Meet Our Teachers–Nina Hartley!

Yes, THAT Nina Hartley!

Nina teaches a class on Threesomes on Thursday, May 22nd — sign up below! Tickets also available at the door, while they last.

We asked her a few questions about this perennially popular topic.

–Carol Queen

Joe Arce headshot

Why is the threesome such a very popular fantasy, do you think?
I think it’s popular because it’s a very free thing to do. The fantasy that there is no jealousy, no anger, no hard feelings, makes it very different from how people are day to day. Jealousy takes up so much emotional bandwidth that being able to put down the burden of jealousy seems like such a great vacation. Like being able to fly, many people dream of it (non-jealous sexual interaction) but don’t believe it can actually happen “like that” in real life. Plus, there’s something so very pornographic about being in the same room as two OTHER people being intimate. Naughty!

What can you learn from a threesome that you don’t learn as effectively from sex with one person?

One can learn so much. First, one can learn about oneself and one’s insecurities simply by being present to themselves during a threesome. Paying attention to what we like/dislike/fear/desire is very illuminating. One can behave in a loving, supportive manner while simultaneously “processing” like heck!

You can learn how your partner likes to do a certain thing. You can see how they look while they’re doing it. You can hold their hand and look into their eyes while they experience pleasure with another person. You can learn that you’re more open, or more conservative, than you thought. You can learn to forgive normal human bodies, with all of their bumps and squishy and fuzzy and dangly bits. You can see that you look way hotter than you feared.

You can learn empathy. You can learn self-love and forgiveness. You can learn to have a bang up time and then either simply go home, or have the guest go home.

Would you share a memorable threesome story of your own?

Gosh, so many to choose from! My first was memorable simply because it was such an unmitigated disaster, emotionally. I learned how much distance there is between THINKING something “would be hot,” to making it actually hot in the real world. That just wanting a thing doesn’t equal being able to have/do the thing. I learned that not wanting to be jealous didn’t translate into not being jealous, anyway.

Cut to now, when none of my threesomes go south. What’s different is, first and foremost, my own growth as a person. I choose my partners better, negotiate more clearly, show up more fully and never have a bad time.

As for a naughty story, the last threesome ended up with my Darling Husband doing our guest in her butt, while I had three fingers in her puss, working like mad. That was after an hour of other fun things, but there’s nothing I like more than being in the room when people are having sex, and helping them have a rocking good time.

What’s THE most important advice you can give to keep a threesome from going in the wrong direction?

In two concepts: personal responsibility and proper negotiations. Each player is honor bound to take personal responsibility for their emotional well being, boundary-setting, speaking up if needed, asking for what they need and being a good sport. Proper negotiations clearly state what the hard limits are for each person, as well as what each person is hoping to get out of the experience.

This is achieved by getting clear consent before anything happens. Consent is not the absence of “no.” It is a statement of clear agreement to whatever the plan may be, (“We want to take you home and see if my girlfriend can get her hand into you.” “I’ve always wanted to play with an experienced couple. You game?”)

People often say, “Oh, I want it to be spontaneous.” One creates a safe place so THEN one can be spontaneous. Build the fence around the playground before you go crazy chasing a loose ball. That way, no one runs into traffic and gets hit by a semi.

Keep intoxication to a minimum. Keep safer sex practices to a maximum. Know why you’re there and own it. Know when you’re not able to be fully present and own that. Have fun!


Threesomes—with Nina Hartley!
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
$20 in advance, $25 at the door
Solo sex is great, sex for two is wonderful, but sex with three—one of the most common fantasies of all—can be sublime, IF you do it right! To avoid any chance that your fantasy three-way will go wrong, come learn from the one and only Nina Hartley, “America’s sweetheart of porn” and a savvy and experienced guide to trio play. Learn to find partners, communicate your desires, and savor sex á trois!



Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at

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