If you sometimes find yourself wondering what it would be like to have a threesome, you’re in excellent company. About 24% of men and 8% of women have actually had a mixed gender threesome at least once in their lives. Around 82% of men and 31% of women admit to being really into the idea, even if they’ve never actually tried it before. Plus, those numbers are getting higher all the time as people become more and more comfortable with sexual experimentation.

However, it’s important to realize that fantasizing about having a threesome is one thing. Actually having one is a different matter altogether, especially if you’re in a relationship already and are looking to bring a third person into the mix. Keep the following tips in mind to make sure your real life experience is every bit as awesome as you’re hoping it will be.

1.      Leave romance out of the equation.

For most people – especially couples in a committed relationship – threesomes are best when they’re strictly about sexual gratification. The idea is to spice things up between the two of you, not complicate your relationship, right?

Leave romance out of the mix completely for that reason. Avoid picking someone either you or your partner may have feelings for (or could develop feelings for down the line). Most couples find this easier to do if they recruit a stranger to be their third, but it’s definitely up to you to decide for yourselves. There are absolutely those out there that feel more comfortable moving ahead with a trusted friend instead.

2.      Talk about all possible outcomes.

At the end of the day, you and your partner are only human. Even if people think they won’t experience feelings of jealousy, it sometimes happens anyway. Preempt any harmful fallout by acknowledging this and talking about the possible aftermath in advance.

What are your plans in the event one of you doesn’t feel you’re getting enough attention once the threesome begins? What if one of you loves the experience, but the other one hates it? What if one of you does unexpectedly bond with the third person? Having answers to questions like these can help you figure out whether a threesome will really be the best thing for your relationship in the long run.

3.      Make it a bonding experience.

If this is something you’re doing with a committed partner, consider making the entire process a bonding experience for you both. Establish ground rules together – rules that take both partners’ comfort levels and preferences into consideration. Plan the evening together. Go through the process of choosing a third person together as well.

Don’t worry about it if it takes a long time to get all your ducks in a row. This isn’t just an opportunity to add a little juice to your sex life. If you allow it to be, it can also be an experience that teaches you a lot about yourselves, both as individuals and as a couple.

4.      Make safe sex a priority.

We get it. The porn videos that turned you on to the idea of having a threesome in the first place didn’t have a condom anywhere in sight. It’s vitally important to make sure everyone wears one once the action begins though. No sexual experience is exciting enough to risk your health over it!

Make sure you have more condoms on hand than you think you need as well. It’s not unheard of for threesomes to go over fantastically and for everyone to be up for another go later on. Some threesomes become foursomes or full-on orgies at the last minute as well. Just be prepared.

5.      Know the best ways to meet a third.

As touched on above, some couples really do decide they want to ask someone they both know to be their third even if they’re worried about the potential fallout. A lot of folks do this because they seriously don’t know where or how to meet an appropriate stranger to invite into the mix. It’s a lot easier than you realize though, especially here in the digital age.

Start by leveraging the power of the Internet. There are more communities out there dedicated to threesomes than you might think! There are even entire websites specific to threesomes, as well as apps that help bring people together. Plus, building a profile that spells out exactly what you’re looking for can save you the awkwardness of having to bring it up out of the blue with someone in person.

6.      Take baby steps if it’s your first time.

There’s no law out there that states everyone involved has to go the whole nine yards the very first time you’re alone in a room together, especially if the third person really is a complete stranger to one or both of you. Once you identify a possible candidate, suggest getting together for a no-pressure cocktail first to make sure everyone hits it off.

It’s also fine not to go all the way even the first time you hook up. Try easing into things with a cuddle session or a little old school making out. Then check in with your partner afterwards to see how it went for them and decide whether or not it’s worth moving forward.

7.      Keep an open mind.

Threesomes are all about pushing boundaries and exploring some excitingly naughty new ground. It’s not unheard of for someone to come out of a threesome that went really well with some surprising new information about themselves as far as what they really enjoy in bed.

That said, be sure to keep your mind open. You might be discover that you enjoy being with someone of a different gender a lot more than you ever thought you could. You could be worried that “just watching” might leave you feeling left out only to find you really enjoy watching your partner with someone else. Of course, no one’s saying you should force yourself to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Just don’t be afraid to go for it if a given idea really triggers your curiosity in the moment.

8.      Don’t overdo it on the alcohol.

There’s a reason why social get-togethers and romantic interludes almost always include a cocktail or two. The right wine or whiskey doesn’t just taste fantastic with food. It helps loosen people up enough to overcome their inhibitions and make the most of the interactions at hand.

That said, it’s perfectly fine (and maybe even recommended) that you and your threesome partners ease into things over a cocktail and some friendly conversation. Just don’t overdo it. Tipsy sex can be fun, but drunk sex is just sloppy more often than not. There’s a lot going on that requires your full attention with a first threesome! Stay sober enough to appreciate it all.

9.      Make sure no one feels like a third wheel.

When you’re new to threesomes, the logistics of keeping everyone engaged can seem pretty challenging from the outside looking in. It’s often a lot easier to keep all three people included than you might otherwise think. (Even a single helping hand can do the trick during certain stretches of action!) The key is to avoid letting anyone feel like an awkward third wheel, particularly your partner.

Consider bringing in a few sex toys as a solution. Not only are toys excellent ways to ramp up the pleasure factor, but they’re a great way to help all three people stay involved in the action. Toys can be used to stimulate any partner, add another dimension to any one act, or even make masturbation more fun for someone that’s “just watching” at a given juncture.

10.  Practice proper sex toy hygiene.

We’ve already touched on the importance of having safe sex when it comes to threesomes or group sex. Don’t forget to factor your sex toys into the equation as well. Start by choosing toys from your pleasure chest wisely. Toys made of porous material are better saved for solo use, as they can hold onto bacteria and fluid residue even after a washing. Reach for options made from materials like glass or non-porous silicone instead.

You can also put a condom on insertable toys like dildos or vibrators and change it if you want to use the same toy on a different partner. You’ll want to make sure you wash toys thoroughly after use as well. Simple soap and water will do the trick in most cases, but many people find spray-on/wipe-off toy cleaner to be a handy way to keep things hygienic between play sessions as well.

11.  Understand that it doesn’t have to be a regular thing.

Lots of people think that if they have a threesome once, it needs to be something that’s regularly on the menu and that’s really just not true. Plenty of people have a threesome one time, thoroughly enjoy the experience, and decide for whatever reason that they never want to do it again. And that’s perfectly OK.

It’s certainly just as possible for only one partner to not be into repeating the experience and that’s OK too. Don’t do anything you aren’t into just to please your partner. If they care about you, they’ll be more understanding than you probably realize. Remember, at the end of the day, threesomes are all about having fun each and every time!