SEX FILES: Openness to open relationships

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The trailer opens with a young woman in a red dress. She giggles as she makes her way through a crowded room and introduces herself to potential mates. She flirts and laughs, her boyfriend nearby. So begins Open House: The Great Sexual Experimenta new reality show from the UK, where engaged couples come to a luxury retreat to explore whether having open relationships and sex with other people can strengthen their bond (what is who could go wrong?)

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The show, which is sure to be seen in the summer (if I can figure out how to watch it in Canada!), recently announced that it had been renewed for a second season. The announcement follows last month’s Mormon drama MomTok, in which a viral video of TikTok superstar and mother-of-two Taylor Frankie Paul revealed that she and her husband were getting divorced after getting involved in l swinging within their group of friends – triggering the internet in the process.

Lately, it seems like everyone is talking about open relationships — or at the very least, being curious about them. But are open relationships really all they’re meant to be?

For answers, I spoke to Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey, the in-house relationship therapist at the center of Open House: The Great Sex Experiment. On the show, Bisbey, an Advanced GSRD (gender, sex, relationship diversity) credentialed therapist, licensed psychologist, and sex, intimacy, and relationship coach, is there to support and guide couples through non-monogamy.

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While it might seem like this type of relationship is all the rage right now, open relationships and non-monogamy are nothing new. As Bisbey shares via email.

« It’s always been there, but with the internet, people who practice consensual non-monogamy have been able to connect more easily and information about alternatives to monogamy is more available. As a result, consensual non-monogamy has become more visible .

Unlike monogamy where sexual and romantic exclusivity is what is agreed upon, « consensual non-monogamy is when people agree to have multiple relationships (often sexual and/or romantic) at the same time, with everyone being aware and consenting to these multiple relationships ». relationships, » says Bisbey.

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A non-monogamous consensual relationship can take many different forms, Bisbey says. « For example, open relationships where people consent to multiple sex partners but are romantically involved and polyamory where people have multiple romantic partners. »

When asked what advice she had for couples looking to open up their relationships, Bisbey replied, “Make sure your relationship is in good shape. If you have a lot of conflicts, resolve them first. Just like having a baby isn’t a good way to try to save a marriage, neither is opening up your relationship.

Even if you’re not having relationship issues, Bisbey encourages people to work on themselves and resolve any insecurities before inviting other partners, « so that you feel good about yourself and your place in your relationship. « , before inviting other people.

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Open and thorough communication is also essential. « Talk about what you desire, what you’re looking for by opening yourself up, any areas or activities that aren’t on the menu, how you might deal with jealousy or other negative feelings, » Bisbey says.

Bisbey says it’s also important for couples to learn to set clear boundaries around what they want and what they feel comfortable with. « If you’re not good at setting healthy boundaries with family, friends, and your partner, chances are you’ll struggle to agree on healthy boundaries with multiple partners, » says Bisbey. A professional like Bisbey can help you navigate this process.

Finally, remember that an open relationship will not resolve an already broken relationship. In fact, says Bisbey, « if your relationship is a mess, opening it up will only create more mess. » She encourages couples to first resolve their relationship issues with a professional.

« Once you’re strong together, if you’re still interested, then start considering opening up, » Bisbey says.

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