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12 Ways To Have A Successful Threesome

12/28/2016 03:11 EST | Updated 12/28/2016 03:11 EST

Threesomes are increasingly less taboo, for established and casual relationships.

As sexual threeways pop up more and more on popular shows like "Weeds" and "Gossip Girl," they become normalized, easier to discuss with a partner, and maybe even more common.

Research indicates that more people have had or are having threesomes. In 2013, The Data Report found that 20 per cent of the 5,000 men and women surveyed in Hong Kong, London, Moscow, New York, and Sao Paolo had threesomes.

Another survey published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour found that about four in five men and a third of women have some interest in having a threesome.

But that still leaves a lot of people who have no experience bringing in a third partner into the bedroom. If you and your partner are interested in having a threesome, but have no idea where to start or what to expect, read on.

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    Stay general: Bring up the topic in a broad way first instead of approaching your partner with a list of whom you would like to have a threesome with and when you would like that threesome to occur, suggests sex therapist Vanessa Marin.
    "An easy way to bring up the topic is to tell your partner you read an article online about threesomes. Say something like, "We've never talked about that. What do you think it would be like to have one?’’ she suggests. "If you bring up the topic more generally at first, your partner will feel more at ease."
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    Think about why you want a threesome: There are many different reasons to have a threesome, and many different things you may be hoping to get out of one. The web comic Oh Joy Sex Toy goes over several of them in a strip about threeways including: sleeping with someone who will perform a sexual act your partner isn’t comfortable with, fulfilling a fantasy, sleeping with someone of a different gender or sex than your partner, mixing things up in your relationship, or simply because it sounds fun. Think about it on your own and talk about it with your partner. Are your reasons the same or different? Are they compatible?
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    Boundaries matter: A discussion of boundaries is rule one when it comes to a threesome, Marin says. "You should talk through the entire experience, and all the different possibilities, to make sure you're on the same page about the specific activities that are and aren't on the table,” she says.
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    And get specific: Don’t just have a general conversation about boundaries — talk about your specific boundaries around specific scenarios. Marin suggests addressing whether or not you’re OK with kissing, how you feel about intercourse, if the person can stay over afterwards, and if the third partner should be a stranger.
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    Then respect those boundaries: If your partner is uncomfortable with anything, respect that. You cannot badger, pressure, or force your partner into doing something with you or with another partner that they’re not interested in or comfortable with.
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    Discuss protection: Think about sexual and birth protection, remembering that what you’re using in your current relationship may not be sufficient when another partner is involved. And remember that your third needs to be part of this conversation too. Be honest about your STI status and your current protection methods and ask what they are comfortable with or require.
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    You can ease up over time: Oh Joy Sex Toy’s Erika Moen advises that it’s common to keep the boundaries pretty restrictive when you first experiment with a threesome, and then change them as you learn more about what you are and aren’t comfortable with. Discussion about boundaries and comfort level should be ongoing, not something you discuss the first time and then never address again.
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    Spontaneity has a downside: "Most couples just want the threesome to happen spontaneously, but that can lead to problems popping up spontaneously too,” Marin says. Planning a threesome gives you time to talk about what you are and aren’t OK with, and to think about what your comfort level is, which can help you avoid problems.
    "People get upset seeing their partner do something that they hadn't wanted them to do, but hadn't communicated to their partner beforehand,” she says.
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    You can’t plan for everything: All the discussion in the world can’t promise a worry-free experience. "Even with the best communication beforehand, there's still a good chance you'll have unexpected feelings in the moment,” Marin says. "You might get jealous or overwhelmed seeing your partner with another person.” On the other hand, you could feel nervous for weeks and then the experience is hitch free. Just remind yourself that the reality of a threesome may be different than your expectations, one way or another.
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    The third person isn’t a prop: Even if the third person involved in your threesome is a stranger, they are also a human being.
    "A threesome can be such an erotic fantasy that when it actually becomes a reality, some people forget that the other person is a real human being with feelings,” Marin says. Check in with them throughout to make sure everything is going great for them too, and talk with them about their own boundaries in advance just as you do with your partner. They’re an equal agent in the experience, not a prop.
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    What comes next: Think about what kind of relationship you want to have with your third after the threesome. Would you like them to become a regular sexual partner? A friend? A part of your relationship? Or do you want the situation to be a one-time-only scenario? Make sure everyone involved is clear on, and OK with this!
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    You don’t have to go all the way: There are ways to play with the idea of a threesome before you actually do it — or even instead of actually bringing a third party into the picture. Employ dirty talk about what it would be like to have someone else in bed with you and what you would do to them or want to watch them do to your partner.
    "So many couples forget that you can play with a threesome as a fantasy! I recommend this as a first step, even for couples who do want to go through with a threesome,” Marin says.