Instagram Sex Q&A – Sex as a Commodity?

Sex and Intimacy

Our Instagram collaboration with @christianswhocursesometimes continues (happens every-other Monday). What follows is last Monday’s Q&A.

Also, if you’re on Instagram be sure to follow @sexymarriageradio

Here are the questions asked, along with my replies….

Question: What is your advice for couples where the woman hasn’t managed to have completely pain-free sex even once in the marriage? And please don’t come with “you need to find the right position”. Really gets old.

Dr Allan’s Reply: Painful sex is something that no person (man or woman) should have to experience – unless that is something the person is in to, but that’s a different topic.

If a woman regularly experiences pain during intercourse then the first thing to rule out is any physical factors via her OBGYN. And sometimes it is necessary to get a second opinion with this exploration as well, specifically from a doc who has a specialty in the area of vaginal pain. Beyond a physical examination it is helpful to address the other physical aspects of intercourse. Does she experience sufficient lubrication throughout an encounter? Does her vulva (medically correct term for the female genitalia) experience engorgement to aid in penetration? Is the pain felt all through the experience or only at the beginning, middle or end?

The other area to explore is the mental and emotional aspect of sex. What anxiety does she feel during the build up of sex? During the encounters? What story does she tell herself (or have you told her) about how sex should be? The scripts we play during sex and surrounding our sex life can cause all kinds of anxieties if we’re not aware of them and can confront them better.

The beautiful thing about sex in marriage is we get to write, and rewrite, these scripts all the way through.

After ruling out any physical issues that may be present I’d suggest that you have some conversations about the meanings of sex and the scripts you both have currently, and have had before to see if there’s some parts that need to be addressed by both of you. Also working alongside a good therapist will help make this path easier.

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Question: Can husband and wife to mutually agree to sexual favors (massage, foreplay, HJ/BJ, etc.) as part of a trade or agreement?
Ex. Wife freely and happily gives favors in exchange for new furniture?
Can or should sexual intimacy be used for bargaining or does it make intimacy too transactional and watered down?

Dr Allan’s Reply: There are lots of things in marriage and life that are transactional, yet we don’t want to see them as such because to do so seems manipulative or wrong. To me the most destructive things in marriage are the things that are kept covert or hidden. But if a couple is able to bring these aspects out into the light and disarm them a bit, or maybe even be playful with them, then is it that big of a deal?

I suppose that will depend on the people involved. To some, this would diminish the meaning or be too threatening. To others it may make things more playful and exciting (“oh, I love your new furniture set, how’d you get your husband to be willing to make the upgrade?” :))

It’s funny that many couples are possibly doing this in the reverse already – I’m mad at you because you did some petty little thing therefore I consciously made the choice to not have sex to make a point. Isn’t this the same thing?

All of sex is a language. It also is soooo much more than just an act – it’s a part of each of you. So how do you each play your role in the process and aspect of your marriage better? How do you make things more in the open between you? When you can address the covert better, you can actually harness the energy more and use it for good things that will draw you closer together in the long run.

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Question: Not sure how else to put this but sex is a very vocal and loud experience for my wife and I.  Since having kids they’re now old enough that we’ve woken them up accidentally and they’ve innocently asked questions in the morning about what we’re doing.  (We tell them we’re having a tickle fight, which is definitely partly true ?) We tried being quiet but then my wife has trouble orgasming and it takes me a lot longer to finish too.  We both want our loud talkative sex but feel like we won’t be able to have it until our kids are adults and move out ?

Dr Allan’s Reply: If being vocal really gets you both going during sex then you can be in a bit of a dilemma when there are other people around. But there are some things you can try that may help you on your living and loving out loud path.

First, and IMHO most importantly, don’t be ashamed of modeling a vibrant sex life for your kids. Yes, they don’t need to hear everything that goes on but the fact that your kids may know you and your wife are sexual with each other — good. What a great opportunity to talk more about the subject with them as my guess is you are hoping they will experience the same with their spouse in the future.

Second, while it can be good to save the most free and vocal times for hotels or resorts or times when the kids are away for the night, what if you thought of the times you must keep it down as something that was risky? Does it change an encounter if you both went into it with a sneaky, can we get away with it, mindset?

Third, any chance you can add some soundproofing to the walls (especially if there are shared walls) or a more solid bedroom door? What about white noise machines just outside their rooms, or yours?

Perhaps there’s a creative way to dampen some of the noise. But I’d be more in favor of the teachable moments with them – after all they need to know that tickle fights can lead to orgasms eventually!

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Question: I’ve realized my husband loves to have sex in riskier places.  Nothing crazy but he’s totally the type to look at me at a party and want to sneak off for some fun.  I feel terrible because I always panic and it’s never fun for me because I’m so overwhelmed with the fear of getting caught.  The only place I feel comfortable having sex is in our bedroom.  Even other places in our house make me think the neighbors could see.  He is so overly generous in the bedroom giving me everything I ask for and more and this makes me feel terrible.  How can I compromise or get over this?

Dr Allan’s Reply: There is always a Higher Desire and a Lower Desire on every topic and issue in marriage. Neither one is right or wrong – just different. If you are the lower desire for risky rendezvous, so be it. My question would be what is it about the safety of your bedroom that provides so much comfort? Is it that you are afraid other people may get the sense you like your husband? Like sex? Are a sexual being?

I don’t see this as a compromise, I see it as a chance for you to grow and challenge yourself – much like you are already asking within this question. So how do you grow into more comfort in this area of your life? You learn how to lean into the discomfort and soothe your anxieties. Perhaps you start with sex in a room in your house other than the bedroom. It’s ok if you are sure all the blinds are closed or even the lights are all off, but take a small challenge and see how it goes. After that, try it again in a different spot in the house.

We all grow through small steps. Take one, calm yourself down, grow a little more comfortable with it, then take another. If/when you reach a point of not being comfortable at all with the next step, fine. You don’t have to meet all your Higher Desire spouses desires in order to show love. Sometimes the Higher Desire has to grow more comfortable with their Lower Desire spouse’s wishes as well.

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Question: I caught my husband having an affair earlier this year.  It completely wrecked what I thought was a great marriage and I was totally blindsided.  He’s been putting in so much work in marriage therapy and personal therapy that I finally got to the point where I felt comfortable with him sleeping in our bed again.  I just can’t picture myself getting vulnerable and having sex with him for a long time and that’s if he really puts the work in.  How does sex come back after my trust has been broken?

Dr Allan’s Reply: Betrayal is something that cuts deep and lasts a long time in marriages. Give yourself time to confront the realities of what has happened and who each of you are now. Since you say you’ve invited him back into bed with you now that makes it seem like you’re both on a healing path. But be careful about a hierarchy that can easily form in marriages where there are any kinds of betrayal.

In my professional opinion, your husband must own up to what has happened and the choices he made, but he can’t possibly earn back a relationship with you. First, it’s helpful to look at what happened through the lens of his choice created collateral damage that you must now deal with. I’m usually more concerned about the fact that he would do something like that to himself, while also knowing the damage it would likely cause. And second, the marriage you had is over – the better question is what’s the marriage you want now?

When you can separate yourself from this process better and at the same time be working towards growing yourself into something worth choosing and valuing – all while he is doing the same hopefully, you both are in a better position to then address the hurt from this betrayal. That’s a completely different path than addressing the trust that has been broken. Trust is created by living in a trustworthy manner. Hurt is addressed more along the lines of how grief is handled. These are two completely different paths.

This idea is explained a lot more in this episode of SMR –

Question: Single 25 year old here.  known for a long time that I’m pretty sure I have a really different interest/kink when it comes to sex.  I’m not a weird guy, and very active in my church, still a virgin, but just know it’s something I’ll enjoy sexually.  My biggest fear is that I’ll find the perfect woman, we’ll hit it off, but when I tell her what I might be into she’ll think I’m a freak and not marry me.  Does this happen? Overthinking?

Dr Allan’s Reply: What is it that makes someone weird because they possibly are into kinky things? It sounds like you may need to come to better grips with this aspect of yourself as well. As for the possibility that you’ll find a good woman, hit it off and then she’ll go running when you tell her what you might be into, that’s the risk with every relationship.

The best thought is to have this conversation earlier in the relationship – as it progresses – rather than later. But again, you are framing this as you might be into it – you don’t even know for sure yet too. What if part of your discussion with a potential mate is framed as curiosities about some of these kinks rather than definite tastes you have? That seems to be more where you are at this point at least. Who knows, you may find out your kinks are something you don’t like after all – or you may meet someone and when you hear what she’s interested in, you’ll feel like running.

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Question: Here’s my question for the Dr Corey: is it normal for my husband to constantly get turned on and talk or jokes about sex?  He’s always making everything sexual.  The other day we were replacing our couch and he made a comment to the sales person about how we’d like to “test the springs if you know what I mean” ??‍♀️ He’s also constantly getting aroused no matter where we are.  Never makes a big deal of it but sometimes he needs to “readjust” and I get so embarrassed even though nobody else knows.  He claims this is normal but I feel like I’m constantly telling him to cool off and calm down.

Dr Allan’s Reply: Normal is a word best reserved only for the weather.

People are people and everyone is uniquely, wonderfully and beautifully made. There is an element of what you describe in your husband that sounds like he has a pretty high sex drive – so be it. What is it that’s so embarrassing about his behaviors to you? Do you interpret them as inappropriate, immature, devious, etc? It will help to look at how you respond and start there rather than focus on his role and responsibilities.

Rather than you feeling like you must constantly tell him to cool off or calm down, what if you were to address it from the stance of how his behaviors and actions impact you? If you’re turned off by the sexual jokes or his regular “readjusting” what would happen if you told him as much?

Your role in your marriage and sex life is to engage as you desire as well. If you overcompensate for his behaviors or feel you are responsible for him addressing them – then you’re not creating a relationship where he must address his behaviors and actions himself.

If he is easily turned on and experiences regular erections then that’s his issue to address. After all, an erection is not a painful experience for most men. It could be an embarrassing one in some instances, or even inappropriate, but that’s for him to navigate for himself. If he won’t address these moments then perhaps during these readjusting times you’d be better off removing yourself from the moment for a bit.

Everything we do in life communicates. He communicates that he’s a highly sexual being – what do communicate in response?

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