Threesomes: A User's Guide

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Threesomes: A User's Guide
How to (really) manage a ménage a trois.

Hollywood rarely depicts sex accurately: near-instantaneous, always-simultaneous orgasms? Sheets that conceal only naughty bits? But on screen threesomes get at least one thing right: the act is often hot and the aftermath is often messy. Everyone betrays everyone else in the movie Wild Things. A friendship is doomed in Y Tu Mamá También. And in HBO's Entourage, Turtle and Drama must deal with the heterosexual male nightmare of having "crossed swords."

Of course, that’s not to say all threesomes lead to disaster. Inviting someone else into bed can be a positive experience for all parties, but the presence of a third person does magnify the hazards all couples must face—from feelings of jealousy and self-loathing to unpleasant realities like sexually transmitted disease and social stigma.

People fantasize about threesomes for any number of reasons: the opportunity to totally make out with another person without cheating, a chance to share something exciting and taboo with their partner, or the sensation of an extra pair of hands, eyes, and… other things in bed. But no matter what your motivation, the high stakes require that you pursue a threesome the right way for the right reasons.

"Plenty of men and women fantasize about threesomes—yet that doesn't mean they should actually have one," says advice columnist and sexologist Logan Levkoff. "Some couples are quite capable of handling it, but the majority of people can’t because emotions get in the way."

To determine if you're ready for a ménage à trois, see if you feel comfortable raising the subject with your partner. You can ask point blank if he's ever thought about it, or you can broach the subject in a roundabout way—through dirty talk during sex, or while watching a conveniently telling movie or TV show (see above).

Regardless, you should then be able to speak frankly about the realities of the situation. Make it clear that you find your partner attractive and that your desire isn’t a result of deficiencies in your relationship. Then be honest with yourself and with him about your capacity to not just endure, but to enjoy sharing each other with someone else.

"It is important for couples to talk about the fantasy, because each person may have a completely different picture of what the reality would look like," says Dossie Easton, a San Francisco therapist and coauthor of The Ethical Slut. "By talking about it, you'll find out if either of you have specific concerns about the idea." Do the two of you desire a man or a woman? Will there be full-on sex with the other person? Does everyone have full access to everyone else's… areas?

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