To many, defining the different types of threesomes is arbitrary and is nothing more than an academic exercise Nonetheless, defining types of threesomes is important because it helps in ensuring everyone has the same understanding thereby making communicating easier. Also, it helps to ensure those participating in the threesome understand the implied expectations.
A part of my hope in writing this couples who are considering threesomes will use this as a guide in determining what type of threesome might be suited for them. Therefore, I would not necessary expect this to be read like a story and instead I would expect it to be used as a reference.
Next, this author mentions friend with benefit since it is this author’s feeling friend with benefit fits under the heading of a secondary open relationship and it shares characteristics with a threesome.
Finally, in this article, I will do a basic overview but before beginning my discussion, I do need to define the term monogamy since it is integral to the topic of threesomes.
Defining monogamy is important because it will help a couple define how far they are willing to go with having a threesome and it will help the reader understand how the threesomes differ in their practices. In addition, it will make it easier for the rest of this article if there is a common definition of monogamy. Essentially monogamy can be broken down into two parts, physical and emotional.
Physical monogamy is what most couples think of when they hear the word monogamy essentially means sexual contact is exclusive to the couple. This means the couple does not have sexual contact with people outside of their relationship.
Whereas neglecting emotional monogamy from the discussion regarding monogamy is common but it is essential for understanding threesomes. Emotional monogamy means the couple maintains an exclusive emotional bond that they do not share with anyone else and if they have a threesome the type of activity they seek out is an activity that focuses on the physical aspect of sex. This means the couple will work at keeping themselves emotionally detached from the invited third person and work at maintaining that bond. At this point if you are a bit confused, do not worry, as it will become more apparent as you further read.
Role-playing by definition is acting out a scene that involves a third person joining the couple for sex and the defining characteristic of role-playing is the idea of having a threesome remains a fantasy. Even though it remains a fantasy, it does not mean the couple cannot incorporate some realistic. It mean for a couple that wants to test their level of comfort with the idea may go as far as going into public where one member of the couple interacts with someone in public and then discuss their level of comfort after it happens in order to determine what their next step may be. Such a test may give a couple a general idea of how they would feel seeing their partner becoming intimate with someone else, in their presence, but it is not an absolute indicator. In comparison, some couples may take a more conservative approach by designing their scene in the bedroom and using toys as a way of simulating the third person.
monogamy and Soft-swinging
Definition of soft swinging has many variations. Some definitions are very restrictive that does not involve activity beyond a voyeur for the invited third person and some definitions are quite liberal that will include oral sex. At least for me, regardless of the definition the key element of soft swinging is no penetration with the invited person. This could mean in a two women threesome the women perform oral on each other but it becomes questionable if some form of penetration occurs. In addition, it means in a two-woman threesome that there is no sex occurring between the male and the invited woman and likewise in a two male threesome the invited male does not have sex with either member of the couple. Therefore, physical and emotional monogamy is possible in this type of threesome.
Regardless of the form, the threesome takes there are two features that define it. First characteristic is this type of threesome is short-term. Short-term means from an one-off situation to a threesome with the same group for a period of no more than two years but in most cases the threesome ends much sooner than that. This means that the couple and the invited third person maintain a boundary that keeps the couple from incorporating the third person into the couple’s relationship and allows the couple to maintain an emotional distance from third person. By keeping an emotional distance, it allows the couple to maintain their emotional monogamy and enjoy the physical aspects that the threesome provides them. It also means the attraction by couple does not need to be a complete physically, emotionally, and intellectually attraction to the third person. Their attraction only needs to be to the level where the decision about having sex with the third person and this means they will have a greater choice of people to choose from since for this type of a threesome the attraction does not need to be complete. Because of the incomplete attraction, developing friendships that goes beyond the threesome does not normally happen and means the decision time about having a threesome with that person is shorter. Typically, the relationship will end because the threesome with the third person is no longer useful, it was a one-off situation, or feelings were developing thereby causing the threesome to end. Essentially this means, for lack of a better word, the third person becomes a tool for the couple to enhance their pleasure.
Second characteristic is that both members of the couple are equally involved in the threesome. This does not mean that each individual in the couple has equal time in the threesome. Instead, it means both members of the couple are involved in the threesome and share the responsibility for having it.
This is the very traditional threesome whereby sex will occur between the invited person and the couple. However, the couple remains emotionally monogamous to each other. There is a full spectrum of activity. It can mean one member of the couple takes on a voyeur role, watching, to full participation. It could also mean that one member of the couple leaves the room while their partner and the invited third person has sex.
Grouping cuckold under traditional threesomes instead of open relationships because a cuckold I feel a cuckold has more in common with the traditional threesome than an open relationship. A cuckold takes, takes one of two forms. One form is a part of BDSM play that involves humiliation, typically female domination and involves an open relationship, which the one who is being cuckold remains monogamous. For me this is out of the scope of this piece and I will not discuss here. Second form resembles more of the traditional type of threesome or an open relationship. Under the more traditional threesome, the cuckold occurs as either a one-off or very limited time meeting. This type of threesome occurs as a shared experience whereby one member of the couple goes off to have sex with someone else and then shares the experience with their partner.
This is a threesome variation that is common in Britain and there are sites dedicated to this activity in Britain. Dogging basically involves going to a known dogging location and meeting strangers for sex. Typically it is a couple that drives to a dogging location and invites another / others to either watch or participate. From a safety standpoint this practice does pose a risk to personal safety and it can involve a risk to privacy especially if an arrest is made.
Friends with Benefits
Arguably, this is not a form of a threesome, nonetheless it does share characteristics of a threesome. The defining feature of a friend with benefits is a secondary open non-monogamous relationship and the focus is sex instead of forming a relationship. It means both individuals in the relationship are either involved with someone else in a primary relationship or have the option of being involved with someone else.
Poly / Ménage a Trios
Typically the term manage a trios is interchangeably used with threesomes. Nonetheless, a ménage a trio is a specific type of threesome. It is situation where all are in the relationship and all are equals in the relationship. This means that a ménage a trios relationship is unlike a traditional threesome in the sense that a relationship is formed with the third person. In addition, a ménage a trios relationship is unlike an open relationship because there is not a distinction between primary and secondary relationships. Essentially this means the third person, in theory has an equal say in the relationship but from a practical standpoint in order for this type of relationship to survive, this author feels there has to be some type of hierarchical order. Hierarchical order generally means invited third is a more submissive thereby understanding their role in the relationship and not being a threat to the other member of the same gender.
One of the confusions regarding threesomes, I believe, is equating threesomes with open relationships. My feeling they share similar characteristics and there is some overlap. However, I do feel there is a distinction between threesomes and open relationships. Open relationship is unique in the sense that it allows the formation of multiple relationships with various levels of emotional involvement with each partner. This means that they can be one-night stand, short-term relationships, or a relationship that is ongoing that lasts for years. For an open relationship to exist it does not mean both partners have to form another relationship outside of their relationship. Instead, it could mean that one partner forms a relationship with someone outside of their relationship and the other person remains physically monogamous.
The defining feature of an open relationship that separates it from ménage a trios is the formation of primary and secondary relationships. Primary relationship is arguably the couple’s relationship that takes priority over any relationship formed outside of the relationship, secondary relationship. This means unlike a poly / ménage a trios relationship there is less involvement of other half of the couple and a lot of the activity may be done without much knowledge. It also means another defining feature of an open relationship versus ménage a trios is the focus on individual involvement and knowledge versus couple.
It does not mean that the couple maintains the relationship for appearances sake and they are two individuals living together. Instead, it means, based on the boundaries established regarding this activity, the information regarding their partner’s activity is much more limited and other factors such as allegiance to their lover can factor more heavily in deciding what information to share. Essentially an open relationship can mean knowing less detail about what is occurring but it means more work by the couple to keep their relationship together.