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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

When The Low Desire Initiates #537

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On the Regular version of today’s show …

Adding music to your sex life in marriage. Join the conversation at

A husband is in a 2 year stretch of sexlessness. How can he get his wife, who is also miserable, on board with wanting to improve things?

On the Xtended version …

What happens when the low desire spouse initiates sex, yet is shut down by their high desire spouse?

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Announcer: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio,
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: Straight from the inbox,, is a husband that has emailed in, saying, "I'm not sure if I've thanked you before, but a couple years ago, I heard you say that when you get turned down, stop acting like a puppy, walking away with my tail between my legs. It just ain't sexy. This change in attitude continues to yield benefits in many aspects of my relationship and communication. It forces me to just suck it up, and ask for what I want, and push through my fears of her response."
"This allows me to share more of all of my thoughts, and on our life. Sometimes I have to have self-talk, and boost myself up in the moment if I get an undesirable response; but that's fine. I keep it positive, and try to move on. By controlling my initial response and my body language, I do end up moving on and letting it go. I haven't imploded or melted into a puddle yet, so my fear becomes less caging. This keeps me from dragging things down, and also gives her more freedom to respond. Thanks again. Keep telling us to buck up. We can do it. And the more we do it, the more we can do it."

Pam Allan: Well done. Well done.

Corey Allan: Indeed, because this is kind of the whole dynamic, isn't it? Where we go into marriage, and we think things are going to unfold, and there'll be just all seamless; and there'll be a synergy there, and it'll just continue, right? We'll feed off each other in positive ways.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: But then, lo and behold, there's the other side of that thing.

Pam Allan: Right. And we do feed off each other in negative ways, too.

Corey Allan: Right. Or, I give too much credence to a response, and it impacts me because I overreact, or take it personal, or vice versa. And then you're each trying to just play defense with each other. And that's marriage. And so, what we try to do here at Sexy Marriage Radio, if you're new to Sexy Marriage Radio, welcome. Where have you been?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Glad you found us. Better late than never. But what we got going on here is just trying to talk about what goes on in married life, what goes on in your bedrooms. And the way we know exactly what to talk about is you let us know, at (214) 702-9565, or And I'm going to put out a personal plea.

Pam Allan: What's that?

Corey Allan: I want to hear the voices more, of the nation. I want to-

Pam Allan: Like getting a call in, to actually hear?

Corey Allan: Yes.

Pam Allan: Hear tone and that thing.

Corey Allan: We get regular emails daily, of questions, comments, topics, feedback, praise, whatever. And, well, that's fantastic. That's been a thread throughout the entirety of Sexy Marriage Radio.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But I'd love to hear your voice.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And if you're concerned about, "Uh-oh. I might be recognized with my voice." It's okay. I can even alter it. Just leave a little note at the end of the voicemail, and I can alter the voice a little bit, so you won't even know it was you.

Pam Allan: Beauty of technology.

Corey Allan: And a fun thing a that can happen is, it can create a dialogue that can go on. Because we've had times where... You're not alone in this; and this is part of why exists, is it's a chance to have a dialogue with other people in the nation. Because we, while we are the hosts on the microphone of Sexy Marriage Radio, we're just also along for the ride in marriage, too.

Pam Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Corey Allan: So, we've got our journey that we're working on as well. And so, we want to invite you to come be a part of the nation even more, because I think that's what helps everybody be better.
So coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio is a couple of your questions; some about music, which will be kind of fun.

Pam Allan: Okay. Yeah. I'm looking forward to that.

Corey Allan: And our answers, plus another plea to the nation; because this is going to have to be a little bit more of a collaboration probably, to help, because we have our experience in some regards, but there's more experiences available to pull from. And then on the extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads. You can subscribe at my.. Hello.

Pam Allan: Hello.

Corey Allan: I've been doing this for how many years?

Pam Allan: I don't know.

Corey Allan: You can subscribe at We're going to have a conversation about when the low desire initiates.

Pam Allan: Good. Because we do that sometimes.

Corey Allan: All that's coming up on today's show. So here's an email from a husband saying, "My wife and I want to start implementing music into the bedroom, but all the playlists we found have been full of unnecessary foul language. Do you have any recommendations for Christian couples wanting to play music in a bedroom?"

Pam Allan: There's all kinds of good options here.

Corey Allan: There are.

Pam Allan: I guess, what is it? Number one, I would say, "What is it that moves you?" Because surely music throughout your life already, there's been some things that have spoken to you, and said, "That'd be a really good rhythm in the bedroom." So I'd say number one, maybe you make your own playlist out of things that already kind of move you.

Corey Allan: Right. And that's my initial thought; because what I hear, and I've done this too, on exploring Spotify or iHeartRadio, or some of the different playlists that people have curated already. Even Pandora had that too, where you... But it takes a while to sometimes massage that algorithm, to get it to where it's more of what you really do want. And less of what you don't. Same thing with Spotify. Except for, if you just grab somebody's playlist, you don't have a say on what plays. Because they've already curated it for you. So the first step is curate one yourself, and work through what is it that you really do like? And it's just going to take some time.

Pam Allan: And it may be that you're listening to someone else's playlist, and you just write down the songs that you really like from it.

Corey Allan: Or, the cool thing about technology; you can listen to someone else's playlist, and click the little buttons on the side if you're using Spotify, because this is what I use, and add it to your own, and you just kind of move them around.

Pam Allan: Okay. That just showed the difference here. I like to write everything down. I have no idea how to use the technology that's in front of me.

Corey Allan: Great example.

Pam Allan: So follow Corey's lead, understand the technology that's in front of you.

Corey Allan: But you could put the time in to create your own. Some of the ways I would think about this to help... what would help you find what you want, "What are ones that have spoke to you over the years?" I think of way back when, when we were dating, and we were long distance, and I made tapes of music to send you. Cassettes.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Yeah.

Pam Allan: And I made cassettes for you. They just weren't near as good as what you sent. There's going to be... You were the higher desire. I got a couple good songs at the beginning. Then I was like, "Oh, I like this song. I like this song." And they were totally lame. And he's like, "What?"

Corey Allan: Yeah. The theme to Teletubbies just kind of was a mood killer, baby.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Corey Allan: But it's just... It just takes the time and the effort to kind of set it up. In a lot of ways, that's the same thing that a higher desire does, when it comes to trying to set a mood, trying to create a date, trying to begin the process. And that's all part of this process. It's kind of foreplay for yourself, and ultimately for her. And the cool thing about technology to me is, you can create a playlist, and then you can reorder it. You can shuffle it, or you can move it to where, "Ooh, that's a more high impact song. I'm going to put that further, when we might likely be right where we would want to right ramp it up even more."

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Because we all have a rhythm, and we all have kind of a known of, "Yeah, we need X amount of time to get into this thing. And then about this time, we'll be around this time for doing this thing." And everybody has acts that go on in your sex life, if you just think about it. And so sometimes you can do time it well.

Pam Allan: Yeah. So some of the favorite songs, or artists for that kind of thing? Are we getting into any specifics here?

Corey Allan: Well, I wasn't planning to, just because what works for what we really would like, may not be what other people will like. Because I've heard, and I've come across this several times. I've heard of people, and I think this is fantastic, that they actually, with their sex life, they have worship music playing.

Pam Allan: Very good.

Corey Allan: Because there's a sacred part of this that goes on, and they're just honoring and creating it as a worship. And absolutely. That's not going to work for everybody, because some people are going to be like, "No, that's going to be a moodkill." Or, some people might be hesitant to do so, because they don't want to get that turned on when they're at church.

Pam Allan: There's all kinds of mind things going on here, aren't there?

Corey Allan: Totally.

Pam Allan: Okay. I never thought of that.

Corey Allan: Because could you imagine, "Oh that was such a great song." And then the next time you're singing it, you're just looking at each other. "We got to go. I can't stay here. You and I, we got to get out of here."

Pam Allan: Right. There's got to be some point, where my focus is on the Lord.

Corey Allan: I think it would be there the whole time through, baby.

Pam Allan: Oh my goodness. All right.

Corey Allan: But what each person might like, is what each person might like.

Pam Allan: Sure.

Corey Allan: And so what I'm going to ask, is those of you in the nation that are involved in Jessica, I'm sure we will set this up with a question of, "What playlists have you found that work, via Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora?" What is it that works? Because some of those might be out there that we don't know, and maybe somebody's already done some curating that could really be helpful with people. And what are your different tastes and likes? And we can kind of begin a dialogue.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Sure.

Corey Allan: And maybe that helps them navigate, "Oh, I didn't even know about that song." Because that's the whole... That's novelty, in a lot of ways.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: And so if music spices it up, cue tape.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: So this is an email from a husband that says, "I'm a recovering nice guy. And I've been seeing a therapist regularly for about three years. So I've been able to have some good discussions with him on my various frustrations about marriage, and the depression I feel in the marital gridlock. However, my wife and I still have our moments of conflict. And we're currently in the midst of a two year, active stretch of sexlessness. While I've been able to progress in my own personal mental health, it seems like nothing has ultimately changed in our relationship dynamic. We have four kids, busy work schedules; so those are factors that definitely create a challenge. But I truly feel as though my wife has shown little effort on her end, to try to change things. She doesn't seem to make any effort in her own self-reflection of how she could own up to her own faults, or seek personal growth."
"I feel stuck, because my inclination as a nice guy is to do anything and everything possible to improve our marriage. But I feel as though it's not a healthy approach, because I'd just be falling back into a pattern of placating my wife, and giving her all the power. Then I'd stew over the covert contracts after trying to go above and beyond in various ways, and so on. Additionally, my counseling sessions with my therapist, it's been become increasingly clear that we're at the point that it's going to take my wife to open up, process her own issues and trauma, and do her part to change as well. I've received some recommendations from other therapists with whom she and I might be able to do therapy. But when I ask her about it, she'd say, 'It hasn't worked in the past. We don't have time. And it's expensive.'"
"I asked her where she is on a scale of one to 10. And she even says she's like at a two. I then calmly express that I felt like we were due for needing to make some serious improvements, and asked her if she would resonate with that. She snapped back and said, 'Why do you ask such stupid questions?' And went on to say of course she's unhappy in our marriage, and was insulted that I even asked the question. I've tried to press her a bit, and ask what other ideas she might have, since couples' therapy is off the table. She shut down the conversation, and said it was a bad time to talk and was exhausted; which I get. It's a heavy topic to address; but this has also been a long, ongoing issue and struggle in our marriage."
"I'm exhausted from the years and years of contentious criticisms, cold shoulders, and feeling like I'm the only one putting in work. I've pondered divorce, but I really don't want to go down that road. Our children would be devastated, and I think the end result would be more grief than I'm currently experiencing over the broken dreams of a healthy and loving marriage. What else can I do to inspire my partner to participate in making the necessary changes? I don't want to make this be a manipulative, but is there some kind of power move I can make to wake her up to the reality that I'm utterly defeated and can't go on like this?"

Pam Allan: So have we not done this one before? Because I swear that question of, "Why do you ask such stupid questions?" It just sticks out to me obviously, because that's painful to say.

Corey Allan: So this is a theme that has come up repeatedly.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Okay.

Corey Allan: Where a higher desire for marital improvement, or sex, or growth, or whatever, feels stonewalled and blocked by a lower desire. And the moves that are being made are reactions that keep them in their place.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Right? So, from the accounting, and the way I log things, we have not done this specific email. And there's a couple of pieces in here that I wanted to pull out, because they are different.

Pam Allan: Yeah. But it's just super similar to things you hear, right?

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because if you think about it though, a lot of what we face in marriage, is this on a continuum. It's either to this degree in severe, or it's a little bit moderated of that; but it's still there of, "I'm blocked by what my partner is wanting or not wanting. I'm blocked by the fact, 'Do I have an ally or not?' And to the degree in which I have an ally or not." And so, this is the dynamic of marriage, in a lot of ways. And so, you could almost say, Pam, that almost every email fits some of this.

Pam Allan: Sure. Sure. But I hear... That's just such an escalating question. "Why do you ask the stupid questions?" I can see how someone would just fly off and boom, you totally then at that point, get off the rails.

Corey Allan: Okay. So let's-

Pam Allan: And you're not addressing... That is a huge way to divert the topic.

Corey Allan: So in one way, it's a fantastic move to not really have to address it.

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: So then, "How do I hone this back in?"

Corey Allan: Well, first off, just because the way you're framing this, I like Pam, because this is recognizing if she's going to that severe of a move, dynamically and fundamentally speaking, that tells me his moves are just as extreme. Because he's over-focused on her. Right. Because this is what I see a lot in the clients I work with; I see this a lot, where the higher desire, for whatever it is, over functions in the dynamic, which sets up this power dilemma.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: And then they use their over-functioning stance as high ground. "I am the one that cares more. I am the one doing all the work." And that's a high ground, rather than realizing if I'm putting so much emphasis on my partner, do I really have high ground? Or am I more likely manipulative? Or am I more likely acting out of insecurity, because I need more response from her to feel better? Or I need actual sex to have validation as a human or a man, and it goes beyond just the pleasure and what we want to enjoy, which is in there, too, most likely.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: But if I need propping up from my spouse, I've given away all my power to my spouse. Just like she's trying to avoid getting boxed in, and feeling like "Why would you want to do... Why do you even bring that up?" Right? And she's feeling like in the spotlight, or the focus, or the broken, or whatever. Because what I'm hearing in this is, this is what jumped out to me; is she sees he's utterly defeated, and can't go on like this. Neither can she. That's what's present, is what I'm hearing from the way he's framing this. His map of it says they both are utterly defeated.

Pam Allan: So then, if she's utterly defeated, to me, ask the question then, "Why don't you go do something about it?" Right? "Why wouldn't you go to a counselor?"

Corey Allan: So let's play it this way then; if that's the case... I'm trying to think of a little more innocent example of over-functioning/under-functioning. Let's say in our scenario, you're a little more haphazard with cleanliness than I.

Pam Allan: Okay. Bodily or household?

Corey Allan: Household.

Pam Allan: Excuse me.

Corey Allan: We'll go household.

Pam Allan: I just did a Peter Brady, and lost my voice there.

Corey Allan: When it's time to change. It's time to change. We'll go household. And so, you know over the repeated years, if something's just left out, I'll come by and take care of it. And yet, I might be really frustrated, and say so, or passive aggressive comments or statements. But if you know, fundamentally speaking, our system is set up to where you don't really have to care about it. Not that you don't care about it, but you don't have to have the fortitude of, "Oh yeah, I need to go... I want to go get that." And actually follow through and do it. You could have the thought, but not do it, because I'll come by and do it.

Pam Allan: Sure.

Corey Allan: The longer that is going on, and ingrained, the less likely you have to really confront, "Do I really want to be somebody that cleans up after themselves or not?"

Pam Allan: "Nah. I know Corey will do it for me."

Corey Allan: Right. And so, there's an element of how this plays out on every subject, to where he's wondering, "What move can I make to get her to move?" Rather than the move he may need to make, is not do any moves. Call out what the dynamic is better. Because if he was to say, when she answers it as, "I'm like at a two." And if he was to say something like, "Wow. So am I. Wonder what that means? I'm utterly defeated, too." And you just leave it. You just kind of sit in that struggle, sit in that deep. Don't offer solutions. Just let it be.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because I think too often, higher desires, especially when the higher desire is the man, they put on the tool belt, and they come up with, "Well, if this is the problem. Okay. Here's the solution. Let's do this, and let's do this." Because he's already been doing that.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: He's already sought out every permutation that could have come about and, "Oh, we can listen to this, and let's go here, and we can..." And she's like, "Don't tell me what to do." Because that's kind of the fundamental nature of us as humans. "I want to be connected to you, but don't tell me what to do please, babe."

Pam Allan: Yeah. Neither men or women.

Corey Allan: Exactly.

Pam Allan: Really want that.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And so, I hear in this, the power move is recognizing, "What are the behaviors that each of you are exhibiting? What are they saying?" Because it's different when he sits back and just seethes with, "She doesn't show any effort towards X." Versus, you start making the moves of, "I'm going to make sure I'm in line with who I want to be. I'm going to make sure I am somebody that's worth being with. I'm going to make sure I am somebody I would want to have sex with. I would want, if I was creating and living a vibrant life and marriage, what would that look like, as I am? How would I be acting in that?" Because so often, this was some couples I just had, too; I use this line at the end, because I was trying all these different things to get them to see their own culpability.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And they kept, "But he..." and, "But she..." All the way through; they would kind of hang on that, and then they would shift it. And so finally at the end, I said, "You know what? I need to apologize to you guys."

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: And they were like, "Why?" And I said, "Because you guys played graduate-level blame game here, and I didn't bring my A game. I've been trying for an hour to get you guys to see what's your own culpability in this. And yet you guys are really, really good at avoiding that sticking, and blaming your partner." And that kind of woke them up a little bit, and they both were like, you could see them settle, of like, "Okay."
And I think that's the kind of the idea, of he's not doing the blame game of, "I've got all this data of all the bad she's doing."

Pam Allan: It's the blame game of-

Corey Allan: "I've got all the data of what she's not doing."

Pam Allan: I... Yeah.

Corey Allan: It's what's missing, rather than, "What's the data of what the behaviors are?" And more importantly, "What's the data of what your behaviors are?" Because the longer you keep that thread going, the better the pressure is on the dynamic; then you can help make better decisions. Because this is a little bit of a long game; this is not a quick... Because the power move of, "I'm done" doesn't change things fundamentally, unless you fully have underneath changed.

Pam Allan: Well. Right. And you don't change overnight. Nobody does. And you fully expect then, if I'm changing, your spouse is seeing it; they fully expect you to go back to how you have been for the last however many years.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: Right? So it's got to be consistent, and it's got to be lasting. You can't go back into the old ways, or then you just...

Corey Allan: But the old ways are still there, because there's still semblances, and it takes a while to change somebody's map of you.

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: To allow yourself to be remapped.

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: And then for them to buy it, to see that it is true, it's real.

Pam Allan: Yeah. I'm not buying it, if it's just something I see for 24 hours or 48 hours.

Corey Allan: But this is possible; it's just, sometimes it's recognizing my own blind spots. It's recognizing where I thought I had it in line, but you're right. I'm still focusing too much on her. I actually had somebody that just reached out, that he just started listening a week ago, and his wife has already said, "What's going on?"

Pam Allan: Interesting.

Corey Allan: Because he is binging; and it has totally shifted, because it's the fundamental, what we believe here at Sexy Marriage Radio of, there's a big, vast majority of our audience that has found us because they've really, if they're honest, trying to change their spouse. And then they regularly keep hearing the message of, "Nah, it's the wrong path."

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: You got to change you. You got to deal with you. And I love this idea and this phrase, that, "If you cannot self-confront, you cannot couple well."

Pam Allan: Hmm. Yeah. I totally see that.

Corey Allan: So, it's learning how do you do better by seeing who you are, and your own culpability in what's going on? He's trying, but I'm hearing, man, you need to just kind of refine the view a little more. Not thinking of moves, so much as, "What are you seeing?" And address that.
Well, Pam, as we bring this thing to a close, I'm going to reference, for those that missed the extended version, they won't quite know exactly what I'm talking about here, but how was the story?

Pam Allan: It was lovely. You're a good storyteller. Thank you.

Corey Allan: Thanks for the other validation, there.

Pam Allan: Yeah. You're welcome.

Corey Allan: Guess that was the undercurrent of why I just asked that question.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Well, if you missed what we're talking about, feel free to join us. We'd love to have you jump on board with the Academy. Go even deeper with us, or just the extended content. Either one, you can find more, But this has been Sexy Marriage Radio, where we want your voice. I'll make the plea again. Call us up, (214) 702-9565. I can even alter the voice slightly, to make it to where no one knows it's you. But we want your questions, your thoughts, your feedback. What did we miss? What's left undone? What's going on that's working? We want it all. That helps all of us be better. And we want to lift everybody up. That's the whole point of Sexy Marriage Radio. So thanks again for taking the time out of your week to spend it with us. We'll see you again next time.