A Unicorn’s Tale: Three-Way Sex With Couples Has Made Me a Better Person

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I want to watch my boyfriend bend you over” was the general tone of the sexts we had already exchanged before we met. My body coursed with adrenaline and nervous energy I hadn’t felt on a first date since I was a teenager. Now, in my late 20s, this was a new kind of first date—one with a couple. I had met them on an app where couples can seek a third partner, known as a “unicorn” because of our mythical rarity. As I nervously texted my closest friends (including screenshots of the couple’s profile, and dramatic goodbyes in case I never returned), many of them surprised me in their responses. They said they were curious about threesomes, but had never tried because navigating the world of polyamory felt like a minefield.

As a person with a comically massive reserve of anxiety, I too fear uncharted territory. Paradoxically, though, this doesn’t stop me from feeling intensely drawn to new experiences. Throughout my life, this cognitive dissonance was only further complicated by external judgment I received for my impulses to try unconventional things. I now understand that my curiosity, open-mindedness, and sense of adventure are three nonnegotiable, defining elements of my identity. But it wasn’t until I started sleeping with couples that I shed my shame about those qualities, let alone embraced them in all areas of my life. Finding the strength to explore these more complicated, passionate aspects of my personality became the key to harnessing my voice and creative spark, which in turn helped me better cope with depression, anxiety, and the lingering cognitive effects of adolescent anorexia.

Why did these revelations dawn on me between two sweaty bodies and the energy of someone else’s romantic union? When people think about three-ways, intimacy may not be the first thing to come to mind. “Kinky,” “dirty,” and “taboo” are probably top of the list. It can certainly be all of those things (she says with a naughty smile), but when a couple invites me into their bed, I not only get welcomed into the midst of their preexisting connection, but also get to forge a new one with them based on their trust that I will respect the boundaries of their relationship. This is a vulnerable position all around: for the couple in opening their connection to a newcomer, and for the unicorn in entering a power dynamic where they are the only one without an established teammate.

But let’s back up briefly. Before discovering the world of ethical non-monogamy, known to some as “the Lifestyle,” I was in a long-term, loving, monogamous relationship that my body begged me to end before it progressed to an engagement. At the time, I didn’t fully understand what was missing from that relationship, but I did know that my partner loved me despite my weird wildness, while I yearned to be with someone who loved me because of it. To further confuse matters, I didn’t even know exactly what my “weird wildness” entailed, partly because I had spent so much time in relationships that were not conducive to personal and sexual growth.

Once I was single, I immediately began to make up for lost time. I took soul-nourishing psychedelic trips into the desert with friends. I broke my stainless steel bed frame with tons of great (and safe) sex. Of all of the variants of ecstasy I experienced during that period, the ecstasy of unbridled self-discovery was the most metamorphic. I had gone through various experimentation phases throughout high school and college, but those bold (sometimes unwise) choices were inextricably intertwined with adolescent angst and rebellion. Finding my wildness as an adult was much more peaceful—it was not reacting or crying out but intentionally searching.

Threesomes were at the center of a personal Venn diagram. I had known for some time that I was at least bisexual but had barely explored that side of my sexuality. I knew I wanted to experience new dynamics. And I knew the fearful charge around dating couples meant there was something to learn. So, as one does with all of life’s burning questions, I googled and discovered Feeld, an app where the sexually adventurous can go to find one another. The interface was charmingly glitchy, which made me feel like they didn’t have enough users to invest in making it seamless. I appreciated the novelty and suspected I had found a hidden gem.

As I scrolled and chatted, I felt a common vibe unifying many of the profiles, but the range of gender identities, sexual orientations, and diverse interests made it difficult to articulate what that commonality was. Then it dawned on me that this common thread was not a certain kink or favorite sex position, it was the commitment to embracing one’s own nonconformity, the celebration of individualism and sexuality without shame. Most people I talked to on the app would probably take being labeled “weird” as a compliment; I always had, but many of my exes had not. It was refreshing to be on a platform where radical open-mindedness was the baseline, and it cemented how important that value is to me as I search for my own partner. Some dates I went on resulted in sex, others didn’t. One date was even at Dave & Buster’s, and I’ll leave you to wonder what size prize that one culminated in (mystery is important!). As with any online forum, I had to weed out the occasional creep, but in general, the people I connected with were clear communicators and more transparent about difficult subjects like STD status than I had ever encountered before.