Anna Buckley/HelloGiggles
Tiffany Curtis
November 14, 2018 7:00 am

The old adage goes that “good things come in threes.” But what about when it comes to our sex lives? We’ve come a long way in terms of mainstream sex scenes, but we are still often sold an idea that sex should only occur between two partners, usually a man and a woman. And when threesomes are explored on-screen or in literature, they tend to involve one man and two women, with only minimal  acknowledgement of queer sexual relationships.

According to a 2017 study published in the journal PLOS ONE that surveyed a sample of more than 2,000 U.S. adults over the age of 18, about 10% of women and 18% of men have had a threesome. The study also found that 25- to 29-year-old women had a higher overall engagement in multiple-partner sex, when compared to older and younger women. While men appeared to be more enthusiastic about threesomes, women participants were more receptive to the idea of “moresomes,” or sex between more than three partners.

Sex between just two people can be be nerve-wracking, but when you add in a third person, there is no shortage of questions that can come up: Where do you find a third person? What kind of sex acts are allowed? What are the physical and emotional boundaries? To answer some of the many questions that arise when looking to have a threesome, I reached out to Tyomi Morgan-Najieb, a writer, sexuality coach, and relationship expert. Get into our conversation below, and check out Morgan-Najieb’s “Rules for a Threeway” for more advice.

HelloGiggles: It seems like some people are slowly coming around to embracing or at least exploring non-monogamous relationships. Why do you think that threesomes are still taboo, and how do you feel about the term “unicorn” (a term used to describe the third party in a threesome with a couple)?

Tyomi Morgan-Najieb: I think threesomes remain a taboo topic because non-monogamous sex is a lifestyle choice that people still experience fear about. Religious programming has influenced many to believe that sex with multiple people is a sinful, lascivious act. Non-monogamous sex tests people’s morality codes and challenges their views about how relationships play out. The desire to have sex with other people is a natural desire, but people often feel shame or guilt about it.

The term “unicorn” is typically used to describe a person who will have sex with both partners with no strings attached. I like the term because it is a code that can be used to identify lifestylers and those who are into non-monogamous sex, and it makes it easier when searching for potential partners. Unicorn isn’t an erotic term, so it’s something that people can use to remain “low-key” with their intentions.

HG: How should someone propose the idea of having a threesome, to his/her/their partner?

TMN: Proposing a threesome can easily be done by having a conversation about non-monogamous sex. Whether you send a text, an email, or have a face-to-face conversation, ask your partner how they feel about threesomes, and allow the conversation to develop. Then, ask your partner how they feel about bringing a third person into your sexual play. There will be a lot of questions that will come up for both of you during the conversation. Be willing to listen and be honest about your desires.

HG: It seems like there’s a lot that could go wrong during or after a threesome. What should couples consider before having one?

TMN: Before having a threesome, couples should consider planning and setting a goal for why the threesome is going down. What do you want to come of the experience? Why is this other person joining your sexual play? Couples should know how they want to play with the third, what their boundaries are, where the threesome will happen, what type of partner they want to invite in, and their unicorn’s mental and sexual health status. It’s important to know the vitals of the person you’re bringing into your intimate space. Especially if this person will be a long-term partner. Communication is key between partners during the experience, from planning to play.

HG: Sex with just one person can be overwhelming. What kinds of emotional things can come up when you bring in a sexual guest star?

TMN: There are a lot of emotions that can come up when a third person is added to a sex session. Moral codes are tested, thoughts of inadequacy come up, and jealousy can happen. Comparisons, thoughts of infidelity, possessiveness, and envy can come up. The important thing to remember is that the emotions you’re experiencing are an internal experience, and they have nothing to do with your partner or the unicorn. Don’t judge your feelings. Let them come up, and excuse yourself from the play if you’re feeling [that] negative feelings are influencing you to disconnect from the union. Ego attacks are common during threesomes. It’s important to remember that love is at the core of the experience.

HG: Do you think it’s better for couples to bring in a stranger or turn to a friend or mutual acquaintance?

TMN: This depends on the intentions for the couple’s threesome. Are they looking for a resident third wheel or just for a one night of freaky fun? Bringing in a friend or mutual acquaintance shifts the relationship the couple has with that person. So after the threesome happens, the question remains if this will remain a friendship or turn into a poly relationship or a regular swinging relationship. Having a threesome with someone who you aren’t emotionally attached to can make it easier to accept the threesome as a stand-alone experience with no strings attached.

HG: If a couple doesn’t want to turn to a mutual friend or acquaintance, what are some safe ways to go about finding a third person to bring into the bedroom?

TMN: The safest way to find a third person to bring into the bedroom is to hire a professional. This idea isn’t popular because of certain state laws and views about sex work, but hiring a professional to play with you in a safe, no-strings-attached relationship is easiest. There are also apps that have been created just for people searching for unicorns (the 3somer app, for example) and dating sites like OkCupid where you can put these preferences within your dating profile. Joining lifestyle and poly groups or going to play parties is also a way to find a third. Attending erotic conventions, erotic workshops, and lifestyle resorts are also options. The key is to remember that you are taking a risk with anyone who you’re bringing into your bedroom, so have a vetting process of making sure this person checks out. And know exactly how you want to play and what you want from the experience. That makes all the difference for which type of person to choose and where to look for them.

HG: What are some important things for the guest star to consider?

TMN: The guest star should consider their safety when coming into a threesome situation with a couple. They should also consider their boundaries and how they want to be involved in the threesome, too. The unicorn should have an exit strategy in case things between the couple begin to unravel. And they should consider the health of a relationship before they even enter the threesome. The unicorn should also consider what type of relationship they want to have with the couple going forward. The guest star should consider the same mental and sexual health stats as the couple as well.

HG: Safer sex precautions, like condoms and dental dams, should be included during a threesome. What other items can enhance the experience?

TMN: Gaining everyone’s consent is a necessary form of protection. Also, making sure that everyone feels safe in general, about having the experience. Honor not just physical safety but spiritual safety, in feeling innocent about having non-monogamous sex. Practically anything can enhance the experience, though. From toys, to locations, to sounds, fabrics, meditation, mantras, foods, fluids, music, cannabis. Anything can enhance a threesome experience when everyone feels free and innocent about sharing their love and passion with each other.

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