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Home » Sexual Resources » Sex Articles » Relationships

Threesomes
What You Should Consider Before Trying

I have counseled people who have been involved in threesomes (a.k.a. Ménage trois), open relationships and other similar arrangements and there are certain core issues I think apply to all couples looking to explore this option. The first issue is the most important... trust. Maintaining that throughout something like this will be the difference between keeping and nurturing your relationship or damaging it.

One of the best things that you can do to maintain trust is to take the time to communicate your thoughts and feelings about this before you participate in the threesome. This applies not only to you and your partner but also with the person you choose to have participate with you.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.

Make sure that not only do you talk through what you and your partner feel the pros and cons of doing this may be, but also discuss specific boundaries that you want to have. Both of you should thoroughly discuss what feels comfortable and what doesn't. Remember this is not just about your partner and the third person's desires and comfort level, but yours as well. Once you have a clear understanding of what boundaries you want to have in place (or lack thereof) make sure to communicate these to the person that is participating with you BEFORE you do this so that everyone is clear about what is expected.

Again, it is helpful to ask the person who is participating with you and your partner what their comfort level is with all of this and what their boundaries are during that time as well. This is also a good time to discuss safe sex issues. Assumptions are emotionally and physically dangerous when it comes to this type of situation.

Don't forget to discuss the boundaries for all of the relationships afterward as well, such as phone calls, meetings, etc. For example, your partner may be comfortable with a threesome while she is present, but not with you socializing with the other person without them or vice versa. These things are always good to have perfectly clear before hand.

With that out of the way, I would also keep in mind that sometimes our fantasies are not always the best measuring tool in order to gage if we are actually going to be comfortable in the reality of the situation. Often times people think they will react or feel one way, and then when presented with the reality of the situation find that they are not feeling or thinking what they thought they would. A non-sexual example is when couples get married. The fantasy of the wedding day is rarely as carefree or magical as the fantasy. The same applies for other potentially high emotional situations such as sexual adventures.

That is why I recommend having a safety word that allows all involved to know when something is making you feel uncomfortable. A good time to use such a word is when couples are interacting and feelings such as insecurity, jealousy or anger occur. It lets the other partner know that it is not that we are blaming them for our uncomfortable feelings, but rather we just want to let them know so that they don't continue to do it.

If the moment is right we can choose to discuss it or sometimes we will wait until later if we feel the need to. Nonetheless it is very reassuring to each partner to know that the focus is being a team while showing respect, love and trust toward the other person. It creates a sense of safety and thus allows you to be even more uninhibited because you know that no matter what happens you will work through it.

Couples that are mature enough to have this level of communication will typically avoid problems when exploring sexual exploration of this kind. It is the couple that does not communicate, that does this kind of thing spontaneously without first checking in with the other partner or under the influence of drugs or alcohol that are at higher risk for having problems with this. I mention drugs and alcohol not because I necessarily condemn their use, but because often times we use them to "loosen up," and sometimes that means we numb ourselves to our uncomfortable feelings that will haunt us later once sobered up.

If you find that there are some things that one of you is comfortable with and the other is not, then my suggestion is not to do it. There really needs to be respect for both partners that only those things that you are both comfortable would be acted on. On those things that are not comfortable for a partner then I suggest communication to see if it can be worked through and both partners can come to a place where it is all right, or if compromises can be made. The goal is to ensure that both partners feel empowered and respected no matter if they are alone or with others sexually. To sum up the key to this going well: communication, respect and trust.

 


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