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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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My Alien Bunny

Hey sex fans!

Look, a new edition of Product Review Friday is comin’ your way. This week we bring you a toy for the women folk, but guys might like it too. This is our first product review from one of the sex toy industry’s award-winning innovators, Jimmyjane.

Let’s check in with Dr Dick Review Crew members, Joy & Dixie, to see what’s up, so to speak.

Jimmyjane Form 2 — — $145.00

Joy & Dixie
Dixie: “We started the new year off with a bang. Joy and I celebrated our 6th anniversary on New Years Eve. I know, how perfect is that? Anywho, we got a bunch of swell gifts from friends. We have the best friends evah!”
Joy: “Amongst the booty was a Jimmyjane Form 2. And guess who gave it to us? My ex, Barbara! The first product I ever reviewed for Dr Dick was the Share.  And Barbara and I were together back then. She knows my passion for toys and so she got Dixie and me the Form 2.”jimmyjane-form-2-01
Dixie: “I was completely flabbergasted because the Form 2 isn’t cheap; in fact it’s really pricy. Barbara’s a dot-com millionaire, so I suppose plunkin’ down $150 for a sex toy means nothing to her. Don’t get me wrong, I love that she’s so generous. And she’s such as sweetheart on top of it.”
Joy: “Yeah, Barb rocks! So let me take you on a little tour of the Form 2. It’s the cutest little thing. About the size of the palm of your hand, it’s basically a body with two short flexible ears. I call it my alien bunny. It’s made of high-quality, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic silicone. And it has a stainless steel base where it recharges in its stylish charger base. Its rechargeable lithium polymer battery takes about two hours to fully charge and runs up to seven hours on a single charge.”
Dixie: “It features five vibration speeds and four modes of vibration, and is operated by a one button controller. Form 2 is fully waterproof and easy to clean. Mild soap and warm water does just fine for everyday cleaning. But you can also wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize for sharing. And it should be shared!”jimmyjane-form-2-luxury-vibrato2_11903_700x700
Joy: “The two flexible ears vibrate, each with their own motor. So when you nuzzle the Form 2 up to your clit, with the ears placed along each side, your whole vulva is stimulated. Love it! It’s super quiet too.”
Dixie: “The ears pulsate with pleasure. Like Joy mentioned above each ear is flexible, but the body is dense. It feels so comfortable in my hand. I like moving Form 2 all around my body. My nipples are particularly sensitive to the pleasure it can deliver. I encourage you to find all your erogenous zones or those of your partner with this joyful toy.”
Joy: “It’s true! The sensations are like in stereo; the motors in each ear create happiness wherever it travels on your body. It’s the ideal toy for the bath. The Form 2 excels in design as well as function. It’s immediately obvious that a great deal of time, effort, and knowhow has gone into making this a pleasure treasure. And ya know what? Guys will like this too.”jimmyjane-form-2-luxury-vibrato2_11904_700x700
Dixie: “Here’s a thoughtful little extra; the controls can be locked in the off position for safe sex toy traveling. There’s nothing more embarrassing than have your vibe come to life on its own as you’re going through airport security. We already mentioned that Form 2 is rechargeable, so obviously it comes with its own charger and detailed product information brochure is included in the packaging. It also comes with a three-year product warranty.”
Joy: “Let’s recap, shall we? Form 2 is body-safe, healthy, GREEN, rechargeable, waterproof, and exceptionally good at what it says it can do. What more can one ask for from a vibe, or any product for that matter?”
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

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

Bum Rap

Name: Skye
Gender: Female
Age:
Location:
The reason I am writing is because my boyfriend and I have been together for about a year, and we’ve been having some problems with sex. The problem is that I have difficulty getting to a climax. The problem with this is that my boyfriend feels like he has not accomplished anything if he can’t get me off (which generally nobody is able to do). The only way that I am able to climax is during anal sex and my boyfriend does not want that all the time and has become skittish about doing it at all because of some difficulties with this earlier in the relationship (I am not very experienced).
This issue is starting to drive a wedge between us, and neither of us wants to break up over this. So we are asking for some advice as to what we can do, or what we can try. One thought that I have had is that maybe I am nervous when I’m with other people because while I have difficulty climaxing when I’m with somebody, I have no difficulty at all when I’m alone.
Please give us any advice you can, or point us to somebody who might be able to help us.
~Skye

Ok, let’s take this apart piece by piece, shall we? You’re unable to cum through partnered sex, despite the willingness of your BF to try and please you as much as humanly possible, right? But you are orgasmic; I mean you can cum when you are by yourself, right? This suggests to me that you are suffering from performance anxiety. a150455_xlf

While performance anxiety is mostly talked about in terms of men and their erection problems, they don’t have a monopoly on the annoying issue. It’s an arousal phase concern and we all have an arousal phase regardless of our gender.

I’d be willing to guess that since you say you are not very experienced with sex, you may be creating a level of anxiety that short-circuits your pleasure. Sad to say, this often plagues younger women the most. Young women tend to have less self-esteem. And if they are new to sex, they may not know what they are doing, which can be not only frustrating, but also distracting.

So let me ask you a few questions. First and foremost, what’s going on in your mind when you are having sex with a partner? Are you focused on the pleasure you are giving and receiving? Or are you focused, like so many people on something other than that?

a96261_xlfIf your mind is busy with how you look, or how you smell, or if you are wondering if that birthmark of yours is too obvious. Or if you’re worried about how accomplished you are at performing a particular sex act; then you may have performance anxiety. If you anxious about what your partner thinks of you, if he’s turned on by you, or loves you, or is just bangin’ away at you like a side of beef; then you may have performance anxiety. If you’re afraid to let go and have a screamin’ meme of an orgasm, because it might not look lady-like, or you’re not sure you can trust the person who’s bumpin’ you enough to just relax and enjoy the ride; then you may have performance anxiety.

It also appears from what you say that your BF could also be developing a complex since he’s unable to pleasure you to climax. So let’s see if we can nip this in the bud before it gets to be a full-blown dysfunction.

Many women report that their partnered sex is not as satisfying as their solo sex, because they’re not able to stimulate themselves in the same fashion in partnered sex as they do when they’re jillin’ off. If you are self-conscious about showing your partner the particulars of gettin yourself off, or too intimidated to incorporate a vibrator in your love making, you might not be getting the kind of stimulation you need when you need it. Thus you might be aroused, but not to the point of lettin’ one loose…if ya catch my drift.a6402_xlf

I am also very curious about another thing you mention. You say; “The only way that I am able to climax is during anal sex and my boyfriend does not want that all the time and has become skittish about doing it at all because of some difficulties with this earlier in the relationship.” That’s downright amazing. Butt fuckin’ get you off, but not traditional, cock in cooch, sex? Holy cow! How did you come to be so well acquainted with anal sex when you claim you are not very experienced with sex in general? I’d be very interested in hearing more about that, don’t cha know.

Finally, may I suggest that you and the BF take advantage of Dr Dick’s How To Video Library. It is chock full of swell videos that you guys can watch together. This might be the very thing ya’ll need to break open a conversation about the kind of sex you are having as opposed the kind of sex you both desire.

a168705_xlfA lot of the videos in my library will teach you how to ask for what you need and want. How to shake things up and add some spice to your sex play. You’ll learn new ways of pleasuring one another. And, most importantly, how to relax and enjoy yourselves. Once you guys learn how to effectively communicate with one another about sex, you will have gone a great distance in clearing the air of unnecessary sexual anticipation. You’ll both be able to relax into the event itself and enjoy yourselves more. Here is just a tiny sampling of titles to look for:

Women’s Sexual Satisfaction
Personal Touch: Toying With Pleasure
Nina Hartley’s Guide To Couples Sexploration
Expert Guide To Female Orgasms
Guide To Bondage For Couples

In my How To Video Library you’ll be able to search by stars, like Nina Hartley or Tristan Taormino. You can search by Directors, like Michael Perry or Jamye Waxman. Or you can search by topic, like cunnilingus, toys or anal pleasure. And the best part is that this wealth of information is right there at your fingertips.

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.

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