Top iTunes Marriage Podcast

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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

Foreplay For Foreplay #446

On the Regular version of today’s show …

Jessa Zimmerman joins me to answer an email from listeners who say they have a great marriage but real struggle in their sex life. Join her new course, Sex Without Stress, by clicking here to save $100

A conversation about the idea of foreplay for foreplay.

On the Xtended version …

What books I’ve read this year and their impact on my life and marriage.

Enjoy the show!


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Corey Allan: Merry Christmas to all of you sexy people in the sexy marriage radio nation and not just because you come hang out with us, but just because you are sexy.

Pam Allan: You are. Such a great time of year.

Corey Allan: It really is and hope that the holiday season is fabulous for you and yours and whatever you guys are doing to travel to see family or just steal time away together or just hole up at home.

Pam Allan: It's funny, I feel like we're stealing time right here. We're recording with a big fire in the fireplace right next to us.

Corey Allan: It's a kind of a nice thing because in Texas when the cold nights come in, it's kind of fun to get that option when-

Pam Allan: We don't get that all winter long.

Corey Allan: Winter in Texas is not the same as those of you that live up north when you talk about the word winter. But anyway, this is sexy marriage radio, alongside my wife, Pam, as always. We want to have straightforward, honest conversations about what goes on in your married life and in your sex life because we want both to be fantastic. And so the way we can hear from you, if you've got something on your mind you want us to cover, (214) 702-9565 is the voicemail line that you can call and leave your question or a voicemail with a topic or you can always email us feedback at where every email that comes in is read and becomes a topic for a show or we answer it offline or off the air.

Corey Allan: It's not offline because it's online-

Pam Allan: It's online.

Corey Allan: And then the response is online and speaking of online. If you haven't gone to lately, go, check it out, a new site.

Pam Allan: It's a whole new face lift. It looks lovely-

Corey Allan: We have new digs-

Pam Allan: ... done a incredible job on it.

Corey Allan: Yep, and everything ... We're still working out some final little kinks likely by the time this airs, but ... So excited to have a brand new platform that we're going to build towards what's to come in 2020. And speaking of 2020 we will do this topic again January 1st but if you want to join us in the three words, which is an idea that I came across from Chris Brogan where rather than the new year's resolution, you pick three words to help set your course for the year. If you want to join us in this, now's the time to start thinking of them if you haven't already. And the idea and the premise of the three words is you get three different focuses, if you will, that help frame where you're going to go, what you want to focus on in the coming year.

Pam Allan: So kind of an alternate to a new year's resolution? A way to different way to look at life and how that-

Corey Allan: Right. Rather than I want to exercise more. You pick actionable words. Like one of mine several years back was ask because I wanted to ask more questions. Or do because I wanted to be more active and actually put an action to something. And then another one one year was quiet that I wanted to try to eliminate some noise and embrace the quiet more. And each of those, as I look back over the years, and we'll unpack the words we've got for the coming year when that happens on 2020. But if you want to join us, be thinking of that, we'd love to have you join in the conversation and help ... Hopefully this tool helps you in your marriage because it applies not only to professional life, it can apply to your personal life and your marriage and your spiritual life. All of it can help set the course.

Corey Allan: So that 2020 is a fabulous one for you. Well coming up on today's regular free version of sexy marriage radio. We've got one question, one topic, and a guest.

Pam Allan: One, one, one we got the trio [crosstalk 00:04:16]-

Corey Allan: It seems like, well two of those go together because one of the questions that have come in is actually a conglomeration of a lot of questions from several emails. And I reached out to Jessa Zimmerman who's been on the show before to help me answer it.

Pam Allan: That'll be great.

Corey Allan: And she's also ... It coincides with a course that she's launching at the first of the year. That is a great opportunity for the sexy marriage radio nation. If you're interested, you'll hear more about it in the show, but she's going to be on on the air for a segment to help me answer this question that came in and then we've got a topic we want to cover based on the Academy call we just got off.

Pam Allan: Right, that's exactly right.

Corey Allan: In the Q and A call that went on and then on the extended version of sexy marriage radio, which is deeper, longer, and there's no ads you can subscribe at I am amazed at whenever we do shows where it's talking about a reading list, because Shannon and I did this years ago-

Pam Allan: Yeah, that was a great episode.

Corey Allan: Of one of the books that shaped us. And then just within the last month we did another show of someone reached out and "Hey, what's a reading list?" I'm amazed what kind of a conversation that starts with people. And so I've been hit with several different emails just from that last most recent episode on the reading list of what am I reading currently? And so-

Pam Allan: Right, because that episode was more about things in the field, right?

Corey Allan: Right, what would be good to go for with the field or your marriage.

Pam Allan: Because that gentleman was getting into the [inaudible 00:05:46] therapy field.

Corey Allan: I would assume people understand that even though I work in the marriage and sex field, I don't just read marriage stuff. So I actually counted it up, Pam, and at the end of 2019 I will have read 27 books this year.

Pam Allan: And that's one thing I love about you. I mean you continue to learn, learn, learn, learn, learn. And I think I've said many times on this show, I'm not a reader, but it's rubbing off on me and he just hooked me up with audible. That's like the best thing ever. I'm really loving that. So when you learn, I guess you just never want to stop learning.

Corey Allan: No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. You want to constantly be challenging yourself, stretching in the ... And so where we're going with the extended content today is here's what I've been reading this year that's really kind of helped shape some different thought processes for me and they're kind of one off. And so I'm just going to share a couple of the main ones and here's what I got from them.

Pam Allan: Perfect.

Corey Allan: So all that's coming up on today's show.

Corey Allan: So I've invited a friend of ours and the show back on the air, Jessa Zimmerman. Hey, it's good to see you again.

Jessa Zimmerman: I know it's really good to see you.

Corey Allan: But this is just a quick segment with you, Jessa, because this is an email that I keep getting and the collaboration we had going back and forth via email about what you've got coming fits perfectly for this.

Corey Allan: So, but the email basically goes, and I'm going to paraphrase because it's several that have come in that capture this same mindset, but the gist of the email is, Hey, in our marriage, in all areas, like our parenting, our finances, our lifestyle, our managing of things or just the general way we do schedules. We're great, we do really well. But when it comes to the bedroom and our sex life, it just sucks. Actually, there's no sucking going on. But you know what I mean? There's a real struggle. And so I know you and I've talked about this before in varying ways, but I wanted to get your take on this to help me answer this kind of a message that comes in.

Jessa Zimmerman: Yeah, I mean I see this all the time too, right? People that have really strong relationships, not just co-parenting and stuff, but you know, they're best friends or, you know, there's a lot of goodwill, but they typically start to struggle with sex because everybody does eventually. And what I find is that people get caught in what I have come to call the sexual avoidance cycle.

Jessa Zimmerman: So the bedroom starts to be kind of the scary place. Like sex doesn't go like they expect, they're starting to feel bad about it. It's not working the way it used to work, or we think it should be working differently. Whatever it is, their expectations aren't met which creates some bad feelings, especially if it happens often enough. Right? So it's starting to be ... They start to get anxious, they're starting to feel like maybe they're broken, whatever it is, and that leads people to start to avoid sex. Because you know, human nature is, we avoid the things that make us feel bad. Right?

Corey Allan: Absolutely. I don't want double helpings of something, I know where I'm going to feel bad about possibly.

Jessa Zimmerman: Exactly. Exactly. So a couple start to ... One or both people will start to avoid sex because it feels so fraught. That's a word I hear from my clients a lot. Right? The problem with that is avoidance of course, doesn't solve the problem, right?

Corey Allan: Correct.

Jessa Zimmerman: It really increases a sense of pressure that people feel. We should be having sex and we're not. Or I know my partner wants to have sex, but I'm struggling with all this pressure. And then of course when they do have sex, like if they do, there's so much pressure that that encounter go okay. Well if you had sex all the time and it didn't quite work. No big deal. But if it's like the only time we're doing this and it doesn't go well, which increases the bad feelings [crosstalk 00:09:35]-

Corey Allan: Absolutely, it's a pressure cooker.

Jessa Zimmerman: Exactly. Exactly. So, so many people, I mean for your listeners, so the people that are writing these emails to you and to me, they're not alone. This is really, really common to get caught where they're deeper in a hole about sex and really don't know how to address it.

Corey Allan: Okay. And so that tees up the, what's the first step? I guess, so what's ... How ... Because obviously the framework I think you're offering here is brilliant because it's talking about a global thing rather than the nuances where we can get caught up in the weeds so easily. And that's what we blame. And that's actually our part of our avoidance. Then it's like, well, it's because of this and this and this rather than, no, it's a systemic thing.

Jessa Zimmerman: Yes. It is systemic.

Corey Allan: And so what's next?

Jessa Zimmerman: Well, so there's sort of three parts to the cycle, right? There's disappointment, there's avoidance, and then there's pressure. So we got to tackle the disappointment by kind of correcting the expectations about sex. The reason we start to feel bad is because it's not meeting our expectations. We actually have to change the expectations. So so many people have myths about sex or they've got these unrealistic expectations, these ideas about what it should be. So we've got to change-

Corey Allan: No, no, people don't do-

Jessa Zimmerman: ... the mindset. Then we've got to tackle the avoidance part by stepping in and having these conversations. Right? Like that's a decision not to avoid. How do we have the hard conversation? How do we work as a team? Come at it from a positive place. Like I've written a bunch about this. To decide to tackle it rather than run away.

Corey Allan: Right. That's an actionable thing.

Jessa Zimmerman: It's a really actionable thing, because when we avoid something that makes us feel bad or anxious, the anxiety gets bigger. So at some point somebody has got to lean and just be willing to address it.

Corey Allan: Right. And I love the framework that is describing this because don't most people get caught up in this idea of, well, I'll just wait until there's no anxiety. It's like I get the choice, I get the choice of this anxiety or no anxiety rather than, no, I get the choice of this kind of anxiety or this other kind of anxiety, which one do I want to deal with? Okay.

Jessa Zimmerman: Right. And one is going to get bigger, and one is going to help you actually get better. So it really is time to decide to stop avoiding. And then the pressure, well, partly the pressure will go down when you're actually addressing this with your partner. But the pressure also comes in reframing what you're doing sexually and how you're thinking about it. So, and I believe this with all my heart, you actually cannot fail at sex. So if you can wrap your mind around the changes of that and start to practice pressure free, like we are just free to play. This is easy. There's nothing at risk, nothing at stake. The pressure goes and then this whole thing becomes easier. So it's, you know, there's really a process around sort of tackling all these steps and getting people out of that cycle, which is totally possible.

Corey Allan: I love the whole aspect of you can't fail at it.

Jessa Zimmerman: And I mean ... I really mean this, you can't fail at sex. If you can make these shifts, and integrate these ideas, you really can't fail and then there's no risk, right?

Corey Allan: Or if nothing else it's the risk that you can handle because it's just part of the human experience, right? It's part of the relational dynamic.

Jessa Zimmerman: Right, right. But then that doesn't feel like risk. That's like, Oh, we just had that kind of experience this time instead of this other kind of experience.

Corey Allan: That's just moving into another level of grownup ness isn't it? In some regards.

Corey Allan: That you're just kind of evolving, realizing, yeah, okay. Yeah, that happened, what do we do next?

Jessa Zimmerman: Yeah. And it's just such a relief. I mean, I get, you know, clients, I'm sure you see this too, people, they're so afraid that they're broken. They're so afraid that this means the relationship is doomed. Or maybe I was with the wrong person. I mean, the burden of this is just extraordinary. And to get them to a place of relief, like wait, I can let all of that go? It's just huge weight off their shoulders. This can be fun again, easy, you can't fail. And all of a sudden your whole relationship, you know, it's like, Oh thank goodness. You know?

Corey Allan: I get it. And so just this little bit that we're talking about, that's actually just kind of like an appetizer to a larger thing that you've got coming right around the corner.

Corey Allan: Yes?

Jessa Zimmerman: I do.

Corey Allan: If I listener wants to hear or learn more, tell them a little bit about the course that you've got coming.

Jessa Zimmerman: Yeah, so I should say two things. So first I wrote a book about this whole thing about a year and a half ago called Sex Without Stress that really is this whole process about making a shift. And then what I realized is the book is a do it yourself, which is kind of hard to do. So I worked it into an online course so that people that want more structure to this, they want it delivered weekly, they want assignments and then especially it has online office hours with access to me. Because what I don't want people do is have experiences and get derailed and stuck.

Jessa Zimmerman: So the course format where they have these office hours I think is really, really helpful to help people actually go through the process to give them the support they need to complete it. At least for certain people, I think that would be a great fit.

Corey Allan: Oh, absolutely, because then they get to pick your brain, yes?

Jessa Zimmerman: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:00:14:42]-

Corey Allan: And say, this is what I'm stuck with. I didn't understand this or what do I ... What do you really mean with this?

Jessa Zimmerman: Right, they can ask questions or this is what happened to us when we did this thing and now ... What do we do next? Or you know, they can get input and support and encouragement and you know, pretty individualized feedback.

Corey Allan: And that's fabulous, right there.

Jessa Zimmerman: Hopefully like actually push through and make the changes because it's, you know, it's, people can get stuck.

Corey Allan: Well of course, but again, it's looking at it as, Hey, you know what, if I look at this as I can't fail. It's all just data. It helps me get better. Than that's using the same kind of reframe. So when does this start and because we have a special offer for the sexy merge radio nation listeners.

Jessa Zimmerman: We do. I am so excited to have this special offer. So the course will start January 24th. Registration opens on the first, but your listeners, even right now, could go visit your special page and get on the wait list for this thing. So I'm offering your listeners a hundred dollars off the price. So it'd be 397 per couple.

Corey Allan: Perfect.

Jessa Zimmerman: For the whole course with all the office hours and everything.

Corey Allan: That is a fabulous deal.

Jessa Zimmerman: They would go to sex without M R for sexy marriage radio.

Corey Allan: Perfect. That should be an easy code to crack. It'll be in the show notes, as well.

Jessa Zimmerman: Right. So hopefully there they can get all their questions answered. If anybody has other questions, they can absolutely email me and I will let .. I really want to get people that are good fits for this. So I'm totally willing to hear from people and help them figure out if this is really right for them.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because that's part of what you're offering is this whole thing is I'm going to walk you through it as you're going on, but you're even describing, I'm going to walk you through on if this is the best choice for you.

Jessa Zimmerman: Well yeah, because for certain people it isn't. You know, maybe they really need to be in some couples counseling first, like you know, there's other stuff that they need to address.

Corey Allan: Totally get it. Well Jessa thank you so much for the work that you do and just from the collaboration we've had and then the contact we've had offline at times that I can't recommend this enough for the listeners of the sexy marriage radio nation. This is something that truly is one of those options to where man, from the comfort of my own home, or even the comfort of my own phone, you get a chance to get some world-class help with moving your sex life into a less stressful environment. And so thanks for the offer. Thanks for the discounts and man, all the best with everything that comes up, Jessa.

Jessa Zimmerman: Thank you so much.

Corey Allan: So switching gears a little bit, Pam, for this next segment, this is an idea that was spurred in the December Academy coaching Q and A conversation that took place, which was a very lively conversation this month. With-

Pam Allan: Yeah, it was a lot of fun.

Corey Allan: ... a lot of great content and a lot of Academy members helping out Academy members by crosstalk and question and support and encouragement and ideas that were shared.

Corey Allan: So if you're not a part of the Academy,, so it really should be real easy to see how to subscribe and join us because it's worth it. Make this year a great one for you.

Corey Allan: But an idea came up about, so if you think about married life, we get in these cycles of where we want to have culminating experiences, right? They could be anniversaries or it could be a date night or it could be a weekend away. And if you think about it that those are like the pinnacle of a mountain in some regards. but if you live life way down in the Valley, metaphorically speaking with this visual I'm trying to unpack here, it can be really hard because our expectation to climb that mountain just in that one weekend, we may not meet it, we may only go halfway up. Right?

Corey Allan: And so one of the thoughts that came up was this idea of how do you find opportunities to maintain better connections? So that way you're already starting less in the Valley as a default. And the way I think of this is, and there may be, if you're part of the sexy marriage radio nation, and something comes to mind after you hear this conversation with Pam and I email us and let us know or call in if there's a better word, but what comes to my mind is how do you create a better feeling in your life and in your marriage of foreplay, for foreplay?

Pam Allan: Foreplay for foreplay. So setting the stage so that when those opportunities arise, it's not so difficult to get into it?

Corey Allan: Yes. So that you're already closer to ... The threshold of arousal is just right there rather than I've got ... It's not even anywhere near the surface. And so I got to go dig in deep to get it back into the light. And we've talked about this kind of, this concept in the past. What comes to my mind right off the bat is Dr. Snyder's book, Love Worth Making. He uses a couple of terminologies in there. One being simmering, which is where you're using the erotic energy between you. But that's actually, that doesn't quite fit what I'm talking about with this because that's more of the, you're already into the world of the erotic. You had an arousing time together, but you don't reach it to a culmination [inaudible 00:20:20] like I'll see you later. You know, it's like you get a little petting started and arousal going, an erection or wetness happening and then you're like, I'm going to head off to work. And it's like that's kind of setting the stage as a tease in a sense.

Pam Allan: So we're referring here more to connection throughout.

Corey Allan: Right. I'm thinking of it as more of how do you keep the whole concepts and the dynamic of your sexual energy and even somewhat the erotic energy, but even the more aptly stated, the emotional energy and the mental energy of connecting as part of the dialogue throughout your relationship. Not just the moments that you set aside for date night or the moments that you set aside after the kids go to bed to have a conversation or to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. But how do you bring that into the dynamic between you on a regular basis?

Pam Allan: Okay. I'm a little confused because I heard the coaching call going a little bit different and we wanted to bring this to the table because we thought it was good info for everybody. So I'm trying to dive into where you're going.

Corey Allan: So let's go more macro then because the whole concept of foreplay plays a role of whenever you hear the whole word of foreplay, something that conjures a thought immediately, right? And typically it's the entree into sex, right? [inaudible 00:21:53] phrases the type and the experience of foreplay that you have sets the level of the connection of the sex that follows, right? So I want to add a layer to that before it even, of what are you doing that sets the stage for the foreplay, right? And some of it's going to be definitely the sexual, but I think some of it because of the differences in the way a higher desire and a lower desire operate, the prototypical, a lot of times a lower desire wants the connection to be interested in the sex, whereas the higher desire probably wants to sex to have the connection. But there's that conflict that can happen. So how do you start in our own minds be thinking of what am I doing that's foreplay for foreplay, not just trying to jump straight to foreplay.

Pam Allan: And I see that on a whole realm of things and I get ... The things I'm thinking of are no way, shape, or form really sexual at all.

Corey Allan: And I think that's perfectly within the realm of this because I think the idea of actually getting it towards something that is in the sexual arena starts with just a relational arena or a romantic arena or an affectionate or compassionate or a serving. I mean this is where Gary Chapman's love languages might fit of what is it that speaks to that person that helps them feel a connection and a bond.

Pam Allan: Yeah, I think, yeah. I think that that's spot on. Because I, my thought process is going down the line of showing an interest, taking time, being intentional, but it's not necessarily-

Corey Allan: Flirty.

Pam Allan: Anything flirty.

Corey Allan: It's the innuendo, suggestion.

Pam Allan: Right, while that is fun, I think that's part of the actual foreplay, not the foreplay to the foreplay.

Corey Allan: And that's where I want to have the conversation is just for this moment to be able to at least start to frame for the sexy marriage radio nation. What are you doing with the other time? That can be building towards, because this is where married life is different than a lot of the relational dynamic and junk that you see out there in the world. Where it just makes it seem like it's easy because a lot of that is built on the young love infatuation where it is a little easier because you're more obsessed.

Corey Allan: But when you're dealing with life and you've got a lot of other factors and pressures going on, how do you maintain a connection or some sort of semblance of a connection that makes the entry into the arena of foreplay all the easier or more likely? Because I think if we don't spend some time and energy on what precedes that, getting to it is really difficult. Because you haven't set an arena and a feeling in the relationship that creates the bond, the longing, the acceptance, even the safety feeling, the trust, the collaboration.

Corey Allan: I mean Dr. Glover refers to this as for a lot of men, well let me rephrase this actually. For a lot of women and marriage trust equals lust. That if a woman can't trust her husband, she won't lust after him. And there's all these different ways as men, and then the reverse is still true that the trust is broken because a simple little thing was forgotten and it's a small ding, but it is still a ding. And so it's how do I shore up my own life? And I see that as foreplay for foreplay. Because I'm starting to create something that's a lot more based on character and integrity and a drawing towards something that would want to be with plus someone that's a student of you and spending time with you. So that way when we have the opportunities to get into actual foreplay, it's not as big of a mountain to climb possibly.

Pam Allan: Right. And sometimes it's just as simple as trying to have fun again.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Pam Allan: We get I, I statements right? But everybody, so many people just get caught up in the day to day the routine and forgetting how to have fun, forgetting how to laugh, you know, overreacting to things. And just if I can just have fun and laugh at something that changes all kinds of things too.

Corey Allan: Right. And I think that's where this starts to come into the idea of solidness, the idea of consistency in who you are. I mean with the mastermind groups, which will be coming up again in January. So if you're interested feedback at fellas, it's a life changing investment, but it's one of those things of recognizing part of being more dynamic in our sex life is being more dynamic in my own life. That I am who I am. You know that I live that a much more open. And that's what breeds the solid idea. That's what breeds the connection. That's what breeds the erotic, that's what breeds all of this. And I think we've done a disservice at times by just thinking, foreplay should just come easy, but I haven't done anything to set it up possibly.

Corey Allan: And it's not necessarily the intentional, how am I steering it towards getting in your pants? It's, how am I steering it towards living a life worth wanting to be with. How am I steering it towards living a life that's vibrant and passionate and engaged? And that's with my spouse and without, right? That whatever I do, I do it all the way. And I think all of that. Tell me if I'm, since you weren't following where I was originally headed with this conversation, to me that's foreplay for foreplay.

Pam Allan: I would agree with that.

Corey Allan: Okay. And so I just think as we wrap up 2019 and you move into the new year, I feel like it's at least worth spending a little time thinking through as a member of the sexy merge radio nation, what do I do that's foreplay for foreplay and how am I getting in my own way?

Corey Allan: Because a lot of the emails that come in, the ones that are real glaring about, look, you're getting in your own way and I can easily just reply with a, have you thought about this? Because this is what I'm hearing you say. And that's a light bulb moment for the listener to go, you were right. I'm getting in my own way. Or the way I love saying this in a crude fashion is I keep tripping over my own scrotum. Which is difficult to do, but I figured out a way to do that because I just don't use my smarts in life. But seeing it as if I can recognize those things, I'm bringing to bear something that's worth being in a relationship with, which sets the stage to being higher up the mountain. And then maybe my spouse will climb it more with me.

Corey Allan: Maybe they won't, but at least I've put myself at a better altitude. And I think that's what matters in life.

Pam Allan: I agree.

Corey Allan: Well, Ms Pamela, as we begin to wrap up 2019 I mean, man, it's what, two weeks from the time this airs, it's New Year's Day.

Pam Allan: Yeah, it's like we blinked and it was gone.

Corey Allan: Right. So like when this first hits the airwaves, New Year's Day, two weeks from now, we'll be watching the Rose bowl parade, that's kind of a fun morning at the Allan household to just hang out.

Pam Allan: I love that morning.

Corey Allan: It's a great one.

Pam Allan: Absolutely love New Year's morning.

Corey Allan: So I'm just hoping that for the sexy marriage radio nation, however your 2019 has gone, I hope that there's been moments that you can look back on and go, man, it was really good. And then maybe there were some moments like, yeah, not so good or maybe this has been a real struggle.

Corey Allan: And our hope and our prayer for you is that you realize it's all part of a journey. And what we can do to try to frame the struggle and frame the conflict to be something that's producing as this, that's where James gets the idea of consider it joy-

Pam Allan: Consider it joy.

Corey Allan: Right? And even when things are good, consider it joy because I don't know what 2020 holds, but I'm excited for where this can be going for us next year with sexy marriage radio and sexy marriage radio nation.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Me too.

Corey Allan: And I got to say thank you again to the sexy marriage nation, just how they continually show up each and every week and make this all that it can be. So wherever you are, whatever you've been doing, thanks for taking a little bit of time out of your day to spend it with us and a lot of time this year to spend it with us. We'll see you next time.