Lesbianing with AE! This week: Threesome etiquette

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I was approached on Ok Cupid by a lesbian couple who is interested in having a third and wondered if I would want to participate. I haven’t had a threesome before and I’m willing to give it a try, but wanted some suggestions first.

I don’t want it to be all about me satisfying their sexual needs as the third party invited into the bedroom.  Should I worry that as a couple they’ll naturally be more into pleasing one another than making sure I have fun too? And how can I make sure my needs are met? Also, I assume we’d do this at their place, so are there any couple boundaries I should be sure to respect? Finally, we live in a small city, and I am pretty sure we will run into one another at lesbian events. I don’t want things to be awkward (or rumors to spread) if the threesome doesn’t work out or if the couple has issues about something that happens. Any advice you have on how to approach this would be awesome!

-Potential Third

Hey PT,

Thanks for writing in! You’ve got a lot of questions, which is great 🙂  So I’m gonna devote the whole column this week to managing your threesome expectations to reduce awkwardness, increase sexiness, and limit any negative repercussions.

The best way to make sure things don’t get awkward during or after the three-way is to talk to the couple you’d be playing with about all your concerns. I encourage you to meet in person rather than message/textphone chat. Coffee is easy and cheap, or cocktails can loosen you up if you’re nervous about discussing your sex preferences. You’ll be getting up close with these ladies if the three-way goes down… so the more comfortable you feel communicating your needs, the more fun you will have.

It’s hard to hop into bed (with anyone, but especially with a two people who know exactly how to get each other off and have never touched you) and expect the sex to be amazing. Talking about your preferences ahead of time can make the eventual three-way hotter by building anticipation and excitement. Plus, if you can’t talk about these things when you’re all clothed and in public, do you really think you can talk about what you want or don’t want when you’re all naked?

So think of your talk like threeway foreplay + establishing enthusiastic consent and cover these basics:

1. Expectations – Yours and theirs. Why are they asking you to do this? Is this a one-and-done, cross-it-off-the-bucket-list type of thing? Are they poly and looking for semi-regular sex dates, possibly with you if everyone a good time? Or is this something in between?

You assume they want to do this at their place, but maybe they want to rent a hotel room rather than play in their bed. If so, are they paying for it? Should you chip in, or bring lube and ice cream?

This can be the point in the conversation where you tell them that you want to make sure your sexual needs get met too, and your sexual needs are ______.

2. Sex boundaries and what to expect – Especially if you’re hooking up with a couple, they may have rules around who gets to do what to who (i.e., you can’t kiss them but they can kiss one another). You might not like these rules (especially if they leave you out), but the couple has the right to set them and you have the right to decide whether or not you want to play by them. You get to set rules too, so if there’s anything you definitely want or don’t want, lay it down ahead of time.

This is really important, even if it feels awkward.

If you ask the couple and they say, “We just want to play! Everything is on the table!” this opens the door for someone to change their mind during the three-way when, say, one half of the couple is uncomfortable with the way you’re touching their partner and brings the whole three-way to a halt. Of course someone might give advance consent for something without realizing how it affects them in the moment and need to “take it back” mid-hookup (this could be you, too – it isn’t a you-vs-them issue). But when you vocalize and agree on what’s OK, not OK, and maybe OK you reduce the risk of someone feeling uncomfortable in the moment and stopping the three-way before everyone’s gotten off. This is key for the couple (a jealousy flare-up could trigger a huge fight over the state of their relationship) and it’s also key for you.

Three Women in Bed Together

Not every person is going to be touched at every moment of the threesome for it to be a successful experience. A three-way might, at least for a few minutes, turn into a two-way where the third person is enjoying the view, but not directly involved. This can feel uncomfortable for whoever’s excluded, and it’s easy to go from feeling left out to wanting all the action to stop if you don’t make the effort to stay turned on by touching them/yourself.

Brainstorm together about how y’all want to handle this… should the left-out person be patient and give the others a few minutes? Or should they ask to be let back in the minute they feel excluded? And what if someone’s acting selfish and complaining the moment they’re no longer the center of attention? Or one of the partners is more jealous than they thought they would feel?

Not every person is going to be touched at every moment of the threesome for it to be a successful experience. A three-way might, at least for a few minutes, turn into a two-way where the third person is enjoying the view, but not directly involved. This can feel uncomfortable, and it’s easy to go from feeling left out to wanting the action to stop if you don’t make the effort to stay turned on.

Communication is the key to making the lesbian threesome experience a good one. The couple may be able to lesbian mind-merge their feelings, but as the third in the three-way, you will actually need to use your words to ask for what you want or make sure they’re comfortable with what you’re doing.

Any one of you might think something sounds hot and fun, only to realize when it’s really going down that you’re not 100 percent comfortable with it. Or, the couple might take something like oral off the table only to feel differently when you’re mid-tryst. As long as everyone knows the expectations ahead of time and remains flexible in the moment, the experience should evolve naturally in a way that meets everyone’s needs.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

3. Post-sex procedures – Don’t make the mistake of talking all about the sex acts and expectations for the threesome and overlooking the rest of the evening. Once everyone’s spent, what are you as the third supposed to do? Some couples might open up their bed for the rest of the night, while others might expect you to sleep on the sofa or go back to your place.

Setting expectations in advance will avoid hurt feelings if, say, you anticipate a cuddle pile but get shown the door. But again, some amount of flexibility is key. If you talk about turning it into a sleepover but realize after that you want to sleep in your own bed, you don’t have to stay.

Also! Leave space for it to not be the best experience ever and be okay with that. If the threesome was more funny or awkward than steamy, so be it. You aren’t going to love every new sex experience you have, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a three-way (or if you sleep with this couple and it’s just meh that you should never try another threesome again).

You aren’t going to love every new sex experience you have, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a three-way (or if you sleep with this couple and it’s just meh that you should never try another threesome again).

4. Privacy and community issues – Since you all live in a small community, it’s critical to get on the same page. You mention not wanting rumors to spread… does this mean you want the lesbian couple to keep your name anonymous when they tell their friends they had a three-way? If so, you need to say this upfront, especially if there could be repercussions (i.e. if you’re a preschool teacher and worry you could get fired if your boss finds out you had a lesbian threesome).

You might reasonably conclude that since the couple approached a relative stranger on an online dating site, they’re open about their occasional non-monogamous interests. But they might not be! If you tell the wrong person about your threesome, it could make them an enemy and fuel more gossip.

Acknowledge ahead of time that you live in a small community and you would hate for things to become awkward for any reason after the threesome. They’re probably worried about this too. Even if the night ends awkwardly, you can smile and make small talk at your local lesbian book club or gay movie night without gossiping to your pals about that one night. Even if the sex is a one-time thing, when you see them around town you can be yourself without worrying about any repercussions from the encounter.

Be respectful about the boundaries they set just as they should be respectful of your privacy rules. This should go without saying, but if you get any negative feelings when you’re talking with them, you don’t need to go through with it. This experience should be fun for everyone, respectful of everyone’s needs, and ultimately a new adventure whether it’s your one-and-only threesome or the start of a semi-regular thing.

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