Ever wonder whether getting yourself into a threesome requires a secret handshake? Well, it doesn’t. However, there is some insider vocabulary that’s helpful to know. Whether to help you decipher those cryptic Craigslist ads or simply to help you negotiate the threesome of your dreams, having the right language to talk about your fantasies is essential.

Good sex comes down to good communication. There's no way around it. To communicate clearly, you must define the terms and make sure everyone is using the same language.

Here’s a glossary of terms to understand before you start looking for three-way or group play.

Unicorn

Unicorn is the term used to describe a bisexual woman who will show up to fulfill your threesome fantasy and then go away, without disrupting your relationship. These days, the term is less gendered. It is sometimes even embraced with a bit of humor by folks who enjoy joining couples.

The reason “unicorn hunting” gets a bad rap, and that couples online are sometimes labeled as unicorn hunters, is that the tone of personal ads often ignores the fact that these potential unicorns, or thirds, have needs and feelings of their own.

MMF, FMF, MFM

The meeting of these terms is fairly obvious; the letters (m,f) refer to the sex of the person, and the order of the letters begins to describe the configurations of people sought. The difference between MMF and MFM, for example, would be the amount of contact between the male participants.

Devil’s Threesome

Devil's threesome is a slang term for an MFM threesome. Imagine you’re making the “devil” horns gesture with your hand, like at an '80s rock concert, and extrapolate from there what body parts the two fingers represent.

Double Penetration (DP)

Speaking of the devil’s threesome… double penetration most commonly refers to a woman being penetrated by two penises at once, generally vaginally and anally. (If it was orally and vaginally, that would be spit-roasting.) Although this is a common fantasy, enacting it can be a bit tricky due to positional logistics and the fact that timing two erections can be challenging. It’s still double penetration if you’re substituting one or both penises with strap-ons or hand held dildos, though.

Heteroflexible

While bisexual is the term that pops up most frequently when it comes to threesomes, heteroflexible is gaining in popularity. It describes a sexuality that is mostly straight, but willing to engage in a bit of same-sex exploration. You may also see homoflexible used.

Fluid Bonded

The term fluid bonded is most often used in polyamory and open relationship communities, and it refers to a couple who has sex without barriers. This term is most commonly used to refer to penis-in-vagina sex, even though oral sex could just as easily be considered fluid bonding. For this reason, and because it suggests a hierarchy in the relationship, some people frown on the use of the term. Regardless of the terms you’re using, it’s important to know what the safety practices are of the people you’re planning to have sex with.

Polyfidelity

This one might sound like a contradiction in terms, but idea of polyfidelity is that it’s an open relationship insofar as there are multiple people, but the people involved don’t play with others outside of their group or poly-cule. This could be a triad, a foursome, or another configuration.

Triad

A triad is a descriptor for a relationship between three people. The people can be of any gender and the understanding is that all three people are sexually and romantically involved with each other.

Cuckold & Cuckqueen

The term cuckold initially referred to the husband of an adulterous wife, but has been adopted as the term for the fetish where the husband is a willing participant in this arrangement. Most commonly, the husband will be present in the room to watch his wife with another man, and sometimes there are elements of humiliation as well. Cuckqueen refers to the gender-swapped version of the same scenario.

Cuckqueen

Voyeurism

Voyeurism refers to receiving sexual pleasure from watching other people participate in sexual acts. This term isn't limited to threesomes - and it's a very common fetish!

Exhibitionism

Exhibitionism refers to receiving sexual pleasure from showing off, or having other people watch you having sex. Again, this term isn't limited to threesomes, and many people get a kick out of it in some form or other.

Dental Dams & Gloves

The more people in the bed, the more care you need to take with your safer sex conversations. If all parties involved don’t want to share fluids you need to take care with your hands and mouths, and think where you’ve been before you touch, or kiss, another person. While condoms are well known for penetrative sex, (and yes, even for blow jobs!) their cousin, the dental dam, doesn’t get enough love. A dental dam is a swatch of latex or polyurethane used to cover the vulva before performing oral sex. If you don’t have one, you can also cut the tip off a condom and cut it lengthwise to make your own. You can even make one from a latex or nitrile glove, potentially leaving the thumb hole as a place for your tongue. Speaking of gloves, while you might not think of them as a common safer sex supply, they’re actually wonderful for a variety of reasons. In a threesome, they’re fantastic because you can swap gloves between partners and not need to worry about swapping fluids, or you can even color code each hand with a different kind of glove, to remind you which hand is for whom. They can also help prevent cross contamination between anal and vaginal play - just swap gloves between acts.

Threesomes are a common fantasy and can be a major thrill. But, like any type of sex play, threesomes come with their own set of terminology. If you're new to threesomes, we hope you now have the confidence to forge ahead on a three-way adventure. If you've played in a threesome before, perhaps you've learned a little something more.