Dearest readers, you were probably looking forward to an article about consent this week, considering that I concluded last week’s column with a promise to discuss consent and the issues surrounding it. But this weekend I encountered quite the conundrum, which got me thinking about how complex consent can become when a third person is added to the mix.
That’s right, folks. I had a threesome, and it rocked. While an article about consent will be coming soon, my mind is still reeling from last weekend’s experience, and I felt an urgent need to write about it.
When my night started last Friday, a threesome was the last thing I expected. I was at a 5C party and I began to dance with someone I had met earlier that night. Before I could ask about his girlfriend, whom I also knew, she appeared before me and started dancing with us. Suddenly, I found myself involved in a very public three-way make out on the dance floor. As things heated up, she proposed that we all head back to her house.
A threesome with another cis-woman and a cis-man had been my ultimate sexual fantasy since I was 15. On several occasions in high school it almost happened, but it was always proposed as a last-resort attempt to resurrect an otherwise dying relationship and my fantasy never came to fruition.
Because I had thought so extensively about threesomes in the past, I felt ready for the experience. On our way back to her room, we discussed consent guidelines and safewords. The couple did everything they could to make sure that I was completely comfortable and that I knew I could stop at any point if necessary. Power dynamics were very evenly distributed among the group; I felt that we all had equal control in the situation, which was important in making me feel comfortable.
Maybe because there were multiple people involved, or because we weren’t all familiar with each other’s preferences, this kind of constant communication and checking in went on throughout the night. Communication was key because it allowed the couple to assess each other’s reactions and made me feel valued in the situation.
Although I had fantasized about threesomes, I always had anticipated awkwardness or insecurities about being sexually compared to another woman. However, as the guest star in the sex life of a stable and healthy relationship, I found that this wasn’t the case whatsoever. I was surprised at how natural the experience felt. Gender and anatomy seemed irrelevant, and another mouth and extra set of hands left no room for any awkward pauses. In a normative sexual experience with a new partner, I often find that when moving from one sexual activity to another things can feel uncomfortable, but because threesomes are so non-normative, there was no pressure to fall into sexual roles.
Needless to say, I had a great time. Yet when recounting the experience to peers, I felt that I could not express my excitement about the situation. Threesomes and group sex are not talked about as frequently as sex between two people, and the acts are sometimes considered highly taboo. When the threesome is between a couple and a third party, it is often assumed that they are looking for ways to revitalize an otherwise floundering sex life. Additionally, the porn industry often depicts people who participate in threesomes as sexual freaks, and the sex usually focuses on the pleasure of the male participant (when the threesome involves two women and one man). While I recognize that not all threesome experiences are alike, mine did not embody these stereotypes and I learned that threesomes are definitely what you make of them.
Had I participated in a threesome when I was in a relationship, I believe it would have been a mistake. Back then, my high school boyfriend and I were approaching the idea because we were bored and clinging to anything that could bring some initial excitement back instead of looking for ways to grow sexually as a couple. For folks who embrace sexual fluidity and are interested in exploring their sexualities, however, threesomes might be an option to consider.
If three (or more) individuals want to engage in sexual activities together, why shouldn’t they? Proper communication and safety are important in any sexual encounter, and if you are mindful of these things, threesomes and group sex should run no higher risk to any participant than sex between two people. An important part of sex is exploration, and if that means incorporating a third party, then more power to you!