Group sex plays a part in many gay men’s relationships – but it can potentially cause problems within a partnership. Alex Hopkins investigates.


“I felt caught in between, discarded, a spare part,” James tells me. He’s talking about his experiences of group sex while in a relationship with his now deceased partner, Bill. The pair lived together for 30 years but were only “a couple” for just over three. “He could never be faithful and was always playing around,” James, now in his sixties, tells me. “It was terrible because I had a romantic idea of what our relationship should be. I wanted monogamy.” When James realized that this wasn’t going to happen with Bill, he agreed to participate in several group sex scenarios, involving one other partner or more – but it never worked out, “I always came away feeling empty and unwanted; the others got more attention – and worst of all, Bill gave them more attention than me.”

James’ experiences with group sex in a partnership mirror my own: I tried it years ago while in a relationship, but only at the beginning, as we had just started dating. My jealousy came to the fore. Was my new partner really into me? Did he prefer the others in the group? Wasn’t I enough? In my head, I was counting every time he touched me versus each swipe he took at the genitals of the other anonymous participants. Net result: it became unendurable, and I wandered off to fix myself a large Vodka, fuming in the next room as the others grunted and groaned themselves to extravagant climaxes.

It's clear from just a quick perusal of gay apps like Grindr that group sex, at least on the surface, is something that works for many gay men in couples. The tag lines scream with “Top and bottom seeking bottoms and tops”; “top and bottom seeking versatile”; “two bottoms seeking top” (although I am not quite sure how that one works!). If this is anything to go by, many gay men’s sex lives seem to be ever-rampant Rubik’s cubes with any number of possible combinations. But behind the boudoir doors, is everything as harmonious as it sounds?

“We like to spice things up,” Joe tells me, who has been in a relationship with Ben for three years and the open nature of their partnership was there right from the beginning. “We had an honest conversation about what we wanted – lots of sex and not just with one another, casual sex too” Ben explains. “Men are programmed to be promiscuous. It’s the way we are. To deny that causes problems, I think.” Group sex is something that the pair both enjoy, but crucially it doesn’t involve emotion. “It’s purely mechanical,” adds Ben. “It’s about getting off, experimenting with our bodies, with other people’s. Those are the rules, and there’s never been any deviation from that.”

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But for others, trust has to be established before they include other men. Paul and Mario were together for three years before they started to have group sex. It was something they were cautious about, and they began gradually with the odd threesome. Over time more partners were added. They now go to sex parties advertised online and also sex clubs, but their bond, Paul says, is not based upon this. “We both have to want it, and we don’t do it all the time. There is, I think, a difference between the odd bit of fun and habitual behavior. When it becomes an addiction, I believe that it can damage your relationship. We’ve seen this happen with friends.”

After being together for five years, Wayne and Brian decided to open their relationship up. They’d had plenty of group sex while they were both single, but – much like James – wanted a committed one-on-one relationship, which changed as time went on. “I guess we thought that as we had group sex in our youth, why not have it in a couple? Would it be that different to how it was before we were together? What would we feel?” asks Wayne. The pair set up a trial period of a few months, but things didn’t work out. “After the initial novelty of it, I decided I didn’t like it,” says Brian. “It felt like I was sharing my man, although Wayne didn’t feel this way. He thought things were ok.” Resentment set in and after a lengthy discussion the couple decided to abandon the arrangement. “Ultimately, although I enjoyed it, my respect for what Brian wanted was more important,” concludes Wayne.

While these stories show that group sex has always been an element of some gay men’s relationships, the way we now “play with others” has undergone significant changes in recent years – mainly due to the new phenomenon of Chem Sex. James remembers how things were when he was with Bill: “The group sex we had was largely sober sex. Yes, booze could be involved and spliffs, but not hard drugs.” If you’re looking online for group sex today, then it’s the norm for Chems to be involved, this complicates how some couples negotiate group sex.

Chris and Phil, in their late twenties, don’t remember a time when Chems weren’t part of a group situation. “If you turn up at someone’s home you know everyone there is going to be on Mephedrone and GHB,” Chris shrugs. “You take it as a given – and you’re often expected to bring supplies.” Having group sex on drugs has led to problems. “Paranoia can set in with me,” Phil says. “The mood of night – or nights that often turn into days – has often dramatically shifted. I’ve wanted out. It just becomes darker. It’s led to rows, unspoken animosity between us. I’m not happy with it, but we then go back and do it again. The Chems blur boundaries, warp your thinking. It can potentially destabilize an otherwise stable relationship, and this has changed how gay men have sex. How we manage this is another major challenge that we all face, I think.”


What are your experiences of group sex or threesomes in your relationship? Does it work?  Share below.


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SeanAaron

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I hear you. Arranging threesomes is a pain in the neck. Flakes are everywhere and its's hard to get everyone together. My partner and I like different types of guys but I finally talked him into doing a threesome. He liked it A LOT. So much he started to go from monogamous man to wanting a threesome often. I finally got jealous in a way and we'd go over to the persons house and I'd be like I can't get hard you two go at it and they would. First off, my man used my account with my profile photos and talked with guys as if it was me to get them, and then they'd show up, "hey how you doing. Lets do what we talked about." I'd be like "what was that?" So I just let them have at it. My man doesn't feel it is cheating as long as I'm in the same room or house and they are either there or living with us. After the three some bit, he got the idea he wanted houseboys to have sex with bareback. So he'd make sure they were and have them live with us. They'd be downstairs going at it while I fixed their dinner. It was quite rude but they had their fun. They wouldn't last long, haha They got tired of each other and the sex was boring. I told them so. Truth be told they favored me more by my man was all about him doing it with them so he'd be in bed with them shortly after they got into the house. So when he went to work, the rule of not doing anything kinda went out the window and we'd fuck like mad for hours. Literally do it all day and then rush to get stuff done and look like we just hung out. I finally told him during arguments as a bitch slap type thing like "you're half way up the driveway and I'm so far up in them." We're finally done with those boys because he was all along wanting a person that would stay around and become a third in our relationship. So now we are on a search for a real third person. We have gotten our sex desires out of the way for 1-1s out and about by ourselves and want to focus our love and support to one person who can bring a lively addition to our lives. We have one guy but he's really really young. Sounds like a perfect fit but again he likes younger, I like guys my age or older. There are exceptions bug generally. Thank goodness his twink fetish finally got done. Though he still likes really young guys. That worries me but I'll go along and see what happens. My life I could write a book about all the tales and things that I've gone through. Guys are amazed by my stories. They all encourage me to write a coffee table gay book. I think an audio book would be better. Maybe I'll do it. I've got some freetime right now so maybe. I loved your story how your bf was a lot like mine. Wants the action, ensures he gets it, but doesn't want you getting it alone. It's okay he got it, but you, doesn't like that. Like you're not good enough to get satisfaction? Wtf? You got oats to soil also. I hope you are finding what you are looking for and sorry for this long message. I write long ones and Im new here. Today is my first day. I'm bound to fuck up somehow so this might be one. Best wishes man and feel free to hit me up sometime. I'll be around.

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sexygayguy13

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I love raw sex.

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Mike_Haley

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My boyfriend (who I met on this site) and I have a mutual understanding about sex with other men. I cheated on him once while he was off in another state, but felt so guilty that I confessed the next day, only to find out that he did the same very recently. Since then we've agreed that as long as it doesn't diminish our emotional connection, sex with other men just to satisfy our needs shouldn't be an issue. We don't keep our "affairs" secrets, though they're still very few and far apart. We've made out with another men at the same time, and been involved in one full threesome while crashing at his friend's place. A friend who is very sexually dominant. Nobody planned it, all three of us were sleeping in the same bed with me in the middle and he just kept trying to pull my underwear off until I finally gave in. Although he gave attention to my boyfriend as well, it seemed pretty clear that I was his main target. But again, this didn't bother my bf, and we all spent the next day cuddled together on the couch watching movies. A few days later, he offered himself to me solo while we were just waiting for my bf to get out of work. I agreed because I knew he wasn't disrespecting our relationship (again, sexually dominant) and truth be told I wanted another go. Ever since my bf and I have only attempted to set up one other threesome, but those plans fell through on the other guy's end. Even though it was my idea I made sure to let my boyfriend know that if he didn't really want to I would happily call it off, but he insisted he was curious. Though we've made no other attempts since then, our feelings haven't changed. No matter how many partners we may experiment with, our real commitment is to each other.

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