Over the last two weeks, S and I have had two dates with a new person in our lives, E. There have been a dozen delightful aspects to the experience; glorious conversations that swoop from the silly to the sublime to the serious, learning each others’ stories and histories, the seemingly instant rapport S and E developed, the easy way the three of us collaborate and play in the kitchen while making pasta and salad, deep-and-real conversations basking in the hot tub, and (lest you forget who you’re talking to) there has been a considerable quantity and quality of amazing sex. Fucking awesome (and awesome fucking)!

There’s one aspect of the experience that I have found especially gratifying and would like to describe.

The first evening the three of us hung out together, we reached a threshold where it was clear we were going to be fooling around. We had been talking about sex all night, her experiences, our experiences, where our individual journeys have taken us. Eventually we ended up in the sex treehouse and she saw the Sybian and the bed up there and we all looked at each other, grinned, and effectively said, “You wanna?” (Oh hell yeah!)

So, clothes were doffed, we cuddled on the bed together, and there was that brief awkward pause of “Okay, how are we gonna do this? How does this work?”

It feels like there is never a good sexy time to have the STD talk, there’s only more and less awkward. But this felt like about the best window we were going to find. So I seized the conversational bull by the horns, “Hey, before we get started, let’s have the terribly unsexy and awkward STD talk.” We explicitly reviewed when we had been tested last, what issues there were to consider, possible risks to be mindful of. Once we felt like we had all potential issues on the table and a shared understanding, we took a moment to acknowledge how that can be a challenging topic, but we were all three so glad we had discussed it before anything juicy had happened.

Since we were in that space already, I then dove into explicit topic number two. “Let’s talk about boundaries for a minute. It’s super important to me that we’re only doing things that you’re really enthusiastic about. If you’ve got any hard boundaries that you already know about, I want to hear them. At the same time, if you find your boundaries shift as we’re fooling around and something that you thought would be awesome is making you uncomfortable, it’s important to me that you are able to speak up and let us know. Does that work for you? Can you do that, can you explicitly own your boundaries like that?” She could and did. We laid down a couple of hard lines and enthusiastically agreed that any one of us could pause the action at any time to add to that list with no drama, no hurt feelings.

I thought we were about ready to start and then E paused for a moment with a thoughtful expression and spoke again. “I need to say… I know you two enjoy some pretty enthusiastic BDSM play, and I feel like I need to say… that’s not really my thing. I like a little bit of light hair pulling in just the right moments, but that’s about it. I just don’t have the same relationship with pain that you do. I hope that’s not a huge downer.” We rushed to reassure her; I think my answer was something like, “Oh hon, I have zero agenda except making your brain turn to mush with pleasure! Especially while we’re getting started and learning about each other, I’m not trying to push your boundaries or do anything that you feel uncertain about. I want you to end this night feeling supremely blissed out and completely comfortable.”

With those conversations done, we turned to slathering each other with oil, getting a little familiar with each others’ bodies, and… epic amounts of fun ensued. I could write full-on porn about the experience, but here’s the thing that really stood out for me. Having had those conversations, we then proceeded to have one of the most uninhibited and least self-conscious threesomes I’ve ever had. There seemed to be the least amount of anxiety and fretting that I have ever had with a new partner. Everyone seemed to be fully comfortable in their own skin, overflowing with praise about how stunningly gorgeous the other two were, and deeply committed to spreading around as much pleasure as we possibly could. I don’t think I have ever felt as nakedly exposed and vulnerable in front of a new partner, nor have I ever been as well rewarded for being so open. Everyone took a prolonged turn as the center of attention, combinations and permutations were explored with glee and abandon, the differences in our bodies and preferences were explored with wonder and delight and a complete lack of judgement. And I was really pleased to find out that E did indeed feel safe and secure enough to say once or twice, “That’s not really working for me; can we have less of this and maybe more of that?” Knowing that your partner(s) have that ability to own their own boundaries does a considerable amount to quiet that inner voice that frets about, “She seems like she’s having fun, but is she really enjoying that? What’s the furrow on her brow mean? Hell, is that person feeling left out? Am I doing too much of this and not enough that?” Being able to let go of that and trust my partners was an enormous gift and tremendously liberating.

Last night was the second date with E, and I am so happy to report the first time was not a fluke. Again we discussed our boundaries, where our heads were, what we needed. We started in one place and twice when it seemed like things were about to escalate I checked in explicitly, “Can I do this, would you enjoy this?” and received clear and honest answers. It was a magical experience, ran rather later than any of us expected, and included several (welcome) firsts for E.

I feel profoundly fortunate to have had that experience with partners who are so extraordinarily generous with their affection, trust, and intention. I can’t tell you how eager and excited I am about the prospect of more forthcoming.

As has become my tradition for several years, I’m spending the Christmas break at a rental house on the coast with some very dear friends. We pass the time enjoying the stunning view of the ocean waves rolling in, listening to music, cooking ridiculously good food, hiking, soaking in the hot tub, experimenting at the massage table. Most of all, there is an abundance of love and a complete lack of drama or stress.

Of course, one of the people in attendance is a beloved girlfriend. Thus there has been a copious amount of sex. Slow, languid sex; eager, enthusiastic sex; sex in the bright sunlight, bending her over so she can watch the ocean waves break and crash while I plunge into her repeatedly; sex in the middle of the night, in the dark, still quiet, face-to-face, while clutching tightly and kissing deeply.

My only regret (and it is a tiny thing compared to the abundance of awesomeness) is that the friends are not “that kind” of friends. The girlfriend and I are very considerate about keeping our enthusiasm private and the most salacious thing we do in front of each other is walk around in nothing more than a shirt and pleasantly snug underwear.

In an ideal world, I’d have that ideal magical combination; friends that I love enough to be fully relaxed and open with, and friends who are uninhibited and lusty enough to be sexual in front of. I’m picturing the two women sitting on the couch with their legs spread, holding hands, whilst enthusiastic attendants sit on the floor and lazily suck and lap at their pussies. I want to be fucking my girl on a sheepskin rug in front of the fireplace, get up briefly to take some photos from across the room of another couple riding together in blissful pleasure, and then return to the open thighs awaiting me. I want a four-hand massage to seamlessly segue to four-hand petting, with one hand in her pussy, one on her clit, one pinching a nipple, and another gently pulling hair.

As I say, this is more of an ideal than a complaint. Off-hand, I can’t recall having a better Christmas (and I’ve had some really amazing Christmases in my time). But that doesn’t mean I can’t fantasize about something even better.