Author and sexual historian Vicki Vantoch weaves interviews, research, and personal experience together in her guide to threesome sex and triad relationships. As well as highlighting the positives of such unions: less codependency, hotter sex (truly, there are diagrams), she also anticipates the negatives and counsels how to avoid making huge, sexy mistakes.
She explains that though she is a bit of a square, citing that she’s even married to her high school sweetheart (actor, Misha Collins), “everyone’s got a kinky side” and then proceeds to share a lot about hers. This personal section shows her to be a thoughtful and extremely curious woman that anyone reading would want to befriend. It ends with a warning that the advice she has given might turn your life upside down, which only heightens the anticipation for the fun ahead. She sprinkles other personal anecdotes (without naming names) throughout, continually reminding us that she doesn’t just talk the talk. The fact that she is coming from a place of experience lends her loads of credibility.
Everyone worries about jealousy in threesomes, and she addresses it frankly saying, “Jealousy is a bitch.” Then, rather than serving up empty platitudes to write the problem away, she maintains that learning to process through hard emotions with good communication can lead to personal growth and enhanced intimacy. “Learning to manage jealousy can lead you to a sweet spot inside yourself, where you feel so confident you no longer seek validation from anyone else. And that’s a beautiful thing.”
Vantoch has interviewed medical professionals, sex workers, friends, and more to provide a well balanced take on the many emotional, spiritual and physical issues that introducing additional sexual partners into your love life can bring. These anecdotes make it clear that she is not alone in her advocacy for ethical polyamory. Also, they round out the topic by sharing specific details about what goes on behind their own closed doors, unshrouding the mystery so often forced onto these human experiences.
Much of the advice found in this handbook can be boiled down to the essential element present in all good relationships: communication. In every chapter, it is repeated and rephrased that honest and open communication is the only way in which these events can resolve into happy endings. Many examples of poor versus good communications skills are played out to hammer the point home and emphasize its importance. Still, she acknowledges that people unused to expressing their emotions fully will have trouble with this aspect of her advice, and that perhaps threeways are just not for them.
Solid quotes and statistics help back up the idea that being open, sharing your love occasionally, and/or committing to more than one sexual partner can aide people’s personal growth and journey through life. The research compiled and utilized to support the choice of this path is wide in scope and helps reflect a nuanced approach to broadening erotic horizons. She quotes Jalal ad-Din Rumi, a Persian poet and mystic as saying, “If you could untie your wings/ And free your soul of jealousy/ You and everyone around you/ Would fly up like doves.” A ringing endorsement for mass coupling if ever one existed.
The book gets repetitive at times, especially concerning safe sex practices. But the latex lectures don’t detract too much from this insider’s tour of the wilder side of romance.
The Threesome Handbook is a fascinating read for all adults, whether they have “secret dreams of reinventing their love lives” or not. Vantoch covers a lot of sexual and emotional ground, and though there are more than a few titillating passages (Did I mention the diagrams and that at least one of her threesome partners is a huge television and social media star?) the practical relationship advice makes this guide helpful for all types of respectful, honest, and loving partnerships, no matter what the head count.