Multi-partner Sex - Introduction to
Perhaps the idea of watching others gets you hot, or maybe you’re more of a ‘middle of the action’ kind of person. No matter what your preference might be, you’re not alone in contemplating the erotic aspects of Multi-partner Sex (Threesomes and Group Sex) – including their (prospective) relationship to lifestyle choices such as Swinging and Poylamory.
Many characteristics of Multi-partner Sex (MPS) are extremely appealing to both men and women. But because this sexual activity challenges many socially accepted norms, it is not for everyone. However, if you’re happy to expand your sexual boundaries, here’s a ‘what you need to know introduction’ to collective sexual nirvana...
MPS relationships are loosely described as non-monogamous sexual activities or lifestyles, whereby the partners involved do so with the full knowledge and consent of each other. As such, sexual activities with others within the boundaries agreed on are not viewed as 'cheating'. It may involve more than two people engaged in sex with each other simultaneously, or it may be simply the giving of permission for one and/or the other engaging in sex separately with another.
Relationships such as these have been practiced for centuries in many cultures around the world. In spite of this, many societies and religions still consider them forbidden. At any rate, sexual fashions do fluctuate over time (e.g. anal sex and oral sex were once considered taboo - and illegal in some places) and consequently threesomes and group sex are not as publicly shunned as they once were. In fact, they are depicted quite regularly in adult films and commonly referred to in erotic literature. Additionally, opportunities to find like-minded partakers can be found in settings like swingers clubs, conventions, college parties and online forums.
MPS is the act of performing sexual activity with more than one partner at the same time. The term refers to Threesomes (three participants) and Group Sex (four or more participants).
There is no single way to engage in MPS, and getting physical with each person in the group is not a requirement. It may be as simple as an even number of partners going at it in the same room, or a full-scale sexual encounter where everyone does everything with everybody. Partners may also be of any gender or orientation.
Initiating the topic with your partner
If you or your partner is prone to jealousy, or your relationship is going through a difficult time, DON’T EVEN CONSIDER IT! You don’t want to learn the hard way, it can end your marriage or a wonderful relationship - and having a dabble in MPS is simply not worth that. So, consider keeping your MPS fantasies just between the two of you!
In other words, during sex with your partner you can initiate sex talk about MPS. The chance of hearing the answer you want to hear is much more likely to happen if you ask him or her while he or she is already hot! There’s no right or wrong way to suggest MPS. It truly depends on the people involved and the relationship you have. If and when you do propose it to your partner, make it perfectly clear that your desire for it is not in any way, shape, size or form a result of your partner being inadequate! So, at this point be careful and make sure that you emphasize that it’s just a sexual fantasy, and that it wouldn’t be same without him or her.
Be honest and ask your partner to participate in the sex talk as well, and ask him or her to make up stories for you too, stories consisting of the two of you with a third (or more) person. That way you’re always including your partner in your fantasy, without the repercussions that can occur from actually doing it. Your partner may even surprise you and end up being more turned on than you could have imagined. He or she may even have a few fantasies of his or her own to share with you, via sex talk. Suggest MPS while you’re already engaging in sex.
In any case, talking about MPS as a fantasy first, will give you some indication as to whether it might be something that can progress to the actual event! In other words, it is a great lead-in without committing yourself - and a safer environment in which to explore possibilities. If the hypothetical prospect is well received, then the conversation can progress to the option of making it a reality. For couples who have a very solid relationship (and are absolutely sure that pursuing MPS will not jeopardize their relationship), or those who have a more casual relationship (that is, they are not necessarily in love) - you can initiate a further conversation with your partner suggesting exploring further. First of all, honesty about your desires is the best policy, but keep in mind that this is a very delicate topic and must be treated as such - with great discretion, tact and lots of reassurances that this is a way of expanding your sexual boundaries (rather than that something is missing for what you already have).
You must first use common sense. We don’t know your partner, but you do! Is he or she the type who might participate in such? Is he or she a very sexual person? Is he or she one who has been known to experiment sexually? Has he or she ever talked about fantasies with you? Has he or she ever expressed being bi-curious? All of these questions are very helpful in determining whether or not your partner might be interested in participating in MPS.
Fortunately, most women are well aware that the overwhelming majority of men would give their right arm to be with two women at the same time? However, men, on the other hand, tend to find it difficult to understand why a woman would want MPS that included another man. Women, you have to be especially cautious, because men can be so much more insecure than they admit they are. So, if you do suggest it to your man, you might want to tell him that you are simply an extremely sexual woman (which alone will turn him on) and that you have many sexual fantasies (which will excite him even more), but you have no desire to fulfill any of them without him. That will boost his ego, which will hopefully help him see your suggestion of MPS from a non-threatening perspective.
Selecting third/fourth parties
There are pros and cons in choosing friends or strangers to join you. On one hand, you might feel more comfortable with people you know - but on the other hand, you’re taking the chance of possibly ruining that friendship if complications or jealousy arise. Even if the experiment turns out to be successful, it may still make all parties involved feel uncomfortable in the future if it was with good friends. (Note: Whether you invite friends or strangers to join you, still take the same ‘safety’ precautions).An acquaintance, however, is a different story … the stakes are not so high here if things do not go to plan.
As far as having MPS more than once with the same people is concerned, the wisdom of doing so again really depends on the successful outcome of the first attempt. If the couple is secure enough, and if the third parties are non-threatening to that relationship, then there is really no reason not to consider it. However, these are topics that simply cannot be generalized, because every situation is different. Some multiple-time affairs work out great, while others do not – even if the first time was great. So, you really have to see where the first experience takes you, and all parties obviously must want the same thing.
Where to find MPS?
Swingers clubs and organizations are a great source to find others who are looking to experiment and fulfill fantasies. To find swing clubs, simply go to any search engine and type the words ‘swing club’; once you bypass some of the swing-dancing sites, you’ll see many sites that actually refer to sex clubs. Depending on where you live, you may just find many of them in your own backyard. Events are now often managed and organized online, and once you find your way into the lifestyle you’ll have no problem finding potential partners - they are in abundance everywhere!
There is really no need to fear that attending a club will expose you to expectations from other members that it is 'open-season' on you or your partner's body. You are free to be involved in the action as much, or as little, as you and your partner feel comfortable with. All reputable clubs have very strict policies that permission is required from all participants - and that a polite 'no thanks' is all that is required if you are approached and not 'up for it'.
Another option is the Personals on the Internet; they too are a great means for finding others who are like-minded. The Internet Personals are not only designed for couples looking for others, they are usually broken down into categories, so you can search for what you are specifically looking for. You can also exchange various photos online first, and you can chat via email, webcam or telephone until you feel comfortable enough to physically meet. We do NOT recommend going to a regular bar or night club to try to pick up folks who you think might be likely candidates. That’s a really good way to very possibly embarrass yourself - not to mention, get slapped!
What's a good place for MPS?
This is probably the easiest question to answer, and that is … wherever is most convenient for all parties involved. It is common for couples to entertain in their home. It is also possible to meet at a hotel. Of course, Swing Clubs can be a really exciting venue for a threesome, foursome or ‘more’some!
Etiquette and boundaries
There are a number of factors that are highly recommended to consider, and to discuss with other participants (especially with any existing partner), before you play. Some important considerations include how far you want to go, with whom, for how long, and do the festivities continue if one or more of the participants renege or come too quickly.
When contemplating the logistics of MPS, the primary question to deliberate is the following, “What are the sexual activities that I would feel comfortable performing?” There ought to be at least a basic agreement as to what sexual acts are on and off-limits. Additionally, an agreed upon ‘safe word’ or signal should be discussed, whereby the primary partners let each other know if and when they want to pause/stop NOW! If you’ve had little experience playing with the members of the group, perhaps it would be a good idea to set more conservative boundaries? This will afford you time to learn about your own needs and build confidence around them.
It’s a good idea to engage in a sober, open discussion about boundaries with some or all participants prior to engaging in the activity – particularly anyone involved in a relationship! If you’re going to discuss what you might like to do while indulging in social lubricant, then save the actual MPS for another occasion in order to let the effects of the conversation really sink in when sober.
It is very easy to experience regret or shame after a night of fun, even though it may have been consensual at the time. If there were drugs and alcohol involved, this outcome significantly increases. That’s why it is extremely important to establish clear consent among all those engaging in this sexual activity before any mind-altering substances are introduced. If it feels awkward to bring it up while you’re sober, consider how difficult communication could potentially be afterwards.
In order to feel comfortable with the activity, do you need drugs or alcohol? A little ‘lubrication’ is acceptable to lower inhibitions, but it should not be necessary to lose control of one’s senses in order to get involved.
Imagine how you might feel to see any partner ACTUALLY involved in a sexual encounter with someone else. It might seem a great fantasy, but can you handle the reality of your significant other physically pleasuring, or receiving pleasure from, some-one else? How might you feel afterwards once all the excitement of the moment has passed? Are you prepared for the possibility that your relationship with these participants to change after you have sex? If a spouse, partner or good friend is involved, can you deal with the possibility of permanently changing – or even jeopardizing your bond? MPS can be a great add-on to your existing relationship, and can create an even greater bond where the relationship is already strong and trusting – but it can spell disaster where an existing relationship is already in trouble.
In addition to decorum, there are a few ‘must-do’s’ that will cultivate a safe, enjoyable sexual encounter. The environment should be non-coercive and non-judgmental, making all participants feel safe enough to play and explore freely. There should also be no expectations as to the outcome of any play date, so if at any point someone wants to back out, their decision is respected. One last thing regarding active participants - they never should be made to feel left out of any action.
Another consideration is the ratio of men to women. If there is only one female among a group of male players, an imbalance of power could emerge, putting pressure or obligation on her to partake in activities that she may have reservations in doing. Even if she appears to be enjoying herself, drugs and alcohol can impair judgment, so be conservative in your interpretation of each participant’s comfort level.
Do you trust the people in your group to follow the agreed upon rules of conduct? What if they don’t? Do you feel confident in your ability to enforce your limitations?
Do you trust members of your group to maintain the same agreed upon level of privacy?
Will you be able to live with your decision? Some people are of the belief that if they don't like it, they can forget about it and never do it again, whereas others can’t and won’t get over it that easily.
Are you prepared for your relationship with these participants to change after you have sex? If a spouse, partner or good friend is involved, can you deal with the possibility of permanently jeopardizing your bond?
Pros of multi-partner sex
There are many reasons to enjoy safe, non-committal sex with like-minded individuals, or to invite one (or many) into an existing sexual relationship. Consider the following :
It can be great fuel for a stable, sexual relationship. Not only does it experiment with the boundaries of a relationship, it can actually boost your trust and intimacy.
You learn new skills and sexual positions. It boosts your sexual confidence and enhances your sexual experience; after an encounter like that, you definitely walk with a new swagger!
A highly erotic experience, the sexual energy is so charged that to be part of it could be one of the most thrilling experiences of one’s life. It makes for great memories and impressive stories (if you are permitted to share them, that is)!
It’s many a person’s fantasy to have sex among others. When it comes to couples, some get aroused by the anticipation and acting out of a sexual activity together, while others enjoy ‘performing’ for the other.
You confront what your sexual preferences ‘might be’ by being free to experiment across the often ‘hazy’ spectrum of sexual orientation. If you’ve ever felt inclined to experiment with same-sex lovers, but never had the nerve to try, MPS is an excellent forum to do a test run.
There’s safety in numbers – any sexual activity that goes beyond your limits can be dealt with by changing your role in the group, or by turning your attention to another lover.
Cons of multi-partner sex
On the other hand, there are a number of pitfalls to be aware of that require careful consideration:
A night of group loving can test even the most stable relationships. Whether it was premeditated or a spontaneous sequence of events, the after effects can include regrets as well as mixed feelings like: awkwardness, disinterest, embarrassment, and shame. Even worse, it can also heighten some of the worst weaknesses in people, such as: possessiveness, jealousy, guilt and insecurity.
Because of the intense physical intimacy, one may develop feelings for another player or feel overly eager to ‘play’ again. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, the downside is that the feeling may be neither mutual nor reciprocated. Also, any potential new attachment may ultimately undermine the main relationship.
Despite the ‘purest’ of intentions, having sex with someone other than your monogamous lover (even if they’re there!) can open the door to cheating, especially if one enjoyed the experience and earnestly wants to do it again, while the other does not.
Safe sex considerations
Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STDs/STIs) and unwanted Pregnancy warrant very high attention, because the risks involved are much higher the more sexual partners’ one has. See Safe Sex & Multi-partners for their prevention - don't take unnecessary risks!
Participants can also keep activities voyeuristic and restrict interaction to something akin to soft swinging, where two or more partners share the same space but there is little (if any) actual touching of partners other than your own mate. Sensual kissing, sexy caresses, genital touching, solo & mutual masturbation, and the use of sex toys are all low risk activities to partake in. However, if you really trust your accomplices, a MPS setting is an ideal environment to take part in Sex Games, fetish activities, role-playing, erotic photo shoots and perhaps even various aspects of BDSM!
We hope this Introduction has been helpful in making a decision whether to (perhaps) partake in this highly erotic activity, but also as a handbook for a safe, fun experience. Ultimately though, your feelings will serve as your best guide. If you’re looking for more specific information regarding MPS, refer to the rest of our articles on Threesomes, Group Sex, Swinging and Polyamory - plus other online resources such as our active Forum.