It’s 2020, baby. With mainstream publications like Vogue and GQ talking about threesomes without so much as flinching, it seems like just about everyone these days has at least thought about conjuring up a three-way.
But that’s not the only way to have a little group fun. There’s another configuration in the sack that’s almost never talked about, one that promises double the trouble: the foursome. Bigger than a threesome, smaller than an orgy, these intimate gatherings are just right. They’re fun, flexible, and offer intimate views without the performance anxiety that sometimes accompanies a threesome or the overstimulation that can hamper an orgy.
Best of all, a good foursome isn’t just a wild romp. They can even teach you a thing or two in the bedroom. Unfortunately, most reading on foursomes is hard to come by. And when you do finally stumble across an article on them, you’ve either wandered into the dark corners of the internet, or you’re stuck reading a piece totally focused on hetero desires and approaches that leave the new people in your bedroom feeling like objects, not human beings.
Lucky for you, I know a thing or two about foursomes. And for better or worse, my experiences with other duos have helped me learn exactly what kinds of things help turn them into an unforgettable night.
Like literally any other sexy configuration, foursomes are as varied as they are delightful. In theory, it could be a sexy, slippery pile of four strangers who can’t keep their hands off each other. Or, it could be one couple playing with two unpartnered folks. Most often though, a foursome is made up of two couples who have separately decided they’d like to play with new people together. These couples then find each other a parties or bars, through certain sex-positive meetups, or in the online dating realm.
After deciding in their separate pairs what they’re into, these couples then meet up and talk about boundaries, fantasies, and other (sexy) logistics. No two foursomes are exactly alike, and each needs a good discussion beforehand.
That’s because once you’re in the bedroom, things only get more varied. Although there are truly myriad ways you can find yourself in a foursome, there are (very appropriately) four different arrangements that are the most common ways to get it on in a horny quartet.
A soft introduction into the world of group sex and foursomes, same room action is where most of us start out. Think of same room play kind of like a couple’s version of mutual masturbation: there’s little-to-no physical touching between the two couples. Instead, you meet up for a drink, flirt a little bit, and then go home together to have sex with your OG partner...with the other couple right by your side.
What’s so great about same room? Watching another duo go at it right in front of you is highly erotic while maintaining firm boundaries if you or the other couple aren’t keen on getting physically intimate or vulnerable with people you don’t know.
Engaging in same room magic is its own kind of interactive porn, since you’re getting up close and personal in a whole new way. Often, the two couples will even share a bed, so you may be so close that you’re brushing shoulders with the other couple. Once, I had some same room fun and held hands with one of the other people. It was oddly kind of cute.
But same room isn’t just fun because of the view. Seeing how the other couple pleasures each other can give you new ideas for oral, creative uses for sex toys, and fresh ways to tease your partner until they’re practically begging for release. Each couple out there goes to town in a slightly different way, and any time you play in the same room, it’s an opportunity for you and your lover to learn slick new moves.
There’s also something about performing in front of another couple that inspires you to be the best lover you can be as well, meaning your partner (and hopefully you, too!) will spend the night enjoying multiple orgasms in new and exciting ways.
After meeting the other duo in a public place for dinner or a drink, you may find it easy to help break the ice if you play a sexy board game together. Activities like that can help you drum up anticipation, so you’re not just whipping off pants without preamble.
And since same room stuff is a fantastic introduction into group sex practices, be gentle on yourself if you’re still learning how to be comfortable with nudity and sexuality in groups. Go at your own pace, take it easy, and give yourself the time to figure out what it is about the foursome that really turns you on.
Looking for something a little more involved than same room action? You may be eager to try a soft swap. This fun way to enjoy a foursome is when couples lightly share partners with no expectation of “going all the way” with a new partner – whatever that means to you. A soft swap could mean drawing the line at fingering, hand jobs, making out, or even oral.
Sometimes, a soft swap can be as gentle as two of you making out while your partners perform oral. What’s awesome about soft swapping is that it has no clear lines, making the definition of it unique for every quartet. There’s only one thing all soft swaps have in common: you finish whatever sexy fun you started with the partner you arrived with.
To have a successful soft swap, talk it out with your partner one-on-one first, and be direct about both your boundaries and fantasies. Only once you’ve agreed on limits together are you ready to meet with another couple and talk about what they’re into. Once you've determined you’re all on the same page, you can head back to someone’s house (or to a hotel) and let the games begin.
One of my favorite things about a soft swap is that it’s a gentle space for more in-depth experimentation. A few years ago, I had mulled long and hard over the fact that I was pretty sure I was gay (with the statistically unlikely exception of my husband). But I wanted to be sure. A foursome was a perfect opportunity to explore how I felt in a safe space with a new man. After telling this new potential partner very directly where I was at in my sexuality, he was more than happy to accomodate my experiment.
When our play time confirmed for me that, yes, I was generally just not into guys, he was gracious and down to go back to some same room fun (after I pleasured his wife, of course). Having the space to actually know where I stood sexually made all my future encounters more fun and less fraught – and I wouldn’t have had that chance without a soft swap foursome.
Common in the world of swinging, a full swap is exactly what it sounds like: completely swapping partners. With a full swap, you and your partner get to enjoy the sight of each other losing themselves in the pleasure of a new lover. With this fun way to get down, it’s worth noting that full swaps are really only considered foursomes if you stay in the same room with each other – otherwise you’re just dabbling in some classic swinging.
Even if you meet up with another couple with the mutual expectation of a full swap, it’s vital to discuss boundaries and desires with one another. There may be an act your lover-for-the-night is uncomfortable doing with anyone other than their partner (like anal or breath play), and knowing off the bat what’s on – and off – the table is essential for a smooth ride all night long..
Looking to take things to the next level? If you had a particularly powerful foursome that ended on a romantic note, you may find yourself curious about heading into full quad territory. A quad is when four people, often two previously established couples, dive into a relationship and date each other together.
Each quad is a little different. You and your partner may be dating the other two individually, couple may be dating couple, or two quad members may be dating each other while the other two aren’t. As long as communication is involved, any makeup of intimacy you can imagine between four people is a valid way to engage in a quad.
If you and your partner want to find yourselves in this kind of relationship, prepare to have lengthy conversations about ever-shifting boundaries. Remember: each partner’s feelings are equally valid, and entering a quad means treating everyone’s needs as tenderly as your own.
Thankfully, you don’t have to figure it all out alone. There are poly meetups around the nation and helpful apps designed to help quad living offer the seamless joy you’re looking for.
Whether you’re looking for same room fun or a full-blown quad, foursomes are fantastic chances for you to learn, perform, and experiment. Like I’ve said, having a small audience helps you not only wow the person you came with, but also your strange new bedfellows.
It’s not just that you tend to have more sizzlin’ sex when you know someone else is watching your every move. This unique experience has another perk, too: it may just be the sexiest learning opportunity of your life.
Unless both couples happen to be missionary-only kinds of people, it’s impossible to walk away from a foursome without learning at least one new thing. For starters, you’re learning about new ways to invoke pleasure, plain and simple. Even same room action gives you an up-close opportunity to observe the way other people make their lovers shudder with pleasure. You may be a genius in the sack, but your sexy new friends could just have some unique pointers on how to tease a clit, or some illuminating methodology to the way they spank.
Don’t discredit the more vanilla couples you play with, too. Even if they don’t teach you many new sex tricks, you can still learn a lot from the ways they discuss consent, the boundaries they value, and the way they talk to each other, before, during, and after sex.
Some of this sweet learning’s all about you, too. Your OG partner may be a wiz at getting you off, but new partners expose you to some surprising sensations and approaches that bring you to unexpected heights. While some lovers can be less than thrilling (looking at you, men who don’t engage in foreplay), good sex with a new partner should always offer a chance to uncover delicious and fresh ways to be touched. As long as you’re both consenting, there’s no wrong way to get it on: they could introduce you to a new kink like used panties, give you your first nipple orgasm, or show you how good it feels to get your toes sucked.
At their best, a foursome is kind of like porn you can participate in. Instead of just watching people canoodle through the screen, you get up close and personal and can find out for yourself just how good your deepest fantasies are.
I’ll state the obvious here: having four people in one bed makes for one hell of a jigsaw puzzle. As long as everyone’s enthusiastically consenting, there’s no wrong way to get it on. And with a foursome, the more, the merrier.
If you’re wondering what you’ll do when you’re all in bed together, try starting out with positions that give all parties a good view. If there are two people who’d like to make out while the other partners are pleasuring them, angle yourselves to make that happen. It could also be fun to take turns guiding the other couple with sexy suggestions and encouragement.
This may come as a surprise, but the best thing a foursome teaches you isn’t a sexy new move: it’s compersion. The opposite of jealousy, this magic feeling is essential to all nonmonogamous romps. Instead of feeling scarce, jealous, or angry when you see your partner feel pleasure, compersion teaches you to be thrilled by the fact that your lover is having such a good time.
This emotion doesn’t come overnight. It’s learned. Our culture encourages toxic and manipulative jealousy and pretends controlling behaviors (think all of Twilight) are romantic, not scary. It makes sense that compersion feels alien to us. But through frank conversations with your person and reading up on the topic, you really can develop a sense of warmth and happiness when the person you love is enjoying someone else’s body. This feeling is rooted in confidence and relies on the knowledge that your partner’s happiness in the moment doesn’t cancel out the happiness in your relationship overall.
The compersion you hone in a foursome doesn’t end in the bedroom, though. When you practice compersion, you may notice the feeling playing a role in other parts of your life, like when your partner’s career is taking off and yours isn’t, or when a friend finds a thrilling new love affair while your own is ending. It’s all too easy to look around and feel frustrated that you’re not experiencing the same joy. Instead, with compersion, you’ll feel a deeper sense of peace knowing that another person is happy. You’ll start to realize that seeing others so happy lets you know you can be happy too.
Compersion takes work. If you’re playing in a foursome and jealousy peeks out from between the sheets, take a breath, acknowledge your feelings, and communicate. One step at a time, it’ll come more easily.
To help build up that compersion and have the best time possible, start with the basics: talk. A lot. Before you even start looking for another couple to play with, make sure your home base is solid. Be vulnerable with each other and share what it is you’re willing to do and what your boundaries are. It’s pivotal that you both are on the same page. While you may be hypothetically aroused by some rule-free foursome daydreams, the reality is generally different.
When you and your partner have worked through every potential scenario, teased out jealousies and insecurities, and reached a place where you could both rattle off a list your hopes and fears about group sex, then you’re ready to start looking for another couple. When you find one, get ready to start talking all over again.
Make sure you know what the other couple is looking for too. With both your partner and this new couple, use nonviolent language and encourage each person to share their feelings. No matter what, don’t judge. Ultimately, the person with the strictest boundaries has the final say. If there’s someone in the quartet who doesn’t want any penetration, that has to be honored or no foursome can happen. There’s always time for greater experimentation down the line, and going slowly will help all parties ease into new opportunities.
TL;DR: be creative and receptive to everybody’s expectations. And although something may be the norm in your own bedroom, the other duo may not be receptive or open to it in their own bedroom – and that’s totally fair.
When you’re finally ready to meet up with a couple, choose a solid third-party location like a bar (but don’t drink too much), a coffee shop, a park, or a restaurant. By having a double date before the fun begins, you can check in and see if the chemistry is electric, or if you’re missing something so fundamental you wouldn’t want to have sex with them in even the most casual of settings.
Before you go on the date, have a good talk with your partner about potential exit plans, should the need arise. It’s smart to establish a code word, so you know if your partner reaches a hard limit or changes their mind. This word should be different than your safe word.
It helps to have a secure place to sleep or go home lined up. You may have so much fun that you all four end up spending the night together, but be prepared with a way to get home so you can decompress after an adventurous night. Make sure your phone is fully charged to grab a rideshare, or that you’re alert enough to drive home afterward.
No matter what, have your boundaries firmly in place but still be GGG – Good, Game, and Giving in bed. If that duo is into something new you’re not sure is for you, but doesn’t violate your own boundaries, be a good sport. Foursomes are all about trying new things, and you’ll have a better time if you give things like sexy board games or a striptease competition the old college try.
Most importantly, have boundaries in place that you know about, but still – be GGG. That’s Good, Game, and Giving in bed. If there’s something new you’re not thrilled about trying but that doesn’t in some way go against your boundaries nand needs, there’s nothing wrong with trying out, say, some sexy new board game that you may not be sure is sexy enough for you to enjoy yourself. Regardless, you’ll have a good time by just being there and giving it the old college try!
This can seem like the most terrifying part, but in all honesty, it may just be the simplest. To make the most of it, communication with both your existing partner and the new folks is key. For starters, its easiest to explore this kind of sex with frisky strangers. Look for your ideal duo through poly-specific apps like Feeld, or press your luck on more traditional (but still game) apps like OKCupid or Tinder.
If you’re striking out (or if online just really isn’t your bag), then try a Meetup online for poly folks, swingers, or sexy times. You can also create a Fetlife account and proudly state your case. When you go to a mixer you find through these online resources, be forthcoming, kind, and gracious when sharing what you’re looking for.
It may seem like a lot to digest, but once you talk it out with your partner, it’s a breeze to find another horny couple eager to play with you two. This unique way to get sexy teaches you to communcate and makes you a better lover. Best of all, they’re just plain fun.
So with a healthy dose of communication and an open mind, you and your partner can soon be having a night (and morning) for the books. Just remember to stay GGG