In mythology, they are rare, magical and hard-to find creatures. In relationships, they are not too dissimilar. A ‘unicorn’ is any person who is intimate with a couple, whether that means joining them once for a threesome, dating them casually, or entering into a serious polyamorous triad.
We interview Kate*, a bisexual cis woman in her early thirties about what it’s like to be a unicorn.
Where do you think the term ‘Unicorn’ stems from?
I think the term ‘unicorn’ is used because of its mythological connotation. The theory is that it’s rare to come across someone who is attracted to both members of a couple, and is willing to enter the relationship as an outsider. But I don’t actually know if it’s as rare as all that.
Why do you like being a unicorn?
First and foremost, it’s hot. As a greedy bisexual, sleeping with two people of different gender identities at once really is the best of both worlds for me.
This might sound a little voyeuristic, but I am also genuinely fascinated by people’s relationships. I love stepping into the cosiness of the couple dynamic and getting a taste of that, just for a little while. I can be afraid of commitment, so being a unicorn takes the pressure off me in terms of having to meet someone else’s expectations. It feels like guest starring in an episode of the relationship. It’s great fun, I leave, and the show goes on.
Where do you meet couples?
Sometimes when the stars align, threesomes happen organically. For me, this has only happened a couple of times, and only with other singles, never a couple.
I know people who’ve met couples at parties and in bars, but I’m a little hesitant to connect that way. Often in those environments people are drinking, and I don’t want to be a part of something that one or both members of a couple regret later on.
I’ve had great success using a particular dating app that’s geared towards people who are interested in polyamory, kink, swinging, and basically anything else that falls under the umbrella of so-called ‘alternative’ sexual preferences. The app allows members of couples to link their individual profiles, so unicorns like me can view both of them before we match.
Are there any downsides?
I haven’t had any negative experiences yet.
First dates with couples can be intimidating, because you’re the odd one out. Plus, you have to charm and appeal to two people, not just one!
Once, I left a couple’s house after a threesome feeling a little lonely. But then I reminded myself that there was nothing stopping me from seeking out a relationship of my own. And remembered how great the sex was.
So is it just about sex?
For me, so far, yes. Obviously for polyamorous people, being a unicorn can be about building deep, lasting, committed connections with a couple. That’s something I’d love to explore in the future.
What can couples do to improve the experience for their unicorn?
It sounds obvious but open and honest communication with both your partner and your unicorn is the most important thing. You and your partner should have a clear idea about why you want to introduce a third into your relationship. Know what, if any, are your boundaries and rules.
Your unicorn deserves to know what they’re getting into. Make sure they feel valued, safe and respected. Ask what you can do to make them comfortable. Remember they are a real person, not a sex toy to spice up your relationship.
Do you have any final tips for beginner unicorns?
Take care of yourself. Know what you want to get out of being a unicorn. And communicate your boundaries and expectations to the couple from the outset. To be frank, the couple’s needs are probably going to be more important to each other than yours. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because you get to be a free agent.
Also, I don’t know if this is just me, but I only ever correspond with both members of the couple at once, whether on the apps or via message. I don’t want to be in an awkward situation where I feel closer to one partner, or cross any boundaries. Full transparency works for me and I’d recommend it.