My boyfriend wants to have another woman join us in the bedroom. I said I was okay with it, but now that I think about it, I’d like to set some kind of ground rules for what I’m into and not into in terms of the specific sex. I told my boyfriend that I want to have this conversation and he said he thought it would “ruin the spontaneous energy” of the threesome. How do I deal with this?
— Anonymous, from Tumblr
Sarah: For starters, dump your shitty boyfriend who is trying to make some porny fantasy come true. In reality, you have every right to ask for a conversation beforehand about how this goes down. If he thinks that establishing boundaries and consent will “ruin” anything, he’s a knuckle-dragging moron who doesn’t deserve threesomes or the girlfriends who participate in them. Especially when you’ve been together for a while and you have somewhat of a routine, introducing a third person will interrupt your usual flow, so it’s good to decide what you do and don’t want beforehand so you’re not caught off-guard. That said, remind him that it doesn’t have to be some sort of broad daylight, meet-in-a-public-place kind of thing. Have your third sex friend over for wine (heavy pours for you, dear) and cheese and enjoy each others’ company for a while, then once you feel relaxed, have a conversation about what you imagine it being like. And again, I remind you that if either party becomes squeamish about it when you broach the topic frankly in a discussion, you’d be better off finding a third who is as open and comfortable with the conversation as you want to be.
Debby: Ground rules are the way to go with threesomes — always. Your boyfriend is not being very threesome-friendly if he just wants to do as he pleases, how he pleases. When people set ground rules, things tend to go better. What are common ground rules? Some people make it about who the other person can be (e.g., an acquaintance but not a good friend or ex). Others set limits on the kinds of sex or affection display (e.g., oral okay but no intercourse or kissing). Safety often comes up, too - some people get STI screened with the newbie, others just make sure to use condoms or dental dams, birth control if relevant, and so on. Even communication can come up—some couples insist that neither one will have ongoing contact with the threesome partner or, if they do, they will be transparent and honest about it with their partner. Others make the threesome partner their BFF if he or she is willing. There’s numerous ways to do it, but talking and setting limits is key (as your gut clearly tells you).