The Scarlet Letter
Volume II, Number 3 | Feburary 1995
Aphrodite's Guide to Successful Group Intimacy in the 90s
by Sr. Esoterica

So, you have met someone whom you would like to invite into your existing relationship, or you have met a couple that you cannot resist, and they seem interested in you. Well, a menage a trois can he one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences that three people can share, or it can he a disaster. The same is true for two couples who want to become intimately involved. The Goddess of Love is firmly on the side of hedonism and free expression of affection, but the era in which we live must be taken into account, as well as those factors that will determine whether the event will he ecstasy or agony.

Here, not necessarily in order, are a few simple guidelines that will ensure, ahead of time, that your desire for a beautiful evening will not be shattered.

1. Boundaries MUST he clear! A boundary is a line that one MUST NOT CROSS. It is a sign of respect that one understand another's boundaries, even in a monogamous relationship. This is especially true in a group encounter (or long term group relationship). Discuss them beforehand, and make sure that they are clear. Find out what your prospective partners like and dislike. What irritates them, what behaviors turn them off? NO means NO; stop means STOP NOW (a little to the right means...) Respect that the others will say what they mean, and respect what they tell you.

2. PAY ATTENTION to body cues while making love. If they move away, that means less pressure; if they move towards you, that means more pressure. Go with the rotation of the body and let their movements direct what you are doing. Failure to pay attention to boundaries and body cues feels like rape, and that causes HARM! If you all want to get a little adventurous (like bondage etc.), and EVERYONE likes the idea, then use safe words and respect them. (A good safe word is "aardvark," not something that one usually shouts in a moment of passion...)

3. Everyone must want to he with everyone else. Don't invite another woman to join the couple if she only wants him and not his female partner, ditto if she only wants her and not him. Don't invite a bisexual man to join if the other man is straight and uptight about being naked with another man. Feelings are vulnerable when you are making love, and the quickest route to ruin is to have someone there being ignored or snubbed.

4. Everyone should be friends first and feel (at least) affection for the others. It should not be an effort to be concerned for other's feelings. Friends before-loving friends after. Even if the woman (or man or etc...) is the hottest person this side of the Sahara, wait until you know one another before making love.

5. Check each other's PAPERS! See the blood test results, and verify the number of partners they have had since then (it helps if you have a mutual friend who can fill in the blanks), or go get tested for STDs before making love (then don't have sex with anyone else until the three of you get together). It generally takes two weeks for the results, so use that time to socialize (platonically); find out if you have enough in common to make sharing love worth while. If you already know each other, go get tested anyway. Go to the test together; the bonding and trust established is well worth the trouble. Love should be an affirmation of life, not an invitation to the Summerland in the near future. (Avoid someone who refuses to be tested...)

6. Everyone needs to be mature and not self-centered or insecure. Be there for the others and enjoy how they are feeling, don't try to be the center of attention the whole time. You'll get your turn... Participate—don't hog the show... Get over being overly sensitive (touchy). People are different. If everyone is honestly trying to be loving and concerned, then what you thought you heard was not meant as sarcasm. (If it was sarcasm or a nasty comment, and that happens if you don't know a person well before you have sex with him/her, end it right there, apologize for the awful mistake and try to make amends later, love is too sacred to waste on someone who has no concern for other's feelings).

7. Remember that love is SACRED (to most pagans), the others ARE the Goddess and the God. Don't profane it by acting, it isn't about performance, it's about worship. Experience it, don't try to impress anyone. You are there to worship and feel the joy with one another. So live it, don't act it.

8. Let it grow, DON'T make it happen. The right time and place will announce itself in due time; it doesn't need to be forced. Some planning may be in order however, once everyone feels good about it. Plan on a weekend or couple of days when no one has to go to work the next day. If you start fooling around and it feels wrong or uncomfortable—STOP—it may not be the right time or place, or someone may have unresolved conflicts. All conflicts about the sharing need to be resolved BEFORE anything happens.

9. Respect the PRIMARY relationship(s)! Unless you are three single friends who just happen to be wild about one another, there is a primary couple involved. You are there to share a very special experience that may or may not he repeated in the future. If you are the third party, don't get involved in relationship issues or the private lives (other than the times you spend together) of the couple. Don't show up at the door uninvited, don't call every day to see if they still love you. Get a life and live it. If you are invited, be joyful; if not; be joyful that your friends love each other and want to have time alone together. It sometimes (read rarely, but it does happen) works out that the three (or more) of you want to share a house and a life. That's great, but wait six months before you move in, and get your own room. It doesn't matter how much you love someone, you and they need time alone and your own private spaces!

10. Learn to ground and center and channel the energy FIRST! Work some ritual together, learn each others energy fields. Don't fry yourself, it's not fun!

11. Check to see what kind of birth control everyone is using. A woman who has been with her female lover for years is probably not on the pill. Use condoms anyway, and extra foams if necessary. I know they taste bad, but better a quick bath then an unwanted pregnancy.

12. Relax and take your time. The main event is not how many orgasms one can have in the first 10 minutes: it is exploring and getting to know one another's bodies and erotic senses. Give one another massages, caress one another. Orgasm is secondary, relax and take it SLOWLY!

13. Everybody takes turns being the center of adoration, and everybody rests when they need to. Cuddling is wonderful. In a threesome, one person is "it" at a time; in a foursome, a number of combinations is possible, as long as no one is left out. If you need to rest, tell the others, if they want to keep going, enjoy watching; how often do you get the chance?

14. Check out body/bath oils, perfumes, incenses, and powders (etc.) beforehand to make sure that no one is allergic. Covering someone in madly itching red spots isn't pleasurable, it's a nightmare!

15. Don't he afraid to make suggestions, give directions, or ask for what you want. Unless you are all highly trained telepaths (and even then), don't expect the others to get what you want by osmosis. Verbalize, and listen to what the others are telling YOU.

16. Everyone BATHES beforehand, like right beforehand (and in a long session, perhaps again). Women should take a bath, not a shower (unless you plan to use a WATER douche—flavors mask the delicious natural taste and are VERY bad for your health!) If you use the restroom, WASH afterwards (with a cloth and warm, soapy water...)

17. Leave food, drink, and everything else (including music) where it is within easy reach, particularly in the winter. Making love requires energy, and isn't enjoyable if one is distracted by hunger or thirst. Feed one another, give of each other to drink, make it an erotic rather than a utilitarian experience.

18. Avoid using drugs before and during love-making; and use alcohol ONLY in moderation. Too much of these and a woman loses her desire, and a man loses his ability to get and maintain an erection. Fantasize later, don't cloud the experience with artificial substances. Love is its own intoxicant.

REMEMBER: "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals!" Don't forget to laugh, and dance, and taste, and feel ...It isn't worth it if you take it too seriously... (I mean life). Respecting other's feelings, and feeling affection for others means laughing together, which is the Inuit name for making love.

We pagans tend to be a lusty lot, and Pan is ever ready to assist Aphrodite in the affairs of the heart. Just don't forget that this is the 1990s(ce), not the 900s(bce). By following these few simple guidelines, the God/desses may he worshipped in the old way without fear or violated feelings. May the Gods visit you in your love-making.

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