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A Threesome: Gateway to a Sexually Open Relationship

Updated: Oct 3, 2023





I find it interesting that the most common thing Paula and I were asked about when we spent more time with teens and young adults was about the experience of having a threesome.


Years ago, not long after I’d left the Christian ministry, a college student who as a teenager had looked to Paula (the minister's wife) for guidance during her high school years came to visit. In her visit she asked Paula straight out if we had ever done a threesome. It was quite a surprising question because we didn’t think she had any reason to suspect we hadn't been monogamous while working with her in our last Christian organization. Still Paula didn’t hedge when presented with the question and said yes we had. The young woman then told Paula that her new husband and she were thinking of having one and asked Paula's advice as to how to go about it.


This wasn't the only time this has happened. Some years later we'd taken one of our daughter’s friends (who was fifteen at the time) with our daughter to a local restaurant. The girls were talking away about school and dating and such when the teenager asked us "Have you guys had a threesome?" Now the idea of a fifteen-year-old asking her friend's parents if they had sex with a third partner would have been unthinkable when I was a teen, but the world has changed. Now to be fair, this teen girl had seen the nude photos of Paula we had hanging in the bedroom and at the time we had a very large photo of Paula in a rather see-through chain-mail thong bikini in the main hallway. There was also no way that Michelle hadn't told her friend about her mom going nude at the beach or how her parents rarely shut their bedroom door, even when they had sex.


It wasn't like her friend saw us as prudes, but still to ask us in front of our daughter if we'd had a threesome was quite bold. I must admit that I hesitated, but Paula did not and said we had.

Now, I will be right up front that I have not seen any current research into how common it is for couples, particularly young couples to have a threesome. A 2004 survey by ABC News said 14%, but we know that casual polls significantly under report sexual behavior that is considered taboo or even unusual. So, it really is hard to give any answer with a even a moderate degree of certainty. However, what I think I can say is that they are significantly more common now than they were even 20 years ago. if I were to guess, I would say that well over 1/3 of couples under forty have had one. When we were first married, to admit publicly that we'd shared our bed with another woman or man would have been shocking enough to result in social ostracism. Today it is merely unusual.


Why are threesomes so "in vogue" now? I think it might be that the threesome is a way for a couple to put their toe into the open relationship water, without feeling out of control. Certainly it was a part of our process, in that my wife first became sexually involved with her best friend, then had a threesome by including her friend’s husband and later a threesome by having her friend join us in bed.


Threesomes have a lot going for them in the life of a long-term relationship or that of a married couple. It allows the couple to introduce a new sexual element while keeping their sex life unmistakably centered on their relationship. It takes more trust, for instance, for me or my wife to know the other is on a date alone with a man or woman, than it does for a couple to jointly date someone. In poly parlance, this third person is a “secondary”.


I think it is a good thing that as of late there has been a good deal of discussion about the ethical treatment of the people who are the playmate of a married couple. In most cases the concern revolves around young single women who are secondary's of older married couples and are treated as expendable living sex toys. However, I am quite sure that putting such limits on the discussion leaves out the majority of "secondary's" who are involved in threesomes. Though the talk is nearly all about a woman sharing the bed with a couple, the reality is in our experience, nearly as many couples share their bed with a man as with a woman. This is not just what we do, but from our many friends who have had threesomes this is also true. For the last decade or so, I can't recall any time we had a threesome with a woman.


This brings up the first question about a threesome, what do you (as a couple) want out of the experience. Will it just be sex and no more, or do one of you want to have a "boyfriend/girlfriend." To us the ideal situation is the threesome is with a friend, but some couples want their threesome partner to be a complete stranger, not someone they will run into at social events. Paula also likes secondary’s who are boyfriends, with romance in the mix.


The next question is: will this other person in your bed be a man or a woman. A related issue is what form of 3 some do you want. Do you want a “V” with the two same sex partners only connected by their sex with the opposite sex partner, or do you want a triangle were the three participants give and/or receive sexual pleasure equally with the other two. In our case both Paula and I are very comfortable giving and receiving sexual pleasure from either men or women, this gives us the maximum flexibility in choices. To us it makes no sense to have a threesome when two of the three partners can’t touch each other sexually……. Well, that’s not entirely true, she does like the two people playing “Tag team” at giving her pleasure. We have also had 3-somes where the woman didn’t want me to be sexual with her, so that was also a “V” arrangement but with Paula as the center of a female-female-male (FFM) three some. Just a note, in our experience it is rare for self-described heterosexual men in a threesome to turn down receiving oral sex from me. In fact it's only happened once.


So it is a real question: how open are each of you to giving and/or receiving pleasure from someone of the same sex? It seems to be common to assume women are more open to same sex enjoyment than men. I would suggest that a study of research and sexual history would disprove that. In a married couple’s threesome, the focus is on mutual enjoyment and sharing an erotic high. To share your shared lover fully (male or female) is the natural state. Nearly all “straight” people in a threesome, when offered pleasure from someone of their sex, can fully enjoy it as part of their sharing with their spouse. Many others, particularly those who get their joy out of seeing their spouse pleasured, can fully enjoy giving their spouse’s playmate pleasure no matter what genitals are between their legs. The most shocking thing about my first time in a threesome when a man’s penis filled my mouth was how it was simply no different than going down on a new woman in a threesome. So it should not be assumed that wives are more open to homoerotic behavior than husbands.


We have tried all the different variants. We have agreed that, for us, that the ideal situation is a man to share our bed who is open to pleasure from another man, even if he doesn’t call himself bisexual. That is not to say that is best for others, but for us, as a couple in our 50’s, having a pair of penises promises the best satisfaction for her and for us. Additionally, she likes alpha type men who can fuck for hours. This relates to our sexual styles. I tend to be a slow romantic lover, which she likes a lot, but there is a certain unique pleasure that she gets from being fucked hard, fast and long. She tends to like very masculine men and women as lovers for this reason. She has dated several former pro/semi-pro athletes and found they fit the bill nicely. Notice, the point here is what we as a couple need, not what couples in some general sense need.


All this to say, if you are considering trying out a threesome, deicide what niche the two of you want this person to play in your relationship and make a point to let that person know what that niche is so they can fill it. Otherwise, what happens is either the hoped for advantage of a threesome never materializes and/or the lover will tend to fill a role already claimed by one of the existing relationship partners. This is very bad as it can undermine the valued extant relationship. In these cases the relationship may well survive, but will be damaged. The open-relationship/open-marriage concept is erroneously blamed for this problem, hence you get counselors and therapist that say non-monogamous relationships are a mistake and can’t last. We believe that many, if not most, relationships would be stronger and happier in a sexually open state; but, from that first threesome, negotiated non-monogamy must be entered into with clear plans and goals.


So, if you are currently monogamous, and are interested in trying out a more open arrangement, consider a threesome. Talk it through, and see what needs could be met by a playmate in your bed. Explore your own willingness to put out an effort to see your mate pleased and how committed you are to your relationship/marriage. In almost all newly opened marriages, the siren song of conventional morality makes one or both partners uncomfortable before, during and after the first sexual encounter. We want you to know these feelings are likely coming, and only move forward when both of you are fully ready.


When we have been asked about threesomes by those (and other) people, my wife always says yes we have and do have threesomes; but she also gives them a firm warning that unless you are prepared for it, a threesome can do more harm than good.

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p_j93
p_j93
Jan 24, 2022

I don't think a threesome is right for our relationship and it something we did briefly discuss early in the marriage. That being said, if we did I would want it to be a triangle and she wanted the V centered on her. But it is not something that I feel is or was important enough to push when she and frankly I were not comfortable with even if it does feature in fantasies

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You guys did the right thing. It is important to do what is right for your relationship, not what works for others.


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sugarlessroark
sugarlessroark
Jan 23, 2022

Thanks. The thing that I came away with was how different the communication this demands is from my courtship days forty and fifty years ago. How much better the sex—monogamous— the would have been had we discussed it before casually hopping into the sack.

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Ananda
Ananda
Jan 23, 2022

This is another well-written personal account of your growing body of threesome explorations. If you're not comfortable in your own skin and with your sexuality, with trust issues, a threesome would be a disaster. I agree that a threesome is the best way to expand your love, to include another in your expanding sharing of bodies. "However, when we are able to be comfortable with ourselves, we are also much more capable of being authentic and healthy in our relationships... sharing the body of another human being is the greatest ego challenge we face in our desire to experience unconditional love... there is no greater sense of security in a relationship than knowing that your love is not threatened by…


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