Three’s company


Three’s company

Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.

Unfortunately when I entered the dating world, I broke the first rule: share everything. Not to worry, I’m doing pretty well with the whole “don’t hit people” thing.

A 2004 ABC News poll revealed 14 percent of American adults admitted to having a threesome at some point in their lifetime, while 21 percent admitted to fantasizing about it.

From crayons to cunnilingus, I am proud to say that sharing is alive and well in this country. But for all you kindergarteners at heart, know that it does not exist without consequences.

Aside from being one of the top male sexual fantasies, threesomes are interesting from a psychological standpoint. The limited research on the subject suggests that there are several factors at play when considering riding the tricycle.

Interestingly enough, both heterosexual men and women that fantasize or engage in threesomes prefer the two females and one male triad. Psychologists attribute its popularity to women’s sexual fluidity and energy in conjunction with men’s egotistical nature.

Regardless of the gender, common problems with threesomes subsist across the board. Both men and women report feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, performance anxiety, and long-term relationship problems post-coitus.

In the moment, many people experience jealousy when the attention is not divided fairly between the two partners of the same sex. Similar to jealousy, when people are faced with having to look at someone of their same sex, they begin to compare bodies. This comparison often results in feelings of inadequacy for one participant. These things coupled with the fear of the unknown often leads to performance anxiety for one or more partners. It can be downward spiral that has a lasting effect on relationships or the person’s view of themselves.

Naturally, in terms of physical wellbeing, these people run a higher risk of contracting an STI, especially those who don’t know their partners particularly well.

But as with any tricky subject, there are do’s and don’ts to having a threesome. Three simple rules include: be smart, be frank, and be fair. First and foremost, being smart means using protection. Employ the use of condoms, dental dams, and permanent birth control methods to prevent STIs as well as pregnancy. After all, who wants to learn they were conceived in a three-way?

If you can, know the parties involved. But on the flipside of that, many advise that you don’t have a three way within the confines of a committed relationship for several reasons. Oftentimes, what starts out as a happy couple trying to experiment ends in their demise. One party becomes jealous or feels inadequate at the suggestion or after physically participating. They begin to feel like they’re not enough to sexually stimulate their partner. Cue the whirlwind of emotions.

Provided that you decide to do this with a long-term partner, be frank. Be honest and completely sober when you suggest a threesome to your partner. Asking your significant other when you’re eyeing something cuter at the bar is not the way to get what you want. If you calmly address it as fantasy in private rather than offer up a spur-of-the-moment suggestion, you’re a lot less likely to end up with a drink in your face.

My final caution comes from the tiny shred of child left in me: be fair. Be fair in every sense of the word. Be fair in the moment by being aware of how much time you’re spending with each partner because they will be hypersensitive and notice any favoritism or unequal treatment. But most importantly, be fair after the fact. If your partner or partners feel emotionally vulnerable or damaged, be sensitive to that and follow up. They might feel ashamed or less desirable after what happened, which is their prerogative as a human being. But another part of being human is being compassionate toward these emotions. Do it, or you really are a pig.

In reality, while we like to entertain the idea that sexual decisions are rational and planned, they usually aren’t. So whatever experiences, fantasies or fears you have, they are yours to keep and learn from. For those who are disgusted by the idea of a threesome, that’s also fine.

But instead of waging war on a futile effort, I ask you to remember the golden rule and the old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Sexual fantasies, no matter how deviant they seem, are healthy. Don’t condemn others for theirs and hope that they do the same for you.

For those interested in three-way play, my final piece of advice: don’t try to cuddle afterward. Come on, two ‘big spoons’ in one bed? America is not quite ready for that yet.