Category Archives: Open Relationships

You want me to do WHAT?

First Name: Beth
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Location: New Jersey
Your question or comment: My husband and I have swung in the past and have had an open marriage for a short time about 5 or 6 years ago. We have, for the most part, been monogamous for the past few years. He now tells me that the only thing that will make him interested in having sex with me is if I find men to have sex with and send him pics of myself in the act with other men. I have no desire to do this but am considering doing it if it will help my sex life with him. I have read about Candaulism (a sexual practice or fantasy in which a man exposes his female partner, or images of her, to other people for their voyeuristic pleasure) and am beginning to think he may be a latent homosexual or bisexual and trying to fulfill his desire to be with a man by living vicariously threw me. He says that the torment of knowing that I am with another man is exciting to him and I don’t understand how that can be a healthy thing for him. I am desperate for guidance in this area. Your thoughts??

Well then, Beth, things are gonna get very interesting in your life real soon, huh?

2477075029_d8e7e288c4Before I get to answering your query, let me ask you some questions. You say you and the hubby used to be swingers and even had an open marriage for a while some years ago. Why, after all that nontraditional relationship stuff, did ya’ll go back to sexual exclusivity? Did you both agree to go back to the straight and narrow, or did one of you decide for the both of you? This is an important point. If one of you decided for the both of you, the one tagging along with the decision may not have been totally on board from the get go. And when that happens, what looks like domestic tranquility is actually nothing of the sort.

It appears to me that your marriage has somewhat of a cyclical pattern to it. You guys have vanilla periods and kinky periods. Would that be an accurate representation of the dynamics? If so, let me ask a few more questions. Who or what determines the swing, you’ll pardon the pun, from vanilla to kink? Is it a boredom thing? And who determines the swing back to vanilla? And does that have anything to do with fear and jealousy? Do you guys discuss the transition before hand? Or is the migration from vanilla to kink and back again more of a follow-the-leader sort of thing? And who leads whom into kink? And does the same person lead out of kink back to vanilla? These questions are all very important and I would want to know the answers before I suggest a path forward.Candaulism

Now I know you are not here to answer my outstanding questions, so that means I need to punt. From what you tell me, I discern that the hubby is in need of a little spice. And maybe he is the one who traditionally leads the marriage out of vanilla into kink. You appear to be resisting this migration for whatever reason. Maybe that’s your traditional role in the marriage. I’m also guessing that you guys don’t talk things through before a momentous change is in the offing, but ya should. A lot of the heartache and misdirection could be avoided if you did.

I also think your husband is not veering into particularly dangerous or uncharted waters with his Candaulism. Seems to me you’ve been there already, at least in spirit, with your periods of swinging and open relationship. It also occurs to me that your hubby has a big fat cuckold fetish that he is trying to itch. And in terms of fetishes, this is a relatively harmless one, especially if everyone involved is on board for the fun and games. Check out my How To Video Library for some swell movies on that theme.

mr-honmaIs his cuckold fetish latent homosexuality? What a funny question to ask considering your relationship history. Isn’t it more likely that he might have a bisexual streak? And the fact that you are puzzled by all of this suggests, at least to me, that you guys don’t know each other very well. And that’s astonishing considering what you’ve been through together.

What I’m getting at though all of this is, if you want to restore some balance and harmony to your marriage, the answer is not simply hanging out at the vanilla end of relationship spectrum because it’s comfortable and safe. At least not until there is consensus on the part of both you and your husband. The big mistake many couples make is to assume that if one person is along for the ride, just to make peace, there is consensus. That’s not consensus; that’s conciliation.

Again, because you guys aren’t here to discuss this stuff with me, but I’d still like to help, let me turn you on to an exercises that will facilitate the open and honest discussion you need to have with your man and he with you. What follows comes from a workshop I developed called; The Gospel of Kink. I’ve also conveniently packaged this workshop into a workbook with the same title. You can find the book HERE!

GOK small cover

Both the workshop and book are designed to help people, like you and your husband, develop the skills they need to effectively communicate with one another and improve their problem solving skills. The workshop and book, as the title suggests, are specifically geared toward folks in kinky, BDSM, and alt-culture relationships, but even vanilla couples will find what I present very helpful.

Even the strongest relationships go through periods of distress and turmoil. Disagreements, misunderstandings, and personal foibles can cause contention and conflict. So let’s see if we can come up with some practical tools and techniques to 1) handle common alt relationship related issues, and 2) successfully navigate our relationship conflicts.

EXERCISE 2 — Tools and Techniques for Navigating Alt Relationship Conflicts

Begin by jotting down a half dozen or so key words or phrases that identify the issues and problems you’ve encountered in your alt relationships. And then see if you can come up with a list of a half dozen or so key words or phrases that suggest possible solutions to those issues and problems.

Once both of you have completed your lists you’ll need to set up a time for a formal discussion of those lists. With a little luck, this exercise will help you identify the stumbling blocks that both of you see and help you develop a strategy to overcome them.

Of course all of this will depend on how well you listen to and absorb the message coming from your partner. Need help with that too? Never fear, The Gospel of Kink has exercises for that as well.

Good luck

Open Hearts, Open Minds, And Open Relationships

Name: Deborah
Gender: female
Age: 36
Location: Rome
I like your site very much. Thank you for some much honesty. I have a question; do open relationships really work?

Well gee, thanks for your kind words, darlin’; I appreciate it.

To your question about open relationships, I guess that depends on the maturity level of the people considering opening their sexually exclusive relationship. And how much work they are willing to put forward to communicate with one another through all the details that such a decision entails.open relationship

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 sexual expression of either or both partners.

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 kind 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 get 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.

polyamory1Another shortcoming of setting up sexual exclusivity, or monogamy as the only legitimate kind of coupling is that it diminishes all the other types of relationships that flourish albeit in a more covert sort of way. And here I’m talking about an array of open relationship models and polyamory. The fact that we don’t hear a lot about these non-traditional relationships shouldn’t suggest to you, or anyone, that they don’t exist or that they aren’t practical or practiced my a lot of people. 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 you Italians. 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 duress is not gonna 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 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. If you will allow me some shameless self-promotion, I’d like to direct your attention to my latest book, The Gospel Of Kink — A Modern Guide To Asking For What You Want And Getting What You Ask For. It’s a communication and relationship-building workshop, for folks in nontraditional relationships, in workbook form. I think you will find it most enlightening. GOK small cover

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! Alternative relationships 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 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 their 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.

Good luck

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Opening Things Up

And not we hear from a very long-winded soul…

Name: Needing help badly
Gender: Male
Age: late 30s
Location: North America
Good day, and hoping this email finds you well. Me and my partner of nearly 10 years are experiencing a problem, it goes something like this. I am always interested in having sex; he is almost never interested in having sex.need your dick sucked

Initially we started out with the typical “honeymoon” period where there was sex nearly every night and twice on Sundays (grin). After a brief while this preceded normally to a couple times a week maybe a little less. After a few years it has deteriorated to me almost always having to beg for even a hand job and perhaps we do more (oral/anal) a handful of times a month and I only get to top once or twice a year.

My partner almost never initiates sexual interaction and complains that I am “always asking.” We are very compatible in other respects and really love each other, but I have a 20 libido on a scale of 1 to 10 and he has a 1 or 2 on the same scale.

This is starting to lead to tension in other parts of our relationship even though we try our best not to allow it. We are currently in a closed relationship, with my partner citing, in the past, personal beliefs about monogamy and monogamous relationships. Recently he has been entertaining the idea of opening the relationship up to allow me to seek relief for my sexual needs through other channels. He states that of late his views have changed and that he is taking a more realistic view at how we should proceed.

We just discussed rules for the opening of the relationship and are in the process of looking at our options for secondary partners. The rules we have thus far are as follows:jeans03

  1. Either of us may play with other people outside the relationship.
  2. The primary partner has ABSOLUTE veto powers over the choice of another play partner.
  3. Safe sex must be observed at ALL times and absolutely no transfer of bodily fluids outside of the primary partnership.
  4. If a play partner comes to our house to play and the primary partner is home, an offer to allow them to join in must be made.
  5. As soon as possible after an outside encounter, or preferably before, the primary partner must be told of the play session. Not the gory details, just “hey me and _____ had some fun last night” to keep the lines of communication open.
  6. More discussion may be initiated at the request of the non-playing partner, but not readily offered.
  7. You always, always, always come home to your primary partner at night.
  8. Secondary play partners must maintain discretion about our play sessions and respect the boundaries established by the primary partnership.

Can you advise me on the following:

  • Do you think this will help or hindering our relationship?
  • Do you think the rules we have set down are adequate?
  • Any other suggestions for the rules.
  • Any other comments or suggestions in general?

Thank you.

First, I’d suggest you guys rethink your choice of words when taking about your relationship. Monogamous means one wife…ya know, as opposed to polygamous, meaning more than one wife. Since neither one of you is a woman, that word doesn’t fit your situation.

I know, I know, the popular culture uses that word indiscriminately to describe any sexually exclusive relationship, but we don’t have to misuse words just because everyone else does. Language is important. And in some instances, like this one, precise language is not only helps with clarity, it helps you better understand what is possible between you two. Besides, as we all know, some monogamous relationships are not sexually exclusive.

haloTry using the less culturally encumbered word “exclusive” as opposed to the culturally laden “monogamous” when speaking about your primary relationship. I think you’ll find that it will free you up from outdated ways of thinking about your relationship. It will also help in dispelling guilt associated with violating cultural norms. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. Say out loud — “Ours is not an exclusive relationship.” Now say — We are not monogamous.” There is a big difference, huh? I told you so.

And the best part about all of this is you get to define what “non-exclusive” means. For instance, you guys seem to want your primary relationship to be emotionally exclusive, but not necessarily sexually exclusive. In other words you are not considering polyamory, right? Nothing wrong with polyamory, it’s just not what you are considering at this time, I’m guessing.

I applaud your negotiating skills. I think you guys have come up with a viable framework for launching out in search of satellite relationships. You will probably find that some fine-tuning is necessary as you make your way, but I believe your foundation is sound.

There’s one thing for sure, your bullet point #8 is completely outside of your control. You will learn, in short order, that you won’t be able to manage your satellite partners’ behaviors. Expecting discretion from a casual hook-up or even a newly found fuck-buddy is unrealistic. The “girls” are gonna talk, hun, no matter what you say.

Finally, I suggest that you and your primary partner keep an open mind about it all. You’d also do well to maintain a sense of humor.

Good luck

More Sex EDGE-U-cation with Kathy Labriola — Podcast #394 — 10/16/13


Hey sex fans, welcome back.

Author, educator, counselor, nurse and hypnotherapist, the delightful Kathy Labriola is back with us for Part 2 of her k2outdoorappearance on this the Sex EDGE-U-cation show.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #393 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Kathy and I discuss:

  • Autonomy vs. intimacy;
  • Love In Abundance; A Counselor’s Advice on Open Relationships;
  • Being a card-caring bisexual;
  • Advocating for poly rights, but not universal polyamory;
  • The role the internet plays in building the poly community;
  • The fallacy that people are repressed into monogamy;
  • Serial adultery and the myth of life-long monogamy;
  • Tips for coming out as poly;
  • The people who inspire her and her sexual heroes.

 

You’ll find lots of information about Kathy on her fantastic website HERE!

Click on the book art below to check out Kathy’s books.

Jealousy WorkbookLove in Abundance

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

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: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

Sex EDGE-U-cation with Kathy Labriola — Podcast #393 — 10/09/13


Hey sex fans, welcome back.Kathy w chicks

Coming up is a brand-spankin’ new edition of the Sex EDGE-U-cation show. By now I’m sure you know that this is the series that takes a look at the world of fetish sex, kink, and alternative lifestyles and we do so with remarkably talented people from all over the freakin’ world, don’t cha know. My guest today is one such person. Author, educator, counselor, nurse and hypnotherapist, the oh so amazing Kathy Labriola is in the house!

Kathy has been writing, and teaching, and presenting on the topic of open relationships for decades. She has a brand new book out that deals with one of the biggest bugaboos for the non-monogamy set, as well as all you monogamous folks out there. And that is — jealousy. You can be sure that we well be talking about that timely topic and so much more. You won’t want to miss this sex fans!

Kathy and I discuss:

  • The whole workbook concept;
  • Dealing with emotional responses to triggers in our relationships;
  • Jealousy and envy;
  • Belief in a sacristy economy fuels jealousy;
  • Seeing if an open relationship is right for you before tackling jealousy;
  • The disparity in feeling of jealousy in a relationship;
  • How we grow up my determine how fit we are for open relationships;
  • Her background and training;
  • Ethical non-monogamy, polyamory, and open relationships;
  • Her feminist perspective on monogamy and other relationship models.

 

You’ll find lots of information about Kathy on her fantastic website HERE!

Click on the book art below to check out Kathy’s books.

Jealousy WorkbookLove in Abundance

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

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: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

drdicksstockroom.jpg

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