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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

Getting In Our Spouse’s Way | Feedback Wednesday #600

On the Regular version of today’s show …

It’s Feedback Wednesday so we answer listener’s emails and voicemails.

Thank you to all our listeners for being part of our journey to 600 EPISODES!!!!!!!

A 50 something husband emails wanting to know how to address the lack of intimate connection in his marriage. Is it too late for them due to their age?

A husband enjoyed prostate stimulation and hides it from his wife … who knows he enjoys it and had forbid him the act.

On the Xtended version …

An academy member shared his journey on the platform about the desire differences between he and his wife. They are making progress together and growing, but in a recent post he seems to get in the way of his wife and her need to confront herself.

Let’s face it, we all can do this. So why do we do this and how can we do things better in the future?

Enjoy the show!

Sponsors …

Manscaped: Get 20% off and free shipping on the worlds best grooming products for men. Use the code SMR at https://manscaped.com

Connection Cards: Our friends at The Adventure Challenge have a new resource! Get 20% off when you use our code SMR20 at  https://www.theadventurechallenge.com

Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps!  If your review is chosen and read on the podcast (anonymously, of course!), you’ll win a very special prize!

Got a question?


Call/Text us at  214-702-9565

or email us at feedback@passionatelymarried.net

Announcer: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio, SMRNation.com.

Corey Allan: Well, welcome to the show and by popular demand, welcome to Feedback Wednesday again.

Pam Allan: I love feedback Wednesday.

Corey Allan: I'm your host, Dr. Corey Allan, and as always, I'm here with my wife, Pam, where on feedback shows we go where the audience wants to go with conversations they have, questions they have, topics they want to address, or things they want to add to topics we've had. And so think of this as a long, drawn-out conversation.

Pam Allan: We like it.

Corey Allan: So our mission here at Sexy Marriage Radio is to explore the topics every relationship faces and then offer a framework and practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how relationships work, and then help propel you into a life that is passionately married. Because that's what we all want and strive for, I think, and that's where we're trying to go. So if you're new to the show and you're wondering how to spread the word about the show, check out our starter packs at SMRNation.com/starter.
These are lists that have been put together that help new people get an understanding of what we're about. Some of the popular topics, some of the popular shows and episodes. So this is just a great way to get indoctrinated deeply into Sexy Marriage Radio and what we believe. Also episode 591, The Principles of Passion and Desire are worth checking out because that's the idea of everything we believe in is pretty well captured in that one episode. And it's taken me a couple of minutes already now, Pam, but this is episode 600.

Pam Allan: Woo-hoo.

Corey Allan: And we're going to treat this like a normal episode, but it's episode 600.

Pam Allan: It's pretty amazing.

Corey Allan: That's a pretty big milestone.

Pam Allan: Congratulations. Congratulations. You've been on all 600 of those episodes.

Corey Allan: I am the constant in every single episode. Good or bad, I'm there.

Pam Allan: And the info just keeps on coming.

Corey Allan: It absolutely does. And it has been an honor and a privilege to be behind the microphone each and every week, to be speaking to the nation each and every week, and the vibrancy that they provide for what we do and how everything unfolds. It's because of the nation, and so a huge thank you to the listeners that have helped make this happen, because without the listeners, I don't know. If we had no downloads other than the two you and I get each week, I don't know if we'd still make 600. But...

Pam Allan: Well, if we made 600 on that, then we'd have to really be questioning some-

Corey Allan: What? Where are we?

Pam Allan: Yeah. Yeah.

Corey Allan: I gotcha. But no, that's a great big thank you and lots of love out to the nation. And then I would be remiss to not also recognize Gina Parris and Shannon Ethridge-

Pam Allan: Yeah, absolutely.

Corey Allan: ... who helped get us going off to great starts over the years and then without a doubt you, baby-

Pam Allan: Oh, thanks.

Corey Allan: ... of being on the show, doing life with each other, having that shine through, that's a huge thing. It's a great accomplishment and it's such a privilege to see how you have grown and evolved and taken the chair and become who you are on the air.

Pam Allan: Oh, well thanks. But, yeah, you've been the leader through it all, so we thank you for that and look forward to another 600.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Well, coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio is some of your questions and our answers. We've got a couple of different ways we'll go with today's episode. And then on the extended content today, which is deeper and longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at SMRNation.com/smracademy. We're going to do a deep dive into, how do you address issues when a priority for one spouse isn't a priority for the other? And then how do we continually get in the way of our spouse having to take on themselves better? All that's coming up on today's show.
So an email came in to start us off, Pam. It says, "Corey and Pam, I guess my wife and I are both at a crossroads and we're both apparently unwilling to 'call it out', as you would say on the show. In short, we're an over 50 couple, married for seven years. Intimacy never got off to a good start. Quite honestly we didn't communicate about what we liked or disliked. We had sex, but I always felt like I was the only one participating, partly because of her poor physical condition and partly because she didn't really seem motivated. It wasn't to the level of duty sex, but she didn't really make an effort on her own.
"Maybe she doesn't know how, being that she was not very experienced sexually prior to this relationship. Unfortunately I made things much worse when I committed adultery two years into the marriage. She stayed with me and we get along well, but there's no closeness and there's no sexual intimacy. I've been in Christian counseling for four years. We both have been in counseling as a couple once a month, but we're not discussing sex even though it's been about five years since we've been intimate. I struggle with arousal and attraction to my spouse and I'm sure my wife's dealing with her own fears and trauma from my cheating.
"The counselor has worked on my sexual issues and I'm doing well but has not dealt with the lack of sexual closeness between us. I'm thinking it would be good if my wife agrees to find a female Christian counselor to discuss intimacy issues. On the other hand, I feel we're at a place where many mature couples might be, wondering if the difficult and very hard work is even worth it. I'm sure you're going to say it's time to bring this out into the open, but how do we know who's qualified and who can help us work through these issues before spending lots of time and money on someone who doesn't help at all? Any suggestions on readings or recovering from betrayal and challenges sexually for couples over 50? Thank you and God bless you, too."

Pam Allan: A lot to unpack there.

Corey Allan: There is, and let's start with the latter in this on trying to find somebody that would help.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because he's on the right track in the sense of, "I'm sure you're going to say it's time to bring this out into the open." Yes.

Pam Allan: Yeah, definitely.

Corey Allan: That's what we're going to say. That is step number one, and one of the main ways to do this in my mind, because this is something I think that happens between you and I quite a bit too is, we've gotten, I think, much better at. We can bring the issues up when they're not as much of attacks when they're brought up because we've figured out how to approach them bluntly.

Pam Allan: Attack meaning A-T-T-A-C-K-

Corey Allan: Right, attacking each other.

Pam Allan: ... instead of T-A-X. Okay.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Not an attack.

Corey Allan: Where it's not a personal assault by me saying, "Hey, we have a problem with our sex life. Why are you never into it?" I mean, because that's an immediate elicitation of a defensive mechanism.

Pam Allan: Sure.

Corey Allan: But being able to come out and say, "It's been five years. I know I wrecked this thing in some regards, but let's be honest, the first couple of years, there was a problem there too." And just bringing it out in the open. At least then you see, do I have buy-in in the same kind of a view or not? Because if you don't, well there's another dilemma you need to deal with.

Pam Allan: But it's, as you put it, the data point, right? You just get new data points on this continuum to determine, "What do I do next?"

Corey Allan: Right. And the corollary goes with this, in that if they've been in counseling monthly as a couple and he's been in counseling for four years now, how is that not brought up with the counselor?

Pam Allan: That's what I don't understand.

Corey Allan: Hey, I've been coming here regularly and we're not addressing one of the issues that is of primary concern of me. Are you on board with this topic or not? Because you need to know that with who you're paying.

Pam Allan: Right. Exactly.

Corey Allan: Because it's possible when... Okay, this is one of the things I keep coming across over the two decades of doing this career. The couples or the people that come in with a clear-cut, "This is what I want to address." I'll go there right away because that's the whole point, is therapy, in large part, is self-motivated, self-paced. A therapist is not one that's going to say, "Okay, let's do step one and then we'll do step two and then we'll get to step three. And then we'll-

Pam Allan: Well, you can't just have that because everybody's at different points. I mean, you may have had counseling before, you may have already had other issues. I mean nobody is step one, two, three, four.

Corey Allan: But one of the problems is, we can address mental health help in the same way we would medical health help. "Tell me what I'm supposed to do, doc."

Pam Allan: Right. They're different.

Corey Allan: And that's not the way it goes. And so one of the conversations of bringing it out in the open is with his wife. The other is bringing it out in the open with the counselor, because you've already laid a good foundation with somebody that might be okay going there.

Pam Allan: If they're not, that's his other question, how do I find someone that goes there?

Corey Allan: Right. And then it becomes... You can email me, you feed back sexymarriageradio.com is fine. I'll be happy to be a resource to help you find somebody. I work with people remotely all over the country, all over the world. Happy to do that, too. I've got some females I can recommend as well that will jump right in to that topic. Because one of the phrases I heard in one of the CEUs I've been doing is, "People that are really good in the realm of sex therapy are the ones that have figured out to not be distracted by sex," because it's such a loaded topic.
A lot of times people don't want to deal with it as a therapist. And so some of it is, it's a sex issue, but what they're facing is also a marriage issue. It's an individual issue. There's a lot of things that need to be unpacked. And so, too, is former questions of attraction. "I don't know. I've kind of lost attraction to her." Right?

Pam Allan: Common.

Corey Allan: So one of the questions is, what attracted you in the first place? Because this is a relatively new relationship. Seven years in.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: How'd you meet? What was it that stood out? Was it something that was kind of like, "Eh," but there were other parts that were huge.

Pam Allan: Was it a physical attraction?

Corey Allan: Great. Draw-ins. Yep.

Pam Allan: Did you like the personality? Was it the strength behind it? All kinds of things that play in there.

Corey Allan: Right, because you are talking about the different aspects of us, as people. And so getting confirmation again and reminders again of what drew you in the first place. What's still there? What are the components of it? Because what we focus on grows, and this is a double-edged sword.

Pam Allan: Yeah. If we focus on the negative, that'll grow.

Corey Allan: But if I also focus on the positive, that can grow. And it's not I'm ignorant or blind to the opposite side of this coin, but I can recognize, "Okay, wait, yes, there has been an evolving of poor physical health or aging, or whatever. Well, what are the standards I compare it to, one? And then, what's the whole story? What's evolved and changed as we have aged?" What is it that makes her capable of working through an affair that he had and still seeing it through? Sometimes that's a huge brave step. Sometimes that's a, "I'm just not going to go anywhere" step, right? So I don't know what it is.

Pam Allan: Yeah, you're kind of stuck in the mud kind of step.

Corey Allan: So it's recognizing when you're looking at this idea of the dilemma between the two of you and the hard work that it would take, it's really talking about, how well do you want to go after this as a level of immaturity or maturity? That's the way I would frame it because... You got something you're going to say?

Pam Allan: No, go, finish your train of thought.

Corey Allan: Because what I'm thinking is, if you want to go at this maturely, you have the courage to bring up what needs to be brought up because it creates a better relationship with yourself, first and foremost. I'm addressing the hard things.

Pam Allan: Okay. And so now at least I can sleep at night knowing I've done what I need to do.

Corey Allan: I've spoken my truth. I've spoken my side of it, but I have to add to it this caveat of, just because I've spoken what my route is or my journey is, does not mean they will adjust to it, honor it, see it the same way, or even say, "Oh, thank you very much. You're so right."

Pam Allan: Yeah. It may tick them off.

Corey Allan: It may be something that it's like, "Okay, that just does a little bit of a power imbalance for a bit." And then it becomes, what do you do within your integrity and character to stay the course of who you want to be regardless the state of the relationship?

Pam Allan: Yeah. Because you're either going to be frustrated with the... It's either they do or don't do something based off of what you've brought up. Or, if I don't bring it up, I'm just sitting there fuming thinking I should bring it up.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: What should I do? They don't know. I mean, I've not made myself clear to them, and then all I can do is be mad at myself.

Corey Allan: Right. And that's also where, this is a phrase we've come across and used a couple of different times on episodes relately is, resentment comes from our cowardice. And usually it's because I'm cowardice to bring up what really is going on because I don't want the fight. Well, let me put it this way, Pam. You have a fight either way you go. Which one is the cleaner fight? Which one is the more life-giving, possibly, fight? And that's the idea of moving in towards, what's the dilemma for you? What are you really facing?
What is it that you can frame it as a couple, but then also your culpability in it, your plight in it? Because that's stuff that has to be addressed and good therapists can help walk alongside that and navigate it well. But it also ultimately comes down to, do you have the courage to speak up? Because I think that's how... We'll frame it this way. One of the things that's so impressive as I look back on my journey with you is, throughout all of the years of the ups and downs, the turmoils that have been self-induced and then externally induced, and I'm talking for myself here.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: One of the things that is most attractive about you is your maturity and your solidness to handle and not be afraid of it. To turn towards it. You might overreact to it because that's a common occurrence initially among people. But a willingness to see something through, to not be scared. When I'm coming at it maturely, when I look back, that's how my attraction grows all the more, right? Because it's like, "Whoa, there is a whole lot more there. There's a lot more substance that's capable of... I can speak my mind even if it's scary, and we can see things through." That's I think where they're at this level and relatively old, over 50? No, you're not. You've got a lot of life left. Question is, how do you want to live it and spend it with yourself and who you choose to share it with?

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Corey Allan: Well, this can happen all too often. It can be date night, you and your spouse are out to dinner and you end up having the same conversation over and over again. Or it could also happen what we see at restaurants when we go out, or I've even seen it at the holidays, like over the Thanksgiving holiday. I saw this at some of the different meals we had with family members on our trip, looking around the restaurant, dates and families. Everybody's on their phone. There's no conversations being had.

Pam Allan: So disappointing. Who knows? Maybe they were playing a trivia game and looking up something.

Corey Allan: Maybe so. I like the way you're spinning it towards the positive. Well, oftentimes we can have this longing for connection with our partner and we're not quite sure how to make that happen. Well, this is where the connection cards from our friends at The Adventure Challenge, they're a game changer for couples to explore outside their conversation habits. There's two different decks of cards to choose from, Pam, the Couples Edition and our favorite, the In Bed Edition. We especially love the In Bed cards because they're 50 unique questions and prompts to inspire out-of-the-box conversations that enhance your sex life with your spouse.
It's fun to take turns picking a card, asking questions, and then answering them. So whether you marriage is relatively new or you've been going for several years, you and your spouse are certain to learn something new about each other. You can order yours today at theadventurechallenge.com and get 20% off your entire order when you use our special code SMR20. That's theadventurechallenge.com. Get 20% off when you use our code, SMR20. An email that came in from the last episode that we did was a feedback episode, which was a couple back, baby.
"Hey, Dr. Corey, I want to thank you for addressing prostate play on the podcast. Thank you for putting it in a positive light. I would like you to address the situation where a wife forbids the husband from enjoying his own body in such a way. This is essentially my situation. My wife is opposed to any sort of butt play, even when it comes to me exploring myself. To be honest, I don't care and I still do it. There are times when I feel guilty because I'm doing it behind her back, but I feel like I'm living a separate life. What is the alternative?" So this is that huge dilemma that can happen. First off, let's normalize this. It happens in a lot of areas, not just sex.

Pam Allan: Yes, it does.

Corey Allan: Right? Sex increases the intensity and the tabooness, but it's similar to other areas.

Pam Allan: Of foods that I like, that they...

Corey Allan: That was the first thing that came to my mind, is like, I'm sneaking some sweet because I know it's not on plan and I don't want you to know, but I still sneak it. And that's the same thing that's going on. It gets intensified when you talk about this topic of prostate play, which then my question becomes, "Okay, who owns who here?"

Pam Allan: Hmm. Okay. Yeah. Fair question.

Corey Allan: And we have to put it in light with where a lot of the people that are believers that listen to our show are going to land, which is, but the two become one. The wife's body is not her own, but of her husband. The husband's body is not his own, but of the wife. So who owns who? My personal take on that, when you're talking about Scripture, we're not talking about ownership of property, which means I have rights here too for whatever-

Pam Allan: Yeah. My body is mine.

Corey Allan: ... I want to do with, or don't want you to do with, because your body is mine. So it does become this element of, one of the conversations becomes, "Okay, so she can forbid it. What does that really mean?"

Pam Allan: She doesn't want it.

Corey Allan: Right. But that's a different phrase. I forbid it, which means what? What would she do if you came clean and just said, "You know what honey? I know you said you don't want me doing this. And in fact maybe even went so far as to forbid it. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean you would pack your bags and leave if you found out I was doing it? Would that mean if I actually started doing it in front of you?" I mean, because there's different ways we will react and respond to these kinds of things, and my whole thought is, "How do I just do this in the most integrity character-filled way that's willing to still take the hit of the dilemma between us of, my body's mine."

Pam Allan: Yeah. Well it goes to your comments about gridlock, right? This is a gridlock decision and she's trying to steal his choice.

Corey Allan: Yes. Because she doesn't have to face something she's not comfortable with.

Pam Allan: She's not comfortable with it so, just take it all off the table.

Corey Allan: Because a lot of times when you can come at it a little cleaner, elegant solutions may appear. It may not be something to where she ever wants to participate in. That was the last episode where we talked about this. It's like, she doesn't want to be a part of it, whatever.

Pam Allan: Fine.

Corey Allan: And it could also be, "You know what? If you want to do it I just don't want to know about it." That's a cleaner thing rather than, "No, you cannot."

Pam Allan: Yeah. We're not talking about going out with a third party here. We're not talking about an affair, bringing in another partner, anything like that. This is not a sinful thing.

Corey Allan: Right. Well, and this, again-

Pam Allan: In my opinion, right? But everybody-

Corey Allan: Right. It's going to come down to-

Pam Allan: ... has their own things that they are comfortable with. We all have our own lines that we draw.

Corey Allan: It's going to come down to the meanings you attach, and that's what you need to really be wrestling with. What is the meaning you attach to it?

Pam Allan: Right. And as a spouse, some of my identity might come from my spouse. As a wife some of my identity might come from my husband as far as what his morals are, as far as what his lines are, as far as what his boundaries are. I said the word morals. I don't want anyone to think that I think this is a moral issue. I don't think it is.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: But just saying that we can pull some identity from that person we're with and-

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Pam Allan: ... if they're in disagreement here, if they're not running parallel with where we are everywhere, that can be really hard to overcome.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm. Because it becomes a threat to the relationship and themselves.

Pam Allan: It's perceived as a threat if I make it that way.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm. And so this then just becomes, how do you have the honest conversation about the topic? Because if he's still going to the lengths of, "I'm doing it anyway in secret," I'm not going to advocate one way or another. "Oh, you have to tell her," or, "Oh, you never tell her." I'm going to advocate in the sense of, what does your character require of you? Because if you wanted to really bring yourself forward in your marriage, what does your character require? Usually we know the answer to that.

Pam Allan: I mean, it sounds like the answer's there just in the wording in his email. He's not-

Corey Allan: He feels guilty about it.

Pam Allan: He's not comfortable with doing this and not coming clean about it. It's interesting. I think of this, for me, personally, if my husband is to masturbate, I don't need a recording or a notation or a play-

Corey Allan: You don't want the play-by-play of it?

Pam Allan: I don't need a play-by-play. I don't even need to know that it happened, right? That's for you and your own world, right?

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: And I wonder... I'm sure there's other people out there that are like that, others that want to control whether or not their spouse does this.

Corey Allan: This is a corollary topic that you're bringing up.

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: This happens a lot, too-

Pam Allan: That's why I brought that up.

Corey Allan: ... of, "No, you can't even masturbate."

Pam Allan: You can't even masturbate.

Corey Allan: You can't even enjoy touching yourself in any way.

Pam Allan: Right, exactly. And there was a point where that would've been me. And that's not me now. But that doesn't happen overnight.

Corey Allan: Right, that's a-

Pam Allan: That transition, that realization of what meaning do I attach to it as a spouse? How do I perceive you because you do this? How do I perceive you because you want to do it? Maybe you're not even doing it, but I know you want to. And really, does it even matter what my perception is in that regard?

Corey Allan: Well, that's the whole thing is, so we can often take things like this that happen in marriages, where it's a topic that is tumultuous at best, let's say, right? That it's got a lot of different meanings attached to it and we can overblow it and it becomes such a big deal, when in reality it's a small aspect of a whole relationship.

Pam Allan: Okay, yeah.

Corey Allan: And I got to look at it that way. These are things I don't like you doing, but I'm not responsible for your choices. I'm not responsible for your body and what you choose to do or don't do. But then if that's what we ultimately would want for people, because I think that's where I stand, I want people to make stands for themselves and I can talk about my preferences for other people, but that's as far as it ends, is that's a preference. I don't have control over them, but I want them to be honest about it. Don't hide the things from me. If I ask, tell me. I don't necessarily need to know, though, like you're talking about. I don't necessarily know the play-by-play of everything that goes on in your life, sexually and otherwise maybe, if there there's some individual things happening. I don't need to know all that. But be honest if asked. But be honest about things that do impact me.

Pam Allan: Right. Yeah. I don't want to be lying to you.

Corey Allan: Right. So it's just, if you can look at it through this lens of, I feel like I'm living separate lives. Well, the way you commingle these lives is you deal with the gulf between you honestly. And that's what has a mechanism to possibly draw you in even more, because there's already something there. The elephant in the room, name it, claim it.

Pam Allan: Maybe she just doesn't understand anatomy and how the prostate really works and the-

Corey Allan: And the sensual pleasure it can provide for a man.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Yeah, maybe so.

Pam Allan: Maybe she just needs some sex ed.

Corey Allan: Maybe. But it's still, how do you just be honest because you're only going to have the opportunity of that conversation when you're honest about, "You know what, baby? I enjoy this and I know you don't, and I know you've even gone so far as to forbid it, but you know what? You don't get the choice of forbidding something from me. I can honor your request or not. I'm going to try to just be more honest about that. But let's stay in our lanes better because that way we at least are dealing with the tension it really is, not adding a whole lot to it." It's pretty common across the 600 episodes, particularly the ones where there's feedback, but even with all the different guests. I mean, the hundreds of guests we've had too that we tend to land always heading back towards gridlock. Always heading back towards differences. Always heading back toward... This is just the things that are inescapable, right?

Pam Allan: So true. Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: If you're going to get married and you're going to be in a committed relationship, it's just inescapable. You're going to have these tensions. You're going to have these issues that come up, these things that happen that it's like, "Well, how do I do this when that's happening? And I'm frustrated by this," and it's just nonstop. It's like what I've said before, and I'm not sure. I know I've said this to our oldest, but maybe we need to say this to our youngest if I haven't already. "You're in a relationship with somebody, there's two possibilities that are going to happen. You're going to break up, or you going to marry them. They're just different kinds of pain."

Pam Allan: Right. Right.

Corey Allan: So, recognize that going in. You're not escaping it.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: If you like the show, you can help us out by rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or however you listen. Your comments help us spread the word and help the show get to other people so they frame their conversations about what goes on behind their closed doors. Transcripts are available on the show notes on each of the episode pages. Advertisers, deals and discounts are also available on each of the episode pages at SMRNation.com. Please consider supporting those who support the show. Greatest compliment you can give us, share the show with those that you care about. Well, 600, baby. Come a long way.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And we've got a long way to go.

Pam Allan: I'm ready for the ride.

Corey Allan: Because new things are on the horizon. See you next time.