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Group Sex: A Guide to Navigating Threesomes to Play Parties

Group sex as depicted in the Sense8 TV Show

Having group sex is a pretty common sexual fantasy. The idea of being intimate with multiple partners at once in a mass of raw sexuality and passion is certainly appealing. But when it comes to actually having group sex, there’s a lot to keep in mind, and if you’re new to the scene it can be overwhelming to get started. To help, the experts at Juicebox Love + Sex, a personal guide for all things sex, dating, and relationships; have some tips for making the most out of your group sex experience.

Types of Group Sex

Threesomes

Threesomes are a good introduction for couples who want to explore an open relationship and group sex. Some couples are open to bringing a third partner into the bedroom for a single encounter or on a more regular basis. In heterosexual relationships, the third tends to be another woman, since some straight men are uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping with a man. If a straight woman is interested in exploring sex with another man and her husband isn’t, then swinging may be a better option.

Swinging

Popularized in the 1960’s, swinging typically involves two couples swapping partners at the same time. This is usually done at the same location and could even occur in the same room. Swinging is a great option for couples who want to have sex with other people in a clearly defined situation.

Play Parties

A play party is an occasion where people engage in sex openly. People typically picture a giant orgy, but remember that it’s a party first! There will be people socializing, that may not be engaging in sexual activities — and that’s totally okay! Play parties are about experiencing sex in front of other people, which requires both voyeurs and exhibitionists.

Every play party is different, so you will want to check with the host about rules and etiquette. Keep in mind, there is typically a vetting process where you need to apply. If you are a single man, it’s more difficult to join a threesome or play party. Single men typically need to bring a woman (it could just be a friend).

Play parties are easier to find for people near a major city like New York and San Francisco or you could consider throwing your own. For a successful play party, the host needs to understand how to create a safe, open, and inclusive environment. For this reason, women-led and queer-led parties are the gold standard.

Consider Your Interests and Boundaries

Before diving in, consider what you’re looking to get out of a group sex experience. What about it turns you on? Is it your fantasy to be the center of attention in a group? Or is the appeal to watch your partner be with other people? Whatever the thrill is for you, it’s important to know what you want and are comfortable.

Be sure to also understand your dislikes and boundaries. If you’re not comfortable with something, let your partners know. Setting boundaries is part of the process and makes it easier to get comfortable and and have fun. The idea of having sex in front of someone can be scary. Do you want to participate or just watch? How do you feel about engaging in sex with strangers? If you are going with a partner, what are you both comfortable with? What does a successful play party look like to both of you?

Where To Find Group Sex

Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to go out and find it. Communities like kink clubs, or LGBTQ groups may either host or provide resources to find events. Some cities like NYC or SF even have play parties that are open to members. But if there is nothing like this nearby, it may be up to you to make your own opportunities. Let people know you’re interested in group sex or non-monogamy. Once you have a few partners, try introducing them to each other, either casually or in a group date setting.

Best Group Sex Practices

Play It Safe

Share safe sex practices. Get tested regularly and communicate any pertinent information with your partners before you get started. Make sure everyone knows the protocol when it comes to STI protection and birth control.

Know the Rules

If this is a large group sex event/orgy, make sure you ask before joining others unless there’s a “anyone can join at any time” rule. If you’re hosting a play party/orgy, it can be helpful to kick off the event with a welcome circle where people can share who they are/their interests.

Establish Boundaries

Set and respect boundaries. Know what everyone is and is not willing to do beforehand. For instance, your partner may not want you to perform oral sex on others. Or penetrative sex is okay but no cuddling? Everyone will feel different, as to what causes jealousy or triggers negative feelings. Keep in mind if you’re only interested in the sexual aspect and not emotional. No sleepovers? No cuddling? Some types of sexual activities that are only for you and your partner? Only once or twice a month? Think of ways you want to reduce attachment, if that is not the kind of relationship you want.

Practice Communicating Desires

Talk to your partners before you get started! Once you are sexually turned on it’ll be harder to think clearly about you and your partner’s boundaries. Share what you would and would not be interested in. For example, practice saying these things aloud or with your partner first to get comfortable using these words aloud. It’s not often that we explicitly discuss our sexual interests and fantasies so it can feel uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to be descriptive and use details!

Know What Success Looks Like

Go into any experience knowing what you want to get out of it. Consider the play party. Some have a sharing component in the beginning, where participants share in a group the mildest thing they would want to happen and the wildest. The ‘mildest’ can set a baseline for what you want to happen, while the ‘wildest’ establishes your boundaries. Having one or more things you want to experience can help focus an otherwise overwhelming event.

Have a Secret Code

If you have a partner, it can be a good idea to establish a secret code as a way to communicate privately during the event. In the moment, this can be a safe word or a special tap, etc. Having a secret language between you can help if you’re not comfortable being direct or explicit in front of the other people.

Take the Leap!

Someone has to make the move eventually. You can only drink wine and make small talk for so long. It’s sometimes easiest to just start making out with your partner in front of others or with someone you know the most.

There are plenty of resources for how to prepare for or plan a play party or group sex, but it can still be confusing when it comes to your individual situation. For more personalized advice about group sex, consult sex experts from Juicebox Love + Sex from the convenience of your phone.

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