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On the Regular Version …
An email from a husband who had an affair 5 years ago – and he and his wife haven’t had sex since.
A question about how to talk about masturbation, wet dreams and pornography with adolescents.
On the Xtended Version …
Trust. We all believe it is vital to relationships. But what if it’s not what we think it is?
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Corey Allan: Welcome to the show where I'm Dr. Corey Allan, alongside my wife, Pam. Yeah. Um, where once again, we're behind the mics trying to speak to what's going on with people's lives. And man, there's a lot, uh, in our world and the, in the nation's world, uh, just in the world,
Pam Allan: Life is not simple
Corey Allan: Always. No. Uh, and it comes in waves. And the fall seems to be one of those seasons as we're creeping upon it. Those of us in the south, I know, when I say the word fall, they're like, what are you talking about?
Pam Allan: It's so hot. Yeah.
Corey Allan: It was 85 degrees here at 6:00 AM this morning in Texas.
Pam Allan: Tease of what
Corey Allan: Cool. Weather's hanging out there. Way away. Way away. Uh, and so hopefully it comes around, but we're so glad that you take some time out each and every week, however you choose to listen. Yeah. We thank you for listening, and you won't, we wanna know what's going on with your world, uh, what questions we can answer. That's where we're heading today. Uh, as a couple of questions and some emails that have come in. And so we just wanna know, let us know 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 or email@example.com and we'll get on 'em. We love, I'll, we love answering questions. Um, helping be specific to what's going on in the nation. Mm-hmm. Uh, you can also jump on the platform. My do s no, my dot passionately married.net still after all these years, you know, and we've got months of this change since it's happened, but it's still's buried in there after 11 years.
Pam Allan: Yeah. That we can't control their reaction. Right? Yep.
Corey Allan: Yeah. And the beauty of the nation is that is a place you can ask that question. And there are people answering, um, here's how it's played out in me. Have you thought about this? Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Well, I got, I got 30 years with you too. I think I'm fairly accurate, but I don't want to just make it get derailed like it can. And the same thing you would do with me. If there's ways to at least come up with facing the tension better. 'cause we can't navigate around it.
Yep. For free for a month. Mm-hmm.
I'm a recovering sex addict. I was exposed to, exposed to porn at a young age and became an occasional, it became an occasional drug of choice to fill times of loneliness. Fast forward to my marriage of eight years where I made a big mistake of having an affair five years ago. I have no excuse for this and it was wrong. I do believe we have had an average marriage emotionally and sexually, but we're not really connected. Well. And like a lot of couples didn't know how to navigate marriage, closeness, communication, sexuality and connection. I've been to, I've been to over four years of counseling for my sexual issues. And I'm also in a good support group with accountability. The problem is that I realized six to eight months ago that even though I was in recovery, my wife and I were not growing closer. I've been sexually pure, but we haven't had, but we as a couple haven't had sex in over five years.
I carry a lot of shame and feelings of unworthiness, so I don't bring it up. My wife has struggled with weight and self-image issues, which she has made great strides in. So she doesn't, but she doesn't bring it up either. Our current counselor is excellent in working on our connection and closeness, which will perhaps and hopefully lead to sexual intimacy. Again, we have discussed this slightly and expect more conversations about it in the future. So what do you recommend to couples like us to bring back lost sexual connection? Any resources or people to talk to? We're over 50. So insights for mature couples is also helpful. Thanks for everything. I'm glad to be thought of as mature couples. 'cause we're over 50, so
Pam Allan: Yeah. There's that reality
Corey Allan: There. Right? For sure. And so the first thing that comes to my mind with this, and I want you to jump in, is Yeah. You know, pick holes in this or add your flare to it. Okay. Just so that way it's a great, I'm not missing something. 'cause I could be, I could be in theory today. So we'll see. Go far. Pressure's on you here, babe. Oh,
Corey Allan: So when he says this whole idea of, I realized my wife and I were not growing closer, what does that even mean? That's my first question.
Pam Allan: Okay. Closer, I guess. Yeah. 'cause it could mean all kinds of things closer. Clearly not intimately or sexually. Right. 'cause he's saying there's nothing going on there. But are they just not getting to know each other more? Right. 'cause
Corey Allan: Okay.
Pam Allan: Knowing that the depths of each other, how do I even know? Does she even know what he's actually been working on this last with four years of counseling? Does she have any idea of Okay, that's fair. How it is he's growing or maturing
Corey Allan: Through that. Okay. And I, and I'll add one caveat to that because growing closer, I think what he's meaning specifically is sexually because there's nothing tangibly happening in that area. But I will say they are growing closer in the sense of they see each other differently. They just don't necessarily like, or more importantly, know what to do with what they're seeing. 'cause he's pointing out, I have shame and unworthiness when it comes to my sex life and my sexuality based on largely as I'm assuming what, what happened with an affair. Yeah. It brings up a, it elicits a lot of look at what can happen from this. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: She has struggles with self-image and shame. And so neither one of them bring up the subject, which to me says, I am close. I know what you're struggling with in some regards with this. You probably know what I'm struggling up. And so let's just come up with an agreement. We don't bring it up. It's close, but we don't want to deal with it. That's what, that's what's really being said.
Pam Allan: Um, don't wanna deal with it. Or is it that I don't bring it up? 'cause I don't want to see you hurting. It's hard for me to be around or, or, um, feel like I can't sufficiently be there for you. 'cause don't know how to handle it either.
Corey Allan: Yeah. Okay. I get it. But I think this is that element of they're each trying to, with that framework is the one we always bring into this typically as people, how do I help solve this for you? Rather than,
Pam Allan: I don't know that I'm even talking about trying to solve it.
Corey Allan: I'm going off of your phrase you just said of how do I be there for you? I think that's one of these things that we throw out as platitudes. I'm just gonna use that word because it's like, well how do I make this easier for you to face this? How do I help your self-image? How do you help my shame rather than that is my journey and your journey. Okay. How do I live within the context of that dynamic better? Of what's being exposed, what's being demanded of me, what I'm coming up against in my own life? Because if he's dealing with shame and, um, guilt or unworthiness, I'm gonna be willing to bet that was there before any affair could have happened.
Pam Allan: I, because
Corey Allan: I would agree with that. When you talk about us receiving love from another human being, there are a lot of people on the planet. I could count myself in this category that I can sometimes struggle with, am I worthy of what I'm receiving?
Pam Allan: Hmm.
Corey Allan: Right. Because one, maybe it wasn't model I didn't experience. 'cause this is what's being exposed of our upbringings of I, you know, you
Pam Allan: Could, whether you know it or not. Absolutely.
Corey Allan: Yeah. Because you could get this element of a dynamic that plays out in your marriage of what your partner is offering up or the way they want to communicate what they believe. And love goes right into what you couldn't do when you were a kid. You know, that where you expressed a feeling and it got immediately gets shot down or dismissed.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Or if we're talking people mature, you know, over fifties, I mean, it could be something from a prior relationship as well. Right. That's, well, all, all through life. So this isn't necessarily just as a kid, this is Right. What have I faced over the last 50 years? Right. And now it's coming to fruition. I'm dealing with it. Right. Four years of counseling, I'm dealing with it. Maybe I'm dealing with it internally. I'm not necessarily dealing it with the person I'm supposed to be doing life with.
Corey Allan: Right. And so what, what needs to happen in my mind with this when you, when they're asking what resources it is mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Will. Okay. Okay. So action. What does the action look like then? Right? Is that just bringing it up?
Corey Allan: Well it's, it's a willingness to come to grips with two sides of this coin. One is the idea of what do I really want? Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Upset either way.
Corey Allan: Right. In some ways. In the way the, in the way the map's being relayed to me. Okay. And I don't think she's just a constant, I'm always in an upset stage. But that's the dilemmas we get in. Okay. Because if we look at it, look, let's look at it this way. So when it comes to their marriage, and this is a question for them mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Well, I think from the wife standpoint, it might be y maybe it says, I don't wanna have sex with you if I'm not bringing it up. If I'm not fighting to have mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Very
Corey Allan: Difficult together and there's a thing that comes up about sex and it's blatant. It could, it couldn't, not nec not even a sex scene, but it's a clear double entendre.
Pam Allan: How do I communicate better what I'm already communicating? Is that the question or is it, how do I change what it is I'm already communicating?
Corey Allan: That's the question that they have to answer after they get a better picture of what they're actually communicating. Right.
Corey Allan: That's why I needed you to help with the
Pam Allan: We're using the same word for
Corey Allan: We are. But here's the thing. If if, if I come in from the end of the day, okay, let's, let's go the other way. Yeah. Because I work from home. So when you come home, at the end of the day, I try to make a habit of getting up and meeting you at the door or at some point as you're walking in the door. Yeah. That's something I've been trying to do for a while. Yeah. Well let's say all of a sudden there's a pivot and I stop doing that. You think that would be noticed by you?
Pam Allan: Yeah, probably.
Corey Allan: Yeah. It may maybe not write off. 'cause everybody's allowed a few one-offs and Okay. There's other things going on. Yeah. He's in the backyard, he's dealing with something. Okay. But if it became this whole Okay. Eventually that's gonna land with you and likely stir up a couple of questions. So the question becomes, for you in this scenario, do you vocalize those questions or do you just go about life and just kind of, well, okay, maybe there's a little discontent or upset or frustration 'cause it's not happening and I'm kind of using a real subtle, simple example. Yeah. But this is the level of which we are always communicating. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: So you're kind of in a dilemma then of do you bring it up to me or not? Because if I stopped doing it, it either slipped my mind or I chose to stop doing it. It's one of the two. Yeah.
Pam Allan: Yeah. I, I guess what though? It's the, the wording I'm thinking of of how to get it across clear. There's something I'm communicating and do I change how I, right now what I'm communicating via this email is I'm too scared to talk about it.
Corey Allan: Yes.
Pam Allan: That's, that's what I'm hearing. That's perfect. Yep. Well, I'm, we're both just too scared to talk about
Corey Allan: It. I'm scared to bring it up. Let's go with that phraseology.
Pam Allan: So to go back to your, um, your innocent solution, which is action. Get outta your scared world.
Corey Allan: Do it afraid.
Pam Allan: Do it afraid.
Corey Allan: Right.
Pam Allan: Bring it up. Right. And that's the change in action. That's the change in,
Corey Allan: And how the dynamic, how do you bring it up, matters. 'cause let's use our example of the greeting you at the end of each day. Yeah. So you can come into this with a, Hey, what happened? Yeah. Why aren't you meeting me at the door anymore? Which is an accusatory attack. Yeah. It's a reactionary thing. You could also bring it up as, Hey, is everything okay? That's the subtle, softer, because that might elicit a Well, what do you mean? Yeah. Yeah. It's fine.
Pam Allan: My thought was to say, you know, I really love it the days that you come and greet me at the door.
Corey Allan: Right. And I've noticed that change some. Yeah. So what's going on? That's a, that's another share
Pam Allan: What I
Corey Allan: Like. So we have a that and that's probably one of the better ways to go, babe, is that kind of a concept of mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: But I also have to reconci, and this is why a lot of times we don't do this because it flies directly into what's already being communicated, which is, I'm not bringing it up, I don't wanna talk about it. I'll avoid it.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: And so we then back off eventually. Yeah. And so that's where this becomes such a dilemma because you have to see it as what's being asked of me here, what do I really want? And how do I share that? Because if he's saying ultimately the crux of his email was, I feel like we don't have a depth of connection. And it's likely because it's not easy to get a depth of connection and what's actually out there between you, you don't really, like
Pam Allan: You could though.
Corey Allan: Right. That's facing what is better. That's
Pam Allan: The idea. Yeah. The connection comes from facing those hard things, from doing those hard things. 'cause then you've walked that path together. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Right. So because the resources that are available really are just about what's being exposed in you here. Are you okay with what you are actually communicating? What their map of you is, how accurate is it as you see it mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: So next email that came in, shifting subjects quite a bit. Yeah. It says, Hey Corey, our oldest son is turning 11. And my wife and I would like you and Pam's tips on any advice for talking to him about masturbation wet dreams and pornography at this age before or just after the onset of puberty. How do we have these conversations? What's saying too much or too little? Are there any warning signs or red flags we should look out for? Uh, and how we should, you suggest we should? What would, if we're taking an unhealthy approach, so how did we do this? How did you and Pam handle this? Yeah. Our parents virtually were silent and we'd like to be proactive, but haven't really seen much out there to model a healthy approach and dialogue with our boys entering puberty.
Pam Allan: Yeah. This is fantastic. Yes, it is. Good. Address it head on. This is wonderful. We had, um, I think the first thing was in the books. The, um, yes.
Corey Allan: We had two books that we used that are developmental in a sense. Yeah.
Pam Allan: So
Corey Allan: Early for one stage and another stage early,
Pam Allan: Early on. And this one doesn't talk about masturbation. It was the, where did I come from? That's when they're younger Under Right by
Corey Allan: Peter Mayley. M A Y L e mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: You're right. And the second in the series is what's happening to me now. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Right. Right. This, it was dialogue. These these were regular conversations, not just a conversation.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And well, and they, a one of them asked to, Hey, can we go back to that book again? Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: It wasn't it's specific question that I really want to ask, but I'm not quite sure how to ask. It's a way to use the topic and move into it that way.
Pam Allan: Yeah. It wasn't necessarily, Hey, here's what I saw at school, or here's what my friend showed me. It was, can we go back to that book? And that that was a great,
Corey Allan: Yeah. And, and for us, and both of these books are worth noting. Uh, they are value neutral in the sense of, uh, they're not Christian, they're more, they're health based. And so it's, it's beneficial if you want to use these resources, go through 'em first yourself and make sure you're okay with it. Uh, yeah. Because it's medically accurate Yeah. In the sense of this is where science was and is, and this is the what's going on. And so it, it just takes a, here's what's happening to the human body. It doesn't get into why it was created, how it was created, you know, the
Pam Allan: Morality, we did that ourselves.
Corey Allan: You add the, you add the value and the moral structure to it. Right. That you want, that your life is living according to. But yeah, that's, that's the easiest entry Yeah. Is, is utilizing that, um, those, those resources. The others, uh, particularly this is what I've tried to do with Will and continue to try to do with Will. 'cause he's
Pam Allan: 16. Will, will is our son.
Corey Allan: Yeah. He's the, he's the 16 year old and Sidney's an 18 year old. Um, and so it's, it's recognizing that it's a walking along side because this is what they're asking is how do we look for warning signs? Right. How are we doing things wrong? Um, to me, the wrong on doing this subject is not doing it. Not talking about it, not bringing it up, not trying, but, but the other wrong is just, Hey, these are subjects you're gonna be facing. If you got any questions, please let me know. I'm happy to answer them. Because that doesn't land with most kids. Yeah. There are some that are absolutely, they're curious. It's coming up against the moral structure that they have in their life of, I don't want to deal with this. And so they, they might ask the questions, but for the most part, you have to position yourself in their life and then pay attention and bring up the subjects at times. And that's where we try to rely on the teachable moments.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And the teachable moments are, we're watching movies mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: And today's teachable moments are, um, reels that our kids are shared from their peers.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: You know, which
Pam Allan: We don't always see.
Corey Allan: We don't always see 'em, but we'll see 'em laughing or we'll see 'em say, you know, we, we'll be aware enough because we, we, like in our household, we've always liked, if you're on any kind of technology, we want you out in the open. Yeah. We don't let 'em in the rooms
Pam Allan: Even
Corey Allan: Is recognizing there are a plethora of teachable moments throughout the day. 'cause the other one also is invite their friends over for meals and what conversations take place. Because we will bring it up with the friends too. 'cause they know us.
Pam Allan: We don't bring up masturbation with the friends, but we,
Corey Allan: We will use teachable moments with the friends of like, what do you, what do you suppose is really being communicated here? And it's not the, I'm trying to make sure you make a point about a wet dream or a masturbation pornography, or let me give you a, the, the evils or the dangers they're in. Yeah. It's just a what is, what's being talked about here. 'cause what you're, what you're demonstrating is, I'm willing to talk about this subject. Right. Because the biggest hurdle we often have when talking about anything with our sexuality, particularly with our kids, is our own discomfort with talking about it.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: And so we've gotta learn, how do we get comfortable bringing it up without making light of it, without its shock value, without it, you know, because all of those things communicate. I'm not uncomfortable. I'm not okay with it.
Corey Allan: Or someone that's comfortable enough to realize, you know what, I don't have an answer to that. Yeah. But let's go find it. Right.
Pam Allan: A safe place to go find
Corey Allan: It. 'cause that even happens just as a mm-hmm.
So it happens because there's so many things out there in the world that are trying to deal with this subject and in good and not so good ways. Right. And so this is the, let's end it with this. Because again, this is a dialogue. It's not just a conversation. And so it's how do you impart, hey, this is somewhat comes up in life. Uh, if it's in my case, like with Will, I would do, these are some of the things I've had to wrestle with too. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Well, and what do you say when they're talking about looking for, um, checking technology and those type of things. Right. And
Corey Allan: Also looking for different patterns of isolation than normal.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Because most of these things they, they bring about in illicit feelings that we typically feel shame, guilt. Yeah. Uncertainty about. And so a lot of times we will, will hold up mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Well, and I think too, if you find something on technology 'cause you're reviewing don't overreact mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Right. That communicates something. Yeah.
Pam Allan: They're, they're not potentially gonna feel safe coming to you. Maybe they're not comfortable with what they've done. Maybe they're right. Maybe they just stumbled across something. Um, be curious. Right. You know, to be a Ted lasso
Corey Allan: And we had just, we, just for clarification, this came out from one of the getaways years ago. One of the first ones actually with a q and a. Yeah. Another couple pointed it out, which was great because when our kids were younger, we had a lot more restrictions on phones and technology usage Yeah. And timing. Yeah. As they have gotten older, 16, 17, 18. We have lessened those for sure quite a bit because we want them to have to learn the self discipline while they're still around us. Not once they leave like our daughter does this week mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Well, as we wrap up today, I want to, this is a quick little note to those of you that, uh, just maybe caught just the regular content today and you're not a member of the academy where you get the extended content and you're gonna want to jump onto extended content today, which is passionately mary.net/academy. 'cause Pam and I had a conversation that, and I wish we've had the video going
Pam Allan: Yeah. Yeah. Right.
Corey Allan: Well, Pam was rubbing her thighs during parts of the show today. Was I really? Yes. You were
Pam Allan: I didn't even realize I did
Corey Allan: That. But to her credit, she, she was in it the whole way through
Corey Allan: Is something being signaled that Uhoh, but that's what we try to be about here at Passionately Married is real life going on, on the air even, and sometimes on the videos at times with the different shows that we do. And so come join us, uh, for those that took some time out to spend it with us today. Thank you so much. And if, um, you wanna help us out, um, go to the deals and discount codes on any, any of the episodes, pages, that's where you can find the people that help sponsor our show. So please support those who support us. Mm-hmm.
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