Are Open Relationships Just Threesomes?

Disclaimer: This article is aimed at offering advice for people trying to understand themselves, their relationship, or others. It is not meant to determine someone’s relationship identity, place relationships into unnecessary categories, or to judge. If a relationship is happy, healthy, and consensual, then it is great!


It is also essential to note that different people and different relationships may classify things differently. Each relationship is unique and is subject to the couples’ own discretion, feelings, and beliefs.

What is an open relationship?


So what then is an open relationship? Because sexuality and relationships are fluid, an open relationship can be explained in many ways, the first being- “an umbrella term that encapsulates all other forms of non-monogamy, like monogam-ish, swingers, and polyamory.” This definition emits the idea that monogamous means closed and all other types of non-monogamous relationships are thus open. Another definition offers open relationships as just one type of non-monogamous relationship “under the ethical non-monogamous umbrella.” Typically, an open relationship has opened their boundaries to allow the relationship to expand sexually but not romantically, therefore, only hooking up with others and not actually dating them seriously. However, exact definitions pertain to each person, so it is always important to clarify.


What is a threesome?


A threesome is something I am sure we have all heard of, especially if you’re reading this article, but what really is it? Urban dictionary has an easy way of explaining it- “having your cake and eating it too, then watching your cake eat another cake.” All jokes aside, a threesome is actually just a group of three people engaged in an activity- in this case, sexual activity. Threesomes may just be one instance or may persist with the same person for several weeks/months. They involve a couple who then integrate a third person into their sexual interactions.


So, is a threesome an open relationship?


As mentioned above, threesomes may be a part of an open relationship or any relationship for that matter, but they are not open relationships. Threesomes are almost always present in a polyamorous relationship but are not essential. It is common for threesomes to lead people to consider or commit to open relationships, but couples may participate in threesomes and still wish for their partner to not deviate from their monogamous relationship without them. In Laura Parker’s article, “Are Threesomes a Gateway Drug to Open Relationships,” she shares her personal story as to how she and her boyfriend (now husband) began their interest in an open relationship with a threesome. When the threesome was exhilarating, fun, and a bonus for their relationship, it led to a conversation about the potential to have a non-monogamous relationship, which, since then, has worked out wonderfully. While a threesome was a part of their open relationship, it is not their entire relationship. She stresses how communication and teamwork have aided in the success and ease of their relationship.


3 Tips for setting up and having a successful, invigorating threesome:

  1. Use an app...and be honest!! In a tech-advanced world, there are several apps that can aid in finding the right person- Grindr, Tinder, or 3somer, to name a few. It is important to disclose that you are “looking for fun” or “looking for a third,” so that others using the app know what you are looking for.

  2. Communicate! In an interview with Vice, Joe, and Samir, a couple who has found threesomes as an enhancement in their relationship, state that when faced with “hiccups along the way...communication was the key to avoiding bad vibes” when engaging with a third person.

  3. Have an exit plan! Ha..yes, you heard that right! Things may go south. Not everyone gets it perfect on their first try or every time. So it is imperative that you and your partner have a way to respectfully leave without making the third feel uncomfortable. Joe and Samir mention that “... “it is a ride or die situation, [so] if one of [them] is uncomfortable, and says so, then it has to stop right away.” This could be a code word followed by a conversation with the third person explaining what is wrong or can be an excuse that helps relieve the situation smoothly.


https://www.healthline.com/health/open-relationship#what-it-means

https://www.thecut.com/2014/11/my-threesome-led-to-an-open-relationship.html

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pavwwb/we-asked-couples-how-they-make-threesomes-work


#threesome #openrelationship

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