Category Archives: Fidelity

The Open Relationship Model


Podcasts will resume next Monday, September 6th.

Deviating from the norm. Is it worth it?

Since the launch of the Sex EDGE-U-cation podcast series in early 2009; I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who are considering opening their relationships to include additional partners to augment their primary relationships. People point to the increasing media attention polyamory is garnering as a way of justifying their interest.

It’s true; polyamory is enjoying an efflorescence in popular culture these days. But this mirrors the spike in interest that swinging had a couple of decades ago. This suggests to me that there is a fissure at the foundation of the dominant relationship model of the monogamous heterosexual, reproductive pair. All the sociological underpinnings of why our culture promotes this paradigm aside, I think it is undeniable that there is a level of dissatisfaction on the part of many who initially bought into this model as the only way to live, love and raise small herds of children. But is it?

People may feel trapped in the traditional expression of a committed relationship. But while they may be second-guessing the party line, they are equally wary of throwing open the doors in a haphazard way, and rightfully so.

I’ve been reading a lot about polyamory lately. It seems it’s the topic du jour in all the women’s magazines. Do open relationships really work?

For starters, the viability of an open relationship depends on the maturity level of the people who are considering opening up their sexually exclusive relationship. And how much they’re willing to work at communicating with one another through all the little details that such a decision entails. One thing for sure, I am willing to go on record to say that the devil, in this case, really is in the details.

That being said, there are a few things us sex researchers know for sure. In most cultures, people claim to practice sexual exclusivity, which is commonly referred to as monogamy. Although I think that’s a misnomer. Monogamy literally means having one union, which as we all know tells us nothing about the sexual expression either or both partners are supposedly sharing in.

Lifetime sexual exclusivity (being sexually involved with only one person for one’s entire life) is rare. Serial sexual exclusivity (having a series of exclusive relationships over one’s life) is much more common. And despite knowing that we humans do not mate for life, we continue to presume that sexual exclusivity, or monogamy is the only legitimate form of coupling.

This, unfortunately, leads to our culture’s obsession with cheating—that is, having sex with someone outside of a monogamous relationship. And frankly, what I know about humans, human relationships and human sexuality; I can say for certain that fidelity is not necessarily a genital issue. One can indeed be faithful to someone else and still have the freedom to express him/herself sexually with others. It happens all the time. In these cases, fidelity is to the relationship and the agreements, parameters and boundaries mutually agreed upon by the partners. Which gets me back to my opening comment about the need for communication. Of course, it’s much easier to presume that everyone in a relationship is working under the same rubric, but that kind of presumption is a fool’s paradise.

Another shortcoming of setting up sexual exclusivity or monogamy as the only legitimate type of coupling is that it diminishes all the other types of relationships that flourish, albeit in a more covert way. And here I’m talking about an array of open relationship models—and polyamory. The fact that we’re only now hearing about these non-traditional relationships shouldn’t suggest to you, or anyone, that they don’t exist; or that they aren’t practical alternatives to the traditional monogamous model, or that they aren’t practiced by a lot of people. They do and they are! It just means that most people in non-traditional relationships know not to go public in a society that would denigrate them for their lifestyle choices. That’s how things are here in the good old US of A; and I’ll wager it’s also true for the rest of the world. Am I right, or am I right?

Open relationships and polyamorous relationships work because the people in them adhere to some basic tenets about how to conduct themselves.

First among them is the notion that these alternative relationships must be chosen; they can’t be mandated. If one or another of the persons considering an open or poly relationship is being pressured to go along with the flow, or is fearful that he/she will be alone if he/she doesn’t comply with the will of the other(s). That kind of emotional duress will not work.

Each person in the relationship needs to take responsibility for the choices he/she is making. If you’re not up for the task, or if this kind of arrangement is not compatible with your personality type, don’t attempt to override that. You will only jeopardize the relationship for the other(s) involved. However, if the idea appeals to you, give it your best shot. I can guarantee that it will be a learning experience. Just remember, exploring something and having it carved in stone are two very different things.

Second, communication is key. The more complex the relationship structure, the greater the need for open lines of communication. Know your boundaries and express them clearly. Ask questions; never assume you know something when you don’t.

Third, know yourself! You must be able to deal with your emotions, particularly jealousy, in an up-front, adult way. This is often much easier said than done. If you need to be the center of attention just so you can feel good about yourself, or you have serious territorial issues—this is mine, this is mine, and THIS is mine!—then alternative relationship models are probably not for you.

Know what keeps you even keel in terms of what you need and what you are able to give. There has got to be a healthy tension between these two things. If you’re the kind who gives too much and resents not being rewarded for your gifts, stay away from alternative relationships. Or if you are so needy that you can’t stand it when someone else is enjoying his/her time in the sun; open or poly relationships are decidedly not for you.

You should also know that alternative relationships, of whatever stripe, are, for the most part, on the fringes of what society will accept. And some are outright taboo. This doesn’t mean you will have to slug it out on your own in a vacuum of support. On the contrary, you will, no doubt, find that the people who are living contrary to the expectations of the popular culture are often a whole lot more generous with their support and compassion then those following all the rules.

You will find that your support system will shift from more traditional sources like traditional family, church and community to alternative sources like clubs and social groupings of other like-minded individuals as yourself. A common mistake made by those in non-traditional relationships is to take their problems and issues to their traditional support systems. This rarely works because the traditional support system will inevitably blame the non-traditional relationship setup for the problem. This is not true, of course, but how would those in traditional relationships know otherwise.

I always suggest that those in non-traditional relationships bring their issues to a non-traditional support system. Here you are less likely to encounter judgments about your life choices and more help with overcoming the problems at hand.

In the end, it’s your call. Are the potential rewards as well as challenges associated with an open relationship worth taking more than the voyeuristic peek behind the curtain that the women’s magazines provide you?

Good luck!

John and Deanna, Part 2 – Podcast #129 – 06/10/09

Hey sex fans,

Today we’re back at Seattle’s very own Sharma Center with its oh so charming Executive inkbuttDirectors, John and Deanna.  And we’re all together to bring you Part 2 of our chat about Swinging, Polyamory and Open Relationships.

If you somehow missed Part 1 of this insightful discussion look for last week’s podcast #127 on the Dr Dick’s Podcast Page.  You’ll find that tab at the top of this page.  Or you can use my site’s search function.  Just type in Podcast #127 and don’t forget the # sign.

This is part of my Sex EDGE-U-cation podcast series, don’t cha know.  Where we take a look at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative sexual lifestyles; and chat with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world.

John and Deanna and I discuss:

  • The importance of communication in swinging and polyamory.
  • Some advice for novice swingers.
  • The prevalence of female bisexuality in the lifestyle.
  • Fetish expressions in swinging.
  • Dealing with jealousy.
  • Their sexual heroes.

Be sure to visit John and Deanna at the Sharma Center’s website HERE!


Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.


Look for all my podcasts on iTunes.  You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe.  I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by:  Fleshlight and FleshJack

Fleshlight Sex Toy

Sex EDGE-U-cation with John and Deanna – Podcast #127 – 06/03/09

Hey sex fans,

Today we take another audio field trip.  I have the distinct pleasure of introducing the Co-Executive Directors of the amazing Sharma Center right here in beautiful downtown Seattle.


John and Deanna welcome us to the center, show us around, talk about themselves, their lives together; we discuss polyamory, swinging and the sex positive mission of the Sharma Center.

This oh so charming and insightful couple add their voices to this Sex EDGE-U-cation series.   As you know, in these podcasts, we’re taking a look at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative sexual lifestyles. And we are chatting with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world.  And John and Deanna fit that bill exceptionally well.

John and Deanna and I discuss:

  • Swinging, Polyamory and Open Relationships; what’s alike about them and what’s different.
  • Some common terms used by those in the lifestyle.
  • The education and enrichment mission of the Sharma Center.
  • Coming out as a sexual minority.
  • Her activities, including her double sessions and private lessons.
  • Personal morality v. the morality of the dominant culture.

Be sure to visit them at the Sharma Center’s website HERE!

See a slideshow of the Sharma Center.  Click on the thumbnails below.

[nggallery id=15]

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.


Plan “B”

Name: Cade
Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Alabama
A couple of weeks ago you responded to an Iraq vet who was having trouble in his marriage because he couldn’t get it up due to his PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I want to thank you for discussing that. It was helpful to me too. I’m an Iraq vet. I lost my right leg, to just above the knee and three fingers on my left hand to an IED. I think I’m doing ok with the physical rehabilitation. My prosthesis is state of the art and I’m even learning to run again. I joke that I’m the bionic man. Here’s what’s freaking me out though. I’m getting hit on by some really hot chicks, the kind I never could score with before Iraq. I come to discover they are hot for my leg stump. And I’m gettin all skeezed out by it. I’m passing up getting laid because this is fucking with my head. What gives with this shit?

Dude, you’ve stumbled upon, no pun intended, a silver lining of sorts, of being an amputee. Honestly, I’m not pulling your leg here, your good leg that is. Ok, ok really this is for real, Cade. But I think you already know that, huh?

Let’s begin with a definition. There is a fetish, or a paraphilia, if you prefer, calledamputee.jpg Acrotomophilia, or amputee love. It’s relatively rare, but there is a sizable Internet presence. You need only do a search for “amputee love” to get you started. These folks, often called devotees, are turned on by the limbless among us.

Here’s an interesting phenomenon, with the spike in seriously maimed vets returning from our numerous war zones and the media attention they’re getting these days — thanks the inadequate care some are receiving at our nation’s veteran’s hospitals — this fetish is growing by leaps and bounds.

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a beer with a bunch of gay men. We were discussing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the horrific images we were seeing on tv. Without missing a beat, a couple of the men in the group started talking about the number of totally hot young vets they were seeing on the news. Sure they had missing limbs, but for some in the group that made them even hotter. A couple other guys were goin on and on about how they would get off on servicing some of these returning service men. Instead of the conversation weirding out the whole group, as I thought it might, most of the guys were like getting totally into it.

I was being quizzed about the sexual issues, of course. Does an amputation affect a guy’s ability to get it up? …and things like that. I was totally blown away. Not by their questions, but by the fact that these men, who would otherwise be put off by a guy with a bad haircut; were beginning to fetishize seriously maimed vets. Then I thought to myself, OMG, I am watching the birth of some brand new baby devotees. And that, my friend, is how all fetishes begin.

I realize that you must be facing enormous hurtles, Cade, (again no pun intended) to regain your sense of self after the disfigurement and amputation. It hardly seems fair to throw yet another curve ball your way. But, as we all know, life is supremely unfair. I suspect that you’re already feeling enough like an oddity without some chick — even a sizzilin’ hot one — coming on to you because of what you’ve lost. And that’s why I suggest you withhold judgment about all of this until you have a bit more information about this particular fetish and it’s practitioners.

Many amputees go through life without ever meeting a devotee. Others have intimate experience with these fetishists. One thing for sure, even though a devotee’s interest in you may creep you out; you can be certain that their interest is sincere. They are not like most of the other well-meaning people you’ll meet in your new life as a bionic man. A devotee will not pity or patronize you. Devotees, curiously enough, see you as more whole and desirable than those who have no missing parts. In other words, devotees are hot for you for how you are. This is definitely not a “let’s pity fuck the gimp” sorta thing. I know this can be mind-bending, but I hope you can see the fundamental difference between the two.

Some amputee/devotee relationships are long-term, marriage and children included. Others are more recreational in nature. I suppose that if you have your head screwed on right, you’ll be able to discern what might be best for you, if any of this appeals to you. Actually, in this realm, you’re absolutely no different than all your non-maimed peers. They too are trying to make sense of how love, sex and intimacy fit together.

amputee00.jpgI know some amputees are put off by devotees. They’re indignant that someone would objectify them for their stumps and not accept them as a human being first. Well, ya can hardly argue with that, can ya? But in reality, all of us do our share of objectifying. What about all the guys who flock around the blond with the big rack? You know they only see her tits and not her brain. Is the amputee/devotee thing any different? I think not.

You know how you are doing all this physical therapy to regain your ability to walk and run with your new bionic leg and foot? Well, there’s probably as much emotional and psychological therapy you need to do to adapt yourself to your new maimed-self. Part of this psychological adjustment may be embracing and celebrating the fact that you are now an object of desire for a whole new group of folks.

So ok, your hotness is not the same hotness you may have had pre-Iraq, but it’s hotness none the less. You may not yet appreciate how a person could be sexually attracted to another person simply because of an amputation. Hell, the devotee may not even know why he or she is wired this way, but that don’t make it any less a fact. The confusion that can result from these desires or being the object of these desires can often sabotage a perfectly viable amputee/devotee sexual relationship.

Acrotomophilia, like all fetishes and paraphilias is learned behavior. Some devotees recall early childhood erotically charged encounters with women or men who were amputees. But just as plausible is the fetish began like the story I recounted at the beginning of my response — a group of people fantasizing about sex with a hot vet, who happens to be an amputee. You can see how just a little of that highly charged erotic reinforcement could turn anyone into a devotee. So it’s not so mysterious after all, is it?

I realize you didn’t choose this for yourself. But, for the most part, none of us is really in charge of what we eroticize, or what others eroticize about us. I know I nearly went to pieces the first time someone referred to me as a daddy. It wasn’t till I came to grips with the fact that I was no longer a young man, and that younger men might find me desirable, even at my seriously advanced age, that the whole daddy thing settled in with me.

What you do with all this information, Cade, if anything, is completely up to you. Will you embrace your new bionic gimp hotness and let it take you for a ride? Or will you resist? Either way, at least you’ll be a bit more informed about what gives with this shit.

Name: Tammy
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Location: Springfield IL
My parents were Laurel Canyon hippies of the first order, free love, drugs and all that stuff. I used to be disgusted by all the sex my parents were having with other people. I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t just want to be with one another or divorce and remarry someone else. As soon as I could, I left the west coast for the Midwest. Now all these years later my own marriage is in trouble. My husband unilaterally ended our sex life after the birth of our last child three years ago. I haven’t let myself go. I’m still very attractive and have even improved my body after the babies. But nothing I do brings him back to bed. He said that we have children now, and people with children don’t do that sort of thing!

To spite him for shutting me out, I turned to another man for sex. I just wanted to feel desirable again. I fear my affair will be found out and it will destroy my marriage. Funny thing, my parents with all their multiple sex partners remained happily married for 51 years till my father’s death two years ago. They were honest about their lives; I am not! I feel ashamed, but I am also having the best sex of my life and I won’t give it up.

My husband is a decent man and a good father. How can I continue to live this lie? If I come clean it will likely break up my family and I’ll look like a cheating slut. Is there any other option? I wish I would have been more accepting of my parent’s lifestyle; maybe the karma wouldn’t be so rough now.

Ahhh, bad luck doll! That karma thing can sure enough be a bitch. And it’ll bite you in the ass sure as shootin’.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this same story from a frustrated and desperate man or woman trapped in a sexless marriage, I’d have enough money to lay down my keyboard, give up my status as the most fabulous and revered sexpert in the universe and retire to Maui.

Unfortunately, by the time I hear from most of these people they have already suffered through years of abstinence, all the while begging and pleading for the sex they want, need and deserve. By the time they write to me it’s often way too late. The die is cast. They’re married with kids and often have a stray affair workin’ on the side. As you suggest, Tammy, it’s a pretty unbearable situation.finfidelity01.jpg

My first thoughts are that by the time things get to the point of sheer desperation, a happy ending is virtually impossible. A lot of people are gonna get hurt regardless of how this resolves it self. If that’s a given, mabe you should be asking yourself; what can be salvaged from the impending wreck?

Tammy, you write something very telling in your message to me. When talking about your parents you say; “They were honest about their lives; I am not!” In the end, if you can reclaim your integrity, regardless if it means the demise of your marriage and family as you currently know it, you will have regained something of inestimable value.

I also want to address your comment: “If I come clean it will likely break up my family and I’ll look like a cheating slut.” Perhaps, but at least you’ll no longer be a lyin’ cheatin’ slut. Come on, how could what others think of you trump what you already think of yourself. You are down on yourself because you expect sex in your marriage. And when that disappeared, you didn’t shut down as a sexual being. Does that alone make you so bad, a slut even?

I wholeheartedly believe that married people deserve a rich and fulfilling sex life, unless there’s mutual agreement for another arrangement. Unilaterally depriving a spouse of a rich and fulfilling sex life is an act of sexual violence. The kind of sexual violence that will cause frustration, anger and desperation. And inevitably lead to infidelity, which in turn destroys the marriage and traumatizes the kids. So Tammy, if kiss008.jpgyou are a cheating slut, what does that make your husband? Neither you or your old man is without blame. So time to buck up, darlin’, and do the right thing. Regardless of how the chips fall.

And one more thing, you say you were disgusted by your parent’s hippy, free love lifestyle — at least they were open an up-front with you about who they were. Consider the trauma your kids will experience when they learn dear old mom was bumping someone other than dear old dad. What kind of example are you setting for them? You see where the honesty thing is a good idea right from the get go, huh?

Ok, so I think there’s a consensus that the truth must be told. I suggest that you generously offer your husband the first right of refusal. He may not deserve it, but that’s the way to go nonetheless. Offer to stay with him and raise your kids together, but not in a sexless marriage. If he can’t bring himself to bone you the way you need it, when you need it, with vigor and passion; then he needs to free you up to find that bone in someone else’s drawers. And if he can’t live the cuckold life he ought at least to be man enough to leave the marriage with as little stink as possible.

Name: Jack (not my real name)
Gender: Male
Age: 40
Location: Boston
I have a bunch of little bumps on my penis near the tip. Each one is kind of lumpy. They don’t really bother me. I’ve had them for a while, but now there seems to be more of them. Should I be concerned?

Yes, jack…not your real name, there is reason to be concerned.

Listen up everyone, whenever there’s a change in the look, feel or sensations in your genital area there is cause to have a medical professional look at the disturbance immediately. If you’re like jack…not his real name, you could have an infection that could be transmitted to your sex partners. It’s one thing to foolishly disregard your own health and wellbeing; it’s quite another thing all together to risk the health and wellbeing of an unsuspecting sex partner.


Sounds to me, jack…not your real name, that you have genital warts. They’re relatively easy to detect; small lumps that typically have an irregular cauliflower-like surface. Sound familiar? I thought so.

If you’ve been dippin’ your warty wick in some pussy, mouth or asshole, you’ve likely passed on the infection…thank you very much. And if it’s been pussy you’ve been messin’ with the lucky lady (or ladies) may now have warts inside their cunt.

Genital warts are pretty benign, but they’re mighty unsightly. Some people experience irritation and itching around the affected area. Women can get warts on the vulva and perineum but they can also appear on the vagina, cervix, and asshole. Men get warts most often on their dickhead and foreskin, but they may also appear on the shaft of your cock, scrotum, and asshole. And anyone can get them in their mouth.

A carrier of the virus doesn’t even have to have a visible outbreak for the infection to be transmitted. Probably, that’s how you got infected yourself; jack…not your real name.

Genital warts can be a bitch to get rid of, because, like all warts, these little devils have a tendency to reappear. Treatments may include: Liquid nitrogen to freeze small warts or another topical solution to treat warts inside the urethra, anus, mouth and/or the vagina.

Do us all a favor; jack…not your real name, consult your doctor ASAP.

Good luck, ya’ll

Sex Advice With An Edge — Podcast #16 — 06/04/07

Hey sex fans,

I have a great show for you today. Interesting questions from the sexually worrisome and an equal number of my amusing, entertaining and informative responses! Hey, it’s what I do.

  • Tammy takes her love to town.
  • Cade loses a leg in Iraq. Now a hot devotee wants his stump!
  • Beth, a confirmed dyke, suddenly discovers she digs cock too.
  • Perth Guy is about to lose his colon. Is this the end of anal sex?
  • Anoras still has a problem with is nuts.


Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s dr dick’s toll free podcast voicemail. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question? No time to write? Give dr dick a call at (866) 422-5680. Again, the TOLL FREE voicemail number is (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY !

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the health section under the subheading — Sexuality. Or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice With An Edge. And don’t forget to subscribe. I don’t want you to miss even one episode.

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The beauty part about this unique opportunity is that once a sponsor’s ad is included in a particular podcast that sponsor is embedded there forever.

Your sponsorship also underscores your social conscience. Your marketing dollars will not only got to promote your product, but you will be doing so while helping to disseminate badly needed sex education and sexual enrichment messages. Simply put, ya just can’t get a better bang for your advertising buck!

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Today’s podcast is once again bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.


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