Top iTunes Marriage Podcast
12+ Million Downloads
hosted by Dr. Corey Allan
Touch and Massage #523
Come join the conversations in the SMRNation Community at my.passionatelymarried.net
On the Regular version of today’s show …
A conversation with Denis Merkas of MELT: Couples Massage about how touch is so important in life and marriage. Take advantage of the first sale in 2 years here – Get MELT for Father’s Day
On the Xtended version …
A behind the scenes conversation with Denis about how MELT has impacted his life and what he’s learned. Plus he turns the table on Dr Allan.
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: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, where just so you know, Pam, the Sexy Marriage Radio getaway is next week.
Pam Allan: I know I'm so excited for it.
Corey Allan: Just wanted to make sure you were prepared.
Pam Allan: Yeah, yeah. That one I'm keen to.
Corey Allan: As if all the stuff around the house that's just piling up and up and up with all the stuff that we've got.
Pam Allan: Right, all the stuff to take.
Corey Allan: Getting everything together for what's going to unfold, but it's going to be a fabulous four days. To those of you in the nation that are heading here to the DFW area, we can't wait to see you.
Pam Allan: Look forward to it.
Corey Allan: Hang out. We start Thursday night on the 17th. It's going to be a fantastic time. If you missed it, we'll do something again next year. But it's going to be a little different, more details will be coming out later. We're excited to share all of that. But this is Sexy Marriage Radio, where each and every week we spend some time going where the nation wants to go and the way we know where we're heading is they let us know. And you could do that at (214) 702-9565 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can jump on my.passionatelymarried.net, which is a free platform and then there's deeper levels with the academy and groups and there's some chats that are happening there. But there's a lot going on.
Pam Allan: There is.
Corey Allan: Summertime is a time you're supposed to be relaxing.
Pam Allan: Not yet. It's going to happen.
Corey Allan: But I hope it does for people out in the nation too.
Pam Allan: I hope so.
Corey Allan: I hope that there's a chance that they get to get away with their spouse, get away with the family, breathe a little bit, sit by a pool. If the rain would ever stop here in Texas, maybe we could actually use our backyard a little more.
Pam Allan: One of these days. And then we'll be saying, where's the rain?
Corey Allan: I want to do a little bit of an extended intro today before we jump into the show, because one of the things that seems to jump out, there's a theme with some of the different emails that keep coming to either in my.passionatelymarried.net or email@example.com, that it's all surrounding this idea of initiation and instigation of sexual connection or contact. Which that's where we reside with the show is a lot of time we spend trying to help frame conversations, trying to help steer better connections during your sexual encounters in marriage. And we've said in the past, sex in marriage doesn't happen by accident. It has to be instigated and initiated by somebody. Typically, that's higher desire. That's kind of the framework we've got. If you're new to the show, this is kind of give you a little recap of where we stand on a lot of things, because there's a higher desire and a lower desire on everything.
Higher desire carries most of the weight to making whatever the topic is happen or come to fruition or the structure of it. And when it comes to sex, that's just true. The lower desire could be interested because maybe they're more responsive, which is actually maybe a better way to think of lower desires. But what do you do with the fact that as a marriage evolves, so does the initiation patterns, so does the instigation happen because we change as people.
Pam Allan: Sure we do.
Corey Allan: And so the ways that you use to maybe bring it up early on would have been probably in the realm of a question, "Hey, you want to? You interested in some sex tonight?" where it's just kind of a fairly blatant, but also ripe with all kinds of pitfalls, because anytime you ask a lower desire, are they interested in something? In that moment they probably aren't so it's likely going to be a no, if it's framed as a yes or no question.
Pam Allan: Right, right. Yeah. That's a good point. It's how do you go about approaching things?
Corey Allan: I just want to have a conversation just real quick with us about how that's evolved and we've kind of seen that through our life somewhat, but also through just the interactions we've had with people in the nation about how you capture. Because the way I instigate or initiate sex as the higher desire spouse in our marriage is different than the way you would show interest.
Pam Allan: Well, sure.
Corey Allan: Right. And so I can often fall into, well, I look for you to instigate it in the manner in which I would.
Pam Allan: Which isn't going to happen.
Corey Allan: Right, this is that analogy I would use of, it's kind of like there's a horse drawn carriage that we're both on and I've got the reins and I'm leading the horse wherever we're heading. And every so often you would reach over and grab the reins and give them a good slap to kind of get the thing rolling and then hand the reins right back. And that would be almost the way you would roll.
Pam Allan: Right. Right. Well, and by the example earlier, you would expect me to initiate the exact same way as you initiate. And as a lower desire, no, it's more, if I'm going to initiate, it's going to be so much more subtle. And there's things that I think I've done and I think, oh, he's going to give me credit for initiating. And you didn't even notice that I did it. And wow, and then it's a hit when you're like, "Well, I really wish you'd initiate more." What? Well I did this and I did that and I did this. And you're like...
Corey Allan: What?
Pam Allan: Really? You did that, oh.
Corey Allan: That's not initiating.
Pam Allan: Right. You think that's not initiating and I'm like, yeah.
Corey Allan: It is.
Pam Allan: It is, give me credit right here.
Corey Allan: And if you put as an undercurrent of all of this, every single one of us as humans has this fear of, I just don't want to be rejected. And so that's part of the reasons why it's sometimes more struggle to be bold or upfront or get back on the horse and try again, if you have been rejected a bunch or if it took a lot to actually initiate because it's not in the realm you play very often.
Pam Allan: Right. You're saying neither the higher desire nor the lower desire wants to be rejected in whatever it is.
Corey Allan: Right. Because I've actually had people through the course of my career that I've worked with that the higher desire's frankly just said, "I'm done, unless I can have a 100% assurances and no more rejections, I am not initiating anymore." Because they're just tired of, it's the scale has been tipped so far to an extreme in their mind that I don't want to handle the hurt anymore, the disappointment anymore. Then it just takes some work to help unpack and reframe, to realize, wait, not initiating something you want is still in a state of rejection.
Pam Allan: Yeah. You're just assuming rejection for the rest of your marriage.
Corey Allan: And oftentimes you can then get into the nuance of seeing that the other spouse has the same fears, wants the same assurances. There's a lot of similarities in it, we just don't see it that way because we fail to recognize sometimes that marriage is a great mirror, challenging and exposing things in ourselves, but we can easily blame our partner for that, not me. Rather than no, no, no, I helped co-create it. I guess the whole thing to me is how do we help people recognize and hopefully this conversation at least frames, a little bit of it, that seasons evolve and shift and change and how are we better students of ourself and our spouse when it comes to this aspect of our marriage?
To start to see, wait, can we talk a little more freely about it? If I bring up the subject, does it get a smirk from you? That's a win. That's a success. Does it create a banter? If you bring it up more freely, that's a win. Because it's keeping it as part of the undercurrent and maybe it doesn't make clothes actually start coming off right then and there but it does later.
Pam Allan: It just seems to open up to more intimacy. If can be able to understand in our scenario, if you can understand, oh, that really was Pam initiating that was an effort. And okay, it might be really hard for me to see this subtle nuance, but that was an initiation. And thank goodness you appreciated whatever it was, even though it wasn't the way you would do it.
Corey Allan: Right. And that's just trying to see the idea that all of this is a language, everything we do communicates. How do we just get better at seeing the playing field, seeing the territory in which we reside, be a better participant in my role and then lead it where I'm hoping it will go but also realize this is a long game. It's not just an event. It's an unfolding of things. How are we both better doing that?
Well, coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage radio is a conversation I get to have with Denis Merkas, creator of Melt, the couples massage courses, our friend from Australia.
Pam Allan: Love me some Denis.
Corey Allan: Where we, in a way kind of continue the conversation we just had in the open on the importance of staying connected, the importance of touch and how it can be multifaceted, some of it can be entry into something sexual. Some of it can just be the in and of itself. That connecting and touch is an incredibly important aspect of our life and our relationships. And he's over the course of his years doing Melt, we talk about how the importance of it, what he's learned, where it's going. And also right now, it's in the midst of the first sale he's had in two years. It's a great Father's Day special. It's going on up until Father's Day, which is June 20th. If you want to take advantage of that as part of our audience, you want to go to passionatelymarried.net/melt, M-E-L-T. That'll take you straight to it. And then coming up on today's extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio, which is deeper, longer and there's no ads, except for the one you just heard in the open for Melt, you can subscribe at smnation.com/smracademy.
Denis and I continue the conversation, although this time it gets personal where he's had quiet a lot happen in his life over the last decade, decade and a half and how Melt has evolved, but how he has evolved and what he's learned from it. And then at the end of our conversation, the sneaky little mate that I have down there, turned it on me and started getting personal with me on things. It was like, well okay, well, let's go there. I asked you questions to get you there so now I'll return in kind.
Pam Allan: There you go.
Corey Allan: All that's coming up on today's show.
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Pam Allan: Yeah, it's pretty neat.
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Pam Allan: You did.
Corey Allan: Since we had just celebrated our 20th anniversary.
Pam Allan: You did. I loved it.
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Corey Allan: Well, it is always a privilege and an honor to welcome my friend, Denis Merkas back to the airways with me at Sexy Marriage Radio. And if you're been around SMR for a while and a part of the nation, you've heard as mentioned Melt, which is couples massage courses from the comfort of your own home or phone or iPad, whatever it is that you want to do. But Denis, from all the way across the world, it is fantastic to see you face to face again.
Denis Merkas: Good day, mate. I love chatting to you. It's been such a long time. Last time we were talking, we were actually supposed to be face to face doing a, actually doing live workshops with your audience.
Corey Allan: Right. We were going to do that as part of the getaway. I was having you come in and then COVID hit and everything changed for the world. But it's so great to connect with you again, man. And what's going on with just what you do, it's just massaging. It's just helping people connect.
Denis Merkas: Teaching couples have a massage.
Corey Allan: And I'm curious because you've been doing this a long time and we've known each other for quite a while, but I'm curious, what are you seeing as far as the trend has gone on with this of what's the benefit of, why would a couple see the importance of massage and connecting?
Denis Merkas: Massaging each other.
Corey Allan: Yeah, what are you seeing?
Denis Merkas: It's really interesting. It's really interesting. The overarching thing is that people are doing it to, they all start off because it's sexual. It's get your hands on each other and it turns into a whole bunch of fun, which is, as you know, I don't teach the sexual side of things. I stick to the massage side of things. But in the beginning, it's not always but it's often turning into a little bit of cheeky play and a little bit of something, something. Which is fun and it's great. But it's interesting now that it's evolving and so many couples have come on board and especially in the last, since COVID's hit it's been a massive trend up of a lot of people coming on board and learning how to massage each other. And people are doing it more for connection. I'm getting emails coming back, people are massaging their children, not doing it with the romantic component, obviously.
But yeah, it's just really interesting feedback. I was reading one email from a lady last year where she's telling me her child is actually mentioning, "Mom, you apply sun cream differently now." This is a kid, a seven year old kid that's actually telling mom that he feels through her hands that she's more gentle and she's doing it with intent, which is a big difference. This really gets me going. It really excites me because that kid holds that memory of, oh, touch is important to them. And it's also something that that child will end up taking on through their relationship with their children as well. We all do this, right?
Corey Allan: Absolutely. And I think because this is the thing that's the power to Melt for me is it's a, like you're talking about, it's the hook initially can be, well, this is a good foray into something else. But it's also its own thing that's deeply profound, deeply meaningful, deeply impactful for a relationship, for an individual because people go and pay for this too. We'll go, Pam buys a package couple times a year with her masseuse, just because busy season is going to be one of those things and I'll get a call. I'm about to head 90 minutes. And it's like, it'll be heaven for her because she's like, it's going to work out everything. I'm like, that's great. But there's a power to it when there's a relational component too.
Denis Merkas: Well, we all have meaning. We all search for meaning in our relationships. And this is what I'm learning is, I have a little focus group of about a 1,000 people on Facebook where we all talk about Melt and we're talking about the future of Melt and what we can do to grow and learn from it. And I was talking to that group and I'm letting them know that it no longer feels like Melt is just me. People get to own their own experiences. They can use touch, physical touch, sexual touch, massage, however they want for whatever meaning it is in their relationship. Whether it is, I want to connect or whether it is, I want to say, sorry or just show you that I love you or I care about you. I haven't seen you for a while I want to get my hands on you.
Corey Allan: Right. No, and I love that because I think you're talking about any kind of touch we have, it gets interpreted either from the sender or the receiver because we all have enough map and meaning associated with it that it's like, oh, I know what this touch is. I know what this means. Because that's the typical interaction that takes place as far as the language, as it unfolds in a marriage. That, oh, now he's a whole lot more handsy so I know what he's interested. Or she's a whole lot more snugly so I know what she's interested in. Whether it's sex or not, we still know there's a meaning attached to it. And the beauty and the power of Melt is it gives you a different on ramp or off ramp to a lot of other ways to have meaningful connection too. Because there's techniques involved in what you're teaching that's just beneficial on connecting on all kinds of levels, whether there's an attachment towards where it's leading and possible sex or whether it's just an attachment towards a moment together.
Denis Merkas: Or even communication. There's something that you said last time we caught up that has stuck with me. I think about this a lot. And you said in a segment that we did on Melt, everything that we do and don't do is communication. I think about this often, whether it's with friends or with talking with my parents. And interacting and massage is the same sort of thing. There's communication in that touch, in the way we actually blend with our partner when we're massaging them. There's body language in it.
Corey Allan: No, I agree. And this is one of those things that I want to give a little bit of a insight into, a history lesson, if you will, of how did Melt get started? Can you kind of tease that out a little bit? Because this is a great story of just how it's evolved for you. And then where I want to go with the extended content a little bit later, Denis is just, what's behind the scenes on how it's evolved too? But what's the story of Melt?
Denis Merkas: Well, it's interesting because I'm almost 20 years in. It's been going on for a long time. In the beginning, there's all different stages depending on which decade of life I was at. In the beginning it was completely selfish. Me trying to get down a girl's pants. How do I separate myself from the rest of the boys? Give me a moment because how deep do we want to go in? There was this is a girl that I really like and we're flirting a lot, but no matter what my advances were, she just was not coming upstairs. I kind of just said, "Look, I've written this massage course for couples," totally untrue, "would you like a massage?"
And I literally sat down, I'm like, how do I separate myself from all the other boys out there? I know I'm really good at massage because that was my job. I was a professional practitioner and I just gave her this massage that was on the fly. I did put a little bit of thought in there. I'm like, how do I massage this person that's completely different to any other massage she's ever had before. And I did watch the movie Ghost. It wasn't long before. And that's where it all clicked. That pottery scene in Ghost, I'm going to use that, but I'm going to massage her at the same time and that's how I'm going to win her over. And we started dating that night. It sounds silly and it was silly, but it was silly awesome and we had a great time and we sat with it for two years. Two years, we kept it for ourselves before we started thinking, hey, what if we show to other people how to do it?
Corey Allan: Yeah. And that's where I think it shifted in a lot of ways in the sense that you move it from, this is a specialty thing to where now it's this collaborative, wait, other people can do this. You can make it your own. You can apply some of the foundational principles because I know the times over the years with Pam, sometimes massage can be, it's one of those things because my energy level is there, it's I can go for a while. It's not a big deal, but some of it's like, no. But it's really coming down to because I'm doing it wrong in a lot of ways.
Denis Merkas: That's totally right. Yeah, yeah, so you could either be doing it wrong, but sometimes you just don't want to message a partner. I've had that before. And there is also a part of the language that, there's a bit of foreplay to the massage, before the massage as well. There are times where I would massage Emma and we'd leave the lighting on and there'd be washing in the corner and the house would be a mess. Oh, this isn't attractive. This isn't fun. We're just going through the motions, but I'm going back to how Melt started the evolution of Melt.
Once we started teaching Melt it took, we spent eight years in live workshops and it wasn't like I got it right. It was a bumpy road of getting it wrong. This is what I love the most is like, the first workshop that we did, two couples showed up, that's it. I had to ring up friends and I'm like, "Can you guys come along to this workshop and pad it out so it looks like it was busier than what we really are?" And that happened a few times. And then when I say a few times, a lot. It happened a lot in the beginning. But after a couple years, it started to fill out and there was 10 couples showing up. By the fifth year, we were selling out. And I think the time, there was one day where I taught a 150 people in one day and that's where I said to Emma, "I cannot keep working like this. We need to get it online and we need to create videos." And so I think, it was another three years of sold out workshops, just getting it right.
I wanted to make sure that it was perfected. I wanted to make sure that how I taught it was the easiest way that couples could comprehend and learn at home. And I got to test. The live workshops, after eight years, I got to see based effects. What people are doing with my techniques. Where are they going wrong? Am I saying the wrong thing? And so yeah, we rolled it out onto a video. That was like, you know those moments? There's moments in your life where you're like, I've got this. I've got this. And we will filming Melt. Melt was shot at night. We started at 5:00 PM and we finished at 5:00 AM. The whole thing was done in one night, just of massage techniques for a 12 hour period. We're having a break, it would have been at 2:00 AM. And I go to Emma, "We've got something. I feel it. We've got something and we've got it right." Yeah, I was pretty proud.
Corey Allan: Well, you absolutely do, man.
Denis Merkas: Thanks.
Corey Allan: Because I cannot endorse this enough for the ability and the impact of what it does for people that are willing to dedicate the time. Because obviously, Pam and I have fallen victim to this where we connected a long time ago, even before Sexy Marriage Radio. I was just blogging at the time, largely and you were gracious enough to give me access. I got in there, I was reading it all, watching it all, trying to learn what I could, but then I stopped. It's like, oh, I picked up a couple of things. And then it's just of, so it's just, this is one of those things that it's all there for everybody. And that's the benefit is you can keep coming back to it. There's benefit to it. You can learn enough and then you can just keep going because you've gone even further than just the basic massage. There's feet, there's hands, there's head. There's a lot of other components.
Denis Merkas: Yeah. There's advanced techniques and this is what I love. It's you pick and choose what you want and what you need for that method tonight. And whatever you love, just keep doing the same stuff. Eventually over time, you'll let it go, a year later you'll come back and say, "Let's try this new massage." There's always more techniques there to pick up on.
Corey Allan: No, and that's what, so right now, as we're recording this, this is a big push going. There's a big sale you got going for Father's Day.
Denis Merkas: Not just a big sale.
Corey Allan: And I'm happy to partner with you.
Denis Merkas: I think the only sale I've done in two years. And I got a feeling that we won't be doing a sale for a very long time either. I just, yeah. I'm not a fan of doing sales. And I thought, I don't know why. I'm like, this is probably the only sale until this year.
Corey Allan: I got you. I got you. Well, I can't wait to have more interactions with you, man. And I want to pivot here in just a second as we move to the extended content of a little more behind the scenes. Does that worked for you, dude.
Denis Merkas: Sure, yeah, of course.
Corey Allan: Well, I still remember the very first time Denis reached out when I was blogging at Simple Marriage and that was building and I just get this email from a guy that says, "Hey," I think he probably even said mate, then too.
Pam Allan: Probably.
Corey Allan: But I got to tell you about what we're doing. Here's some information, go check it out. And I was immediate, clicked on that link. Saw his site, watched one of the videos, totally hooked.
Pam Allan: Yeah, you can't help but love it.
Corey Allan: Because it's such a great just process that he takes people through to truly be helpful and connect and get so much more out of what can be, because there's just techniques we can learn in everything. And massage is definitely one of them because most of us aren't masseuses. But I love what he's doing and can't wait to see where it goes next.
Pam Allan: Yeah, me too.
Corey Allan: Well this has been Sexy Marriage Radio. If you missed or want to hear anything else from us, let us know, (214) 702-9565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Whatever you have been doing, hopefully this leads to getting your hands on your spouse in a really good way. We'll see you next time.
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