Ask Sex Coach Leigh: Threesomes and safe sex

Question: I’m a bi cis female with a wife. We are planning a threesome with a man in two weeks. How do I practice the safest sex possible? I’m not on birth control.


Hi lovely! That’s super-exciting. I’m so glad you and your wife have found someone to have a new sexual experience with, and that you are actively thinking about safer sex. The first thing I would suggest is to make sure that everyone has had a recent STI test, preferably a full panel test. If you and your wife have been monogamous for the entirety of your relationship, then you just want to be sure that your last STI tests were after the last time you each had a new sexual partner, even if those sexual partners were each other.

Condoms are going to be your best bet for STI and pregnancy prevention. It can be helpful to ask your new sex buddy what his preferred condom brand is – genitals come in a variety of sizes and sensitivities, so he probably knows what works best for him. Just make sure that you and your wife are aware of your own sensitivities: if either of you have a latex or spermicide allergy, you will want to choose condoms that won’t irritate you. The same is true of lube – if you don’t already have a favorite brand, look for one that is made out of natural ingredients and doesn’t contain glycerin, which essentially turns to sugar in your vagina, creating a perfect environment for the growth of yeast. And make sure it is water or silicone-based, NOT oil-based. Natural oils (especially coconut oil) can be excellent lubes for sexual play between fluid-bonded couples, but they are not condom-safe.

I’m not sure what sexual activities you have planned, but remember to use a new condom each time a new person or place is penetrated. Switching between partners, or from anal to vaginal sex, with the same condom can increase the risk of infection. (This holds true if either of you plan to penetrate your male friend with a sex toy as well – use a new condom and lube each time.) If you are planning to have oral sex, know that your risk of STI transmission is much lower when you are receiving than when you are giving. Many folks choose not to use barriers for oral, but that has to be a personal decision based on your own threshold of acceptable risk. If you plan to use barriers, I recommend using unlubricated condoms for him and dental dams (or Saran wrap) for you and your wife.

Back to the concept of acceptable risk: anytime you have a new sexual partner, you are adding some level of risk. The most important thing is that everyone involved is taking reasonable precautions and communicating about what that means to them. I would encourage you to have a talk with your wife about expectations, safety, and any rules or restrictions before your third joins you. And I would reach out to him before the event – not just about testing and condom preference, but also about his general safer sex practices, as well as his expectations, interests, and limits. One of the greatest safe sex tools is open, honest, and ongoing communication. Lastly, it is important to know what you will do in the case of an accident such as a condom break. While not as effective as other forms of contraception, Plan B (AKA the morning after pill) is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, and 89% effective if taken within 72 hours. And you can buy it on Amazon!

Lovely, I hope you have an awesome experience that is fun, safe, and satisfying for all three of you. Happy Sexing!

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