Mar 3, 2021

How to have a virtual threeway

Dr. Justin Lehmiller shares his tips for hassle-free virtual threeways

By Justin Lehmiller

Virtual sex has been on the rise for years, but the current global pandemic has only accelerated this trend. A lot of people tried virtual sex for the first time during quarantine due to social distancing guidelines as a way of meeting their sexual needs and exploring their fantasies.

Having a threeway is one of the most popular sexual fantasies, but most people have never had one in real life. If you’re curious about trying it, a virtual threeway can be a great way to dip your toes in the water, especially during a time when opportunities for in-person action are restricted.

While a virtual threeway might sound a little admin heavy and logistically challenging at first, it is possible to create a memorable experience that is just as fiery and exciting as an IRL threesome with just a few simple steps.

Here is a handy guide for navigating virtual threeways that I put together with some assistance from professional sex hacker Kenneth Play, an international sex expert and educator, and co-founder of Hacienda Villa, an intentional sex-positive community.

1. Set the scene

Are your toys charged? Is your WIFI stable? Are your notifications off? Let's face it, tech is temperamental, so spend some time taking preventative measures so that your screen doesn't freeze in the midst of a less-than-flattering facial expression, you don’t get distracted by your friend’s texts, or your toys don't die at the worst possible moment. In other words, don’t let tech issues kill the mood.

Try to create a sexy atmosphere, too, which means paying attention to things like sound and lighting. Kenneth Play suggests opting for red lights. ‘Red lighting looks good on camera and helps the mood and vibe,’ he says. ‘The red lighting will help the camera see you clearly but not feel like you're under fluorescent hospital lights.’

You might also think about having one person play some sexy music; however, you may need to do a little advance research to figure out how to share computer audio through the platform you’re using if you’ve never done this before.

2. Communicate early and often

Before you get started, take some time to establish the rules and boundaries. Whether sex is in person or virtual, consent is key. It is essential for everyone to feel safe and respected, so create an opportunity for all participants to clarify their limits and consider establishing a safeword that can be invoked in case things move beyond anyone’s comfort zone.

‘This is a great opportunity to practice good sexual communication,’ Play says. ‘Knowing how to express your desires and boundaries is really important and if this isn't something you've practiced a great deal with your partner, you should pay extra attention to this aspect.’

Also, if one of the other participants is a current romantic partner, it’s worth having a separate conversation with them in advance about what you’re both hoping to get out of this and what the rules of your relationship are.

3. Think about safety and privacy

A virtual threeway requires some additional safety and privacy contingencies than one that takes place in person behind closed doors. For example, this means password protecting your meet-up so that unexpected visitors don’t drop in. It also means having a discussion in advance about whether recordings or screen shots are permitted.

If you don’t know the other people very well and/or you have concerns about secret recordings, consider wearing a mask to protect your identity.

Wearing a mask can help you to feel more at ease, Play says. ‘Plus, it gives off a hot masquerade ball vibe.’

4. Make it fun

Threesomes – whether in person or virtual – are sometimes a little awkward because most people don’t have a script for how they should go. Who’s supposed to do what and when? Think about how you can reduce this uncertainty and make it a fun experience for everyone.

For example, this might involve starting with a sexy game, such as ‘Truth or Dare’, or ‘Would You Rather?’ This can be a helpful way to warm up and get to know each other before diving in.

Play also suggests dressing up a little and treating it like you would an IRL date. Making an effort to look sexy can help you to feel sexy, and that will come across in your words and actions.

Plus, dressing up affords the opportunity to strip down. ‘The act of taking off clothes corresponds to the metaphorical act of revealing oneself, the hottest part of sex,’ Play says. ‘Take your time to take off the layers. Enjoy the act of seduction.’

You might think about incorporating some remote-controlled toys, too. This provides the ability for you to physically stimulate each other without being present in the same room, which can make you all feel more connected.

‘This could add a level of intimacy where you can control the sensations that the other receives, which can make things feel more intimate,’ Play says.

5. Aftercare

At some point, you’ll reach the end of your virtual activities, so what then? Don’t just hop off of the call – if you stick around, you can share a different kind of intimacy.

For example, have a gentle discussion over a drink or hot chocolate. You might talk about how the experience felt for everyone, as well as what worked and what didn’t.

Threeways (both IRL and virtual) sometimes create complex emotions, especially for people going in with a romantic partner. This is a natural opportunity to unpack those feelings.

It’s also a chance to figure out what you might do differently next time. When it comes to acting on fantasies, practice makes perfect. And sometimes it takes a few tries to get things right. By debriefing with your partners afterwards, you can reach perfection that much faster.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, having been honored three times with the Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Harvard University, where he taught for several years. He is also a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works, including a textbook titled The Psychology of Human Sexuality that is used in college classrooms around the world.

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