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I’ve had a lot of threesomes in my day. Some have been hot, some decidedly less-so, and some straight up crash-and-burn disasters. I’m a partnered (but occasionally polyamorous) queer dyke, as well as a sex educator, so, in theory, I should have access to all the sex-positive communication tools anyone would ever need to make a threesome go smoothly.

That said, we’re all human, ripe with messy emotions and vulnerability. Sure, I’ve had mind-blowing three-way sex that helped me feel more intimate with my partner, but I’ve also felt jealous when I could feel my partner crushing on our third.

Bottom line: I’ve learned that communication, honesty, and satisfaction for every participant are what takes a threesome out of crash-and-burn territory and into the mind-blowing, hottest-sex-you’ve-ever-had zone. Interested? Here’s the best tried-to-true advice I’ve got for you.

Be honest with yourself.

Get clear and honest with yourself about your needs and how you feel about your relationship. If you are dissatisfied with your relationship or if you think that this third person will fix things between you, halt full stop. You probably need to work on your duo dynamics before proceeding. Whoever is guesting in your sheets is a person, not a solution. Using them without their knowledge for you own ends (even subconsciously) is just icky.

Be considerate in approaching the topic with your partner.

Make sure you set a time — sans distractions — to really talk it all through. I’m a firm believer in the assurance sandwich:

1) Assure them. Tell your partner how much they turn you on and how much you enjoy the sex between you. Even people in relationships with a strong foundation need a little bolstering.

2) Drop that info. Share your personal threesome fantasy, while including elements of your partner’s fantasy life, and the ones you share together. This can help your partner to feel included rather than threatened.

3) Reassure them. Get vocal about how lucky you feel that you can share your desires with them. Be real, clear, and loving. Hopefully some of the groundwork has already been laid for you to listen to one another without judgement or criticism.

Determine some boundaries within your primary relationship.

Negotiating the terms of your experience ahead of time can put both your minds at ease — but it’s also super hot foreplay, so remember to have fun with it! Get specific about sex acts, safer sex practices, and logistical questions. Which acts are for sharing and which are just for the two of you? Are blowjobs or eating out without a condom kosher to you both? Host at home or elsewhere? Do you want overnight guests? Keep in mind that you and your partner may not align on every last detail and that’s 100% fine. It’s all about finding the balance.

Be strategic in finding your Unicorn.

Now that you’ve discussed your boundaries, it’s time to find the right person. I don’t recommend hooking up with close friends at first. Acquaintances can be slightly less tricky, but if you feel uncomfortable with the idea of seeing them again, an anonymous other may be your best route. Apps like Tindr or Facebook cruising groups provide the opportunity to be upfront about your relationship status and desires.

In my experience, finding your Unicorn in a bar generally happens when the booze is flowin’ and inhibitions are low. In these conditions, your carefully developed boundaries can fly right out the window — potentially leading to hurt feelings. That said, cruising IRL can be sexy way to bond and interact with your partner. Remember not everyone will be down for your coupled affections so keep it to cruising unless the third party initiates.

Make your third feel welcome.

The date is finally here! Even though you may be feeling frisky, try to not pounce the second you see them. Regardless of location, think of yourselves as gracious hosts helping them to feel welcome. Interact with them in a way that includes them in the flirtatious excitement between you and your partner. When ramping up the energy, I’m a huge fan of consent-driven foreplay. Can I touch you here? Can I kiss you? This sets the precedent for consent-driven dirty talk.  Can I fuck you from behind? Will you eat me out? Ask and then (always, always, always) respect the answer you get.

Check in post party.

Build in an post-coitus practice of checking in with your guest before they take their leave. Make sure they feel taken care of and thank them for being so awesome. Next, take the time to physically connect and process with your partner. What felt good? What would you have done differently? Don’t be afraid to ask for reassurance — and be willing to give it freely. But most importantly, enjoy and revel in reviewing the hot details of your exploits together. You’re sexual co-adventurers and that’s worth celebrating.

As a former sex worker and educator (The Lusty Lady Seattle and Babeland respectively), Georgia Maxine is a proponent of pleasure based knowledge and knowledge based pleasure. She is a queer and a dancer/choreographer who is proud to work with mega-talented members of her community such as Nomi Ruiz (Jessica 6), Zebra Katz, AB Soto, and Sasha Velour. A food enthusiast since day one, she has always preferred salty snacks over sweets.