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Common rules for a threesome (or foursome)
January 13, 2013 4:59 PM   Subscribe

What are your rules for threesomes or foursomes? What rules can help such an encounter be successful all around, but particularly for folks new to such encounters? Any tips for how/when to negotiate rules with the other party/parties involved?

My wife and I have been talking a lot about threesomes lately, though we haven't pursued one because the opportunity hasn't presented itself yet, and we've been too busy with other things to put our energy into pursuing one. However, an opportunity for a foursome may be forthcoming.

We both listen to the Savage Love podcast, and since Dan Savage recommends "scripting" such encounters before getting into the heat of things, we want to make sure that we are doing our research and covering all our bases. As we were talking about what our specific rules might be (i.e., what would make us comfortable/uncomfortable as individuals or as a couple), we were curious whether there are any common rules out there, or if not, perhaps ones that people have found helpful for newbies. Not necessarily looking for universal rules - just curious about what's typical or what things we should consider in addition to the ones that came to mind for us.

Additionally, we're trying to figure out how/when to have the negotiation for the potential forthcoming opportunity. We're going to a convention, and our friend (let's call her Anna) is also going with her girlfriend. Anna asked us to share a hotel room with them during the conference. I've had suggestive conversations with Anna. For example, during one recent conversation, we shared suggestive photos of Anna, Anna's girlfriend, and my wife. In another conversation, Anna told me about a threesome she and her girlfriend had with a man. But in our conversations, neither of us has said outright "Hey, let's do this!" I'm reading the request to share a hotel room as a likely offer, given that we could afford to stay separately, but there's a chance that I could be reading this wrong. If nothing happens, that's fine - we'll still have a great time hanging out with them.

My wife and I are curious how others go about situations such as this. Is there a way that we can let things happen organically, but still set rules before starting up anything? That would be our preference so that it's not overly scripted. How and when do people typically have the rules discussion?
posted by A Special Kind of Weird to Human Relations (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm reading the request to share a hotel room as a likely offer, given that we could afford to stay separately, but there's a chance that I could be reading this wrong. If nothing happens, that's fine - we'll still have a great time hanging out with them.

Well, here's one rule of thumb: don't have a threesome with someone you're stuck in close quarters with. If there's no (easy, polite, friendly, face-saving) way for everyone to retreat to neutral corners if the need arises, you're really asking for trouble.

I mean, an overnight hotel stay isn't the worst place for a threesome. (Going after a roommate would be way way worse, for instance!) But it's at least something to think about and plan for ahead of time: if shit gets awkward, and it becomes clear that some privacy and time to yourselves would be a good thing, what are you going to do?
posted by and so but then, we at 5:32 PM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't be the guy who assumes that someone, or multiple someones, want to have sex with you because they offered to share a hotel room. You are reading too much into this. Discuss foursomes separately from your travel arrangements.
posted by yohko at 6:07 PM on January 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've cut a few people out of my life because they tried to involve me with a threesome with their partner. The way they presented it to me was this was something exciting they either wanted, or wanted to "give" their significant other, and could I do this for them. Basically, could I be the object that spices things up in the bedroom for them.

To say I was insulted (both times...) would be an understatement.

Make sure you have the idea that the person who would be joining you would be having as much or more fun, and go in negotiating how everyone will enjoy it. If you have an idea of what rules you and your wife are comfortable with, make sure that they voice their own rules.

Tread carefully with friends. You know them best, but not everyone is pleased by these types of invitations. And definitely don't assume they are thinking threesome, they may simply enjoy flirting and have no interest in crossing that line.

If they don't show any interest, or outright say no, do not ask why!
posted by Dynex at 6:31 PM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking from experience:

Make sure you and your wife talk about this a LOT before you broach the subject with Anna (which you should do in advance of the convention). Yes, even more talking than you have done already. Communication is essential for things like this to work.

Don't forget to talk about safer sex. Personally, my husband and I insist on using condoms for PIV sex with any outside partners.

Be aware that if you do engage in sexyfuntimes with others, it may spark emotions (both good and bad) you never anticipated. Talking about something in theory is much different than actually doing it.

Good luck!
posted by Val_E_Yum at 7:45 PM on January 13, 2013


I'd also agree that it would be better to have your own hotel room in case things get awkward. Don't go in expecting sex to happen this time.

I think it's not a good idea to just let a foursome happen organically. Your question about "what's typical" throws me a little bit. You have to have the rules conversation before jumping in because in a foursome scenario there is no typical. What's OK and what's not OK, as far as sexual boundaries are concerned, depends entirely upon the individual. Organic foursomes are for college students and experienced group sex participants.

That doesn't mean that the conversation about rules won't be great fun. And a shared hotel room would be just the place to let that first conversation happen organically.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:48 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't start with friends. Things might go well, if you're very very lucky. But they will probably go a bit sideways, and you will find it much easier to cope if it's not someone your own existing social identity and relationship network is tied up with.

You are playing with fire, emotionally, at this point. Think of it in terms of contingencies for containment and extinguishing. You will regret it a lot if you don't.
posted by ead at 10:22 PM on January 13, 2013


Please consider this issue carefully, it probably ruins more experiences than anything else.

What do you do if somebody gets jealous and upset afterward? Even if you aren't normally the jealous sort, how would you feel if Anna ended up focusing primarily on your wife and ignoring you? What about your wife if Anna ignored her? What if Anna freaks out later? Having a plan ready to go for negative emotions will help the situation be in control. Also, Anna needs to be in on this plan or at least aware of it before things happen.
posted by zug at 5:36 AM on January 14, 2013


What are your rules for threesomes or foursomes? What rules can help such an encounter be successful all around, but particularly for folks new to such encounters?

They vary somewhat in each situation but here are some of my standard rules:

* Anyone can stop the shenanigans at any time, even during sexytime, no questions asked.
* Discussions about boundaries, expectations, safe sex, etc need to happen before the first drink is consumed or article of clothing comes off.
* Any morning-after texts or emails need to go to both people in a couple. No private communication between me and only the other guy or girl.
* I need to know that both partners on the other end are on-board right away. If threesomes (or foursomes) come up in a conversation, things pretty much come to a halt until I've had a chance to hear directly from the other partner that they're both interested.

This brings me to a question for you. Does your wife know you've been exchanging pictures with Anna? If not, I'm going to stop you right there and suggest that this is not the best approach for exploring couples to take. I can't overstate how important communication between you and your wife is every single step of the way. It helps avoid misunderstandings, jealousy, etc. It won't prevent it, mind you, but total transparency is the key to making this work well. If your wife already knows you're sharing pictures of her and receiving the same in kind, good on you. If not, let her know ASAP and don't be surprised if it gives her pause.


Is there a way that we can let things happen organically, but still set rules before starting up anything?

Mostly, yes. As others have said, you need to have a lot of conversations with with your wife before you even begin to talk rules with Anna and her gf. First, decide where your boundaries are (would she prefer you have no PIV contact with the other women, how to pull the plug if things get uncomfortable, etc). Next you'll want to cover the what-ifs that zug and others have mentioned. You won't be ready to talk to Anna and her gf about group rules until you and your wife are crystal clear on your rules.

How and when do people typically have the rules discussion?

Have it fairly soon after you get a better handle on whether the room sharing arrangement is an invitation or not. Yes, it can be awkward talking about these kinds of things with each other in broad daylight, but it's far less awkward than bringing it up as the shirts are coming off.

Feel free to MeMail me if you want to talk more.
posted by actuallyiam at 6:43 AM on January 14, 2013


1. try to figure out if these people want to have sex with you not just people in your situation in the past.

2. Get another room in the hotel or elsewhere as an escape hatch. You don't want to be stuck in that room when everything goes to shit. (always a possibility)
posted by French Fry at 1:39 PM on January 14, 2013


I will also add that no matter how much you discuss things ahead of time and try to work out different scenarios and setup the ground rules for what is ok and what is not, and discuss how you might feel about certain things, you don't know for sure how you'll feel until it happens. So discussing how you'll deal with those unexpected feelings is just as important.
posted by noonewilleverloveyou at 2:49 PM on January 15, 2013


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