice.
Try to figure out what you want out of the threesome
Far be it from me to yuck anyone’s yum. If you want a threesome, I absolutely want you to have a threesome. But I think it’s worth considering a few things before charging forward. Just because, for most otherwise monog married men, arranging a threesome is going to take a decent amount of work to set up and comes with some very real risks.
So one thing I’d advise you to do first is to try to figure out what you want to get out of the threesome. This might sound stupid. Sex with a woman is good. Sex with two women must be better, right? I mean, sure. But there’s probably at least one thing a little deeper than that behind the fantasy. For instance, maybe you want to inject some novelty into your sex life. Or maybe you want to see your wife have sex with another woman. Or maybe you want the validation of two women wanting you.
I say this for two reasons. First, knowing what you want to get out of the threesome makes it a lot more likely you’ll get it. Like, if you want to see your wife with another woman, you will be well-served to find a third who’s interested in having sex with both of you. Sometimes women just want to take turns with the man.
The second reason is that there might be an easier, safer way to get what you want. Like maybe if you want novelty, you could try dirty talk where your wife pretends to be someone else. To quote a great American, “Switch my wig make him feel like he cheating.” If you want to feel more desirable, you could ask your wife to worship your body.
Here’s the thing. Many men, when asked what they want in bed, say “a threesome” because it’s an obvious and safe thing to want. No one is going to think you’re afraid or insecure or weird if you say that. But, in my experience, safe, surface-level answers are antithetical to great sex. If you’re not comfortable enough with yourself to acknowledge your deeper sexual desires, a threesome won’t fix that. And if you’re not safe enough in your relationship to share your deeper, more vulnerable desires with your wife, buddy, a threesome is more likely to blow things up than fix anything.
It sounds obvious, but having a threesome isn’t going to fix your relationship. If countless threads on various Facebook groups I’m in is any indication, it’s honestly about as likely to make things worse as it is to make things better. Contrary to what some polyamorists claim, I don’t believe non-monogamy is for everyone. For a lot of people, bringing more people into the bedroom is more trouble than it’s worth. So if you can get the same benefits without the risk, it’s worth a try. And you’ll get to know yourselves and each other better in the process of discovery.
Talk through everything
Okay, let’s say you’ve figured out what you want out of the threesome, had all the conversations, and done all the possible one- and two-person experimentation. And you still want a threesome. And your wife is on board as well.
You’re going to have the best time, and the least likelihood of trouble, if you talk through as many potentialities as possible well ahead of time. For some couples, this is going to be a breeze. But for most of us, sex isn’t just sex. It’s also a lot of programming, insecurity, fear, uncertainty, doubt, trauma, guilt, shame, etc.
Ask your wife what her preferences are. Does she want to have sex with the woman or just share you with her? What are her boundaries? Does she object to oral sex without a condom? Does she have a preference on where you cum? Will she feel insecure if the other woman is younger, fitter, more attractive, or smarter? Are friends off-limits? Does she care when and how you communicate with the other woman outside the bedroom? What’s the protocol if someone wants a time-out? How will you as a couple ensure no one feels neglected or left out?
I remember feeling neglected in two separate threesomes with one boyfriend. It just felt like he was super hungry for new pussy. I felt like old news. The worst was afterwards, feeling uncared for and unheard when I tried to talk about my feelings. Be ready to take steps to help prevent negative feelings by talking things through beforehand and having a game plan. But also be ready to talk afterward about things that come up unexpectedly during.
Remember she’s a person
You aren’t the center of the universe. Your relationship isn’t the most important thing in the world. A third isn’t a toy to play with or a tool to fix your problems.
I haven’t really experienced this, but in the poly world there’s a term for a couple who aggressively looks for a female bisexual third for their threesome: Unicorn Hunters. Now, there’s nothing wrong, in and of itself, with aggressively looking for a female bisexual third for your threesome. The bad rap comes from couples who treat women like objects in their search. You’re not shopping for a new vibrator, so don’t act like it.
That means, for instance, don’t sign up for dating apps and make your profile look like a woman seeking another woman and then drop that you’re a couple looking for a third once you match. Yes, it’s hard to find unicorns. No, that’s not an excuse to be a dick.
You know all those conversations you had with your wife about her preferences, desires, insecurities, and boundaries? You two should have those conversations with a potential third as well. She deserves a protocol if she wants a time-out. She deserves precautions to help ensure she doesn’t feel neglected or left out. She deserves aftercare where you talk through any feelings that came up for her. She deserves to know up front if you are open to an ongoing relationship or just want a one-night-stand.
Consider a professional
The fastest, easiest, safest, least-messy way to have your first threesome is to hire a full-service sex worker. The benefits are many. No prolonged hunt. No awkward conversations. Full-service sex workers come to the situation ready to establish and maintain their boundaries. They don’t generally desire aftercare. They’re definitely not interested in dating one of you or otherwise causing trouble in your relationship.
I’ve done it and couldn’t recommend it more highly. Expensive full-service sex workers are generally fastidious when it comes to safer sex. Obviously you and your wife should get tested before and after and disclose your status to whoever you’re having sex with. Even if you’ve been monogamous for years and have no symptoms a test is a good idea since many STIs can be asymptomatic.
Hire a director
Another thing full-service sex workers are great at is directing. In my opinion, every good threesome needs someone to call the shots. Sometimes things will just flow wordlessly and that works. But other times you might all be staring at each other wondering what to do next. Appointing a director ahead of time can help empower someone to direct the action and allow the other participants to go with the flow. This person can help ensure no one is left out and everyone is enjoying what happens.
I want to elaborate on the risks I mentioned earlier. Sure, there are the obvious risks like STIs and hurt feelings. But in my opinion, what happens during a threesome is very unlikely to cause any lasting damage. What a threesome, or any implementation of non-monogamy, is more likely to do, in my opinion, is to more fully expose existing weaknesses in a relationship. The guy l felt like old news with? Looking back, I can see that he didn’t appreciate what he had in me in that relationship more generally. The risk isn’t that threesome is going to cause damage. It’s hard for me to see having sex with a third as likely to damage a strong relationship. Sure, feelings might get hurt. But strong relationships come back stronger from those kinds of challenges. But a threesome absolutely can reveal existing damage in a way that it becomes impossible to continue to ignore.
That’s why I advise you to have the conversations above. The more clearly you see the fault lines ahead of time, the more able you are to navigate around them effectively.
I’m going to leave you with one last thing. This should probably be its own post. It should probably be its own book. I’m not going to do this thought justice, but I’d be remiss to not mention it.
If you want novelty, risk, or validation I firmly believe there’s more of it residing in your wife than in all the sex with strangers you could possibly have. I realize I’ve never met most of your wives. But I do know this. Research suggests women are turned on by a greater variety of stimulus than men, have a greater need for novelty in sex than men, and get bored by monogamy more quickly than men.
Fully, fearlessly exploring your wife’s fantasies and desires will likely provide you with more novelty and risk than you can imagine. I also believe we’re all generally operating at the surface level. I believe that getting to really, deeply, intimately know another person, and in the process explore portions of our own brains we’ve never seen, is the most interesting journey a person could possibly undertake. And that to be sought out, explored, seen, and accepted, by another and by ourselves, is the highest form of validation.
All that isn’t to say don’t have a threesome. Absolutely have a threesome. But if you’re focusing on the threesome to the exclusion of deeply knowing your wife, you’re missing out big time. I promise you there’s way more to her than you know. I, personally, couldn’t have known how much more interesting, meaningful, and fulfilling it is to see, know, and love one person than it is to have sex with lots of people until I did it. I wish I could have figured this out in fewer years. I don’t regret any of the sex or relationships I’ve had. Love isn’t zero-sum. But time is. And with the time I have left I’m definitely more interested now in deeply knowing one person than in having sex with more people.
But, as always, your mileage may vary!
I’d love to know what questions this leaves unanswered, if you take issue with any of this advice, etc. Leave a comment below. <3