What To Do If Your Partner Wants To Have A Threesome But You Don’t, According To An Expert

OK, tell me if this awkward moment sounds painfully familiar: You and your boo are trying to spice things up in the bedroom, so you start talking about fun new ~things~ you'd like to try. Everything is going well and you're getting excited, until they suggest something that, for you, is a hard no. Not to kink shame — because, as long as everyone is consenting, it’s all good — but just... not for you. For example, if your partner wants to have a threesome and you're strictly a one-partner-at-a-time kind of girl, how do you say no without making them feel bad?

Not having exactly the same desires as your partner is not uncommon. Threesomes are not for everyone, and that’s OK! The key here is just to find common kinky ground where you can both enjoy yourselves. However, if they pressure you, well, that’s very different. If you're getting pressure, guilt, or shame from them for not being up for what they want in the bedroom, please remember: You are never, ever, ever, and I mean ever required to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Period. And while that's just about as black and white as you can get, it can sometimes feel a lot more complicated in practice — particularly if you care about someone. I reached out to experts for their advice on how to handle tricky situations like these. Here's what they had to say.

Keep an open mind, but always respect your own boundaries.

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As Kristin Marie Bennion, licensed mental health therapist and certified sex therapist, explains, it's perfectly OK for your partner to have desires (including a threesome) that you don’t share. Furthermore, respecting that fact is actually the best thing you can do to maintain the health of your relationship. As she told Elite Daily, “Going ahead with something you really do not want to do can not only bring you emotional distress, but can ultimately be damaging to the relationship because of resentment.”

It’s also OK to be unsure of how you feel about trying something new, because sex is complicated. In that case, Bennion says, “It can be helpful to find out more information from your partner to see what exactly they have in mind.” By having that kind of open dialogue, you may discover that you can fulfill your partner's desires without compromising your own. For example, Bennion says, “Many people enjoy playfully fantasizing about engaging in something like a threesome with their partner, but don't actually intend to follow through in real life.”

However, Bennion says, “If you're sure your partner is wanting the real deal, there are all sorts of clarifying questions to ask that could lead to a threesome sounding more appealing for some.” It’s totally possible that you may change your mind, and that’s OK too, just so long as you remember that asking additional questions and exploring the idea does not obligate you to follow through. Your boundaries should always be respected by your partner.

Offer alternative suggestions.

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In a situation like this, it’s best to be proactive by suggesting some alternatives that you both feel comfortable with and can enjoy. “One alternative to having a threesome,” sex therapist Stefani Threadgill tells Elite Daily, is to “watch porn together that involves threesomes, or talk out the fantasy during foreplay.”

Ultimately, like all things in relationships, it comes down to communication. “People in relationships often have different sexual tastes and preferences requiring negotiation and, sometimes, certain things are just not in the cards,” says Bennion, adding, “That doesn't mean you can't talk about other ways to spice things up!”

If they continue to pressure you, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.

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There is, however, a big difference between keeping the lines of communication open between you, and them putting subtle or not-so-subtle pressure on you to have a threesome after you’ve said you don’t want to. “If your partner continues to push for a threesome after you have talked about it, you might want to consider if that is the best partner for you,” says Threadgill.

Bennion agrees, saying “If you have heard them out and simply do not have any desire to engage in a threesome and they continue to press, it may be time to talk about feeling coerced. If they continue to push, you really need to ask yourself if it's worth it to stay with someone who would be OK with pushing you to do something you really don't want to do.” Spoiler alert: It's not.

Because, here’s the deal: Consent is the most important sexual boundary, and if you don't want to have a threesome, that choice is entirely yours to make.

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