Not too long ago a read a writeup that implied that taking part in a threesome was the manifestation of a desire to end a relationship. This got me thinking long and hard. The thing is, I am in a serious long-term relationship with someone I love very much. The topic has come up, and we've discussed it some. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, but I'm a curious type, and who better to explore with, than the person I'm so close to?

Does engaging in sexual acts with a party outside the relationship necessarily damage it? I think it certainly has the potential if done for the wrong reasons. Jealousy is a big issue. Insecurity is another. It goes without saying that whoever the 3rd party is, it had better not be someone who's trying to start a relationship with either of the other two. It should just be someone who's interested in experimentation. To that end, I think the best person might not be one person, so much as another couple. It should be a couple who's happily involved, but interested in trying something new. That way both the 2 Girls/1 Guy and 2 Guys/1 Girl combinations would be possible. However, what I'm talking about is a threesome. It should be carried out with the constituents of two couples, but the actual event should only involve three of the four. The problem being, if you put two couples in a room, it would be very difficult for it to not just be the two couples copulating. There has to be one person there without their partner in order to give them the freedom of experimentation. Couples on double dates make out next to each other and more without anything happening between the two couples. It's the odd number than really makes it a curious mix.

So the ideal arrangement as far as the health of the twosome relationship seems clear. The question remains. What would the impact of this activity be? In the broadest sense I suppose that there are three possibilities:

  1. The relationship is hurt
  2. The relationship is helped
  3. The relationship stays the same
Out of these, the only one I really find hard to imagine is the last one. So, let's think about the other two possibilities, and why they might happen.

The relationship is hurt

This is probably the easiest situation to imagine. It's probably very likely to occur in a relationship that already has problems anyway. If there were trust issues in the relationship, being intimate with a third party could certainly lead to feelings of insecurity. One half of the couple could feel that their contribution in the bedroom in inadequate. A threesome is certainly a bad idea if it is solely the fantasy of only one half of the couple. It is almost certain that a partner who is coerced into participation will feel threatened by the other person. Another possibility is that one of the participants could find themselves more interested in the third party than their own partner. However, this too would simply be a manifestation of an existing problem with the relationship. If performing sexual activities with someone new makes you lose interest in your partner, you really weren't that attracted to them to begin with, were you?

The relationship is helped
How might the relationship be helped? This is perhaps a little hard to imagine. The reason that most people are interested in having a threesome is to increase their own gratification. If that is the only reason, then it's not going to help the relationship. If you (and your partner) want to participate in a threesome for the purpose of better gratifying each other, then that's a start. If you participate in a threesome, it's for the purpose of pleasure. This is not polyamory. However, if you still want your partner for their companionship and friendship beyond sex, then you've shown them how much they truly mean to you. Allowing each other to participate is also a truly significant expression of your level of trust. If you can let your partner perform sexually with another person in your own presence without doubting them, you truly have a relationship that goes beyond sex.

It may sound like the only positive point for the relationship is that a threesome can serve as a sort of test. While that is true, there is certainly more. From a pragmatic perspective, this arrangement gives each partner better insight into how to best please their lover. In the bedroom, our best teacher should always be our partner, but the introduction of an outside opinion has the potential to introduce new techniques into the relationship. Imagine what a man could learn from another woman about how to please women. Finally, besides the potential for all the fun things that are logistically impossible with two people, there may be nothing that helps a relationship grow more than sharing new experiences. When you enjoy something with someone that you have done many times before, you associate it with the activity. However, when you enjoy doing something for the first time with someone. You're more likely to associate it with the person. I believe that a successful threesome has the potential to bring a couple much closer than before.

Conclusion
As I see it, there is, without a doubt, great potential for harm to a relationship. However, that potential only exists for a relationship which already has serious flaws, or a couple which is not participating out of mutual interest. The later is certainly thornier. A perfectly good relationship may not be ready for such an endeavor, and could be destroyed if one partner prods the other into doing it. Some relationships may never be ready for such an activity. Assuming the relationship has no serious outstanding flaws, the couple must come to the decision that desire to participate is truly mutual. Such relationships may well be rare. However, if this is the case, I see no reason why participating in a threesome wouldn't be very likely to improve the quality of the relationship.

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