How To Actually Have A Threesome: 33 Tips, Stories & Things To Expect

mbg Contributor By Kesiena Boom, M.S.
mbg Contributor
Kesiena Boom, M.S., is a sociologist and writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Lund University.
Here's Exactly How To Make A Threesome Happen, From People Who've Had Them
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Threesomes are the most common American fantasy. As such, they hold a special place in the collective sexual imagination and the cultural landscape. Having a threesome or desiring one is often regarded as hitting the "sweet spot" between taboo (and therefore hot) and "normal" (and therefore accessible).

What is a threesome?

A threesome, in its most simple terms, is sexual activity that occurs between three people. Threesomes can be between people of any combination of genders, and not every person involved in the threesome needs to penetrate or be penetrated. All that counts is that three people are present, willing, and into making each other feel good.

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How to set up a threesome:

1. Figure out what you want.

If you're single, take some time alone to sit and write or scribble in your Notes app about what you're looking for. Do you want to have a threesome with two other people of your own gender? Do you want to have a threesome with two people who are strangers to you and each other? Do you want to fuck your hot neighbor and her husband? What are you looking to experience? What are your boundaries?

If you're in a couple, sit down together (at a time when you're not horny or naked) and discuss clearly, honestly, and openly what you're both looking for and what, if any, compromises you might need to make so you're both comfortable.

2. Use a dating app.

There are plenty of apps suited to the needs of both singles and couples who are looking for threesomes. If you're in a couple, an app such as Feeld could be ideal. Feeld is specifically geared toward non-monogamy and offers a group chat feature so that all interested parties can chat together simultaneously. For singles, Tinder is a classic for a reason. Lots of couples create joint Tinder accounts where they look for singles to have threesomes with.

Make sure when using apps that you're very direct (but not off-puttingly crass) about what you're looking for. It's not fair to someone looking for a monogamous, closed encounter to believe that you're looking for that too, only to be blindsided by a "Can my boyfriend join?" Don't be that person. Certified sex therapist Janet Brito, Ph.D., LCSW, recommends the following apps/dating websites as also being useful in the threesome search: Ashley Madison, BiCupid, and Bumble.

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3. Go to a munch.

A munch is a nonsexual, social hangout for people interested in BDSM. At a munch, you have the opportunity to meet and flirt with people who are likely to be interested in sex outside the straight, monogamous norm. Find munches through sites such as Fetopia or Fetlife. Both couples and singles can use munches to network—and potentially find people to have a threesome with you.

4. Proposition a stranger at a bar.

"If you are feeling particularly brave, you can go try to meet someone out in the world at a bar," says sex coach Danielle Harel, Ph.D. "This is probably the most challenging, so I'd go with low expectations and think of it as a fun couple's adventure."

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5. Ask a friend.

Approach threesomes with friends with caution. "Asking someone who is already in your life can be tricky because you run the risk of ruining the relationship by changing the dynamics. So it's good to make sure it is someone you feel very capable of doing repairs with or someone who is more of a distant acquaintance, says sex coach Celeste Hirschman.

It's also worth noting that the specifics of your situation should be taken into account when considering whether to ask a friend or not. For couples who are queer, polyamorous, and used to blurring the lines between sex, romance, and friendship, asking a friend might be the easiest way forward. For couples who are more traditional but are interested in threesomes to spice up their sex lives, asking a friend might cross too many "social lines" and lead to unnecessary hurt and friction.

6. Go to a sex party.

Sex parties such as those organized by Killing Kittens could also be a great place to meet threesome partners, both as a single woman and as part of a couple.

"Most cities have sex parties, but these are often found through word-of-mouth," says Lori Lawrenz, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist with a specialization in human sexuality. "Sometimes local sex shops have information such as message boards or friendly, helpful staff who can guide you toward local parties or bars/nightclubs in which [people are] open to connecting with like-minded others."

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7. Employ a sex worker.

"A sex worker [is ideal] because you can ask questions beforehand and get their STI status upfront," sexologist Goody Howard, MSW, MPH, says. "Sex work is work...you're paying for the discretion and professionalism." Using the services of a sex worker is ideally suited to generally monogamous couples who are curious about having a threesome but who would like to maintain strong boundaries around their relationship. If you employ a professional, you don't run the risk of emotions becoming entangled. You also respect the third party by not drawing them into the potential aftermath of the threesome. After you've paid them, they're free to return to their life.

8. Make sure all three people are on the same page.

Whatever way you go about choosing someone or two other people to have a threesome with, the most important thing is to make sure that everyone is in agreement about the terms of your encounter or encounters. Whether you're scanning apps, asking a friend, or going to a sex party, make sure that you're clear (both in your own head and with the other parties) about what you want and what you don't want to happen during the encounter and after it.

Also make sure to establish that your prospective partners are positive about using protection, and then stick to it. No one wants to be caught in the middle of "which of these people gave me an STI?" dilemmas or even "which of these people got me pregnant?" mysteries.

9. Set the vibe.

Set the vibe and make sure that you have enough space! Lots of beds are too small for three people, so get creative with where you actually want to get down. The more comfortable the settings (physically and emotionally), the easier the flow of making the threesome happen will be. Also: Don't get too drunk beforehand.

10. Check in with each other.

Make sure that all parties involved are on board with a shared vision of the evening, and remember that you can back out at any time, even if you feel like your partner (or other threesome participants) will be disappointed.

How to ask your partner for a threesome.

So you've woken up from a few nights in a row of hot, sweaty, threesome sex dreams, and now you can't wait to try it out in reality. But you're in a monogamous relationship currently, and you need your partner to also be on board. How do you bring up the idea of a threesome? What's the best approach to this?

You could try using a light approach. "Sometimes jokes are a good way to break the ice and start talking about adding a third person for a sexy encounter," Lawrenz says. A highlight of this approach is that it gives you room to easily and quickly understand if your partner seems strongly against the idea.

"Another way to start a conversation is to watch a sexy movie that has a threesome in it, which can be the jumping-off point for a conversation," Lawrenz recommends. "One can say they are curious about spicing up their sex life and wonder what their partner thinks about bringing in a third person to expand their connection..."

No matter which approach you use, once you actually get into the conversation, Howard says you should focus on discussing why you want a threesome and how you think it will benefit the relationship. "Partners often internalize the desire for a threesome as a statement on their ability to satisfy their partner," Howard notes. If you're clear about what you're looking for from the threesome, then you can spare your partner from spiraling about "not being enough" or "not being good enough."

Some people may surprise you and be more open than you expect, says Lawrenz. Others will be totally uncomfortable with the idea, and there may be a boundary there you'll need to respect. "If your partner is offended or dislikes the idea, be proud of yourself for boldly being sex-positive and experimental," Lawrenz says. "Remember, threesomes are not fun if there is not mutual shared consent by all parties."

Tips for a successful threesome:

1. Consider the logistics.

Where are you going to have this threesome? In your marital bed or at a more neutral hotel? If you're a single person hooking up with a couple, will you stay the night or excuse yourself post-orgasm and head home? Have you remembered to bring your wallet so you have money to get the bus? Did you charge your phone so you can call an Uber? Did you bring your favorite lube (nothing worse than using a stranger's cheap lube and getting a yeast infection) and condoms?

The more prepared and comfortable you feel, the better the sex will be.

2. Communicate boundaries.

Who is allowed to kiss each other? Who is allowed to penetrate each other? Often couples will set boundaries about the kind of behavior that is OK for them during a threesome. If you're the couple, it's on you to clearly communicate that to your third. And if you're the third, it's on you to respect those boundaries. You can go home the next morning with a post-orgasm glow, and the couple might be left to deal with the implications of what it meant that you came on someone's face when you weren't meant to.

3. Check in with your partner—and yourself.

Make sure that your hypothetical and fantastical excitement about having a threesome actually translates to real life. Before getting into it, look inside yourself and be sure that you're doing something that will bring you pleasure and joy. Don't go along with a threesome just to please your girlfriend or husband, etc.

Similarly, it's not a bad idea to check in with your partner about whether they really want to do it, too. They might just be super in love with you and wanting to please you.

4. Make sure everyone feels included.

"Definitely pay attention to how attention is shared, and make sure everyone is feeling included," says Hirschman. "Threesomes require more communication during the experience, and it is important to agree to check in once in a while during the experience and make sure everyone is OK."

While some sex acts necessarily require more contact between person A and person B, there are creative ways to let person C feel part of the action. "Using touch, such as holding hands, gentle squeezes of the thighs or buttocks during various sexual acts can ensure all parties are connected. Maintaining eye contact and ensuring everyone is getting attention is the best way to stay engaged," says Lawrenz.

5. Come up with some positions for three.

Threesomes mean a wider variety of positions to try. Regardless of the anatomy of everyone involved, you can try lying on your sides in a circle and giving each other oral sex. Or you can have one person lying down with another person riding them and another person sitting on their face. You can be penetrated anally by one person while giving another oral sex. You can spoon each other in a row. You could also try things like Person A and Person B engage in intercourse while Person C watches and masturbates. The possibilities are endless. Not all bodies need to be touching at all times, but everyone should feel included in the experience.

6. Practice aftercare.

Aftercare is important for any sexual encounter, but perhaps threesomes especially. If you're in a couple and have invited a third into your bedroom, it's a good idea to make time after the threesome to reconnect solely with each other and check in about how you're feeling. Maybe you can give each other a little massage and show appreciation for each other.

It's also important that once you've finished having sex that you don't coldly freeze the third person out. Make sure that they're feeling OK and that the experience was fun for them. If you're at your place, get them a snack and a glass of water, and ensure that they have a safe way to get home.

Considerations and cautions:

Avoid: Ignoring one person.

"It is easy for someone to get left out, as a partner can get lost in the moment with someone new. The most common cause of a threesome gone wrong is left-out syndrome," says Lawrenz. "Being left out while two people are enjoying each other sexually can feel isolating, embarrassing, and vulnerable. Ensure that regardless of the sex act you are engaging in, that you try to reach out and touch, or look at, other parties at the same time. [This] can maintain connection and ensure everyone is feeling part of the play."

Avoid: Relying on luck and flow.

While it's tempting to attempt a laissez-faire "what happens, happens" approach to threesomes in an effort to seem cool and experienced, it's only a recipe for disaster. Instead, you need to be overly communicative and methodical. Threesomes are the last arena in which you want surprises, especially when it comes to the integrity of a couple unit.

Avoid: Not expressing boundaries.

Maybe your partner is the one who brought up the threesome idea, and since they're the more enthusiastic party, you feel as if you have to go along with everything. But just because you agree to a threesome doesn't mean you have to agree to every sex act under the sun during said threesome. For example, if you know that you're generally quite a jealous person, maybe it would be smart to set a boundary from the get-go, such as "We will not make out with the third" or "We will not have anal sex with the third"—whatever it is that you feel is "too" intimate.

If you try to shove down your feelings and trample on your own boundaries, you're likely to erupt in upsetting ways. Expressing boundaries can also look like insisting on using condoms with the two strangers you just met at a sex party. Or saying that you don't want to engage in penetrative sex.

Avoid: Being disrespectful.

A big pitfall to avoid when having a threesome as a couple is not considering the autonomy of the third person, Howard says. "They are a person, not a sex toy."

This can show up in ways such as being overly demanding of them to fulfill your fantasies or by being rude or cold to them if you begin to feel threatened by the connection they're making with your partner. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, you should signal for a timeout instead of taking out your insecurity on the person who is just there for a good, sexy time.

Another way of showing disrespect during a threesome is by continuing to "push the boundaries, and push your agenda, despite one of the parties saying no," Brito adds. Don't act in an entitled way, and remember that honoring everyone's comfort is the key to successful group sex.

Consider: Will you be drinking or sober?

A lot of things that seem like a good idea when you're three beers deep have less of a glow in the harsh light of morning. Especially if you're new to having threesomes, it might be wise to think about strictly limiting your intake of drugs or alcohol if you suspect you might end up in a sexual situation. Threesomes have a lot of potential for hurt feelings and miscommunication since they're a little more complex than your usual one-on-one sexual encounter. Therefore, having full control over your mental faculties is of the utmost importance. You'll thank yourself tomorrow.

Consider: Will this be a one-time thing?

Howard says it's good to consider if your threesome will be a one-time encounter or if you're explicitly looking for a throuple. If you're trying to use the cover of a threesome to sneak a more serious conversation about being polyamorous into your relationship, you might want to reconsider. Blindsiding your partner in such a way will only cause harm to the trust between you—it needs to be a whole separate conversation. (Here's the right way to ask for an open relationship, in case you're wondering.)

It's also really important in general that before having a threesome in any configuration, you all have a talk about your expectations. Is this going to be a regular "Thursday threesome" situation? Is this a one-off occasion between friends that will never be spoken of again? Get to know the lay of the land before you get laid. "Know where you want to go before you are all together. Have conversations while your clothes are still on and while all parties are sober," says Lawrenz.

Are threesomes good for relationships?

Whether a threesome is good for a relationship or not is entirely dependent on the relationship and the context of the threesome. "Anything can be good or risky for a relationship—even monogamy," says Harel. "It is important to realize that different people need different things, and being able to create the relationship and sex life that is right for both of you is an ongoing process that you should not take for granted. Taking your relationship for granted and not making space for open conversation—now that's risky!"

Generally, Brito says, if all parties truly are in alignment about what they want, then a threesome will bring excitement, joy, and closeness to a relationship.

We live in a rigidly monogamous society that encourages us to see sexual fidelity as the only and truest form of love and commitment. Threesomes give us a chance to rewrite that narrative.

What threesomes are like, from people who've had them:

  • "The scenario was me and two men. I was excited to try! The best part was the beginning, kissing and switching between them. But the sex itself inevitably became about servicing not one but two dicks, although everyone was kind and considerate. I liked the ability to change partners on a whim. I also liked being watched while someone fucked me." —Bea, 40
  • "I had two friends (m/w) that I really enjoyed having sex with separately. One summer, the three of us started hanging out more as a group, and I asked how they'd feel about the three of us having sex with each other. Everyone was comfortable, so one night after hanging out, we had a threesome in his living room. I loved it, I'd had threesomes in the past, but they were always 'for' my partners, and with homegirls I had never had sex with before, they were just open to the idea. But this time there was no romantic dynamic or awkwardness. It all felt very fluid and simplistic. It was a pivotal moment for me sexually. I left that threesome feeling empowered to ask for what I wanted sexually and knowing that sex with friends (nonromantic partners) was my preference. It set the mold for how I've had threesomes ever since." —Brandi, 30
  • "We were in the basement at some random party. It was me, my current girlfriend, and her ex-girlfriend. We all started making out, and it seemed to be going really well. But after we started having sex, I realized that my girlfriend was just super into her ex-girlfriend and clearly wished I wasn't there. It was so embarrassing and upsetting. I would never get into that situation again." —Hannah, 29
  • "It was quite a random event. Or well, it wasn't really—there had been a lot of half-joking around doing it for quite a while before. It was with two close friends of mine who were a couple at the time. As usual, we were hanging out, and I think someone joked about it, but we just decided to go for it. Afterward, I wished we had talked about it beforehand. I found out that the couple got into a fight because one of them didn't like me giving oral sex to the other. And things got a bit awkward between the three of us. So I guess it's about knowing each other's boundaries beforehand. What I remember most is how it all caught me off-guard—and how amazing it was being able to smell two new pussies at the same time!" —Bibi, 27
  • "They were around my age, married with a toddler, and we had great conversations. They kinda treated me like a girlfriend, sending good morning messages and going on dates—it was nice. We only had sex together once, and I had sex with the husband once. It was cool, and I would have wanted to see them more, but they lived far away in the Bronx. I cut things off 'cause I was dealing with a lot at work and just life so decided to take a step back from dating and sex for a bit. Overall, I feel like my experiences were good even if I just learned more about myself. I would like to do it again, but I don't want to be the third; I would prefer it to be with my partner." —Odochi, 31

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