Not too long ago there was a huge outcry when it was discovered that some sex workers were hiring places using Airbnb and setting up short term brothels.  People were upset about the sex work in general and also about the thought of people having sex in their homes.   On the one hand, it is understandable that people would be concerned about their homes being known as brothels and have worries about people returning to their homes after the sex workers had left, looking for the brothel.  On the other hand, people use Airbnb the same way they use hotels and so have lots of sex in the places they rent.  This is one of the things you can expect if you are selling space in your home to people who are on holiday.

This set of incidents started me thinking again about why culturally selling sex is seen as such an outrage and all of the objections and prejudice that sex workers face.   I have known lots of sex workers over the years (and still know quite a few).    There are as wide a variety of people who are sex workers as there are people.

One of the biggest objections to sex work is that so many people who become sex workers are coerced into doing so and/or the victims of trafficking.   These women (and some men) live lives full of violence and misery.  The argument goes that if there was no pornography and there were no sex workers (e.g. there was no demand for such) then the trafficking would not occur.    I am afraid I must disagree with this logic.  This is the same argument about the drug trade – that demand is what causes the trade to be full of violence.    When drugs are no longer criminalised and they are regulated by the state, the violence decreases.  Where sex work is regulated, the workers are there by choice and receive the benefits (like health screening) that other workers receive.  There is ethical pornography made with sex workers who are there because they want to be as well.

I believe our attitudes towards sex work need to be examined.  For some men and women, they only way that they can experience sexual contact regularly is to patronise sex workers.  I remember one client who was so socially phobic that even engaging in regular email exchange with a woman was painfully difficult.  He came to see me because he had never had a romantic relationship and didn’t even have friendships.  He enjoyed a close relationship with his parents who were getting older and his only sibling lived in Australia.  Jacob realised that his parents would not be there forever and he did not want to end up on his own.   He decided to come to see me to help him get ready to ‘find a wife’.

Jacob was 44 years old and he had never kissed a woman or had any other sexual experience with another person.  He was clear that he was attracted to women but he was petrified to talk to them.   For sexual satisfaction, he admitted to masturbating and said that he had watched some pornography that he defined as ‘normal stuff’.  Upon questioning, it was clear this was heterosexual pornography and that there was no kink involved.

Jacob wanted to find a wife but he was afraid that if he waited until he met someone and then had a first sexual experience, he would lose the person because of his inexperience.   He also wanted to practice talking to a woman about romantic things and sexual desires.

We spent a few months working together just getting Jacob used to talking with me and talking through all the steps he would need to take in order to have a sexual encounter with a woman.  Jacob then began to look for a professional to see.  He spoke with a number of escort services over the phone until he found one that met his requirements.  He wanted the escort to know in advance that he wanted to see her more than once so that he could practice social skills and then hopefully practice sexual skills.  He was clear that he wanted the professional to know that he was a virgin and he wanted to learn how to please a woman.  I asked Jacob if he didn’t want to wait and have his first experiences with a woman that he had developed a relationship with and he was clear that this was far too anxiety provoking.  He also considered a sexual surrogate but was unable to find someone in his local area.

Jacob’s experiences with the sex worker he engaged increased his confidence 1000-fold.   He felt ready to approach dating.  After a few months, Jacob met someone online and then in person.  One year after his experiences with the escort, Jacob became engaged to be married.

Jacob used his interaction with escorts in order to build confidence and build skills.  Other people never move on to relationships that are not with professionals.    A professional dominatrix I know has a number of long term clients who have never managed relationships with non-professionals.  The men she describes have specific fetishes and also have high levels of anxiety as well as specific fears around actual sexual contact.   They have regular contact with her weekly and have done so for years.    She is the closest thing they have to a romantic partner.  They are unwilling to consider therapy or counselling and find this solution allows them to have full satisfied lives.    Were there no sex workers willing and able to form relationships with them, they would have no relationships or romantic companionship.

Sex workers come in many types.  There are strippers, glamour models, women and men who act in pornographic films, prostitutes/call girls/escorts (male and female), dominatrices, dominant men, professional slaves, phone sex workers, those who work via the internet performing live shows, those who work in theatres doing peep shows, live sex shows.

Statistics, on the other hand, are very hard to quote.  As this article in the Washington Post highlights, much of the research has been done without actually interviewing a single sex worker.

‘Imagine a study of the alcohol industry which interviewed not a single brewer, wine expert, liquor store owner or drinker, but instead relied solely on the statements of ATF agents, dry-county politicians and members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Or how about a report on restaurants which treated the opinions of failed hot dog stand operators as the basis for broad statements about every kind of food business from convenience stores to food trucks to McDonald’s to five-star restaurants?

You’d probably surmise that this sort of research would be biased and one-sided to the point of unreliable. And you’d be correct. But change the topic to sex work, and such methods are not only the norm, they’re accepted uncritically by the media and the majority of those who the resulting studies. In fact, many of those who represent themselves as sex work researchers don’t even try to get good data. They simply present their opinions as fact, occasionally bolstered by pseudo-studies designed to produce pre-determined results. Well-known and easily-contacted sex workers are rarely consulted. There’s no peer review. And when sex workers are consulted at all, they’re recruited from jails and substance abuse programs, resulting in a sample skewed heavily toward the desperate, the disadvantaged and the marginalized.’

Most of the discussion around sex work assumes that the customers are men.  This is assumed whether or not the sex worker is male or female.  In fact, there is evidence that quite a few women seek out the company of male escorts.  Middle aged women who choose to use male escorts report doing so to get their own sexual needs met without having to worry about the needs of others, for companionship when they are not in relationships and to avoid ‘the hassle’ of dating when they have otherwise very busy lives.

Sometimes people choose to see a professional in order to explore a kink in a setting where they can call the shots and only have to attend to their own needs.  This allows exploration at their own pace so that if they choose to involve a partner, they are clear where their limits are and how to explain what they enjoy.  Other times people see a professional when their partner does not wish to participate in certain types of sexual activity.  When this is done ethically, it can provide a relief for the partner who doesn’t wish to engage in the activity and relief for the partner who has the desire as it is now being met.

Much of the discussion around sex work comes from the perspectives that either it is morally wrong or that all sex workers are exploited.   I have tried to present some other perspectives where sex workers provide a valuable service and are paid well and treated with respect for doing so.

If this article has you thinking and you wish to explore your desires further, why not attend Creating a Bonfire . a one day intensive exploration.  Or perhaps you would like to consider what programmes are available?  Sign up for 30 minutes free consultation here.

20 years ago, Sandra came to see me because she had never had an orgasm and she was sure that she was going to lose her marriage as a result.    She was 35 years old and had been married for 10 years.  She described her marriage as happy but told me that recently her husband had been unhappy with their sexual life because she was unable to have an orgasm.

I ask Sandra whether she had been able to have an orgasm during masturbation.  She was embarrassed as she admitted that she found masturbation incredibly difficult so she did not persist.   We spent some time talking about the things she found difficult about masturbation and after a while she was willing to try again.

After a couple of weeks, Sandra told me she was enjoying having a better time and feeling more but that she still was unable to have an orgasm.  I suggested she might try using a vibrator.  Sandra responded ‘But his penis doesn’t vibrate!’.   I explained that sex toys were not necessarily made to mimic our actual sexual parts but rather were created to help with particular sexual activities in mind often.   I explained that the vibration can intensify the sensations making orgasm easier depending upon where you use the vibrator.

Sandra asked me to help her choose a vibrator.  She told me the first time she saw a vibrator it was very large and she felt frightened.   I suggested that it would be better to go on a trip to a shop so that she could actually touch the vibrators and see the real size.  Though she was really embarrassed, she agreed.    We went to a shop that is primarily run by women.   ‘Sandra’ I said, ‘there are lots of different types of sex toys.   It would be great if we could have a look at a few different types while we are here.’  She agreed and started down the first aisle where the vibrators were.  We started by looking at the vibrators that are insertables.  Sandra was amazed at how many sizes, shapes and materials these come in.   She found one from Lelo that she enjoyed the feel of in her hand and said, ‘It isn’t so big that it is scary’.

Then we went to look at some of the new items – the Womanizer which uses air and suction and Fiera for women which primarily uses suction.  She found these unusual but could see why a women would try them.  She tested them on her arm and found the Womanizer to be the most interesting.

Next we entered the aisle where the dildos were and she found some of these quite shocking.  Sandra preferred the ones that did not look like penises.  Sandra asked, ‘Why would you use a dildo instead of a vibrator?’  I replied ‘If you are using it alone, you might prefer the texture and the fullness.  You would use a dildo when you wanted the feeling of a penis fucking you because most vibrators are not as naturalistic.’    Sandra decided that she liked the vibrator and did not get a dildo.

We tested clitoral vibrators.    ‘One of the nice things about some of these like the We-Vibe 4 or the Eva or the Je Joue Mio is that you can use them with your partner while you are having sex.  So you get additional clitoral stimulation and because they are between you, he gets stimulation too.  The Je Joue Mio is a cock ring with a clitoral vibratory protruding and cock rings can help a man keep his erection for a longer period.’   Sandra replied ‘I’m not sure that Warren would be happy with me using a vibrator while we were having sex.  I think he would feel that I was saying he wasn’t good enough’.    I said ‘Since Warren has been upset because you are not reaching orgasm with what he is doing now, he probably already feels he isn’t good enough.  If a vibrator can make the difference and help you have an orgasm, he may welcome you using one.  Are you going to share your purchases with him?’  Sandra replied ‘Not right away.  I am worried that he will treat me like a science experiment.  Watching closely to see what might work, spending hours trying to get me to have an orgasm.  I don’t want the pressure’.     I said ‘Pressure definitely won’t help.  The more pressure, the more elusive the orgasm will become.  This is about relaxing and enjoying.    You can tell Warren that you want to practice on your own for a while.’

One wall in the store is filled with floggers, canes, riding crops, chains, restraints and hand cuffs – all the toys to engage in BDSM from a light flirtation to hard core sadism and masochism.  Sandra asked ‘Are these the 50 shades toys?’  I replied ‘Those are toys used when engaging in BDSM play.  Is something grabbing your attention?’  Sandra shivered and replied ‘No.  They look scary.’   I said ‘Let’s skip most of that section then.  But here is one thing I want to show you.’  I took Sandra over to where the sensation toys – feathers, floggers made of fur that are designed to stroke someone with rather than to strike them with, Wartenberg wheel, clawed gloves.  ‘Sensation play’ I explained ‘allows you to experience different textures, different types of sensations on different parts of your body.  Sensation play can be very exciting.  You can build up arousal slowly and this can make orgasm easier.’   Sandra stroked her arm with the clawed glove.  ‘Oooh.  That feels so delicious.  I know it could hurt a bit, but this is divine.’  She put the glove in her basket along with the vibrators.

Sandra paid for her purchases and we left the store.  We made an appointment for the following week and went our separate ways.  The next week, Sandra came in with a smile on her face.  ‘I haven’t had an orgasm yet, but I had so much fun with the vibrators’ she exclaimed.  ‘I got really close to orgasm and then I got stuck in my head and just couldn’t let go.’   We talked about this for a while and Sandra admitted how frightening she found letting go over control and said she knew that she couldn’t have an orgasm without surrendering.  The rest of the session was spent exploring these issues.

Sandra came to see me for another 6 months while we worked on the things that made surrender difficult, learning her most intense desires – the ones that get her close to orgasm before she even touches herself or anyone touches her – and then working on how she could talk with Warren about what she needs.  She started having regular orgasms from month 3.    Sandra came back in with Warren, 2 months after she finished her work with me to work on communicating desires with each other and helping Warren learn what she needs to reach orgasm so he could bring her to orgasm.

Only 28% of women reach orgasm through penetration and 30% of women have trouble reaching orgasm all together.  If you are finding it difficult or want to improve your sexual life in other ways, book a 30 minute free strategy session here.

Curious about polyamory? Is polyamory right for you? Many people say yes but only you will know for sure. Let’s explore this openly so you can dig in more deeply… it all begins by getting educated to what polyamory IS and is NOT.

Let’s start with a definition.

Polyamory is usually defined as when a person prefers to have romantic and sexual relationships with more than one person at a time (though not necessarily at the same time!).  This is contrasted with monogamy when a person agrees to only have a sexual and romantic relationship with one person.

Polyamory is one of a number of forms of consensual non-monogamy.

Consensual non-monogamy is when people agree that they will have relationships with more than one person.  They are honest with each other and often have a set of agreements as to how their relationships will be run.  Now that we have a general definition, let’s consider how you can tell if consensual non-monogamy is for you and from there, whether polyamory is right for you.

  • Do you enjoy sexual variety? Have a high sex drive? Are you sexually adventurous?If any or all of these describe you, you are likely to find consensual non-monogamy a better fit for you than monogamy.   Polyamory will offer you the possibility of multiple relationships providing lots of variety and if you have a high sex drive making it easier to get your sexual needs met.
  • Do you enjoy emotional intimacy with more than one person?Have you always wanted to share deeply with more than just your partner?  Do you have a number of friends who are as close to you as your romantic partners?  If so, you may do well having more than one romantic partner at time.  People who find deep conversations and having many close connections often enjoy being polyamarous.
  • Do you see yourself as spiritual, non-religious or do you practice a less common form of religion?The most common things practiced by people who are non-monogamous and not atheist or agnostic are Unitarianism, Universalism, Paganism and Buddhism.  If so, you are more likely to feel comfortable in a non-monogamous relationship structure.
  • Are you comfortable with examining your feelings and talking about them with others?If you are going to be successful in non-monogamous relationships, you will need to be emotionally literate.  Success in all relationships increases when you are able to identify your own feelings, discriminate them from the feelings of others and talk about your feelings with others with little discomfort.   If you have more than one relationship, the need to be an expert communicator and to know yourself well increases.  Research shows that one thing that really unites people who are non-monogamous is an enthusiasm for and skill for getting into the emotion


  • Do you have good emotional skills or are you willing to develop them?Polyamory requires a variety of emotional skills including the ability to self-soothe, resilience, the ability to set good boundaries and abide by good boundaries, conflict management skills and emotional management skills.  If you have these skills you will do well balancing your own needs and the needs of multiple others.  As long as you start with some of these skills, you can develop the others over time either by learning from your partners and friends or through working with a therapist or coach.
  • Are you flexible? The more flexible you are the easier you will find polyamory.  Even if you are not flexible, you can create a good structure with your partners that will allow you to work well together.

Polyamory looks like this

Reading this article so far it may seem that non-monogamy is all about managing emotions, managing conflict and talking all the time.  While this is part of non-monogamy, there is a lot of fun to be had as well.  With no one person having to meet all of another person’s needs, people become more relaxed, less anxious and better able to enjoy their time together.

Many people avoid non-monogamy because they feel it isn’t possible to be in love with more than one person at a time or to maintain love with more than one person at a time.    I usually ask them if they would find it hard to love more than one child.  Most people respond no to this question.

It is not love that is a limited resource.  The most limited of our resources is time.

It is the sharing of time that often causes conflict in relationships and this can be particularly difficult in non-monogamous relationships.  I often find myself teaching people in poly relationships time management skills.  The other limited resource is often related to time and that is attention.  This is where jealousy can arise – around someone else getting more time or attention or gaining ‘special’ time (like Christmas, Thanksgiving or birthdays for example).  Knowing this makes it easier to avoid the pitfalls.

I must mention solo polyamory here.  Solo polyamory is when a person considers themselves to be their primary relationship partner and they enjoy having other relationships be ones that do not move towards living together.  Many people in relationships quickly find themselves on the relationship escalator – moving towards living together, mingling finances, and/or having children together.  If you prefer not to do this and prefer to have your own living space, maintain financial independence and have a more creative relationship structure you may find yourself embracing solo polyamory.

The best way to figure out if polyamory or other forms of consensual non-monogamy are right for you is to spend time exploring.

Talk with people who are polyamorists, swingers, engage in open relationships.  Ask for the positives and the negatives.  There are lots of Facebook groups devoted to non-monogamy.   Check out events near you devoted to non-monogamy.  If you have a partner, talk it through with them.   Explore by talking with a sex coach or therapist.  Take the knowledge you acquire during exploration and then explore more!

I am a Sex & Intimacy Coach, Registered Psychologist, Speaker, Educator, and Author.  I help individuals, couples and polyamorous groups to find and create their ideal lasting intimate relationships. I also help individuals heal relationship wounds from the past.  I have an expertise in healing trauma and am kink-knowledgeable.  My free eBook: 74Movies that are Not Pornography can spice things up.  Enjoy my podcasts The A to Z of Sex and Sex Spoken Here.

Some say bisexuality, like fibromyalgia, is imaginary.

Both straight and gay find those of us who have attractions to both or all genders difficult to deal with.  People call us greedy, tell us there is no such thing as bisexual, tell us we only need to meet the right  *insert gender here * and we will know who we are.    When we try to be authentic, we are encouraged to return to the ‘down-low’.  We are told we are indecisive or worse yet, the only ‘valid’ bisexual people are those who are 50/50 – attracted 50% to one gender and 50% to the other.

The damage this causes is insidious.  Bisexual people have higher rates of depression and suicide than straight or gay counterparts.   We are more likely to question our sexuality than others and this questioning reduces confidence and self-esteem.   Bisexual people experience biphobia – from both straight and gay folk.  Finding a place where they fit can be extremely difficult.  Despite the acronym LGBTQ, bisexual issues and problems are often not addressed.  It is estimated that 2/3 of people who identify as bisexual don’t mix with the lesbian and gay scene regularly so often research misses the bisexual group.  However, from the research available:

Bisexual people are less likely to come out to siblings, family and friends meaning they are more likely to be isolated.

They are less likely to be out at work and more likely to feel that the LGBT networks are less than helpful.

Bisexual people have higher rates of substance abuse issues

Bisexual people of colour are more likely to experience hate crimes


What causes some of these issues?  Invisibility.

People assume your sexual orientation based on your last or current partner.  Being invisible means that agencies don’t provide for you.  Being invisible means that you don’t have adequate access to support networks and/or you don’t feel welcomed by support networks.  When being invisible translates from your sexual orientation or group to being invisible as an individual the damage is more profound.  If my sexual orientation isn’t seen as valid or my sexual behaviour isn’t seen as valid (but is seen as problematic), then I can cease to view myself as valid.  If I feel invisible, I am likely to feel isolated and unsupported, separate and different and this can lead to depression and ultimately to suicide.

In one study, bisexual women were found to be more 64% more at risk for eating problems than lesbian women.   Research highlights that negative societal attitudes towards bisexuality leads to people feeling more negatively about themselves and expecting more social rejection.


When you tell someone who is bisexual that they are copping out and that they should really just ‘pick a side’, you are telling him that he is a liar.   You are suggesting that he is choosing bisexuality because he isn’t brave enough to live authentically.  This is one of the worst insults a person can receive.  It causes people to question their own needs and desires.  The rejection causes lasting pain.  Some people who are bisexual then try to choose a side and this leads to a host of problems and on-going pain.  There is copious research that highlights the increase in mental health and physical health problems in people who try to live contrary to their actual sexuality.    Staying closeted impacts self-esteem and self-perception.  Closeted bisexual men have been labelled as sexual addicts in recent years.  Wives who find that men are watching gay pornography and having encounters with other men are advised that their husbands are sex addicts.     In fact, this could not be farther from the truth.  These men are bisexual but unable to accept their bisexuality and unable to discuss this with their spouses.  As a result, they are engaging in ever more risky behaviour in order to satisfy their core sexual desires.  Even those who are single can find themselves suppressing their true sexual desires and identity in order to conform to the wider society’s expectations.  It seems that heterosexual or homosexual have become the choices now (rather than simply heterosexual) in many segments of society.  Unplanned promiscuous behaviour is very risky (as unsafe sex is usually a part of this behaviour).

Are there any positives to being bisexual?

Yes there are.  People who are bisexual report feeling more able to create the relationships that work for them. Those who are out and proud feel better able to accept the sexuality of others and to define their own sexuality.  People can be bisexual in behaviour but not identify as bisexual.  People can identify as bisexual and find their attractions are 50/50 and others identify as bisexual and find that their attractions are 90/10.   Bisexual people can be monogamous.  Others are polyamorous.

Those of us who are comfortable in our bisexual skins experience serenity with our self-acceptance.

6 Barriers to Sex Education Every Parent Needs to Know

So many parents become anxious when the subject of sex comes up in relation to their children.    It can feel incredibly awkward to try to explain to your child all aspects of the birds and the bees.  How do you know what it is appropriate to say when?  If you leave it to the school to teach your child, how can you make sure that your child is learning all the facts that are important to you?  Are your children learning from watching pornography?  In online chat rooms?  On Snapchat?  From other children whose knowledge is questionable?

Does your child’s school teach sex education at a young enough age?  Is it taught in a way that the children can relate to?  What values are being taught along with the science?  In many cases parents have no input into how or when sex education is taught to their children.

A client’s child’s school delayed teaching sex education until the children were already 12 years old.  By that point, most of the girls and all of the boys were in puberty.  There were a couple of the children in ‘relationships’ and they were engaging in some sexual behaviour.  I expressed concern that these children had no good information about consent, the emotional aspects of sex and didn’t even have information about birth control and prevention of disease.    She asked me to speak to the school and to offer to come in and talk about boundaries, consent, sexual orientation, gender and relationships.    The school felt the children needed to wait until at least 14 before these topics were addressed.

Here are 6 barriers to sex education that every parent needs to know so that their children are able gain access to all the knowledge they need to engage in safe, healthy and pleasurable sexual relationships once they are mature enough to do so.

  • Abstinence Only remains popular in many schools, in part because the people who provide this education usually do so for free and simply take over the lessons. It saves the school money and also relieves the teachers of a task that many prefer not to undertake.
  • There is little training for teachers before they qualify and also following qualification that specifically covers teaching sex and relationships education. In the UK,   there is a unified (national) framework as a guide to teaching sex and relationships education.   This was instituted for the first time in 2000.   This is, however, only guidance.  It clarifies what is required by law but there is significant leeway for schools to decide what to include and how to teach.  In the US, there remains no system of accountability or standardisation even in the public schools.
  • Time and funding issues. All schools suffer from funding issues.  Privately funded schools suffer less but they still suffer.  The amount of information and the number of subjects that must be taught as part of the full curriculum exceeds the amount of time available.  Covering the material thoroughly is often impossible in the time allotted.  There are also restrictions on funding for these programmes.
  • Parental lack of information is also a barrier to sex education.   Parents who have limited information regarding sex and relationships find it difficult to become involved in discussions about sex education with their children and the schools.
  • The wide variety of parental opinions as to what it is appropriate to teach. This is one of the biggest barriers to comprehensive sex education in schools.  Many parents do not wish sex education to be taught in school at all.  Schools find themselves at the mercy of the parents, the governing bodies and various government bodies.  Most sex education programmes neglect to talk at all about the pleasure involved in sex, orgasm and problems with orgasm.
  • The biggest barrier to sex education is the belief that sex education will lead to more sex.  Research highlights that for ages 15-19, sex education decreased the likelihood of pregnancy by 50% over abstinence only education.    Further research looked at 48 comprehensive sex education programmes and found these positive effects: 40% of the children delayed becoming sexual, had fewer sexual partners and when they did have sex, they used condoms.  There was a 60% reduction in unprotected sex.  Fourteen programmes were able to demonstrate a statistically significant delay in the age of first sexual intercourse.  In addition, large studies of the abstinence only programmes in the 1990s demonstrated that they were completely ineffective.    They also highlighted that amongst the teenagers who took the pledge to stay virgins, 88% broke the pledge and had sex before marriage.  Those who did so were less likely to use contraception or condoms than were their peers who didn’t take the pledge in the first place.


Sex education is an essential part of helping our children to create healthy sex lives that bring them pleasure without doing them harm.  If you know the common barriers, you can find ways to make sure your child gets the sex and relationship education they need.

Email me to tell me what you believe the most important things that need to be taught as part of sex education are.   Sign up for a free 30 minute strategy session with me here and we can look at what help you may need in planning a sex education programme for your child(ren) that will give them all the tools they need as they enter the world of sex and relationships.

I am asked this question more than almost any other question about polyamory.   My short answer – yes, it is possible.  However, to make a polyamorous /monogamous relationship work takes partners who are secure in themselves and their choices, secure in the relationship, good communicators and willing to work.

Often people who are monogamous don’t understand why a person would want to be polyamorous and this can lead to feeling that a polyamorous partner is looking to replace them or that if they just work hard enough, the person will become monogamous.   If the relationship started as a monogamous one and one partner has changed, it is often very hard for the one who has remained monogamous to manage that shift.

Curious if polyamory is right for you? Be sure to read this piece.

It is the polyamorous person who will find themselves with the responsibility to help the monogamous person feel as safe and secure in the relationship as possible.   Good communication, the ability to set boundaries and stellar negotiation skills are essential.

Both parties will need to understand the other person’s worldview.  If they are truly committed to each other, they must spend time and work at understanding as fully as possible.  Relationships where each person’s goals and expectations are different are difficult relationships.  In order to make them work, both people will have to put in lots of effort.

Essentials for a Polyamorous /Monogamous Relationships to Work:

  • The poly partner is clear about what their version of poly entails. 

    Not all polyamory is the same.  Some relationships are hierarchical – there is a central relationship that takes precedence and other relationships come in after the main list of priorities.  Other polyamorous relationships are egalitarian so priorities are juggled regularly.   Some polyamorous relationships involve only casual relationships outside of the original relationship.  If you want the type of polyamory where all of your partners and their other partners are friends, you need to be clear with your monogamous partner that this is your expectation.  To be friends with other partners requires a very high level of security as a person and also security in the relationship.  It is often easier to feel less threatened if you don’t see and talk to another person who is sexually involved with your partner if you are by nature monogamous.

  • The monogamous partner understands that his partner is not seeking other relationships because something is missing in their relationship.  

    Often the monogamous person feels that his partner would not be looking elsewhere if he was better at x, y or z or if he changed his body shape, hair or something else.  This has nothing to do with why the partner is polyamorous.   Understanding this leads to feeling personally more secure.  If you believe that your partner finds you lacking and that is why she is looking for another partner, your self-esteem will dip and you will find it hard to feel secure in the relationship.

  • The couple creates rules and boundaries for their relationship and for the other relationships that the polyamorous person enters into.  

    Lots of monogamous heterosexual couples do not create rules and boundaries for their relationships.  They leave most things completely unspoken and have lots of expectations based on their upbringings, previous relationships, and societal influences.  This often leads to problems in relationships and difficulty working through issues that arise.   Relationships can work for many years before expectations and a lack of clear boundaries become a problem.

    In polyamorous /monogamous relationships issues arise quickly if these areas are not clearly discussed, negotiated and spelled out.  I see this as the blueprint for the relationship because blueprints are detailed plans with lots of boundaries, measurements, and rules. Plans can be changed as a building is being constructed.  Modifications are agreed upon because something won’t work in practice or because someone changes his mind.  The changes are discussed and agreed and added to the blueprint.

Areas that form part of a good blueprint:

  • Time management 

    Will the relationship be prioritized?  Are there special days or events that need to be spent together?  Will you spend the night with other partners?

  • Living arrangements 

    Are you living together or are you planning on living together? Can you bring other partners to spend the night in the home you share together if you share a home together?  If you don’t live together, will the poly partner possibly live with one of her other partners?   Is the plan to get married or form a civil partnership?

  • Children 

    If you already have children together, how will you manage other partners?  Will the children meet them or spend time with them?  If you don’t have children, do either of you want them?  If one of you does and the other doesn’t how will that be managed in the relationship?  If the poly person is the one who wants children will they have them with another partner?

  • Sexual limits and boundaries  

    Are there activities you reserve only for the two of you?  What will you do in relation to safe sex?  Will there be fluid bonding between the two of you and with no one else?  How often will you get tested for STD’s?

  • Information Sharing  

    Will you talk to each other about the other partners in detail?  Does the mono person want to hear details?  Does the poly person feel comfortable sharing details?  How much information will be shared with other partners?

  • Public acknowledgment of the relationship

    Will other partners be public?  What about social media?  What explanation will you give people like family and friends?

  • Partner choosing

    Will the mono partner have the right to say no to a potential partner who feels threatening to him?  Are there limits on who can be chosen based on marital status, age or perceived complications?

  • Desires, wishes, dreams

    Draw a picture of how you wish the relationships will look in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years.  Look at this plan for non-workable parts, issues that might arise, areas of potential problems and try to find solutions or alter the plans.

There is a lot to consider when creating this blueprint.  If you aren’t great at communicating about difficult complex issues, I suggest having a number of sessions with a sex and intimacy coach.  A coach can help you both find the language and build the negotiating and communication skills and this will give you a better chance of creating a relationship that works for both of you and any partners who come along in the future.

Coaching can also help you gain strategies to manage any intense emotions that arise.  Many people have only a small set of emotional management strategies and this can be limiting.  You can expand your repertoire and with practice become an expert at managing emotions and stress.

Polyamory /monogamous relationships can be rich and fulfilling as long as you are able to put in the work and you treat each other and the relationship with the respect and care it deserves.

If I can help you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Polyamory is often complex and something couples are interested in but need a little help to negotiate the terms so that everyone feels safe. I’m happy to offer you a free 30 minute consultation to see what kind of support would be the most helpful for you.  Schedule by going to and heading to the contact page.  You can click on the schedule button thee.  I have had such a large response from this article that I can no longer respond to individual emails.  You can purchase an email package here (US).Or here (UK). and use the package to gain some individual advice via email from me.