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Unilateral Moves | Feedback Wednesday #623
Come join the conversations in the SMRNation Community at my.passionatelymarried.net
On the Regular Version …
Today we answer emails from the Nation.
A husband and wife will usually incorporate the use of a vibrator during their sexual encounters together. But when the husband goes to retrieve the toy it often is in another place. His wife says she isn’t moving it. What’s going on?
A husband wants to use a toy for prostate play. They tried it once and now the wife is unwilling to try it again.
On the Extended Version …
A wife is bored in her sex life, even though her husband is very caring and attentive. To further complicate things, she doesn’t know what would liven up her sex life.
What can she do?
Enjoy the show!
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Corey Allan: Coming up next on the Passionately Married podcast, unilateral moves ultimately can be betrayals of a marriage.
Pam Allan: Well, that's-
Corey Allan: It could lead to that.
Pam Allan: ... extreme wording. Okay.
Corey Allan: It absolutely is, and I'm doing it intentionally because unilateral moves are extreme moves. I'm fundamentally altering any growth. I'm stifling everything. I'm taking hostage both of us in the marriage with this.
Welcome to the show.
Pam Allan: Yes.
Corey Allan: Right out the gate, we've got to give everybody a heads up. It's springtime coming up on summertime quick, and I've had the chance to partner with the dating divas in a sex seminar they're putting on with 31 different seminars that take place, and this launch is on May 15th. So from May 15th to May 29th, you get a chance to join at a dramatically discounted price for what you get. More details will be coming, but I wanted to let everybody know that coming up next week on the show, we'll talk more about it, but May 15th, there's a great seminar that's going to be starting all virtual, all online, access it from anywhere at any time, but heads up be watching because it's a fabulous chance to get a lot of information that'll help your marriage and your sex life. So coming up on today's show, it's Feedback Wednesday.
Pam Allan: We love Feedback Wednesday.
Corey Allan: So every chance we get to talk to the nation where they reach out to us with what's going on with their world, their lives, their questions, we get an opportunity to speak directly to them. And so this will be a fun show to take care of some things that have been sitting in the queue for a little while. So all that's coming up on today's show. So this email came in and says, "We use a vibrator during sex so both my wife and I can be pleasured. We've been doing this for roughly the last five years, and now I'm noticing when I go to grab the vibrator, it's in different places every time, which gives me the suspicion that she's using it without me. I've brought this up to her asking if she was using it, and she told me no, but then said sometimes when she gets migraines, she uses it." Which maybe you didn't realize, orgasms are fantastic pressure releases for migraines, for cramps.
Pam Allan: Yeah, I did not know that.
Corey Allan: Brief little-
Pam Allan: Amazing tip for everybody who's out there has-
Corey Allan: A little helpful tip for everybody out there.
"So brief history. I've been porn free for the last two years after having been addicted for a little over a decade. Therefore, now I'm trying to live a hundred percent with my authenticity along with not masturbating and giving all that sexual energy to my wife. So I feel like I'm doing everything right, but it seems she's not meeting me even halfway there. We have sex a couple times a week for which I'm grateful. I have moments where I'd like to have sex more, but she might be stressed or too tired. But I can't help but shake the thought that she's using it on days that she just doesn't want to have sex with me. We have two kiddos that are young, and I know we're busy and it feels like she may be using masturbation, which puts me in the spot of just sitting here waiting."
"I respect my wife a ton and have brought up my thoughts. However, the last two years, it's me tackling urges and finding different ways to meet those urges. To make a long story short, it feels like there's another penis in the equation, but there's not, if that makes sense. Thanks again for all you do, for all the married couples out there."
So this is a fun dynamic, I think, to explore, even though there's lots of tension and struggle that'll be within it.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: Because this is one where... This will be kind of a theme with some of the conversations we're going to have today.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: This is one of those that it's like, we're not playing fair. I'm doing all this for you, and you're not even meeting me halfway. That was his quote, which first off, I have a problem with that thought process.
Pam Allan: Okay. And why do you have a problem with that?
Corey Allan: Because marriage is not equal. It's not fair. One person does more than the other on all kinds of different subjects all the time.
Pam Allan: Throughout the marriage.
Corey Allan: Correct. And that that's just the reality of an equation. And so anytime somebody doesn't-
Pam Allan: It doesn't mean I have to like it, I'm just saying.
Corey Allan: Absolutely. That's a fantastic point, Pam. But it's recognizing anytime I use the, "but I do," and, "if I were to," in those kinds of frameworks, I immediately stack the deck against myself.
Pam Allan: I would think you're stacking it against them. You're saying I stack it against myself.
Corey Allan: Ultimately, you are stacking. You're trying to stack it against them, but you're stacking it against yourself.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: Because when I've done this in our marriage where it's like, you know what? I feel like all I'm ever doing is this or I feel like all this, you don't immediately, oh, you're right.
Pam Allan: I get defensive typically.
Corey Allan: Exactly because it's this equation that's immediately leaning in a way that won't align or land. It doesn't use the pressure well. It actually further ingrains the dynamic. inaudible would refer to this as the Devil's Pact. It just further enhances and solidifies the imbalance.
Pam Allan: So a better way to go about it is what?
Corey Allan: Well, we're going to come to that in a minute. So table that question. Because I am curious when you hear this, because this is one of those things that he's suspecting something's going on that she's used this. She initially said no, but then came around and said yes.
Pam Allan: Well, maybe.
Corey Allan: Right. So it's likely she is, which then brings about some bigger questions. Because either she's using it or she's moving it around at different times.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And it sounds like she's using it. I mean, the question is, is there anything wrong with that? I mean, ultimately-
Corey Allan: Well, the question... Yeah.
Pam Allan: He perceives it as being wrong because it sounds like he's associating it with the porn use that he used to have an issue with.
Corey Allan: And that's where he's using his framework and his journey and projecting it onto her, as in this is a bad thing rather than, wait, if she's using it and it does relieve migraines and it provides some relief for her, is that the problem? That's ultimately one of the questions that has to be asked.
Pam Allan: Well, and I guess I would throw in there, even if it doesn't have anything to do with migraines, is there anything wrong with that?
Corey Allan: Okay. So context matters, right? Does she have pleasure from it and she's enjoying it? Because what matters to me is, and the question to ask is, does this diminish the overall experiences together?
Pam Allan: Correct.
Corey Allan: Right. Is this one of those that her use of the master of the vibrator and masturbating, does it diminish her desire to want to be with him? Because his phrase of I feel like I'm in the spot of just sitting here waiting. My question with that is, if you're sitting there waiting, are you reading and mapping the situation and reading it as such that you can't make moves and you don't make moves? Or do you make moves and she shoots them down?
Pam Allan: Because she's already been satisfied elsewhere.
Corey Allan: Right.
Pam Allan: By the vibrator.
Corey Allan: Because she's already been operating with, "You know what? I'm feeling pretty good." And so often what we do in married life is we make these reads and then we don't make our moves, and yet we blame then our spouse for why I didn't make the move. When, what if my read is wrong? And more importantly, what if my move could have changed the mood?
Pam Allan: And both of those scenarios are real. I mean, if you are coming at a move from a good spot that can make the mood better. And I guess we've shared this on the air multiple times, but my response to you often is, well, I'm not in the mood right now, but I could be. And so I think what comes down to, I might be going somewhere different than you want to go, but what some of this comes down to seems to be, it sounds like she didn't at least start off being fully truthful with him, and so that puts a great divide there. If she's not being real with him about her use of it, that creates another problem.
Corey Allan: Because it doesn't line up. The data doesn't line up with what he's seeing and what he's finding and what she's saying.
Pam Allan: Sure, sure. I mean, I'm reading some stuff into this, but I'm just thinking, well, is he reading that into when he was using porn and potentially not being honest with her?
Corey Allan: There goes back to that equation of if I were to be doing the same thing and dancing around the answers, there would be a lot more hell to pay to be blunt.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: The fallback would've been dramatically more than the way it is he's addressing it. And, again, this goes back to your question of when we frame things with this whole, well, the way I would do this and the way this would impact me and how it further ingrains the dynamic, the way you get out of this, this is what you asked earlier in this segment, was you recognize first we're not playing with equal desires and standards and interests and meanings.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: That's why this whole thing never becomes apples to apples. If I were to address this this way, immediately the premise is off because I already know you don't address it that way.
Pam Allan: Yeah. We're different.
Corey Allan: It's not important to you like it is to me or it doesn't matter and have the same meaning to you that it does to me. So instead, I've got to reel that in, soothe myself with that and see it as, okay, my goal becomes how am I being clean addressing the impact of what I'm reading and how that data does not line up? And then the further step of, I also feel like if you are using it, I mean, again, his moral structure's got to come up with where he stands on this. But hypothetically for me, if I was him, would be if you are using that, okay, I get that. I just prefer you be honest about it, be upfront about it. But I also feel like sometimes you're using it, and it's diminishes the times we could be together. And also I'd love to be involved in it.
And if it was me, I'd be like, well, tell me about it. I'm kind of curious and would like to know you enjoy these things. And that kind of gets me jazzed that you get jazzed. There's elements of, I bring myself to it better, which brings a different cleanliness of that pressure, which is the same pressure he is trying to attack with this whole, "Well, if I were to... "
Pam Allan: Well, I would want him to ask the question of himself if she hasn't been honest with him about it, what is it in him that he might need to address that his spouse didn't want to be honest with it?
Corey Allan: Sure. That can be a contributing factor. Absolutely.
Pam Allan: It's not his fault, but we all need to look at what is it in me that my spouse wouldn't potentially-
Corey Allan: Is there something I'm teaching that shows I don't handle the whole of them well?
Pam Allan: Potentially. Potentially.
Corey Allan: Well, it's a factor. And that's the dicey subject right there, babe, is because then we get caught in people are going to hear this in the nation with, "Oh, you're saying it's because... " No.
Pam Allan: No, I'm not saying it's his fault.
Corey Allan: But those are contributing factors because we co-create things. We collude to allow things to keep going because I'm just not honest about it because I don't really want to address the impact of if I were.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: And it's hard to address the impact of what's coming my way, so I skew it, I frame it differently. I kind of softball it rather than, you know what, I have a real problem with this.
Pam Allan: Yeah. I posed the question because I've had to ask that question to myself. Why would my spouse not want to disclose X, Y, Z to me? And I found some pretty interesting things. So I'm coming at that just from personal experience.
Corey Allan: No, that's good. But I think it's recognizing how I frame this matters most of all. Because if I look at this as, wait, I'm just sitting here waiting. All right, well, are you sitting here waiting because she's rebuffing you every time you do make moves or are you sitting there waiting because you're reading the situation and you're jumping to conclusions rather than testing out that data to see if it's true? There's your step forwards. And you see what happens from that step because then you just get a better clarity of what's really going on and what the dynamic is. And it doesn't make it go away, it just makes you face it better.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: So, Pam, picture this.
Pam Allan: I'm picturing.
Corey Allan: It's a regular weekday evening. Our busyness has taken over. It's been something every night, and you need to imagine this because this doesn't happen in our life. Ever.
Pam Allan: This is going on right now.
Corey Allan: Absolutely it is. So then we're sitting there looking at, okay, you know what? One of us would have the courage likely to be able to say, we need to spend a little time together. And that's not just for sex, that's just I want to hang with you. I want some intentional time with you. Well, you know what? Our sponsor today, who's been a sponsor for a while now, and we love every aspect of what they do, the Adventure Challenge is here to help. They have many dates, which are 30 scratch off cards. You grab a card, you get a little idea on the top of the card of what the topic could be. And if it's like, "Oh, that seems intriguing," then you scratch it off and you go do it. And it gets you an easy, most of the time free, short timeframe framework to transition from whatever life often is in this world together with busy lives and works and family, and transition and cultivate the space between you with some stolen time. And they give you a framework that gets you out of the, "Let's just do what worked last time."
Pam Allan: Nice.
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Pam Allan: It is. I love it.
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Corey Allan: I love they're still around, and I love they're partnering with us again. So covenantspice.com, use our code RADIO for a free gift with any order. So along the same lines, another email came in. "I have a question. My wife and I have used toys for a while in the bedroom, and she enjoys the toy that we've purchased together, and we've used it quite frequently. I recently bought a prostate toy because I've read that it can be very pleasurable for men. We used it once, and I honestly enjoyed it very much. When I asked her if she'd be willing to use it again, I was told no. When I asked why, I was told because it makes her uncomfortable. The problem I have is she's expecting me to be okay and comfortable with her using a toy. Well, I know it's different for a female to orgasm versus a male, but when it comes to a male wanting to use a toy, it's a no-go. Help with this would be appreciated. Thanks."
So some of this is a continuation of what we've just been talking about because of the whole, I'm framing this through my lens only, and that gives me apples to apples high ground when in reality it's different conversations, different meanings. But what's your thought?
Pam Allan: Well, I picked out and heard the word she's expecting, so he's assuming what her expectations are. She did try it, right? She tried it out, and it wasn't her thing and made her uncomfortable. So at least there is an attempt to try it out. I don't know. I think I'm thrown a little bit by the tone there. To me, it's one thing if someone says, "No, I'm not even going to try it at all." Hey, I had some experience with this and I'm just not there.
Corey Allan: Yeah. And that's the good way to think of this is how do I... Because, again, I think what matters in marriage is recognizing I'm pushed to do things I'm not comfortable with if I'm fully leaning in towards what my spouse may want to do or not do. That comes with the equation, that comes in the dynamic. It doesn't mean it's always way, way out there into the levels of discomfort, disgusting, gross, perverted. However I frame it in my mind, lots of times those suckers are framed that way because it makes it easier to take the stance I take. That's perverted, baby. Well, I would never want to do that. That adds an immediate high ground judgment on you to try to push you away from ever wanting to try that again. That's the stance. That's why we often will react with those things.
Pam Allan: Right. So that could be the stance that the wife has taken here that you're saying.
Corey Allan: Right. I'm using it just like as an example, just hypothetical between us.
Pam Allan: Understood. I'm playing it into their scenario to make sure I've got the right person in the right role.
Corey Allan: You're good, you're good. But it's seeing it as, okay, that kind of a stance is a unilateral I'm shutting you down move when what he has to recognize from the emailer is, okay, she can make unilateral moves. Absolutely. The question becomes, are they regularly done? Is it occasionally done or is it seldom done? Because unilateral moves ultimately can be betrayals of a marriage.
Pam Allan: Well that's-
Corey Allan: It could lead to that.
Pam Allan: ... extreme wording.
Corey Allan: It absolutely it, and I'm doing it intentionally because unilateral moves are extreme moves. I'm fundamentally altering any growth. I'm stifling everything. I'm taking hostage, both of us in the marriage with this. And sometimes, hear this very clearly nation, sometimes that's the move you need to make. I'm not willing to do this. And if that's where that absolutely is, then at least he knows what he's up against because she did explore it and then realized I'm not comfortable. Well, you need to dig deeper into what are you not comfortable about with it? Is it the whole genre of prostate play with men and male toys? They have a little bit of a different context than women's toys. They're a little more socially acceptable in some circles than men's toys. The women's toys are.
Pam Allan: The women's toys, yeah.
Corey Allan: It's kind of like, yeah, there's a whole plethora of it. When you look at male sex toys, there's not a whole plethora as much. There's not as much variety.
Pam Allan: Well, and I think that's key because you have a mental game. What have I grown up with hearing? What are the societal pressures? And you don't change a mental script overnight.
Corey Allan: Right. And so then it comes down to examining, okay, when we used it and it was enjoyable, what was her involvement in that versus his?
Pam Allan: Enjoyable for him. Was it enjoyable for her? Right. What did she say when it was done and they had a conversation?
Corey Allan: Absolutely. But also, how did it all unfold? Was she the one actually using the toy on him? Was he using it on himself with her presence? So you get into the nuances rather than going so quick with unilateral. Because if you can do that, it can be, wait, I don't really enjoy the operating of the toy on you, but I think I would be a little okay or could work towards being okay if you use it during or if I don't know about it during. Because there's a lot of different ways we can do these things because we are blind to a lot of things that go on in our sex lives, particularly when it comes to our spouse, because I just refuse to look at it mentally and maybe physically.
Pam Allan: Maybe physically, I just closed my eyes.
Corey Allan: Absolutely. So it's that whole there's a lot of room in here to examine each other, particularly yourself, in the stance you take to see it as is this propelling things forward? Is this something I'm growing and I'm willing to confront or no, I'm not? Because ultimately, again, that's a bold move to try to control somebody else rather than I'm just not going to participate in it.
Pam Allan: There's a lot of intimacy to be had within this. If you can have conversations about this that are not heated, some rational conversations, I guess they could get heated at some point, but the level of intimacy between the two of you can just go to the next level when you're having these topics come up in your relationship.
Corey Allan: I think of the way you just said the rational conversations while still handling the hurt associated with it well because that's really... If you look at it deep down, when we get defensive about stuff, a lot of times it can be because we're hurt. So how do I handle that hurt but stay in it? That's a different move.
And here's the equation I think of when you're talking about these kinds of moves. This is something that happened years and years ago with a client. I don't think I've shared it, but this is the best example of what we often do when we're hurt and we're reactive and we make these kinds of bold, broad, sweeping, "no, you can't do that ever again either," which is when we're objective, we realize that's totally outside my wheelhouse. That's my lane. I can't enforce that. Right? I had a husband who I was working with. He was on his second marriage. He had a grown daughter, and he's coming to see me. And right before he comes in, the reason he's coming to see me is because new wife he had discovered was on the road to cheating, if not flat out cheating. He didn't have the details completely, but he was trying to figure it out.
Well, the daughter had discovered too what had gone on, and so daughter reacts to come to dad's defense and in essence kind of starts badmouthing stepmom or new wife was really how she was described. Their relationship was the way she referred to her. And when she started doing that, dad was like, "No, that's my wife. You don't talk about... I don't want you talking about her in that manner," which then made daughter livid. So daughter, right before he walks in, this is the conversation while he is coming to my office. Right before he gets to my office, daughter says, "Well, don't ever call me again. Don't ever text me again," and hangs up. Just the whole cuts off the relationship right away. So he comes in just beat red because he's just as mad as can be because he is there trying to deal with his marriage, and then this piece just happened too.
So we kind of do some soothing, kind of start talking about stuff, and then as we're wrapping up, we get back to daughter, and he's like, "What do I do about that?" And I'm like, "Okay, well, it seems like in some regards, one of your best moves would be you reach out to daughter and say, 'You know what, honey, if you don't want to talk to me, don't answer my calls. If you don't want to text with me, don't reply to my text, but you don't get to determine if I pick up the phone and call you or not. You don't get to determine if I write a text to you or not. I get to determine that. You get to determine if you respond and engage.'"
That's sometimes the best example I think of when it comes to how am I handling the tension moments in my marriage where oftentimes I'll own this, I do this, I overstep and put an edict and stricture on you so you can't do X, Y, Z or won't or whatever. Rather than, I can't do that, that's beyond my scope. Instead, I'm better off looking at it as how am I handling what my responsibility is in my role is only? Well, this has been Passionately Married. My wife's not sure about how I just landed this plane today.
Pam Allan: No, I like the way you landed it. I just gave you a face. You were waiting like, is Pam going to say something?
Corey Allan: No, I was looking for you actually of how impressed are you of me right now? That's what I was looking for.
Pam Allan: Okay. I'm so impressed, honey.
Corey Allan: Well, if we left something undone, let us know, 214-702-9565, feedback at passionatelymarried.net. Write and review the show. Leave a comment because it helps spread the word. And we want other people, particularly with all the different topics we cover, that while the specifics of the topic may not apply, the aspects and the fundamentals within it will. That's what I believe. Because we're all living life on life terms and hopefully trying to be better. Transcripts are available on each of the show's pages at passionatelymarried.net, as well as advertisers' deals and discount codes can be found on each of those pages at passionatelymarried.net. So please consider supporting those who support the show. Well, this has been fun, babe.
Pam Allan: Yeah, it's been a good day.
Corey Allan: However, you as the nation of taking some time out to spend it with us, thank you so much, and we'll see you next time.
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