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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan
Sexual Styles #614
Come join the conversations in the SMRNation Community at my.passionatelymarried.net
On the Regular Version …
A husband has emailed us with feedback and his thoughts about Episodes #610 and #611.
We go through his ideas point by point, and then land on a conversation about the win-win situations in marriage. Or, to put it another way, do they really exist?
On the Extended Version …
Pam and I discuss the three different sexual styles according the Dr Schnarch.
Which style is yours?
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Corey Allan: Coming up next on the Passionately Married podcast.
Pam Allan: I'm looking out for me, but I also want for you what you want. I think it takes a perspective that cares about the spouse, cares about what they want. It makes me feel good when you get what you want. I can be help be a part of that, but I also enjoy when I get what I want too.
Corey Allan: It's both. Yeah, because it's the one thing that's a pitfall about the win-win to me is it's exchange-based in some regards.
Pam Allan: It is.
Corey Allan: Pam, did you know how the vibrator came to be an electric device? Have you heard the history lesson associated with this?
Pam Allan: No, I don't know this.
Corey Allan: In the late 1800s, there was actually a medical diagnosis for women that was called hysteria, right? The symptoms included anxiety, nervousness, and sexual desire. In other words, it sounded like they were walking around fairly horny in a lot of ways.
Pam Allan: Sexual nervousness. Okay.
Corey Allan: Yes. A pair of prominent physicians estimated that actually three quarters of American women were at risk.
Pam Allan: Risk? They used the word risk, okay.
Corey Allan: Yes, so then they would go to the doctor where he would provide a treatment called the pelvic massage. Okay? You with me so far?
Pam Allan: I'm with you.
Corey Allan: The prescription was of a clitoral orgasm was a treatment for hysteria. It actually dates back even before that. Some medical texts refer to the first century AD as a prescription that would be used for this. Healthy massage was used to achieve what doctors called paroxysm. It's the treatment by these doctors... Well, hold on, but the treatment by the doctors would actually make them quite tired.
Pam Allan: The doctors tired?
Corey Allan: Yes, it would because it was lots and lots of women were coming in for this treatment. It was Joseph Mortimer Granville. He had the genius idea and invented a device that did the hard labor for the doctors in the early 1880s. He invented the first electro-mechanical pleasure pro vibration therapy, and it became hugely popular. By the turn of the century, needlework catalogs actually advertised models for women who wanted to try the treatment at home, thus making the vibrator the fifth electrical appliance to arrive in the home after the sewing machine, the fan, the tea kettle and the toaster.
Pam Allan: Really?
Corey Allan: Really.
Pam Allan: That's amazing.
Corey Allan: Well.
Pam Allan: That's amazing.
Corey Allan: Then the legitimacy of the medical device declined after the 1920s when Freud correctly identified paroxysm as sexual. In the 1952 American Psychiatric Association, dropped hysteria from its list of recognized conditions, and then it just became what is now known as today.
Pam Allan: That's funny.
Corey Allan: Well, welcome to Passionately Married where history lessons... Right when we get started today. We're having great conversations as this one has, hopefully everybody learns something as we go through the day today.
Pam Allan: Everything has an origin. It's interesting to know the origins, but to have that be the fifth thing into that. Yeah, that's beautiful.
Corey Allan: It makes sense in some ways, but then it's also incredible. That's awesome.
Pam Allan: Yeah, at this point we're like, "Really? That's kind of common sense." But maybe not.
Corey Allan: If you've got some feedback for our show or something we've missed, let us know. (214) 702-9565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Coming up today on the regular free version of the Passionately Married podcast is some feedback we got from the episode 610 and 611, if I'm remembering right, where a listener has emailed in and given feedback on all of the segments. Quite involved and very good.
Pam Allan: Okay, this will be fun.
Corey Allan: This is just going to help frame some dialogue, and then I'm going to build on it towards the end. Then on the extended content today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at passionatelymarried.net/academy. We're going to look at the sexual styles. There's three sexual styles that Schnarch proposed and we're going to walk through what are the three, are any of them better than the other, should we have something that we're striving for. All of that is coming up on today's show.
Pam Allan: Sounds good.
Corey Allan: Right out the gate, and this is an email from the same gentleman all the way through. I thought you handled the issue regarding the porn struggle on the disclosure to the spouse that your advice was good overall. That's the two episodes from 610 and 611. The advice regarding his motives for disclosing was especially important. You added the following week that there's always great possibility that the non-disclosure will most likely be discovered by the spouse, which is an important caveat for the non-disclosing spouse to consider. However, I think it's very important to consider the best ways in which to disclose any infidelity in marriage, whatever it may be, that it's going to be impactful, because this is my own little caveat here. All the stuff that we do that could impact our partner, we have to recognize can come out.
And so being open about that and figuring out ways to bring them in on that is an important thing to consider and also a path towards intimacy. One must always consider what is best for the relationship. Sometimes that might be a rip the bandaid off approach, but other times it may involve the help of professionals or clergy who can be there to help rebuild after the bomb is dropped, which I think is a fantastic framework because sometimes when we have some things that we know are going to be impactful, how can I come up with a way that I've got some support for myself and my spouse?
Pam Allan: Sure. Sure.
Corey Allan: Because I think it's important for everybody to realize it's messy when we have to deal with our own issues, our own struggles, and how they will then impact our partners.
Pam Allan: Yeah, so bring in a trusted third party to be there with you during that.
Corey Allan: Yep. I'll add, as a professional, if you have a, "In mind, I want to seek out some therapy to do that," give them a heads up. Give the professional some heads up.
Pam Allan: Don't surprise them with it.
Corey Allan: Right. Because then you could have two people that are taken aback, and then it's real easy just as a professional to take sides.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: Because you can get out. I'll own it. A lot of emotion can sway my allegiance, even though I do everything I can to not.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: But we are human and clergy is human and so there's an element of recognizing as you go through this, this is important to realize what am I using so that it's pro marriage, it's pro building our relationship, it's pro both of us having a chance to make a choice and seek what it is we want.
Pam Allan: Well, and this third party, no matter who you're dealing with, whether it's telling your spouse, a third party, whatever that's going to help walk you through that, everybody is subject to their initial reactions, and sometimes our initial reactions are not the best thing. Any of us, if we've got time to think through something, especially if you're bringing in a third party to help you in this journey, giving them some time to seek counsel, if you're talking clergy or someone like that, give them some time to seek counsel on what's the best route to help with this as well.
Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because the therapist may actually, or the clergy may actually want to, "I want to meet with you one-on-one first. Let's talk through this and let's game plan it." Because again, that's the idea of we're moving things so that they have the potential of a better relationship. To go back to 610, not to just unburden yourself, because that's the biggest dilemma that happens. Then he keeps going. I think your advice to the guy who's struggling did not go far enough though. This is to the husband that's actually struggling with the pornography issue.
Yes, by all means, enlist others besides his wife to help. But while accountability partners can help manage unwanted behavior, this will not help him get to the root of the issue, which is why he keeps struggling with the porn. Are you familiar with the book Unwanted by Jay Stringer? He's a Christian therapist in the Pacific Northwest. If not, check him out. His approach is to get curious about our sexual fantasies and unwanted sexual behaviors as a way of discovering the sore spots from our early life that have never been healed. He talks about how accountability alone, along with all the other tricks people try to use when they're struggling with unwanted sexual behavior as lust management is a particular example, which he says never really works in the long run.
As someone who's worked in the faith community for many years and is privy to people's struggles, I tend to agree. Yes, we're familiar with Jay Stringer. He was on episode 588 in the archives when we were Sexy Marriage Radio last year. I agree. The whole concept of what the Christian world has come into play a lot of times to the detriment of people in a lot of ways, and I don't think it's intended, but the idea of let's squash desire, let's manage lust as a way of sanctifying ourselves is a short-lived path. It doesn't last in the long run. It turns into willpower almost. It turns into the analogy I think of this is used in a different context, but when I'm thinking of unwanted behaviors, I use the framework of the rider, the elephant, and the path. Are you familiar with this framework before?
Pam Allan: No, I'm not.
Corey Allan: Okay, so you think of it as the rider is our willpower. It's our choice. It's our rationality in some ways. That's a bit of a loose, but it's really our willpower. The elephant is our emotions, or in this case, our behaviors, our addictions, our things that we do and we act upon. Then the path is our environment. It's our surroundings. Obviously, a life well lived most of the time is the elephant working in tandem with the rider and staying on the path. But as you're going along in life, if the elephant gets spooked by something in the environment, ain't nothing that rider's going to do to make it not go where it wants to go. That's what happens a lot of times with willpower, is we don't realize our willpower is incredibly weak over long periods of stretches of time. This is important to do the heavy lifting work to look back at, "Okay, what am I really seeking out with these behaviors?" We actually have an episode coming up in the queue on this particular subject on pornography and dealing with healing in recovery too.
Pam Allan: We're saying that willpower can get stronger?
Corey Allan: No.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: I'm saying most of the time... Okay, let me speak from my experience in this. I don't know if we've ever had this conversation so here we go. This can be interesting. When I was in the real throes of the struggle of the addiction of the constantly going back to pornography, because I would have the regular cycle, which a lot of people have had of it's discovered, or you come clean and you rededicate, and you have a time where it's good and then you relapse, and then you start all over. At a time, you're good and you relapse. Anytime I'm on that hole, "Okay, this cycle, I'm done with it." I can, for a while, have great energy. There's no problem. Stay away. I deal with the path real well, my environment real well, but then I'm tired or I'm stressed, or I'm emotional, or I'm disappointed in something with us or my life. Or oddly enough for me, when something was a real success, I didn't sabotage myself.
Pam Allan: Interesting.
Corey Allan: There would be more temptation in my path, in my emotions, and my willpower could go, "You know what? No, go away. Don't do that." That works for a time, but eventually that just gets tired and it's like, "Ah, screw it." And you're back to it. That's a simplification of the process, but it's what we all do. It's the same thing with dieting. It's the same thing with anything we want to do where it's like, "You know what? I don't consciously choose the path. I just give in." That's willpower's problem. I can't always white knuckle it, particularly when it's rough. That's where the accountability helps. That's where... It's the whole system that I want to have in place that really does help because you do need to get to what's it underneath, right?
Because what I found was I still have deep in there this whole loneliness feeling from the latchkey kid world and from just parenting, family of origin stuff. I can have times of that where it's like, boom, I'm all of a sudden a little kid again and I'm alone. Now it's like, okay, if I'm smart enough and I've done the work like I have now, I see that and realize, "All right, I don't need to medicate from this. I don't need to escape this." I can turn towards it actually, and I'm better off and we are better off. That creates better trust and that creates better relationship. Then also creates a possibility that you can create a podcast together and 11 and a half years later, you tell your wife what the whole route's been like.
Pam Allan: Imagine that.
Corey Allan: That's great thoughts. I love it.
As I look back through our life together for 29 years now, Pam, there are lots of seasons where good therapy made all the difference.
Pam Allan: Oh, my gosh. Yeah.
Corey Allan: The courage and the willingness for both of us to speak up and realize we need to reach out for help because this may be shocking coming from a therapist, there were parts of my life where it's like, "I don't want to seek help for that. I know I need to though." Better Help is one of those options that you can have that really does make life better. It can help deepen your awareness and your understanding because sometimes we just don't know what we want or why we react the way we do until we can talk things through. On a marital level, sometimes we don't recognize what the conflict really is. We're fighting about how you've sliced tomatoes a certain way, or why don't you follow the recipe exactly rather than a deeper issue that's going on.
Pam Allan: Or why don't you follow directions in the car, right?
Corey Allan: Now you're meddling.
Pam Allan: Yep.
Corey Allan: If you're thinking about starting therapy, give Better Help a try. It's entirely online. It's designed to be convenient, flexible, and suited to your schedule. You can just fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist, and you can even switch therapists at any time for no additional charge. Discover your potential and get out of your ruts with better help. Visit betterhelp.com/passionate, and you get 10% off of your first month. That's betterhelp.com/passionate. This is one therapist once again recommending other therapists because we all can need and benefit from help at different points in our life so reach out and find someone for you. Then this is the last one I think that he points out, which is I think is really cool because he's talking about... This is where I want to build off of it.
He's talking about the episode from 611, if I'm remembering right, with the wife that wanted to unload her day at the end of the day in the bed because it created better intimacy and connection for her. Husband is like, "I don't want to do it in the bed. I want to reserve the bed for other things. Not that kind of feeling." He wants to do it at other points during the day, but he's also checked out doing some other things as he's unwinding from the day. He says in regards to the issues with the lady who wants to offload, I have a few thoughts. First, it's important to note that the husband seems to be able to offload each evening in the way he wants to like checking out in front of the TV, playing games, which I assume she gets dinner and manages the kids. Don't know.
Pam Allan: Assumption.
Corey Allan: He then is ready for intimacy because he's done the margin work, if you will. I think it's important to say that the current situation is on his terms already, rather than framing the situation is the wife having to have it on her terms or not. Quick caveat, the way I framed it that way was because she was the one that emailed in. If they both did, we got a different route we can go, so just add that because I always try to believe when our show is going on, we want to answer the emailer. We can't always assume their spouse because we know there's two sides to every story. There's probably a win-win to be found here if they can focus on what each of them needs to decompress at the end of the day. He seems to be able to check out and she just seems to need him to simply listen.
I agree that a neutral place for her to do this would probably be best. We too have added a couple chairs in our bedroom, which is something we mentioned about what we have done. It took me a long time to learn from my wife that what she wants is just a chance to unload and offload and she does that on a drive home. She has about a 30-minute commute. Sometimes if the phone call doesn't happen, we'll sit in the chairs, we'll have a glass of wine and talk. We also do this at Sunday drive in which we do a more in-depth check. This is what I love to discuss schedules, logistics, solve problems, and check on each other's batteries. We even ask each other, "So how's your battery?" That's a great question of just where are you. I love that kind of a check-in. If our collective battery ever gets low or below 50%, we start finding stuff to cut out of our schedules or to figure out how we can recharge. Then we also ask each other, "How is your sex life on this drive?"
Pam Allan: They must be members of state of our union.
Corey Allan: Maybe so because that is built in on a monthly basis. Or they even add, "Tell me about the last time you had sex," which I love the framework of both of these because it's a checking in, not on a we.
Pam Allan: Right. It's how are you doing?
Corey Allan: It's checking in on your spouse. Because the whole point to me, and this is where I love how this is built and the way he's framing this is because the whole point of this is creating a marriage where there's room for the two of them individually. Can you see the depth that is capable of us as people to where if you and I had this conversation about, "Hey, tell me about the last time you had sex," you could describe something that could be a little disappointing or hurtful or disagreeing with me because your experience could have been different than mine, even though overall we could have said, "It was pretty good." But individually, we might have been, "Ah, I kind of was upset about this."
Pam Allan: Right. It's the same scenario. It's the same event that you guys co-created but clearly you had a different experience in it. To then, this is what we've talked about a lot of times on different episodes when you're talking about conflict or trying to get to more intimacy and knowing each other better, you have different experiences. At a different time, I love their timing of Sunday afternoon going on a drive, but sometime totally separate, this takes the heat out of it.
Corey Allan: Right. Don't do it in the midst of-
Pam Allan: Don't do it in the midst of.
Corey Allan: Or when you're already emotionally charged and that elephant is ramped up to bring back in the dialogue.
Pam Allan: We're doing this together, being real intentional about it and being real intentional about what we're going to talk about. If you do that on a consistent basis, just like you do with the state of our union where it's a weekly and then a monthly and then a quarterly with different questions, the whole point there... Well, not the whole point, but a lot of the point there is that we're going to talk about these things regularly. It's not just when we had conflict. Because if you bring up that question only when you have conflict, well, that makes it even worse because your spouse thinks, "Well, you are only bringing this up because you want your way."
Corey Allan: It's already charged and heated.
Pam Allan: Yeah, but if it's something we're discussing regularly and bringing up and showing that we care about one another on a regular basis, it doesn't make those conversations so heated. It's already on the forefront.
Corey Allan: Right, and by the way, since you've mentioned it a couple different times, passionatelymarried.net/union is how you find out more about the state of our union in case anybody was not familiar with that. But this creates the question to me, Pam, of is the whole framework of win-win, how does that hit you? This is not built completely off of what he's talking about or the feedback, but just the idea of a win-win situations in marriage. How does that land?
Pam Allan: Well, I would say it's possible, but not always.
Corey Allan: Okay.
Pam Allan: That's my initial reaction.
Corey Allan: But what are the things that would make it possible?
Pam Allan: Two grown up people that really are... I'm looking out for me, but I also want for you what you want. I think it takes a perspective that cares about the spouse, cares about what they want, and it makes me feel good when you get what you want and I can help be a part of that, but I also enjoy when I get what I want too.
Corey Allan: The one thing that's a pitfall about the win-win to me is it's exchange-based in some regards.
Pam Allan: It is. That's why I'm not saying it's something that can happen all the time. I think there are scenarios where you can have a win-win, but it's probably not going to be all the time.
Corey Allan: Right. Well, in the long run, those moments could produce the win-win because I think the win-win becomes it's all contingent on the framework of how you're operating. Because the goal of marriage, in a lot of ways, if we were to simplify this, is to work out your differences and create room for both spouses to thrive together and independently. Because marriage creates a container so it's not just about getting your way, but it's also about getting your way. Because it's getting your preference, it's seeking what you want, it's the collaboration to create something bigger and better for both so there's room for both of you in this relationship. I think that's the whole framework of the idea of, "Okay, whose side gets to win out?" I think that terminology immediately turns it into, Well, then I must win," rather than how do we win.
Pam Allan: Sure. Well, and there's some topics that you're both going to be on the same page. We both do win because we're both heading toward the same goal. Sometimes you're not heading toward the same goal.
Corey Allan: Right. When I'm faced with those issues, then I think our focus is we have to choose between the discomfort of our growing and getting what we want or not, and the discomfort of not growing, which is a tension that's going to continue to remain in place. Go back to this idea of if it's on her terms or she doesn't get her terms, there's tension either way she goes. There's tension either way he goes.
Pam Allan: True.
Corey Allan: He can either look at it as, this is the husband in this case, "Well, I get the way to offload during my day. I already get that." But he has a wife that might be saying, "I want to do it this way, which there's tension."
Pam Allan: Well, and the thing I was, I'll go back to the very beginning of this, he's saying that the husband looks like he's taking care of his. It sounded like that was more decompressing. I get the impression she's wanting to... is she wanting to offload and discuss about them and conflicts they have, or is she just wanting to unpack the day?
Corey Allan: I think it was both. From what I remember, I did not go back and look at the email.
Pam Allan: Yeah, because that's different than him, "Okay, I can decompress with some TV and I'm taking care of my thing." Well, that's not addressing issues within the relationship. Are we talking apples to apples with the way the husband was doing it. What she's looking for, I don't know.
Corey Allan: Well, but there is still importance to the margin of... You and I face this when you come home from a workday or when I come out from after session, it's how do you reengage with the environment you're in now because you're in one mode one way, and then you come home and it's a different arena. A lot of times it's really difficult. I remember this from way back that in the dichotomy between the masculine/feminine energies that you and your job would be in the masculine a lot, taking care of things, solving problems, being on top of stuff, tracking stuff down, managing things. When you would come home to a household where I didn't have things in order and things set and in place, if not already happening, you had to stay in your masculinity when you walked in. But if you come home and I've got dinner plans or dinner being made or just a welcoming environment with music on, you are a different person walking in.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Yeah. There's this transition. That's a simplification of what we're talking about.
Pam Allan: It is. It is. But then there's the flip side of now I have that recognition of how I would walk in that environment. Now there's also a goal at least of a changing in me to walk in the door differently. Make sense?
Corey Allan: That's because the whole concept also, another caveat to add to this, is when we see something, we can change it. If we don't see it, we can't change it. A lot of what I believe we do as a show, and what I do a lot as a therapist even, is I help couples and individuals, and our show does this, frame things so you can see it differently because when you see it, you can change it.
Pam Allan: Exactly.
Corey Allan: If you don't see it, there's no way you can change it because you don't even recognize. You're just more on the side of, "How do I get this pain to go away? How do I get this frustration to go away?" You don't even recognize your culpability in it.
Pam Allan: Yeah. See it, accept it, and decide to make a change. I might see it and deny it.
Corey Allan: That's fair.
Pam Allan: I think there's a fair amount of people out there that deny it.
Corey Allan: Well, so this leads to where we can land this conversation for the regular content today. This is a phrase from Jennifer Finlayson-fife that I came across from her that says, "Really loving well asks us to rise above our self-justification and comfort, grow beyond our self-deceptions and entitlement, transcend our egos and act with deeper honesty and courage. Really loving well not only makes your marriage stronger, it makes you stronger."
Pam Allan: Yeah. I can't disagree with any of that.
Corey Allan: I think if we look at all of the different things we've talked about recently and the guests we've had on recently are all in this vein. If it's making you stronger and your marriage stronger, you're on the right path. If one of those is hurting, that's where you need to start seeing it better to change that. As a quick tease for those that... if you heard the extended content, then you already know the answer to this question. But if you didn't catch the extended content, passionatelymarried.net/academy is how you can join to get those later. What style are you? This is to the audience, not to you, Pam.
Pam Allan: Oh, okay. All right.
Corey Allan: Although.
Pam Allan: That's just between us. It's nobody else's business what my style is.
Corey Allan: That's fair. Because we want to try to have upfront, honest conversations about how to frame what goes on in married life.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Because when we can see what's going on better, we can do better and not be victim to routine or just comfort of the inaudible common denominator, which is what we all so easily can do. Well, if you like the show, help us out by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. If you leave a comment and we use your comment on the show, we hook you up with a gift from us, which is totally worth it. Your comments help us spread the word about the show, and they help others frame their conversations. Transcripts are available in each of the show notes on the episode pages. All the advertisers deals and discount codes are also available on each of the episode pages at passionatelymarried.net. Please consider supporting those who support the show. As you've spent going through the time with us today, as the members of the nation, whatever stood out to you, please let us know. Start the conversation on YouTube, on email us, on Instagram if you're seeing the clip, however you find us, thank you for hanging out with us and we'll see you next time.
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