How do you feel about being able to control someone’s sex toy from a thousand miles away? How do you feel about 3D, virtual reality porn that immerses the viewer into the center of the action like never before possible? Are these just good, dirty fun or cheating?
High tech expressions of sexuality have been increasingly affecting our clients’ sexual experiences and opportunities. Therapists need to be prepared to help couples find effective ways to negotiate how this new sex tech impacts their relationship, solo sex life, and shared sex life. Current and forthcoming sex technology will challenge some clients’ perceptions of loyalty and the often contentious grey area between fidelity and infidelity. In order to be most effective, therapists need to be aware of their own sexual values and beliefs as they facilitate conversations about how this sex technology fits into individuals’ and couples’ sex lives.
Internet-enabled, interactive sex toys allow users to control each other’s sex toys from anywhere in the world. Hyper-realistic virtual reality porn immerses consumers more than ever possible before. Do these increasingly interactive and realistic experiences blur the line between enhanced solo activities and infidelity? And what do they reveal about how we each define fidelity?
This seminar will begin by discussing what fidelity agreements are, the purposes they serve, how couples typically create them, and how to help clients negotiate more helpful agreements. We will then briefly discuss how to help individuals and couples make a well reasoned decision about standard porn. Within this, we will help clients decide where masturbation fits within their shared sex life. This will all set the stage for the second half which will familiarize clinicians with the current state of a rapidly growing world of sex tech and allow ample opportunities for self-reflection about what these technological developments reveal about our own beliefs about fidelity. This greater self-awareness will enable therapists to more effectively help clients negotiate issues of intimacy, honest disclosure, fidelity, and sexual satisfaction within the scope of this emerging high tech sex world.
Note: This is an expanded version of Dr. Tuckman’s standing-room only presentation at this year’s AASECT conference.
After this seminar, attendees will be able to:
- Explain how high tech sex toys challenge individuals, couples, and therapists to define fidelity more precisely.
- Describe the current state of high tech sex toys and discuss how they impact perceptions of fidelity.
- Describe the current options of high tech porn and sex toys and how these new developments can promote differentiation and a positive discussion about each person’s fidelity needs.
- Discuss their own beliefs and values about solo sexuality within the context of a relationship in order to see more clearly how these beliefs and values impact their clinical work.
5 min: Introduction
35 min Fidelity Agreements – What they are, how individuals and couples create them, how vague fidelity agreements invite relationship problems
50 min: Standard Porn – Where do porn and masturbation fit within relationships? The difference between secret and private. Is porn an individual or relationship problem? Negotiating disagreements about porn.
1.5 hours: High Tech Sex Toys – How high tech sex toys challenge individuals, couples, and therapists to define fidelity more precisely. Describe the current state of high tech sex toys and discuss how they impact perceptions of fidelity.
Ari Tuckman, PsyD, CST is a psychologist and certified sex therapist in private practice in West Chester, PA, specializing in diagnosing and treating children, teens, and adults with ADHD, as well as couples and sex therapy. He has appeared on CNN, National Public Radio, and XM Radio and been quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USnews.com, The Daily Mail (UK) and many other media outlets. He is a former board member and current conference committee co-chair for CHADD, the national ADHD advocacy organization.