Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Having a Threesome

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Remember the time Lizzie McGuire had a threesome with Vanessa and Dan on Gossip Girl (sorry if you blocked that out)? Or the episode of How I Met Your Mother when the characters compete to see which guy can have a threeway first and the winner gets a literal champion wrestling belt? Threesomes seem like the most mysterious sex act of all time, and perhaps also the most coveted.

Part of the consequence that comes with the mystery behind threesomes includes people not knowing a lot about them. Without the right education, people fear what might otherwise be a great experience or get pressured into something they don’t actually want to do. I interviewed Tessa Youngner, a Confidential Adviser for the Haven and member of the Sexual Health Branch of HOPE (Health Outreach Peer Educators) at the College of William & Mary, and Elena*, a Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies Major, to answer the most common questions people have about threesomes.

Why would someone have a threesome? Isn’t one partner overwhelming enough?

“Threeways are a great way to explore your sexuality. They really don’t have to be a dramatic thing if you don’t make them one,” said Elena. “However, threesomes do feel like a big deal for some people, so you have to ensure that all parties are on the same page. Group sex really shouldn’t be stigmatized, it’s just another healthy level of sexuality.”

Basically, if you feel like you want to have a threesome, have one, but don’t decide against having one because of the stigma. People can decide to have one for a lot of reasons, such as exploring their sexuality, out of curiosity or just due to genuine sexual or romantic desire.

My two friends (who are dating) recently asked me to have a threesome with them. I’m not sure if I want to because I’m afraid it’ll make things weird. What should I do?

“In this situation, it’s really important to talk about what you want to happen after you have a threesome before you actually go ahead and have one,” Youngner said. So say your friends ask you to have a threesome with them on Saturday night. Saturday morning, while you’re sober, you should talk to them about what everyone wants out of the experience. Ask them what made them ask you. Make it clear whether or not you want to keep your relationship with the two of them the same or not post-sex. If you make your expectations clear it really reduces the awkwardness that comes afterwards, because you all know what to expect out of the experience.

How does one exercise consent during group sex?

Consent is always sexy…but more so, it’s always mandatory. “Those in the BDSM community are fantastic at consent because a lot of them have literal contracts written up beforehand explaining what is okay and what isn’t okay. In a threesome, the best way to obtain consent is by talking about what you are okay with and what you are not okay with before, during and after sex,” said Younger. “If you are having a more spur of the moment threesome (which isn’t ideal in terms of consent), everyone needs to be vocal about whether they are okay with what is happening or not.” I repeat: Consent is always mandatory, even if during a threesome it can become a little more complicated.

Should I have a threesome with my friends?

“Having a threesome with friends instead of strangers or people in a relationship with one another might be easier because it creates a more egalitarian atmosphere, coming from a better place of equality,” said Youngner. You might want to avoid the Kim and Kanye (the more established couple) and the Kylie and Tyga (the on-again, off-again couple) of your group because the relationship dynamics there could get sticky. But your two friends in a casual flirtationship? Go for it.

Are safewords a real thing or something out of 50 Shades of Grey?

That’s probably one of the more realistic parts of the novel/movie. “Define a safeword. A safeword is said when the individual is feeling uncomfortable with where an act is going— be sure to use something not typically used in intimate settings, like pineapple, so both parties can’t question it’s use,” Elena said. While safewords might seem silly, they can often be a crucial part of consent, especially in the murky consent waters of group sex.

Won’t it be awkward after it’s over?

You really do not know how you will feel about having a threesome until it’s over. If you’re in a relationship, you might want to ask someone you will not have to manage a friendship with afterwards to make it less complicated. “Avoid doing it with someone you know really well. Don’t choose your best friend, at least for the first time you have a threeway,” Elena said.

*Last name and school withheld to protect privacy.

Zelda Fitzgerald, but more genuine.

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