Dear Dr. Jenni,
My girlfriend wants to have a threesome. I’m super intrigued, but a little nervous. A lot nervous, actually. I know all guys should totally want this, but I’m scared I might not perform well, and worried that my girlfriend will up the ante and want to include more and more people.
Dear Three’s Company,
Your apprehension is perfectly understandable. Being male doesn’t mean you need to operate by the principles of American Pie and rejoice because your girlfriend suggested a threesome. Adding more to a partnership can feel threatening to the intimacy of a primary duo, no matter who instigated the idea.
Of course, your intrigue is normal too. Human beings are biologically programmed to be sexually curious. How you take action with this curiosity depends on your value system. Some people use fantasy to honor a monogamous, sexually exclusive contract. Some people agree to mutual exploration. Some agree to a fully open arrangement. Whatever you decide, I suggest having straightforward conversations about your desires as well as your fears. Having fear is normal, especially fear of the unknown. Create boundaries that work for you both, then continuously discuss, reevaluate and reset boundaries as you proceed.
Now, if your fear is only based on “performing” well, then keep reading this column. Sex is never about a performance. Putting your sex lives on stage, in particular your genitals, only serves to strip the fun and pleasure from sex.
Dear Dr. Jenni,
How often should I be having sex to be considered having a normal sex life?
—Tense about Time
Frequency of sex is relative. I don’t have a particular number I can pull out of my sleeve. For some couples, twice a month is a good average. For other couples, twice a week feels right.
The issue of “how often” can become problematic when two partners operate on vastly different pages. If partner A wants sex three times a week, and partner B wants sex three times a month, then an honest conversation about compromise is needed. Perhaps this couple settles on once a week together, leaving wiggle room for partner A to masturbate to compensate for any leftover needs.
If you don’t have a partner, then how often you have sex is totally up to you. If the frequency feels healthy and right, and doesn’t subtract from your ability to accomplish daily life tasks (like going to work), then have fun, be honest and be safe!
Dear Dr. Jenni,
My boyfriend wants me to be more experimental.
He’s a big outdoor fanatic and wants to do sexual activities outside. I’m really nervous about this, but I want to make him happy. How should I proceed?
—Feeling the Outdoor Obligation
It sounds like you are nervous about potentially losing your boyfriend if you don’t buck up and become more experimental. When it comes to partner sex, there are two people’s happiness to consider, yours and his. If you are doing activities outside your comfort zone only to make him happy, then you may want to reconsider fair play in the relationship.
Conversely, if you are feeling nervous yet also intrigued, then simply slow down the pace of experimentation. Make a list of activities that sound interesting to both of you, then talk about ways to gradually dip your toe in until you feel more comfortable going further.
Please note, though, that sex in public is illegal in most places, so be careful. Of course, the great outdoors lends itself to a lot of privacy if done right. Check the local laws before you go, and certainly stay off the trail.
Send questions for Jenni Skyler, PhD, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.