November 8, 2019
In(Compatibility): When You Want an Open Relationship & Your Partner Doesn’t
How do you approach your partner about an open relationship? What do you do if one partner wants monogamy and the other wants consensual non-monogamy? How do you get your partner to talk about sex if they’re shy or uncomfortable? How do you deal with sexless marriages? Heather McPherson, M.A., LPC-S, LMFT-S, CST joins us to discuss her experience working with couples and singles as a sex therapist and founder of the Sexual Health Alliance.
The Sexual Health Alliance has a Full Sex Therapy and Sex Education Certification Training program with all the CEs you need to apply to be AASECT Certified. SHA has several advance certificate training programs as will including CNM, Kink and more to be announced soon.
This weekend in Denver, Colorado, join world renowned experts in the field for a Sexceptional Weekend to learn the basics and explore all the intricacies of what it means to be in a consensual non-monogamous relationship. Lectures by Dr. Eli Sheff and Dr. David Ley with special guests from the APA Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force and creators of the Orgy Story podcast.
And next weekend in Austin, TX, join the Sexual Health Alliance for Adventures in Unicorn Hunting, Happy Endings and Other Advanced Skills for Open Relationships with Dr. Eli Sheff and myself! We’ll take a deep dive into Monogamish and Open Relationships and discuss advanced concepts, case studies and treatment approaches in working with these populations. And, join Heather and myself for a special evening program on Saturday at 8pm at Respark Therapy for The Business of Sex.
This podcast is brought to you by Desire Resorts.
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This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
In(Compatibility): When You Want an Open Relationship & Your Partner Doesnt
00:00:05 – 00:05:05
You’re listening to the sacs with Dr Jess podcast sacks and relationship advice you can use tonight Welcome to the sex with Dr. Just podcast I’m your co host Brandon. Where here with my lovely partner? Dr Jess Hey. You know what’s on my mind. Talk to me. Talk to me like you’re lying on your couch. Ti whatever you can. You do. rubberband man I I can but I’m not going to okay so ti. I’ve always been a fan big fantasy. Oh well I was. You were past tense. Well he’s recently opened up about taking his eighteen year old daughter to the gynecologist every year. To make sure that they inspect her hymen to make sure that it’s it’s intact. Wow yes and apparently she signs a form giving him permission to find out whether or not it’s intact. I’m I am surprised that a doctor is willing to do this in the first place. Because when it comes to the Hyman and inspecting the Hammond the World Health Organization Cautions Shinzo Against this. They’re quite clear that inspecting the hymen is not a sign of so-called Virginity and I’ll say first and foremost that virginity is a social construct. There is no one specific. Act that makes you a virgin or not a virgin. I always think about well. What if you have different types of sex? What if you are a lady who has has sex with another person WHO’s lady to vaginas rubbing against each other doing that doing the sucking licking the w all that fun stuff? The Cross my fingers. Are you a virgin. Because you’ve never had a penis in there so first of all virginity in of its in and of itself is a highly gendered social construct. I also heard t I think talking about his fifteen year old son not being virgin. So there’s this huge double standard but the other pieces that the hymen is a thin mucous tissue fold and it’s not You know like a balloon that covers the entire vagina. It’s not something that you pop. It can wear away over time through menstruation. Russian through your regular discharge. Your Vagina is a self cleaning oven. So anyone who has of a China knows that stuff is always coming out of it. You know it can be clear. Sorry can be odorless depends on the type of the month. It can be a little bit more milky it can be a little bit more egg white consistency. I don’t know if you know that Brennan because you don’t have your own vagina or do not but I’m learning a lot right now. So please continue. I can tell you when I was maybe about thirteen. And I started experiencing vaginal discharge and you see kind of just some plain plain white stuff on your underwear. You really freaked me out. I was really concerned and I didn’t know what it was for out one hundred percent. Yeah and this was nineteen sixty exte- too so we didn’t have the Internet’s not for real. It was nineteen ninety to nineteen ninety three and I couldn’t turn to the Internet. I’m sure there was dial up at the library or something like that but I didn’t have it at my house. I think we had a four eighty six back then thrown at a whole bunch of stuff. A lot of people won’t even know what you’re talking about. Okay well forty-six was this computer and I can’t describe it in any any greater detail than that. I had a commodore sixty four outlets that. It’s a really old box. You can play video games on. Did it have one button. Yeah yeah pretty much and it took like five minutes to up. I’m interested about this double standard though so I look at rand being the one reeling in the conversation truck the thrill though like a couple of things number one would. Ti feel the same way but a son. No it’s not I think in an arbitrary not I think an old interview. He was actually lamenting the fact that his son was a virgin or then bragging that he wasn’t or something like that so it in addition to that does this not might this. This non encourage his daughter to have different forms of sex and like the concerns or the risks that are associated with with those types of sex. If they’re not doing it in a protective manner yeah well absolutely. I actually think this is an absolute threat to her health. I think that it’s encouraging encouraging her to hide to lie to not even have the opportunity to disclose her sexual behavior and health status and ask for testing from her doctor. So this is really interfering during. I also want to consider the fact that yes she. She filled out a form allowing her father access to her record supposedly but under what duress right. uh-huh does he pressure her to do this. Does he have financial power over her. Does he have undue pressure over her. You know I think that we see this pop culture where young women are revered revered for being virgins and young guys brag about losing their virginity at at an early age and I it reeks of men owning women’s bodies fathers having more agency agency over their daughters bodies than the daughters themselves and yet it’s really really concerning to me.
00:05:05 – 00:10:10
It’s interesting because I posted about this on my facebook wall today and somebody said that. Oh No this is him showing concern for her sexual health and let me tell you. This seems like control not concern. I think it is great that you are concerned and about your child’s or your teen sexual health I think it’s important to provide them with accurate information but ultimately good sex education empowers people to have agency Z.. Over their own bodies and over their own decisions and not necessarily hold one specific thing up as a status symbol and didn’t even finish all the other ways. Your high man can wear away like using tampons like having your period like hormonal changes like riding a bicycle regular exercise and just time. Yeah it was concerned -cerned about what happens if she has chosen not to be sexually active and the doctor finds that the hymen is broken. A great question what what happens then. Who cares whether she’s sexually active or not? Because there’s really not my business. But what if the hymen is broken. What are the consequences sequences for this young woman with her father what I was wondering so the just so many different layers to this in so many problems requires Anyway and the message here is that we’re telling young people and women in particular that you cannot be honest about your sexual history or sexual behavior with your physician because they might tell your parents. Yeah Yeah really concerning to me and you know as I said big. Ti Fan you always ti at Karaoke. Usually jammed up but maybe no longer. Are you going to give Pontiac half to after the story. Maybe he’ll redeem himself somehow. There are a lot of stories with Ti. Yeah there are a lot well today. We’re actually going to be talking about an entirely different set of topics from sexless marriages to sexual communication to opening up relationships to sexual compatibility incompatibility as well as what to do. If one of you wants an open relationship and one of you wants a monogamous relationship. Today we are joined by Heather McPherson sex therapist and founder of projects including the sexual health alliance. And I’ll actually be joining you in Austin very soon for an interesting clinical training. Thank you so much for being here. Thanks so much for having me now. Granted I we’ve spoken with so many sex therapists about you. Know a range of topics from emotional literacy to sexless marriages. But we haven’t really talked about sex therapy itself and your organization the Sexual Health Alliance across the nation and beyond you help with training and certification for sex therapists. So I thought we could start there. Why do therapists need training specifically insects? Yeah so that’s a really great question and something something that I’ve encountered time and time again you’re after year and my work as a sex therapist Whenever I went and got my trading through graduate graduate programs there were little to no education options and sexual health so you could become a therapist a couple of therapists or an individual therapist and have literally zero in clinical room and I thought that was a really significant ethical issue issue and so we started the sexual health alliance to provide an opportunity? That’s affordable and accessible for general therapists and healthcare here providers to attend and get that sex therapy sex education training and learning how to talk about sex with their patients and clients in. Do you think that every therapist should at least have some basic training in sexuality hundred percent absolutely. Yeah I see a lot of clients that will have gone to other therapists other couples therapists. And they’ll come to see me and they’ll tell me that there other therapists but the last ten years. I’ve never ever ever brought up sex in the room and therapy room. So they never inquired about their sexuality or the erotic lives and as we know and couples One of the reasons why couples get divorced can be sex or money right. Sex is one of the top reasons and so I think it’s a significant issue to not have the the training to not be able to assess their own biases And how that specific education or surrounding sexual health and surrounding adding couples therapy and sex therapy combined into the cost of not having sexuality training I can think back to when I was in practice and you you know I had a woman come to me. Who didn’t have orgasms through intercourse? Who would come to me and say if I brought up sex in session my therapist I would say I won’t go there? And what a core component of your identity of your relationship to entirely off the table right and psychotherapy.
00:10:10 – 00:15:33
He’s psychiatry is generally very conservative field. So I get it. It’s you know sex. The field of sex therapy is growing. And it’s new and you know obviously with the sexual health lines were really actively trying to bring the education so people can get trained and these issues but it’s it’s It’s a significant issue. You and I see a lot of harm being done with clients and patients right. There’s this assumption that if you have an expertise or an area of expertise that it extends is into other areas and sexuality is not necessarily intuitive. You know if we’re just breeding like animals than it can be intuitive. You kind of know what you want to do you but if you’re staying in long term relationships And you’re trying to make sex about pleasure or about intimacy or communication or connection. It really is a learned learned. Behavior individuals need education. If follows that therapists clinicians practitioners need therapy to. And when we think about some of the common issues use that therapists especially sex therapist or seeing and I know you have your specialty which had liked to get to but one of the common ones. I’m hearing from the other therapists you know that I network with is either differentials desire or sexless. Marriages and I was reading a report that suggests that an estimated fifteen to twenty percent of married couples consider their relationship sexless and this is one of the top ranked search terms across US North America. So is this something you’ve run into. And how how do we even begin to address sexless marriages. Yes absolutely if you’re a certified sex therapist in private practice you run into this issue every single day I think sexless marriages I think one of the definition definitions I’ve seen is if you’re having having sex twelve or less times a year so about once once a month or less. oftentimes I’ll see it a lot less. It can be -nificant issue because it impacts the relationship and all the other areas and domains. I was just surprised like twelve times a year. I didn’t know that was a thrill actually thought it would have been less than that because I I know that some people will have sex twice a month and that seems normal. So you know twelve times doesn’t seem that low but are you seeing a lot of people that have a lot less sexy completely sexless. Yeah absolutely I mean we see kind of all the whole range and I think that the the critical piece when in handling some of these issues is figuring out what is an issue for the patient client the couple. That’s in your room or the patients that’s in your room. What’s an issue for them? Because because oftentimes we will have couples coming to the office that say we’re having sex two or three times a month and that’s on and off when I’m living in the sex trade him him so there’s really no definition. That is that applies to everyone. That’s you know. Be All for everyone and it really depends as this nick significant issue for your relationship that makes sense so it’s causing you distress than it’s an issue. We need to address if you’re having sex twelve times a year and you’re happy with so you can be perfectly fulfilled. You know I’ve heard. Yeah I’ve heard. Researchers suggest that six months without sex is a reasonable standard to meet the criteria for sexless. Despite other people say a year I was talking to a couple of friends the other day and One of them said they’ve had sex. I think she said fifteen times in just over six years so a couple of times a year and she considers her relationship sexless and another one says that that she has not had sex in a year and a half and she considers it sexless. So where do you begin in a sexless marriage. What is the first step that you would take in therapy? So oftentimes I will begin with the question. When was last time he has sex? And how was it. That can be really important question just to get a baseline. He’s fine as to where they’re at the present moment or whenever a couples. Come in with this issue or even as visuals coming with issue. It’s really important to assess the relationship health health and what’s going on with the relationship because oftentimes we’ll see couples come in and say we’re having a wonderful relationship. We love each other so much. We do Wehrley wonderful things together together Everything else is great. But we’re not having enough sex and so that can be something that we start with in terms of okay great. Let’s let’s pull some strings this relationship. What else is good in your relationship? And how is that catapulted you into the successful long term relationships because oftentimes sometimes it’s a long term relationship couples get together in the beginning it will be hot and heavy. It’ll be easy right. It’s easy to have sex more often. You’re thinking talk about each other all day every day There’s a lot of foreplay mentally physically and so it’s a lot easier to have sex a lot more often but whenever you whenever you you have a long term relationship and in the years pass on and you get into the business of their relationship and the to do list it can be really easy for you know your sexual energy energy and erotic energy you just fade into the background and not be as much of a priority and I see a lot of the the issue that I specifically work with whenever I see these couples at my office and respect therapy.
00:15:34 – 00:20:31
Is that whenever you have a couple that comes in with With with the loss of desire or maybe partner wants more than another it really comes down to a lack of sex education. I don’t know how to talk to my partner about sex. I don’t know how initiate I feel really badly about the ways that maybe my partner is in the in the past and that’s created a lot of resentment and a lot of hurt and a lot of pain pain over the years and so there’s a lot of different that go into the specific Concern of you know lack of passion lack of desire sexist marriage edge but I think that it really does come down to being able to have the education the psycho education around being able to have these conversations with each chopper. Because that’s something that they never really learned how to do. Is there one. Is there a commonality. That kind of is the the trigger that that kind of initiates a sexless Tesla’s relationship or a sexless marriage Well you know whenever you have kids that can definitely but the sex on the back burner not always always that. I know that that’s been something that I consistently see you my practice and I have twelfth therapists that work with me and my practice Austin and Denver and they see it as well and so Yeah definitely having a child New Life changes can bring this about so starting new jobs moving It kind and of it forces you to take a relationship temperature as far as how we’re doing After all those things settled down obviously but it kind of forces you to go like. Am I really happy in the store. I really want this one of the main issues that I see is that whenever someone has lost someone and or maybe they’ve had like a mid life crisis quarter life crisis that really forces them to take You know inventory Tori of what is happening in the relationship and am I getting my needs met so if we talk about children the loss of someone or something important as you if you see or you start feeling yourself going down that path you know how would you suggest kind of nipping nipping in the bud. So now that you’ve taken stock of where you are and you’re like Oh Jeez it’s been over long. It’s been in you now. I’m like I don’t WanNa fall down that that path. I don’t WanNa go that way. How would you suggest moving forward so that you don’t in a healthy way so that you do in a healthy way have A healthy sex life. Yeah so the biggest the biggest advice I can give a specifically with this issue is just to talk about it. That’s so often upton where couples fall flat as they don’t have the language they don’t have the education to actually just talk about it with their partner and not could be because a lot of reasons like me because education but it can also be just because there’s pastors past her and they’re afraid or they don’t know what to say and so just to be able to say. Hey I’m I’m really seeing that. We are having less sex than we had before. Is that something that you’re seeing as well. Is that something that you’re feeling. Is that something that we want and to improve upon and that’s a very like Business way of handling it. Another way of handling. It is really just upping your game in terms love. How often you touch your partner? How often you’re talking about sex back and be a way to do it? Naturally it depends on your style as a couple and how you are you approach issues. I think that’s so important to have the language to say I’m no. I’m observing. This do you notice the same thing too. So you’re not going at them in in an accusatory way. You’re not making a complaint. You’re not suggested it’s anybody’s fault. You’re saying this is what I’m feeling. This is what I think is happening. And you know. Take Hake the pulse of how they’re feeling to because chances chances are if something’s bothering you might be bothering them to and appreciate you emphasize up in your own game because we we have a tendency to this isn’t working and therefore the deficit must lie with you exactly and I also think what I found in a couple of comes to you. And they haven’t had sex in six months or six years. They’re not going to have one conversation with you and go home and banged out that night. That’d be nice. That would be great but there you can do to reconnect because oftentimes if you’ve stopped having sex you’ve also stopped being physically affectionate and and so it can be a process where you’re just learning to hold one another’s hands again learning to snuggle learning to kiss learning to touch and then when the mood strikes you without pressure you might move back into what we consider a sexual relationship absolutely and I think the one of the things that I’ve found in my practices working with couples is really league assessing.
00:20:31 – 00:25:05
How do they play? Right what what. How much playfulness do they have in their relationships that they go and do fun things together? That doc can really be an important piece to this equation. Because they don’t know how to have fun together and they’ve stopped playing together. It’s going to be really hard to play together in the bedroom right. And it’s that’s so important. You can’t expect your behavior in the bedroom to be something totally different than your baby. You’re outside the bedroom now. You you specialize. In opening hang up relationships so couples who are interested in perhaps moving from monogamy to consensual non monogamy next weekend in Austin where actually focused on the the topic of monogamous and a couple of other sub topics. Tell me what you see in practice are most folks coming. And they’re both those on board. Is there sometimes a differential in desire there when it comes to opening up the relationship. Yes absolutely there’s quite a few ways. He’s the this can play out in the therapy room Often Times a couple of ’em in one partner has decided that they want to open the relationship and the other partner. Her is caught off guard. Stunned shocked hurts frustrated. Name all the motions and the buck And so that’s what has brought them into therapy. There’s a lot of other ways that it can play out for instance where a couple of comes in. Maybe what they’ve been open our. They’ve been swingers. They’ve been casually opener. MONOGAM- ish rush Where maybe they do things every once in a while and then all of a sudden someone has caught feelings and now they are in love? What the person that they occasionally played within the past and so then it becomes open but now this partner wants to be poly-amorous all the amorous with this other person and not can create significant divides and Issues within the relationship. So let’s start with this first scenario that one person Jason wants to open it up and the other feels caught off guard and feels all those different things. How do you begin? How do you facilitate a meaningful conversation? oftentimes I’ll take it back to. How did these conversations begin and this is kind of across the board with any couple that I’m dealing with? How did these conversations faces begin? And when was that because oftentimes we don’t have explicit conversations about what we want or what we desire and so we just kind of move along through our relationship and throughout our life and little things happen and we begin to make assumptions and we begin to Say Okay that’s what my partner wants wants or I guess that’s what’s going to happen and I just have to deal with it and so really figuring out. was there a negotiation process. Did they sit down and talk about this issue issue and say this is what. I’m okay with them. Not was there a point where I will not be in this relationship. You open relationship or if you’re going to be poly-amorous I with this other person we were there kind of non-negotiables that were discussed. And now they’re at this point where their stock and this other partner Really would like to continue with this relationship but they also want to keep the primary relationship and so they’re stuck because partner says I do not want that for my life right and and I think that’s an important piece of this is whenever you have any couples doing with any of these issues you have to have both of them have some kind of buying even if one one partner is going to stay monogamous and other parts point to be opener. polly thought monogamous partner has to have some kind of buying to why I’m consenting to this type I prefer relationship style and what would that by. NB that you know. I I’m uncomfortable with this. This is not my first choice of how we would form out this relationship but I I love you and I love our life together and so I’m going to stay nonetheless is that is that a that could be. That could be one way. I would encourage that partner to think about What needs within the relationship? Is this meeting right. So perhaps Their partner has experiences sexually or otherwise. With this other person that they are not willing to beets Are they. They have put a hard limit on. I don’t want to do that particular. Sex Act or I don’t I’m not kinky person And so this is how you get your needs. I outside the relationship Really though whenever we’re looking for buying we’re really looking for.
00:25:05 – 00:30:01
I really love to see my partner Have these experiences has to be able to explore their sexuality to be able to explore other people and although I’m not interested in that I can see the value in that once we can get that kind of by and Dan then it’s a lot easier to be successful on term. Well that sounds like a more desirable and more mutually beneficial vion than the first scenario which I described and so how do you cultivate that You know some people when I think about sexual norms sexual shame rigidity around sexual expectations. How do you help people to kind of cross the road or move into unchartered territory? If they come from myspace of no monogamy is the way I and everything else scares me too much so I think it’s important to note that there are absolutely absolutely many many people that will never want to be in a relationship where their partner is open are probably no matter what forever and ever right and I think that that’s a really important distinction to make and an important to talk about because forcing someone to do something but they don’t WanNa do never going to create a healthy relationship and so if you’re or one of those people that I do not believe in this type of relationship style or I do not want this for myself I don’t want to you know have the long conversations or you know challenge myself and this way it’s not it’s not something that’s for me what happy whatever reasons you have the knots within your own right to decide for yourself and then you have to figure out is this relationship right for me or how am I going to move forward right every have someone who does want to figure this south does want to make this work Wants to understand this type of relationship structure in a way that helps move forward and helps them grow together then we we have something to work with. I appreciate that you bring that up. Because it’s also perfectly valid to want to be entirely monogamous and and having said that I think what so many of us are lacking wherever we fall on the spectrum from monogamous to monogamous to consensually non monogamous S.. Two relationship. Anarchists you need to know yourself and I think that might be the big gap that exists is that it’s not just that we are. We’re not finding someone compatible edible. It’s not just that we’re not having those conversations. It’s that we’re not even considering our own sexual and relational needs in-depth. We’re we’re making assumptions. Where falling into things by accident? Where even experimenting off the cuff by accident instead of released sitting down and thinking own on sexual values and identity and that’s that’s work that we as as professionals in the field really need to do as well? Yes exactly really. I think that that’s that hits on a really important point that I kinda sauce all Couples individuals I see in practice is. Where are you at in terms of your sexual development? Right how how much have you explored your sexuality. How what is your language surrounding your sexuality? Oughta do you masturbate. Do you Have you had multiple partners in the past or is you know the first person that you’ve ever had sexual intercourse with What what experiences are you bringing to the table? And I think that’s a really important piece because we don’t have the language we don’t have the If we haven’t spent time on cultivating our own sexuality and exploring or values and our desires and you know if you happen to kings or if you have any Any things that you like to do. If you haven’t spent time really assessing not really being honest with yourself about that then it’s GonNa be really difficult to explorer some of these other relationship styles. All of this sounds so great and I mean sitting here having this conversation. I’m taking so much out of it at at the same time. Just I’ve heard you for the last. You know fifteen years talk about how in relationship you expect them to be your friend. Your lover are your business. Confidante you know helping you with children helping around the house and then at the end of the day in the middle of the day whenever you’re wanting to have sex with your partner you have all all these other layers that fall into place where it’s like am I you know were still thinking about the laundry or whatnot. So do you find that. Most six people are really having these conversations to get started to really understand how they how they feel sexually how they feel in terms of fulfilment film it within the relationships like is that a normal thing that that most people are asking themselves. I think it really depends on who you’re talking you too with some of these couples.
00:30:02 – 00:35:03
You Know Dan. South Savage Calls Varsity level sex couples Something’s couples that are open polly kinky exploring some of these other alternative sexualities They are having these conversations they have been having this conversations for decades and some sometimes For other other couples that might be. Don’t have experience. Actually maybe this is the high school sweetheart. Or this is someone that Ah has limited experience before they got together maybe both of them not having this conversations and I think that that’s the biggest piece to stash his. How much to we talk about? Sex what is your comfort level in talking about sex with each other. Do we feel comfortable expressing our desires and our once. We feel comfortable initiating what does it look like to isn’t it. She ate all. This questions are so critical when you’re working with couples therapist to assess. Where are we at in this relationship? You know when when you talk about talking about sex I think a lot of people are wondering how do I get my partner to open up and talk about at saks shy about it or if they’re uncomfortable and just WANNA bring up a dynamic that I observe often which is one partner feels that they’re far more open about about sex. Perhaps they’re more vocal about sex. Perhaps they’re more experienced. Perhaps they have a wider range of interest and they often approached the perhaps less Experienced or less vocal partner with judgment with an elitism like well. I’ve done all this and much more and I think that got is really setting yourself up for failure so if you are the partner that you consider yourself more open first of all I struggle around that language because it again Senate positions one partner as a gatekeeper. One partner as more problematic. But how do you approach your partner in a way. That isn’t elitist in a way. That isn’t kind of a teacher student relationship unless you’re into that as a kink but right exactly well I think the example that you gave It’s adding more shame right and I think their goal is to decrease shame and increased acceptance and really have an open atmosphere. Where we feel safe and talking about about these things If we’re approaching it with an elitist attitude white-hot all these experiences and you haven’t you’re already already out of the out of the Gate GonNa Fey the all that. THAT’S NOT A. That’s not a way to really talk with your partner and increased and get what you want If you are approaching them in a way that that makes them feel comfortable giving them a heads up that this is something that you WanNa talk about or You know going and I. I’m a big opponent of adding and other types of media or Or outside in addition to verbal communication. Right so what if you were to go see a movie and it could be moving into the big screen or it could be worn right But what if you you know introduce some of these concepts Through movies through podcast like this one Ha I heard this really great podcast. It’s called sexist chess. Let’s let’s listen to but at this afternoon and then we can talk about afterwards right. I think being able to introduce it in a way. That’s not threatening not really helping. Yeah it helps your partner earner kind of like open up like this is something that sounds fun and exciting. And it’s not like an issue or problem if you’re if you’re approaching it in a fun and playful way like like I read this book or I read this really finding products online. Do you WanNa see it You WanNa know where it is about. You know if you if you protein did not kind of You know feel then. You’re more likely to have success in having your partner opened up to talking about it. I really appreciate ashamed that I think it’s the only time it’s appropriate to talk about. Other people is to look at a fictional characters on screen or stories in books and then you can talk about how so you felt about how somebody behaved with actually talking about yourself. So you’re talking about a relationship in which you see yourself but it’s not your relationship to begin with and eventually I think that bridges the conversation to discuss your personal relationship. I love that approach. I also love that approach on though for kids and teens. I think it’s a great way to talk about. Sex and relationships is to turn to pop culture. And so I think you’ve given some really great starting points for folks to approach a partner. Perhaps who isn’t as comfortable wall talking about sex now. What about if this is brand new? You’ve had a monogamous relationship. Maybe you never even talked about it. You just fell into monogamy which is the case in most relationships and you think you might want to open it up. You’re not making a demand of your partner. You may not even be entirely sure yourself because let’s be honest it’s none of us is really ever sure about anything.
00:35:03 – 00:40:08
Oh what is the language with which you start that conversation really really good question and I think that I think that how you approach that initial conversation can set the tone for later on And I live that. oftentimes people approach that conversation. When you know the partner has already had their eye on someone else And that can be a real issue. So if you’re able to approach this conversation in a way that feels safe to your partner that you can use pop culture you can use as media. There’s a lot of celebrities in the field. That happened rumored or have I have talked. Openly about open are probably relationship so if you can use kind of an external example sample stories to help probably better idea than pointing the finger saying you know I would like to do this. You’re not giving me this. That’s not an appropriate way. But if we’re able to really foster a safe environment talk about other people and their relationships and you know things that you’ve seen in movies online Maybe your friends doing that doing it. You know one in five people according to research by people or In an open or poly relationship consensual non monogamous relationship. So it’s really really common so it’s really easy to say. Oh you know what I read this really interesting article all that talked about the statistic. What do you think about that? Have you ever thought about that I think that that could be a really helpful way and bringing it into the conversation Safer Way and I assume you recommend that they speak with a professional that day facilitate some of the initial conversations if not the very first one but the beginning conversations nations with a therapist like you or someone on your team and I’m curious if any of you. Your Team Offers Online counseling or coaching. Yeah absolutely grew practices in Austin and Denver and almost all of them do online or therapy as well and yeah I can definitely help speaking with someone who has been trained in this issue. You and I and I say trained because that’s really important. A lot of therapists will say they’re open polly friendly or Or you know. They’re open to working with the types of couples foles their clients but oftentimes they don’t have any training or they’re they’re saying you know. I know I have a friend that does it or maybe I’ve dabbled it. And so that makes me call all qualified and as we know it sex therapy in general that doesn’t In so you know going into this training like we’re having an option with you that really. This is the level apple to consistent Ominami training monogamous. can be really helpful to those conferences are open to lay people as well especially the Saturday afternoon afternoon portion and so I think going to a therapist going to workshops going to a therapist is trained Issues you know. Ask Her therapist. How you been to any specific specific training around consensual non monogamy and working with couples with these shoes Reading Books All of those things listening to podcasts. All of those things things can really help. Kinda broaden your vocabulary and give you some tips in terms of how to how to do it in a healthy way and so folks are interested in connecting connecting at go to the website re spark DOT Co.. So Reese Bark Dot Com. We’ll make sure we share all those links as well as your social handles and I. I actually appreciate. She ate that. The therapist training is open to the public so as I mentioned next weekend. I’m going to be in Austin for advanced skills for open relationships APPS and I’ll be facilitating a day long training as well Dr Ally Chef and I really appreciate that you’re opening up these conversations to the public because it’s kind of an old guard old school approach of of medical practitioners or clinicians hoarding information. You know you can’t look at my clipboard. You can’t look get my file when in fact individuals themselves you anybody can be as well equipped as a therapist to navigate in many of these challenges. Now as you were saying if you have specific training in open relationships which is probably less than zero point one percent of their then. It’s absolutely worth the investment but even just as an individual attending some of these events I think can be really helpful now. I WANNA leave with one last consideration And that is the fact that when you run into a difference in desire or whether you know I want to be opened my partner wants to be monogamous. Sometimes you can navigate that and find an even happier relationship than you had in the beginning. Sometimes you can navigate that and just extend what you already had and sometimes it does result in the end of a relationship and that can be an appropriate outcome to. Oh do you run into this where people come in to get to your practice and you realize that it’s not about some magical compatibility but their goals their desires.
00:40:08 – 00:44:06
Their willingness to compromise is invest are so misaligned that you know. There’s not a lot you can do. Yes every once in a while. I am thankful and grateful. That doesn’t Happened very often because that would be really cool as therapist dealing with these issues every once in a while you do see those couples that they’re just never gonna lie and you know or you know those was couples where one partner is saying. I don’t want to do this. I want to be monogamous. I was happy monogamous. My whole life. That’s what I want to continue to do in the other partner is saying you know what this is something that is really within within me. This is something that I really want to do. And explore and this is really valuable to me and I want this. Then we’re talking about. Okay what do we do now. Do we end this relationship. Do we changed the style relationship to maybe their friends or companions You know I’m a big proponent of leaving relationships better than when you found them so leading each other but whenever you found them and so How do we in this relationship relationship where we can still be friends? We can still support one another and these goals may streams that we have. Do you have to remind people that it is okay for for your partner to evolve and change because you must run into the cases where you know you’re married ten or twenty years ago or even two years ago and you were committed to monogamy or maybe both of you failed than even discussing it and what happens and now somebody says you know what that’s not me. That’s really not who I am sexually when I consider my a sexual values and I’ve taken the time to do that. I’m no longer aligned with that and I think there can be a lot of blame while you said one thing five years or you said one thing twenty years ago how do you deal with that You know change and evolution over time then sometimes will result in in both distress and hurt feelings. Yeah that’s really tough because then you’re kind of again pointing fingers blaming. You said this. I can’t believe you lied or that. You agreed to this when you weren’t really okay with it and I think part of it is just kind of expanding the conversation and helping them talk about it in a different way. ‘CAUSE oftentimes whenever we get into that specific conversation of will you agree to this. Then we’re not being really beneficial so if we’re able to expand the conversation to do you know our desires change our want change and really relating it to other parts of Your Life but whenever you commit to being being a telephone operator You committed to that. Do you have to be for the rest of your life right so really kind of like drawing analogies to other. I realized that pizza you loved it. You could eat every day in your twenties now. You don’t WanNa look at it And so really kind of like like expanding that conversation to where like it’s okay and acceptable. It’s acceptable and it’s good for our desires to change and it’s good for us to explore other ideas in the world and sometimes that leads exploring other ideas and relationships with our sexuality and we hope that you know our partner can join us for the riots. Sometimes but sometimes they’re not willing to and that’s okay too they have their own boundaries and their own limits and I think that we have to support them and their decisions as well. I really appreciate that perspective. I think that it gives you an opportunity to not paint anybody as the bad person even when mistakes are made even when things change and and of course life is fluid relationships are fluid Really a really appreciate appreciative of your time excited to see you in Austin next weekend I and I and again what’s an will be at the adventures in Hyun Unicorn hunting with the sexual health alliance. This is happy endings and other advanced skills for open relationships so folks can check that out and joined today by Heather. McPherson a licensed supervisor of