so my fiancee and I recently discovered that we were extremely connected sexually and emotionally to our best friends who are also engaged. we all decided(after a couple nights of long talks and mini fights) that we would like to be in a more intimate relationship than just friendship. we’re not sure what to call this. we’re still all new to this, but we know we are 100% ready and excited. do you have any tips to ease into this and make this as easy as possible? Thanks for the help!

Congrats on being open and adventurous enough to try this out! As for what to call this, one of the cool things about being on the fringe of society is that lots of things are still pretty fluid, one being the vocabulary of this new world. Call yourselves a quad, a foursome, a fuck-square, a double-duo, couples squared, a network, a hergle dableegle. Call each other lovers, partners, friends, family, swingers, bed buddies. Call it what you want! Own it, embrace it, claim it, name it.

As for tips: open and honest communication is key key key. I know I sound like a broken record, but that’s really the most important thing. Often, people see “communication” as a one way street: the onus is on the person doing the talking, saying how they feel and what they need. But it’s equally on the listener to create an open, safe space for the other person to share. You can disagree with, feel hurt by, or not like what someone has to say, but not the fact that they said it. It’s a nuanced distinction but makes all the difference.

Something else that can damage arrangements like this is a sense of obligation. Everyone should have the right to say no. Maybe one of you just wants to have a quiet night in, cuddling and watching Netflix. It’s okay for that person to speak up and ask for that, even if someone else already has the gimp suits out. You don’t have to live up to some external ideal of what the arrangement means. Take breaks, check in with each other, give yourselves space to figure out what healthy looks like for you four. What a lovely situation to find yourselves in, and I wish you all the best of luck.