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Past Tips


Open Marriages

  • Swapping partners (By Alex Robboy, LSW)

  • Open Marriage (By Chris Fariello)

HTHGS: Swapping Partners

Ask Alex,
I have a slight situation.  That I am puzzled about. My wife and I are open-minded about sex.  Although we have only swapped partners on one occasion we have discussed the topic several times.  Well I recently had a birthday, and for my birthday my wife arranged for one of her close friend to join us intimately.  On the night of my birthday my wife brought her friend home and openly expressed what they intended to do with me.  Of course I was completely aroused, but also somewhat nervous.  After my birthday dinner out we all came home.  As soon as we were all in the house, clothes started flying,  both my wife and her friend were standing in front of me naked.  They then proceeded to undress me and we all engaged in various sexual activities.  At the end of the evening I had had sex with them both several times.  I'm normally not a marathon sex person but the stimulation was overwhelming.  Well last weekend her friend came back to our house to stay with us while she had her apartment painted.  She made herself at home so much so that she felt comfortable enough to walk around our house completely naked in the evening.  This did not seem to bother my wife at all.  But on one occasion when my wife went to the corner store.  Her friend made an advancement at me.  And we ended up having sex while my wife was gone, now I feel guilt because I did not tell my wife when she returned home nor did her friend.  That was last weekend and I know my wife is planning on having her back to our house this weekend and I'm concerned the same thing may happen again.  I love my wife and don't want to hurt her but feel that she may be upset if she knew that I engaged in sex with her friend while she was gone even though she arranged for her friend to join us for my birthday. What should I do? Confused

Dear Confused,
First, tell your wife exactly what you told me.  She needs to know a) what happened and b) that she is your number one priority.  In an open relationship, which is what the two of you are experimenting with, the number one rule is HONESTY. The number two rule is that no matter what your partners needs come first. If she, for whatever reason becomes uncomfortable with a situation, (feels like you are crossing a boundary) than she needs to know the facts, so that she can make an informed decision for herself.  You might be surprised, with a bit of dialogue, the two of you might find yourselves more open than your initially suspected.  However, without communication you will be finding yourself  in this awkward situation that you are currently in.  By not sharing with your wife what you and this other woman did you are creating ‘secrets’ and thus effectively ‘cheating’ on her with her best friend. Now you and this woman will have ‘bonded’ at the expense of your wife. However, by telling your wife, this sexual get together that you had with this other woman will become something that you and your wife can bond over together and get closer through this discussion. This happens because your wife will know that she is always number one and there is nothing that you are doing without her consent!


Ps.  Because this is all new and unchartered territory for the two of you, make sure you tell her that you would never do anything to jeopardize this marriage and that this woman, at least compared to the relationship that the two of you has means nothing. Thus, if she wants you never to talk with this woman again, that would be fine. If she wants to maintain a relationship with her, without you that would be fine. The most important thing to you is that your wife feels comfortable with the situation and you are wondering what her needs are!

 This tip was originally written by Alex Robboy, LSW



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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
     The purpose of this site is to share information. Thus, if you have any ideas, thoughts or information that you believe others might benefit from, please e-mail your tip to and I  will be sure to include it on either our weekly newsletter or here on the actual website. 

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