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Are Threesomes Safe For Pregnant Women? Here's What You Should Know

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Whenever I think of a threesome, I picture Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Christine Taylor getting it on in Zoolander. Or, if I want a less humorous version, my mind wanders over to Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, and Denise Richards in Wild Things. Regardless of the scene I, or anyone else pictures, it's rare to see a pregnant woman engage in a threesome. But it's a common fantasy and practice for some couples, which may lead parents-to-be to wonder whether threesomes are safe for pregnant women.

Expecting or not, any couple considering a threesome must first have a lengthy, extensive conversation about what this step in their relationship means and looks like. It should not be done on a whim or after a tipsy night in a bar. Although that may take some of the erotic element out of it, it is key to not severely damage the relationship of the committed couple, says Ashley Grinonneau-Denton, a dually licensed supervising clinical counselor, independent marriage and family therapist, and certified sex therapist who is also a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University.

"I see a lot of couples in which a brief discussion took place and things ultimately end up going horribly awry because there was a lack of soul searching by one or both parties," she tells Romper in an interview. "In my opinion, all couples should consider the who, when, where, whys, and hows of their vision. Having a threesome should really entail a long, thorough discussion in regards to allowing another person into an intimate part of the couple relationship."

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Eric Marlowe Garrison, a clinical and forensic sexologist, author of Mastering Multiple Position Sex, and who teaches about healthy sexuality at William & Mary, echoes Grinonneau-Denton's sentiment and adds that couples need to be very clear about their own expectations and how they want to communicate them. In an interview with Romper, he says couples should consider the following questions:

  • Does everyone please everyone, or does the woman (if a heterosexual relationship) get pleased by both men, or the man and the woman?
  • How will they communicate their boundaries without being afraid?
  • How will they receive and respect the boundaries of the third?
  • What happens the next morning?
  • What are the rules on filming, talking about it in public, leaving that night or next morning?

You may also want to discuss boundaries and set up solid ground rules for the act itself, Dr. Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist tells Romper. These rules should include specifics about what you and your partner are comfortable with, and should be discussed and settled on before you get into bed with the third party.

"All participants (even the third party) should be on the same page about the sexual boundaries and what is off limits and what is fair game," Needle says. "It is also extremely important to know that if one of you is not comfortable, you can stop at any point in time. Establish a safe word or a way to check in with your partner to make sure you are wanting to continue. If not, it is ok to stop."

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Once you, as a couple, have decided that you want to go ahead with a threesome, have talked through what it means for the relationship, and figured out how to proceed, there are some extra considerations for having a threesome while pregnant. While you may be worried about a big penis being dangerous for baby, one of the things to consider is whether rough pregnancy sex is safe for you and what you need to know before you do it (if that's part of your threesome plan).

"There is no physiological reason that sexual intercourse will hurt the baby", Grinonneau-Denton says. "The only caveat to this is that for women with a history of miscarriages, some OBs do suggest abstaining or keeping sex to a minimum for the first three months. However, there is no empirical data that I know of that suggests miscarriage being caused by sexual intercourse. So, this is just a precaution."

When it comes to the sex itself in a threesome, consider the different sex positions that you can try during the act — and which sex positions you should skip when pregnant. Just as with sex throughout the pregnancy, positions that are most pleasurable to the woman and where she has the most amount of control may be best.

"She needs to be in charge," Garrison says. "She also needs to be attuned to her body, so she knows what it is telling her. Many women like to be on top, so that there is not the pain of a person on the baby."

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Couples should be aware, however, that having a threesome can be an extremely emotional experience and, while they can be rewarding, some fantasies are actually better in your head. Keep this in mind as the added hormones coursing through a woman's pregnant body may add to the enjoyment of or negative feelings about the experience.

"It helps to picture the situation, discuss why you want to have a threesome, and best and worst case possibilities before you even decide to move forward with it," Needle says. "Otherwise, there could be jealousy, hurt, surprise, feelings of discomfort and dissatisfaction."

Grinonneau-Denton adds that she would likely not advise her clients to have a threesome during pregnancy because of the additional emotional complications that could arise during this time. The fluctuating emotions that may occur during pregnancy could cause feelings of extra protectiveness which may be tricky to navigate during a couple's foray into a threesome.

"If I was going to pick a time during a couple’s life, pregnancy would probably not be the most optimal time," she says. "Although I wouldn’t say it should be absolutely avoided. In this case, communication and attention to emotional communication should be attended to."

Ultimately, the choice of whether a pregnant couple engages in a threesome is deeply personal. While it's important to discuss any potential risks of pregnancy sex with your doctor, it is even more important to discuss any potential relationship risks with your partner. No matter what you decide to do with your sex life during the nine months of pregnancy, the time before, or the time after, keep the communication lines open.