Here's How a Therapist Coaches Couples Who Decide to Have Sex With Other People

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Wednesday Martin is the author of Untrue, Stepmonster and Primates of Park Avenue.

“Working with Non-Monogamous Couples” was held at a nondescript family services center in a nowhere neighborhood in Manhattan. Having attended a talk in the same series (“Sex Therapy in the City”) in the same venue about a year before, I knew I would be surrounded by therapists who were there for certification credits and to learn from an expert in their field about the best approaches to issues that were likely to come up in their work. I also knew a little bit about consensual non-monogamy: I knew that it was for people who didn’t want to be monogamous, and who didn’t want to lie about it.

As I checked in with Michael Moran, one of the program’s organizers, he described a recent uptick in his practice and in general of heterosexual couples seeking solutions to their monogamy quandaries. “It’s pretty incredible that people commit for life, that they get married, without even discussing the issue of sexual exclusivity,” I offered by way of chitchat, realizing as I said it that my husband and I had committed for life, and that we got married, without even discussing the issue of sexual exclusivity. Monogamy and marriage, for straight people in much of the U.S., go together like a horse and carriage. Or they used to. Or maybe not.

What would it be like to watch your partner/spouse have sex with someone else . . . and see them really enjoying it? What feelings would come up? What meanings would you make from their enjoying the sex? What if they fell in love? IDEAS TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health, money and more

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