3 ways generate anxiety and a modicum of shame. The days, hours and minutes before the other, one or more, the stranger, cousin or sort of acquaintance who has agreed to this prickly but promising venture, arrives. a 3 way will always ruffle the feathers of self-esteem. Probably, many couples of different ilks do not engage in 3 ways because of the anxiety it generates.

I had an older partner when I was in my twenties, a former alcoholic, who got into cleaning the house and preparing food (and Crisco balls but that is simply TMI). That behavior made me so nervous. Why this need to show a sexual stranger such immaculate side of us? I mean, had it been my mom coming! Yes, I would run around  picking up leftovers, and toys, and unpaid bills, or cheesy gay erotic art.

My partner at that time gargled with mouthwash many times before one or two (or three, okay, three) strangers arrived, then swallowed. Over the years, he would go back to drinking the real stuff and died a hobo in the streets of Vancouver, BC. No, I didn’t have a prenup and he had already drunk most of his fortune by then.With much younger companions, anyway.

There is a sort of shame in 3 ways–aside from the complex logistics, additional laundry and potential murder threats.I have seen it, I have felt it. No matter how pragmatic the arrangement is, coldly calculated and executed. Someone, in one of the corners of the triangle or pentagram (choose your number of corners here–do not embellish please), is wondering whether or why two is not enough (as some God or Goddess intended), what deficit is not visible, what discontent lurk beneath the surface, what intentions of replacing one lover fo another really exist there.

Of course, by the time you are squirting lube all over your new sheets and dreading the BO of your Invited piece of meat, and marveling at his beauty and sheer stupidity, the mountain of muscles that barely fits in your queen size bed, it is then too late to start a committee meeting to analyze the situation.

There are no perfect plans, and lots of subtle and sometimes rueful doubts, recriminations and trial/error. Sex tastes like a good ice cream pastime but the aftertaste never does. What to do? Calculate your risks, make good plans and be prepared to change them at a moment’s notice, accept one’s limitations, fears and the ghost of shame and have low expectations. Some 3 ways are spectacular and you make great friends in the afterglow…but that is another rumination altogether.