Category Archives: Swinging

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?
—Cameron

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!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

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.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

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.

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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.

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

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Who knew?

Name: Nola
Gender: female
Age: 42
Location:  Springfield
My husband and I only have masturbation sex because he say’s he can’t feel me anymore when we make love. He says he still loves me, but he says I’m very loose down there.  And I know why too.  We have three wonderful boys — 12, 9 and 6.  All were big babies and all three were vaginal births.  And I don’t think I ever rebounded afterwards and now that I’m older, well things are not like they used to be. Is this the end of sex for us?

A very common complaint, Nola; I write and talk about lax pelvic musculature a lot on this site and in my private practice.  Sure there is hope for regaining muscle tone, and it’s not particularly difficult to achieve.

Let’s start with a bit of an anatomy lesson.  You have several pelvis floor muscles the one we’re most concerned with is called the pubococcygeus, or the PC muscle.  It supports and holds in place the internal sex organs for both women and men.  —Pay attention men, the following exercises can whip your PC muscles in shape too.— It’s attached to the front of the pubic bone and goes all the way around to your butt hole. When one’s PC muscle is taut and toned, a contraction can be felt all over the pelvic area — cock, cunt, clit and ass hole.  So you see how important this muscle is to performance as well as pleasure for both women and men, right?

Still don’t know which muscle I’m talking about?  Ok, try this — while taking a pee, abruptly stop and start the flow of urine.  Can you do it?  Lots of women and some men can’t.  As you suggest, birthin’ babies is pretty traumatic to your pelvic musculature.  These muscles lose tone with each successive delivery (not to mention the impact the aging process has on our muscles). If you can’t abruptly stop the flow of pee, then you’re gonna have to find the PC muscle another way.  Try this, stick a couple fingers inside your pussy and squeeze.  You may have to insert more than two fingers to find what you are looking for. But when you feel pressure around your fingers, you’ve hit the mark.

Consider this, if you are using more than two fingers to find your PC muscle, you can understand why your hubby ain’t gettin the friction he needs to get off through fucking, right?

kegel-exercises.jpg

Ok, so let’s work on some exercises that will tighten things up down there.  These exercises are commonly called Kegel Exercises. You need to spend 30 minutes a day at this (twice a day would even be better).  And I want you to commit to this regiment for two weeks.  If you can’t commit this kind of time; then yes, you can say good by to fucking your husband ever again. If your sex life is important to you, you WILL find the time to do your kegels.

While lying on your back, or reclining propped up with some pillows, start by relaxing everything except your vaginal muscles. This will take some doing, so be patient.  Remember, you have 30 minutes to fill.  Insert your fingers in your pussy, and clench your PC muscle.  You’ll want to LIFT UP while you do this, not bear down. If you’re tightening your abs, squeezing your legs together, clenching your butt, or holding your breath then you’re not exercising the right muscle.

I want you to work on both muscle strength and tone.  With fingers inserted, start with five strong prolonged squeezes (5 seconds apiece).  Squeeze, hold — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — then relax.  Then do a series of 10 rapid contractions in a row. Doing three sets of these two types of Kegels during your 30 minutes a day is your goal.  If you’re tightening your abs to finger your pussy, consider inserting a dildo instead.

Let’s go over that one more time.  Start with five strong prolonged squeezes (5 seconds apiece). Squeeze, hold — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — then relax.  Then do a series of 10 rapid contractions in a row.

When you’ve accomplished this you’re ready to increase the set to eight or ten prolonged squeezes and 20 rapid contractions in a set.  The advanced Kegeler is able to vary the type and duration of her PC squeezing; slow prolonged clenches to quick flutters. And, darling, this doesn’t have to be drudgery.  Add some up-tempo dance music and tighten and release your PC muscle to the rhythm.  You will naturally vary the exercises and have way more fun too.

Hey, want to kick things up a notch?  Combine you PC Exercises with jilling off! energie.jpgThat’s right, darlin, throw yourself a screamin meme of an orgasm as you’re exercising.  This is where a nice vibrating dildo will come in handy.  You may find that you’re more likely to attend to your exercise regime if there’s pleasure involved.

Throw in some patterned breathing and pelvic rocking with your exercises. Rock your pelvis up, exhale and squeeze the PC tight. Squeeze, hold — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — then inhale, drop your hips back down and relax the muscle. Once you get the hang of this, reverse the exercise. Inhale while rocking forward and exhale while dropping back.

One final suggestion, check out the Natural Contours Energie Kegel Exerciser.  You can read all about this marvelous doohickey by going to the Product Review Page and look for Review #16

If you follow my instructions for this two-week exercise course, you will notice a marked improvement to your pelvic muscle tone.  Won’t the hubby be surprised when you invite him for a fuck and he finds the taut and toned pussy of a woman half your age.

Name: Leo
Gender: male
Age: 25
Location: Miami
I am a 29yr old light skinned latin male, very healthy. Being latin, my skin has…well…you know…that tan color. Over the past 2-3 years I have been seeing these lighter color, almost white spots evolving on my penis and butt and thighs and elbows.  It began with just one small spot on my penis, and over the years I got a more spots around the rest of the area. It’s to the point that I’m too embarrassed to have sex. It looks like the whole area down there is transforming into big ugly blotches. It definitely does not look healthy.  Do you know what this is?  Do I have some kind of sexually transmitted disease?

You appear to be describing vitiligo, a dermatological condition where the skin, vitiligo55jpg.jpgoften in the genital area, loses its pigment.  This is not a disease, let alone a sexually transmitted infection.  It’s a condition and it’s not all that uncommon. When you lose pigment, it leaves islands of white skin surrounded by your natural skin color, tan in your case.  It’s kinda like a Palamino horse.

Medicine doesn’t know a lot about vitiligo.  What is known for certain is that it is not contagious. It appears to be an acquired condition and may appear at any age, but mostly before 40. Genetics may play a part, as there is an increased incidence of vitiligo in some families. Vitiligo is more noticeable in darker skinned people because of the contrast with the white patches against dark skin. It seems to occur more often among people with an autoimmune problem. The depigmentation can be progressive for some people, although not everyone.

In terms of treatment, there aren’t any to speak of.  Some claim modest success with a repigmenting agents or immunosuppressant medications.  Some people, like Michael Jackson, go to great lengths and extremes to compensate for this condition.  Obviously, this is not advisable.  I mean, just look at him.  I just can’t see how his untreated vitiligo would have been any less scary than what he’s transformed himself into?  But that’s just me.

For most folks with vitiligo, myself included, our best bet is to make peace with our uniqueness, leave it alone and move on.  I’ll admit it takes some getting use to, since the appearance of our skin is so tied with our self-esteem.  But, those of you in my audience who regularly read my column, or listen to my podcasts, know that shit happens to our bodies.  Birth defects, aging, disease processes, amputations, vitiligo7.jpgscaring, disabling accidents and disfiguring surgeries are all part and parcel of being a human.  Those who successfully move through their problems and find their self-worth in a more holistic appreciation of themselves enjoy a fuller, richer life, which includes a full and rich sex life.  If you need help pulling this together for yourself, Leo, support is available online.  Just search for vitiligo support.

As for your sexual partners and the questions they might have; why not just be upfront about what’s goin on?  Simply say you have vitiligo.  It’s about pigment, not performance.  And then show ‘em what ya got, baby!

Name: Peaches & Herb
Gender: couple
Age:  30-something
Location:  Washington DC
We’re a hip, 30-something couple and we’re looking for a little adventure.  We want to throw a sex party.  We know several couples who we think would be interested in joining us.  But we’re not sure how or where to start.  What do you suggest?
PS: Peaches & Herb are not our real names.

You don’t say!  I would have never guessed! Peaches & Herb, indeed.

Actually, P&H, I hesitate to offer any suggestions, because it sounds to me like you guys are complete amateurs when it comes to swinging, if you are swingers at all.  Throwing a sex party for a bunch of straight folks is not like hosting Sunday orgy7.jpegbrunch, where all that could go wrong is serving an unsuitable wine with the quiche. A poorly planned sex party can be a catastrophe and destroy friendships and make instant enemies.  If I were you, I’d start planning my own party only after I attended several other parties hosted by folks who know what the fuck they’re doing.

But to give you the benefit of the doubt I’ll offer a the these suggestion.  First, I’d begin by asking myself what kind of party do me and the little woman want to host?

A sexy party — attendees dress in provocative outfits — lingerie and the like, get all liquored up, play naughty games, like “Truth or Dare” which evolve into group make-out session — where few risks are taken and nobody gets hurt if things go badly.

A sex party — attended by out and proud swingers.  Here the agenda is obviously sex, but there are a shit-load of very important things to consider before the invitations go out.  More about this in a minute.

An orgy — a no holds bared, check your cloths at the door, full-on sex extravaganza.  This is kind of gathering is not for the novice.  In fact, it’s more a gay sex party option than a straight sex party option.  The reasons I believe this are coming up.

Whatever kind of party you choose, you’ll want to carefully consider the people you invite.  It’s a good idea to always have some instigators on your list.  You know, the folks who will be the first to make out, dance and shed their cloths.  Established swingers are always a good choice for this.  They’ll be less inhibited than the newbies.

Do you desire an equal male/female ratio? Couples only? Singles only? Straights only? No single men? Will you allow for bisexual expression, specifically the male-on-male type?  Will you allow kink?  Or will this be a vanilla party?

If you’re thinking of inviting relative strangers, you might want to consider screening them in advance. You’ll want to make sure the prospective guest will fit in with the others on your list.

Where’s the shindig gonna be held?  Your home, a rented space, a hotel suite?  If all goes well, the party will probably be loud and nude, so consider your neighbors and neighborhood carefully.  Wherever you host, designate some areas as sex areas and some areas as rest/neutral/no-sex areas.

Will you serve adult beverages?  If you do, how much is too much?  Will there be food?  Probably if there’s booze, there ought to be at least some food, right? Even if it’s simply powerbars and gaterade,

Music is very important to setting the mood.  The wrong music — there goes the party.  Your play space must be clean and warm with plenty of places to freshen up in.  That will necessitate soap and water and lots of fresh towels.  Muted lighting is essential, at least in some of the areas. Throw pillows are good.  Vinyl sheets are practical.  Or have your guests donate a set of clean sheets to the festivities. You need to realize that it will be a mess everywhere your guests fuck, what with all the lube and bodily fluids and the like.  And there’s always gonna be accidents like orgy08.jpgspills, smells and skid marks, if you catch my drift.

Speaking of which, have lube, condoms, and latex gloves, baby wipes and what have you in every room you designate as a play space.  Nothing sets the mood like some classy pornography playing in the background. Have your guests turn off their cell phones.  And I’d also consider having a definite arrive time.  No one admitted after a certain hour.  New arrivals can ruin a mood, unless you’re sure they will blend in and get down to business immediately.

Sex party etiquette is essential.  A lot of this will depend on the kind of party you’re hosting and the type of people you invite.  But you should insist that your guests behave themselves…in a smutty sort of way…of course.  Guests should be polite.  No means NO!  I would discourage guests who might just want to attend for the show.  There are no bigger turn-offs than a lecherous gawker or an uncomfortable wallflower.  Permission to join a grouping is mandatory.  And a sense of humor is always appreciated, just so long as it doesn’t bust the mood.  And finally, safe sex ought to be a must!

Good luck ya’ll

Sport Fuck, Part 2

Look for my new Product Reviews!

REVIEW #18

Dr Dick’s Product Review Crew is back with their reviews of the remaining group of intriguing and oh so practical novelties from the pleasure-oriented folks over at Sportsheets.

The Dr Dick’s Product Review Crew introduces you to even more sexy fun products that will liven up even the most ho-hum sex life.

If you missed Sport Fuck, Part 1; look for it here.

Let’s check in with our intrepid reviewers.

The Under The Bed Restraint System $44.95
This turns your bed into a bondage playground. Simply slide the straps under any mattress, and position them around the bed to create various bondage possibilities.

Full review HERE

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Sportsheets Chest Harness with Dildo $59.00
Give your partner a front row seat with this fun harness and dildo set. It’ll spice up your sex life with a little tease and pleasure right in front of your face.

Full review HERE

Sportsheets G-Spot Link $29.95
A black nylon strap with neoprene ankle cuffs that makes hitting the G-spot easier and more accurate than ever before. You can use this to tilt the hips and enter the vaginal canal or anus from a new angle making penetration deeper and more satisfying for everyone.

Full review HERE

Sportsheets Door Jam Cuffs $18.95
Just lay the weighted straps over door, close it shut.  Turn any room into a playground for kinky bondage play!  Tease or please, control or be controlled –– now it’s easy!  Each thick nylon strap is connected to a detachable and adjustable velour-lined Velcro cuff.  You get 2 cuffs in a package.  Buy 2 pairs for total control!

Full review HERE

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Lap Dancer Harness $44.95
Soft neoprene harness adjusts that wraps around your thigh and secures with Velcro.  It holds a soft silicone dildo. Get your dollar bills ready for your private dancer.

Full review HERE



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