If you were to pass by 29-year-old Rebecca wearing her favorite unicorn T-shirt, you probably wouldn’t think anything of it. But to the trained eye? It’s an inside joke.
Rebecca is what you call a “unicorn”. Not the mystical horse-like creature, but a “rarity” in her own way: a person who has sex with couples.
“I’m bisexual, so I like getting the best of both worlds at once,” she tells Mamamia.
“I don’t see the point in not being sexually free. If someone is happy with monogamy and missionary sex once a month, that’s fine. But I’m going to do what makes me happy, and this is it.”
The Perth IT worker says it all began 10 years ago when she had her first ever ménage à trois. The then-high school teacher was in a relationship at the time, and after a night out drinking, she ended up back home with her boyfriend and another female friend.
Her memories of the night are “very, very hazy”, but it was sexy enough to give her a craving for more.
So she and her partner began venturing into swingers’ clubs and onto unicorn dating site. Then after her break-up two years later, Rebecca decided to keep at it on her own.
And it has been an easy undertaking – aided by the fact people are becoming more adventurous in the bedroom. In 2014, a global survey by sex toy company Lelo found that 20 per cent of women had been in a threesome – an increase from 10 per cent two years prior.
So just as threesomes have moved from the raunchy taboo to the mainstream, the practice of “unicorn hunting” (where committed couples approach singles online) has also grown.
The first time Rebecca ever had sex with a couple, it turned into far more than just a one-night stand.
It began with a webcam chat. Then, for six weekends in a row, they hung out. They went four-wheel driving, went shopping, went drinking, and of course there were the… X-rated sleepovers. Their chemistry was intense, and they still see each other – and sleep together – to this day.
But early on, she learned how crucial it was as a “unicorn” to not favour one half of the couple over the other in the bedroom. Jealousy can be a ugly problem.
“After I first started having sex with them, she messaged me and said, ‘I don’t want to make this awkward but he feels like you’re more into me’,” Rebecca says.
“It turns out I was focusing too much on her and leaving him out because I was worried about how she might react.
“I’m now much better and gauging the situation, and not over-compensating.”
Rebecca has been in about 11 different three-way arrangements – mostly with couples – preferring to make long-term, ongoing connections rather than just one-offs. And the people she has met range greatly, having had encounters with tradies, doctors, lawyers and university professors.
Of course, Rebecca has been on both sides of the equation: as a unicorn and as a couple. Mostly, it’s been the former.
While the idea of being the ‘third wheel’ is daunting to many, to Rebecca, it’s all part of the thrill – and she enjoys witnessing the intimacy between a couple.
“I love being the centre of attention and … the couple is really excited to bring you into relationship, and it feels special to be a part of that.”
For Rebecca, who has no interest in all the “humdrum of a (monogamous) relationship”, threesomes are a no-brainer.
“There’s so much more you can do with two other people there. The options are unlimited,” she says.
“You get all the fun parts of having a relationship without any of the dull stuff you don’t want.”
Dr Goldstein believes what most of us are searching for is a higher level of intimacy. So, before embarking on one, she urges people to carefully ask themselves if a ménage à trois is going to achieve that.
“As human beings, we want to feel more connected and close to someone. For some people, but not all, they get intimacy out of a threesome, especially if they’re doing it with their partner,” she says.
While you can never know how you’ll feel about threesome until you’re in it, she says there are two crucial elements for couples to have before arranging a threesome.
You need to share a really strong level of communication, having covered all the possible ‘ifs’ of a threesome. You also need to be in a place in your relationship where there are no emotional issues – especially jealousy or anxiety about cheating.
She says people should be having a threesome out of the right motivation – if you’re doing it because you’re scared of getting boring in the bedroom, you should probably work on your own bedroom as a couple first.
On the unicorn side of things, Rebecca says she has three strict rules that keep things from going sour. Firstly, her liaisons always begin with at least one platonic date.
“I always say the first date is strictly social. I don’t want to set expectations for sex right away,” she says.
At this point, they share about what they each want from the experience, and where the boundaries lie.
And secondly, she always asks for “clear and current face and full-body photos”, both together as a couple and separately.
Finally, she ensures the women she has sex with are bi-curious.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to tiptoe around someone’s feelings.”
Other than that, the only thing left is to go for it. So go forth, and find a unicorn. (Or couple.)