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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan
Not Attracted To My Spouse #536
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On the Regular version of today’s show …
There is a cure for ticklishness. Plus this same cure works to create deeper erotic connections!
Two newlywed couples email us about issues they are having with sex – within the first year of their marriages.
On the Xtended version …
A husband has no attraction towards his wife, and while he kinda thought this may be an issue while they were dating, their honeymoon confirmed it. What should he do now?
Enjoy the show!
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Speaker 1: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio, passionatelymarried.net. You've turned on Sexy Marriage Radio, where the best sex happens in the marriage bed. Here's your host, Dr. Corey Allan.
Corey Allan: We got a lot of ground to cover today in today's episode.
Pam Allan: Well, let's get rolling then.
Corey Allan: And what's interesting about, there'll be a theme with today's show, at least in the regular version. A couple of emails that have come in from people that are facing some issues they had no idea they would face, and they're only in their first year of married life.
Because you think of how often do we grow up thinking all these expectations on sex, and it's just going to be through the roof, free-flowing, completely responsive and lubricating and multi-orgasmic, and we'll just fall right into bed easily. And you get married, low and behold, that's not usually what happens.
Pam Allan: Yeah, what the heck happened. Yeah.
Corey Allan: So that's where we're going to be heading. I'm kind of jumping the gun a little bit on some of the intro we do.
Pam Allan: Interesting, okay.
Corey Allan: I also got a nice little freebie thing we're going to give the nation. Because this came up in last month's coaching Q&A call, on a cure for ticklishness. Dr. Schnarch has one and we're going to talk about it.
Pam Allan: I like it.
Corey Allan: Yeah. Because I'm assuming some people out there are probably ticklish.
Pam Allan: Yeah. One right here on the mic is. Yeah.
Corey Allan: But we can also go where you might want us to go, if this isn't some of the things that are in your wheelhouse or questions you've got. And you know what, you need to let us know. And the way you can do that is you can call us at (214) 702-9565. You can email us at email@example.com. And then we also have the my.passionatelymarried.net, which is where there's conversations going on. There's a couple in there that have been going on just kind of going through the last month of how do you deal with sex when COVID has hit? How do you deal with sex when a broken foot is an issue and it's in a cast or a boot? Because all these things, you don't think, well, we're going to have to face these things.
Pam Allan: Right, right. Because it might hurt when you just make one little move.
Corey Allan: Or you got to be very careful about, you got a weapon that you've come into bed with, if you swing around in a wrong way, that's going to hurt somebody. Might kick your spouse just right out of the bed. And maybe you don't want them out yet. So, there's some great conversations that are taking place. And it's free to join the regular site, the main level of the platform, just go to my.passionatelymarried.net, ask to join. Jessica or I will get you in right away. And you can jump into the conversations.
And if you want a little bit more, you're going to join the academy and that gets you even further into the nation, deeper conversations. And it's well worth every penny that comes on board.
So coming up on today's free regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio is, as I've already kind of set the stage, a couple of questions that are coming in from newlyweds talking about the topic of ticklish. And on the extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio, which is deeper, longer and there are no ads, you can subscribe at passionatelymarried.net/smracademy.
We've got a email that's come in from a husband that's got quite a dilemma. I'm just going to unpack it more. He and I have been emailing back and forth about the last week, just trying to help get a little more data. But he's in a tough, tough spot. And it's largely because he has no attraction for his wife and found that out on his honeymoon. All that's coming up on today's show.
So Pam, we frame these things at Sexy Marriage Radio through the lens of higher desire, lower desire. And I don't know if this is true, I'm going to throw it out there. And I'm wondering if people will email us in or jump on the platform and answer the question. But in your marriage, is there one that's a higher ticklish and the lower ticklish or no ticklish? Because I'm going to be willing to bet yes, one's going to be a lot more sensitive when it comes to the ticklishness and another is not as sensitive or isn't ticklish at all.
Pam Allan: Well, and ticklish doesn't mean necessarily I start giggling. I equate that more as more sensitive to touch. More sensitive to a lighter touch.
Corey Allan: Okay. And that's a good distinction, because if you're thinking about a ticklish doesn't necessarily always invoke laughter.
Pam Allan: No.
Corey Allan: But it does invoke a reaction that's going to break a mode that's going on or a mood or a contact point or something. And that's where ticklishness becomes an issue when you're talking about trying to set the stage for sexual encounters. Because a lot of times a touch that's too soft or too light could be interpreted and felt as ticklish. And that breaks the mood.
Pam Allan: Right, definitely.
Corey Allan: Because now all of a sudden it's like, whoa, hold on. And it could have been building and building and building and then that can ruin it. Or some people, they've got areas that they know, off limits, because it's just ticklish all the time. If I'm touched there, it's a big deal. So what Schnarch came up with, and this is found in his book, Passionate Marriage, he has a cure for ticklishness and noxious touch. And it's quite-
Pam Allan: I'm sorry, did you say noxious touch?
Corey Allan: Noxious touch. Which is the same kind of thing where it comes across in a way that invokes, not quite a disgust reaction, but it's not as intended. And so it just throws everything off. And this is towards the end of the book. But it's something we've talked about to use this in different ways, this kind of technique to cure it.
And it's built on the foundation that you can not tickle yourself.
Pam Allan: Okay, makes sense.
Corey Allan: Because if you touch yourself softly, even in spots that are incredibly sensitive or ticklish, it doesn't invoke the same reaction and response in your body.
Pam Allan: Yeah, right.
Corey Allan: It still feels maybe sensitive, but it doesn't invoke the, oh, hey, where you're really jumping out of your skin.
Pam Allan: Yeah, I have control over it, I know it's coming.
Corey Allan: Exactly. So the way you do this, and this takes a repeated process, and you get your spouse involved, but you lay, if you are the ticklish one, you lay on your back on the bed or some place is comfortable, your spouse is laying next to you. They put their hand on your stomach. You put your hand on theirs. They then start the process of just moving around your skin, your body. And if you're incredibly sensitive, start with your clothes on.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: If you're less sensitive, disrobe a little, you don't have to get full on naked necessarily. You can still keep undergarments on. And then as they are moving their hand around your body, when you start to feel the sensations begin, you can either press harder onto their hand, move their hand away. But the whole point is you follow it. And with time, your brain will do some rewiring of that process and that connection. And it'll take away the ticklish.
Pam Allan: And I think this is helpful, not even before a rewiring, if I'm following your hand and maybe you're someone that just historically or regularly just touches really lightly, and I might be someone, I am someone that likes a firmer touch.
Corey Allan: Yes, you are.
Pam Allan: Well, I can guide to, hey, just give me a firmer touch.
Corey Allan: That's an interesting little detour we need to take real quick because in general, stereotypically speaking, men touch a wife too softly, women touch a husband too firmly. Because you touch it in the way you would want it to be. And I think a lot of times for men-
Pam Allan: You think that's a male-female thing?
Corey Allan: From what I've come across, I don't know if there's research specifically on this subject, but a lot of times I think ... I'll speak for me. I think of it as I don't want ... you're delicate, I got to be gentle.
Pam Allan: Right. He'll like it romantic.
Corey Allan: And you're like, well, he's strong strapping man, because that's what you think all the time when you're looking at me.
Pam Allan: Of course that's what I think. Yeah.
Corey Allan: And so I think there's these things that we get caught up in. I do it the way I would want it done. And so it doesn't translate because we're different creatures. And so there is this element. Ticklish, this is a great manner to take care of this and deal with it. It's also a great way to help get yourself in the mood when you're not getting there. Get involved. Put your hand on theirs and follow along. This came up on Instagram the other day when my wife won't do it, she won't touch herself. She doesn't know what she likes. And so I just a quick reply, does she mind it and respond when you touch her? Yeah. Well, have her put her hand on yours. That's a great idea. And that got them off and running.
Pam Allan: Yeah, yeah, no, it's a fabulous erotic thing to do.
Corey Allan: It is. So, this is just following a connection better while still maintaining some control. That's the whole point.
So an email that came in, it says, hello, Dr. Corey, been married a year, my husband and I had great sex before marriage. Looking back, that wasn't a great idea. But now a year in, I'm just over sex. I've bought lubes, toys, lingerie, anything to help me get excited, but nothing seems to work. I don't know what's wrong with me. My husband goes straight to the toys and if I don't climax within 10 to 15 minutes, I feel like he's getting tired of waiting. Our only foreplay is making out. And that quickly turns into penal-vaginal intercourse. Even though I've explained to him that I need more of a warm up. He isn't a fan of lingerie, doesn't like to perform oral, and sex usually only lasts 15 minutes when we do have it. Which currently is only about once every couple of weeks. I used to have a high drive, but he never did. And I think being turned down or not pursued just has me resenting him and sex.
I've tried lingerie, but that doesn't do anything. And that hurts my confidence. I just don't know what to do. We're newlyweds for goodness sakes. I'm never turned on at all. And when I do agree to have sex, my body's like nope and dries up completely. I'm so frustrated.
Also, my husband has had an issue with porn in the past and I'm terrified that if I don't start having better sex, he's going to revert back to that. I just don't know what to do, please help.
So she's got quite a bit. And the one thing that jumps out to me, tell me if you ... is the same word that jumps out to me, pressure.
Pam Allan: You have pressure, mine is expectations.
Corey Allan: Okay, go with the expectations real quick.
Pam Allan: It sounds like she's got these expectations of what sex should be once we get married. And here's how it was before we got married. And here's how it is now and it's not meeting my expectations. And no idea where to go with that, which I think is really normal. It is not surprising to get into it and why ... Well, I mean, you and I have shared that story. I was all excited for sexual activity before we got married. Then it was like, when we got married, boom, where did my drive go? And we're not alone in that scenario. It can be rekindled.
Corey Allan: No. And some of our story overlaps with what she's describing, because part of the thing I'm hearing as pressure is my husband has had an issue with porn in the past. So she has pressure on her, if I don't perform, he's going to revert back. As if that has something to do with his using porn.
Pam Allan: Exactly.
Corey Allan: And that has nothing to do with it.
Pam Allan: Exactly. He was using porn before he ever knew her.
Corey Allan: Most likely, if that was part of the journey, yes. But even if it was something that came on board after he already started dating her, it has very, very little to do with her. It's not direct cause, that's the main thing we've always talked about and been very consistent with with SMR. Is pornography is not a corollary to the spouse, that's just collateral damage. That's just impact on their choice, but it's their choice.
And so one of the things I'm hearing from her is this self-induced pressure and guilt over what they did prior to marriage has now squashed the desire that was there. Which I'm then curious, and feel free to email us back feedback at sexymarriageradio.com, I'm curious, was the desire there before she was even dating him. Was she a very high drive, curious, sexual bent person? Or was this born out once there was a relationship? And it was that euphoria that happens with a new relationship, where whatever my normal baseline is, you can multiply it by a factor of 10 or so. I mean, that's not scientific by any means. But it does amplify any desire that is there as a threshold, a normal level. And then that's going to revert back to whatever it was. So I'm curious if that's the case, then that's another issue of internal, not just relational.
But the other thing I'm thinking of is, and I like your word of expectations, because her phraseology that jumps out to me, when we do have sex, and it takes me too long. I feel like he gets tired of waiting. Have you asked him? Have you said, hey, I realize this has taken a while, not during it, that's a mood killer, but afterwards saying, hey, here's the state of me in this encounter we just did. And I kind of get the read, you get impatient. Am I wrong in that read?
Pam Allan: Yeah. And that's good information to have. Because is he getting impatient or is he just not ... maybe he's losing some confidence of, wow, how can I help her get there? And he's feeling a burden on his shoulders for her to get there potentially. There's all kinds of these scenarios that who knows what's going on in his head. So you're exactly right, that conversation would be useful.
Corey Allan: And this just popped into my head, and I don't know, in the almost decade I've been on this microphone, that you've been on for over three years now with me, I don't know if I've ever said this on the air. But if both members of a marriage are satisfied, enjoying feeling connected, feeling loved, getting what it is they're looking for out of a relationship and there's no sex happening, that's not a bad thing if both members are on board. I don't know where it came into this mindset that we should be having sex.
Pam Allan: A certain number of times.
Corey Allan: Right. Because we all add these layers upon layers of pressure, expectation, shoulds, all these things, rather than really asking myself the question of why. Why do I do this? Where's that come from? What's the validity of that for me as I see it? Because across the board, there'll be people that are like, if I'm not having sex every other day, there's a problem. Or if it's once a week, that's a problem. Versus is it working? That's a question you need to ask yourself. I mean, she's asking because it's not working.
But I do want to add that little asterisk in here of, how do you relieve the pressure valve a little bit on this and just let yourself warm up and see. And I realize he could be pressuring in saying it's time to transition. That's the fact of every relationship. Somebody always signals it's time to move from the build up experience to an intercourse experience. Somebody signals that.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Either verbally, behaviorally, a facial expression, something goes off. So when that signal is sent and delivered, just say, no, not ready. Realizing that might just totally ruin that encounter at that moment. But what happens with couples is when he signals, it's time to get straight to the penal-vaginal intercourse level, and you say, no; that changes it. Because up to this point, you've probably said, oh, okay, by your behaviors.
Pam Allan: Right. Which would take you longer to climax because you weren't there yet, you weren't ready.
Corey Allan: Exactly. I love that she's trying to claim the time that I need more of the warm up. Because it sounds like the acts in which they follow right now, she knows doesn't work. That's the bigger issue. So how do you relieve some of those pressures on just the entirety of this aspect of your relationship, one, to let it just be more free flowing. I've had some couples, and even newlyweds could do this, where they've taken intercourse off the table. We can be sexual with each other, but we're not just going ... intercourse is not going to happen.
Some do this because of medical issues, seasonal issues, fertility issues, whatever it could be. But there's that element of you can, it's not trick your brain, but when you make something taboo, man, it can spark some stuff in us. And then that gives you good data to start asking questions of, okay, what was that really about?
Because I think we need to learn to grow from this is more than just an act, this is who I'm with, and who I am in the middle of it. And what am I learning about myself as we get further into it? This is some of what we'll be talking about a little bit in the extended. Of how do you use some of the data we learn in the behaviors that are happening to change my dance moves, not just my spouses.
Pam Allan: You bring up the taboo, and I'm thinking on this, she's kind of lost her desire where they are, so this is maybe a new point, C, D or E, on this email. I'm curious if she's just looking for something that sparks it more. The toys aren't doing it for her. He goes straight to ... just making out isn't doing it. So what else too, when you get past ... I mean, there's all kinds of little recommendations in here. So we're just dropping little ... what is something, all kinds of options I think we're tossing out here.
But what is something taboo? Do you get turned on by the things that seem off limits? And turned on when I was having sex before I got married? And now there's guilt. Well, number one, realize there's grace. Don't keep kicking yourself for that.
Corey Allan: You're right.
Pam Allan: Move on forward. But what feels kind of off limits, a fantasy world, exotic to you within your marriage to spice it up? And what do you throw out to him to do?
Corey Allan: And how do you ... Well, I think of that answer is that stuff you do before you're even with him. Where's your thought life during the day? Where are you going with how you're conducting yourself, carrying herself? I mean, she says she's bought lingerie. For her or for him? Because what she's gotten with the message is, it doesn't work for him. But have you sought out lingerie that might work for you? I don't know. Because obviously I think a lot of times lingerie is more of a male driven thing. But man, there's a lot of things out there that probably makes you feel sensual, feel seductive, feel powerful.
I mean, I refer to this as the feminine superpower. We've used as a phrase several times over the years. But it's just this idea of how do you start to see ... I mean, okay, let's end it this way, Pam. I'm almost hearing control battles on both sides of this thing. He's trying to control just to get the job done in the way it's being mapped by her. She's trying to control, but this is what I need. And he's not playing along.
Well, the only way you win a control battle, you don't play. And I don't mean you don't have sex. You just don't play the way you've normally played.
Pam Allan: Gotcha.
Corey Allan: Same example would be, if you and I are in arguments quite a bit over some topic, the only way I win that argument is I don't argue about it.
Pam Allan: True, yeah.
Corey Allan: So, that's the same kind of concept. It doesn't mean we don't still talk about the subject, but I refuse to play the dance that we've been playing.
Pam Allan: Yeah, not going to argue.
Corey Allan: So when she can examine that, I think now all of a sudden maybe she empowers the way she comes at it to deal with what's present better.
Pam Allan: Gotcha.
Corey Allan: So this is another email that came in that says, this is a wife and her husband's situation. So on Instagram months ago, I did a thing on a what's uncommon wedding night advice. And I said, you didn't have to have sex on your wedding night. Free up some of the pressure. Well, it's been three weeks and a day and we still have not. And so I don't know where they are now because this has been sitting in the queue for a while.
We were both virgins waiting for marriage. And we really had crazy high sex drives. We both struggled mentally with lustful thoughts, especially me. He struggled too, but not as much from what I can tell. A few months before we got married, I had no mental struggle and I think it's because we were struggling physically. We did not cross any crazy boundaries, but heavy petting was becoming an issue. I had a sort of fear that I had lost my sexual drive and desire for the lack of a better way to put it. But I ignored that fear and dismissed it. And didn't want to think on it too long as I was happy to not be peppered with lustful thoughts all day.
Now we're married, July 3rd was our wedding day, and we've not been able to make penetration happen. We've both done oral on each other. He loves it. And I honestly like performing it. And he's good at going down on me. But my problem is I have no libido and feel almost no pleasure. When we were struggling before marriage, I had almost obsessed with the thought of being able to be with him sexually. And there's a few occasions that showed me I can feel pleasure. Again we repented and cut it off quickly, still regret it, but it showed me that at least I have nerve endings that work.
We've repented from what we did before marriage. And we still pray about it now. And I don't know if it's guilt, fear it will hurt, no idea, but he can only get to a point inside me then boom, burning sensation. And it feels impossible for him to go in. Fingering was even hard at first. We're getting better at that now, but I feel almost no pleasure.
I've never masturbated. And I had no idea what my clitoris is doing. I've literally watched tutorials, read up, but I feel like I'm broken. I always had a fear that something was wrong with me sexually. So I don't know if this is my inner anxiety manifesting into vaginismus. I have no clue.
Both of our libidos are now almost non-existent. I thought it was just me, but we've talked about it and his desire's down as well. And he has trouble staying hard too, something that we just discovered. We're trying to stay calm and not despair and to hold really tight to Christ, but we're going to keep praying, talking and trying, but our world is upside down.
If you can offer any help, please know I want to be able to know my husband and for him to know me as his wife.
So this one has some of the same themes. One of the bigger one is pressure. And guilt. I mean, these are two ... Man, if we could figure out as hosts of Sexy Marriage Radio how to relieve the pressure and relieve the guilt for married couples in their sex life, we would be trillionaires.
Because I think this is one of those things that wreaks so much havoc on so many couples is pressure. Because you just put so much emphasis on, yeah, but this isn't working, this didn't work, we did this beforehand, now this is wrong, and this is wrong. Because everything I'm hearing, I think she's on the right path of a clue to what's going on is, her anxieties have gotten so amped up, the vaginismus is setting in. Because it's just a tightening of her vaginal canal.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Whether self-induced or not., we got to go see a doctor and check some of that stuff out obviously. But certainly from what we're hearing here, and for what you see.
Corey Allan: Everything I'm hearing, if you're talking about-
Pam Allan: Mind over matter.
Corey Allan: Penetration gets to a point and now all of a sudden it's uncomfortable to a burning sensation. That's a problem. Because no sexual encounter should be painful, unless you're into the pain, that's a whole different thing. But that's not what we're talking about here. But I know I'd get emails if I don't add the qualifier on that.
But if you start to feel that kind of sensation or that kind of discomfort, it needs to stop, and you need to examine what's going on. What's going on in my body? How am I not relaxed? What areas aren't relaxed? Because this is also more than just breathe deeply and relax. Because a lot of times the brain does get ... just it misconstrues some things. And so you're not going to feel pleasure if you're already worrying about, well, this is going to be painful, this isn't going to work, what's going to happen this next time.
This is akin to a husband who has had any kind of erectile difficulty at some point, either he couldn't ejaculate, ejaculated too quick, or couldn't get an erection. Once it hits a man once, in the back of his mind is, the other shoe's going to drop. It's going to happen again. And you know what fellas? It will. Okay. How do I relax? And know if it does, okay, I can seek the questions that I need answered. I can ask them. I can find them. I can go to my doc. That's one of the things I would recommend is go get a checkup and see what's going on. Make sure everything's physically speaking okay.
And then after that, it's continued conversations, and yes, it's going to impact your libido. But this is where our libido is much more than just the biological hormones or horniness feelings. Because sometimes my libido is a commitment and a dedication towards seeing something through.
Pam Allan: Right. It doesn't mean it's forever tainted and never is going to change.
Corey Allan: Right. Well, don't we oftentimes in life when we're looking back at earlier stages of life, I see things a lot more all or nothing. I love my job. And then when you get further into it and you see the complexities and the struggles and the days that you really don't want to do it, does that mean you no longer love your job? No. It just means there's an underbelly to it. There's negatives to it.
Things are not a hundred percent pure. Things are not a hundred percent evil. They're both. And so if I can start to look at it as now that I'm seeing that sex is much more complicated and there's issues involved, how do I realize that's normal? How do I address that pressure better and I relax into things better?
How do they just date each other, this is a good example for the first one too, first segment, how do you just be romantic with each other, engage with each other in other ways? Relax.
Pam Allan: Right, release the guilt.
Corey Allan: And then to keep taking steps. Because all of these things are more data. And that's really all we can offer here is take a little step, see where it is, regain your footing where you are, and then take another one.
Because they're talking about having to work harder to make something they thought would be more natural happen. But they're just going to have to work a little bit harder. I've worked with couples like this, that do you have the dedication to see it through, to be with a pelvic floor specialist? Do you have a dedication to seek out ... there's clinics out there that are really focusing now on vaginismus?
Pam Allan: If that's what it is.
Corey Allan: Right. But even if it's not this, it sounds akin. Even if it's not the label of it, if you're talking about there's a tightness, there's a clamping down and even fingering was difficult, that's an issue. I'm curious if any tampon use is a difficulty. Because some of that kind of stuff can be the same signals of, okay, some of that is a relaxing, more than it is a muscular there's something actually wrong or broken. And so realizing there's a lot of different avenues I can explore. have the courage to explore it like she's doing. And keep having the conversations, knowing we don't solve it with a pill, but I solve it by growing and addressing it and realizing what I'm really capable of.
Pam Allan: Right. And that's where the beauty comes in even farther down the road, it gets even sweeter.
Corey Allan: Yep. Then you can really celebrate it. Well, this one's been a little heavy.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Yeah. Especially the extended.
Corey Allan: Yeah. There's a lot of dilemmas that happen in marriage. And sometimes they can happen right off the bat, like in the extended content. I mean, the issue really became magnified and known in the open on the honeymoon. And attraction, and there's no clean answer of what do I do? How do I find it? What's the problem?
Or newlyweds who, I don't know, it's not supposed to be happening like this. And how do we just get out of our own way? And I think a lot of times, the best thing we can do is we can learn to confront ourselves better. Ask the right questions better of ourselves. And then address what's present.
Because this is one of Schnarch's phrases that I love. That most couples come to therapy thinking there's something missing. But what they don't realize is it's what's present is the problem. It's not what's missing. So address what's present. See what you learn about yourself and each other. And then find your next best steps.
Well, this has been Sexy Marriage Radio, if we left something undone, let us know, (214) 702-9565, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for so much for taking some time out of your week to once again spend it with us. We'll see you next time.
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