Top iTunes Marriage Podcast

12.5+ Million Downloads

hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

Reading List #443

On the Regular version of today’s show …

A sex ed quiz for my wife and co-host, Pam.

An email from a listener asking for a reading list to help him not only in the counseling world but also in marriage.


On the Xtended version …

A talk I recently gave on the subject of intimacy.


Enjoy the show!

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

Corey Allan: Since we are knee deep into the Thanksgiving slash Christmas slash New Years slash, I mean, don't they all seem to just run together?

Pam Allan: I believe they call it the holidays.

Corey Allan: Oh, that might work then. But since we're knee deep into this, and specifically here in the States and any place that might be celebrating Thanksgiving, happy Thanksgiving to the Sexy Marriage Radio nation.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Hope you guys have a great time and spend some time actually thinking about what you're thankful for.

Corey Allan: And on that note, we're thankful for the Sexy Marriage Radio nation.

Pam Allan: Definitely.

Corey Allan: For the ones that regularly show up, or even just occasionally show up, shout out to you. Glad that you spent some time with us on occasion and maybe glean a little bit of information that does help your married life move up the scale of enjoyment, satisfaction, pleasure, adventure, whatever it might be that you're looking for. We hope that we can offer a source that gives you good quality information on a week in, week out basis that allows you to celebrate all that marriage can be.

Corey Allan: And if you've got something specifically you want us to address, if you've got a question you might be thinking, I don't think I'll ask this around the Thanksgiving table, but I do want to ask it.

Pam Allan: You can ask it here.

Corey Allan: You can let us know at (214) 702-9565. Or is where all the emails come in, get read, and help shape the show, because this is listener driven radio.

Pam Allan: It is. I think if they're asking that at their Thanksgiving table, I want to be there.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Pam Allan: I want to be at that family Thanksgiving.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. And that reminds me of a time when I was in school and we had those diversity experiences we were supposed to do where each class required us to go do something out of our norm or bring up a topic we wouldn't normally with family or somebody and then write about the experience.

Corey Allan: And one of them was when we were heading to go see all of my extended family in Tyler. That was when my grandparents were still alive. Everybody was coming in, which was not a normal occurrence, and I was going to ask my grandparents where they learned about sex and what their thoughts were for the prior generations after them.

Pam Allan: Perfect.

Corey Allan: And I told my parents I was going to do that, and my mom's face went pale. Like you will not ask that question to them. Because she was scared of like, that's not a topic we talk about. No, you can't do that.

Pam Allan: That was so taboo in that family.

Corey Allan: It really was. And so I ended up chickening out and did not bring it up. I honored my mother in that case.

Pam Allan: And you've regretted it ever since.

Corey Allan: I have. I really would have loved to have heard from my grandparents, because I think they would have been some great information.

Pam Allan: Oh yeah, they would have talked.

Corey Allan: I think they would have talked and been straightforward and up front.

Corey Allan: Well coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio, I'm going to quiz my wife on a sex ed quiz I found online that's high school level.

Pam Allan: Oh yikes.

Corey Allan: It could be kind of fun.

Pam Allan: Because I think I'm probably at sixth grade level, so this might be above my head.

Corey Allan: Well we'll find out.

Pam Allan: Again, no judgment.

Corey Allan: And then also we've got an email that's come in that's asking for what are some good books that can help him in this journey.

Pam Allan: Oh, yeah.

Corey Allan: And so as we're heading into the holiday season, reading can be a way you could disappear from people when you're trying to steal a little time, or it's a way to challenge yourself because you've got a little more time on your hands.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: So we're going to cover that and maybe see where that spins into some more information too. And then coming up on the extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio, which is deeper and longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at, I had a chance to speak just recently on the whole subject of intimacy and we recorded it. And so the extended content is going to be a conversation about intimacy and how it's kind of the opposite look at it, or an aspect of intimacy that we don't usually look at.

Pam Allan: Right. I think you'll like it.

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

Corey Allan: All right, my dear wife, Pam.

Pam Allan: Yes.

Corey Allan: We occasionally will do these sex ed or sex quiz or some of these different things just kind of you get to be the one that's put on the spot, but it's also a chance for the audience to test their knowledge as they are listening along.

Pam Allan: Yeah. So you guys play along with me and I'll be your comedic relief and we'll go from there.

Corey Allan: So there is a whole lot of different things out there when you're trying to just study the world of sex and sexuality.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But there's also just some basic information that's really good, and some things that are like, huh, okay, I didn't realize that. And so I found seven questions that I'm going to quiz you with, and I'll be up front with you right off the bat to say this is not multiple choice. These are fill in the blank or just short answer.

Pam Allan: All right. I can do it. Let's go.

Corey Allan: Okay. And so if you need help, I guess you can phone a friend. No, I don't have a way to do that. You could ask a child. No, we won't bring them on the air. So I guess you're on your own, babe, if that's okay?

Pam Allan: All right, let's go.

Corey Allan: So question number one. In what part of the female anatomy is an ovum fertilized?

Pam Allan: An ovum?

Corey Allan: An ovum.

Pam Allan: Yeah. I'm not going to lie. I've not heard that word before.

Corey Allan: Okay. Would you like some clarification on that word? I'll gladly help define some of the things that are within the question.

Pam Allan: You can feel free to define it. We'll see-

Corey Allan: The ovum is the singular egg that's released from the ovary. When it is released, as it's traveling through the female reproductive system, it's an ovum. That's what it's called.

Pam Allan: Okay, so the question is-

Corey Allan: At what part of the female anatomy is an ovum fertilized? Where does fertilization take place?

Pam Allan: Well, that's a real good question. I guess... I don't know. is it actually in the uterus or is it in the fallopian tube? It's in the tube.

Corey Allan: You are correct with the second one.

Pam Allan: Yeah, okay.

Corey Allan: The fallopian tubes. That's where fertilization actually takes place.

Pam Allan: And then it goes through to the uterus.

Corey Allan: And then it travels its way. So an ovum is released, and it'll hang out in the fallopian tube area for roughly 24 hours as it's traveling through. And so if there's sperm that's working its way up past the uterus and on into the fallopian tubes, that's where fertilization takes place. Because most often the uterus isn't real conducive for fertilization.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: The fallopian tubes are.

Pam Allan: All right. So for those of you that are trying to get pregnant, well, okay, here's a little bit of info for you.

Corey Allan: A little bit of biology to learn and understand. I don't know if that knowledge actually helps increase the fertilization chances.

Pam Allan: Yeah, like, no.

Corey Allan: Question number one, you got right. Well done.

Corey Allan: So question number two. What is the purpose of pubic hair? Okay, we're on radio.

Pam Allan: Okay. Sorry.

Corey Allan: As you're thinking through, they can't hear the wheels.

Pam Allan: Yeah. They should hear some rusty cranks in there going right now. I'm guessing it's something to do with odor and attraction, and I don't know.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Pam Allan: I really have no idea.

Corey Allan: Well the judges aren't going to give you credit for this one, because the pubic hair's purpose actually is it protects the genitalia from unwanted bacteria and pathogens and friction.

Pam Allan: Huh, okay.

Corey Allan: It protects the area to keep it clean and softer and more comfortable for during the act of intercourse.

Pam Allan: Okay, okay. All right.

Corey Allan: So one and one is where you stand right now.

Pam Allan: All right. So for those that get the Brazilian, we've got some issues. Right? Get it all-

Corey Allan: Fair. But I think, to be fair, as society has evolved there is still an importance to genitalia, and I mean the pubic hair protecting the genitalia, especially from the bacteria and cleanliness, but there's also a lot more education about how we keep ourselves cleaner.

Pam Allan: Good point.

Corey Allan: Because if you talk about culture way back, showers weren't as prominent and prevalent as they are today.

Pam Allan: Gotcha.

Corey Allan: And cleanliness was a different relative term depending on what culture in which you live.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Okay? So question number three. How long does the average sex act last?

Pam Allan: Depends on how you define sex act, I guess.

Corey Allan: This would just be, let's go with just intercourse.

Pam Allan: Intercourse.

Corey Allan: What's the average length of time?

Pam Allan: Average?

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pam Allan: Six minutes.

Corey Allan: Perfect. Spot on.

Pam Allan: Really?

Corey Allan: It's actually 5.7 to 7.5 minutes.

Pam Allan: Holy cow. Okay.

Corey Allan: You nailed it right in the middle.

Pam Allan: Hot dog.

Corey Allan: Well done. Straight down the middle. All right? So two and one.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Two right, one wrong. Number four. What's the world's oldest way of practicing birth control?

Pam Allan: To pull out.

Corey Allan: Perfect. You got that one right too. The pull out method.

Pam Allan: Is that the term for it, the pull out method?

Corey Allan: Yes. The pull out method. That's what it's called.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: And that's just where you, for those of you that are unaware with what the pull out method is, that would be where you remove the penis before ejaculation.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And ejaculate on an external area of her body rather than internally.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Number five. Other than latex, what else can condoms be made from? I'm figuring I'm going to stump you on this one.

Pam Allan: Yeah, I'm totally... I mean, what? Camel hair? That's a joke. No, I do not think that's how it's made.

Corey Allan: Ooh, that's not going to be comfortable for her for sure.

Pam Allan: Totally random. No, I have no idea.

Corey Allan: Okay, so it's polyurethane and lamb skin are two other common ones.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: But the one thing to note, because lamb skin, it does have a whole different level of sensation because of the composite of the material, right?

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: But lamb skin only protects against pregnancy. It does not protect against STDs.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: So just got to make that note and clarification for the audience so that everybody understands.

Pam Allan: Sure.

Corey Allan: All right, number six. What's the average age Americans lose their virginity? Yeah, this one's an interesting one.

Pam Allan: This one might be kind of sad. The average age?

Corey Allan: Average age.

Pam Allan: Well, you know, I'm going to go with 18.

Corey Allan: Okay. 17.1.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: So you were really close.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: We'll give you, the judges give you, that's within the statistical-

Pam Allan: No, I'm marking it wrong.

Corey Allan: Oh, okay.

Pam Allan: It's too off. It's too off.

Corey Allan: Well, look at that. She's being difficult on herself and holding herself to a higher standard.

Pam Allan: I'm 50-50 so far, so let's see how this last one goes.

Corey Allan: Well done. And then number seven, the final question. We'll see where you rate on this.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Did you pass or did you fail the whole thing? What is the most effective form of birth control?

Pam Allan: Abstinence.

Corey Allan: Perfect. Exactly. That's the one that's also the big hot button when you look at different... Because remember, this is from high school. So this whole test came from a high school level data that was collected and then presented to high schoolers.

Pam Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Corey Allan: So abstinence is one that society latched onto and said this is the only way, and now they're trying to come in and deal with how do we still offer protectiveness and education and promote health.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: So what did you end up with? We got-

Pam Allan: Four out of seven.

Corey Allan: Four out of seven. Okay, well done. I know, and I'm not even going to keep moving on from that.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But still, some of these are tough. I'll give you that. But also some of those, well done. Because this is all just how do we deal with what's going on within our body? And what we know can help us inform ourselves, our spouse, and our children.

Pam Allan: Yeah, so go ask your high-schoolers these questions, I guess.

Corey Allan: See how they do. That'll work.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: All right, so since you've recovered from the quiz, I'm guessing.

Pam Allan: Yeah. I am. I'm good. I'm good.

Corey Allan: All right. All good again?

Pam Allan: I'm all good.

Corey Allan: All right. So this is an email that just came in that I felt like for the holiday show, this fits, just because between us, you know I'm a reader.

Pam Allan: You are.

Corey Allan: I love reading. This is something that was born out of being in grad school. So it was born out of a necessity.

Pam Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Corey Allan: It wasn't something I enjoyed earlier in life. For sure, not as a kid. And then earlier on in our marriage, I really rarely read. But now I've kind of picked it up and I get on kicks of reading quite a few books at a time, sometimes, and try to plow through as many as I can. And now Audible is a whole new level.

Pam Allan: Yeah, your life is revolutionized with that.

Corey Allan: On the kind of information I can, you know, digest on a quick level. But this came in saying my name is Trey, and I started listening to SMR during the summer while my wife and I were navigating the lowest part of our relationship that we'd faced. Listening has helped us greatly, and I'm still trying to get my wife on board.

Corey Allan: I'm currently a school counselor at the elementary level, but I want to pursue my LPC and LMFT. Until I'm ready to jump back into college classes and observations, it would be great to know what authors I read or what books I recommend. I'm currently reading No More Mr. Nice Guy and loving it, so any materials or sources you can recommend are greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work.

Corey Allan: So I want to take this from two different sides, because one, it's a colleague in the profession asking for what are some of the things that can help steer me in that. And I don't want to spend a lot of time on that, because it's largely going to come down, and I'll just answer your question straight out, Trey, whatever theorist you believe in. When you start entering into the world of LMFT and LPC theories, one of them will probably resonate more with you than the others. Learn everything you can about that person.

Pam Allan: Yeah. All the books and all the books about them.

Corey Allan: Read everything that you can about that person and their work and how it's evolved, because theories to me are how I look and shape humans in my view, and it's where I go when I get stuck with somebody. I will go back to a theory to help me with my thought process on where do we go next? How do we solve this? How do we look at this? So it should be, if you've been a listener of the Sexy Marriage Radio world or nation for any length of time, you should know on my list it's Schnarch, as far as a theorist. I mentioned last week, I had just returned from a training with him.

Pam Allan: Yeah. What would be your first book of his that you'd read?

Corey Allan: So Passionate Marriage is a good one. The second one after that, Intimacy And Desire is actually better, because it's a little more digestible. It's written for the lay person, too. It's not necessarily a clinician's book, but it gives you a good inkling into, an introduction into his theory and the whole concept of the crucible. His newest one, Brain Talk, I wouldn't go there to start with, for sure. And then Constructing The Sexual Crucible, I wouldn't go there.

Pam Allan: It's more academic and more in the field?

Corey Allan: It's how he created it, yes. Both of those are how they've created it, so they're pretty deep and heavy.

Pam Allan: So just a person like me probably not going to read that one, right?

Corey Allan: No, I wouldn't go there. But Intimacy And Desire absolutely would be a good one.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Also in the field, and these are a little more broad, some of my favorites are the Man's Search For Meaning from Victor Frankl. He's the one that helped create the whole world of logo therapy. He is a psychologist or psychiatrist that was actually interned in a concentration camp, and he discovered when you can make meaning out of your suffering, it changes your outlook. And so he then is credited to go on after the war, after he survived the war, he brought the suicide rate in Austria down to zero.

Pam Allan: Making meaning out of your suffering.

Corey Allan: Yep.

Pam Allan: And I think that's what you bring up a lot in a lot of what we talk about is what is the meaning behind each of these actions? How do you interpret XYZ that just happened because what is the meaning to you? [crosstalk 00:16:23].

Corey Allan: Yep. Yeah, and how do I make sense of it? How do I make it to where, okay, this setback just happened. Rather than, oh, poor me, it could be, okay wait, what can I learn from this? I mean, the scriptural equivalent to this is consider it joy when you face trials.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because it will produce something.

Pam Allan: From James, yeah.

Corey Allan: It's the same concept. So that's a great book. Another one that I really enjoy is Irvin Yalom's The Gift of Therapy, because he's one that espouses the humanness of the therapist is essential for therapy. So the person, who that person is, matters. Not just do they know the right words? Unconditional positive regard and empathy and all that. But who they are, how they experience the process and the relationship makes a huge difference. And so that was one that stood out to me in school.

Corey Allan: And then another one that just came out from Lori Gottlieb, who's a therapist in LA, and she wrote a book called Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. And it's a therapist, her therapist, and life stories, or something like that is the subtitle. But it's a fantastic read that really does the therapy profession well. It kind of carries our side of this thing really well on this is who we are as people that are trying to do this job. And she's a gifted writer. That was actually recommended to me just recently by some clients of mine. So shout out to you two, you know who you are, on the ones that mentioned this to me. But that's a great read.

Pam Allan: So that one's a great read really for anybody?

Corey Allan: It is. But I think it's also a good one for a therapist because she goes through and talks about a bunch of the different theories and how they apply to life, and she uses them in real time with her journey as the story is unfolding.

Pam Allan: And that one has a lot of real life examples, right?

Corey Allan: Yes.

Pam Allan: It's easy to understand.

Corey Allan: It follows four prominent clients that she's worked with, as well as her role as a client with Wendell, is her therapist. That's his pseudo name, his code name was.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: But it's an enjoyable read. And then so then transitioning from there to just how do you help frame your thinking? Because he mentioned he does No More Mr. Nice Guy, that is what he's been reading. And that's a great one.

Corey Allan: I'm a big fan of John Eldredge's work.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So for the men, Wild At Heart is a good framework. For the ladies. Captivating, written alongside his wife, is a good framework. My favorite of John Eldredge is actually Waking The Dead, and that's the idea of living more from your heart and letting it, in its desires, speak more cleanly and be a good source for you. He takes this concept from St. Irenaeus of whatever you do that makes you feel alive, go do that. You know, just that kind of concept of go do stuff that stirs in you.

Corey Allan: Then you know full well, Pam, our love of Donald Miller and Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.

Pam Allan: Oh man. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. Loved that book.

Corey Allan: And even his relationship book, Scary Close, is good. That's his journey of how he wanted relationships to make him healthy, and then he realized he had to be healthy before he was going to have a healthy relationship.

Pam Allan: I think that one would be key for so many people, right?

Corey Allan: It is. Yep.

Pam Allan: It's not realizing that I've got to work on me and make myself healthy before I can do anything else.

Corey Allan: Yep.

Pam Allan: There's not going to be any relationship that works well if I'm not making myself healthy,

Corey Allan: Right. Right. A relationship can't take me someplace that I'm not.

Pam Allan: Right. And how maybe I think I am healthy, and wow, I'm just not even really. I'm looking at somebody else's reflection in the mirror and not even mine.

Corey Allan: Right. Right. So his work is really, really good. I'm also a fan of Brene Brown and her work on vulnerability. Daring Greatly is the one that's most prominent, and that's the one I would start with. This one was recommended to me by an intern years ago, that she made the comment of besides the Bible, that is the one book I would want every single human being to read.

Pam Allan: Interesting.

Corey Allan: Just because it captures this whole idea of vulnerability, but gets vulnerability. And so how do I look at it through the lens of my drive forward for deeper connection as I'm getting in my own way sometimes. And so that's a really good framework.

Corey Allan: And then another one to kind of round out this kind of thought. This is an old work. It's been around for a long time. And it's The Art Of Loving by Erich Fromm.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And it's one that'll make you think, and it's not an easy read necessarily, but it is a profound book. In grad school it was one of my favorites. That would be one of those that it really shifted my thinking in really good ways as I look back on my journey through grad school. It made me start thinking for myself.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Because he framed it with a lot of theory that allowed you to then kind of be under, but you had to make your own within it. It wasn't like just drink whatever he's pouring. It makes you start thinking of how do you see this as a concept, and then how do you see it play out, and what do you do with it?

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: So how do you start applying it for your own life?

Corey Allan: And then the only other thing I can think of that's worth noting, that's just a good read, and this is one of those once in a several decade works that happens that just took off, and that's the work of Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving an F is a great read.

Pam Allan: It is. You've got to get past the first chapter, because he-

Corey Allan: You've got to get past the first chapter and get used to the F word.

Pam Allan: Yeah. It seems to be overused in the first chapter just to get his point across.

Corey Allan: Which it is.

Pam Allan: But it's a good book.

Corey Allan: It's a book on values. It may not seem like that if you're not familiar with the book, that's what it is about. It's about how do your values shape you? And so he originally wanted to title it Negative Self-Help because there's so much out there. And then when he wrote a blog post that was called the Subtle Art, and his editor, who was an older dude, came to him and said, there's your title right there. And he's like, no, no. There's your title. No. And they fought about it, and then he finally was like, right. And I think that's what helped it take off.

Pam Allan: Yeah. I mean title makes a book, right?

Corey Allan: It really does.

Pam Allan: And that one sticks out, so people pay attention to it.

Corey Allan: Yeah. And that actually launched me on a three month escapade of most of the books I bought had expletives in the title it seemed like. Because there was a lot of self help that was taking that kind of a bent that was just really good. And you just have to get past some of the wording, but the content could still be really good.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: So is there anything that jumps out to you Pamela from this list, or that I've missed for the field, or anything that you've cleaned?

Pam Allan: You're asking me if you've missed them for the field?

Corey Allan: Well, for the question that was asked.

Pam Allan: No. No. No.

Corey Allan: Okay. Or anything that as we've talked as I read, because you kind of learn stuff as we have our conversation.

Pam Allan: I glean and I grab some of them here and there and start reading and glean from that.

Corey Allan: Okay. Yeah. So if there's something missed, please let us know. Or Trey, if you've got something else you want to hear, let us know. Send an email. Because this can be something where the nation can help the nation. And so write it in and we can put it in show notes or disseminate it in other ways so that way the rest of the audience can learn together and we all are better.

Pam Allan: Exactly. Exactly. Well, I guess I'd always put in a plug for Naked Marriage. I think that that's solid. It's good material, it's easy to read, and I think it's pretty great.

Corey Allan: Well, thank you for that. It's hard to kind of include your own book sometimes. That feels kind of like, you know, the first one you should start with this Naked Marriage.

Pam Allan: I loved the book.

Corey Allan: I appreciate that.

Pam Allan: I'm a poor reader. That one is certainly an easy read. It's easy to get the point and see where it's applicable to life.

Corey Allan: Good. Thank you for that, babe.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So to me it seems like the best way to wrap up this episode is once again to just say happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Pam Allan: Yeah, I hope you guys have a blessed time.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to enjoy just relaxing with family, relaxing with those that you love, tolerating family, and enjoying seeing them.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: I mean, there's a whole range.

Pam Allan: It can go both ways. Yeah.

Corey Allan: I can totally get it. But take advantage of the time.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And express some gratefulness to the people that have helped shape and be a part of your journey. Because we're only here for a short while, and so take advantage of all the opportunities you get to enjoy the chance to be with each other.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And with that, thank you for spending a little bit of time with us, and how you regularly show up each and every week. So wherever you are, whatever you've been doing, have a safe and happy holiday season. We'll see you next time.