What’s your gender? Woman
How old are you? 52
What’s your race/ethnicity? White / Caucasian
What continent do you live on? North America
What country and/or city do you live in? USA
Highest education received: Post-graduate degree (eg., MA, MS, PhD, JD, MD)
What’s your occupation? Teacher
What’s your current relationship status? Engaged/Married (monogamous)
Religious affiliation: Quaker
How religious are you? Somewhat
What’s your sexual orientation? Heterosexual
How many sexual partners have you had in your life (including oral sex)? 40
How many hookup stories have you here posted before? 0

Unintended 3-Way

How long ago did this hookup happen? 28 years

What was your relationship status at the time? Single

How would you best classify this hookup? Group sex

Tell us about your PARTNER(S). What did they look like? How well did you know them, had you hooked up before? How/Where did you meet them? How did you feel about them before the hookup? One partner was a guy I’d been seeing casually for a year. He lived in Paris, and I was studying in a different city in Europe. I would visit for occasional weekends, stay in his apartment, and we would have sex. I would tell people I had a “boyfriend” in Paris, but it wasn’t a relationship with any future. One weekend when I went to visit, he had another female friend visiting at the same time. She was French, someone who traveled for her work, and it took a while for me to realize that they had a sexual relationship too.

How/where did the hookup BEGIN? What led to it? Was planning involved? Who instigated it? I didn’t realize that they had a sexual relationship. When I went to visit that weekend, I assumed that he and I would sleep together, since we always did. I wasn’t bothered at all by the presence of the other woman; I assumed she would sleep somewhere else in the apartment. But when we came back from an evening out, it became clear that both of us expected to sleep in his bed. It started out casually, but somehow we started making out, and before I quite realized what was happening, he was making out with both of us at the same time.

What happened DURING the hookup? What sexual behaviors took place (e.g., oral, vaginal, anal, kinky stuff)? How did you feel during it? How did they behave toward you? Were they a good lover? What did you talk about? How did it end? He was a little overwhelmed, I think. He sort of took turns with each of us. I don’t even remember the details–it was so long ago. I think he may have had intercourse with both of us. I felt very sexually frustrated. I was aroused, but I wasn’t interested in the other woman (and she wasn’t interested in me). We both wanted to be having sex with him, and he couldn’t have sex with both of us at the same time. I don’t remember if any of us had orgasms. It was weird, and I felt awkward in the morning.

How sexually satisfying was this hookup? A little

Did you have an orgasm? I don’t know

Did your partner have an orgasm? I don’t know

What happened AFTER the hookup? How did you feel about it the next day? What are/were your expectations/hopes for the future with this person? How do you feel about them now? I felt a little weird. I would have been embarrassed if anyone else had known. I never saw the woman again. And the next time I visited the guy, things went back to the way they had been before (which was a different kind of casual sex). The relationship didn’t last long after that because I moved back to the US and lost touch with the French guy. I still feel nostalgic about the guy, and I’d go out for a drink with him and laugh about our relationship if I ever found him. But I still feel weird about that night, and I’ve never told my husband about it.

What precautions did you take to prevent STIs and pregnancy? (Check all that apply) None

What were your motives for this hookup? Fun, pleasure, horniness, Just happened, I don’t know why, just went along with it

How intoxicated were you? A little tipsy/high

What substances did you consume? Alcohol

How intoxicated was your partner? A little tipsy/high

What substances did your partner(s) consume? Alcohol

How wanted was this hookup for you at the time? A little bit

Did you consent to this hookup at the time? I didn’t give a clear ‘yes’, but I didn’t give a ‘no’

How wanted was this hookup for your partner at the time? A little bit

Did your partner(s) consent to this hookup? They didn’t give a clear ‘yes’, but didn’t give a ‘no’

To whom did you talk about the hookup? How did they react? I don’t remember. I think I may have told the story to one or two girlfriends over the years, but I’ve never told my husband of 17 years. I think he would be disappointed in me. He had a long series of monogamous relationships before we started dating; my experience was more with casual sex, which was a big turn off for him.

How would you best summarize people’s reactions about this hookup? I didn’t tell anyone

Did you get emotionally hurt as a result of this hookup? A little bit

Did your partner get emotionally hurt as a result of this hookup? I don’t know / I’m not sure

Do you regret this hookup? A little bit

Why do you regret this hookup? I was frustrated in the moment. It was not satisfying sexually. And it made me feel a little icky afterward.

What was the BEST thing about this hookup? On the other hand, it was interesting, and gave me insight into this guy and the life he was leading. (There was a language barrier, so we never got to know each other well.) And it I think it gave me insight into casual sex in general–how you can sort of fall into something that you never actively intended to do.

What was the WORST thing about this hookup? I think I carry a tiny bit of shame that I am the “kind of woman” who would participate in a 3-way, even though no one knows that about me. I think that’s why I’m writing about it now–to process the shame.

Has this hookup changed the way you think about casual sex, sexuality, or yourself in general? It helps me realize how a person can stumble into a situation that they wouldn’t actively choose. Actually, that describes most of sexual experience before dating my now husband. I never went out at night hoping to have sex; I always wished I had a boyfriend. If a guy was attracted to me, I instantly started fantasizing about him as my future boyfriend, and it was in that context that–if the circumstances were right–I ended up having sex with them. I was ambivalent about myself as someone who had casual sex. I wanted to feel empowered, but the truth was that I was always disappointed when making out didn’t lead to boyfriend status and felt like a failure because I had so few relationships. This example of the 3-way is one of the most extreme encounters I ever had, but was typical in the sense that I stumbled into a relationship that was sexually marginally satisfying but what I really wanted was something else entirely.

All things considered, how POSITIVE was this experience? A little positive

All things considered, how NEGATIVE was this experience? Somewhat negative

What are your thoughts on casual sex more generally, the role it has played in your life, and/or its role in society? What would you like to see changed in that regard? I wonder if, when I was younger and sexually promiscuous, what would have happened if I had embraced the idea of casual sex for its own sake, rather than as something I did while looking for a boyfriend. I might have been able to enjoy those experiences for what they were rather than wishing they were something else. In addition to the guy who I married, I only had three “real” boyfriends who I had sex with. Each of those relationships lasted less than a year, and they were the only times I had sex in the context of an extended , emotionally engaged relationship. Two of them were really, really nice guys, very kind and considerate lovers. When I wasn’t in relationships like that (which was most of the time) I wish I could have pursued a variety of relationships with men without feeling ashamed.

What do you think about the Casual Sex Project? Curious. Read about it in the New Yorker. I think it’s a good thing that we’re talking more openly–and with less stigma–about sex. I hope to be able to teach my three kids to navigate a sexual life without shame.

You have a hookup story to share? Submit it here!