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Threesomes: What To Talk About Before You Get Naked

The idea of a threesome can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking all at the same time. The biggest mistake I see people make is trying to figure out the details of what is going to go down after everyone involved is already naked. This often leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. This anxiety can be brought down tremendously simply by covering three things with all parties involved while everyone still has clothes on.

1. Safer Sex and STI Status
I know it doesn’t sound sexy, but do you know what actually isn’t sexy? Not being able to enjoy the moment because you are too worried about another person’s STI status or are unsure about how you are all using safe sex barriers. This conversation can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

To take a page out of my sex educator friend’s, Reid Mihalko, book, this conversation becomes a lot less intimidating if you have your “safer sex elevator speech” prepared. This is how it goes in three easy steps:

1. Hey! So, I was tested in _________ (it was in the last 6 months to year, right? righhhhhhht?) and the results were _________________ (if you have or had a STI, this doesn’t disqualify you from sex. It just lets the other people adjust their boundaries accordingly).
2. These are the kind of barrier methods I need to feel comfortable: ___________. Pro-tip: Condoms are very helpful for almost every threesome adventure. Using condoms allows you to quickly change partners, toys, and mouths on body parts with little disruption. No one likes to go running back and forth from the bathroom in the middle of a hot moment.
3. How about you?

See! Simple.

2. Yes/No/Maybe
There is often the assumption in a threesome that everyone is going to have some sort of penetrative sex with everyone else. While this may be true in some cases, this blanket expectation without any conversation can be anxiety provoking. If you are in a partnered relationship bringing in a third person, make sure you are clear about your boundaries as partners, barriers, and activities before your third arrives. Once everyone is in the same room (and still clothed), have a quick check in about any activities you are into, activities you are definitely not into, and activities you might-be-into-but-ask-first.

This is also a good time to bring up consent. True consent is ongoing, enthusiastic, and allows you to change your mind. Just because someone has said that they want penetrative sex doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask first in the moment. This doesn’t have to be a sit down, formal conversation in the living room. Asking for consent can be as simple (and hot!) as saying to someone in the moment, “Yes?” “Ask me for it.”, or, even better, “Beg me for it.”
True consent also means that you can change your mind about any of activities agreed to at any time. It may seem antithetical, but knowing that you can change your mind about having the threesome at any point reduces anxiety tremendously.

3. Relationship After
In every single threesome or potential threesome adventure, everyone involved deserves respect and kindness. That means that the other people involved are not sex toys. They have feelings and needs and those feelings and needs are important. That said, it can be helpful from the beginning to determine what kind of relationship you are interested in having with your partners and what kind of relationship they are expecting from you. There is no requirement to be besties or to date your partners after a threesome. However, if someone involved thinks you are starting a dating relationship and someone else thinks this was a fun, but no pressure, encounter, then feelings can get hurt. Setting forth those expectations up early is important. If you’re not sure, that’s ok to say too. But be clear.

And an extra pro-tip: One drink can sometimes help bring down people’s anxiety, but several drinks is often a recipe for sloppy sex and poor consent boundaries. Don’t make it messy. Trust me.

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