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Sex & Love Three’s company (or a crowd)

Mar. 16, 2021
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When I was going on 18, I was sure of one thing: I never wanted to have a threesome. I’m a jealous person by nature, and had only been intimate with monogamous partners up until that point. It felt impossible for me to have a threesome. How would we find a third person? How would I possibly handle watching my partner and someone else?

It probably didn’t help that a threesome (and in turn, my then-closeted bisexuality) was always framed to me as being all about a guy. I’d been asked to participate in a threesome by both of my exes at one point or another. As I was just about to graduate from high school, I had a hard time putting myself in that position, even theoretically; despite being relatively experienced with sex, it felt overwhelming to me. I said no repeatedly and it never happened. They were always deeply disappointed, each using the argument that it was their “biggest fantasy” as a bargaining chip. I still said no.

I finally took the plunge in college. My friend was in town visiting, and the question had come up as to whether or not I would “fuck the same guy as [her]. Like, at the same time.” Giddy, we swiped through dating apps for a bit before deciding to just call a friend of mine whom I’d hooked up with before. With my friend on his way, we set the ground rules: I would start the encounter and she would finish it. We wouldn’t touch each other at all; our love for each other had always been sisterly, and we both thought it might make things weird. Over and done within fifteen minutes, I had officially participated in what was previously unthinkable to me.

As I bounced in and out of toxic situationships throughout the rest of college, I longed for any experience, romantic or sexual, that made me feel valued. I was getting comfortable with my bisexuality and had changed my dating app settings to reflect this. Being a bisexual woman on Tinder was terrifying to me at times; still struggling with unlearning the compulsory heterosexuality I’d grown up with, it was hard to imagine dating anyone other than a cisgender man. On top of that, I was still subject to the behavior of men on dating apps. My inbox was riddled with unanswered messages, abusive language, and blatant propositions for sex. Forget a relationship: I was just trying to sleep with someone I felt comfortable with.

But of course, one of the universal truths of being bi on dating apps is unicorn hunters. Defined as an established heterosexual couple seeking a bisexual woman for sexual and (sometimes) emotional intimacy, the “unicorns” these couples seek are usually considered secondary to the larger narrative of the heterosexual relationship. In short, much like with my exes, the bisexual unicorn is often viewed as only being present for the pleasure of others. I was approached by more couples than I thought possible, and it took a long time for me to even get comfortable with the idea of having a threesome with an existing couple.

Finally, I came across her. Something about her profile was different. Unlike the many unicorn hunters I had stumbled upon, she and her partner seemed very genuine. We started messaging and it felt easy to talk to her. She didn’t lead with a proposition, and she and her partner seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. I agreed to come over after work one day and see how things went. We watched Netflix and drank wine and things progressed quickly into their bedroom. In a word, it was awkward. Neither of them had experienced a threesome before, and everyone was nervous, but there was still a comfort to the situation that I’d rarely gotten to experience in sexual encounters. I came over for dinner a few days later and we tried it again, this time with much greater success. If this was what a threesome was truly like, I wanted to have as many of these as possible.

Unfortunately, nothing gold can stay, and the couple moved across the country, never to be contacted again. But I kept myself open to the idea that something like this could easily happen again, and soon enough, another threesome fell into my lap. A former hookup of mine was seeing someone who was also bisexual, and he thought it would be fun for us all to get together and have a threesome. He had always been kind of hit-or-miss as far as a fuck buddy goes, but I figured it was at least worth a try.

Surprise: it wasn’t. I didn’t enjoy myself at all. I felt like I was performing, and for a guy I didn’t even really like that much. He wanted to direct the experience so that it was for his pleasure alone. My prior threesome replayed in my head the entire time I was attempting to enjoy this one, and I realized I just didn’t feel respected in the way I had before. We never hooked up again. I never thought a threesome would be the thing that made me realize I deserve better from partners, but it did exactly that.

My last threesome made me aware of how delicate the act can be, and how much trust and respect are involved. Whether it’s casual or highly orchestrated, the common ground of group sex (and sex in general) should always be the safety and comfort of all parties involved. I wasn’t used to putting myself first in this way, but learning to do so has given me better relationships and better sex. So, here’s my parting advice: don’t have a threesome for someone else. Do it for yourself! Lean into the inherent awkwardness and try to make your own enjoyment a priority by speaking up if you’re uncomfortable or don’t like the way things are going. Group sex is about compromise, communication, and trial and error, but this doesn’t mean you don’t get to have fun. A good threesome can be a game-changer for your sex life, and you may end up learning more about yourself in the process.