The Third Degree

August 13, 2018 6 min read

I remember the first time I met a couple with the specific intention of maybe, possibly, hopefully banging them both. We’d found each other online and, after a few days of sexy banter, arranged to meet late one Saturday morning in the little coffee shop at my local garden centre. 

Sitting across the table from them I nervously stuttered my way through ordering an orange juice and they both ordered beers and in that weird self-aware state that can only come from trying too hard to be cool, I instantly felt like – I don’t know – the hugest nerd ever? 

I probably would’ve killed for a drink to drown the butterflies in my stomach but I sorta just pretended that juice was my jam and, honestly, I can’t even remember the rest of that first date but it must have gone okay because I few nights later we were naked together in their living room.

See, the most intimidating thing about being the third in a threesome isn’t the new configuration of cocks, pussies, or cocks and pussies, it’s thinking that being a “unicorn” means you’re expected to be magical, that you somehow don’t have a ton of things to learn, take away and laugh at from your own experiences.

A unicorn is that elusive ideal ‘third’, usually (but not always) a bisexual woman considered rare or mythical because they’re down to get double down without wanting any sort of relationship or commitment. As far as sexual fantasies go, our collective lust for threesomes seems to indicate that when it comes to getting off, three really isn’t a crowd.

Image credit: ANTHONOIR

But when you look at the way we talk about them, there are few things more couple-centric than threesomes. ‘The Unicorn’ even sounds like some fancy new sex toy. However, threesomes, as it turns out, are actually about three people – not two people and a sparkly horse. This is everything I’ve learnt as a ‘+1’; no myths, just the breathy, sweaty, fumbly, sometimes-awkward, often-awesome facts…

You're capable of sharing. If it hadn’t been so X-rated, my first experience as a unicorn would’ve been a goddamn Hallmark moment. Compersion is the feeling that is described in polyamorous circles as the opposite of jealousy and like any good, sexy feeling, it’s something to build up to, tease, ease your way into gently — maybe apprehensively, but with curiosity and eagerness too.

You're allowed to have attention lavished on you. If there’s one thing group sex doesn’t teach you, it’s math: being goal-oriented or keeping score of orgasms or time spent between someone’s legs is not only boring but also virtually impossible. You are someone’s fantasy – it’s okay to sit back and enjoy it.

Speaking about your fantasies, you really should speak about them. Until you utter them out loud, your fantasies remain, well, fantasies. Sexting is a great start, especially if, like me, even just ordering OJ can make you blush.  

You should always know where you stand. No, I’m not talking bedroom choreography. One of the most beautiful things about any well-planned threesome – aside from the deliciously sticky tangle of limbs – is the amount of communication that goes into it. Likes, dislikes, boundaries, safe words… conversations that should happen with every new partner, not just in kinky contexts. If you’re worried that talking about these things is going to be awkward or unsexy, man, you are in for a tough lesson on how awkward and unsexy actual sex can be when you expect your partners to magically know what pleases you.


Image source: The Dreamers

And on the topic of magic, no one is actually magical – not even unicorns. Let me get off my high horse for just a second here … Yes, threesomes can be fun and feel good but, no surprises, just like regular ol’ sex between two people they can also be complicated and painful. Being a unicorn doesn’t make anyone immune to jealousy, it can't fix people's broken relationships, not everyone will cum every time and saying you’re after a no-strings attached hook-up doesn’t mean you won’t catch feels… A healthy dose of realism

Less five-moves-to-drive-her-wild, more intuition. Paying attention to the needs of two people simultaneously requires more awareness of body language, facial expressions, tone and that split-second separating enthusiastic engagement from hesitation. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s actively trying to be sensitive to the needs of others. Not just applicable to unicorns.

It's okay to be used for sex. Repeat after me: You don’t have to be in love to have great sex. You don’t have to be in love to have great sex… Sex between friends, sex between strangers, sex to make a fantasy come true, sex because you’ve had a few drinks and the air smells like wood smoke and you’re stumbling through a cemetery late at night in a foreign city with two gorgeous girls whose goose-bumped skin glows in the moonlight when you dare each other to strip down… If you’re upfront about what you’re doing and what it means, being a fancy new sex toy is not actually a problem.

But… watching people who know each other’s bodies is also crazy hot. I guess some people would argue that my predilection for playing third wheel is a fear of intimacy or a commitment avoidance thing but nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy about Real Love than watching it play out a foot away from me (ideally with a Hitachi between my legs). It’s a beautiful thing watching people who know exactly how to get each other off getting each other off: the confidence, the shared looks, the vulnerability, the bliss – of all the things I love about being a unicorn, that might just be my favourite.

Image source: Kasia Kifert

Annie Brookstone
« Annie is a writer, feminist, nihilist and perv who spent the first part of her career trying not to be distracted by constant thoughts about sex. Now, when she's not writing about fucking, she's an avid rope bunny, BJJ enthusiast and charming enough to meet your mom. » All posts →