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So, I Tried Out the New Threesome App 3nder

As someone who is sexually curious, I’m no stranger to threesomes. When the chemistry is right and the stars align threesomes are one of the great joys of life. I love them. I’ve been the third in dozens of MFF (male/female/female) threesomes with couples and friends and recently played sister-wife for six weeks with a married couple in an open marriage.

All of these scenarios occurred organically, so when I recently discovered 3nder (pronounced Thrinder)—the new dating app described as “Tinder for threesomes”—I was intrigued, and naturally I had many, many questions. How does this even work? Are people actually using it? Is a threesome arranged via an app still a thrill? I set up my profile, specifically looking for couples, and I was off and swiping.


WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

I say this coming from the most loving and non-judgmental place: It’s a total shit show out there. The couples ranged from young millennials looking to experiment to newlyweds (already!?!), to couples in “open” relationships (I’ll address the quotes later), to old, leathery swingers. Oh, and of course, Burning Man. There are a lot of Burning Man couples on 3nder.

Being that I’m single and primarily interested in a MFF (male/female/female) threesome, in the poly/open world this makes me the mythical “Unicorn.”

The illustrations in this article turned out way dirtier than the artist intended, but they made us laugh, so we

The illustrations in this article turned out way dirtier than the artist intended, but they made us laugh, so we’re rolling with them.

According to Urban Dictionary a Unicorn is: “Colloquial; Synonym for hot bi babe or HBB, often derogatory, condescending, or ironic. A bisexual person, usually though not always female, who is willing to join an existing couple, often with the presumption that this person will date and become sexually involved with both members of that couple, and not demand anything or do anything which might cause problems or inconvenience to that couple.”

Sounds about right. As a self-proclaimed Commitmentphobe this kind of loose dynamic is perfect for me in theory. I matched with 54 couples, all of whom were searching for the elusive Unicorn. Apparently we are as rare as one would think, and my dance card was full almost immediately.


THE DOUBLE STANDARDS

In the world of kink I’m pretty vanilla. I’ve never been with two men. It’s too many dicks in a room for me. I’ve mentioned that I like my “men like men,” and I don’t want my man to want to be with men. I have no logical explanation for this. I like what I like. I’m not judging men who want to be with men. Two ball sacks touching just isn’t for me.

There is absolutely a double-standard regarding bisexuality when it comes to men and women (although this next generation seems to be eroding a lot of that because from what I’ve observed it seems like everyone under 25 is bisexual). I’m ashamed to admit that double standard exists in me. I realize the very belief that a man wanting to be with a man makes him gay is reductionist and makes me guilty of the same kind of dualistic thinking I rage against in men.

This leads me to the other, glaring double standard I’ve observed in my interactions with couples in an “open” relationship. Most of the men I interviewed (big shock the men are usually in charge of the vetting process) have an arrangement with their wives where they can go outside of the marriage or bring other women in. Some of the men can even have completely separate girlfriends. But the women absolutely cannot. This shit boggles my mind. You wouldn’t catch me dead or alive in an “open” relationship where my husband can have other lovers and I can’t. You can’t even call that an open relationship.

In other instances, they can bring another woman into the bedroom, but NOT another man. This dynamic throws me into an internal conflict. I can understand why a man wouldn’t want another man in the bedroom because I don’t want that. However—if I was the wife and suddenly I DID want that—it’s bullshit that “openness” doesn’t work both ways. In fact, I’m such a contrarian that I think my desire to have a fair, open relationship would outweigh whatever ideas I had about two men hooking up. Until they hooked up and then I left my husband because I thought he was gay. It’s really a lose/lose situation.

In two instances I encountered on 3nder, not only had the wives agreed to let the man have a third or a mistress, but THE WIFE WAS THE BREADWINNER. Again this dichotomy throws me into an internal conflict. The feminist part of me understands that she agreed to this arrangement. She isn’t being forced into it, and good for her for providing for the family while her unemployed actor husband plays video games and trolls apps for other women.

The other part of me is like: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???? TRUST ME, YOU DON’T WANT ME IN YOUR MARRIAGE, BRO. I promise you, I will fuck up whatever cushy little situation you have going for you in one “date” after I slap some sense and self-esteem into your poor wife with Stockholm Syndrome. And also, how the heck do you think I could possibly be attracted to you? There is literally nothing more unattractive to me than a man living off his woman. If this makes me un-feminist, well, fucking sue me. Believe it or not, it’s my strong commitment to sisterhood that makes me disappointed with the men in these dynamics and fiercely protective of the women. You’re a man. Your job is to protect and provide. If you can’t even do that you get zero respect let alone any extramarital privileges in my book.

All of that being said, if you and your lady are still down (you can take this quiz if you are not sure), here are some tips.


With any luck, whenever you think of unicorns from now on, you will think of this.

With any luck, whenever you think of unicorns from now on, you will think of this.

HOW TO HUNT A UNICORN

If you’re a couple looking for a Unicorn, have a job, bro. See above.

Don’t be overly aggressive or eager. I had a lot of interactions like this:

Them: Let’s hook up tonight.
Me: I can’t tonight. Why don’t we meet for brunch or something first?
Them: Why are you even here?

Well, for one thing, I’m not here to be at your beck-and-call, yet this attitude of entitlement is rampant amongst couples in general and particularly couples looking for a third. Maybe it’s because the whole “looking for a partner” aspect of their life is already locked down or because there are two breadwinners—so usually their finances are a bit more stable—but my experience on 3nder is that the couples have a complete disregard for (or have totally forgotten) what it’s like to be single. Let me remind you: the daily tasks of life aren’t divided or shared. This means no one is helping me pay the bills, clean the house, walk the dogs or cook dinner. It’s all on me. All of it.

One couple offered to have me over for dinner and use the hot tub. Now that’s the kind of offer I appreciate, although the man was more than a little disgruntled when I told him I’d love to but wasn’t available for two weeks. He explained to me that “it’s frustrating because you convince your lady to go for it and so you want it to happen while she’s still down.” I politely explained this is a HUGE RED FLAG.

Know the rules. Look, there are a million articles on how to “convince your lady to have a threesome” or “mistakes to avoid in your first threesome,” so I’m not going to reiterate things you can easily Google, but I can tell you it was shocking how many couples I encountered that didn’t know the basics. Like writing a sci-fi novel, you need to establish the boundaries and rules of the world. Can we fuck when one of you isn’t around? Can he fuck me, or is it more that he’s just into the idea of me and his woman making out? Is she ACTUALLY down to fuck, or is this something she reluctantly does to keep her man happy and has to be blackout drunk to even “enjoy”? Because I want NO part in that and I can smell that shit from a mile away.

UNDERSTAND THREESOMES ABSOLUTELY CHANGE EVERYTHING. It’s a gateway drug to infidelity because what does infidelity even constitute as anymore? These are the conversations you and your partner need to have before you even go on a site like 3nder. The appalling lack of answers to these basic questions makes me think many people are running willy-nilly into polyamory and/or an open relationship without doing any research, asking themselves any hard questions or defining the limitations. You’re setting yourself up for disaster.

If you think a threesome is a solution to your fucked-up marriage, you’re as dead wrong as the couple that thinks having a baby will make things better. Bringing a third or a couple into your marriage or relationship is like graduating from doing cocaine to shooting heroin. Proceed with caution. Understand there is no going back. Realize things will never be the same.

There is no such thing as “my wife is like, 15% bi.” I hear this a lot, and what he is really saying was, “My wife will kiss you and suck your boobies, but she won’t eat you out.” Experimental sorority girl lesbianism means she’s “bi-curious” NOT bi. By my standards you’re bisexual when you eat pussy and suck dick. Don’t lead me on. If you won’t eat me out—male or female—that’s a deal-breaker.

Don’t say things like, “Maybe you can come over and we can have some sexy time” or anything cutesy. It makes my stomach turn.

I’m not a sex toy. I’m a human. After a few weeks of 3ndering, I kept feeling this unnerving sense that something wasn’t right. My brilliant shrink summed it up instantly: “Um maybe because everyone is viewing you like an object.” She’s right. Most of these couples viewed me as a fun addition to their sex lives, like nipple clamps or a dildo. They approached me in the same way—what is good for them, what they like, how can I be of service to their relationship. Only ONCE did anyone ask me, “Why are you into threesomes?”

It’s a good question, one that made me think. Curiosity? Kink? Deadlines? I’m not sure I have the answer anymore. I thought I wanted to explore something that was fun in the past, but I’ve learned that replicating the precious alchemy of a spontaneous threesome is impossible when it begins with swiping through a dating app. Couples actively hunting for Unicorns forget there’s more to the creature than just her horniness.


Bridget Phetasy is a writer and comic in Los Angeles. Twitter: @BridgetPhetasy.

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