The Modern Couple’s Playbook
By: Dr. Jay & Liseth
There’s a smart way and a less smart way to do anything –would you agree?
How many of you would trust a resident in training to do brain surgery on your spouse or child? I wouldn’t! I’d only settle for the best tech, training and tools in the surgical suite to raise the odds that a sensitive procedure goes as perfect as possible – agreed?
Yet, many within the erotic lifestyle (we understand because we work with couples globally and have worked with many of you!) approach participating in the lifestyle with a … (sorry to be critical here)… somewhat novice approach lacking the due diligence and attention to detail that one should have when opening the boundaries of a committed exclusive relationship to the uncharted, exciting but equally dangerous, if not managed right territory, of the erotic life.
The Erotic Lifestyle = A Nuclear Reactor
First, let’s do a gut check:
Erotic Intimacy can be a spiritual gift that takes your relationship to new depths of emotional and psychological connection as we reveal core aspects of ourselves through the language of sexuality. Mutual consent, unconventionality, organic, raw, spontaneous, creativity, imagination and fantasy – all good …
Yes … AND …
Here’s what’s also true but often not respected as much as it needs to be:
Being in the erotic lifestyle is like having access to a nuclear reactor –
It can light a city or implode one.
It can add spice, variety, adventure, fun, novelty, personal and relationship growth and deep meaningful friendships, OR, it can lead to a disaster IF you don’t manage it the way it needs to be. We know. We’ve helped many couples pick up the pieces after a breakdown even when all the intentions were good.
Let’s Play “Smart”, Shall We?
As professional clinician-coaches we have logged a lot of coaching and therapy hours on this topic and are prepared to ensure your prep for the adventure of a lifetime goes as planned. As a result of that work we have come to think there is such a thing as, Smart Erotica, and have designed an entire “playbook” around how to have smart conversations about your sexual, erotic and sensual life together as a couple.
The Smart Erotica Program© (for more information go to www.soulmatesforlife.us) is the modern couple’s playbook for bringing emotional intelligence and sensual design into your sexual and erotic life together. Smart Erotica © “maps” the “7 Conversations” of the world’s only science-backed lifestyle relationship assessment, the Lifestyle Inventory Check-Up® (LIC), and guides you and your partner through a process where the most important questions to enhance and protect your relationship in the erotic journey get answered. Then, together, you align around a set of agreements, deepen your trust and intimacy in doing so and set the conditions for future success as a couple.
The LIC guides couples through structured conversations in seven (7) areas:
- Unfiltered Communication
- Sexuality vs. Eroticism
- Rituals & Routines
Today, couples have choices about how to live their life together. It is possible to be passionate lovers, best friends, enjoy erotic experiences together and live consistent with your highest values – IF, you design a conscious relationship that is based on mutual trust and respect. That doesn’t happen by accident and is a by-product of relationship design which is our passion and expertise.
This is the first in a new series entitled, “Smart Erotic: The Modern Couple’s Playbook” that will offer you a practical blueprint for how to protect your relationship while you are spicing it up in the uncharted world of erotic intimacy.
How to Prepare Yourself & Your Relationship for Erotica?
“Blind spots” can be deadly. We all have them. However, when opening the boundaries of an exclusive relationship, wherever you are on the erotic lifestyle continuum from spicy monogamy (e.g. watching porn or going to a strip club together), to soft or full swap, to polyamory, abandoning common sense and smart choices to the whims of your organic instincts unfolding in the heat of a lifestyle erotic moment is not a prudent strategy when you look at what’s potentially at stake.
May we ask you a few important questions?
- What if you and your partner had the important conversations every lifestyle couple should have together BEFORE you go into an erotic moment?
- What if you had a map to guide you through the essential conversations and you knew the questions to ask yourself and your partner?
- What if you had a way of identifying the areas in your relationship most vulnerable because you haven’t had those conversations?
The answer to these questions is what inspired us to design the only assessment of its kind, the Lifestyle Inventory Check-Up® (LIC) which will guide you on the erotic lifestyle journey and coach you to experience the best parts of an erotic lifestyle to infuse your partnership with passion, not new problems.
Have You Had a “LIC” Lately?
The first step in preparing for the erotic lifestyle is to ask smart questions of yourself first, and then, your partner by having several crucial dialogues that this article series will guide you through.
There are seven (7) specific “conversations” made up of “smart questions” you and your partner should ask yourself to make sure the nuclear reactor of the erotic lifestyle “lights” your relationship house for years and moments to come!
Importantly, the LIC can be used for newbies or senior veterans in the erotic lifestyle. Communication characterized by vulnerability, depth, full openness and transparency are prerequisites for trust and mutual respect – the stuff strong and fulfilling relationships are made of.
Quick coaching tip: Ask yourself these questions without judgment and with curiosity!
Here is a description and key questions to ask as you prepare yourself and your relationship for the path ahead:
Your first task is to ask yourself the “why” question and be clear and explicit with each other as to what “purpose” participating in the erotic lifestyle serves for each of you. This is essential to decrease the anxiety of vulnerability around the normal questions this decision will trigger like – “Do we have a problem I don’t know about”? Or “Why do you desire someone or something that I can’t give you”? The answer to these questions provides emotional safety that creates the certainty necessary to explore freely absent the fear something is missing or “I lack what my partner is wanting”.
- Why am I interested in the Erotic Lifestyle?
- What is/are your personal reason(s) for choosing to participate in the Erotic Lifestyle?
- Are you trying to fix a problem or put something into your relationship that is missing? If so, what’s missing? Are you complying to please or placate your partner?
- Unfiltered Communication
Some of the strongest couples we work with are those committed to an erotic lifestyle. Why? The vulnerability they create with each other. Couple’s in the lifestyle who use the experience to enrich their relationships have NO MISSING OR INCOMPLETE conversations! They talk about EVERYTHING in an emotional climate of non-judgment, mutual respect for differences (even if they feel weird or scared to say it out loud) and are open and curious versus secretive about their desires, motives, needs, fantasies and experiences they want through the erotic lifestyle.
Success Formula: Vulnerability + Emotional Safety = Trust & Bonding
- Can you speak openly about all topics or do you censor yourself and say what you think is safe and acceptable?
- What are your real desires, wishes, fantasies, arousal needs and what does ‘erotic play and fun’ look like to you?
- What conversation “should” happen BEFORE you experience an erotic encounter together?
We believe conflict is opportunity and growth waiting to happen … IF… you know how to fight well and fight fair! It is important to set the conditions for success in the erotic lifestyle by accepting upfront that what is, IS, meaning that “shit happens” and you cannot predict or anticipate every nuance that will occur. You CAN minimize those situations by asking smart questions and committing to a process for “how to” resolve conflict better (stay tuned for another article and video series on that!). The commitment is not to have all the answers but to turn toward one another to learn and grow from each experience you encounter on the journey together.
- What is our strategy for positively dealing with breakdowns and/or disconnects?
- How will we ‘repair’ if a conflict or disagreement happens? (e.g. specific action steps you will both take regardless of what happens)
- How will we deal with incompatible interests, preferences and likes? (e.g. ‘I like to play with other couples’ vs. ‘I only want to watch others play’)
- Sexuality Vs. Eroticism
A very important distinction we teach is the difference between Sexuality vs. Eroticism: Sex is more about frequency, duration, quality and performance whereas Eroticism is much more about desire, imagination, creativity and connection. Another way to understand the difference is that with sexuality you bring technique and tactic to improve it with eroticism you bring soul and sensuality to it; both are necessary but neither sufficient to have a satisfying and fulfilling relationship where both people’s needs are met.
- What type of sexual experiences are you interested in pursuing alone/together/with others? What are your primary/secondary turn-on’s and turn-off’s?
- What type of erotic experiences turn you on/off that you want to explore? What erotica would you like to have more/less of in your relationship?
- Where on the monogamy-polyamory continuum are you most/least comfortable?
Relationships thrive or dive on the clarity of their boundaries. Essential for positive erotica in the lifestyle is for there to be mutual understanding, full and complete communication and explicit conversation about “what’s OK and what’s not OK” in all aspects of the lifestyle you have interest in exploring together. This is where it gets down to the nitty-gritty of what my “emotional safety zone” looks like, why it’s that way, where the comfort zone is and where the red zone of NO-GO enters the picture. Boundaries are ESSENTIAL because they give a couple a blue print and permission for how to manage the intense arousal and incoming stimuli you will be exposed to in erotic lifestyle situations. They serve the purpose of “keeping certain things in” and “keeping certain things out” that are aligned with your core values, driving needs and fantasy/imagination – all a delicate alchemy that must be carefully balanced for success.
- What am I comfortable with/not comfortable with, how often, where and why? (e.g. partner preferences, 3-ways, couples, f/f, m/f/m, f/m/f, kink, voyeurism, play together/separate) – Be specific and no holding back here!
- What do I need to feel physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually safe? Why is that important?
- Are there any ‘rules’ that would decrease anxiety or uncertainty I have about any part of the lifestyle experience?
Ok – now that you are aligned, have unfiltered transparent conversations, a plan for breakdowns and conflict, a map of interests, likes and preferences and clarity around boundaries to keep your relationship safe and thriving, you need to know exactly what you’re signing up for – what are the “Do’s” and “Do Not’s”. Now, this is less about “rules and conformity” and much more about mutual respect and permission you come to consensual agreement about. Then, choose to honor on behalf of respect for your partner and the relationship you value. There’s always 3 people in every relationship: You, Me and US and all parties need a voice and representation especially true for those who adventure into the exciting and sometimes risky terrain of an erotic lifestyle.
- What specifically are we agreeing to do and/or not do and why? (e.g. be descriptive – “we only play together in the same room” or “we can play at the same party in different rooms”)
- What happens if something we agree to doesn’t happen as we agreed? How will we address breakdowns and/or misunderstandings?
- If one of us wants to change the agreement, what and how should we accomplish that?
- Rituals & Routines
Preserving the integrity and sanctity of your love is core to nurturing your relationship bond and crucial to a healthy, enduring partnership regardless of where you fall on the erotic continuum. At Soul-Mates For Life (www.soulmatesforlife.us) we teach that it’s not about “finding” the right partner, but rather, about “becoming” the right partner for who you are with. That asks some things of each individual in a partnership (more to come in another video on this!) but begins with “rituals of connection” that are unique to your relationship. We recommend before going into an erotic lifestyle situation to have exclusive bonding time with one another (e.g. good sex, mutual massage, date night, taking the Lifestyle Inventory Check-Up© and talk about it) to form an anchor experience that your playtime can be grounded in. Remember: Ideally, the erotic lifestyle is not designed to replace something, but to add to an already stable and fulfilling relationship that enhances what you already enjoy. We also suggest that after an erotic playtime a “ritual of connection” is used to integrate, process and re-connect between you ensuring you learn, grow, process and evolve together on the amazing journey a lifestyle experience can offer to couples who choose it.
- What are some of the most fulfilling and meaningful ways you connect with each other?
- What is your primary “love language”, or how you experience love and connection together (stay tuned for another video on Love Languages!) and what specific actions can your partner take to “speak” it?
- What will be our “ritual of connection” before and after erotic playtime together?
Stay tuned if you want to take the actual LIC – Lifestyle Inventory Check-Up© and walk with us through the next series of articles that will coach you on each of the seven (7) conversations of the LIC.
We work with couples committed to having an extraordinary relationship of their choosing and would like to be your relationship tour guides as you embark on the journey ahead. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or want more information!
Written by: Dr. Jay and Liseth
Truth & Passion
Jay Ferraro, Ph.D., MBA
“Soul Mates are Created, Not Found”
About the Authors: Dr. Jay & Liseth
Dr. Jay and Liseth bring a wealth of seasoned real-world experience to their work of ‘Relationship Mastery’ where together they coach, teach and facilitate programs (public seminars and private retreats) that teach the art and science of “soulmating” (erotic passion + deep friendship = lovers for life).
Liseth is a self-made entrepreneur with successful businesses in real estate and international modeling. A Venezuelan goddess who manifested her vision in the United States by becoming a Master Certified Coach (with specialties in wellness, nutrition, life and relationship coaching) and who now works with women to unleash the power of their sacred feminine birthright to live passionate lives of their choosing. Along with her Soul-Mate, Dr. Jay Ferraro, she is co-founder of Soul Mates For Life, an international training, coaching and consulting firm dedicated to couples committed to designing extraordinary relationships of their choosing.
The author of the best-selling book, “Surprised by Love” Dr. Jay has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America (Australia), The Dr. Drew Show, the Oprah Winfrey Network and is a regular contributor to O Magazine and Psychology Today taking on all the taboo topics others won’t touch. His work is international with celebrities, professional athletes and C-suite executives and their teams as an organizational psychologist and peak performance coach teaching his brand of personal and professional mastery.
This dynamic duo bring credentials (licensed clinician/trained psychologist and master certified coach) and proven strategies that work sharing their passionate love story to inspire others to live full out as Soul-Mates For Life!
Connect with them at www.soulmatesforlife.us!