Using Tinder to attempt to initiate a threesome is a humbling exercise in semi-public shame. There are only so many profiles with phrases like “Get your UGLY BOYFRIEND out of here” that one can swipe through before feeling thoroughly turned off by the whole situation. When threesomes happen organically (which, in one past experience, was due to edibles and the first two minutes of Magic Mike!) they can be insanely hot. But that spontaneous chemistry is hard to find—or you end up sleeping with your boyfriend and a friend, which can be precarious territory.

But in 2019, your options for finding threesomes or moresomes online are many and varied. Apps like Feeld and subreddits like r/threesome exist specifically to connect individuals and couples looking for threesomes or other kinds of group sex arrangements. This saves the experience of being a much-maligned couple on Tinder, and in theory, that’s a dream.

Aside from Feeld (previously Thrinder), which has been widely covered, other top-ranked apps include 3Fun, 3rder, and 3Sum. In my experience, these apps are often less intuitive than Feeld, with an ambiguous system of roses, hearts, and likes that all seem to mean somehow different things and the same thing. The r/threesome subreddit is fairly direct; there’s typically a provocative subject line, accompanying photo, and a one-to-two sentence invitation. But how well do they actually work? Below, ELLE talked with 7 people who’ve used threesome dating apps and sites to join a couple or find a unicorn.

On deciding to use a threesome app:

“I had relationships with women before starting to date my partner, so sleeping with women together seemed like a fun thing to try. We used Feeld, and only met women through there, even though we both also had Tinder and Bumble accounts. For those, there was a lot more difficulty. I saw many profiles of women who not only expressed their preference against but their actual distaste for anyone looking for a threesome. Seemed aggressive to me.” —Melissa, 29

“I always had a sex bucket list and, after ending things with a partner eight months prior, I thought it was time to do something on my list, something fun and sexually explorative. I used the app Kinkoo, which is an app popular for people with particular fetishes and things within the BDSM community. I was single and looking to meet an attractive couple.”—Natalie, 24

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On the experience of using apps:

“Over the last two years, [my partner and I have] gone on dates/slept with 10 women. Overall, all of them were successful. Only one caused some drama—feelings being caught for one of us on her end, which led to a very serious conversation about needing to make sure exactly what everyone wants and is looking for extremely clear from the beginning. The majority of the women we saw for at least two to three dates and got along with really well. There were two or three that fizzled out after one date or didn't lead to sex.”—Melissa, 29

“[My wife and I] have membership at a few swingers’ websites. But we're always looking for other ways to connect with people. So we looked at iOS apps, and 3fun appeared to have the most downloads, so we grabbed it. We will continue to use it despite zero success with it. It's just a numbers game—the more feelers we have out there, the higher the chances of meeting others that we can play with.”—Steve, 54

"Over the last two years, [my partner and I have] gone on dates/slept with 10 women. Overall, all of them were successful."

“Overall, there's no serious platform out there, app-wise, that properly works for threesomes and group sex. It's too easy to remain flaky. I wish there was a ‘couple’ option in Tinder, or an option to list non-monogamy/open relationships, so it's more clear.”—Stin, 25

“My wife and I have been using Feeld on and off for years but have only met one person in real life, and it ultimately went nowhere. Our experience matches a lot of the other comments on [Reddit] where the vast majority of users [on the app] are either window shopping out of pure curiosity with no real intention of ever doing anything, or couples looking for a non-existent unicorn.”—Henry, 30

On how they use the app:

“If I'm being completely honest, I find the very beginning of dating/reaching out to people exhausting, so my partner handles all of the initial contacts and most of the chatting pre-date...When he makes a connection with someone and she seems interested in setting up a date, he'll show me her profile and we'll decide to move forward.”—Melissa, 29

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“I let my husband do the initial contact of guys, because, well, 1 in 20 will actually be able to hold a conversation, and then from there, it's finding someone who just clicks. Hubby is a great filter for me. He knows what kind of guy I like and deals with the ocean of junk pics for me. But after that, he lets me talk to them alone to begin with, and then we have a group chat, from which we start to push the idea of meeting if it's all going well.”—Hannah, 30

“On Feeld, it seems like there is a much higher chance of matching with another couple, but even then, it mostly seems like you are matching with the guy. There is no way of knowing if the girl is even real or how into anything she really is. We're not super into the idea of another couple, but aren't opposed to it either, so we've taken to only swiping yes on couple profiles where it’s the girl's profile. We want to make sure everyone is on the same page, so we figure if the girl is into it, it’s safe to assume the guy is as well.”—Henry, 30

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On how often conversations turn into real-life dates:

“The best way we've found of getting it to transition to a date is to, fairly early on, push the idea of meeting up for a social meet. A social is where you meet up without any intent to play on that day, zero intent at all. If they're not willing to do that, then there's a good chance they're not interested in actually meeting.”—Hannah, 30

“[My husband and I] have talked to lots of women but haven’t actually met with any of them yet. The women that match our profiles either are just entering the world of considering bisexuality and want me to talk them into it or are absolute balls-to-the-wall BDSM ‘Tell me what you’d make me do’ types. I’m not looking for either...I’m not trying to convert anyone or force someone or play sexting tag...I’m a little disillusioned by these apps.”—Felicia, 40

“I really dislike the back and forth without actual face-to-face communication, and I guess it's that forwardness that other people find attractive as well. [My partner] is really good at asking a lot of questions about the other person, and he's a lot more naturally flirty in text than I am. I think it also helps that I'm queer, and I say that on our profile. Also, we make sure to not be pushy but instead offer a casual drink in public as a first date. No strings attached, just to meet and have fun and see what happens, and definitely in public.”—Melissa, 29

"My wife and I have been using Feeld on and off for years but have only met one person in real life, and it ultimately went nowhere."

“[Kinkoo] led to one date with the guy I had the threesome with. We only had one date where we met briefly and got coffee, then I went with him to his girl's place and had the threesome then. Overall, the experience was great and everything I wanted it to be.”—Natalie, 24

On what makes someone appealing...or not:

“Honestly, what makes a person appealing is a good-looking couple since [I’m] not looking to really date these people. Turn offs would be if they were requesting something I definitely was not into like blood play or scat play.”—Natalie, 24

“I love when the woman we're talking to seems friendly and enthusiastic. I typically am not turned on or attracted to the ‘chase’—I prefer being chased. So, in that way, if I feel like I have to fish or work too hard or hold someone's hand I'm not really interested. So enthusiasm, experience (if not with threesomes at the very least being with another woman), and just having things in common and fun things to talking about.”—Melissa, 29

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“As a guy in his mid 20's, I see why the swinger/lifestyle community is older. People my age don't know what they want. People claim they're open-minded, exploratory, and ‘living freely’, but in reality people are obsessed with meeting the standards we all impose on each other (relationships, what's normal, etc) and are afraid of trying new things in a culture that I'd argue is sexually repressive. This lifestyle is HARD, and it takes a lot of maturity and patience to navigate it.”—Stin, 25

“Guys, talk in sentences. You'd be surprised how many think that my presence on these apps means I'm just there to play with anyone and that I don't have any tastes or preferences. Point two, even if you've been blessed, please don't just send unsolicited pictures of your junk. I know what they look like, yours isn't much different. Final point, please, just be yourself! If you're a geeky guy, state it, wear it as a badge of pride. We're looking for people we can hold a conversation with, because it's not all action!”—Hannah, 30

Names have been changed and interviews lightly edited for clarity

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Kelsey Lawrence

Kelsey Lawrence is a freelance journalist who's written about everything from young designers reclaiming western wear to the interior design of The Cheesecake Factory.