Sex and relationships

Three’s a Charm: Italian Bear Throuple Weathers All Obstacles

Amid the stunning landscapes of lovely Italy, a story of romance blooms between Sisto, Andrea, and Totó. Their journey demonstrates the power of love to overcome obstacles and break the mold. It’s a story to prove that even in the absence of instruction manuals, happiness thrives.

My rugby mate Sisto convinced his partners to let me dive into the details of the when, how and why they became the heartwarming bear throuple they are now…

Totó recounts that he first met Andrea  in a Bolognese association called Gilda during a role-playing night. Totó, drawn to the nerdy pursuits, found himself smitten by Andrea. A mutual friend introduced them. Friendship evolved into romance until they broke up in April of this year. After this Sisto steps in:

“It all began in May 2023. I slid into Totó’s Insta DMs, you know, the classic like on a story and replies back and forth. Fast forward a week, and we’re chatting nonstop. Totó, fresh out of a breakup in April, wasn’t looking for love. He was navigating the post-breakup blues and sharing an apartment with not one but two exes—hello, drama!” Sisto shares

But, there’s the twist in the story! Andrea and Totó’s hearts hadn’t yet closed the door entirely on each other. So while Totó was having this complicated dance with Sisto, he still had lingering feelings for Andrea – life was a mess!

The most interesting fact is that instead of throwing down the ultimatum card—pick me or your ex— Sisto suggested they tackle it as a throuple. Monogamy be damned, right?

“It was a bold move, but life’s too short for old-school solutions.” Sisto says

The trio’s backgrounds reflect the diversity of Italy. Totó, with his fiery Sicilian spirit, clashes dramatically with Sisto the Neapolitan. Andrea, from the Marche region, serves as the calming force that soothes the storms between them. Their differences become a source of strength…

(L-R) Totó, Andrea and Sisto

In Italian we say sanguigni and when he and I argue, we don’t argue. It’s more like a drama, a Napolitan drama and a Sicilian drama altogether. While Andrea, on the other hand, is much calmer. He is down here (points out with his hand on the other side of this cute and unique zoom call). No matter how high up there you are (in terms of anger), he is like Xanax who tranquilizes all of us” Totó shares

So, at first, you were long distance. How was that? I asked the trio.

Totó, the resident jokester, quips, “The distance? Drama central, obviously!”.

Despite challenges and confrontations, they’ve evolved into a balanced and peaceful throuple through humor and resilience. Sisto recalls a make-or-break moment: “We went from two to three, and let me tell you, it was a wild ride. I left the door open for a while, hesitating to take that final leap. We were in Barcelona at a party, and I was interacting only with Totó. That made Andrea feel left out. The clash at home was intense, with Andrea on the verge of ending things – But I made the necessary decisions to push us forward”

Living in Barcelona was challenging for Sisto, while the other two went through their daily lives in harmony. However, Totó and Andrea remained committed and steadfast in their relationship, refusing to let distance darken their connection. This proved to be a test of resilience, communication, and the audacity to rewrite the rules.

Andrea confesses, “At first, the distance scared me. I wondered if it could be a disturbance. Then, after that weekend, everything clicked. I realized that talking on the phone was gonna be our bridge.”

In their nightly group calls and group chat, they found a ritual that ultimately bridged the physical gap.

So I asked: “And when you show up as a throuple in public?”

Andrea chuckled, “The first thing people always say is, ‘Can I be the fourth one?'” 

“Someone from Milan even asked if he could be our slave.” Sisto adds laughing.
“But being serious, while in Sitges Bear week we introduced ourselves as the three boyfriends. We don’t have a lot of problems with it because, really the problem is not ours.” Sisto shares

Totó jumps in, affirming, “It has become more and more common. The ursine community is becoming increasingly familiar with the concept of a three-way relationships. The pieces of the puzzle are gradually falling into place, embracing diversity”

“The bear world here is different from abroad. There aren’t as many bear meetings; perhaps, just disco parties specific to certain days, and they don’t happen frequently.” Andrea explains

And what about the challenges? I asked.

“It was the same old problem: relationships like ours were once little known, kept in the shadows like when being gay meant hiding out of fear.” Totó reflects “However, I’ve never approached relationships with the idea that it has to be fixed to two or three or four people.”

Amidst laughter, Andrea and Sisto join in, “Three is more than enough!” 

And what about talking about your relationship on social media? I inquired. How was that?

At first, Totó hesitated to go too public with their relationship, balancing caution and jealousy. 

 “Totó didn’t want to show me off too much, fearing nasty interactions and unfair comments.” Sisto confesses.

Totó interjects, “I don’t have a problem with sharing things on social media, its just some things I like to keep private. Not showing what’s under the tip of the iceberg is a way to protect what’s mine.” 

Totó acknowledges the struggle between sharing special moments and safeguarding intimacy while Sisto says it’s important not to seek validation from social media but to find security within the throuple.

“Andrea has a private profile, more like a fortress, revealing things only to his close friends. Before, he hardly posted anything.” 

 “For instance, today Totó published a story of me and Andrea, not Andrea himself.”  Sisto recalls jokingly. “For the record none of the three of us has asked any of the other to take down anything that we had posted.”

 “What other people think about my relationship doesn’t matter to me. My work colleagues know. My friends know it. My brother knows it. His parents (Totó’s) know it. My parents know very little because they are from a very old generation. They take a while to understand certain things. So, bit by bit.” Says Andrea:

When questioned about advocating for throuples, Andrea, Sisto and Totó express humility:

“I don’t see myself as an activist. A representative? No, I don’t see myself as such. Just by living our lives visibility is enough for me.” Andrea firmly says

 “I don’t see myself as an activist or a representative. But if somebody wants advice on my experience, I’ll give it.” Totó adds.  

Is there something you would have liked to know or a tool you would have liked to have when it all started? I asked.

Totó steps into the limelight. “Actually, when we embarked on the three-way relationship, it took some time to decipher our desires. We didn’t have instruction manuals for navigating this territory. There wasn’t much we could have known in advance. I wished I knew how to understand Sisto better. His initial distance left me feeling insecure and that fed his own insecurities.

“”I just tried to understand Sisto and prepare for what lay ahead – Gradually immersing myself in the relationship provided a foundation for understanding both for him and myself.” Andrea shares

More than just love is needed to navigate the uncharted waters of polyamory. It’s a fine cocktail of patience, communication, and a healthy dose of self-awareness. On this note they offer valuable advice to those considering throuples:

Andrea, with calm and humor, advises: “Stay calm, don’t panic. Get to know everyone in the relationship, communicate, and above all, love each other.”

Totó, on the other side, takes a natural and straightforward tact:

“Act natural. Be clear with yourself and with others, but especially with yourself. Know that such a relationship is not just about sex; it’s much, much more. It takes a lot of strength of mind and clear ideas. So, my advice is always to be natural and clear.” 

The group explains how they maintain their individuality within the relationship and emphasize valuing each other’s private time and individual goals.

“Different hobbies, different work, also the need to maintain our own spaces, our private sanctuaries. I find solace in video games, Andrea immerses himself in TV series, and Sisto, for example, enjoys lounging on a couch with a cellphone, indulging in silly videos. We, in our own way, manage to curate moments of solitude. Necessary moments.” Totó reveals.

“If one of the three of us doesn’t want to be part of the plan and the two of us want to do it, even though we try to make plans that work for all three of us, there are times when, for example, me and Totó are heading to a concert next week, and Andrea doesn’t fancy the idea because he’s not a fan of that type of concert. So, if one decides to bow out of a plan, it doesn’t hinder the other two from embarking on an activity together.” Sisto shares

Sisto, the frequent flier extraordinaire, breaks down the logistics of their long-distance love affair. 

“The idea of moving to Bologna—it’s one of those things that pops into your head when you believe you’ve found the person of your life, you know? That feeling. I wanted to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, at least I can say I tried. It’s what feels right for me, so I’m going to follow my heart. If it goes sideways, well, I can always return or explore somewhere else. As fate would have it, around the same time, a position opened up in Italy at my workplace. I thought, why not make the most of it?” Sisto shares

 The signs were there – I offered.

Sisto nods, affirming, “Yes, that’s precisely it. It felt like multiple doors were swinging open simultaneously, so I decided to walk through them.”

Andrea chimes in, “The decision to live together as three just evolved naturally. We began envisioning a life together, and the choice to move in that direction unfolded organically.”

“Also, they don’t speak Spanish or English. Their jobs are tied to specific locations. Andrea, a professor, can only teach within Italy, and Totó couldn’t fathom living outside the country. So, the logical step was for me to make the move. But that doesn’t mean any of us won’t find our way back to Barcelona someday.” Sisto comments

As our chat went on, the tone shifted from the serious to a lot of laughter. I enjoyed seeing how reflecting on their relationship gave them confidence and joy.

What’s the plan for you three down the road?

Sisto envisions a playful scenario: Totó, dressed as a bride, with Andrea and me eagerly awaiting him.

I couldn’t help but laugh, exclaiming, “I love it! In drag.”

Totó, with a chuckle, adds, “Yes, a very ugly drag.” Setting aside the jest, he shares his sincere vision for the future. “I see my future, our future, together—but not in Bologna. I have a deep desire to live in Spain sooner or later.”

“They made me move to Italy, only for Totó to start planning a move back to Spain.” Sisto shares with a gag!

Totó, expressing his love for Italy, playfully acknowledges: “I don’t see myself living abroad, except maybe in Spain. I like it very much, and I hope to live there one day. I see myself sipping something in Barcelona.”

Sisto teases Andrea, saying, “He sees himself here in the garden wearing a harness.” Andrea wraps it up, sharing his vision, “My future? I see myself sitting on the couch with them, and then… Well, all kidding aside, definitely together—traveling, experiencing new things, maybe even moving out of Bologna and going somewhere else.”

What about your favorite moments together? I asked.

Totó reflects on the simple joy of strolling together, whether through the charming streets of Bologna or Barcelona. The shared act of walking becomes an experience, a moment to relish.

For Andrea, a specific date stands out: the 16th of August. “It was during Sitges Bear Week, where, while strolling, they impulsively bought matching bracelets”.

Sisto, with a mischievous grin, adds his favorite: “A shared shower”. The intimacy of this everyday act becomes a special time of connection, a private ritual that transcends the ordinary.

It’s not grand gestures but the simplicity of shared walks, impromptu bracelet purchases, and even the mundane act of a shared shower that defines the beauty of their togetherness. Each moment, big or small, weaves a unique tapestry of love and connection.

As the interview concludes, the trio stands united, their love story full of passion and drama. In a world that’s learning to embrace diversity, Andrea, Totó, and Sisto’s throuple stands as a vibrant testament to the kaleidoscope of love in all its forms and living life beyond the ordinary.

I stand in hope that their story serves as a beacon of love, understanding, and resilience, inspiring others to embrace the complexities of unique relationships.

Beltran Horisberger,

Beltran Horisberger, originally from Paraná, Argentina, immersed himself in rugby from a young age. During his university years in Buenos Aires, he came out as gay, navigating the challenges of aligning with the jock stereotype while embracing his true identity, ultimately emerging as a sports activist. Currently residing in Barcelona, Beltran wears multiple hats as an LGBTQ+ activist, journalist, gogo dancer, and content creator. His advocacy extends beyond rugby, actively contributing to Panteres Grogues in Barcelona, promoting inclusivity in sports. Beltran has served as a spokesperson for the UN's Spotlight Initiative campaign, advocating for violence-free masculinities. With a wealth of experience in LGBTQ journalism on Argentina's national TV, including hosting segments on Altavoz, he has recently co-hosted Scruff Latinamerica's Podcast. Additionally, he runs his own YouTube series, Unicornio de Troya, featuring interviews with activists and change-makers. Beltran has contributed articles on activism, body positivity, and new masculinities for digital magazines worldwide. Simultaneously, as a gogo dancer and performer, Beltran has graced stages globally, participating in iconic bear community events and international circuits in cities like Barcelona, Milan, Athens, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale. Beyond dance, he engages as a BDSM performer, dragqueer , and model for body-positive fashion. Beltran leverages his diverse experiences to champion inclusivity, education, and dialogue within the LGBTQ+ community.