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A threesome, threeway, or ménage à trois describes group sex between three consenting adults of any gender and sexuality. They can happen between a couple in a monogamous relationship, bringing in a third person, or between three friends, strangers, and other interested parties.

Threesomes can include penetrative sex, oral sex, kissing, touching, masturbating, and more; as long as everyone agrees that a particular act is okay, then it's okay.

Without a doubt, they are one of the holy grails of sexual adventure. They're thrilling, sensual, intense, and as far from vanilla as you can get. For some couples, they help to deepen their connection; for others, they fulfill a part of their sex lives that their partner can't create on their own.

They're on the bedroom bucket lists of many men and women, in different combinations and for different reasons, whereas others have them merely to see what the fuss is about. They can bring new heights to an already great sex life or spice things up when things have got a little predictable.

Despite only 13% of participants in this study amongst young adults having engaged in one, 64% expressed an interest in having a threesome. That's over half of the study having them penciled in on their bucket list, yet failing to make them happen.

The best news is that most participants report positive outcomes, as this study investigating the outcomes of threesomes in the Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed. Surprisingly, those engaging in mixed-sex threesomes with a romantic partner resulted in a more positive outcome than those in casual threeways.


Threesomes aren't for everyone, so don't worry if they're not for you. There are many ways to explore sex and sexuality, to share your body with someone, and to indulge your deepest, darkest desires. Threesomes are just one of many options.

So, following on from our recent piece on the best threesome sex positions, the following tips and advice should help you navigate your way through your first successful threesome.

1. Communicate ahead over the threesome

Despite sounding spontaneous and wild, the best threesomes are those where everyone knows what everyone wants and expects and is comfortable with what's to come.

To avoid confusion around the session and what happens after, communication is the key to a successful first threesome.

If you're part of a couple, and you think you're ready for a threesome, have a real conversation about everything that could happen and change afterward. Are you really ready, or are you just going along with what your partner wants?

To feel comfortable, you need to discuss each attribute in depth. Who will be your third person? What do you want to get out of the experience? How far are you willing to go? Where will it happen? What happens if your feelings toward each other change?

To avoid confusion around the session and what happens after, communication is the key to a successful first threesome.

Why is communication so important in threesomes?

A threesome can be the most incredible sexual experience. However, if entered into without exploring how your feelings will change afterward, they can break even the strongest bond between partners.

Communication is essential to protect your partner and your relationship. Exploring your feelings around each aspect allows you to work together to get precisely what you want, having enjoyed the incredible experience you want it to be.

How to use communication to enhance your threesome:

  • Set clear intentions – why do you want to try a threesome?
  • Allow your partners the respect to make their own minds up – don't try and persuade someone who doesn't feel comfortable into performing group sex.
  • Discuss how you'll find possible partners and who would be appropriate.
  • Discuss whether you're really ready for a threesome. It might sound exciting in theory, but it can be a very different story in practice.
  • Check in with each other throughout the experience.
  • Get consent for all sexual activity.
  • Always establish a safe word in advance.

2. Be prepared for awkward moments

In a first threesome, given it's brand new territory, it's quite likely that something unexpected will happen. Some will make your experience far better than anticipated, and others could make things awkward for one, two, or all of you. Being prepared for those moments and having a plan to get past them is a must.

Why might you feel a bit awkward in a threesome?

Awkwardness can arise from one partner feeling left out, something physical or emotional coming out of the blue, someone's body being unresponsive, or even the third person hanging around for too long afterward.

How to prepare for feeling uncomfortable:

  • If you're prepared for it, you can turn things around quicker if it happens.
  • Allow for any partner to feel uncomfortable when creating your ground rules. That way, everyone knows how to accommodate each other.
  • Communication is key. When feeling uncomfortable with anything during the experience, let it be known. If you're feeling left out, and you say so, the others can draw you back in, even making you the focus of their play to reverse the feeling.

3. Be safe

Safety means far more than practicing safe sex. You should be concerned with the personal safety of each participant and their environment. Protecting yourself, your partner, your home, and your privacy are all equally important. Taking your threesome to a hotel or neutral venue makes sense, or organizing your sexual encounter as part of your holiday or weekend getaway is an easy way to protect your home and bring in a partner who you'll unlikely see again.

Your personal safety is essential to your enjoyment.

Protecting yourself, your partner, your home, and your privacy are all equally important.

The women interviewed in this study by Birmingham University had all enjoyed mixed-sex threesomes and would have them again, but many said they felt 'safer in two female and one male situations.' However, a fifth of those interviewed had enjoyed two male and one female sessions and would be happy to have them again.

This survey shows how important discussing needs and setting boundaries is in each unique situatio

Why are safe sex practices so important in threesomes?

For anyone's first threesome, safety and consent should be front and center. The last thing anyone wants as a memento of their wild night or sexual exploration is an STI or unwanted pregnancy.

How to ensure everyone's safety in a threesome:

  • Safe sex practices are non-negotiable.
  • Consent is non-negotiable.
  • Condom use should be discussed in advance.
  • Consider condoms, dental dams, and latex gloves for extra protection.
  • Testing for STIs and other infections is crucial.

4. Try to get to know your partners ahead

While you may think it would be easier and better to include close friends in your threesomes—after all, you know you can trust them, right?—it's far better to keep them as a fantasy and the third person a stranger.

Whether single or in a relationship, organized sex parties are a good place to find threesome partners.

Most include social areas where members can get to know each other, or alternatively, many host non-sexual social events where people can discuss everything and anything sex-related to find the right partners and playmates or to pick up new ideas, advice, and information.

If all three participants are single and are open to experimenting, then there's no real reason why they shouldn't; apart from if things don't go as planned, you'll always have that embarrassing or uncomfortable moment lurking in the back of your mind each time you meet.

Why is it important to get to know each person involved?

You need to know some basics about your threesome partners if only to stay safe. You'll need to know that they're healthy and free from STIs, and also, if you're inviting them into your home, you'll need to know that they're trustworthy.

You also need to know that there will be chemistry between all three people and that you're on the same page. It would be an awful anticlimax if one or more of you weren't turned on by your choice of sex partners.

How to get to know the other two people in your threesome:

  • Use dating sites or hook-ups and dating apps to find possible partners.
  • Communicate what you're looking for, your boundaries, expectations, and rules to ensure everyone's on the same page.
  • How will you communicate to organize the threesome? Is it okay for two people to communicate without the third person being involved or knowing?
  • Consider meeting up for a coffee or a quiet drink before you commit to the threesome. You can get a feel for each other and how things will likely unfold.

5. Be open about what you want

If you don't ask—you don't get. Diversly, if you don't let others know what you aren't up for, there's a good chance they'll happen, putting you in a difficult and uncomfortable position.

Why is discussing your preferred sex acts crucial to threesomes?

Stopping the sex when things get uncomfortable for someone can ruin the dynamic and spoil the fun. Knowing what everyone is up for and wants to try will help maintain the fun and flow throughout the experience.

Each person needs to know what the others want and what they're not open to trying. You can all gather a clear understanding of those critical factors by being completely open.

How to discuss your expectations:

  • Talk about what you like and what you don't.
  • Be open about your hopes and fears.
  • Talk about who and what type of person would make your ideal threesome partner.
  • Discuss what should happen before, during, and after your sex play.
  • Discuss the positions you want to try, the ones you don't, and the things that are off the table.
  • Always have a safe word ready for difficult moments.

6. Set boundaries/Rules

Even in the most open experiences, there are likely areas and acts that one or more participants aren't comfortable with. To navigate a successful threesome and to ensure everyone's safety and pleasure, it's essential to set some ground rules and boundaries.

Why is setting boundaries so crucial in threesomes?

It would be easy to feel out of place without establishing a few crucial boundaries. Even the most spontaneous sex benefits from a common understanding of what can and will happen during a threesome.

How to discuss your sexual boundaries:

  • Finding the right partner fits within the topic of boundaries.
  • Which partners are permitted to perform particular acts on whom?
  • Is kissing allowed outside a committed couple?
  • Include sex acts, safe sex practices, the parties involved, and what happens after the sex is over.
  • When bringing a third person into your bedroom, decide what happens afterward. It's okay to expect them to leave shortly after the sex is over; in fact, it's probably healthier, given that they're there purely for the sex and not to build a friendship or relationship.

7. Enjoy the ride

Sex is fun, and to ensure your threesome is the incredible experience you want it to be, you need to relax and enjoy the ride. To be able to do that, you need to feel comfortable, safe, heard, and understood; all things we're focussing on in our list of threesome tips.

Why pleasure should be the focus of your sexual encounter

Because sex should always be pleasurable. If you're doing this to appease a partner or because someone said you should—back out immediately. You should be excited about what's to come; a few nerves are quite normal, but you shouldn't wonder whether it's right for you. If you're wondering, you're not ready.

How to feel comfortable performing sex acts on and with others:

  • Practice positions with your partner before bringing in your third.
  • Create the right mood, set up, and find your ideal location.
  • Attend an organized sex party as an observer to gauge what you'd like or to test the water with less intense, playful interactions.
  • Make sure you all finish as close as you can together, and if you're in a relationship, make sure you have your final orgasm with your partner.

8. Gear up (lube, toys, condoms...)

Toys are made to be played with, so when it comes to fantasy sex play, why not bring a few of your favorites to the party?

What can sex toys and other equipment bring to your threesomes?

Introducing toys can add to the threesome experience. You'll need plenty of condoms and lube to ensure things go smoothly (pun intended) and safely, and if toys are your thing, or you're looking for a BDSM-based three-way, then make sure they're all clean, sterilized, and close to hand.

How to use sex toys and other items to add to the fun:

  • A sex toy could be used to break the ice between new sex off your bucket list for good?or to heighten sensations during sexual activity.
  • A cock ring can help maintain erections during lengthy sessions.
  • Introducing a sex toy can give males or penis owners an extra option when working with two females.

9. Research some positions

As we mentioned earlier, this piece is a follow-up to our recent article on the best threesome sex positions. If you're looking for the best ways to enjoy three-way pleasure, it's a great place to start.

Why exploring different positions in advance can make or break threesomes

This is another key area for good communication. If oral sex is off the table for one partner, or if a couple doesn't want the third person to penetrate one or either of them, you need to know which positions will cater to those needs.

With an extra body in the mix, flexibility and mobility may be an issue, with unfeasible demands on a single person to bridge an impractical gap.

How to find your favorite threesome positions:

  • Check out threesome content and articles like ours.
  • Explore group sex and threesomes on porn sites.
  • If you're in a relationship, talk to your partner about what you both like, what works for you as a couple, and if you can expand that to cater to three people.
  • Practice! What you think looks great on screen or as an illustration might be impossible for some to reproduce in real life.

10. Don’t be jealous

Both jealousy and guilt are quite natural feelings to experience during a threesome.

Dr Ryan Scoats and Professor Eric Anderson explored just that in their Culture, Health & Sexuality study, 'My partner was just all over her’: jealousy, communication, and rules in mixed-sex threesomes.' Setting clear rules and boundaries helped to navigate various issues for those involved in established couples and outside monogamism.

A good threesome—well organized with ground rules and everyone on the same page—will help navigate those feelings, but can't guarantee them not showing up to detract from the fun.

Why is jealousy so prevalent in threesomes?

If your partner looks like they're enjoying themselves more with the third person than they usually do with you, it could trigger unwanted thoughts and doubts about your relationship.

Society has trained us to believe that monogamy is natural and group sex is taboo. There is no right or wrong, however. Your normal is whatever you feel comfortable with. If the situation arises, you need to be ready for it, allowing yourself to process any fleeting jealousy for what it is and return fully focused to the action.

How to navigate jealousy for a successful threesome:

  • Be honest about how you feel before, during, and after your sexual encounter.
  • If you feel left out, let your partners know so they can help bring you back into the action. A good threesome caters to everyone's needs, however involved they prefer to be.
  • It's okay to ask your partner not to have penetrative sex with a third person if that will make you feel jealous.
  • Make sure you have your final orgasm with your relationship partner; otherwise, it could turn into a red flag for jealousy.
  • To avoid jealousy and keep things purely professional, a sex worker is perfectly suited to those in relationships. They're discreet, professional, and emotionally disconnected. They're also experienced and can lead your session to remove the awkwardness of who does what and when.

11. Be respectful

One way threesomes regularly lack respect is how a couple invites a third person to have sex with them. The excitement can easily overpower how they choose a partner, making them feel like objects, not people.

Whether you view your threesome as a purely sexual experience or a way to deepen a relationship connection, it's crucial to respect everyone involved, protecting their safety and feelings.

Why is respect so crucial in threesomes?

Respect can make or break your threesome. If anyone suffers a poor experience, it can leave emotional damage that could take years to recover from. Whether you've been in a relationship for years or are complete strangers, caring about each other is essential to being considerate and humane. Kindness and care make all the difference between a mechanical encounter and a hot-blooded and passionate experience.

How to show respect to your threesome partners:

  • Listen to each person's needs, wants, concerns, and boundaries.
  • Check in with each other before, during, and after sexual activity to ensure everyone's happy and comfortable.
  • Remember that your partners are people with emotions and feelings, not just objects or playthings.

8 complications you should be aware of before having a threesome

A threesome could be the best thing that ever happens to you in the bedroom. However, for those in established relationships, there is an element of risk, even for the most open and secure.

  1. A threesome can change your relationship or your sex life for better or worse.
  2. If you're trying to inject excitement or adventure into a failing relationship or inadequate sex life, it could also be the thing that finally breaks it.
  3. Something unexpected will likely surprise you, despite how much you talk about ground rules, positions, expectations, and different sex acts in advance.
  4. Someone can still feel left out despite your best efforts to cater to everyone's pleasure.
  5. Anyone involved can start to have feelings for an inappropriate partner.
  6. Your emotional and sexual relationship with your partner will change one way or another.
  7. If you're using a threesome to have sex with someone you have feelings for who isn't your partner, this isn't the place for that. A threesome shouldn't be confused with consent for an affair.
  8. As wild as threesomes sound, they're better suited to emotionally mature and stable people.

Summary

According to a US study into sexual behaviors of over 2,000 adults, 10% of women and 18% of men had engaged in threesomes. If you're gearing up for your first exploration into the excitement and exhilaration they deliver, understanding exactly what could happen and how to navigate the pitfalls will ensure you get the most from your experience.

With more people engaging in threesomes and getting the positive outcomes they hope for, why not give it a try and finally tick them off your bucket list for good?

Communication, understanding, planning, and respect are the key ingredients for a successful venture into this popular sex fantasy—covering those bases in advance will help deliver the thrill of a lifetime.

With more people engaging in threesomes and getting the positive outcomes they hope for, why not give it a try and finally tick them off your bucket list for good?

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