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Thursday, December 29, 2022

How to Have a Fun and Passionate Threesome

A threesome, also known as a threeway or a menage a trois, is any sexual activity involving three consenting adults.

How to Have a Fun and Passionate Threesome

According to Dr. Justin Lehmiller, author, social psychologist and Kinsey sex research fellow, group sex is the most common sexual fantasy among Americans with threesomes being at the top of the list (see my article: The 7 Core Sexual Fantasies).

If you've ever wondered if a threesome is right for you, you're not alone. Even though many people wonder about it, threesomes remain a fantasy for most people. Many people don't even share this fantasy with their partner because they feel too ashamed of it or because they're concerned their partner will judge them (see my articles: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex - Part 1 and Part 2).

How Common Are Threesomes?
Approximately 18% of men and 10% of women have engaged in threesomes or some form of group sex.  This includes groups of one man and two women, three men, three women, and one woman and two men of all sexual orientations and genders.

Sometimes a couple adds a third person.  For instance, there are heterosexual couples who seek out bisexual women to have a threesome. 

It's often the man who seeks out a bisexual woman.  The bisexual woman is referred to as a "unicorn" because unicorns are considered rare and bisexual women who want to sleep with a heterosexual couple is also considered rare. And the man who seeks out the unicorn is called the "unicorn hunter" (see my article:  What is a Unicorn in a Nonmonogamous Relationship?).

A unicorn can also be a man (heterosexual, gay, bisexual) or a trans woman or trans man.  Either the three people have sex with each other or one of the partners has sex with the third party and the other party watches (see my articles: Kinky Sex: What is Cuckolding? and Are You Curious About Trying Cuckolding With Your Partner?).

In other instances, the three people are all single as opposed to a couple and a third party.  They might have met at a bar or a party and decide to have a threesome together.

Why Do People Enjoy Threesomes?
One of the main reasons why people enjoy threesomes and other forms of group sex is the novelty aspect.  Having sex with your partner and someone else you don't usually have sex with can be exciting with many different possibilities.

Another reason is the appeal of being the sexual center of attention--or at least that's usually the wish of most people who have threesomes.  To feel sexually desired by two other people is a real sexual turn-on.

Aside from novelty seeking and the power of feeling sexually desirable, some people engage in threesomes because it's an item on their sexual bucket list.  

Other people use it as a way to settle a score with a partner who cheated on them in the past.

There are also people who engage in threesomes to please a partner. They might not be so into it themselves, but they want to give their partner the "gift" of a threesome.  

This is usually referred to as "sexual altruism," and it includes the husband or wife who wants to give their spouse something "special" for a birthday or anniversary or just looking for a way to spice things up in their relationship.

Other times partners are coerced into doing it.  Rather than giving their enthusiastic consent to a threesome, some partners go along with it to appease a partner because they feel pressured into doing it.

Who Engages in Threesomes?
As previously mentioned, people of all genders, sexual orientations and all types of relationships engage in threesomes.

With regard to age, you might think that threesomes were most popular with people in their 20s, but according to Dr. Lehmiller, this isn't the case because for many people in their 20s one-on-one sex is still new and exciting, so they don't have as much need for novelty.

Interest in threesomes peaks for most people at around the age of 40, according to Dr. Lehmiller, and remains high for the next 20 years or so.  These include people who are bored with monogamy or who need more variety to keep the sexual spark alive.

How to Set Up a Threesome
If you're in a relationship and you want to have a threesome, there are several factors to consider:
  • Talk to Your Partner: You want to make sure you and your partner are on the same page:
    • Talking about it as a sexual fantasy first can be a good way to introduce the idea to your partner.  Talking about it as a fantasy is a relatively low risk way to explore this type of sex with your partner before the two of you actually do it.  
    • Anticipate there might be jealousy. For many people even talking about it can elicit jealousy, so if you're the person who wants to do it, be patient and compassionate.  Try to alleviate any concerns about jealousy.  
Talk to Your Partner and Anticipate Possible Problems Ahead of Time
    • Any sexual activity should be enthusiastically consented to so if your partner isn't interested, don't pressure them.  But if your partner is at least curious about it, you can both talk about what you each want from an actual threesome.  As previously mentioned, this is as far as it gets for most people because the fantasy of it is enough or one or both people are too uncomfortable to actually do it. Other people find the idea of having a threesome so exciting that they want to find a third person.
  • Talk About What You Each Want: Assuming you and your partner both want to experience a threesome, there are so many possibilities: 
    • You should both agree regarding the third party's gender and sexual orientation before you include someone else.  
    • Do you both have someone in mind?
    • Is one person going to watch while the other partner has sex with the third party as in a cuckolding situation?  Or are all three people going to be sexually involved together.  And will there be one person who is the center of attention? Or will you each take turns being the center of attention? It's better to know that ahead of time to avoid a common disappointment in threesomes where each person assumes they will be the center, but one or two people end up feeling ignored or left out.  
  • Find the Right Person: Finding the right person is very important:
    • Many threesomes are unplanned after three people get drunk at a bar or a party.  Those are the most likely situations where one or all three people will be  disappointed.  Either the people involved aren't right for each other or, as previously mentioned, one or two people feel overlooked and left out.
    • The right person is someone that both you and your partner feel sexual chemistry for and a person who can feel chemistry for both of you.  This can be trickier than it sounds. Often, a person might feel sexual chemistry for one person but not the other and, obviously, that's not going to work.  
    • You and your partner should feel comfortable enough with the third person and vice versa.  When you find the right person that you both agree on, extend the invitation in a fun way, but be direct so the third person understands the situation. The last thing you want to do is try to manipulate a third party into having a threesome.
  • Set Boundaries: Setting boundaries with everyone involved is critical:
    • Discuss boundaries and ground rules with the three of you present.
    • Discuss what sexual acts you will engage in and which ones are out.  This includes everything from kissing to sexual penetration and everything in between. No one should just make assumptions about what will or won't happen without each person agreeing to it in advance, including any kind of kinky sex or fetish you might all  enjoy. Enthusiastic consent and safe sex practices are essential. 
    • Discuss with your partner beforehand whether the third party will be there for aftercare and if they will sleep over or if they will leave after sex.  Also make sure this is clear to the third party.

  • Have a Safe Word: A safe word is a word that anyone involved can use if one or more people are uncomfortable for any reason. When someone uses the safe word, it's essential that everything stops to respect the emotional and physical well-being of everyone involved.
  • Create the Right Mood: Creating the right mood and context for a threesome is important.  Add anything you all think would add to the mood--whether it's candles, incense, wine, music and so on.  
  • Make Sure You Have Plenty of Lube: Keep lube handy and use it often.
  • Have Sex Toys on Hand: Assuming the three of you have agreed to sex toys, have fun sex toys that you can enjoy.
  • Have Fun: Threesomes are supposed to be fun. If you, your partner and the third party have taken the time to talk about the issues mentioned above, you can relax and have fun.
  • Talk Afterwards: After the threesome, you can all talk about what was fun (or what didn't work out):  
    • Threesomes don't always go as well in reality as they do in sexual fantasies.  For one thing, while you can control what happens in your imagination, you can't control what happens in a threesome in reality. 
Talk Afterwards: Things Don't Always Go as Planned
    • Address any feelings of jealousy or resentment about feeling left out--both of which are common emotions in threesomes.
    • Some couples prefer to talk about this on their own without the third party.  Leaving out the third party might make them feel left out or dismissed, but if this is important to you and your partner, make sure the third party knows about this before you have sex so there are no surprises.  
  • Engage in Aftercare and Reclaiming Routines: After a threesome, most couples benefit from cuddling, hugging, kissing, holding each other and engaging in other types of aftercare and reclaiming routines that helps the two people feel like a couple again.  These activities are usually done with just the two people if they're in a committed relationship.
Practice Aftercare and Reclaiming Routines

Threesomes Can Be Fun and Exciting
If you take time beforehand to prepare, choose the right person, set boundaries, have a safe word, create the right mood and make sure no one feels left out, threesomes can be fun and exciting.

Many couples find threesomes can reignite a spark in a long term relationship that includes new ways of experiencing sexual pleasure.

When to Seek Help in Sex Therapy
There are certain situations where a sex therapist can help a couple who are either considering a threesome or who had a threesome that didn't work out:
  • The Two Partners Can't Agree: It's not unusual for one person in a relationship to want a threesome and for the other person not to want it.  This can lead to frustration and resentment.
  • There Was No Planning Ahead of Time Which Created Problems: Most people don't take the time to plan a threesome, so it's not surprising that things go wrong.  One or both people can feel jealous, angry, resentful, sad, disappointed or left out.  For many couples, a threesome that has gone wrong can create problems in their sex life they didn't have before.  
  • A Sexual Affair Started After a Threesome: Threesomes can be the start of a sexual affair between one of the partners and a third party.  Sometimes one the partners sets up a threesome because they want to have sex with the third party, but they don't want to leave their partner out.  But after they've had sex with the third party as part of the threesome, they want to continue having sex with the third party without their partner as part of an affair.  For obvious reasons this is a big problem in terms of infidelity, betrayal and trust issues.
  • One or Both People in the Relationship Have Regrets About the Threesome: Sometimes what seemed like a good idea beforehand brings up feelings of jealousy, resentment, feelings of inadequacy or other negative feelings no one anticipated.  
  • Other Unanticipated Problems Before, During and After a Threesome: The two of you can't always anticipate all the possibilities beforehand.
How Modern Sex Therapy Can Help
A modern sex therapist who is knowledgeable about these issues and who works in a contemporary way can help individual adults and couples with these issues and many other sex-related issues (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?).

Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, that focuses on sexual issues for individual adults and couples.

There is no physical exam, no nudity and no touching in sex therapy (see my article: What Are Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy?).

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a modern sex therapist so you can overcome sexual problems and have a more sexually fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Are You Curious About Trying Cuckolding With Your Partner?

I'm currently doing a series of articles on kinky sex (see my prior articles: What is Kinky Sex? and What is Cuckolding?).

Are You Curious About Trying Cuckolding With Your Partner?

  • Talk to Your Partner First Before You Try Cuckolding: Dr. Justin Lehmiller, social psychologist and Kinsey sex research fellow, recommends you talk to your partner first before you engage in kinky sex or fetishes. Talking about it beforehand, whether what you want to do is cuckolding, some other type of threesome or any other kinky sexual act, is very important because you can't assume your partner will be into it even if you tried it with them before (see my article: How to Talk to Your Partner About Your Sexual Desires).
  • Try Exploring Your Fantasy About Cuckolding: One way to explore cuckolding is to explore it with your partner as a sexual fantasy first. If your partner isn't sure about doing it, exploring it as a fantasy is easier.  If your partner says they aren't into it, don't pressure them.  Like any other sexual act, cuckolding must be enthusiastically consented to by all involved. You don't want your partner to just go along with it but, inwardly, they feel angry and resentful towards you for pressuring them.  That will only backfire and it could destroy your relationship.  Assuming your partner is interested in cuckolding, you'll want to have more than just one talk about it to know exactly what you each want and don't want (see my article: Are You Too Ashamed to Share Your Sexual Fantasies With Your Partner?).
Talk to Your Partner About Cuckolding Before You Try It
  • Choose a Third Party, Also Known as "the Bull," With Care: Picking the third party can be tricky.  On the one hand, you don't want a total stranger because things can go very badly. On the other hand, you don't necessarily want it to be your best friend, your colleague or the neighbor next door because that could create boundary issues in your relationship with that person. Only you and your partner can decide what you both feel comfortable with when you're choosing a third party.
  • Be Mindful of Sexual Health and Practice Safe Sex: You want to know about sexual health and safe sex boundaries--your own, your partner's and the third party's as well. It's important for everyone involved to know their status beforehand with regard to STIs (sexually transmitted infections).  It's also imperative that everyone involved practices safe sex.  If the third party is unwilling or unable to practice safe sex, find someone else.  It's not worth getting an STI, which could last a lifetime, for just a few hours of sexual pleasure.
Sexual Health and Safe Sex

  • Make Sure You Have Privacy: Do you have complete privacy at home or do you need to go to a hotel or someplace else?  You don't want your children, your parents, your mother-in-law or a neighbor walking in on you while you're having a cuckolding threesome, so make sure you have absolute privacy.
  • Decide Where the Cuck Will Be During the Cuckolding Threesome: Know ahead of time if the cuck will be in the room, just outside the room or somewhere else when the partner and the third party are having sex.  Also, be prepared that anyone involved in this threesome might change their mind about this (or other things) once things get started.
  • Know the Limits Ahead of Time: Which Sexual Activities Are Acceptable and Unacceptable to Everyone Involved? Know ahead of time what the limits will be for each person involved. In other words, know which sexual activities are completely off the table. This also includes not just the physical aspects of sex but also certain words and phrases. For instance, the third party might feel it's a turn-on to call the cuck a derogatory name, but you or your partner might be turned off by this, so think about it beforehand and communicate about it. Also know what's sexually pleasurable as well as consensual (see my article: What is Sexual Consent?).
  • Know What Your Safe Word Will Be Beforehand and Abide By It: Since cuckolding scenes don't always go the way everyone anticipates, make sure you have a safe word that everyone understands and agrees to beforehand.  When anyone involved says the safe word, everything must stop immediately.  The safe word can be anything as long as everyone agrees to it.  So, let's say the safe word is "red" and one of you--either you, your partner or the third party--are uncomfortable with how things are going, anyone of you can say, "Red!" clearly and everything stops immediately.  At that point, whoever is uncomfortable can talk right there and then about what's making them feel uncomfortable, if they choose to do that. They might want to wait to talk about it later. Or it might be enough to stop whatever was making them uncomfortable and they're able to continue to enjoy sex. If you're not sure what the person who used the safe word needs, ask and make sure you understand. As an added precaution, you might check in with the others from time to time to make sure things are going well--especially for your partner. There might also be instances when any of the people involved might be uncomfortable and not know exactly what's bothering them, so they might not be able to tell you in that moment. Just be patient and compassionate--whether it's you, your significant other or the third party.  
    • Plan Ahead of Time: What Happens After Sex? Will the Third Party Stay or Go?: Make sure you and your significant other agree beforehand whether you want the third party to stick around after sex or if you want that person to leave.  Also, make sure you communicate that to the third party beforehand so there are no misunderstandings or hurt feelings afterwards. Similarly, if you want the other person to stick around to be part of sexual aftercare, make sure you and your partner agree to this ahead of time and that the other person also wants this.  One of you might change your mind about the other person staying or going after sex is over.  This can happen, so be prepared for it and err on the side of accommodating the person who wants the third person to leave.
    • Know This: Cuckolding Won't Fix an Unstable or Unhappy Relationship: Some people engage in consensual nonmonogamy or kink as a way to try to fix an unhappy relationship.  This is a big problem. You need to work through whatever problems you're having in your relationship before you put your relationship at risk by opening it up to consensual nonmonogamy, cuckolding or other forms of kink and fetishes.  In order to practice consensual nonmonogamy, cuckolding, other forms of threesomes or other types of kink, you need to have a stable, healthy relationship or your relationship will be undermined by adding these potential complications.
    Kinky Sex Won't Fix an Unstable or Unhappy Relationship

    • Be Aware There Might Be Regret and Other Unforeseen Circumstances: Even if you and the other two people involved have a complete understanding of what each person wants, there can be unforeseen circumstances that no one anticipated. It's not unusual for one person involved--whether it's you, your significant other or the other person--to experience regret about engaging in cuckolding during or after sex. Each of you might have imagined that you would experience cuckolding in a certain way, but you didn't.  Any of you might feel ashamed, guilty, jealous, sad, resentful or angry.   If everyone involved knows there could be unexpected consequences, none of you will be completely shocked by it.  That doesn't mean that it won't be an uncomfortable experience, but at least you were all aware of the possibility.
    • Be Aware of the Potential For Trauma Triggers For People With a Trauma History: One possibility is that one of you might experience a trauma trigger if there is a history of trauma--whether the trigger involves known or unknown trauma, especially sexual trauma.  One of the worst situations is when someone has a flashback about sexual abuse where there are no conscious memories of it. The trauma trigger can come as fragments of images, sounds or other sensations. Aside from sexual abuse triggers, one of you could get triggered from unresolved abandonment issues or if you have an anxious attachment style.  Whoever experiences the trigger should seek help from a licensed psychotherapist who is a sex therapist and a trauma specialist before the incident turns into a psychological crisis.
    • Be Aware of the Potential For Jealousy Before, During or After Cuckolding: It's not unusual for the cuck (or one of the other two people) to feel some degree of jealousy. Jealousy is normal. Developing the ability to experience compersion can help.  Compersion means you experience genuine happiness for another person.  Compersion is a radical concept in consensual nonmonogamous relationships. With regard to kinky sex that includes others, compersion means you experience wholehearted happiness for your partner for the joy they experience having sex with the another person. Compersion isn't an ability that most people develop overnight.  It takes a lot of internal work for most people, and many people never achieve it and that's okay. You and your partner need to know yourselves well enough to know that neither of you will get so jealous and upset that these feelings will ruin your relationship.  So, before you engage in kinky sex with others, each of you should be honest with yourself and each other (see my article: What is Compersion?).

    Cuckolding and Other Types of Threesomes Can Bring Up Jealousy
    • Practice Aftercare and Reclaiming Routines: Assuming all goes well for everyone, know what you and your partner need aftercare after sex is over. Aftercare plans and reclaiming routines often include some form of cuddling, kissing, hugging, spooning, massaging and talking. It's a time to come together again as a couple. Once again, know your emotional needs and what you'll need in aftercare before you engage in cuckolding.  

    Practice Aftercare and Reclaiming Routines

    When to Seek Help in Sex Therapy
    Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, that focuses on sexual issues (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?)

    There is no physical exam, nudity or touching (see my article: Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy).

    Many individuals and couples seek help in sex therapy for a variety of reasons (see my article: Common Issues Discussed in Sex Therapy).

    Be aware that most psychotherapists, who aren't sex therapists, get no training for sexual issues, so they might not know how to deal with sexual problems.  

    Even couples therapists often have no formal training in sex therapy so they usually refer clients to sex therapists.

    You deserve to see a sex therapist who is knowledgeable about your issues and practices in a nonjudgemental way.  

    So, if you're having unresolved sexual problems, you could benefit from seeing a modern sex therapist.

    With regard to cuckolding, other types of threesomes, fetishes, BDSM and other types of kinky sex, choose a modern sex therapist who works in a nonjudgmental, contemporary way.  

    Choosing the right sex therapist can make all the difference when you want to have a fulfilling sex life.

    About Me
    I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

    I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

    I am also a trauma therapist (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

    To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

    To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

    Kinky Sex: What is Cuckolding?

    In my previous article, What is Kinky Sex?, I began a discussion about kinks and kinky sex, including a brief explanation of cuckolding.  

    Kinky Sex: Cuckolding

    In the current article, I'm taking a more in-depth look at cuckolding, which is a particular type of threesome.

    Even though there are many people who engage in cuckolding as part of kinky sex, it's a sexual activity that many others don't know about. 

    What is the Historical Meaning of a "Cuckold"?
    Historically the term "cuckold" goes back to at least the 16th century.

    Back then, a cuckold was an unwitting heterosexual man betrayed by his wife, who was having sex with another man. 

    To be a cuckold back then was shameful, and the cuckold was looked down upon as a fool.

    What is the Current Use of the Terms "Cuckold," "Cuck" or "Cuckolding"?
    The current use of "cuck," "cuckold," and "cuckolding" is is now associated with anyone who is fully aware and enjoys seeing a partner having consensual sex with someone else.  

    Similarly, the significant other and the third party are also fully aware of the circumstances, which are consensual and worked out in advanced.

    As previously mentioned, cuckolding is usually a particular type of threesome.

    In addition, this kink can be practiced by heterosexuals, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans men and women, so it's no longer viewed as a sexual activity limited to heterosexuals.

    Cuckolding as a Contemporary Fetish or Kink
    Cuckolding is a contemporary consensual fetish or kink in which someone gets turned on by watching their partner have consensual sex with someone else (see my article: What is Sexual Consent?).

    When the sexual activity involves a person watching a partner having sex with another person, the person watching is the "cuckold" or "cuck," and the third party who is having sex with the other partner is called the "bull."  

    Cuckolding as a Sexual Fantasy
    Cuckolding remains a sexual fantasy for many people which they don't actually want to do in real life.

    Kinky Sex: Cuckolding

    Sometimes cuckolding remains a fantasy because, like many other sexual fantasies, fantasizing about it is enough for sexual arousal without enacting it.

    Some people, who like to fantasize about cuckolding, don't share their fantasy with their partner.  They want to keep it as their personal fantasy and use it for solo sex (masturbation).

    Other times, cuckolding often remains a fantasy because the partner, who gets turned on by it, is either too ashamed to talk to their partner about it or knows cuckolding would be a turn-off for their partner.

    The Hidden Nature of Cuckolding 
    Couples who engage in cuckolding might be part of a kink or fetish community, but they usually keep their kink hidden from most other people outside that community because they don't want to be judged, shamed or have it used against them.

    Even though cuckolding is more common than it used to be and it's not against the law between consenting adults, there's still the potential risk that it could be used against a couple by unscrupulous people in child custody cases, career matters and in other circumstances. The potential risk is similar to revealing other kinks and fetishes.

    Why Do People Get Turned On By Watching Their Partners Have Sex With Others?
    Kinks and fetishes are personal preferences and choices.

    One person's sexual turn-on is another person's turn-off (see my article: Don't Yuk Anybody's Yum).

    Like many other sexual kinks and fetishes, cuckolding fascinates many people for the following reasons: 
    • The Excitement of Breaking the Rules of Conventional Monogamy: What is perceived as sexually forbidden in conventional society is exciting to many people. And the feeling that cuckolding "breaks the rules" of conventional monogamy gives many people an adrenaline rush (see my article: A Cornerstone of Eroticism: Violating Prohibitions By Breaking the Rules).
    • Masochism Through Consensual Humiliation: The cuck usually finds it exciting to give up power and watch their partner have sex with someone else. This is a form of consensual humiliation for the cuck. In addition, when it's a man watching his female partner having sex with a third party, the third party is often younger, better looking, stronger or, if he is a man, has a bigger penis.  All of this is a form of humiliation. As a result, this aspect of cuckolding is in the masochistic realm of sadomasochism for the cuck. The humiliation, which is usually negotiated in advance, can take the form of the other man making derogatory remarks about the cuckold's penis by telling him that he has a "small dick." Another example is when everyone involved agrees in advance that the female partner might say she's experiencing "the best sex" of her life while she's having sex with the other man, which is another form of humiliation and, therefore, masochistic for the cuck.
    • Sadism and Masochism Through Consensual Humiliation: In certain instances, the cuck might be sadistic towards the partner. For instance, with consensual agreement from everyone involved, the partner might act as if he is "degrading" the woman by "pimping her out" to another man.  In that case, the cuck derives pleasure from playing the part of a sadistic partner who is "punishing" his partner.  The woman derives sexual pleasure from playing the role of degraded partner, which is masochistic.  Sometimes the cuck is present in the room where the "bull" is having sex with the third party.  Other times the cuck chooses to be in another room listening to the other two having sex--another example of masochism.
    • The Consensual Voyeuristic and Exhibitionistic Nature of Cuckolding: Cuckolding also involves consensual voyeurism by the person watching and consensual exhibitionism by the two people having sex.  This isn't illegal voyeurism and exhibitionism, which involves nonconsensual acts.  
    • The Partner Having Sex Feels Sexually Desirable: The partner who is having sex with the third party usually feels sexually desirable, which makes cuckolding exciting for person who is the center of attention.  As an example: With a heterosexual couple, where the man is the cuck, the woman is the focus of two people's sexual desire-- the man she's having sex with and her partner who is watching her with sexual pleasure. This is a similar dynamic to being the object of desire in other types of threesomes, and it can help to increase the woman's sexual self esteem).
    Cuckolding is Not Limited By Sex, Gender or Sexual Orientation
    As previously mentioned, cuckolding is a particular type of threesome.  

    As a reminder: Even though I've given examples of heterosexual sex for the sake of simplicity in this article, in reality, cuckolding can be practiced by anyone regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation.  

    This includes situations where heterosexual or gay couples seek bisexual partners (see my article: What is a Unicorn in a Nonmonogamous Relationship?).

    Next Article
    In my next article I'll discuss how people transition from experiencing cuckolding as a sexual fantasy to doing it in real life and how they go about it safely and responsibly for everyone involved.

    When Should You Seek Help in Sex Therapy?
    Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, where the therapist is a specialist who is trained to help individuals and couples with sexual issues.

    There is no physical exam, no nudity and no touching during sex therapy (see my article: Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy).

    Clients in regular talk therapy are usually unaware that most licensed psychotherapists get no training in sex therapy--even therapists who attend regular postgraduate training programs and therapists who train as couples therapists.

    If you're shocked by this, I'm not surprised.  

    You would think that licensed psychotherapists, medical doctors and other healthcare practitioners would get in-depth training in such an important area in clients' lives.  But they don't.

    So most psychotherapists and couples therapists, who aren't trained in modern sex therapy, usually might not know how to help you with sexual issues. Under these circumstances, an ethical psychotherapist or couples therapist will refer you to a sex therapist.

    You should seek help in sex therapy if you or your partner have sexual problems you have been unable to work out on your own.  

    With regard to cuckolding, fetishes, and other types of kinky sex, if you or your partner experience regret, anger, resentment or if things didn't go well in other ways, seek help from a modern sex therapist who is knowledgeable about kink.

    Don't wait until your problems spiral out of control to get help.  

    Seek help as soon as you and your partner realize there is a problem because working on a problem sooner is better than waiting until it gets worse.

    About Me
    I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

    I am a modern sex therapist who works with individuals and couples in a  nonjudgmental way (see my article: What is Modern Sex Therapy?).

    To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

    To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

    Sunday, December 25, 2022

    What is Compersion in Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships?

    What is Compersion?
    Compersion is wholehearted participation in the happiness of others.  

    Compersion is the opposite of jealousy.

    It's possible for you to experience compersion in any type of relationship or with any group of people.

    Compersion: Wholehearted Participation in the Happiness of Others

    Where Did the Word Compersion Come From?
    The Sanskrit word called mudita goes back at least 2,500 years. We don't have an exact translation for mudita in English. The closest translation is sympathetic joy.  

    The word compersion is a word that was specifically coined for polyamory in a polyamorous community in San Francisco, CA.

    How Does Compersion Relate to Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships
    Experiencing compersion in a consensual nonmonogamous relationship means you're genuinely happy for your partner's joy in other romantic or sexual relationships that you have both consented to in advance.

    Compersion and Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships

    Those who have developed the ability to feel compersion in their relationships say that compersion occurs when you can let go of your insecurities and projections and work on experiencing compersion.

    There are some people who identify themselves as being naturally polyamorous and compersion comes more easily to them.  They usually don't have many of the same challenges that other people have with jealous.

    Most other people, who have successfully developed compersion, had to work on it to develop this ability. 

    In addition to developing compersion, they had to work on becoming autonomous individuals in their relationship(s).

    What Does It Mean to Be An Autonomous Individual in Relationship(s)?
    Being an autonomous individual in a relationship means that:
    • You have self awareness and you have a strong sense of what you think, feel and want.
    • You appreciate your individuality even when you're in a relationship.
    • You have your own beliefs and your own path that you're following.
    • You're able to express to your partner(s) what you feel.
    • You're able to tolerate hearing what your partner feels without falling apart emotionally--even if your partner tells you something you don't want to hear.
    • You maintain your social support network, including your close friends and loved ones.
    • You maintain and develop your own individual interests and hobbies which are separate from your romantic and sexual relationship(s).
    • You're able to self soothe and take care of yourself when things aren't going well for you.
    • You appreciate alone time without feeling lonely or isolated.
    • You encourage your partner(s) to pursue their own interests and hobbies without you.
    How Does Being an Autonomous Individual Relate to Compersion?
    Compersion is a radical idea that not everyone can or wants to achieve, especially when it comes to being in a non-traditional relationship, like a consensual nonmonogamous or polyamorous relationship, or engaging in certain forms of kinky sex like threesomes where you and your partner(s) get involved with people outside your relationship(s).

    Before you engage in a consensual nonmonogamy or in kinky sex, like threesomes or cuckolding, you need to be honest with yourself and with your partner(s) as to whether these choices are right for you.

    Some people just know whether consensual nonmonogamy and kinky sex are right for them and others try it to find out if it's the right choice.

    Special Challenges: Unresolved Abandonment Issues and an Anxious Attachment Style
    Many people who are anxious, insecure, who have unresolved childhood trauma, including fear of abandonment or an anxious attachment style , have a great deal of difficulty being polyamorous, consensually nonmonogamous or engaging in certain types of kinky sex with others because it's too psychologically triggering for them.

    Although more people are trying consensual nonmonogamy, the vast majority of people still want to be in monogamous relationships. So, even if you don't have a history of trauma, you might not want to explore these alternative relationships, and that's okay.  

    Are You Considering Opening Up Your Relationship?
    Jealousy is a normal emotion, so even if you're actively working on compersion because you and your partner(s) want to open up your relationship or you both want to try certain forms of kinky sex that involve other people, you'll probably experience some jealousy.  It's a matter of degree.

    Many people who decide to open up their relationship have worked through issues of jealousy to achieve compersion, so it is possible.

    There are also some people who aren't really jealous.  They probably have the easiest time with feeling compersion for their partners because jealousy doesn't get in the way of their feeling happy when their partners experience joy having sexual and romantic feelings for other people.

    Working in Sex Therapy to Come Up With An Agreement For a Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationship
    Compersion is based on trusting yourself and your partner(s).

    Working on a Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationship Agreement

    If you're considering a consensual nonmonogamous relationship and you want to build trust with your partner(s), it's important that you and your partner(s) have a written agreement that you negotiate together.  

    Most psychotherapists and couples therapists aren't trained to work with unconventional relationships that include compersion.  

    Therapists who aren't trained in sex therapy often pathologize alternative relationship choices, including consensual nonmonogamy and kinky sex, which will only confuse you.

    Seek help from a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in modern sex therapy (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?).

    About Me
    I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and modern Sex Therapist.

    I am a sex positive therapist who is also a trauma therapist.

    I work with individual adults and couples.

    To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

    To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

    What is Kinky Sex?

    This is the first in a series of articles about kink and kinky sex.

    What is Kinky Sex?
    The terms kink and kinky sex refer to sex that is unconventional-- although what is considered unconventional is very much in the eye of the beholder.  What some people consider unconventional sex seems conventional to others.  But, aside from how people define unconventional sex, there's no doubt that kinky sex has become increasingly popular in recent years.  

    What is Kinky Sex?

    What Are the Different Types of Kinky Sex?
    Although there are different points of view about what kinky sex is, there are some categories that are generally agreed upon, including but not limited to:
      • Bondage: Restricting a person's movement with ropes, handcuffs, silk scarfs and other types of restraints
      • Dominance: Physical and/or psychological dominance over a partner in the bedroom privately and outside the bedroom with others
      • Discipline: Exerting control over a submissive partner through agreed upon rules or punishments 
      • Submission: Submitting to agreed upon rules or punishments by a dominant partner
      • Sadism and Masochism (Sadomasochism): Pleasure derived from either inflicting or receiving agreed upon emotional or physical pain
    • Fantasy and Role Playing: Fantasy and role playing involves creating imagined scenarios that people act out.  This category of kink also includes a wide variety of acts:
      • Talking About Sexual Fantasies: Sexual partners can share their fantasies with each other either in or outside the bedroom (see my article: The 7 Core Sexual Fantasies).
      • Acting Out Sexual Fantasies: People can act out consensual sexual fantasies either inside or outside the bedroom. An example of acting out a private fantasy outside the bedroom would be a couple who go to a bar, pretend not to know each other, and enact a fantasy of picking each other up.  At the other end of the spectrum are people who are at a sex party who act out their fantasies in front of others where everyone is consenting to these activities.
    • Fetishes: Generally, a fetish is treating any nonsexual object or any body part sexually. Fetish play is common, and it's estimated that about 1 out of 4 people are into some type of fetish.  Some of the most common fetishes include:
      • Feet: Feet are the most common body part that are fetishized, especially by men. Feet are connected to legs and legs lead to genitals.
      • Shoes: Shoes are obviously connected to feet.  Shoes are mostly fetishized by men, but some women are also aroused by shoes. The heel of a woman's high heel shoe is considered sexy among people who have this fetish. For those who are into high heels, the idea of having sex with a woman wearing only her high heels is sexually arousing.
    High Heels Are a Common Fetish

      • Underwear: Underwear, especially women's panties, bras or stockings, are sexually arousing for men who are into this fetish. This includes observing someone wearing women's sexy underwear and handling or wearing underwear.
      • Masks: Mask fetishism involves getting sexually aroused by wearing or seeing others wearing a mask.  The masks can be made of any material--leather, rubber or any other type of material. 
    Mask Fetishism

      • Leather: Leather clothing emphasize the shape and curves of the body for men and women. This includes leather jackets, vests, boots, pants, chaps, harnesses and other leather garments. People who are sexually aroused by leather are often part of leather culture, and leather culture is often associated with BDSM. Leather tools are also considered sexually arousing by those who are into leather, including, among other things, whips, restraints and paddles. People who are into this fetish can be aroused by the sight, scent, sound and feel of leather.  Leather is often associated with empowerment and it can be linked with Dressing For Power (DFP).  Leather is often linked with sexual dominance. Leather is also an important part of gay male culture, but anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, can enjoy a leather fetish.
      • Spandex: Spandex is made from a form fitting stretch fabric which is used for clothing worn by gymnasts, swimmers, dancers, gym members, cyclists, circus performers and the general public.  One reason spandex is fetishized is that it appears like a second skin.  Aside from the visual allure of these form fitting garments, spandex is considered by many to be sensuous to the touch. For some, the tightness of the garment is also associated with bondage. 
      • Latex: Although latex might not be as common a fetish as leather, it's a popular fetish for many people. Latex is made from the sap of a rubber tree.  It's strong and stretchy. People can be sexually aroused by either wearing or observing others wearing latex.  Latex clothing includes form fitting outerwear, like catsuits, or underwear.
      • Ears: Ears are sexually arousing and fetishized by many people. This includes kissing, licking or breathing on an ear.  
      • Hair: Many men are attracted to people with beautiful hair, and some women have a preference for men with certain types of hair.
      • Navels: Navel fetishism mostly appeals to men but also some women. People who are into navels, also known as belly buttons, often consider navels to be the center of sexual desire.
      • Tatoos: Getting a tatoos or seeing tatoos is a fetish for many people. 
      • Body Piercings: For people who get turned on by giving or receiving pain, body piercings are often a turn-on.  This tends to be a fetish among younger adults, but adults of all ages can get sexually aroused by piercings.
      • Color: Some people have a fetish for certain colors including red, blue, black and other colors.  Some prefer solid colors and others like combinations of colors or certain patterns.
      • Gerontophilia: Gerontophilia is an attraction to older people by younger adults. Gerontophilia is usually an intense sexual attraction experienced by younger men for older women. It can border on the obsessive. Younger people, both men and women, who have sexual attractions for older people are called gerontophiles. The terms MILF or cougar, which are considered vulgar terms, are associated with gerontophilia. MILF or cougar refers to a sexy mature woman of childbearing age. Similarly, DILF, another term which is considered derogatory by many, refers to a sexy mature man. Just like any other sexual act or fetish, as long as the behavior is consensual, there is no reason to pathologize or stigmatize this behavior (see my articles: Relationships Between Older Women and Younger Men and Can Modern Day Age Gap Relationships Last?).
      • Cuckolding: Cuckolding is big topic onto itself. Historically, the word "cuckold" referred to a husband whose wife was cheating on him with other men. However, the contemporary use of the words cuckold and cuckolding now refers to people who get sexually turned on by watching their spouse or significant other having sex with someone else. Typically, it refers to a man who likes to see his partner with another man, but in practice it can involve any gender or sexual orientation where one person likes to watch a partner having sex with someone else.
      • Adult Diaper Play: Adult diaper play includes getting sexually aroused by wearing or observing someone else wearing diapers. Diaper play can be eroticized or it can involve creating imaginary scenarios where an adult behaves like an infant with another adult.
    • Group Sex: One of the most common sexual fantasies involves group sex, including threesomes.  Group sex involves more than two people.  According to social psychologist and Kinsey research fellow, Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., up to 95% of men and 87% of women have fantasized about group sex with threesomes being the most common fantasy.  People often think of threesomes as one man and two women (FMF which is female-male-female), but threesomes can also be two men and a woman (MFM).  For many people, the fantasy is enough to get them sexually aroused and they don't want to enact it.  Others fantasize about it and get physically involved with group sex at sex parties or in other places where people gather to have sex.
    Group Sex includes Threesomes

    • Voyeurism and Exhibitionism: Voyeurism involves getting sexual gratification from observing an unsuspecting person, so voyeurism is not consensual. Exhibitionism, which involves having sex in a public place, is also considered nonconsensual for those who unwittingly happen upon it in public. Both are criminal offenses, so they are not recommended. These types of activities are different from consensual acts that are observed and enacted in sex clubs, resorts or swingers parties.
    I've attempted to include the most popular forms of kinky sex, but no list is exhaustive in terms of the types of kinks people like.

    As previously mentioned, what is considered kinky sex is based on an individual's perspective and preferences.

    In future articles, I'll continue to discuss kinky sex, including how to talk to your partner about the type of kinky sex you might like (see my articles: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex - Part 1 and Part 2 and Don't Yuk Anybody's Yum).

    About Me
    I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

    I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

    To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

    To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.