5 Tips For Governing An International Threesome

Vicky Cristina Barcelona / Amazon.com.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona / Amazon.com.

We’ve all seen the fantasy frontier of threesomes by way of porn, film, and friend folklore, but what about making it happen IRL? Travel may seem like a prime opportunity to introduce a third partner into your sex life sans drama and with someone exotic that you’ll never see again. Or perhaps, after watching Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you dream of joining an impassioned Spanish couple in bed, your wine-stained linen clothes rumpled on the floor of their breezy pied-a-terre while they kiss every inch of you. Or maybe you’ve actually found yourself post-pubs with an ecstasy pill on your tongue discussing hip hop angst of the nineties with the Scottish novelist you’re dating and a step-aside-Mike-Skinner swaggering British aspiring rapper (we’ve all met that bloke, haven’t we?); they’re staring at your bouncing tits as you air-grind to Notorious BIG’s “Juicy,” then they give each other this look, and you slide a bra strap off thinking: oh hell, if not now, then when? (When the rapper is a disappointing lay, you can feign surprise. And you’ll be laughing at his mixtape for years to come, so file under #completelyworthit.)

So here you are, finding that you crave a multi-partner encounter abroad — or stateside with abroad broads/bros — and who can blame you? With the fascination many of us have with group sex, it has become not only the everyman’s fantasy, but the everywoman’s as well. Trying this on a trip can be a remarkable way to sow oats far from static familiarity. Traveling can be a rare, brilliant time to sexually experiment without fear of permanence or emotional reprisal. It can be intoxicating to meet and sleep with someone completely different from your culture, and then, how sexy when you can disappear at dawn, as you would in the dreamy subtitled indie films that first inspired your travels.

Even in a shared culture, there’s much to consider regarding complexity of group sex dynamics. When crossing cultures, there is even more to be conscious of before sailing your ship into the uncharted waters of gold-skinned women, deep-accented gents, and anyone else who may fall between your sheets.

Below are some tips for navigating these narrow thoroughfares, speeding down the Autobahn of your trifecta-level sexual adventuring, having exploratory encounters that will become riotous stories told on your porch as an old married gal after too many whiskies that remind you of that one night in New York City (I really wanted to say Bangkok…I didn’t though, because I’m wicked classy like that).

1. BE BOLD ENOUGH TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, BUT CHILL ENOUGH TO LET IT.

Planning sex is the least hot move you can make. Spontaneity is at the core of arousal. I have night terrors — NIGHT TERRORS — about the lore of Designated Sex Nights and Requisite Anniversary Blow Jobs. My husband jokes about it just to horrify me. Most Americans are neurotic planners. I am not (I live quietly among you like an Other in LOST), but I see you all bustling around me with your day planners and casual french manicures. Keep your plans in your career and your inner dirtdog in the bedroom. In this vein, your threesome needs to be casual or it is never going to happen; if you get it to happen via detailed planing, it will be awful, I mean horrendous, like excruciatingly quiet college dorm creaky-loft-bed sex. I am now giggling about how very, very bad that always was, and also find myself suddenly craving a nostalgic gravity bong hit from a sawed-off Mt. Dew 2-Liter.

Thus, you may want to start your three-way journey by checking dating sites for likeminded parties, or going to a lifestyle club, or — my advice — socializing at festivals, bars, parties, letting it develop organically. Expose yourself to interesting, artsy people. We…err…they are a demographic that love connection and experimentation. Be bold and direct enough to bring it up casually, but don’t be pushy. Pushy sex jerks are the universal language of a huge turnoff. If you want to deflate a boner and/or Sahara a lady, definitely be awkward and urgent.

2. BE AWARE OF CULTURALLY ENGENDERED POWER DIFFERENTIALS.

To speak experientially (here we go, exes thrown beneath the bus time! JK…), in my youth I had relationships (/relations…?) with what I qualify as “international” men, and I was unprepared for how their cultural upbringings might affect us in the bedroom. One, a Lebanese guy who was UNREASONABLY HOT but also extremely directive and more fully bedroom-controlling than I’d ever experienced in an American dude (if you’re on the receiving end of this for the first time, it’s a little intimidating!); the other, a kind Northern Irish lad raised by a former nun who was a bit easy to rattle with the casual vulgarity I’d always thrown at guys — oh America, you are one crass bastard! I was a little blindsided in both situations, but they were both lovely human beings, so it wasn’t an issue to discuss it openly. It was pretty sexy, to be honest, to bring some new style to the sheets.

And yet, if you double their perspective, and you’re among strangers, yours becomes the foreign worldview. It may be what you’re looking for, but also be ready to contend with sexual cultural norms that aren’t your own; and it may be worth researching and discussing ahead of time. For example, very religious people are occasionally gifted with wild child syndrome, but many will have stiff conservative views or inflexible gender roles about things you may not even think twice about. Don’t be steeped in assumptions; you may have somebody freak out on you when you reach for an act like oral or anal or anything bisexual. Or you may say something graphic that, to them, is NOT okay.

Communicating is tough even with a lover who you’ve known for years, but it can be very bumbling — even dangerous — with two lovers with a sexual mentality that polarizes your own sense of “normal.” Particularly if you’re alone and far from home, you don’t want to find yourself in a legit scary ordeal with, say, a pair of guys who are pissed because you enthusiastically suggested they go down on each other and their culture just happens to be extremely homophobic. You don’t want to wind up in hot water, unless it’s in an outdoor jacuzzi with vodka and two bearded tundra babes named Boris and Viktor. That’s the only international threeway hot water you ever want to be soaking in. Mmm. Viktor’s famous backrubs. Take me home, Baltic roads. (I’m Brian Williamsing out here; I’ve never done any of that, but I am Estonian, lolz.)

3. BE INTUITIVE AND — HONEY — DON’T BE WEIRD.

In a shared-culture threeway, you’ve got to be sure everyone’s on the same page. In a cross-cultural threeway, you’ve got to be sure that you’re all in the same library. If you don’t share a language, you’ll need to hone in on little cues and respond to them cautiously and courteously. You may even find yourself with three different cultures to consider.

Additionally, there may be new physical discrepancies in exotic lovers. Number one: many men outside of America are not circumcised. Many women WIG DA FUQ OUT at this (something I never understood — it’s a dick, ladies. They’re all just dicks). Don’t point or stare, don’t say “ew” in your best Jimmy Fallon voice. If it’s unfamiliar, gently ask them for guidance, and keep in mind that it is much easier to humiliate somebody with an audience (as is the case in a threeway). There also might be hair and skin in places that you have never seen, nor expected to ever see, before. Be cool. You might be real weird to them, too.

You must go into the experience with an open mind; if you’ve never been with women, but an Adèle Exarchopoulos or Lea Seydoux leans into you warmly, and you’re even a bit curious, you should definitely kiss her. Very few opportunities like that will ever cross your path again. Don’t get hung up on what you think your sexual identity already is — that’s very dull. Allow it to unroll, unravel, even evolve. Embrace it if you have an inkling. It may result in not only sexually expressing yourself in new ways, but, ultimately, just getting to know yourself better.

4. WRAP UP x 3.

You may be excited for your international threeway because your partner(s) are stranger(s) who you’ll likely never see again.

On the flipside, THEY ARE STRANGERS AND YOU’LL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN — ARE YOU MAD? PUT A GODDAMNED CONDOM ON, MAN/LADY!

I don’t mean to totally TLC song-preach yas, but ignoring safe sex is pretty generationally common now. I grew up wedged between the “don’t go chasing waterfalls or you’ll promptly die” and the “protection-whatevs-snapchat me” generations, so forgetting a condom can warrant a shrug at inconvenient times (with hysteria setting in the next day, naturally). But it’s super important here because, in a spontaneous moment, there’s a very good chance you won’t want to disrupt the cadence of a whole three-party flow with fumbling for rubbers and wrapping up the crew. The solution? Keep them on you. Yes, like the nerd in high school who never got laid. Follow his lead. He doesn’t have VD — good role model!

Certain STI diseases are very widespread in other countries — for example, HIV in sub-Saharan African countries; there are roughly 40 million cases at present and 1.8 million new cases per year. Don’t be a statistic, as they say. Be advised to the point of possibly avoiding intercourse altogether. As well, get tested even with condom use. The last person you want to be divulging your sexcapade to is your gynecologist. And “thanks for the clap-eries” is a phrase spoken by no European backpacker ever.

5. BE A PART OF THE STORY YOU WANT TO TELL.

Request and contribute novelty ! If you’re an American girl and you want to give international lovers a thrill, be REALLY American. I’ve dated enough men across the globe to know that they love that shit. I once had a South African boyfriend ask me to pose nude, long red hair unfurling down my back, in front of the American flag hanging on his window. In retrospect, I only wish I’d been holding a rifle. (Kidding… a bit.) How to act “really American,” you ask? Be vocal, confident. Be uninhibited, dirty. Be playful, joke around. Order a large pepperoni pizza during sex. Eat a slice when he’s on top. Then say you’re the best in the world and mean it (lol I’m just serious).

This will be as much of a wild tale for them as it is for you. Bask in the absurdity and awkwardness and do whatever you (consentingly) please. You’re in a space where everyone is adventuring, so you may as well just let go. Craft little pieces of the story you’ll someday want to reminisce upon. This can be a truly unique experience and one for the vault. We are all so hard up to have so many credentials; let’s have more sex stories while we’re young and free like birds. Bon voyage! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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