Throuples: An All-Inclusive Guide

By ASTROGLIDE Team Sex Tips throuple questions answered

We always want to keep it real here and in our relationships, which is why we’re going to talk about throuples. You’ve probably heard of the term throuple tossed around here and there, but for all of those who aren’t familiar, a throuple is a “three-person” + “couple.” This type of non-traditional relationship can also be categorized as a polyamorous relationship, which is a “form of ethical, or consensual, non-monogamy that involves having romantic or sexual relationships with multiple partners simultaneously. Ethical, or consensual, non-monogamy describes relationships in which all [people involved] are aware of and consent to practice non-monogamy.”

These polyamorous relationships are not categorized by the people within them (sex, gender, sexual orientation, identification, etc.) but simply by the number of consensual partners. It’s important to emphasize that a throuple is an example of a poly relationship, not the only type of one. This opens the floor for understanding the differences between a throuple, polyamorous relationship, and an open relationship. While all three are types of ethical non-monogamy (read more in MindBodyGreen), think of them in this way, all courtesy of MindBodyGreen ’s guide to Throuple Relationships:

  • Polyamory: The practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one person, with the informed consent of all people involved.
  • Open Relationship: A relationship in which a romantically bonded couple (or throuple!) decides to have sex with people outside of their relationship—usually without forming long-lasting emotional connections, bonds, or commitment.
  • Throuple: An example of polyamory, i.e., loving more than one person at a time, and throuples may or may not be in open relationships, depending on the preferences of those involved. Throuples may also be open to love outside of the threesome, and each person in the relationship may also have other partners, lovers, or dates.”

There are many reasons why someone might enter or seek out a relationship between three people. It can be as organic as “when one person falls in love with two individual people and wants to be with them both. (Of course, everyone involved needs to consent to the arrangement).”

As you can tell, throuples are what you want them to be. They flow with time (like any relationship) and function as other romantic relationships and emotional connections do. This article is intended to shed light on a relationship dynamic that a lot of people may not be familiar with but want to learn about or explore for themselves. In no way is it intended to exclude other types of relationships. Let’s dive into the wonderful world and web of throuples. We can hardly wait!


throuple relationships


Throuple Relationship Structures

Let’s get this out of the way: there is no right or wrong way for a throuple to be structured. Here are a few ways that three people engage in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.  

V Relationships

From The Relationship Place: “When one person is in a relationship or dating two people who are not involved with each other, that’s a vee polyamorous relationship. The easiest way to understand this type of polyamory is to think of the letter V. There are three points on the letter V. One point is connected to both, and the other two are only connected to the center point.” Basically, if you imagine the letter V, there is one person at the tip with two partners who don’t touch.  

Closed Triad

From The Relationship Place: “A closed triad is where the poly relationship involves the poly triad and no outside partners. These three individuals form an intimate relationship where they are committed to each other and don’t seek external partners. These relationships are often sexual and romantic in nature and include any combination of genders. There are many different possible arrangements.

These three individuals choose to remain in a romantic relationship, spend time together, and are attracted to each other. Many married couples prefer this type of triad. Still, it’s just as likely that these individuals aren’t married and simply want a committed three-person relationship or a form of ethical non-monogamy.”

Open Triad

From Men’s Health: An open triad is when “three people are in a committed relationship with each other while remaining open to relationships with other people.”

These are only three types of three-person relationships, so if none of these encapsulate you and your romantic desires, that’s okay. More structures may suit your relationship better – no one is better than another.

On a similar note, there are no set throuple relationship rules. Similar to any long-term relationship, what feels right for all parties involved will be the guiding structure and “rules”. Setting clear boundaries, having an ongoing stream of communicating expectations and desires, and being honest with all parties will lead to a longer-term committed relationship.


navigating a three person relationship


Understanding & Navigating Your First Three-Person Relationship

Entering your first polyamorous relationship can be overwhelming: both from a sense of happiness, stress, endless questions, and more. Let all emotions flow through you because they can help guide your experience. At the end of the day, nobody knows your relationship better than those involved, so engage in an ongoing conversation to create a safe space filled with love and respect as you navigate your individual and collective experience.  

Healthline writes that there are three main ways a throuple can form:

  • A preexisting couple decides to add a third person to their relationship and actively seeks out a third.
  • Preexisting couple organically adds a third to the relationship.
  • Three people organically come together around the same(ish) time and choose to enter a relationship together.

Knowing if a throuple is right for you is something that only you can answer, but we’re here to help guide you to that answer. 

For those in a pre-existing relationship, from Healthline:

  • You have an incredibly healthy preexisting relationship complete with A+ communication skills;
  • You’re equally enthusiastic about being in a throuple;
  • You both experience compersion (more on this term below) and have developed healthy coping skills for jealousy;
  • You have a shared view on what a throuple might look like for you, but are both willing to adapt that view based on the third’s needs;
  • You’re both willing to unpack your couple privilege (learn more about couple privilege here)

For singles, from Healthline:

  • You’re attracted physically, emotionally, spiritually, and — if the relationship is going to be sexual — sexually to both parties;
  • You experience compersion and have healthy coping skills for jealousy;
  • You know how to communicate your boundaries and advocate for yourself.

Navigating this experience can be daunting, but it can open doors sexually and romantically. The best way to understand throuples and how you best engage in one is to be open and honest with yourself and those around you. Exploration is encouraged and we hope you are empowered to do so. 


threesome sex


The Good Stuff: Threesome Sex Positions

Sexual intimacy is equally important to emotional and mental intimacy in romantic relationships. Each pillar requires care and attention, heightened by strong communication. If your throuple is engaging in group sex, we want to lend a helping hand! This may not be your first threesome encounter, but if it is, we have a few tips and tricks to help you out. Even if you’re well-versed in the world of threesome sex, you may still find this helpful. 

Firstly, open and honest conversation is KEY to finding partners! Be clear throughout the entire process – about what you’re comfortable with in the bedroom, and not comfortable with. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and desires for the experience. Overcommunicating is better than under-communicating, so be sure to communicate about what safe sex means for you – physically and emotionally. 

For the meat and potatoes of it all:

Courtesy of Men’s Health, try out any of these threesome sex positions for some ultimate pleasure:

Double Cowgirl

How to do it: While one partner straddles your waist and junk in a traditional cowgirl position, the other straddles your face allowing you to go down on them in this threesome sex position.

Pro tip: The person sitting on your face can straddle you either way, but it’s typically better if they straddle you while facing the other partner, so they, too, can kiss and touch each other if they want.

The Doggy Train

How to do it: You’re the “caboose” of this train, penetrating your partner doggy-style. The middle partner is then either digitally penetrating or eating out the head of the train, who’s also on their knees, bent forward in a classic doggy-style position.

Double Oral

How to do it: Your two partners are on their knees in front of you, both blowing you at the same time.

Pro tip: It’s best if one blower focuses on your balls while the other focuses on your penis. Depending on if you’re into it, one partner could actually be on their knees, rimming you from behind while the other person goes down on you from the front.

Sex positions for double penetration from our very own Resident Sexologist, Dr. Jess O’Reilly:

  • One person can get on their hands and knees. Lover number two can penetrate from behind while the third slides in from down below. (One can slide into the vagina or mouth and the other into the anus.)
  • One person lies on their back. The second lies on their back on top of the lower partner and guides them inside. The third lover kneels between their legs facing them to slide inside from there.
  • One person lies on their back on the edge of the bed. The next stands over them to straddle them and slide inside. The third stands behind the second partner to slide inside as well. 
  • One person lies on their back. The next lies on top of them (facing them) to be penetrated. the third lies on top face down to penetrate the middle partner from behind.

You can find all of this and more in our blog: The Ultimate Guide to Threesome Sex Positions.

Ultimately, if you are dabbling in the idea of engaging in a relationship with three people, we want to empower you to try. A throuple can open doors to new experiences, a chance to meet new people, and a way to broaden your horizons. No matter when or how you engage in a throuple, we hope these tips provide some guidance.