Lesbianing With AE: Just Saying NO to a Threesome

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Dear Lindsey,

This woman that I’ve been seeing asked if I had ever had a threesome, and I said yes because I did, with a college boyfriend. What I didn’t say was that I regretted it. I did it to please him and he really talked me into it. It was obviously transformative for me as it was my first experience with a woman and now I date exclusively women, but it really messed up our relationship. He kept wanting to do it again to the point where I felt like I was not enough for him, on my own. I allowed him to talk me into one more threesome and he ended up leaving me for the other woman a couple months after, which really made me doubt my worth. It happened so long ago I thought I had gotten over it, but clearly not from the agita I’ve been feeling. Intellectually I know that what happened with my ex was about more than a threesome, but emotionally, I’m not sure if I can go there again. Now I am starting to doubt myself with this new woman and wondering how long until the other shoe drops and she breaks up with me because I am not as sexual adventurous as she wants me to be.

– EB

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Dear EB,

A threesome can change things, as you found out with your college ex. Yes, that threesome was in some ways the demise of your relationship. But it also opened you up to your attraction to women.

So what if you recast that past threesome experience in a better light, now that you see how much it did transform you — for the better?

Instead of focusing on how you felt like you weren’t enough for your college boyfriend, try to connect to those first feelings of attraction to women and how powerful and affirming that felt for you. Instead of telling the same story about how your old boyfriend disrespected and manipulated you, celebrate the event that helped you find yourself.

Your FFM threesome showed you who you really wanted, and it wasn’t a guy!

Instead of telling the same story about how your old boyfriend disrespected and manipulated you, celebrate the event that helped you find yourself. Your FFM threesome showed you who you really wanted, and it wasn’t a guy!

You feel ashamed right now because that’s how college-age you saw things, and you buried that shame under your baby dyke years. You never healed from it. But you don’t need to be ashamed of your past, and you don’t need to worry that a woman will dump you if you don’t line up for a threesome.

Forgive yourself for what happened in college. You are not alone in letting some dude talk you into doing things you liked-at-the-time-but-later-regretted.

The woman you are now would not let that happen. Your question is proof of that, EB.

We all say things to new partners that may not be fully true because we want them to see us in the best possible light. It’s understandable. For the sake of your new relationship and your self-esteem, you need to tell your partner what you told me. You may find out she was just asking about your past and not really interested in group sex – and what a relief that would be for you!

Your new woman will totally get it if you say something like, “I wasn’t fully honest with you. I did have a threesome, more than one actually, and there were some really great and really awful consequences. If that’s something you are interested in, I feel like I would need to wait until we establish trust and communication, because my ex really hurt me by pressuring me into things I didn’t want to do.”

You also have the right to say, “Yes, I did have a threesome a long time ago, but it wasn’t a great experience for me and I don’t want to have another threesome, so if that’s something you need, I can’t give it to you.” Your partner might be totally fine not having threesomes or want some sort of accommodation from you—like permission to be the third for other lesbian couples.

If she insists on having a three-way and brushes over your concerns, then you know that she is not going to be someone you can be with long-term. That will hurt in the moment, but it’s better to find out before you’ve emotionally invested. By taking charge of the conversation and communicating your needs, you can flip the script on self-doubt. You don’t need to do things you don’t want to do in bed to keep a partner. You didn’t know that in college, but now you do. The one who decides if lesbian threesomes are in your future is you, not any partner.

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