People who are in non-monogamous relationships often face judgment from others. As a result, they may hesitate to seek therapy.
However, a sex-positive therapist can work with individuals, couples, and triads in ways that are empowering instead of demeaning.
In fact, non-monogamous people often find that they benefit from sex-positive therapy. After all, sex and relationships are an important part of life. Albeit, they can be a complicated part of life.
Sex and relationships of all types stir up a range of emotions, both within individuals and between people. It certainly helps to get support from a therapist.
It’s critical to work with a sex-positive therapist who understands a poly approach to counseling. You don’t want to have to educate your therapist on why you’ve chosen the life that you have. And you certainly don’t want someone to pathologize your choices.
What you want is someone who respects you and is knowledgeable about the unique issues that can arise in a non-monogamous relationship.
What Does Non-Monogamous Couples Counseling Look Like?
In many ways, therapy looks the same whether you’re monogamous or not. For example, you can opt to get individual counseling or you may seek couples counseling.
Of course, a non-monogamous couple might have a critical other party who also needs to be involved in the counseling. That is something you can address and decide upon with your therapist.
Typically, therapy involves talking about issues. Couples therapy provides each person with an opportunity to learn how to speak authentically and listen non-judgmentally to the other partner.
Therapy may also include somatic experiences, meditative exercises, and other tools depending upon your needs and the therapist you have chosen.
Embracing a Sex-Positive Approach to Therapy
Ideally, all therapists would have a sex-positive approach to working with all clients. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
However, therapists who understand and celebrate non-monogamy, polyamory, and nontraditional relationships generally come to the table with a sex-positive approach.
Of course, sex isn’t the only issue in relationships. Nevertheless, it plays a critical role in people’s lives. Ignoring it makes things worse.
In contrast, being able to openly speak about your desires, needs, sexual frustrations, and the challenges of your unique relationship allows you to improve your sex life. Furthermore, it can improve your relationship and general quality of life. A poly approach to couples counseling acknowledges the issues that can arise in non-monogamous relationships and assists couples in working through those.
A sex-positive approach assumes that you have the right and ability to make your own choices about your sex life. You don’t have to explain or justify your preferences when it comes to gender, orientation, or partners. Instead, you find a therapist who believes wholeheartedly in your ability to decide those things for yourself and who'll support you on the tricky journey to uncovering and articulating those needs.
Choosing a Sex-Positive Therapist for Non-Monogamous Counseling
You should get a good gut feeling when you have your initial consultation with a therapist. That said, there are certain things that you might want to look for if you’re seeking a sex-positive therapist and are in a non-monogamous relationship.
Of course, you want to ask about their experience with non-monogamous couples. Moreover, you should ask about their experience with your particular type of non-monogamy. For example, if you’re in an open marriage with a primary partner, then ask about that. Likewise, if kink is an important part of your relationship, then discuss that.
Furthermore, you should ask about their approach with some of the specific issues you might be having in your own life.
Some of those topics might be:
Navigating jealousy and self-esteem in a non-monogamous relationship
Setting boundaries and writing relationship contracts
Coping with attachment issues and their impact on relationships
Identifying what you want, what you will accept, and what’s a deal breaker
Fertility or parenting issues for non-monogamous couples
Finally, you might want to seek a trauma-informed therapist. This in no way suggests that everyone in non-monogamous relationships has experienced trauma. Unfortunately, though, it’s a reality of the world that many individuals (in any relationship type) have undergone past trauma that impacts their current relationships.
Oftentimes, talking about sex and/or relationships can trigger that trauma. Therefore, if that’s likely to be a topic of conversation in your therapy, you want to work with a therapist who has knowledge, experience, and consideration in this area.
Learn more about my approach to therapy by making a call for a consultation today.