Any woman who’s on Tinder will have seen profiles of couples inviting subscribers to join them, promising to spoil and pamper them in a “sensual experience.” These couples are looking for what in the dating lexicon calls a “unicorn” or “Pegasus.”
These are terms applied to people who join couples in threesomes, usually just once. However, there are also long-term threesomes that started out as one-off encounters, and then developed into ongoing relationships.
The term “unicorn,” although used for either gender, is more often used to describe a woman who joins a couple in bed. A “Pegasus” is a man participating as the third party in a threesome. Both are mythological figures marked by their rarity – apparently because it’s so hard to find them.
A unicorn is free of any emotional commitment to the couple and usually nothing more than a one-off encounter is expected. Just show up, enjoy yourself. For these couples, the sexual experience, coupled with the excitement of the search for a third party, increases the mystery and attraction within their relationship. But what about the men and women joining them? What do they find appealing about being a unicorn?
Netta (assumed names to maintain privacy), 41, from the Shfela region tells us: “There’s something magical about it. It might sound like a cliché, but I help couples make their dreams come true - and I enjoy myself.
"Just to be clear - it’s not for them, it’s fun for me. In a lot ways, not part of the couple is very convenient for me. I show up, have a good time and leave. I find it’s empowering that - although I’m not the slimmest, best looking or most beautiful girl in the world – they want me. I love being with couples.”
Boaz, 41, from the center of the country started out as part of a couple looking for someone to join them. “I was in the army when I first thought about being in bed with more than one partner. I thought about having a man join me and my girlfriend. Together, we’d fantasize about who else was with us, what he’d be doing to her and how it would make me feel."
He adds: "We actually did it once. He was supposed to be for her, but after we talked it through and fantasized together, we realized that he was actually for me. It was the first time I ever touched a man. I then started joining couples myself.”
How do you find the right couple?
“It’s not easy. It involves a lot of trial and error. How do you find the right couple? Just like you find anything worth finding – you spend a long time looking. It’s complex. The physical attraction is very important, but intellectual attraction is part of it for me. I’ve been in contact with couples who I didn’t find interesting, or they were too focused on the sex or produced lists of demands and expectations. I was looking for something else. If I can’t talk to them, or if I don’t like them, it’s not gonna happen.”
Have you ever met a couple and realized that it just wasn’t “it”?
“Yes. It happened a few times,” Netta recalls. “I started corresponding with a couple who lived nearby. We were getting along online and it was fun. We agreed that I’d come to them, but the moment I saw the guy, I realized I wasn’t attracted to him at all. They were a lovely couple, but it was clear to me that nothing was going to happen. We had a lovely evening, and we all got along very well, like online - but I knew this wasn’t going to be a threesome. It wasn’t going to happen. You just know.”
Oren, 55, from Tel Aviv is less happy about couples approaching him. He’d rather a threesome develops in real life, from getting to know people: “I don’t actively look for couples, but some couples approach me. Sometimes, it’s irritating if they’re blind to there being a real person on the other side and not just a fantasy object: A woman once contacted me via one of the Facebook groups."
He adds: "She was looking for a man to join her and her partner - to fall in love with both of them. She wouldn’t listen to me being an actual person, that I wasn’t interested in just being a fantasy object, but that I was looking for a real connection. It was really annoying.
“The threesomes I’ve been in have taken shape organically. I made contact with my ex-girlfriend’s former boyfriend. He, I and his girlfriend were a throuple for about a year.“
What does it feel like being a third wheel? Have you ever felt left out in sexual situations? How do you overcome these feelings?
“That happens sometimes.” Boaz tells us: “Generally, the couple try to keep me ‘in’, but it doesn’t always work. I was once with two couples. I knew one of the couples, but I’d just met the other couple. At some point, I went out of the room and when I came back, they were getting on just find without me; They’d paired up and I felt there was no place for me there. I got dressed and left. I promised myself I’d give it up. That promise didn’t last very long…”
Netta actually enjoys not always being part of the couple. “Sometimes, the couples have their own thing going on and that’s fine. It makes sense. It was a bit weird at first, but now I understand that it’s part of it. I think it’s lovely that they can be a couple even when they have another person in bed with them. I like watching it. I find it rather moving. “
Chen, 34, from Tel Aviv feels that she actually would like to be part of the couple herself. It’s part of the attraction. “Truth be known, I’m quite envious of the couples I join. I like their openness and that they are allowing this to happen. I wish I could find a boyfriend who’d enjoy having another guy or girl, or even a couple, in bed with us.”
For a lot of unicorns, it’s not just something you do once or twice and then you’re done with it, but rather it’s integral to their sexual preference.
Michal, 25, from the northern part of the country, realized that she is attracted to both men and women when she was 22. “I need both masculine and feminine energy in my sex life. I wouldn’t rule out a threesome relationship in the future – although from experience, it’s rather complicated.”
For Oren, being part of a threesome lets him open up to another part of himself – which had been repressed until only a few years ago. “Ten years ago, we made our marriage ‘open.' Until then, the life I’d led was completely normative and monogamic. I was walking around with unfulfilled fantasies and feeling guilty about it. Making our relationship ‘open’ has meant that I’m free to enjoy all kinds of different sexual experiences. It’s also made me realize I’m bisexual.“
“I was with a friend and she met someone she knew who’s bisexual and we all got talking, which drifted into a sex party with the three of us. That was my first experience with a man - but it included a woman too. Ever since, I’ve only been with a man when it’s with a woman or with other genders. I’ve never been on a one-on-one with a man. You could say that it allows me to be with men.”
Yonit, 43, from the Sharon region identifies as bisexual so being a unicorn suits her: “Joining a couple is the ultimate experience for me. I feel pleasure both from the guy and the girl. I choose couples where the woman is bisexual. I want her to enjoy me, just as I enjoy her. I want to feel free."
She adds: "If there’s a girl who just wants to give it a try, and she isn’t really sure if it’s right for her, I’m less likely to go for it. I prefer experienced couples who are genuinely there to have a good time, not couples who are just experimenting. There’s a broad range of sexual preferences: Some people like the sex really harsh, there’s BDSM. Some like it smooth and gentle. I choose couples by my own sexual preferences at any given time.”
What’s it like meeting a new couple? How do you overcome the embarrassment?
“Generally, you meet up, drink some wine, get to know each other. From there, you see if it’s leading anywhere."
Michal continues: “When the edge is taken off, you can just start getting acquainted like in any other social setting. There’s a point when all parties are in, and then it starts with gentle touching and it carries on from there at a pace everyone’s happy with.”
Chen doesn’t feel awkward or embarrassed when she first meets a couple. “I really don’t feel embarrassed. I’m very secure in my own sexuality. The other side might sometimes feel embarrassed. That’s a bit of a turn-on for me. I always find creative ways to break the ice. I was once with a couple who were very keen. We talked for hours, ate and drank, but they didn’t really know how to get it started, so I suggested a game. The loser had to remove an article of clothing. From there, it all just flowed.”
Would you say that being a third wheel takes the pressure off because you’re not part of the couple?
“Definitely not. I don’t do it because of any kind of fear of commitment. I simply enjoy it.” Chen continues: “I like tasting and experiencing everything the world has to offer. Sex is pleasure. Maybe I have an emotional need to feel alive and breathing at every moment.”
For Michal, threesomes are about enjoying sex without the commitment. “It definitely takes off the pressure. I show up, we talk, start connecting, but I can get up a leave if I want. It comes and goes for me. Sometimes that’s enough for me. Sometimes, I enjoy the variety.”
Boaz feels that a lot is expected of him when he joins a couple: “I don’t feel that being with a couple removes the pressure at all. Quite the opposite. I need both of them to like me. I need satisfy both of them. I must not be threatening in any way and I have to find my own place within their pre-existing dynamic. I’m the disposable part. I need to adapt myself to them. I’m unknown to them, they’re unknown to me - at least at first few times.“
“Yes,” declares Netta. “I think if you join a couple and it becomes more regular, it can turn into a way of life. That’s what I want. On the other hand, I’m after the excitement and fleeting sexual pleasure.”
Recently divorced Yonit definitely doesn’t see herself in a long-term relationship. “Because I was married for all those years, I’ve never looked for a primary relationship. It suits me being with couples just for a good time. I’m there for two or three hours and then I go home. I’m not looking for a relationship.”
Conversely, Oren is looking for an emotional connection, and sometimes for the long-term. He had a year-long relationship in a threesome of two men and a woman. The relationship was egalitarian with feelings between all parties.
“I’m not interested in joining a couple where they’re a unit and I’m coming from the outside. I don’t want to find myself in any kind of unbalanced power structure. Even if it’s a one-night thing, it has to be equal. Joining a couple where I have a defined role, is really unappealing.”
Like so many unconventional sexual preferences, most unicorns are in the closet. For this article, they asked to be referred to by assumed names and without their pictures. Some have told their close friends or talk about it within their own alternative-sex communities.
They very rarely tell their own families. However, the couples looking for unicorns are very open about it on dating apps. Discretion seems vital for unicorns more than for the couples looking for them.
“I have a close friend who knows” Boaz tells us: “I had to tell someone. I couldn’t keep it inside. Not only that – I’m in the closet. I’m not sure I want to explain to the people around me why I do what I do, even if everyone’s very mature and tolerant about it. Sex is an extremely personal thing. I don’t talk about conventional sex, so I see no reason to talk about other stuff."
He adds: "I once started corresponding with someone. We exchanged pictures, but we didn’t meet up in the end. A few weeks later, he showed up at my company for a job interview. I was so nervous. I was hoping that he hadn’t seen me. To my enormous relief, he wasn’t taken on at the company.
“I tell my friends from the open sexuality community. I’m not ashamed,” Netta tells us. “I don’t tell my other friends. There are boundaries. I don’t want to be judged. Not everyone understands.“
Unlike Netta and Boaz, Michal is quite comfortable telling friends and even her family knows. “My family knows all about my lifestyle. It came as no surprise to them when I moved in with a couple during the first lockdown. I thought they might comment. They didn’t. They even wanted to meet them. Apart from some nasty looks from one family member, it was cool.”
Have you remained close with any of the couples?
There are some couples that I’ve chosen to meet up with more than once, but I prefer not getting emotionally involved.” Chen, who bolts before things get serious tells us: “I don’t want to risk splitting up a couple, so I always disappear before they become emotionally attached.“
Boaz wants the personal connection, so he stays in touch with couples: “I’ve remained close with a girl from one couple, and a guy from another. The girl’s husband started getting jealous, so it cooled off. I talk quite a lot to the guy. We’ve been out for beers once or twice. We’ve become friends. Sometimes I sleep with him and his wife. “
Yonit prefers keeping it easy-going, but not on a one-time basis. She meets up regularly with the same couple for a few months. When she feels it’s run its course, she moves on to the next couple.
“A few years ago, I was looking for a couple on the swingers dating site, ‘Zigzug’. A woman made contact and we started writing to each other. I didn’t have time to talk. I told her that we’d talk later and saved her number in my phone as ‘Anat from Zigzug’ and forgot all about it."
She adds: "About a month later, I’m on my son’s class WhatsApp parent’s group and I see ‘Anat from Zigzug’. I PM’d her. It turns out they live two streets away and our kids are in the same class! We then met up and we’ve become permanent threesome.”