What's Your Ideal Relationship Structure?

Strict monogamy? Hot monogamy? Open? Poly? Something else? The LoveSmarter™ Method pinpoints the ideal relationship structure for your unique needs, desires, and fears.

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Suffocating in unsatisfying monogamy

Rachel is frustrated. On the surface, she has it all. A loving husband of 22 years. Four healthy, well-adjusted children. A close-knit family she adores. A great job she’s excited to wake up for in the morning. A gorgeous home on the water. She’s the envy of everyone around her.

But on the inside, Rachel isn’t fully thriving. She and Noah have sex a couple of times a month – it’s still pretty great after all these years, and she comes every time – but let’s be honest, that’s a lot of years. Aside from a one-off infidelity early on, they have been entirely monogamous for over two decades, and she is done with it. There’s a constant feeling that something is missing. A voice keeps asking: “Is this all there is?” She craves to taste someone new, someone different, something different.

Rachel is a highly sexual, explorative person. She has a high sex drive and a need for erotic novelty and adventure. Before she met Noah, she had fun playing the field for a bit. She even had a threesome (though everyone was drunk, and it’s all a blur, so she’d like a sober re-do, please?) But then she fell in love and decided Noah would make a great partner to settle down and have a family with (she was right). She put her wild fantasies behind her. But denying that crucial part of herself for so long has made her feel a little dead inside. Turning 50 this year made her feel like the clock is ticking and it is time to be fully happy with her sexual life. She wants to expand her horizons with other people.

Noah is not like that. He enjoys sex and finds Rachel really attractive, but he’s perfectly happy with their twice-a-month routine. Noah just doesn’t have the same sex drive that Rachel does, nor does he have her level of sexual adventurousness. He feels nagged by her constant asking for more. He’s all for continuing to throw in the occasional new thing, like when they’ve explored anal, role-play, or sex on the beach, and he’s grateful Rachel has been open to experimenting. But he doesn’t need other people and definitely doesn’t want the complications and difficult emotions other people will bring.

She’s brought up an open relationship in the past, but Noah’s never been receptive to the idea. He doesn’t want to deal with the feelings of jealousy he knows will hit him like a ton of bricks, the sexual health concerns he’ll have to worry about, or the external judgment he’ll have to endure from his more conservative friends and family. And he just can’t shake off this feeling that Rachel’s interest in exploring outside the relationship means that he is somehow not enough or that she’s unsatisfied with him. Not to mention, he’s afraid opening up the relationship could open the door to losing the stability and security their partnership gives them. He loves their life and family and wants nothing to change that.

Rachel doesn’t want to leave either, but she’s feeling more and more stifled. She’s been suppressing her needs and frustration for far too long and can’t do it much longer. She feels like she might even end up cheating, and she really doesn’t want that. But she also doesn’t want to go to her grave without having explored more.

Rachel and Noah Open Things Up

Rachel and Noah finally have The Conversation they should’ve had two decades ago.

They begin to understand and appreciate each other’s needs and boundaries in ways they never have before. Noah understands that Rachel’s desire to be non-monogamous has nothing to do with her dissatisfaction with him. Rachel understands how potentially threatening to their relationship opening up could be if done haphazardly.

They eventually design an Open-Mono relationship where Rachel gets to explore her curiosities on her own, and Noah is not pressured to do things he’s not interested in (if he changes his mind, he can open up in the future). They set a clear container of boundaries and agreements around Rachel’s explorations, and decide how she’ll communicate her experience with Noah so that she feels fulfilled (even if she can’t get everything she wants right away), and he feels safe and loved enough not to be threatened by them.

Noah’s working with a nonmonogamy-experienced individual therapist to manage his feelings of jealousy and confront his shame about being a “cuckold.” She’s working with me to ensure her explorations are healthy, safe, and pleasurable for everyone involved.

They are both finally thriving.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sex and relationships.

Our whole lives, we’ve been told there is only one way to live and love: complete, lifelong monogamy. That all other ways, if at all possible, are morally wrong, physically and mentally unhealthy, or simply inferior.

And that, if for some reason, you don’t want or aren’t happy with that one way – if you want more or less than one sexual or romantic partner, then there’s something wrong with you, your partners, or your relationships.

Either endure lifelong repression sacrificing all other desires at the altar of strict monogamy, or jump from one monogamous relationship to another, hoping the next one will be “The One” and will quench all your thirst for the Other.

The Truth is…

There are many ways to love,
and they’re all equally beautiful and valid.

They can all be done in healthy, intentional, ethical ways,
or in unhealthy, unintentional, unethical ways.

The choice is yours.

Hi, I’m Dr. Zhana.

I’m a relationship consultant, a pleasure advocate, and a dream maker. My life’s mission is to help people make smarter decisions about their sex and love lives and rid the world of mediocre, or worse – toxic – relationships.

I have a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, ten years of teaching Human Sexuality at New York University, 15 years consulting individuals, couples, and polycules of all sizes, and a lifetime of bold, unapologetic, unencumbered explorations into all corners of the worlds of sexuality and romance that few people (especially women) have dared explore.

Our intimate relationships are one of the critical factors determining the health and happiness of our overall lives. And we have a lot of control over them. More control than people have ever had in our long evolutionary history. And more control than we have over most other factors that greatly determine the quality of our lives, health, and happiness: pandemics, wars, global warming, the economy, politics… So let’s exercise that control.

We live in a world of unprecedented opportunities. All our wildest dreams can come true. But we also live in a world of unparalleled risks. All our worst nightmares can also come true.

Zhana Vrangalova

Luckily, if you’re ready to start making smarter decisions about your sex and love life, science and technology already have a lot of the answers.


You just need to know what your options are.


Find the one that’s right for you given your unique psychological makeup and your life circumstances.


Then develop the skills to do this option well, maximizing pleasure and minimizing harm for everyone involved.

That’s what my science-based LoveSmarter™ Method does for you. It gives you a map of the relationship landscape, a compass to orient yourself, a GPS to provide step-by-step directions to get you where you’re going, and a toolkit to develop the skills you need to navigate your journey safely.

*Names and stories are composite narratives and do not reflect actual clients.

How I Can Help?

Private Consulting

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Online Course

Work at your own pace.

Talks / Workshops

Connect about speaking, media requests, or collaborations.

Therapist Consulting

Consult with me about your nonmonogamous clients.

Here are the latest articles from the Sex Science Saturday Newsletter!

I’m a relationship consultant, a pleasure advocate, and a dream maker. My life’s mission is to help people make smarter decisions about their sex and love lives and rid the world of mediocre, or worse – toxic – relationships.