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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 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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A budding kinkster’s dilemma

Hey DR

Well, I don’t know where to start, my name is Todd I’m 21 and from Eugene Or. I need to know if feeling the way I do is OK?

Well I’ve had a thing for voyeurism and BDSM for a some time now. I guess it started out by me just liking to push the boundaries of what was the norm, you know like wanting to do it in a movie theater or the park. However, things like that soon stopped giving me the same feeling, so I started to look more into bondage and kink. I liked what I found but at some point I passed what every one else I know thought was OK. Every time I feel like it’s OK to tell a girl what I want they just look at me like WHAT? They all say that they will go along with it, but I can tell that they’re not in to it. I don’t want to make any one feel like that.

I’ve tried to have a normal relationship but no matter how hard I try it just can’t work out, like my ex, she worked so hard to get where I was coming from. Any man would be lucky to find a girl as amazing as her but no matter how much I loved her I felt like I was empty. To her, kink was doing it in the morning; I soon found myself numb and board. Is there something wrong with me? I don’t know where to find someone like me.

I hope you can find time to help me DR.

From what you tell me there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you besides being rather sexually precocious. Most people your age are just finding their way through more traditional expressions of sex. You simply have much more advanced predilections. BDSM sex is indeed an acquired taste and it is often acquired and practiced by people more senior than you. So nothing too out of the ordinary there.

that kinky stuffI suspect that you will continue to be frustrated in your search for like-minded partners in your peer group. And being in a relatively small college town doesn’t help matters all that much either. Your only salvation will be the internet. As you probably know, BDSM sites abound on the web. But before you launch your search for prospective partners, you’d probably do well to learn some of the lingo. There are plenty of resource sites out there that can help you identify who you are and what it is you want. Do a search using keywords like Dominant, Master, Domme, Mistress, Submissive, etc.

Most kink sites, like FetLife feature bulletin boards and/or member profiles. Once you get your bearings and have a grip on some of the vocabulary, you could set up your own profile. Be as clear and candid about what it is you want as possible. I encourage you to immerse yourself in this subculture, because the more information you have the more enlightened your future partner choices will be.

When connecting with other pervs online, be courteous. You’ll no doubt encounter an array of lifestyle choices and sexual proclivities, some of which may be off-putting to you. Remember, you are a guest in their world. Leave your uptight judgments and provincial attitudes at the door. You’ll have to earn the trust and respect of this community if you ever hope to be taken seriously by them.

You don’t really say what sort of BDSM you are into. Nor do you identify yourself as either a Dom or a sub. But how you identify yourself and what you say about what you are into will, no doubt, color your search for partners and playmates.

I have another resource for you. It’s a communication and relationship-building workshop in book form and it is written specifically for budding kinksters, just like you. The title: The Gospel of Kink; A Modern Guide To Asking For What You Want And Getting What You Ask For. Gospel of Kink

The Gospel of Kink’s innovative and interactive format presents the reader with numerous situations and dilemmas that arise as people embrace their kinkiness and integrate their eroticism into daily life.

The Gospel of Kink is on the cutting edge of the sex-positive and kink-aware movements. This workbook helps the reader break free from the painful silence the dominant culture imposes on alt culture and those of us on the sexual fringe.

The Gospel of Kink provides an opportunity to learn from people just like you. Its on-the-page workshop features a group of ten fictional characters who are your fellow participants. In addition, it includes a panel of actual seasoned kinky, BDSM, and alt culture practitioners who share their expertise and life experience with you.

The Gospel of Kink engages you with numerous exercises and homework. As a workshop participant, you will complete A Personal Alt Relationship Inventory, discuss the Essentials of Effective Communication, identify Tools and Techniques for Navigating Alt Relationship Conflicts, and learn how to Keep Things Fresh and Interesting.

The Gospel of Kink provides a safe and secure place for you to air your concerns without fear of being judged for how you live your life or with whom you choose to live it. You will learn within a framework of honesty, activity, alliance, support, and humor.

its_only_kinky_the_first_time_post_card-r8cd39596681e48d4b13fd87f07c01435_vgbaq_8byvr_512In the BDSM world, being a Dom or sub is a state of mind. It isn’t necessarily about a particular sex act, it certainly isn’t a game, it’s not merely role-playing; and for the most part, it is not gender specific. The best Dom/sub relationships are those that express a mutuality of care, concern, and trust.

Finally, I caution you against so easily dismissing your partners when they don’t immediately live up to your expectations. This young woman you mention sounds like she might have been able to rise to the occasion with a little support, encouragement and tutelage. You can’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, my friend; that’s just not gonna be helpful. In fact, you might consider inviting someone, this woman perhaps, to read The Gospel of Kink along with you. That way you both could learn together. I can assure you your time will be well spent.

Good luck

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A Rose By Any Other Name

We’re all back from spring break. The Dr Dick Review Crew is all rested and relaxed. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about me. oh well, no rest for the wicked.


I enjoy your podcast, the frankness and open vocabulary is exactly what I like. No need in beating around the bush, just get to the point. Wish more people would live by that philosophy.

Ok. I am a 45 YO, gay male, very experienced sexually, some say whore… LOL! I enjoy a lot of fetishes; the unusual has always been very attractive to me. The more bizarre the more I will probably like it.

Until I was about 40 I was a DOM top. I started experimenting with the group party world and enjoyed it greatly. Became an experienced fisting top with some formal training, I guess you could call it an apprentice who graduated, or so I thought. Then a few of the FF bottoms suggested I was missing something. Because I didn’t have any experience as a FF bottom I couldn’t realize the true feelings and emotions involved with fisting. I was encouraged to experience fisting as a bottom.

This was a HUGE ordeal for me. The mental change alone was like, wow. The first time I crawled into a sling and had my whole ass on display, legs spread like a woman at her gynecologist…man was I uncomfortable. This was 5 years ago. Now I can hop into a sling and take a fist-fuck fairly easy. I now understand the advice given to me: I finally understand what fisting is all about.

Now my issues.

I have changed. My whole personality has been altered. Changing from a Dominate Top to fisting bottom has created issues with my head and overall sexuality. These changes are now affecting my sex life. I guess I need some help figuring things out.


Thank you, Jimmy, for your message and your kind words about my podcasts.

We really get boxed in with all our self-identification we do, huh? I mean I know why we categorize ourselves and others as gay or straight, top or bottom, sub or Dom. It helps us understand ourselves and communicate in a kind of shorthand with others. But there is a downside to this, as you sling

I believe that human sexual response is a whole lot more fluid than we give it credit for. But this fluidity is often stifled when we overly compartmentalize ourselves or others. Not to mention the fallacy of the binary system — being one thing or the other.  It just ain’t so and you are the perfect case in point.

I’m always talking about how the best tops are those who, on occasion, bottom. The best submissives are those who, on occasion, dominate. Besides the wider range of experience this provides us, we also grow in emotional maturity encompassing both our yin and yang.

Also the words we use to describe ourselves have, over time, become heavily laden with unintended cultural connotations. Top/bottom, sub/Dom are classic examples of this. That’s why I believe that we ought, from time to time, reinvent the language we use to talk about ourselves. In this case, I prefer terms like: giver/receiver over top/bottom. A change in vocabulary can certainly cut through a lot of the cultural nonsense and it can open the door to a more fluid sexual expression; as I believe it ought to be.nekkidbookclub

I hasten to add that at lot of hard-core pervs disagree with me on this. And that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s just that, if our language detracts from our experience, or hems us in, rather than facilitates it, and frees us up, something’s out of whack.

You will pardon the shameless self-promotion, but I’d like to call your attention to my latest book, The Gospel of Kink. It’s a communication and relationship building workshop in workbook form. It centers on the skills us kinksters need to communicate with others, and initiate, build, and maintain the relationships that will serve us well. Learn how to ask for what you want and get what you ask for from the people best situated to fulfill your desires. The book covers a lot of the territory that you raise in your question.

Stay in touch and let me know how this sits with you.

Good luck

No boundaries, no edge!

Since I published The Gospel of Kink — A Modern Guide To Asking For What You Want And Getting What You Ask For this past summer, I’ve met dozens and dozens of kinksters from all over the world. Many of these new acquaintances are much younger than I; many have just begun their erotic journey. Their youthful enthusiasm is infectious and they remind me how passionate I was as I began to awaken to my own sexual interests. But that was a very long time ago. So I’m grateful for this infusion of excitement because without it I know that I can easily become callous and jaded.Life-on-the-edge  And where’s the fun in that?

Being as old as I am, I am proud to have been part of the sex-positive and kink aware movements for as long as these terms have been around to help us understand and appreciate the panoply of human sexual response. I have been an out and proud member of the sexual fringe and alt culture for all of my adult life. And I remain an ardent advocate and activist for sexual awareness and life-long sex education and enrichment.

At the same time, I also like being a sexual outlaw. Unfortunately, over the years, many sectors of what was once the edge have been co-opted by the mainstream. Despite this, many of us long to push the envelope and remain outsiders. I admire that about us. However, there is a palpable backlash within the dominant culture toward us, as well as among us, here on the fringe, toward one another.

I don’t think that anyone can argue with the fact that there is a disturbing and very noticeable uptick in violence against the LGBTQ community lately. I chalk this up as a reaction to the gains we’ve made in the marriage equality struggle. Our increased visibility and our growing power base threatens many people who are loathe to relinquish or even share their privilege.  But there is an equally disturbing trend within our own community. I call it the “kinkier than thou” syndrome. It’s as if some of us, sensing the encroachment of the dominant culture on what has traditionally been  our turf, are creating a backlash of our own. This exhibits itself as a cult of extremism and its mantra is “no limits.” Some proclaim that the extreme is the only legitimate edge; everything else is dilettante play.

I don’t know about you, but having someone or some group unilaterally set themselves up as the arbiter of what is and what is not authentic grates against everything I hold sacred. I don’t take kindly to this any more than I abide a cultural moralist trying to dictate how I ought live out my sexuality and my eroticism.

your own herdBeside the arrogance of it all, there is the divisiveness. People just beginning to embrace their kinkiness are being put off by the stench of this exclusivity and rightfully so.

Extremism, in all of its forms, sows the seeds of its own destruction. You think you’re extreme? Well, I can assure you that, in the dungeon down the street, there is someone even more extreme than you, or extreme in a different way than you. Truth is, the laws of physics apply to us, and our erotic predilections, just as it does to everything else. Where there is no boundary there is no edge. If your extremism is without boundaries is not edgy, it’s just chaos.

I believe that it’s edgy enough to try and live and sustain our eroticism in the face of an often hostile dominant culture. I believe that none of us need to prove our edginess beyond our pursuit of our authentic selves.


Name: Josh
Gender: Male
About a month ago I fell in love with a girl in another country and tried the long distance thing. It was not the best relationship. Stupid I know now, but when you’re in love…
I am a very sexual person and well that’s the problem. I enjoy anal, and want to try some BDSM but I have no idea where to look for a girl like this. I want someone who can be wild but knows when to be a good girl. I have no idea where to look for a girl like this. I have tired online sites but I don’t like them. Been having no luck on them and I do better face to face. So any suggestions?

Ahhh, you sound like a real charmer, Josh. I love how you perpetuate the whole madonna/whore dichotomy. You want a bad girl in the bedroom and a good girl in…what the kitchen? Sheesh, it’s no wonder you’ve been striking out.madonna_whore

Before your begin your search for a playmate, learn how to talk to a potential partner about what you want. If you’re gonna continue to be all Neanderthal in your communication you mind as well pull the plug on this endeavor right now. Don’t know the first thing about asking for what you want or getting what you ask for? I have just the resource for you. Pardon the shameless self-promotion, but I think you should check out The Gospel of Kink.  I wrote it, in part, for people just like you. It’s a primer on how to start, build, and maintain kinky and alt culture relationships through effective communication.

When you begin your search for this illusive partner you’ll need to let go of your very outmoded way of thinking about women and their sexuality. No self-respecting woman is gonna even consider hookin up with you if they first get a whiff of your sexism. And this is especially true for sexually liberated women, like those in the madonna:whoreworld of kink and BDSM.

And just in case you don’t think the dichotomous madonna/whore mindset isn’t a put-down, imagine if a woman came on to you like that. I want a big-dicked stud in the bedroom who also makes six figures in the boardroom.

Next I’d want to know what you mean when you say; “I enjoy anal…” Do you mean you like to get butt fucked, or you like fuckin’ chicks in the ass? The answer to this question will determine where and how you look for partners.

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that it is you who wants to get fucked. More and more straight guys are gettin off on anal these days, ya know. I guess they’re discovering the joys of prostate stimulation, a thing the gays have known for fuckin’ forever. Anyhow, looking for a woman who knows her way around topping a man is pretty challenging; there aren’t a whole lot of them out there. Besides. it’s certainly not something most women would put in their online profile. You may be slightly more successful in your search if you put it out there. Perhaps you should make it real clear in your profile, that you like gettin’ pegged.

And here’s a tip: when you have special sexual needs, like the ones you have, Josh, you need to offer perspective partners something in return for their indulgence. Here’s where you need to understand the concept of “Give to Get?” You want something extraordinary? You’d better be willing to offer something extraordinary in in pain

Start now by learning how to finesse the fuck you want. Like I said, most women are unaccustomed to being a top. And they’d feel pretty self-conscious with a strap-on. So in exchange for the unusual sex you are looking for, most women will want something in return. Most women would probably feel more comfortable exercising a kink in a relationship of some sort or another. Are you relationship material? Because if you are not the women you seek have little to gain from being kinky with you otherwise. You’re also gonna have to offer to buy your perspective partner the strap-on and/or all the other toys you might need to satisfy your pervy side.

Before you look to satisfying your special needs, I suggest that you first find out what turns your partner’s crank and get her warmed up before you spring your kink on her. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to make a lasting impression that you are not only in this for yourself. If it take some hugging, kissing and lots of oral sex…you’d better take care of business first. It’s the least you can do.

bondageRemember, there are all kinds of relationships — from fuck (pegging) buddies to marriage. Know how far you want to go to get the goodies you desire and then be straightforward with your perspective partner. If you lie or prevaricate just to get what you want; you are bigger asshole than I already think you are.

Now hookin up with the BDSM crowd will also be challenging, especially if you’re a novice and don’t know what the fuck you want. Here’s where I think you would do well to work with a professional dominatrix. Even if you ultimately want to be a Dom yourself, I suggest that you learn the ropes, as it were, at the foot of a pro. And don’t expect this education to be inexpensive. Once you’ve found the dominatrix of your dreams, ask her to introduce you to the local BDSM scene. And if you’re not a complete douche, she’ll probably be willing to do so.

Like I said, you will need an entree into the scene, and there’s no one better situated to help you gain entrance than someone well established in the community. If you play your cards right, you may find what you are looking for.

And last but not least, be a gentleman about all of this. You can screw up the whole mess if you don’t have your head in the right space. Power play, and that’s what where talking about when we’re talkin’ BDSM, is more about the mindset than the genitals.

Good luck

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