It all started with a lesbian sex dream.
Everyone had already told my superstitious ass a million times before that a dream didn’t have to mean anything. However, with my more conservative upbringing and subsequent on-and-off bi curiosity, this dream held more weight and it scared me. No matter how often I tried to convince myself that the dream didn’t mean anything, a whirlwind of “what ifs” followed suit and spiked my anxiety.
Sexuality had already been a somewhat off-limits topic in my upbringing. It wasn’t strictly discouraged, but it was tip-toed around, which made it too awkward for me to ask questions or gain reassurance (thank goodness for the internet!). Sexual orientation, however, was an actively shunned topic. I remember my older cousin coming up behind me when I was younger while I was watching one of my favorite YouTubers — who happened to be a black, gay man. My cousin recoiled at his mannerisms and asked me why I would be watching someone like that.
There was another instance at my late grandma’s house. My family and I watching a sports show on TV and one of the athletes celebrated a major win by kissing his boyfriend, which was met with gasps from the room. “Why do they need to do all that on TV?” I learned early on that parts of my family were wary of queerness.
Additionally, my family and friends saw me as the “innocent child.” They assumed I wouldn’t have the slightest interest in sex and would always be too shy to approach a crush. It was easy for me to do or say things that were “out of character” for me, as not much was expected of me to begin with. When I’d act “out of character,” I was met with gasps, stunned faces and questions of what had gotten into me. I then learned that acting out of sync with others’ expectations, even if it was more authentic to me, was too shocking and shameful.
I was stepping outside of both boundaries with this dream, and I had no idea what I was going to do about it.
The day following the dream, I was with my boyfriend at his parents’ house. I had been trying to act as normal as possible since the scissor-fest happened in my head, but I felt as stiff as a board. Behind my forced laughs and smiles, I kept feeling twinges of shame as the dream continued to infiltrate my present. The anxiety continued to build until I felt I couldn’t cope on my own anymore. I had to tell my boyfriend what was going on. During some downtime, when it wouldn’t seem suspicious for him and me to be alone, I had my boyfriend follow me to one of the bedrooms. When I had him alone, I confessed that I was worried that I could be bisexual because of the dream.
Not surprisingly, he didn’t outright understand why I would be worried about that possibility. He reassured me that a dream didn’t have to equate to anything in my waking life, and that, even if it did, there would be no problem with potentially being bisexual. He gently reminded me that I had my own life to live, that my extended family didn’t need to know every detail about it, and that it wouldn’t matter if they did. My boyfriend gave me the space that I needed to talk about my concerns and calmed them all in one swoop. However, there was one issue that hadn’t been addressed: the fact that I had no sexual experiences with a woman to confirm or deny that I was bisexual. I was already about neck-deep in bi-curiosity, so I figured that I needed to brainstorm a way to finally resolve this.
That’s when the idea hit me: a threesome with another woman!
I pitched the idea to my boyfriend almost as soon as it hit me. In that moment, it seemed like the experience could be a fun, edgy and freeing thing for a young person to do, and that’s about as far as it went. I didn’t initially feel any shame or apprehensiveness in asking about a threesome with my boyfriend since he’s open-minded, anyway. His first reaction was a bit of shock — his innocent, awkward girlfriend was asking for a threesome?! — but it smoothly transitioned into a boner at the thought of it.
Still, my boyfriend was apprehensive. He kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to delve into that territory. He knew I hadn’t come close to experiencing anything like that before; however, he’d already experienced a few threesomes in his time. This difference in experience made me have a temporary mental hiccup. I thought to myself, if we had a threesome, everyone else but me would feel more comfortable doing it! What an unfair advantage! Plus, I felt I had a bit of competition. His ex had allowed him that sexual freedom, and there was a part of me that wanted to be the best. I pushed those thoughts aside, however, and assumed that with time, I would become more comfortable with the idea of being involved with two people.
Ultimately, my boyfriend and I were excited! We were planning to be sexually adventurous together, and it gave us something else to look forward to. We were to keep it low-key for a while, not going out of our way to pursue anyone, but started exploring our options.
Looking through our phones for threesome apps, I felt the kind of rush of adrenaline that a teenager would feel when sneaking out of the house at night. It was like being a kid in a candy store! There was 3Fun, 3rder, Feeld, FetLife (I never thought I’d find myself there!), and many more — all revolving around the threesome community. While anonymously scrolling through online forums for more information on how to find a “unicorn” (a term used to refer to a single woman who’s down to fuck a couple), I found out that even common dating apps, like OkCupid and Tinder, could be used to find a willing participant, as long as what you’re looking for is indicated in your bio.
Swiping through potential participants on the apps, I was amazed to discover that couples looking for a unicorn wasn’t out of the ordinary at all. Quite the contrary, a lot of the profiles I swiped through were either couples “looking for someone to play with” or singles who “weren’t looking to be someone’s unicorn, for the love of God.” For the people who fell in between, I tried to do my best to choose women who I felt my boyfriend and I would find attractive.
Part of me felt that swiping through “the most attractive potentials” was a bit de-moralizing, but I had to accept that it was a part of the gig. Keep swiping until someone’s interested. Except there was another roadblock that I ran into: I was looking for women for my boyfriend, but wasn’t explicitly sexually interested in anyone myself.
Things were running slow on the dating apps, anyway (the least active being Tinder; the most active being FetLife), so I didn’t need to immediately worry about my sexual interest in women yet. However, while things were running slowly, I had more time to think about the situation at hand. If I was mainly looking for women for my boyfriend, wouldn’t the threesome be catering to him and not all of us? How could I be involved if I wasn’t sure I was sexually attracted to women? Most importantly, how would I feel at the sight of my boyfriend getting it on with another woman right in front of me?
My stomach dropped at the last question. I hadn’t considered that; envisioning my boyfriend with another woman, even if I was present, made my skin crawl. I still considered myself a sexual novice at the time, and sex was something very intimate to me, whereas, for my more experienced boyfriend, it was just a fun thing to do. There was room for miscommunication regarding what the threesome would really mean for us.
I couldn’t allow myself to doubt this decision. I told myself, “Maybe I’m just nervous. With time, I’ll feel more confident about this. I just need to give it more time!” Whenever my boyfriend and I would talk about it, I could see how eager he was about the idea. I couldn’t let him down. We were both neck-deep in my bi-curiosity now. Now that someone else was involved, I realized that I may have jumped the gun a bit on my decision.
So, I kept looking. I kept looking for the reassurance that I was doing the right thing for both of us, and that a threesome would strengthen our relationship. “This’ll be fun, right? This was a good decision, right?” I asked anyone who would listen. The responses ranged from “Go for it!” to “You probably need to slow down on this.” Those responses didn’t help narrow down the pros and cons or ease my discomfort. So, I asked my boyfriend for all the reassurance I could, “There’s not a chance you’ll fall for the girl we invite for a threesome, right?”
He’d tell me time and time again that it was highly unlikely, as he knew how to separate love from sex. His reassurances only held me for a few hours, and then I was worried again. Nonetheless, I was still wary of my own doubt. Maybe it could still be a fun choice if I give myself more time to get acquainted with the idea? Plus, how would I have an edge over my boyfriend’s ex if I didn’t go through with this? I wouldn’t be the fun girlfriend if I didn’t do this. I was probably still just nervous.
I was now comparing myself to the beautiful girls I was swiping through. I would cry at the thought of my boyfriend falling for them through sexual bonding. I would express concern to my boyfriend on a more regular basis now. “Do you want to opt out?” he would ask me. No, no, it was probably something I could work through with time.
When I was alone one day, I reflected on the decision to have a threesome. I realized that it had turned into something it wasn’t supposed to. A threesome is something that should be an enjoyable experience for all parties involved and should cater to the wants and needs of everyone equally. However, now it was just something my boyfriend wanted. I still had a tiny ounce of curiosity in me that kept me pressing forward, but I more so felt pressured because I knew my boyfriend would benefit from the experience. I wanted so badly to be a “one in a million girlfriend” who was open to those sorts of experiences. I wanted to be set myself apart from the other girls my boyfriend had been with.
Then I realized that being nervous wasn’t what was holding me back — with any new experience, nervousness is normal, but it wouldn’t pose as serious a hindrance as I felt. What I was experiencing was uncertainty, and I hadn’t wanted to admit that to anyone, not even myself.
* * *
Threesomes can be amazing experiences for many couples/singles and play out without tarnishing relationships. They can be a healthy part of sexual exploration if everyone is consenting and conscious of STI protection. However, one of the main components that can either make or break the experience is adhering to boundaries. I had to realize that I was stretching my own boundaries to fit someone else’s, and if my boyfriend and I weren’t on the same page, having a threesome would ultimately hurt my relationship more than it would help it. Ultimately, I changed my mind.
I sat my boyfriend down again and told him that I would have to opt out of the decision to participate in a threesome. He respectfully accepted my decision, albeit with a little bit of disappointment. We were able to move on, and while it took me awhile, I ended up being proud that I spoke up before it was too late.
In sharing my experience of planning a threesome, I don’t want to scare anyone away from the idea. However, I wish to emphasize the importance of considering how a threesome would benefit you before bringing it up with a partner. This will guarantee that your sexual wants and needs aren’t being overridden by someone else’s. Take into consideration how you would feel seeing your partner being intimate with someone else. If it does anything else but turn you on, think longer about the decision. Make sure to always communicate any concerns or changes of heart with your partner.
Most importantly, know your boundaries and be comfortable with them. Never feel pressured to concede them for someone else.
All visuals by Aleisha Marinkovich.