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…so you don’t F*ck up your relationship

Sarah can’t even imagine having a threesome again. “It was like he was having an affair right before my eyes. Something about it just didn’t work. I want to try it again but I want to do it differently.” Sarah has had threesomes before and is mildly curious about women, so this was not how she expected to feel. The fact that she is willing to try it again surprises me. Most women are one and done when a threesome goes wrong.

“I have no idea what I did wrong but I feel terrible. It wasn’t worth it because of how it devastated our relationship. Of course I want to do it again, we are both open type of people, but I’m very cautious given how hard the last one was to recover from.” says Brad.

Picking up the pieces of a threesome “trigger-finger” couple is possible, and it’s easier to do it right in the first place. You would be surprised at how many couples just don’t have the proper guidance.

I get it, given there is so much misinformation and lack of information about how to have a threesome consciously, that brings a couple closer together instead of drives them apart.

The experience of a modern day experimental sexual savant who mostly prefers monogamy

In my vast travels over the last 11 years as an erotic pioneer and modern sex visionary, I’ve witnessed and personally experienced many kinds of relationship structures and unconventional sexual experiences. I was with a woman for almost two years, I was in a completely monogamous structures, I was in a monogamish structure where we occasionally had a couple threesomes with chosen parameters, I’ve been a guest in someone else’s relationship, I’ve ‘swapped’, I’ve played around and sampled much of the buffet. I’ve been in the open lifestyle as well as a monogamous lifestyle, giving me a vast knowledge of many ways it can be done. My choice of experimenting has taught me so much and I’ve seen firsthand so many mistakes that can easily be avoided and what it takes to make it work.

My mission is to do just that. Help conscious couples establish deep intimacy and learn the communication necessary to explore whatever they want with loving openness and precision. Then, be able to communication with ‘intimate tai chi’ if something goes wrong such that they don’t spiral out in conflict in the process. At one point in my career as a holistic sex coach I started supporting certain couples with ‘in field’ coaching, helping them navigate challenges that would come up in threesomes on the spot. This was highly effective, they moved very quickly, and I got an even richer inside scoop of what works.

Often I get asked about my personal relationship choices. After all is said and done, oddly enough my preference, while still based on the person in front of me and what wants to happen between us, is mostly monogamy. I do enjoy having everything on the table for discussion. My relationship structure is this: Hold nothing, welcome everything, clear boundaries, bring the playfulness, full compassion for triggers that come up and taking personal responsibility for our experience.

Misconceptions about threesomes

A threesome is going to fix something that is missing with the first two people in the relationship. Both of these scenarios end in disaster. It won’t.

Sometimes when someone tells me they want to have a threesome, after accomplishing everything on this ‘before you pull the trigger’ list below, they no longer want to do it anymore. They realize the desire was coming from a lack of intimate communication, hot sex, or connection. These things can first be remedied within the relationship. Sometimes they still do pull the threesome trigger, and now their relationship hand is steady and have the target-practice to support it.

Desire for a threesome means there is something wrong with our relationship.

This is a call for those who just want to claim ignorance in relationship, to wake up. Look at the world we live in. Sex is readily available on every corner. When something is repressed it doesn’t just magically disappear, it gets acted out one way or another, or it tears them up inside. Couples who  feel completely seen by one another and talk about sexual desire openly don’t end in affair. When done correctly, talking about desire in a safe container frees both people, creates deeper connection and even more safety within relationship.

Once we have the idea of having a threesome, the next step is to just do it and see how it works out.

My overall tip: go much slower than you think is necessary. Dip a toe, before you jump in. The water can be shockingly cold. I’ve been called the ‘threesome whisperer’ which makes me laugh, because half the time I’m talking people out of them. You see, there are certain ingredients that make threesomes work for otherwise open-minded but generally monogamous relationships. The next step is definitely NOT just doing it. Accomplish the activities in the guidelines below at the very least take a couple weeks or months and feel into the idea.

Monogamous couples are supposed to only want each other for the rest of their lives.

You would be surprised how many people in monogamous relationship structure are thinking of having a threesome or opening their relationship in some way. Almost as many as will be angry that this guide exists, as if understanding of how to consciously talk about this desire is the enemy. In today’s culture many couples want to explore sexually for all kinds of reasons, sometimes exploration has them consider going outside the relationship. Saying this doesn’t exist as an option to discuss is like telling a 17-year-old abstinence is the only option. We know how well that works.

Want to learn more? The guidelines below are a good place to start. Now, some of them may bring up discomfort by shining light on places you haven’t looked. If you continue to ‘not look’ for fear of being uncomfortable they will remain dark and heavy, holding your relationship down in ways you might not even see. When it comes to sexual desire, ignorance is not bliss.

Before you pull the threesome trigger…

Ok Cool Hand Luke, put down the gun, before you start flinging that thing around all willy-nilly, create a basis of transparent communication and trust.

“Before” Guideline One: Establish “I got you babe” Trust.

You have to trust each other for this to work. I may be dating myself here but Sonny and Cher were onto something. Simple direct question:

Do you trust each other? Why or why not? Discuss.

I remember having a conversation like this with my partner where I admitted, “I don’t trust you to tell me when something is not ok.” This was a major point of relationship strengthening and for her (I was with a woman at the time) to learn to share her truth. I got to be very accepting and compassionate with her process of naming boundaries. This, and many other vulnerable compassionate revealings of truth made our relationship very strong and based in truth and trust. If you love someone and you don’t trust them for some reason tell them the truth or that withhold is a missing in your foundation.

*If you can’t have a conversation about this, receiving one another’s truth and healing any gaps in trust without getting in a fight, you’re not ready.

“Before” Guideline Two: What’s the point?

If you are in a monogamous relationship structure it’s especially important to have clarity on what having a threesome will do for your relationship. The more ‘outside your structure’ this potentially touchy topic is the more important this clarity will be for inspiring your partner to take this risk with you.

Exercise: Free write for 5 minutes about why you want a threesome.

How do you see it supporting your relationship?

Word of caution: Everyone has a different baseline of openness. Take this into account. For some bringing up a threesome can be somewhat casual and talked about as a novel idea that may or may not happen from the get go.

Remember the story of Brad and Sarah from the beginning. When bringing this up it’s important to be aware of the level of openness your partner has to this kind of situation if you want it to go over well.

“Before” Guideline Three: And then there were two.

Threesomes do not fix intimacy and sex issues of the first two, or even boredom and restlessness. Relying on opening up your relationship to fix something can create a temporary crutch that eventually falls apart. When all is said and done remember who you wake up next to everyday.

Sometimes couples decide there’s a mismatch in sexual desire or drive and they explore a creative relationship structure. They find each other as primary companions and there’s someone on the side. Either way the context of exploring and having a threesome is to enhance the relationship in some way.

Jenna and Matt were pretty open-minded and craving excitement. They decided they would try a threesome, eventually they were hanging out in full-blown swinger land. Matt was focusing all of his sexual energy outward and there was no intimacy left for the two of them and Jenna enjoyed it enough to go along with it.

This is many monogamous couples nightmare. They lost interest in sex with one another because the place they started from was not one of sexual satisfaction. In our work together they closed their relationship for a period of time and realized they never really discovered what one another wanted. Other people eventually became a desire, but it was no longer a need. They created the foundational intimate connection that had been missing the whole relationship.

“Before” Guideline Four: Make agreements. Have experiments.

Look at these agreements you make as a science experiment, not a math problem. They are not written in stone. Rather they bring shared reality to two completely different experiences and points of view, creating a baseline of safety for exploration.

Examples: We can flirt, but let’s stick together and check in before we touch anyone.

We can make out and touch but nothing below the belt tonight.

I’m open to anything but it has to be the right person so I want to have a private conversation first when we think we’ve found someone.

One agreement I recommend is establish the color system to have a shared reality around level of comfort in situations that might escalate from 0 to ‘whose tongue is in my mouth’ very quickly. Colors might seem juvenile but in the moment of drowning it’s a life raft. I’ve also found it to create deeper connection through the process because it’s my partner and I have our own secret code. “Let’s check in.” is all it takes. It opens the conversation of talking about the things that might trigger or almost trigger or the surprises of no trigger throughout the night. I have found that I got to know my partner on a very deep level using this system of check ins.

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green.

-Red: I’m unable to regulate my emotions and I’m freaking out. Let’s get the fuck out of here. Stop now.

-Orange: One more move and I’m going to be in red. Slow down now.

-Yellow: I’m a little to a lot out of my comfort zone but I can handle it. I’m growing. Let’s keep going at this pace and check in about it.

-Green: I’m enjoying all of it. I could step on the gas if you’re open to it.

Someone is bound to have concerns. Talk about all of them. What kind of things trigger jealousy in each of you?

“Before” Guideline Five: Give each other an Erotic Wiring™ date.

For more info check out the Erotic Menu™. It’s like the 5 love languages but for intimacy. Having the specific kind of sex and intimacy you want to have within a short period of time of your exploration gives you a foundation of satisfaction between the two of you. The possibility for fun goes up and the potential for disaster goes down.

This is about taking care of the two primary people in a relationship before even dreaming of having a threesome. You want to make sure your cups are full, both with deep intimacy and passionate desire. When you feel loved and wanted by one another you are coming from full instead of trying to make a long drive on an empty tank of gas.

Exercise: Free write for 5 minutes about what your ideal sex/intimacy date would be based on the Erotic Menu™. Share with your partner having the shared context and language that having a menu you can look at together gives you. You have a whole new way of fulfilling what you truly desire.

Whether you decide to jump right into a threesome after reading this guide or you wait, I hope you have an understanding of potential pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

For a deeper understanding of how to make it work during the threesome, check out my next article, Part-Two of the Three-part Threesome guide: Pulling the threesome trigger without ruining your relationship