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Sep 22, 2021

How to ethically approach a unicorn

From first message to first date, here's how to invite a third to join you the respectful way

By Zachary Zane


Threesomes are one of the most sought-after sexual experiences, but it’s often challenging to find a third person who’s down to join an established couple in the bedroom. In fact, it’s so difficult, it’s almost mythical, which is why bisexual women who are open to having a threesome with an established male-female couple are referred to as unicorns. (The male equivalent is actually called a dragon. There isn’t quite a non-binary equivalent, so I’m proposing angel!)

While the name for a third joining a couple may originate from that of a fantastical creature, it’s necessary to remember that the naked person in you and your partner’s bed is indeed a human being with feelings, needs, and desires. They’re not a disposable object put on this planet just for your pleasure. So if you’re a masc-fem couple looking for a third, specifically, a unicorn, to join you in the bedroom, you need to treat them with some respect.

I reached out to several bi women, who are totally down to be a unicorn with an MF couple, to ask them how they like to be approached. Remember, bi women are constantly solicited for threesomes on every single dating app. Even if they love having threesomes, they typically decline because most couples have absolutely no idea how to speak to them.

These unicorns were kind enough to share how they like to be ethically approached for a threesome, specifying exactly what they need from a couple in order to feel comfortable, respected, and to be able to have a great time.

Do have a (relatively) equal interest in having a threesome

Ari, 31, won’t have a threesome with a couple unless she gets the sense that both members of the couple are 100% into the experience. ‘It doesn’t take long to realise that one member isn’t comfortable, or onboard with the scenario, or the situation hasn’t been adequately discussed,’ she says. ‘I want to hear each member of the couple equally enthusiastic.’

Do have the female-identifying partner be the initial point of contact

‘I definitely prefer to be approached by the woman,’ says Kela, 26. She seldom communicates with the couple if it’s mainly the man running the account because ‘I’ve encountered a lot of men who have lied about their situation.’ This speaks to the first point. Often the man is the person who’s more gung-ho about the threesome, and the couple hasn’t adequately discussed the potential threesome. At the very best, the man is jumping the gun, and at the worst, he’s being manipulative by going forward with approaching women without the expressed consent of his partner. Rosie, 32, who’s unicorned well over 50 times, agrees. ‘I prefer to be initially contacted by the female-identifying partner,’ she says.

Do communicate with your partner before reaching out to unicorns

While threesomes are the most sought-after fantasy-made-reality, they’re also the ones most likely to end poorly, said Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., when I interviewed him for Men’s Health Best. Sex. Ever. 200 Frank, Funny & Friendly Answers About Getting It On. Nothing in a threesome should be a surprise. ‘Are cuddling and sleepovers okay, is penetration or kissing acceptable?’ Kela asks. ‘There’s nothing worse than being hot and heavy, getting ready to be penetrated, just to find out the woman is totally not comfortable with her boyfriend penetrating me.’

Additionally, Kela says that you need to ‘Make it clear if you want a potential girlfriend or just something casual.’

Do communicate your sexual desires with the third

Once you and your partner know what you want to do (and seriously, hammer out every detail), then convey that to the third. Again, there should be no surprises.

Gina, 24, says that she needs to know how she fits into the couple’s established sexual dynamic. ‘Personally, I seek out threesomes for the attention,’ she says. ‘So if the couple emphasises being more interested in having me watch them, I would not agree to meet them.’

You should also discuss if this is going to be a kinky scene. Or is it more about the female partner exploring her bisexuality? Will the women play together or will it be just the two women focusing on the man? It’s necessary to make sure your desires align.

Do not expect to hop into bed with the unicorn without a date

Sure, there will be women who just want to come over, have sex, and leave, but that doesn’t seem to be the majority. In fact, every unicorn I spoke to said that she needs to have a date with the couple before having sex.

‘A date is a perfect time for me to see how they operate as a couple,’ Kela says. ‘I put my focus on learning more about them as a couple; how long have they been together, do they live together, is this their first encounter, what were their past experiences like, etc.’ She also tries to give more attention to the woman, tuning into her body language to make sure this is something she’s truly interested in and comfortable with. ‘The first meeting is not so much about the details of what will happen but if it will even work,’ she says. ‘If the date goes well, then I’ll start to ask what their boundaries and expectations are.’

Do not start negotiating if the third declines your offer

‘It’s highly manipulative and tends to be emotionally draining,’ Tara, 27, says. ‘Be graceful and grateful to have such easy technology enabling you to connect with so many wonderful souls and move on.’ If you can’t handle rejection, then frankly, you shouldn’t be asking people for threesomes. (You really shouldn’t be dating at all!) Rejection is part of the process. So don’t be an asshole. Move along.

Do prioritise aftercare

Even if you and your partner have negotiated with the third that she can’t sleep over, that doesn’t mean you kick her out right after. That is the quickest way to make someone feel used. ‘Plan aftercare prior to meeting up!’ Kela says. An incredible threesome experience can immediately turn sour if you don’t engage in proper aftercare.  Remember, that sexy naked person in your bed is a human with emotions. Treat them as such!

Zachary Zane is a Brooklyn-based columnist, sex expert, and activist whose work focuses on sexuality, culture, and the LGBTQ community.


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