On the Regular version of today’s show …
Today is an encore of an older episode of SMR.
An email from a husband wondering why many marriage resources out there take the stance of it’s the husbands fault.
A husband emails wanting to know if taking a break from pursuing sex with his lower desire wife would help reset things for them both.
On the Xtended version …
Are there delay tactics used in marriage and sex to avoid things we don’t want to participate in or follow through with?
How do you do this in your life? Let us know.
Enjoy the show!
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Speaker 1: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio, passionatelymarried.net.
Corey Allan: So to start off, this is an email that came in that says, "Hey, I love your show. My wife and I are in a difficult spot, but the crux of the email question might indicate why and save time. On most love and sex counseling sources, there appears to be an understanding that the male partner is usually at fault, and a more pivotal understanding that all will be well with sex and intimacy if the wife is treated well and if the husband deals with his dysfunction. It's almost an unwritten rule, but you can imagine the overarching fall out. What is your take on this principle, seemingly, at the core of all marriage and sex interventions?"
This is an interesting... He's jumping right to it on the idea of he reads it as a theme of, "Well, if you just got your act together better, it would change everything."
Pam Allan: Well, I find it interesting that it was called a male dysfunction. That it's an unwritten rule that it's caused by a male dysfunction.
Corey Allan: Yeah, I want to tweak this a little bit to be a little more encompassing because I get what he's saying, and this is part of why I think Sexy Marriage Radio stands out a little differently than a lot of the other things that are out there because we've railed in the past. I know I've been on a soap box at times in the past on a lot of the things that are proposed in marriage books, other podcasts, other resources, just other things that my colleagues or other people in the ministry are trying to do, they're band-aids. That they might be quick fixes for a short term, but do they solve the problem? No.
Largely it's because I don't think that some of these different things because of the nature of two individuals coming together to create a thing of marriage is ever solved.
Pam Allan: Gridlock.
Corey Allan: Right. Well, no, I'm not referring to gridlock. I'm just kind of talking about it as soon as... Let's use you and I for an example.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: We've had seasons where it's been in sync and it's clicked and it's been really good.
Pam Allan: It being just marriage in general.
Corey Allan: Marriage in general, our sex life incorporated with it, our communication, our managing a household and life, all the different aspects of it. Some of those could be rocking along well, some are in the toilet. Then those can switch. What was in the toilet is not rocking along well, and what we used to do well sucks.
So I think because of that, there's no quick fixes out there. Because if there was, there would be one magazine ever sold on the racks at the grocery store.
Pam Allan: Right. Here's the solution.
Corey Allan: Here's the 52 ways, done.
Pam Allan: Step-by-step.
Corey Allan: Everybody just does it, and you're done. So I want to tweak this slightly to make it to where oftentimes what I come across is it's the higher desire and their dysfunction.
Pam Allan: That is the unwritten rule.
Corey Allan: Right. If you would just treat the lower desire better, that would cultivate and bring about a better response and a higher desire from them and a more interest and adventuresome. So it's just we get caught up in these dilemmas of an equation that usually, depending on the stance you're taking and who it is posing the question, sees it as either, "Well, it's my fault," or, "It's their fault," rather than no, it's a natural part of a system.
Pam Allan: It is. I think that his point that society looks at it as a male dysfunction probably... I hear what you're saying. It's a high desire. I think that that's reality is that it is more the people do look at the high desire piece. But-
Corey Allan: They're the ones that are often the more vocally frustrated. Even though the lower desire is frustrated, they just maybe can't articulate it as well, or they're not as vocal about it. But it's this idea because some of this I hear in the whole concept of choir play. If I would just be better at pursuing and doing the other things to make it happen, that's what we're going to be heading towards in the extended content. That's kind of the dangling the carrot.
Pam Allan: A tit for tat.
Corey Allan: Yeah. The quid pro quo idea and the algorithm or the equation of if I do this, you'll do that or it'll get you into this. What's so interesting to me and maybe what he's kind of pointing out too is a lot of the stuff that's really... Since I've been in the blogging world and in the podcast world now for almost a decade, there's been this whole concept of are you familiar with the red pill/blue pill mindset from Matrix?
Pam Allan: Yes.
Corey Allan: It's just the concept of-
Pam Allan: But explain it because I'm sure there's listeners that-
Corey Allan: Right. It's the concept of let me show you what really is going on behind the scenes, let me give you the real keys to what life really is, or you could just stay asleep and that's all it's going to be.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: Right. There's a lot of this whole mantra of how to score, how to get numbers, how to hook up, how to whatever that are all in the dating world, which fit in the dating world just because of the law of averages. If you take consciousness out of it and moral code out of it, by law of averages, this is going to work.
Pam Allan: At some point.
Corey Allan: But in marriage, it doesn't.
Pam Allan: No.
Corey Allan: Because you and I have had enough time together to know when I try out something new, like I come up with a new phrase that's an innuendo or a suggestion or whatever, and it's not in line with my character. It's something a little too far on the fringe. You pick that up right away.
Pam Allan: Yeah. inaudible. Okay. Well, here's where he's going with this.
Corey Allan: Or it's like, "No, that doesn't work because that doesn't line up with you are."
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: You tried out something that's like, "No, that's not you." So there's an element of marriage where if we're trying to fix it, we're all going to fall short. But how do I look at it as what's going on with what he's saying? If there's a dysfunction, higher desire, lower desire, male, female, doesn't matter. If there's a dysfunction you're facing, how are you dealing with that from integrity? How are you dealing with that upfront about your life? That's the aphrodisiac of how am I handling me and all the ails I've got.
Pam Allan: Right. I think what I'm hearing is how are you handling that because I as a spouse or you as a spouse, if I'm handling dealing with whatever my "dysfunction" is, if I'm working on that from the best in me, that is appealing to a partner, right? That is something that though I might have a lower desire, that helps encourage my desire I guess.
Corey Allan: Well, okay. I'm stepping on you here for a second.
Pam Allan: Do it. Do it. It's fine.
Corey Allan: The idea of encouraging my desire, I still don't like that frame. It puts better pressure on where your desire is or isn't to really face what's the dilemma of my relation. Because when I get married, we all are familiar with wedding vows. To love, honor, and cherish. Until death do us part. Forsaken all others. The different phrases that have been put through. But have you as a couple, and this is a challenge to the SMR Nation, have you talked about what are your sexual vows to each other? What are your erotic vows to each other? What are your mental vows, your spiritual vows, your emotional vows? What do you commit to each other in those aspects of your marriage? How are you challenging yourself to grow in these things?
We actually have a tool, the State of Our Union, which is a weekly text app that comes to your phone. Questions that kind of... A lot of them are the same to keep talking about the important rather than just the immediate. But built in throughout it on a monthly level and then on a quarterly level are some of the things that help you discuss this. We actually had this kind of conversation a couple days ago on a drive back from New Mexico. How are we stewarding our sex life? How are we stewarding some of these aspects of our marriage that can be troublesome, but at least we get a chance to hear each other out. Here's how I view it. How do you view it? And we see if we're off or on.
Pam Allan: Right. Because those things change on a regular basis.
Corey Allan: Yes, they do.
Pam Allan: We talk about the stage of life we're in right now, dealing with aging parents. That affects things, right?
Corey Allan: So I hear all of this as yes, a lot of what's posed out there is quick fix, band-aids that can sometimes help for the short term. But for the long term, I've got to face myself. I've got to face the pressures within marriage, regardless of if I'm the higher desire, the lower desire, the husband or the wife. I play a role in my marriage either being thriving or dying. There's no in between.
Pam Allan: Which am I going to choose?
Corey Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So here's another email that came in. It says, "Love your podcast and your insights. I never feel like you give really crazy answers, and they always seem to be backed up with good intuition and data." I like hearing that. "With that, there's a question for you. My wife and I have been only married for two years. We're both pretty young, still in our early 20s. When we were dating, she was crazy about me, and we talked a lot about sex and were excited for marriage. We sent a pretty explicit text and engaged in a couple."
"Fast forward to our honeymoon, it wasn't bad, and I was able to please your some sexually. But her interests did a 180 for some reason, which is still unknown to me. She hasn't wanted me to touch her breasts or down there since then. So I haven't out of respect for her. When I have asked what changed, she only says, 'I'm just not comfortable with it.' She will have sex with me with a decent attitude for my sake, but she still doesn't look forward to it at all. She just wants to get it over with, making sure I don't touch the no zones. So you can imagine how difficult this is being a newlywed."
"With that, she grew up with a very demanding and strict parent. She was a competitive figure skater, and she feels like she's being graded when it comes to this area of their marriage. I've done a ton of research on how to please a new wife sexually, and I feel that I may have been focusing too much on pleasing her. I expected her to like certain things or to get a certain reaction, but I think all I did was make her feel overwhelmed or scared with the amount of sex I wanted. She also sees sexual things as icky and describers herself as immature in that regard."
"I haven't been able to get her turned on for over a year now, and I believe she's convinced herself that she's just not a sexual person. She says it's not for her. So here's my questions. I've done a ton of research and listened to a lot of shows, so I'm wondering if maybe stepping back from sex altogether and start afresh with her. Do you think that's a good way to go about things? If I don't even ask for sex perhaps for a long time and even just show her how much I love her as much as possible so there's no pressure or expectation on her part to perform so she can enjoy being loved and open up without the, 'Oh, he's just getting lovey so that means sex,' and shut down. I'm hoping that would make her more comfortable and responsive and reignite some passion like when we were dating."
"Two, I've also read about sensei focus, which I think would go hand in hand, but when getting her onboard with therapy type stuff is hard because she feels like she's back at school and being graded again. This is where I'm hoping your wife could chime in about how to possibly mention that to a woman who's anxious about sex. Do I tell her about my plan on stepping back, or do I just come on to it with as much... And not put as much pressure on her for a certain outcome? Thanks for all the work."
Yeah, this is a common thing when there's a 180 that happens in married life because it's like, "Where did it go?" So I want to quickly answer his first question of if we step back and start fresh, would that reignite something currently? The greater percentage of my answer is going to be no.
Pam Allan: She's in the safe zone, is that why? There's not any pressure for her to...
Corey Allan: I'm just thinking of it as-
Pam Allan: ... challenge anything.
Corey Allan: No, I'm just thinking of it first and foremost chemically because you're not going to reignite the same chemical concoction in your brain that you got when you actually first met and fell in love because you just can't. The brain does not recreate that hormone and that chemical except for new love. So there can be instances that I've heard of over the years where that has actually happened, but those are rare from my experience at least. So does the stepping back to start fresh work? No. Is it something you shouldn't do because of that? No, not necessarily because sometimes a reset of everything can be incredibly beneficial.
Pam Allan: But then he follows up with should I tell her about it? I mean, I would think...
Corey Allan: What do you think in this because he's kind of asking for your perspective on this because this is stuff that's gone on in our marriage over 28 years too.
Pam Allan: I had that same exact thing when we got married. I had no idea. I mean, I was so excited for sex when we were engaged and dating. I couldn't wait to be alone with you. Then when we got married, boom. What the heck happened? We know some of that. We know some of why in our history that happened, but it's common. I mean, this happens. I guess I don't want to turn this into about me, but it's common. This happens. I would think in this scenario, yes, you want to tell her. You want to be upfront with here's where I'm going. I love you. I want you. But I want to see maybe we try something different here.
Corey Allan: Yeah. This is one of those things where you bring it out in the open and you do it on a macro level, not on an experiment, "This is what I'm doing," level. This is the, "I want to try this out for us because this is the read I've got of the whole situation." Maybe this helps you give her a way to articulate some of what she's feeling because if she feels like she's being graded, that happens in married life from a lower desire to a higher desire avenue. There's a lot of things where I'm trying to live up to your expectation. How is a grading not incorporated in the phrase of, "I feel like I'm not ever enough for you." That's a grade.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: Right. I don't measure up. I can't satisfy. We all get pushed to these limits in various ways. So I think there's an aspect of if you wanted to try this, which I'm totally okay with for a lot of couples that have done this. Bring it out in the open as to the motivations, the ground rules, the thought process, and then the biggest point to me is how do you have check-ins on it of how are you doing, how's it going for us because otherwise you tip the scale to where for a while it's pretty good and it's okay. You're kind of learning some stuff about yourself. She's enjoying the freedom or the little less pressure or whatever that's overt. Then all of a sudden that tips into the scale of, "Okay. Now it's been too long. Nothing's changed in her. I haven't noticed it." You start getting judgmental of each other.
Pam Allan: Yeah, you don't want any resentment to build up for you when maybe nothing's happening. Because what is the goal here really? You're hoping to recreate a feeling from when you were dating. That's likely not going to happen. Is there a goal? Does she have a desire to learn more, to figure out more about her body, to figure out what it is that might just be in her head that affects this? She feels like she's being graded.
Corey Allan: What could be going on? What's been revealed and surfacing in this? Because yes, it likely is some stuff of there's a manner in which she's approaching this in a similar way she felt the pressures in the other aspects of performing in her life as a kid.
Pam Allan: Yeah, maybe. I mean, maybe something totally different.
Corey Allan: It's not the same overtly, but the fundamental is there. You're like, "Okay." So that's stuff that's data that's worth examining. Then what do I need to do about this? I'm going to put this out there, and if you're really interested as an SMR Nation, let us know please, email@example.com. Because I'm curious. There's still a dilemma that I keep coming across that we need to explore more, Pam, of at what point... Where in our sex lives is it about me and it's about my partner's pleasure and both? Because we keep coming up with I think there's a lot of times where a higher desire, "I just want my partner to want it like I do," versus as there times when actually it's probably even acceptable and appropriate where they don't. But it's still okay. I can still go after what I want, and that's not using, abusing. I'm not crossing a line. It's just a higher desire-lower desire dilemma that they're just not into it in the manner in which I want it. So I need to re-examine, "Well, what do I really want? What's my role in..." If my whole focus is I want to please somebody, well, where am I in that?
I think we can get skewed on all of this rather than seeing it as they both exist, but I got to be more clean I think about what really gets in the way, what do I really want because maybe I do set up unrealistic expectations or I'm kind of giving away my power towards your pleasure versus you feed off of my power. There's a whole dilemma.
Pam Allan: You just made my head spin on using the word power right there. I'm trying to process that in my head.
Corey Allan: Well, that's probably where we may need to table it for later, but I think there's a dilemma in this of what's the focus of what you're really trying to accomplish when you have sex together versus seeking mine, seeking yours, seeking ours. Because I don't know if it can always be all three.
Pam Allan: Always, I would never want to use the word. I would never.
Corey Allan: Yeah. crosstalk everywhere.
Pam Allan: Right. I wouldn't use the word always.
Corey Allan: I think what he's describing is the dilemma is real of things change in marriage. When new life as a couple really sets in, things change. So what's being revealed in that from each of you? How am I examining my role better? That's where I start. If I want to do something bigger as far as marriage-wise, I need to get that out in the open too. So they at least know where I'm coming from. There's no shock or there's less chance of feeling like there's this undercurrent pressure that's still going to be there, but just be as open about it as you can.
Pam Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Corey Allan: So before we segue into the extended content, I want to set this up, and then we'll talk more about it in the extended content. Okay?
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: So Craig on my.passionatelymarried.net. If you're not a member of it already, it's free to join. Just go there, request to join us, and under the topics of the discussion areas, under episodes, you'll see this dialogue that took place too.
So Craig's actually posting... He's setting this all up with the idea of assuming the higher desire partner is already living a life that's vibrant and engaged and fulfilling, but yet there's something missing in the sex life, which is where you need the partner. So you have this huge dilemma of I've got a lot of pressure on my lower desire spouse to help create the most fulfilling life for myself.
Also he says, "Please assume that the sex that's being offered is worth having and worth wanting." So it's not like just going to be one-sided, done, and over. Who cares about them. So he's saying, "The lower desire for sex partner's move can often go like this. Get fit, that will be more sexy and cause an increase in attraction. Then there will be more sex. But there will be no more sex if you get in shape. It's a lie. It might be a lie that the asker fully believes in thinking that it'll come through if it happens, but in the end, it's just a delay tactic. It doesn't require them to come to terms with themselves. They don't think their partner will ever even do it, so they drop this line to delay and remove the pressure from themselves."
"Nor is there more sex if you are requested to do more or even all the choirs, lead to family being more spiritual, get the promotion, eat better, leave the job you hate, are stricter," and he keeps going on and on and on. Just this is the quid pro quo that we talked about a little bit earlier in the show already.
So as he's continuing this through, the thing that jumps out to me from this, Pam, is this idea of what if some of these moves are delay tactics? And as the lower desire partner representing all lower desire partners, could this be true? Join us in the extended content to hear a little more.
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