Practical Tips for Threesomes, Foursomes, and Moresomes
A collaborative piece by the AYLI Staff
Have you ever thought about having a threesome? A foursome? Swinging? Attending an orgy? You’re not alone! Group sex is a very common fantasy. And it’s easy to understand why! If playing with two people is fun, adding more must make extra fun, right? But like most fantasies, the reality can sometimes be a little different than we imagine it to be.
After all, sex can be complicated. It involves a lot of trust and vulnerability. It requires ample communication and the open and informed assessment of many risk factors, both physical and emotional. And when you add additional participants, the risks multiply.
But playing with multiple partners at a time can be a lot of fun, if you prepare and are realistic about your expectations. Whether you’re polyamorous and interested in making group play a recurring part of your relationship dynamic, considering setting up a one-time fantasy threesome with a partner, interested in swinging with other couples, or just wanting to play casually with multiple partners at one time, there are a few things to consider before you get the party started.
Tip #1 — Finding the Right Friends
by Jackie, (they/she)
How do you even begin with group sex? No way is the “right” or “best” way, as everyone’s needs are different. Maybe you’re polyam, and want to play with more than one partner at a time. Maybe you have a monogamous partner, but want to try the fantasy of a threesome. Maybe you’re interested in attending a play party that might involve some group fun. There are no wrong answers, but it’s important to understand what your goals are before you start the search.
Once that’s determined, picking the right people is going to be the next important step. You might not want to pick your coworker and your boss, for example. These kinds of dynamics are popular for fantasies, but may not work out so well in practicality. For group sex beginners, it may help to look for participants who are involved in the kink community, or who have previous experience with group sex, as these types of people will be well-practiced in boundaries and scene negotiation already. Picking the right partners means more than just logistics and reachability — it also involves choosing people who share your vision of what will happen during and after the session.
Step 3 is to find those people. Kink communities and polyam circles are an amazing place to find like-minded individuals — just make sure to be respectful during your search! Not everyone who is into polyam participates in group play, and you should never just assume that someone is DTG (down to group) just because of their other interests or past experience. If you find it easier to connect online, kink-specific social networking sites, like FetLife, make a great start. But for established couples looking for a third to join them, traditional dating apps tend to have a low success rate. For example, making a partnered Tinder trying to find a Unicorn might end up being a disappointment. But if you are the Unicorn, go for it! Your success will be very high!
Tip #2 — Communicate, Communicate, then Communicate Again
by Kristine (she/her/Dr.)
In addition to discussing the physical activities that may take place during a threesome, foursome, or moresome, addressing possible emotional reactions also is important. With many group sessions, some or all of the participants have relationships that extend beyond this play session. Jealousy, insecurity, shyness, or and other potentially uncomfortable emotions may crop up at the most inopportune moments. It’s ok if one person needs to take a break and leave a play session. And if this possibility is discussed in advance, it is less likely to lead to awkwardness among the remaining participants or with the person who needs the break.
Prior communication about the do’s and don’ts is critical, but doesn’t stop when the action commences. Check-ins among all participants is helpful, especially if one or more folks had some “maybe” activities on their lists. And even if everyone is abiding by the other participants’ Hell Yes and Absolutely Not activities, emotions and unexpected physical reactions may pop up, so check-ins are helpful. Suspending emotional discussions until the play session ends may work best for some folks, especially if a decent amount of open communication happened prior to play.
Debriefing after a group play session generates useful information for potential future group play. When and how the play partners do this can happen organically–does it feel right to talk while basking in the afterglow and sweat of a fun time? Does discussing it over coffee the next day make more sense? It really depends on the participants’ preferences. There is no right or wrong as long as everyone keeps communication lines open.
Tip #3 — Don't Neglect Safer Sex Practices
by Jackie, (they/she)
When it comes to group fun, it’s incredibly important not to neglect safer sex practices. We’ve written at length on our site before about getting comfortable talking about STI status and how we can all make safer sexual health choices. All of these practices count triple (or quadruple, or quintuple) when it comes to group sex. Be sure to have the conversations about STI status, barrier expectations, birth control methods, and boundaries well before you get into the bedroom so there is no confusion in the moment. It can make everyone involved more comfortable to go into the interaction with an awareness of what kinds of sex they can look forward to, and what kinds (if any) are explicitly off the table. You should also go over safe words and make sure that everyone involved knows how to use them, and have a discussion of any aftercare expectations.
Once you’ve made all the negotiations, make sure that you have a few practical tools on hand before you start. A full bottle of simple, scent-free lubricant can make everything go much smoother (pun intended), as long as you remember to check with your playmates for any allergens to avoid.
If toys are going to be involved, using condoms as barriers can make sharing toys as safe and seamless as possible — just be sure to get a fresh barrier when you move between bodies! It’s also smart to keep a towel and a packet of baby wipes nearby for quick and easy cleanup. During group sex, hands quickly become vectors of contagion in a way they aren’t as much during two-person encounters. Every time your hands touch a person’s fluids or inside their body, make sure your hands are freshly washed. Or, if you want a safer but still seamless experience, consider using nitrile or latex gloves. And of course, make sure you have plenty of drinking water on hand! Nothing is less sexy than getting dehydrated in the middle of playtime.
Tip #4 — Mentally Preparing for More Than Two
My favorite piece of advice around a successful threesome (or any odd number hook up for that matter) is to be ready for it to become a paired event at some point. Not everyone can be doing everything at the same time. Just as with any game we play, sometimes we have to wait our turn or even give up a turn to another so the play flows smoothly.
Before the action starts (days, not minutes) imagine the moment that a pairing will happen and explore how you may react to that, being mentally prepared can ease the transition. Know that finding yourself solo as your playmates really get into a groove together, is the perfect moment to take that time for yourself. Rehydrate and catch your breath, resetting your body for more pleasure. A little sensory cool down after all that sensory input.
Bask in the sensations that you have already experienced together. Close your eyes and focus inward. Check in with yourself on how you are feeling. Don’t think about thinking, this is a feeling time! Open your eyes and practice compersion: how hot is what is happening right there beside you?!? Two people you have a sexual/emotional connection with exploring each other? Taking delight in one another? Sounds perfect to me! Now get your sexy ass back into the action.
Tip #5 — Truly Enjoy Watching
by Helen Being
Please let go of the expectation that group dynamics will mean every person is paying equal attention to everybody else, or that every person will be doting exclusively on you. All eyes and hands on you would be a great birthday treat but in more free-flowing group dynamics, one person is often left with no hands but their own for at least some period of time. Try not to feel jealous or left out: remember, nobody knows how to please you quite like you do! Take a moment to look around, take a breath of gratitude and awe, and appreciate the moment for what it is.
Perhaps this becomes the time to be the only person focused on you, giving you the space to really explore how delicious your own skin feels beneath your fingertips. You may turn into a show for your partners as you pleasure yourself as only YOU can.
Tip #6 — It's Not Porn, Y'all
by Win (it/they)
We all know, or at least would like to think we know, that real life sex is nothing like sex in media. This goes triple for group sex. Plan for the quick negotiations and slip ups during play, and for there to be things that need to be talked about afterward. Be ready to adjust your expectations and go with the flow, don’t put people or activities on pedestals and be unprepared for reality. Sometimes it takes a while, or even multiple sessions, to find a flow.
The more people you have involved, the more planning and prep work needs done before and during the fun. Not just general communication but also the practical; getting lube and toys ready, deciding on music, planning for clean up, and deciding where everyone is going to sleep. Even when you’re having sex with people you know really well, you never quite know what's going to come up in the bedroom (or wherever you’re playing). Be ready for people to have hidden triggers and dislikes, for people to change their minds, for someone's body to not be as ready as they thought. Respect consent and boundaries, including when they shift. Keep in mind that sex means different things and looks different ways to different people, and expecting everyone to feel the way you do is setting everyone up for disappointment.
Tip #7 — The Value of the Cruise Director
by Helen Being
Personally, I’m a facilitator of fun. I enjoy watching and I can’t fully let go or experience pleasure if I know that not everybody is comfortable. Not everybody around me has the eye for detail I bring to my group sex encounters, which has elevated me to the revered position of “director of fun” on more than one occasion.
This doesn’t have to be an officially appointed position but it’s great to have creative problem solvers asking each other, “How could we make this even more fun?” Ask yourself: Does everybody have enough pillows? Is everybody asking for what they want and speaking up when they’re getting bored or triggered? This toy is just sitting here, would anybody like to try it? Acting as oversight during group sessions can be both very helpful and incredibly hot, if you have someone willing to take on the role.
Tip #8 — Live a Little, Laugh a Lot
by Win (it/they)
Look, sex is goofy. From a fumbling dark alley hook-up to a carefully constructed and negotiated scene, all sex is a little silly. Bodies are strange and wonderful, and the more you have in any situation the sillier it gets. Joints will pop at inopportune times, fluids will drip places, funny noises will be made, some positions just won't work no matter how you contort, and that's all fine!
Instead of getting upset or embarrassed, lean into it and laugh with your partners. Acknowledge those moments and use them to bring lightness and affection, a chance to breathe and remind yourself why you're with who you're with.
A lot of people get nervous about ‘performing well’ during group sex, and while that's an understandable feeling, it also gets in the way of getting into the moment. Trust that the people you’re sleeping with want to be with you and won't throw you out for tripping over your words or having a cramp, and will probably laugh with you. And if they are mean about it? You probably don't want to be with them anyways.
I’ve always found the best indicator of how hard someone is going to make me come is how hard they make me laugh first.
Conclusion: Go Forth and Find Your Group
All sex is a collaborative experience. And the more collaborators you include, the more challenging it can be to ensure everyone is able to express and explore the way they want. But playing with more people can open up new dynamics, sensations, and experiences that simply aren’t possible otherwise. If two minds are better than one, then imagine what kind of sensual delights that three (or four, or more) minds working in tandem for mutual pleasure can achieve!
So with these tips in mind, we here at As You Like It encourage you to go bravely forward into the realm of threesomes, foursomes, and maybe even moresomes. With consent, communication, and an open mind, your group sex reality might even turn out to be better than your fantasies.