Sexuality Concerns:

Alternative Sexual Lifestyles

As our world becomes more complex, more and more people are reevaluating and reinventing their social, religious, family, and sexual values.

The result is that increasing numbers of people are engaging in relationships and sexual lifestyles that don’t fit the traditional versions of marriage, monogamy, and sexuality.

Unfortunately, too many mental health professionals are unaware of these changes, or inadequately prepared to address the concerns of people living outside of the traditional models of family and sexuality.

In our practice, we understand that a diverse array of sexual and relationship lifestyles can be valid choices as we seek to build meaningful lives and relationships—as long as they're practiced safely and consensually.

When One Partner Does, and One Partner Doesn’t.

With that said, it can be frightening and confusing when one partner is interested in an alternative sexual or relationship lifestyle, and the other is not. In these cases, we can help couples process the differences in what they want and need from their sexual and intimate lives, and help them negotiate solutions that respect everyone's values, beliefs, feelings, boundaries, and needs.


While swinging (recreational sex-play outside of a primary partnership) certainly isn't for everyone, it can be a pleasurable and rewarding lifestyle for many individuals and couples. But it's also safe to say that swinging can raise a lot of questions and very serious concerns for couples who consider it. Counseling can help you clarify your own values and needs, and help you negotiate decisions for yourself and your relationship.

 back to top


Polyamory, meaning “many loves”, is not the same as swinging. Polyamory refers to any model of significant committed relationship that includes more than two people. This can range anywhere from a committed couple where one or both partners have other sexual partners, to group marriages in which several partners of various genders are all equally committed to each other—and a hundred variations in between.

Most of us come from a culture that does not validate these forms of commitment, family, and sexuality. Trying to re-invent family and relationship in our culture can be challenging and require difficult adjustments. If you have chosen to explore these kinds of relationships, we can help you navigate and negotiate these changes with respect for the feelings, values, and boundaries of every partner.

 back to top


Sexual play involving power, role-playing and sometimes a physically intense crossover between pleasure and pain can be a healthy expression of sexual and emotional creativity and drive, as long as these behaviors are safe and consensual. But they can also present significant challenges to couples who include, or are considering including these practices in their sexual repertoire. We can help you sort out these concerns, attending to issues of physical and emotional safety, but without pathologizing your sexual interest.

 back to top