Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In a relationship, three in bed can be a crowd

Uncharted territory

College can definitely be a time of sexual experimentation and liberation. Whether it’s hooking up with a stranger you met at a party, buying your first vibrator, trying a new sexual position or learning how to tell your partner exactly what you want — college often allows you to explore new sexual territory.

But how far are you willing to venture? In this column, we want to address things that our campus community might not be talking about. So we’re asking you: Want to have a threesome?

Is three a crowd?

Sexual experiences involving three partners are sometimes glamorized in the media and the porn industry. It makes logical sense — if two is good, then three must be better, right? But let’s take a moment to consider the logistics of a real-life threesome.

“Making fantasies realities can be satisfying, but it also can illuminate how different things are in the real world, with real people, than they are in our fantasies,” Heather Corinna, a professional sex educator and the founder of the teen sex ed site, says in one of her articles about safer sex.

We asked some AU students what they really think about threesomes (names will remain anonymous), and the answers varied.

A female senior in the School of Communication said she hasn’t had a threesome and doesn’t think she ever would.

“I don’t have any issue against the concept, I just think for me it would be too overwhelming,” she explained. “I already think I think too much during sex, and it would be too much to have to think about three people, including myself.”

On the other hand, a female senior in the School of Public Affairs told us she would definitely consider having a threesome.

“I really love women, so the idea of being able to love two women at the same time seems pretty awesome,” she said.

However, she had limitations on her idea of what that threesome would be like.

“In order to have a threesome, I would be the cameo or guest star,” she said. “I think that I am a really jealous person, and would potentially spend too much time in a threesome counting who was getting touched more. But inserting myself into a relationship where I didn’t have a really strong emotional attachment to the other people, but had a definite physical attraction, would be a lot of fun.”

A male senior in the College of Arts and Sciences echoed the same sentiments.

“I wouldn’t have a threesome while I was in a relationship,” he said. “I would only do it if it was a random thing at a party with strangers, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get any diseases.”

“I think it’s easy for guys to get sexually jealous,” he went on. “If you’re in a committed relationship and introducing another person, someone else is fulfilling a need for your partner that you can’t. That would definitely hurt my male feelings.”

The aftermath of a threesome

As Corinna points out, there are serious realities that sometimes accompany the threesome fantasy.

“You probably aren’t fantasizing, for instance, about someone getting jealous or insecure in the middle of everything,” she writes. “Or about what seemed really hot in your head feeling really awkward or silly when it’s actually happening … or managing relationship or social fallout from this for a few months.”

The AU students we interviewed identified with these points.

“I would love to do a threesome, but I value my relationship much more,” a male senior in the School of Public Affairs said. “Threesomes are more about pleasure and adventure than intimacy … Even if my boyfriend agreed to do it, I probably would not go through with it.”

“A threesome has the potential for great embarrassment,” the first male senior said. “If you do something stupid with one girl, it’s one girl. If there are two, somehow it’s quadratic – it’s four times as embarrassing and they’re going to talk about it.”

The second male senior agreed. “If you are slightly uncomfortable with your body or performance ability, not only are there more people to witness it, but the other two have the option of leaving you out if it moves to intercourse,” he said.

Are threesomes just about sex?

The threesome is a powerful sexual fantasy, but there are obviously deeper issues involved.

“To say ‘it’s just about sex’ oversimplifies it, because there does have to be a good level of communication with everyone involved about what expectations they want,” the second female senior said. “How far are we going to go, is there going to be a relationship, what do we want out of this — these are all things you have to talk about. It should be a lot of fun, but there has to be an underlying understanding first.”

So there you have it, AU. If you feel empowered enough to indulge your poly-amorous fantasies, by all means do so — but be smart and safe about it. Think about the potential repercussions of your actions, and be upfront about your intentions.

And as always, send questions, comments, or threesome stories to Tara and Ryan.

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