Who fancies a menage a trois?

I have had a total of nine threesomes. Wow, that sounds impressive. It isn’t. A week ago, during a drunken game of Never Have I Ever (always a sign that the evening is going well), this came out and a girl across the table asked me in disbelief if I ever had sex with just one other person. Please, as if I’ve only had sex nine times. For the record, no, I do not randomly phone up people I know during sex, in the hope that one of them will join me. But I do seem to have a more liberal view towards sex with multiple partners, and though I am certainly no expert, I feel like there are a couple of myths I would like to address.

(By the way, it’s worth noting here that it’s possible that I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. If you think I’m talking bullshit, call me out. My experiences certainly aren’t universal, and there are probably some glaring blind spots somewhere. If you see them, fill them in with your own experiences. I’m inviting you.)

I ‘lost my virginity’ in a threesome. I hate that phrase because, well, I don’t really believe in virginity. If virginity is the physical condition of having an intact hymen, then I lost mine while horse-riding or doing gymnastics or something, long before I came anywhere close to having sex. If virginity means not having been penetrated, then I was nearly eighteen, but that doesn’t make sense either, because I’d been having sex with girls long before that. Also, can we all just agree here that having anal sex instead of vaginal sex does not ‘preserve’ a girl’s virginity? (See Dan Savage on saddlebacking.) Regardless of all these things, I count the first time I had sex as the threesome I had a few days before my fifteenth birthday. There were two other girls involved. One of them was Electra, my ex-girlfriend who had broken up with me a month or so before. The other was a friend from summer school (yes, I went to summer school, get over it). All three of us lacked any kind of sexual experience. We were all clueless and terrified and trying to work it out as we went along. It was really really bad sex. Of course it was – none of us had any idea what we were doing, and the level of awkwardness was astounding. But at the same time it was sweet and new and exciting, and I don’t regret a second of it.

So that was threesome number 1. 2, 3 and 4 were with Tereus, I’m sorry to say. Tereus liked to think he knew what he was doing, and I wasn’t exactly unwilling, but two of the three girls we slept with together probably were. One of them very obviously just wanted to have sex with him, and made it very clear during sex that she didn’t want me to be there. This was decidedly not fun, but I had enough sense to realise that it was the participants which were the problem, not the act itself. I remember talking about this in detail with Alexander (who had never had a threesome before), as we tried to work out the best way to reduce the chance of anyone feeling left out or awkward. We decided (and this is going to come as a shock to anyone out there who thinks that threesomes are a present a girl gives her boyfriend) that everything would be a lot simpler if there was no actual penetration. That would make it less like him fucking two girls, and more like three people having a good time. The result? Five amazing threesomes, three of which were with the same girl, Ariadne. Ariadne is now a good friend, and I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for the girl. She is gorgeous, witty, and great in bed. And if it hadn’t been for threesomes, I would never have had the chance to find any of that out.

You see, the big misconception about threesomes are that they are always for the guy’s benefit. I blame porn. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of porn. It can be exciting and sexy and a great way to fantasise and get off. But one trope you see a lot in porn is the two ‘lesbians’ making out, until the man comes in and they instantly jump him because, you know, they couldn’t have sex properly without a man present. And they both give him head at the same time, or he fucks one of them while fingering the other, and it’s all about his orgasm, because the women somehow miraculously come just by being in the mere presence of a cock. And that’s just not how threesomes – good threesomes – work. At least not in my experience.

Negotiating sex without awkwardness is hard. I’ve been through this already. Negotiating sex with two people instead of one is twice as hard, and that makes negotiating even more important. If you’re just going to jump into bed with two other people without any communication whatsoever, then unless all three people are incredibly laid back and confident, someone is going to end up feeling left out. And in the standard girl-girl-guy scenario, that is usually going to be whichever girl isn’t getting penetrated. That isn’t to say that it’s impossible to have a good threesome where penetration does occur, but it is harder to do, and each person has to be very clear and respectful about boundaries. It’s not going to happen the way it does in porn films, or even 18-rated movies, because this is the real world, and people get awkward and self-conscious and jealous in the real world. Part of having good sex is understanding that and taking it into consideration.

If you keep this in mind, then of course a threesome should be pleasurable for all people involved. And that’s what was missing when Tereus tried to initiate them – it was all about him, his pleasure, his dominance over two girls who existed in this scenario only for his benefit. That’s when you get two people fighting for the attention of a third, and that kind of dynamic is going to kill the mood pretty quickly. But if you do it my way, or at least think about it in my way, then there’s a much higher chance that everyone is going to have a good time. So when my male friends tell me, without a trace of irony, that of course I don’t enjoy threesomes as much as my boyfriend does, that he’s taking advantage of me and I’m too much of a doormat to realise, I know that they have no idea how diverse sexual dynamics can be. I also strongly resent having someone else explain to me how I feel about a situation I was involved in, but that wouldn’t even happen if it weren’t for this mainstream idea that threesomes are a thing for men, and women just join in because they have to.

Why do I bring this up now? Because the last post was about being responsible, and the next one will probably be about gender identity, and I like to alternate the serious stuff with the random anecdotes about my sex life. Alternatively, it’s because I have a threesome in mind with Leander and a certain other guy (who has yet to acquire a pseudonym), and that has got me thinking about sexual dynamics and how I want it to go. I’ll keep you posted on how that one works out.

8 thoughts on “Who fancies a menage a trois?

  1. This is how to write a GOOD post about threesomes.

    Earlier this week, someone on Shakesville recommended a different sex blog. I wandered over and read a post about how to have a three-some. That blog recommended violating boundaries and ignoring consent. Yuck!

    This post is sweet, and full of useful advice.

    • I’m glad you liked it! Like I said, I don’t necessarily know what I’m talking about all the time, but I try to be considerate and to always stress that these are just my experiences. Consent and respecting boundaries are extremely important to me (see my earlier post on my experiences with sexual assault if you want to know why), and it disappoints me that another sex blog would ignore all of that. I’m very pleased you found your way over here – thank you for reading!

  2. I’m with Quercki. This is a very good way to write about threesomes! Or pretty much any kind of sex. (Or, possibly, any kind of post at all but then I would be overthinking.)

    Start out with an “outrageous” statement (nine threesomes, what could she be thinking!) Demonstrate on reflection that it’s more complex than common wisdom says it is. Illustrated that like all non-mythical realities it can be awkward but supportive, ordinary, pretty exploitative, or very nice. Demolish the porn version. Point out the non-conventional elements and agreements that in your experience are likely to make it most enjoyable for everyone. And end with a little self deprecation saying your mileage may vary. Readers walk away with a different perspective such that your original “outrageous” statement seems reasonable. And even though readers might not ever try threesomes themselves they’ll have a realistic, experience based outline to try following rather than an unrealistic fantasy or porn-fueled one.

    Hard not to like that, Procne. Nice job!

    figleaf

      • You’re actually very kind. I think I’d been focusing on content at work and instead of saying how much I enjoyed your actual words, thoughts, and message I blathered about structure or something.

        So can I say I really like your point about at least starting out with penetration off the table? It’s a decision that can be reassessed further in, but yeah, it sounds like a very good way to bring balance.

        And can I also say how much I appreciated that you talked about it from the perspective of experience rather than achievement or spectacle? Instead of saying “wow, look how high I can count” or “here are all the ways you can put your parts together” (which is fine but not necessarily helpful) you instead give a pretty clear idea of how things might go and, even better, how to manage how they might go based on different scenarios.

        So yeah, cool post. You explained why almost everyone who’s had a threesome has had only one. And explained how, in the unlikely event I wind up on the verge of another threesome, I’ll be more likely to be able to help make it a successful one.

        Thanks again,

        figleaf

  3. Very interesting. I’m pretty sure I would think adding a third person would make everything feel four times as hard to me, not twice as hard (well, everything except the little professor). But that’s because I find people hard anyway. That’s the only reason I haven’t really tried to explore it.

    I like the focus on non-penetrative behaviour when it’s FFM, because there are times when my preferred sexual expression isn’t much about the tab A into slot B model anyway.

    One thing, on virginity, I kind of break the concept down into lots of different virginities.

    • I really like that list of different types of virginities. I think the idea of virginity being just one thing that you either have or don’t have is incredibly simplistic and outdated, and doesn’t even make much sense anymore. I also like how that post includes aspects of BDSM as types of virginity, which I think is definitely important. And there’s also the question of is it even possible for a man to lose his virginity, since that doesn’t fit the conventional model at all. Good stuff.

      And yeah, threesomes are complicated and stuff can get awkward and difficult pretty quickly. But if you prefer non-penetrative experiences anyway, then I definitely think that would make the whole thing easier. If you ever do decide to try it, let me know how it goes!

  4. Pingback: A guide to the not-just-one-night-stand | Procne The Swallow

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