Fidelity is upheld as the gold standard for a happy marriage.
But according to Harley Street relationship counsellor Louise Van Der Velde involving other people in your intimate life could be the key to a healthy relationship.
The 42-year-old widowed mother tells FEMAIL she believes ‘everyone should swing’ to save their long-term relationships.
Louise, who is known as the ‘Pleasure Professor’, hosts two-day seminars for ‘rich, good-looking couples’ – often culminating in group sex on plush cushions – in a London hotel for around 70 selected people at a time.
‘If I had my way the whole of society would be swinging together,’ Louise says.
‘We have an image of sex with strangers as sleazy and dirty, but this is about getting back to soul truth, that no one owns anybody else, we don’t own our partners.’
The relationship counsellor, adds: ‘It’s about stopping jealousy and replacing fears with love.’
Louise, originally from Harrogate, Yorkshire, has been in open relationships on-and-off since her doctor husband died 13 years ago.
The mother-of-two, who has a son, 20, and daughter, 15, splits her time between Camberley, Surrey, and Marbella, where she initially hosted smaller, ‘celebrity attended’ sex parties.
She argues sex with strangers will create a marriage no one would want to leave.
‘Doing this stops infidelity,’ she says. ‘If you explore your desires together, any fear about your other person cheating goes.
‘After our work together couples often go and play and experience things together. Why on earth would you think of having an affair when you ave a relationship like this?’
The sex guru invites single women as well as couples to the events, which involve a 70 per cent to 30 per cent ratio of women to men, ‘to ensure it does not become a sausage fest’.
The invites are also based on couples’ desires. ‘Most couples want a threesome with another woman,’ Louise explains.
‘The people who come are affluent, good-looking, professional couples. They are young – I don’t accept anyone over 45, and are mostly around 30 to 45.’
Participants, who are also vetted for attractiveness and reasons for attending before being accepted, then embark on 48 hours of tantric touching, phallic meals, emotional workshops and unleashing the ‘kundalini serpent’ of sexual desire.
Louise, who believes monogamy is a ‘lie’ sold to society as a whole, insists her sex parties are not purely about lust.
She argues they ‘deepen the connection’ between couples – and successful pairs even leave with a certificate.
‘In the seminar we start off very gently, we look at where people got their beliefs from about why they are monogamous. Mostly it’s a limiting belief. An “I got married so I expected to have sex with one person”, or “it’s what society and marriage say you should do”.
‘I loosen up this belief by going back to very first time they were sold the lie about being monogamous – which can be as early as when they were seven or eight years old.’
Louise says her own children know about and are comfortable with her work.
She explains: ‘They have very much been brought up to be mindful with sex. They are both selective about who they engage with and are well balanced.
‘I have taught them the opposite of what society does, that sex is not taboo.’
The sex guru, says her seminars culminate in, optional, sexual experiences in a ‘comfy, cushion-lined, candlelit separate space’.