Kink, ENM and Authority Transfer


Eroticism & sexuality are central to self and relational life. The Sexual Crucible, my original practice model, led me to integrate sexuality into relational therapy. In 2000, that differentiation-based approach supported my focus on kinky clients, alternative sexualities and relationship structures.

Kinky clients deserve therapists with a comprehensive understanding of kink experience: psychological, emotional, physical/medical, social and legal. They also deserve a therapist with seasoned clinical skills. This means creating client safety and establishing a strong alliance. To clients who identify as kinky, I offer an addendum to my standard disclosure statement. 

Many clients do not present with kink-related or ENM problems. Yet I maintain a detailed understanding of kink-related injuriesMost kinky clients also experience minority stress. For some, it’s built on top of anxiety already experienced due to racial,  gender and orientation inequality.

The Kink Clinical Practice Guidelines is the current reference standard for kink-affirmative healthcare. There’s also a detailed scale that establishes therapist competence and proficiency.

International Kink Health Study (IKHS)

In December 2019,  I was invited to join The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA). As a Research Associate in a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers, I helped develop the mental health sections of the International Kink Health Study, a multi-year longitudinal cohort study launched in 2021.

ENM & Authority Transfer proficient

ENM re-configures commitment and desire – the “twin drive wheels” of relational life. This sparks developmental change, especially in those who grew up in a monogamy-dominant culture (that’s nearly everybody.) 

It can take years to master ENM partnering skills, such as true transparency and jealousy management. It’s all about learning over time how to make high-integrity agreements. ENM gradually builds those skills. It can help shape people into having clear boundaries and high self-awareness. 

Similar to kink populations, ENM faces social stigma and minority stress at work, in families and under the law. Race, gender and sexuality inequalities add to this stress. To address a growing minority’s healthcare needs, ENM practice standards are emerging, via the APA Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy, and elsewhere. There is supportive professional literature here, here and elsewhere.

Authority Transfer Relationships

Authority transfer relationships require a voluntary, consensual agreement by the partners that establishes one partner as holding a comprehensive degree of authority over the other(s). Each such relationship configures the authority differently. As with ENM, it usually takes several years of dedicated effort to develop the skills necessary to maintain and grow these relationships.