"There are many things that I would like to say to you, I just don't know how"
"What we dwell on we become."
Are you in an unconventional partnership—such as an ethically non-monogamous/polyamorous relationship—or into kink and looking for ways to integrate new experiences into your sex life?
Do you ascribe to a lifestyle that is misunderstood or stigmatized by society at large?
Or are you a sex worker searching for meaningful support as you navigate the complexities of your identity and profession?
Living in what may be deemed as an “alternative lifestyle” by the conventions of society, you may struggle with communication, boundary-setting, and questions concerning your identity. Perhaps you grapple with feelings of shame and a fear of being judged.
It’s likely that if you have sought counseling for your alternative lifestyle in the past, you were met by a
therapist who pathologized or made you feel that something was wrong with your choices as they relate to intimacy, relationships, or work in the sex industry. As a result, you may struggle with obstacles to your mental health along with lifestyle-specific issues that have caused you to feel isolated and misunderstood.
You may be curious about elements of kink—including BDSM and other exciting sexual experiences—and how to introduce them into your sex life. Whether you’re single or partnered, it’s possible that you’re wondering how to communicate your desires without being shamed or judged.
Similarly, you may be having communication issues if you’re a couple trying to explore the possibilities of ethical non-monogamy. Feelings of guilt, jealousy, and a lack of meaningful boundaries are likely to arise in polyamorous partner orientations, and you and your significant other might benefit from counseling as you navigate goals and fears in opening up your relationship.
Alternatively, you may be a sex worker who often feels the need to hide or lie about the nature of your work. Perhaps you’ve disclosed information to therapists or other providers in the past only to immediately assume that you’re unhealthy in some way.
Our therapists aren’t interested in judging or pathologizing you, no matter the alternative lifestyle you lead. We will work with you in counseling to help you fully embrace your identity as you start letting go of the shame and stigma that society has inflicted on your choices.
Alternative lifestyle choices such as polyamory, kink, and sex work are often villainized in our puritanical culture when in fact, such identities are incredibly common. For instance, a 2016 study found that one-fifth of the adult population in the US has engaged in ethical non-monogamy at some point. And that same year, research found that around 75 percent of people have a fetish.
Similarly, sex work is very common and slowly becoming destigmatized (and decriminalized) in our society. However, because protective laws are not regulated in this industry, sex workers face a wide array of dangers in their profession and continue to be dehumanized by society at large.
Bias toward alternative lifestyles often originates in ignorance and a narrow worldview of what is and is not acceptable in relationships and sexual preferences. Our cultural norms often go against lifestyles involving kink, polyamory, or sex work, perpetuating fear and a lack of self-acceptance for those forging their own paths.
These factors ultimately contribute to minority stress—or stress that takes place due to being part of a marginalized/oppressed group of society—often resulting in PTSD, anxiety and depression, and other obstacles to mental health.
You can begin to work independently with these helpful tips as you firm up your decision to engage and register for an appointment.
On this page you can learn more about what to expect in therapy, its benefits, and possible interventions used in sessions. If you are ready to journey together . . .
ReAM is a place where you can find affirmation and support no matter how you identify. In therapy for alternative lifestyles, you can build the resilience you need to manage stress and create a fulfilling existence.
Living poly, with a kink, or as a sex worker, you’re probably not used to feeling accepted and understood wholeheartedly by healthcare providers. At ReAM are here to approach your challenges with an open mind and affirming techniques so that you can start to heal and live as authentically as possible.
Counseling begins with a standard intake process that will address your presenting issues, concerns, and goals for therapy. Once you pair with one of our culturally competent clinicians, you will meet with them for an initial session in which you will collaborate on a treatment plan.
We use a combination of trauma-informed approaches that help our patients reduce minority stress. We treat the whole person and will tailor counseling for alternative lifestyles in a way that will help you understand and minimize the impact that stigma has had on you.
If you’re interested in exploring your kink and other elements of your sexual appetite, ReAM works with both individuals and couples in sex therapy. Your provider will help you approach your desires with curiosity and openness so that you can begin to clarify goals and work toward a healthy, fulfilling sexual dynamic for both you and your partner(s).
In addition, we offer counseling to couples who are curious about creating an open relationship. Given our training on ethical non-monogamy, our therapists understand how polyamorous lifestyles work and what they need to thrive. We will work with you and your significant other(s) to attain and maintain healthy partnership dynamics.
On the other hand, if you’re a sex worker looking for a safe place where you can discuss your personal and professional experiences, our clinicians are here to treat you with the utmost respect and dignity as we work together to address your concerns in counseling. We understand that there are many reasons beyond your profession that have caused you to seek therapy, and we will not make assumptions about what brings you to our practice.
No matter your alternative lifestyle, therapy allows you to gain the emotional awareness, communication, and coping skills needed to fully embrace your identity, relationships, and desires.
At the end of the day, we’re here to help you clarify what your own goals are. And because we know everyone’s values are different, we’ll define what value-based living looks like to you. Then we’ll ask the question, “What would it look like if you were living more consistently with your values?” Instead of feeling powerless in your situation, we’ll explore what’s within your control. We’ll identify what you can do to make changes that support your goals. Finally, we’ll establish maintenance practices for preventing and preparing you to sustain your progress and to meet future challenges independently.