Episode 35: The Guide To Opening Up A Relationship

May 20, 2021 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 35: The Guide To Opening Up A Relationship

One of the most common questions I get asked as a sex educator is how to open up a monogamous relationship. People ask about this for a wide range of reasons. For example, some folks have always wanted to do it, but never knew quite how to go about it. Others just want to try something new and different, or find the idea exciting. Yet others are in long-distance relationships and seeking to provide a sexual outlet. So what do you need to know if you’re thinking about giving this a try?

For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I spoke with certified sex therapist Martha Kauppi. Her private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, specializes in complex relational therapy, sex issues, and family structures. She is the founding director of the Institute for Relational Intimacy and author of the new book Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients).

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including:

  • What draws people to open and polyamorous relationships in the first place?
  • How does having an open relationship tend to work out?
  • What are the questions you need to ask yourself if you’re thinking about opening up your relationship?
  • What are the key things you need to discuss with your partner before opening up?
  • What goes into a successful relationship agreement, and how do you make an agreement you can actually stick to?
  • What is “new relationship energy” and why is this a double-edged sword in open and polyamorous relationships?
  • What are the most common problems that arise in open relationships, and how do you deal with them?
  • What if you open up your relationship, but one partner wants to go back to being monogamous and the other doesn’t?

To learn more about Martha, visit her website here and be sure to check out her new book, Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients).


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Credits: LEGIT Audio (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.


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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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