Hey Anna, love your column on AfterEllen. I wanted to know your thoughts about this: My girlfriend and I have had a great, loving, romantic relationship for three years now. The sex is still great too, but we both kinda fancy the idea of having a threesome (having another lady join us as a one-time-only deal). We are not looking for a polyamorous relationship, just something a little different under the sheets. Would such an experience be harmful to our relationship? Are we getting into “bad” territory?
Anna says: Doesn’t seem like it. Assuming y’all are both on the same page about what you want, who you want, and what that might mean for your relationship. Threesomes can be tricky because as hot as they may seem in our fantasies, the realities of the situation can play out very differently. My ex and I once brought another lady home, and at the time I was stoked about it, especially since I’d had threesomes before when I was single, but then watching her be touched by someone else actually triggered something that made me freak out. I almost left the room, but quickly found out that there is no good way to excuse yourself from an orgy. (Lesson 1!)
The most important thing you can do in such a situation is to communicate a lot. You do not want to go into it with a “we’ll just see what happens!” attitude because that kind of devil-may-care approach is what leads to crying, resentment, and reality TV shows about midgets. This is going to sound super business, but seriously, make a spreadsheet. Fill it with three columns: This stuff is OK, this stuff might be OK, and this is not OK at all.
Then try to think up everything that might happen and assess how you feel about it. For instance, will you do it at your place or theirs? Will you spend the night together? How do you feel about spooning? Are there acts that are sacred to the two of you that you don’t want the third person to get in on? This might sound like a bit of a killjoy to spontaneity, or the opposite of hot, but I’m of the mind that good sex often requires planning. Especially when you add more people to the mix. And don’t skip the talk about safety either. There’s a persistent myth that lesbians can’t give each other STIs, which is made worse by the fact that lesbians get tested less often than straight chicks, due to the whole no-pregnancy-scares shtick, as well as the prejudice queer women face in the health care system generally. But lezzies can give each other STIs through skin-to-skin contact, mucous tissue contact, vaginal fluids, menstrual blood, as well as from sharing sex toys.
So be smart about it, and be safe. Plus, the more information you and your partner have, the better able you’ll be able to know how you’ll handle something unexpected.
Further threesome etiquette entails that while nobody should feel neglected, you should also “check in” with your partner from time to time to make sure she isn’t freaking out. This doesn’t mean constantly asking, “Are you okay?” Meaningful eye contact usually does the trick, though it is prudent to have a code word or phrase in the case of trickier positions (Reverse Wheelbarrow and the Shallow Tortoise, for instance) where eye contact cannot be made.
It’s also, in my opinion, harder to be the couple part of a threesome because more is at stake for you. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have a good time, of course, and I don’t mean to scare you out of anything – threesomes can be wicked fun, adventurous, and in some cases bring you and your partner even closer together. Just be sure to put those good lesbian processing habits to work, and be as honest as you can, then you’ll be aces.