Top iTunes Marriage Podcast

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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

31 Days To Great Sex #476

On the Regular version of today’s show …

Sheila Wray Gregoire joins me to discuss her new book 31 Ways To Great Sex, available now.

Check out more of Sheila’s work here – https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/

On the Xtended version …

Sheila and I continue a conversation about how Christianity and the church have addressed sex – especially the message towards women. 

Enjoy the show!

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Speaker 1: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio, smrnation.com.
You've turned on Sexy Marriage Radio, where the best sex happens in the marriage bed. Here's your host, Dr. Corey Allen.

Corey Allan: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, alongside my wife, Pam, good to be here each and every week, we spend some time talking about whatever's going on in your marriage to help make it a little bit better. Or some weeks we talk about what may not be going on in your marriage and we want to try to help make that even better.

Pam Allan: There's that too, yes.

Corey Allan: Because across the board, a marriage, isn't always just roses and butterflies and rainbows.

Pam Allan: No.

Corey Allan: There's struggles that come along with it. And what we want to do here at Sex Marriage Radio is frame conversations to help you address the different things that keep coming up, so that you can head forward in the way that you want it to go, hopefully, and experience more that marriage could be. Because we believe that married sex is sacred and blessed, and we want it to be all that it can be in your marriage.
And the way we can know what's going on for you and what questions to answer or topics to cover the best is you can let us know at 214-702-9565, call and leave us a voicemail or feedback@sexymarriageradio.com. The email inbox that has been there all eight and a half years plus of this show.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Where it is constantly getting hit with people that have thoughts and questions and even praises.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Which we love hearing how this show impacts you. And the other way you can let people know how this show impacts you is you can jump on iTunes or Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Play, whatever it is that you use to listen to our show each and every week and rate and review, leave a comment, help us spread the word that married sex can just be hot. Kind of like the weather here in Texas.

Pam Allan: All summer long, baby.

Corey Allan: Well, this is from last week. This came in as an email from last week's show.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: When we did a little bit of a deep dive. And what happens when there's a big difference between desire levels?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And there was a lady that in one of the emails that made a comment about how she was feeling kind of guilty that her desire was nonexistent. And she felt guilty because her husband had to carry all the weight. And so someone from the SMR Nation emailed in and just said, "I'm 54 and went through menopause and had to find a doctor who would check testosterone levels. My gynecologist wouldn't. So I found one who did the hormone pellets. My testosterone was at zero. So I now get testosterone pellet placed in my hip, in the office. It's super easy. And it's made a world of difference. I mean, this lady needs to decide how much she wants to work at it because mindset is huge too. I didn't want to give up time or closeness and intimacy also, but the pellets are a benefit and I hope this helps."

Pam Allan: Yeah, I've got a girlfriend that does the same thing.

Corey Allan: So, there are resources available and sometimes some docs aren't up to it. And that's where I think there's a benefit of get second opinions and then make your decision because one philosophy isn't always the only way.

Pam Allan: And no one's more educated about your own body than you are.

Corey Allan: That is true. And so get a lot of information, talk with your spouse and then move forward with what you think that would help you the most.
Well, coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio is a conversation I had with Sheila Wray Gregoire, where she's joining me-

Pam Allan: That's fun to say,

Corey Allan: On the air, again. It is fun to say, and she's fun to talk to. She's got a new book that just came out. That's the 31 Days To Great Sex.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: And she is a prolific blogger, To Love, Honor and Vacuum is her blog.

Pam Allan: Okay. Good name.

Corey Allan: And she's been blogging for years there and has written extensively about marriage and sex. And so this is a book that's coming out just, that's very practical step by step some different things that you can start to apply to your relationship, to just create better to great sex.

Pam Allan: Wonderful.

Corey Allan: And so in the regular version of our conversation, we're just talking about some of the dynamics of how this book came to be, and then what are some of the different components of it that really do help?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And then on the extended version of today's show, which is deeper, longer, and there's no ads, she and I go into a deeper conversation about how this topic of sex and sexuality, in her view, I always wanted to pick her brain, of how has the church not approaching this well, how is Christianity not approaching this well and how could we be doing it better?
So anytime I get Christian authors on, that's one of the questions I want to know.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: On what's their view, because it is something that a lot of times religion has stayed away from or guilted.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: And we don't want that to keep happening.

Pam Allan: Right. And so I liked that you're giving solutions, right, because we don't want to just talk about why, what's negative it's, "Hey, let's get solutions."

Corey Allan: Oh no, let's not just bash the church.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Because there's still so many great things about Christianity and spirituality and the church. But I'm always curious about what is it that makes it such a struggle for people that are raised in this belief structure? And then how do we overcome that?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So all that's coming up on today's show.
On today's episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, I'm excited to welcome back Sheila Wray, Gregoire, who was, she's been on here before and that is fantastic to have a guest back on the air with me talking just about, because we have a similar bent in a lot of ways.

Sheila Gregoire: We do, yes.

Corey Allan: Raised a Christian lens, a history with the church and all the stuff that goes on, and especially when it comes to the sex world. And then, but yet people's trying to really light a fire on that lens of, you know what, sex is a great, sacred, blessed thing. Let's have more of it. Right.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And if God created something to be this awesome, why are we settling for mediocre?

Corey Allan: Totally couldn't have said it better. So Sheila let's dive right in because you've got a new book, 31 Days To Great Sex.

Sheila Gregoire: Yes. It's awesome.

Corey Allan: I can't wait.

Sheila Gregoire: I need to say something about the title though, before you even get started.

Corey Allan: Let's go.

Sheila Gregoire: Okay, 31 Days To Great Sex. It's not 31 Days Of Great Sex.

Corey Allan: Good clarification. Okay.

Sheila Gregoire: And here's the reason, I'm not saying you can't have sex every day and lots of people tell me they do. But I think when people hear 31 Days To Great Sex, they think of like this 31 day challenge where you have to do it every day and it's [crosstalk 00:07:15].

Corey Allan: I got you.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And no, what this is instead is it saying, "Look, people, God made sex to be great. And maybe we need to figure out why it's not. And so we're just going to go through all the little pieces. It's like step by step building blocks and sex, a lot of sex is outside the bedroom. So let's work on our friendship. Let's ramp up the flirting let's deal our baggage. And then yeah. Let's spice things up."

Corey Allan: Okay. Well, and that's funny that you add that clarification right at the very beginning because the 31 Days To Great Sex, rather than 31 Days Of Great Sex, where my mind goes is because I have the experience too, of the consecutive days, the times we've tried that it just becomes a chore and we've kind of recognized, no that's not bent and not that it's bad at all because I know couples that do it as well, but I hear 31 Days To Great Sex and wonder, Okay, 31 day spread out, however, how long? I mean, how long of a process are we talking about? If it's actually 31 moments of great sex, do I get to spread that out over five years? A year? What are we talking about here?

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And I tell couples, some people do, do it in 31 day period. You pick a month with 31 days, August is a great one with 31 days, October and with Halloween, that's kind of kinky, I don't know.

Corey Allan: Spice it up with little costumes. Absolutely.

Sheila Gregoire: Absolutely. But a lot of people take more than 31 days.

Corey Allan: Sure.

Sheila Gregoire: And sometimes it's good, there's a couple of challenges where I keep telling people go back and redo day six, redo day six a whole bunch of times.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Sheila Gregoire: Because sometimes you have, we just need to figure out what works. And I think a lot of people have given up hope.

Corey Allan: Yeah. I kind of get the sense that a lot of people, it's become such a gulf or an issue that you're getting into this, "Why bother? Why try?" And either settle or just throw your hands up.

Sheila Gregoire: And I was there like seriously, that is totally me because I like to tell people that we've been married for 28 years now and happily married for about 24 years, because the first four years were so rough. And a lot of that was because of sex.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Sheila Gregoire: So, my husband wanted it all the time. It was quite miserable for me. It hurt for a long time. And we had to work on trying to figure that one out. I felt like he only wanted me for what I could do for him. And he didn't really just love me. And he felt like, "Well, of course I love you. That's why I want you." And so we just were talking past each other for years. And so for us, we had to rediscover what libido means to both of us and how neither of us is broken. Just because we're different. Doesn't mean one of us is broken.

Corey Allan: So let's go there because one of the things I keep coming across is going to be a similar issue of, libido is a different meaning for the different people.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And you can have this thought process and this is where I love the concept of the higher desire, lower desire. That and even a no desire, but a responsive desire, even those kinds of nuances change and hopefully help people move beyond, it's not broken, it's just the reality. So what do you see?

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. Well, I think part of the problem is that our culture tells us that there's only one kind of correct libido. And so if we don't live up to that, we think we're broken. So any TV show, any movie, anything you watch, right? The plot, when it comes to sex is always the same.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: The couple is together and they're panting, and so they kiss and the clothes come off and they end up in bed. And no matter what you watch, it's exact same thing. Like they pant, they kiss, clothes, bed. And so that's what we think of as libido. You pant, kiss, clothes off, bed. And for some of us, we have that libido, pant, kiss, clothes, bed. But for a lot of us, we're at home and we're waiting to pant and nothing's happening and so we think we have no libido and our spouse thinks we have no libido.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: But what happens is that for many people, it doesn't look pant, kiss, clothes, bed. It looks like clothes, bed, kiss, pant.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Sheila Gregoire: You take off your clothes, you brush your teeth because that's part of foreplay too, right, you get into your PJ's, you get into bed, you're just chatting, you start to kiss. And then once you've started to kiss, then arousal kicks in, then desire kicks in.

Corey Allan: Hopefully.

Sheila Gregoire: And there's nothing wrong it. Yeah hopefully. But there's nothing wrong with that. And so whether your pant, kiss, clothes, bed or whether you're, clothes, bed, kiss pant or whatever you might look like, it doesn't mean that one of you is broken.
And so a lower drive or a more responsive desire spouse might think that they're spouse is like an animal or is kind of pathetic because they want it all the time and they're not interested in what's real about our relationship. But the higher drive spouse might think that they're spouse just isn't sexual.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: And so then they don't take the time to figure out what makes that person feel sexual. Because if their libido doesn't kick in right away, they think that, "Well then you don't really want me, like if I have to work at this, if I have to give you a massage first, if I have to talk to you first, then you don't really want sex."

Corey Allan: Right. It's too much effort. I don't have the time or the energy to put it in because that diminishes the meaning and the pleasure and all that it could be.

Sheila Gregoire: Because it's all just supposed to be spontaneous and happy. And so what happens is you get this dynamic over a couple of years where the higher drive spouse, which is often him but not always, in about 20 to 25% of cases she's the one with the higher drive as I know you know.
But anyway, so he starts to think that she's just not sexual. And then she starts to believe that she's not sexual. And so they just get in this terrible place where sex becomes a duty for her, that she starts to resent and he resents it because it's a duty and then ironically, he can even start initiating more because he's so desperate to feel like she actually wants it. So every time they have sex and she's not excited about it, it makes him doubt himself. So he needs to initiate even more and it just creates this terrible, terrible, terrible, tension.

Corey Allan: Yeah. That's a very dark vortex that can happen.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So here's what comes to my mind when you're talking about this, Sheila, is what do you come across and write towards and advise, I guess you could say, for the dynamic of the higher desires trying to then inquire about what makes my wife feel sexual if we go stereotypical, right, on the majority percentage. But the response from the wife is, "I don't know,"

Sheila Gregoire: Exactly.

Corey Allan: Because she doesn't do the effort to try to find that and I also put some of it is she doesn't know, because I think your kind are much more fluid and what worked one time won't even remotely come close the next time. Whereas my kind, I got a little more of a path that I kind of know will work.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. Exactly. One night can do something to her, which has her in raptures.

Corey Allan: Yup.

Sheila Gregoire: And then three nights later he's doing exactly the same thing, like move for move exactly the same, and she is lying there and you know she's thinking,

Corey Allan: "Really?"

Sheila Gregoire: "Will you get it over with, because I want to get to sleep." Right? And this is the thing for a lot of women and people with more responsive drives. It's not about what their partner is doing, it's about what you yourself are thinking.

Corey Allan: Yes.

Sheila Gregoire: And when your brain is not engaged, your body doesn't follow.

Corey Allan: Right. It's where you are in the whole process. It's not just your spouse.

Sheila Gregoire: Right. And that's really difficult. And so, in 31 Days To Great Sex, what I try to do is in that very first week, I try to give some really quick wins so that you can understand, okay, let's go through what it is that we believe about sex and get rid of some of the misperceptions, but then let's understand that her body actually can respond.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: And let's deal with some of the body image issues. And let's see how his body, she can actually be powerful and she can get some sexual competence here. So let's deal with these quick wins quickly so that we get rid of the idea that one person's not sexual.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: And then let's look at how to live that out. In all the different areas.

Corey Allan: Okay. Which I hear that, I love that philosophy because you're talking about building some momentum, challenging some of the misbeliefs, misinformation, whatever it might be, the different self-talk that can go on. But then this is the struggle that I also hear happens. And I'm hoping, let's unpack a little bit more here with what we've got on the time today.
So you get a taste of what could be, which then typically ramps up the higher desire of "Why would you not want that all the time?" It's like, "I'm finally tasting it," which this is where I think the power on both sides has to come into play. That it's not about a dynamic of, "Well, of course she should want it all the time." And it's also, "Maybe you need to learn to control and channel and enhance the other aspects as well beyond just that one part."
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Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And that's why the next week after that is actually, how to build that emotional connection. So let's work on flirting.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: Let's work on affection, let's work on just talking again. But yeah, and really just ramp up the fun in your relationship because-

Corey Allan: And that's huge.

Sheila Gregoire: Well, you got to be able to laugh. If you can't laugh, it's really hard to want to do much else.

Corey Allan: I put it together. If you can't laugh, you can't flirt.

Sheila Gregoire: Exactly.

Corey Allan: Because sometimes flirting, I suck at it, and if I can't laugh at the swing and a miss on like, "Ooh, that was really bad." And I need to laugh and blame you, "Oh Sheila was one that mentioned that and it just didn't work."

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And I also, I know that a lot of guys try to flirt and then it just fails miserably.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: Because you have to be able to gauge your wife. Flirting should not start with, "Wow. I love..." Like grabbing her boob as she's washing the dishes or something.

Corey Allan: That's not flirting. That's groping

Sheila Gregoire: Exactly. Or even making really, really sexual innuendos, if that comes out of nowhere, that actually can turn her off.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Sheila Gregoire: That's what a lot of guys don't always realize. And so I've got some great flirting tips in there for guys, but how we want to start with just helping her feel, "You're noticed, you're loved, I care about you." And then that can warm her up. And then you can, once she's given you the go-to, then you can start doing the more sexual stuff. But you don't want to jump to that too early.

Corey Allan: No, I totally get it. I mean, this is the stuff that I work with the men in the mastermind groups. We work on the concept of blurting, which is if it's a thought you say it, but there is tact and art and learning how to really make them land well.
So it's being a good student of each other. Because again, I also, tell me if you believe this as well, which I think I know where you would land on this, but I also believe the lower desire needs to flirt as well. They need to learn to be a student as well. It's not just the one side of this carries all of it.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And I think that part of the reason that flirting stops, is that the lower desire spouse has the idea that if I give them the impression that this might go somewhere, they're going to expect it and I don't want to put a down payment on something I might not want to buy later.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: So to speak, so you better not kiss, you better not flirt, you better not do anything because I don't know what I'm going to feel like in five hours when we go to bed.

Corey Allan: Sure.

Sheila Gregoire: And so they stop. And the problem with that is that for so many women, flirting is what opens the door to your own libido. So when we cut flirting out, we actually destroy our own libido. So, how can you welcome that back in? And just encouraging women to see, like flirting can just be a way of bringing that tension level down too in the marriage, feeling closer and just feeling like, "Yeah, I am connected to my husband." Laugh more, and then that can actually fuel desire.
So many people have cut flirting out, they've cut kissing out, kissing is only seen as foreplay, it's not seen as anything else. And so let's bring some of that back too.

Corey Allan: Right. And that's all then foundational, like what you mentioned that if you're building it on the fun, how are you bringing the fun back to your life and to your relationship? Because I mean, this is one of my professors in my doc program that made the comment of "Man, why in the world do we take life so seriously? None of us are getting out of it alive anyway." So have some fun with what you're doing and with what life is and that's, then you're talking about a closer springboard to examining your own experience and the interaction and the interplay and the dynamic and the power in there.

Sheila Gregoire: Yep. And then once we bring that tension level down, then we can start working on, "Okay, how do we actually make sex feel good?" Because for a lot of women, they don't know.
We recently finished a survey of 20,000 Christian women and only 48% reliably reach orgasm through any means. So that's a lot that don't.

Corey Allan: Yeah.

Sheila Gregoire: So no wonder a lot of people don't want sex. How many guys would want sex a ton if orgasm wasn't on the table. Right? So, and I think what happens too, is that when we get married, we work so much on the sex piece and not enough on the arousal piece. And so we've worked a lot at how to have intercourse, but we haven't figured out how to actually make sure she's aroused yet.

Corey Allan: Right.

Sheila Gregoire: And so let's figure out the arousal piece, let's figure out the orgasm piece and it needs to be done step-by-step. So once she's relaxed, that's a lot easier to do.

Corey Allan: Right. So I'm guessing you're then talking about, that's what you mentioned earlier, that this is where sex is out of the bedroom. This is the interplay, the interaction between us.

Sheila Gregoire: Well, by the time we get to that week, we're really talking about, "Okay, let's figure out what the clitoris is, let's figure out what the G spot is." Like all that sort of stuff, yeah.
But you didn't want to launch into that, I think the problem is that often when we try to fix sex, we start with that and you really can't. What we need to make sure of is that she feels comfortable in the relationship, he feels like he can talk to her, they've talked about some of these libido things.
And honestly, that's what people have told me about this book, about 31 Days To Great Sex, is the best part is that they're finally able to just talk about this stuff.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. That's huge.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah, and it's hard to bring up, let's say you've got a woman she's been married 11 years, she knows she's supposed to want sex, she's had a couple of orgasms, but never through intercourse, it just doesn't feel that great, but how does she talk to him about that? How does she say you've been doing it wrong for 11 years. Because she doesn't want to say that, she doesn't want him to feel badly.

Corey Allan: Yeah, these are those questions we get at the show of, "How do I tell my husband this without hurting his feelings."

Sheila Gregoire: Exactly. And yet when we think about it that way, it's like, well, you can't deny yourself pleasure the whole time too. Your pleasure is more important than his ego as well. But how do we have those conversations in a safe way? And that's what this book is for. It's not about shifting blame. It's just about, "Okay, here's where we're at now. How can we get even better?"

Corey Allan: And I love that framework just because this is the idea of, I think everybody can, if you think about it and this may be sounds weird to those of the people that are in the SMR Nation that truly are struggling and feel like they're in a brick wall because of sexlessness or real infrequent and just lackluster monotonous sex that, how do you see it as wait, that's still a dynamic. While it's not what you necessarily want, it's what you have. So how do you make that better? And I love that framework because that's almost, that's across the board to everybody that what you could be experiencing, you know what? It could be better and there's ways and things you can do.

Sheila Gregoire: Yep. And even if it doesn't get perfect, if we start moving in the right direction, if we're able to develop the skills that we can talk about this stuff, then the nice thing is you're going to keep growing together. And that's what we're trying to do is just get you on that right road and figure out how to talk about things, figure out how to share, "You know, I've always wanted to try this." Like how do you spice things up? How do you talk to your spouse about, "Well, I kind of do want to see what this feels like." "Can we try a new position?" Or... How do we bring up those conversations? So, yeah and that can be fun too.

Corey Allan: Well, but that's then, to me, that is bringing the whole dynamic of your sex life out of just the act. That's making it an undercurrent and just a part of the relationship that there is conversation that takes place, that yeah, it's foreplay, but that foreplay might be three days ahead of when you actually get a chance to try it out because you're just kind of mentally feeling it out, and then emotionally, and then physically, and that's the beauty of the sexual dynamic to me in marriage.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. And just giving couples an understanding that sex isn't a pass/fail thing. Because I think we often see it as a fail thing. And sometimes we're judging it in terms of frequency, we pass if we have sex at least every 72 hours. Or we pass if she has an orgasm. Or we pass, if we try a new position or if we get all kinky or something. And we fail, if we don't.
But we need to come out of that. And see sex instead as just a way to grow your relationship, to experience the fullness of fun and love and laughter and all of that. Because when we get into this pass/fail mindset, that's when we get seeing sex as such a negative thing. And if that's the self-talk that we're giving ourselves, that you are somehow broken, that you haven't done this right yet, that you've been married 10 years and it's still terrible then how are you supposed to grow? So instead, let's just see it as, "This is a journey we're on together. We're going to figure this out. It's going to be fun. Make it the best research project we've ever done, but it's not a pass/fail thing."

Corey Allan: No, absolutely not. I love that framework right there, Sheila. So tell people how they can find you. And more importantly, the book. I'll also put this information in the show notes.

Sheila Gregoire: Yeah. Well, 31 Days To Great Sex launches, July, 2020. So it's just a wonderful challenge. Every night, you read three to four pages together and then you just do the challenge. So super easy. You don't have to sit down and read 300 pages all at once or anything like that. Lots of fun. And you can get an Amazon, anywhere.
And check out the blog, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, for every couple that wants marriage to be less of a to do list and more of a passionate adventure. So that's me, tolovehonorandvacuum.com and I blog almost every day about sex. So it's super fun.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. I cannot recommend Sheila's work more than that, just by saying it, because everything you write is so pointed and helpful and I love it because you are changing people's lives and their relationships just by being willing to tread into areas that just need to be treaded in. Which, quick little tease, that's where we're heading in the extended content here in just a minute is to talk some about how the church and this whole topic, yeah, not a great track record all the time, but let's talk about why and what we can do better instead.
All right. So Sheila, thanks so much for the time thus far.

Sheila Gregoire: Thank you.

Corey Allan: Well, I have to say Sheila is fun to talk to.

Pam Allan: Yeah, absolutely.

Corey Allan: And passionate about what she does. Because it is so great when you get into somebody's wheelhouse on, you can just tell what they write about, what they get a chance to speak about, what they teach about. It just means so much to them. Because the impact it can have and the results that they've seen in their own life and in their readers, or audience.

Pam Allan: Just makes you want to hear more when someone's that passionate about it.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. It does. And so Sheila, thanks so much for the time. I mean, I love it when we get different guests on and they just give their take.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because we're all in this together in a lot of ways, where we're all trying to help marriages just be the best they can be.
Well, this has been Sexy Marriage Radio. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to spend it with us. We'll see you next time.

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