Is a threesome ever a good idea in a relationship?

·4 min read
 (Rex)
(Rex)

The circumstances need to be right for a threesome, and in truth there are a lot of variables when three people are involved. At relationship charity Relate, we do hear about situations where threesomes have gone wrong, and it is worth noting that this is not uncommon. But there are also people in strong, happy relationships who have introduced another person to the bedroom and it hasn’t been a problem. Some people have it on their bucket list and just want to try it once, whereas to others it becomes more of a lifestyle choice where they regularly hook up with other people.

If this is something you and your partner are considering, it is worth asking yourself and one another about your reasons for wanting this. If you are thinking of initiating a threesome as something to experience and enjoy together then it may be a fun and fulfilling adventure for you both. If, however, your motivation is that one of you isn’t feeling sexually satisfied or you have developed a strong emotional crush on the third person and prefer them to your partner, alarm bells should be ringing.

Either way, be honest with yourself and one another. Communication is always important in relationships but when threesomes, foursomes and other combinations of more than two people are involved, it is absolutely paramount! Think seriously about the issue of jealously. Could you really watch your partner with somebody else or would the jealousy take over? Even if you think you could handle it at the time, afterwards you may find this much more difficult. Everybody is different and for some people, sharing is just not an option.

It goes without saying that talking and fantasising about having sex with another person is often quite different to the reality. To ease yourself in, why not introduce the fantasy first and see what effect this has on your sex life? Perhaps talk about it when you are in bed together, try imagining it or check out some threesome porn and see if this excites you both. It may be that the fantasy alone is exciting enough, or maybe this will suggest you want to explore things further.

The world's most sexually satisfied countries

12. China: (AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER)
12. China: (AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER)
11. Germany: (AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE)
11. Germany: (AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE)
10. Nigeria: (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
10. Nigeria: (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
9. Australia: (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
9. Australia: (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
8. India: (NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)
8. India: (NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)
7. Mexico: (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
7. Mexico: (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
6. Netherlands: ( BRAM VAN DER BIEZEN/AFP/Getty Images)
6. Netherlands: ( BRAM VAN DER BIEZEN/AFP/Getty Images)
5. Greece: (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
5. Greece: (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
4. Brazil: (CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
4. Brazil: (CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
3. Italy: (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
3. Italy: (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
2. Spain: (AFP PHOTO/ CRISTINA QUICLER)
2. Spain: (AFP PHOTO/ CRISTINA QUICLER)

Once you have decided this is something you both want to go ahead with, you need to think about who your threesome will be with. Finding a willing participant is often harder than you might think and it is really important to consider their feelings. Some people advise to steer clear of friends and close acquaintances. It is not that friends are a complete no-go area - some benefits can be that you trust them and their sexual history, although, it is still important to use protection.

The thing to consider with friends, is how it may affect the relationship in the long term, and also if you trust them to be discreet with other people you know, if that is what you would prefer. From a pure awkwardness point of view – would you be able to concentrate on what they were saying at a dinner party three months down the line without imagining their ‘sex face’?

If you go for the ‘beautiful stranger’ option – somebody who you meet on the internet for example - maybe suggest going out for a drink first to see how you get on. If the chemistry isn’t there, be honest with them and your partner rather than going ahead with something you are not comfortable with.

Before getting started, discuss what your boundaries are sexually, talking about exactly who can do what with whom. It is also important to have these conversations with the person you want to have a threesome with to make sure you are all on the same page. This could form part of the build-up but also serves to avoid any misunderstandings. Have a safe word or signal that you and your partner know so you can stop if it all becomes awkward or uncomfortable.

Take time afterwards to talk with your partner about the experience. Was it what you both hoped for? If not, talk together about moving on from the experience so it doesn’t become damaging. But if you both enjoyed it and want to try again, there’s no reason not to.

Peter Saddington is a Relate counsellor and sex therapist. The charity provides sex therapy services, which can help you if you're experiencing difficulties in your love life and can help you to improve physical intimacy