We asked: Are threesomes actually as enjoyable as porn makes them seem?

We asked: Are threesomes actually as enjoyable as porn makes them seem?

SexAugust 28, 2018 By Chris D'Alessandro

You don’t have to be a cultural scholar to know that porn exaggerates a fuck ton when it comes to sex. Most porn is to sex what The Fast and Furious is driving your car, or playing a game of backyard baseball is to the MLB.

But there are few acts as glamorized, romanticized, hyped and widely desired as the threesome. 

“There’s this idea that a threesome means letting your carnal side come out, being wild, doing things you would only do in that context and not otherwise,” says Dr. Ruth Neustifter, our on-call sex-expert. “It's permission to be highly sexual and exploratory. It’s affirming to be the center of attention, or to be someone who pleases not one, but two people successfully. Porn glorifies this.”

“Of course,” she continues, “being able to actually pull it off is another matter.”

Perhaps that disconnect between our idea of threesomes and their actuality is why when you ask people about the threesomes they’ve had, they way-too-often respond with something entirely underwhelming: “Meh, it was okay.” Seems like a pretty scathing review when it comes to what the layman would consider the penultimate sexual feat.

To investigate why this is, we reached out to a few threesome veterans to find out if they found their experiences to be legitimately enjoyable, or just simply another item to cross off their personal ‘fuck-it’ list.

“For me, threesomes were overrated when I tried them. They were a product of a drunken decision to please the guy I was with. I have had sex with men and I have had sex with women, but combined they kind of seemed more focused on being porn-stars than the actual pleasure of it. So they were kind of disappointing. Would I try it again? Absolutely! But only if it was two men and me. Unfortunately, most men seem to immediately dismiss this idea, but being the center of attention for two men is pretty high on my list. Women have threesome fantasies, too!”
-Quinn, 23-years-old, bisexual
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“I had a threesome a few years ago with a guy I was fucking and a chick I wanted to see naked. That’s probably the best way to do it to avoid jealousy. Although, I will say I was surprised at how much it turned me on to watch him fuck her. I’d never licked a vagina before that day and I haven’t since. It was something I wanted to try but it didn't do much for me. She whooped it up for me, which was sweet.”
-Mickie, 28-years-old, straight
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“It was a night I’ll always remember and a story I’ll always tell, so it was worth it. I will say that it happened very naturally and without planning. The three of us were sitting at the bar and through conversation, decided to take a cab back to his place. Again, it was good times, but as far as sex goes, it doesn’t even make my top ten. You know those times when you cum at the same time as your partner? There’s a mutual build-up of raw desperation to release simultaneously. You can’t do that with three people. It’s impossible. Sometimes I’d get close, but then she’d want a turn or she’d be going down on me, but then he’d fuck her harder and she’d lose her rhythm and I’d lose it. It wasn’t frustrating, but it wasn’t magical.” 
-Gillian, 27-years-old, straight
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“I’ve had three threesomes. The first two were FFM and they were okay. Fun, but also a lot of work! It’s kind of difficult to be the center of attention and keep the activities going. To be honest, I didn’t cum either of those times. It just felt like too much pressure. I actually had a better time in my MFM threesome. Putting all the attention on the girl and trying to overwhelm her with pleasure can be a lot of fun.”
-Dave, 25, straight
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“The one I had was a complete flop. The one guy wanted to be kinky and tried to tie me up, but we didn’t have any rope, so he grabbed a computer cable … which didn’t work. I eventually stumbled over, kind of half-tied, and we all laughed pretty hard. Then once we got started, they both came in about a minute. Hopefully that’s saying something about my skills… but it was definitely not enjoyable for me.”
-Nicole, 24-years-old, bisexual
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“Even if your comfort level is good, it’s hard to be 100% sure your partner is into it. I guess that’s the risk you’ve got to be willing to take. And it can pay off. You won’t know until you attempt it. You both need to be really open books to make it work. But if it’s a fling with two randos, disregard all of this.”
-Brock, 25-years-old, straight
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“Personally, I think group sex can be really great. I think the reason a lot of people are disappointed is because it’s hyped up for the wrong reason. For a lot of people, having a threesome is a big status thing, or they’re doing it because their partner really wants to. The only truly great threesome is a selfish one, where everyone there wants to be there because it personally turns them on. Oh and pro-tip for first-timers; it really helps to have fuckable friends!”
-Lauren, 23, bisexual

Okay, so you’ve heard the stories. Now let’s answer the titular question: are threesomes actually that awesome?

Clearly, no, they’re not. If anything, they’re hit or miss, a surprising finding when we’re constantly inundated by imagery that would tell us otherwise.

But what are the takeaways here? How do you have a very satisfying thressome without falling into the pitfalls of some of our friends, while also stealing their recipes for success?

Here’s what Dr. Ruth has to say on the matter;

1. Communication is key
“Figuring out a threesome for the first time can be a challenge for many people. First of all, some people fall into threesomes after partying, which means that communication and clear thought are not at their best. A successful threesome requires shared expectations for activities, partner sharing, barriers, and more. While it's possible to accidentally find partners with shared expectations, it's more likely that subjects like these will need to be negotiated in order for the encounter to go smoothly. I've also met too many couples in which one person pressures the other into accepting a threesome, which is not likely to end well.”

2. Find a unicorn
“Other times, a couple seeks a third partner (a unicorn). People who are used to threesomes may be more efficient at negotiating these things concisely as well as more knowledgeable of their own physical, emotional, and relational needs. It's hard to know how to do these things without some experience! Mainstream porn is wonderful entertainment, but rarely a good teacher. At the same time, it's often the only way many people can learn about threesomes. That means that many people will need to unlearn some expectations about threesomes in order to have successful threesomes for themselves.”

3. Baby steps
“It may be easiest to have a first threesome where two members engage with each other while a third watches, or two members begin the fun then invite in the third in specific ways. It can also be a lot of fun, and much less pressure, to have a make-out threesome that doesn't necessarily move into other sexual activities. I highly recommend that those who are interested in a threesome seek out potential partners with shared expectations and good communication skills.”

[originally published March 31, 2017]