Do You Need Help Navigating Consensual Non-Monogamy: Polyamory?

Are you single…

and seeking others who don’t feel bound by monogamy? Have you tried to set clear expectations and establish open relationships, but still feel pressured to “settle down”?

Are you a couple…

considering an open relationship and wondering where to begin? Maybe you and your partner have tried to find flings, but one person has all the luck, while the other is stuck at home, practicing flirty lines in the mirror. Or, perhaps you’re both having the fun you hoped for, but wonder how to find time for one another.

Are you in a polyamorous relationship…

and struggling to manage schedules, preferences, boundaries and jealousy—not to mention sleeping and spooning arrangements? It may be that your life—and your bed—feels increasingly cramped. Now that there are three (or four, or more) sets of wants and needs in the mix, it might seem impossible to figure out where to have dinner, let alone how to share sex. Maybe someone always feels neglected and left out.

No matter your specific relationship configuration, you may be having trouble communicating with your partner(s). After all, some oral skills don’t quite translate into productive conversations.

You might also feel guilty and selfish for wanting more than monogamy. Despite your best intentions, shame and fear might be leading to secrecy and deception, which then lead to hurt and confusion. Maybe you’re starting to wonder if consensual non-monogamy is even possible.

Do you need help balancing privacy, honesty, empathy and eroticism? Do you wish you could feel free to explore new, exciting frontiers of lust and love?

Healthy Relationships Take Many Forms

Responsible or Consensual Non-Monogamy: A marriage or dating relationship in which one or both lovers honestly, carefully and selectively feast on others, as well as each other. Any extra-relational sex is celebrated with an explicit agreement between both parties. Includes open relationships, swinging, polyamory (many loves) and other alternative life and love styles.*

Monogamy, traditionally defined as being in a relationship with one person at one time, is a wonderful choice for many people. However, too often, people learn that monogamy is the only option—at least, the only moral option.

In truth, relationships aren’t simple or static. Every person has their own unique, evolving values and needs. Every relationship, from a casual fling to a long marriage, is a journey of discovering what you and your partner(s) want. It’s a process of private, personal reflection and open, honest communication. It’s a shared adventure in rejecting repressive limits and celebrating the sexual sublime.

Still, even the most thrilling relationships aren’t always easy. Whether you’re puzzling over threesomes or just starting a polyamorous relationship, you might be running into a familiar foe: jealousy.

Jealousy, which Shakespeare called the “green-eyed monster,” is an uncomfortable emotion caused by insecurity and the fear of lost affection. Basically, this means, “How dare you do that (have fun) without me!”*

Although you might not say those words aloud, if they’ve invaded your thoughts, you are far from alone. Jealousy doesn’t mean you’re a bad partner, nor that you and non-monogamy are a poor fit. If you’re feeling a possessive impulse to handcuff your partner to your bed (and I don’t mean in a fun way), it’s simply a sign your relationship needs attention.

Thankfully, a sex-positive** therapist can help make your open relationship work. With guidance and support, it’s possible to shed the stigma, work through jealousy, negotiate healthy boundaries and discover sexual freedom. 

Share Energy, Excitement And Love With Polyamory Therapy

I believe that loving more than one person is absolutely possible. I also believe there is nothing wrong with casual sex, both within or outside of committed relationships.

As a sex therapist with over 50 years of experience, I can help you create your ideal relationship structure.

Whether you’re single or part of a couple, triad or quad (etc.), we’ll begin sessions by focusing on your desires and values. We’ll also discuss the individual challenges you’re facing, as well as the issues you perceive in your relationship. If you are in a relationship, I’ll also meet with your partner(s) one-on-one, then invite everyone into sessions together.

In sessions, with a tongue-in-cheek (or cheeks, as the case may be) approach, I’ll help you and your partner(s) address mental, emotional and interpersonal concerns. For example, we might discuss shame and repression or go over your unique hopes and expectations.

We can also discuss any medical or physical speedbumps slowing your joyride down the sexual freeway. For example, with empathy and real-world suggestions, I can help you work through issues with erections, lubrication and/or absent orgasms. As appropriate, I’ll also call on my network of sex-positive health professionals to make sure your body is cooperating with your desires.

We can also focus on dealing with jealousy in an open or polyamorous relationship. That might look like boosting your self-esteem or body image so you feel more confident in your sexual appeal. Or, we might focus on what it means to allow healthy privacy even in the most intimate relationships. Knowing everything about your partner doesn’t leave much room for mystique.

That said, sometimes, keeping some fantasies and fondlings to yourself is not the same thing as lying about where you spent the night. Other times, partners truly don’t want to hear about the hot night they didn’t have. With patience and humor, I’ll help you and your partner(s) establish ground rules for an open or polyamorous relationship. By getting on the same page, you can make non-monogamy work for you.

Relationships are complicated, especially when numerous hearts and minds are involved. But you don’t need to sacrifice excitement and passion for security and comfort. With help, you can discover how affection and attraction don’t divide; they multiply.

You may have questions or concerns about open relationship therapy…

Counseling hasn’t helped so far. What makes you different?

When it comes to non-monogamy, I literally wrote the book. I was an LGBT+ friendly and polyamory friendly therapist long before “alternatives” to heteronormativity found any mainstream acceptance. You can trust I will accept you.

I’m also an ASSECT-certified sex therapist, which means I have unique training and skills that some relationship therapists lack. With an open mind and an out-of-the-box approach, I can help you find joy.

Will you take sides or assign blame?

I’m on your relationship’s side. In sessions, I will remain completely objective and non-judgmental. I’ll help you see that the problem doesn’t lie in one person alone; rather, it lies in the relationship system. Together, we’ll look for creative ways to fix that system.

How long will non-monogamy or polyamory counseling take?

Relationships aren’t simple. They can be like a puzzle—frustrating, but also very rewarding. Non-monogamy adds a few more pieces to that puzzle, which often means different kinds of frustrations and even greater rewards.

Solving the puzzle requires your commitment to the therapy process, as well as your willingness to try new things and make productive changes. The more you prioritize your relationship, the faster you’ll see results. And, the more laughs and epiphanies you’ll relish along the way.

Open Up To Intimacy And Pleasure

Feel free to give me a call at 206-244-8788 or 360-394-4568 to set up an appointment. I’m happy to talk with you about sex-positive polyamory therapy, as well as answer any questions you have about my practice in Seattle, WA.

*Definition adapted from my book, Sex from Aah to Zipper: A Delightful Glossary of Love, Lust and Laughter

**The term “sex-positive” is becoming more and more widely known. In 1981, I was the first to use the term in print, in my award-winning university textbook Sexual Choices.