On today’s regular version of the show …

A husband emails looking for help for he and his wife regarding the fantasies she often turns to for sexual arousal.

A caller asking for followup on one of Dr Glover’s ideas about the differences between men and women.

On the Xtended version …

An in-depth conversation looking into the idea of do what always do the best we can?

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Transcript of Episode

Corey Allan: Welcome to the dog days of summer.

Pam Allan: Yeah, living in Texas. Yeah. This is our stretch of hundred degree plus days.

Corey Allan: Yes it is. So wherever you are in this fair land and world of ours, we hope that you’re finding ways to stay cool, or if the reverse happens to be true, to stay warm. Because this is Sexy Marriage Radio where we want to have more than just conversations about weather, we want to have conversations about marriage and life and sex and all that that entails. And we love it when you help us frame where we go with our shows, with your phone calls that come in to two, one four, seven, oh, two, nine, five, six, five. Or to feedback@sexymarriageradio.com, so that way we can get your voice as part of the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation, which is, if you’re listening to this episode right now, then you’re part of the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation, and we’re glad that you take the time out each week to spend it with us. And one of the things that’s been kind of interesting before we get to show really going this morning, Pam.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: This is my wife Pam again, as always by the way.

Pam Allan: Hello.

Corey Allan: So we’ve been in quite a little transitional seasons, if you will, for us. That one of the words that I’ve had … So every year I do three words following Chris Brogan’s lead, and one of my words for 2019 is the word streamline. Which has meant I spent a lot of time throughout the year just paring down what do we do really well, let’s just do that. What are some of the stuff that’s extraneous we have that we don’t need and we just get rid of that. And so what we’ve done now is just kind of interesting because we’ve always had this fifth wheel in a truck and we would travel and do some great adventures. We came back over from a month long trip the summer. And promptly sold everything.

Pam Allan: [crosstalk 00:02:13] camper. Yes. Sold it. New era of life.

Corey Allan: Indeed. And so it’s kind of interesting to think, wow, that’s the season that you look back at the joy and the memories, then when the kids were little and all that was done over the five years we were able to do the month long trips. And now we’re looking at what’s going to be the next ones.

Pam Allan: It’s kind of unnerving. There’s been this unsettled feeling of … There’s been some identity wrapped up in some of that stuff-

Corey Allan: Sure.

Pam Allan: … and obviously when you get rid of things it can be freeing. That’s good. But then again, it’s unnerving as to … Something always comes into fill in a gap, right?

Corey Allan: Right. It puts you out into that arena of this is uncharted waters and a lot of times when we get in, we don’t know it freaks us out. I mean that’s where there is some research that has found, we’ll choose unhappiness over uncertainty as human beings.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And so there’s a thing about the devil we know, is why we keep coming back to it. Which has kind of been a theme in some of the episodes of Sexy Marriage Radio is, we keep coming back to what works last time when we’re talking about listening to how people have emailed in and called in on, “This is my issue. Why is it so routine and monotonous at times with the way sex unfolds?” And so it is one of those, you have to realize getting out into an unknown area stretches us-

Pam Allan: Truly.

Corey Allan: … until we create a new norm, until we create something a little more comfortable within that new area. And then you have to guard against, I can’t just always stay there though. Because I think that’s the way we are as human beings, is we want to grow and evolve and continue to improve, which means branch out sometimes.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: And I’m not saying if you’ve got a camper you got to sell the thing right now, that’s not what we’re talking about.

Pam Allan: Not the point.

Corey Allan: But it is interesting just thinking that that’s kind of set us off into a uncharted waters which is [inaudible 00:04:03], see where this thing may goes.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So coming up on today’s regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio, a couple of your questions and our answers. And then on the extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio, which is deeper, twice as long and there’s no ads, you can subscribe at smrnation.com. Pam and I are going to have a in depth conversation about this concept of, as human beings do we really do the best we can?

Pam Allan: I would say you’re meddling with that one, for me personally.

Corey Allan: That’s the hope.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Cool, that’s coming up on today’s show. So let’s start off with an email that came into the inbox at feedback@sexymarriageradio.com. Where it says, “Dr. Allan, recently my wife of 31 years shared with me that she needs to fantasize to orgasm. Unfortunately, the fantasies are not about me. It’s very hard for her to share this information. And then she volunteered that the fantasy usually revolved around strangers and rape or lesbian sex. She’s viewed porn about a half dozen times in her lifetime and I believe that this number is not understated. The images unfortunately have been burned into her memory and this is where she thinks fantasies are derived from. She’s never been molested, raped, or had any other lesbian encounters, is what she’s saying. We both have no past sexual partners, we believe that sex should be saved for marriage. She has absolutely no desire to fulfill her fantasies and she’s repulsed by them and his guilt-ridden every time she orgasms with these images in her mind.”

Corey Allan: “She’s an incredible Christian wife and mother. I personally have struggled with porn in the past and totally understand bringing that imagery into the bedroom. However, I do not need that imagery to orgasm. My arousal comes from my wife and her being satisfied sexually. We’ve been working together on this and I’ve tried to make our love making more intimate by increasing foreplay, massage, candles, and even toys to make it as arousing as possible. Sometimes she’s mindful enough to stay in the moment and experience orgasm just thinking about it. However, more times than not she goes to different imagery, which ultimately leads to more guilt as she’s wanting less sex and to a certain degree.”

Corey Allan: “So I personally believe that it’s because it takes such a long time for her to orgasm., sometimes it can take her over an hour of oral sex. She gives up and relies on imagery to fast track her way to an orgasm. On the other side, she’s totally okay with having quickies and not worrying about having an orgasm. However, that’s not what I want. This information has an opposite reaction to our marriage. We feel the past six months has been our best period in the marriage because this new intimacy has not only brought us closer together with more communication and romance. However, we still want to work through this fantasy issue and would appreciate any help or resources you can direct us to.”

Pam Allan: So that’s super interesting. I guess my question is the history, she doesn’t have a history of …

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: He’s saying she doesn’t have any kind of history of abuse, anything like that, right? Or-

Corey Allan: Which from the outset let’s start-

Pam Allan: With the-

Corey Allan: Fantasies don’t have to just-

Pam Allan: Does it matter?

Corey Allan: … come from histories of things. We don’t have to have been exposed to something to have a fantasy of something.

Pam Allan: Right. And so what would, what brings in those different fantasies? What would power that type of fantasy for her?

Corey Allan: Well, a lot of times then if you’re talking about some of these things that are much more taboo, and I love the fact that they pointed out it’s nothing that she actually wants to fulfill. Because that’s an important factor. Because a lot of times you can hear or think through, “I have this fantasy of lesbian sex,” or, “I have a fantasy of a full-on orgy with all kinds of people,” and all this kind of stuff. And then you can start going through with the rational brain going, “I wonder if that means that’s what I really want.” And then you start going into some of the areas that might really be way out of line with the way you want to live with your integrity and character.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: So a fantasy is just a fantasy. So one of the things is to try to look at it is, I love … This is an Esther Perel statement, fantasies do have, there is very little political correctness in fantasies.

Pam Allan: Okay. True.

Corey Allan: Because they’re just … it’s no holds barred, it’s free-flowing, it’s just whatever it is.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: So how do I keep it like that is realize, okay. And more importantly, and this is where for her specifically real quick up at the start, how do you try to maintain … Because it sounds like when anytime she thinks of these, she immediately jumps to the guilt and shame.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Right. So what could you do if you could try to add in a little bit of layer of curiosity? “Oh, I wonder why this? I wonder why …” And it’s probably been going on but try to-

Pam Allan: Okay, keep going because I’m not necessarily tracking here because I don’t know that that [crosstalk 00:09:04] to feel.

Corey Allan: I got you. But it’s the idea of how do I suspend judgment, of I don’t need to condemn myself for what my fantasies are doing. Have I done anything morally wrong? Have I sinned? Have I done … If I have a fantasy of that. And I realized this is in a complete gray area.

Pam Allan: I would say it is gray. And I guess I’m … I can see where she’s coming from. I’d go back to guilt that I’ve had for my fantasies, for things that just encounters, I’m putting this out … Okay Nation, being real here. Fantasies that I had about you and I from before we ever got married and my desires for, while that’s centered on you, it’s still something that wasn’t within our marriage bed. It was a time before. And so from where I want to live and the connection that I want to have with you, I want to have a connection now and not from 25, 28 years ago. And so there’s a connection … I understand having that guilt because there’s something that isn’t within who I want to be today.

Corey Allan: Okay.

Pam Allan: And so how do you separate yourself from who I want to be versus where my mind keeps going?

Corey Allan: Okay. So fantasies typically ,you’re talking about this as a way to get the pituitary gland activated, which is what gets the arousal going, gets the lubrication right. So it really comes down to, let’s start with some kind of a steps I guess almost, and from this email. He’s saying a lot of times she will go to the fantasy’s to fast track a result, right?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So a lot of it can be, how do you start to recognize this on a continuum, and moving the needle is improvement rather than total removal is the goal. How do you get it to where a thought enters your head of she could have a rape fantasy that happens just because that’s what gets her triggered and going, but how does she not stay with it as long?

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Right. How does she go there? Because it’s like, “Okay, hold on. This will get me going and then I can steer it.” And I think that’s improvement.

Pam Allan: I think it’s improvement. I think that person is still going to have … If that’s something that currently brings them guilt, how do you get past that by even having that be, “I got to go to that, that’s my key to get me aroused.”

Corey Allan: I get it. But over the course of our development and growth as human beings, don’t we get better at things the more we can kind of investigate, be curious, seek answers and see movement where it’s like all of a sudden, I was really total procrastinator and now if I was on a level 10 on that scale and I moved it to an eight, that’s a big … that’s movement. And that’s a good thing to be applauded.

Pam Allan: I totally agree with you there.

Corey Allan: And that’s what he’s even talking about. Their marriage has shifted because their intimacy level is completely different because they are much more known with each other. And so now they feel a deeper connection, which that’s the point anyway.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: I want to know all of you and some of what I’m going to know of you isn’t always going to be pretty, and can be downright scary. And so to me this comes down to, and I’m not putting this in a moral argument. Okay, this is a human argument, I need to qualify that. It comes down to how do I suspend judgment more and more for my fantasy life to try and steer it to where it can be that I really want to be engaged in the realtime and in the moments?

Corey Allan: The other side of this conversation that needs to be had is what are these meanings that are associated with the different fantasies? Because if you’re talking about a stranger rape fantasy, you’re usually talking a lot of power and a presence of being taken at domination. I mean those are kind of real easy paths that will lead to the bunch of different kind of in that same realm, in that same theme.

Pam Allan: Okay. Feelings, emotions.

Corey Allan: Right. So my question would be for the husband, since he’s the one asking the question. How are you bringing your power in good ways to the marriage bed, into the relationship? How is your presence felt and experienced by you and her? Because there can be a quick little correlation between those two possibly.

Pam Allan: Interesting.

Corey Allan: That there can be an element of … I mean because there’s a lot of women that I’ve come across in our conversations too Pam, that they want to feel the power of their husband. That can be a tremendous aphrodisiac. And so there’s an element of how is he doing that? Because he says, sometimes he’s tried with the candles and the massage and stuff and that’s not … that’s set in an environment, that’s not bring in a power.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Right. So that’s one kind of just, and a lot of these are following hunches, see if it starts to connect some dots. And if not, we follow a different hunch and you see what happens. And then the other one with the lesbian fantasy, that oftentimes from the stuff I’ve been exposed to and some of the literature that’s out there and conversations with Shannon in the long past is, the tenderness associated with it, the nurturing side of it. And that’s where the candles, and you’re creating an environment, that’s a much more tender environment you’re creating together.

Corey Allan: And so it’s looking at what’s underneath them. And this is where if I can learn to suspend judgment a little better, I can find paths that will seek to answer meanings of stuff without the route that has come playing out in, in the fantasy. And so it really comes down to, how do I look at this through the lens of, what’s the dynamic that’s going on in me that could be from something way back. It’s not-

Pam Allan: [crosstalk 00:15:27], yeah.

Corey Allan: it’s not a linear, “Oh, this is what I really want.” Or, “Oh, that time that they took advantage of me.” Or, “Oh, that time it was experi …” would it. It’s not that, it’s a, “Okay, I’ve really longed for a closer, more nurturing connection with my mother or an important woman in her life.” Well, how do I cultivate that in a better, healthy and appropriate way now?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because sometimes that’ll help diminish what that fantasy is kind of playing right now. And sometimes a fantasy is just a fantasy. It’s just an erotic kind of, “Huh, that’s kind of curious. And all right, why do I even need to give it a whole lot of power and even go exploring it?” And so I realized this is a nebulous conversation because anytime I get into the world of fantasy, and we’ve done this over the years of Sexy Marriage Radio, it’s all nebulous.

Pam Allan: It is.

Corey Allan: Because it’s as unique as each person and their journey, and even as unique as each moment of unique person in the unique … In that as it all unfolds.

Pam Allan: Right, moments, seasons. Whatever.

Corey Allan: Right. So it can’t be applicable to everybody at every time. But I do have to say at the end of this conversation Pam, kudos to them for bringing this forward between the two of them.

Pam Allan: Yeah, definitely. You got it on the table. You can both deal with it then, it’s not something you’re kind of hiding in a corner.

Corey Allan: And that’s actually the path to creating a relationship that is intimate, that is connecting, that is deeper, and it’s not just an attachment to outcome. So when she’s having trouble reaching climax and oral sex has been going on for too long, rather than jumping to fantasy, what if you were just to own the fact, if, “You know what, I’m not here right now.” And make him also have to deal with the fact of her achieving an orgasm, if she doesn’t even want, it doesn’t have to always be his goal too.

Pam Allan: Right, right. Because for an hour in, he wants her to orgasm, but she’s okay not. He might have to come to grips with, you know what? It’s okay.

Corey Allan: At some point let’s just shift this and connect and create something different in real time together, rather than having to bring in the fantasy world.

Pam Allan: Right.

Caller: Hi, Corey and Pam. In the episode entitled Testing Solidness, Dr. Glover based his theory about the test upon what he perceived as intrinsic qualities of women. He said that women quote, “have the emotional wiring to want to feel safe and to feel protected by the man that she’s with,” end quote. While something like this intrinsic complimentarity narrative is popular within many Christian communities, before we prescribe or condone this relationship dynamic, we ought to backup the narrative with empirical data it seems to me.

I see this question as having two parts. One, what empirical data do we have to inform what is emotionally, socially, and relationally particular about men and women? And two, what empirical data do we use to conclude that the particularities of maleness and femaleness belong to the intrinsic composition or substance of men and women? In other words, what data helps us to conclude that the emotional, social, and relational particularities belong to nature and not to socialization.

Perhaps why I want more supporting evidence is because my marriage and what I perceive as intrinsic to myself in my life, does not really resonate with these wired, so-called differences outlined in the show. Without more data, wouldn’t we be more responsible to say, if your relationship looks like this, then here are some ways to reframe your thinking. And then leave off the whole bit about what belongs inherently to the nature of men and women. Thanks for dealing with my technical and theoretical question.

Corey Allan: Okay, so from the outset, I think we have to at least acknowledge the fact that when we talk about the different concepts that we cover here on Sexy Marriage Radio for the Nation, we will go into the stereotypes just because it’s easier to explain it that way. But we also have to always add the caveat of, this is not always true of every male or every female, as he’s pointing out.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: Right, I think the dynamic is what’s true. We just tend to change this into femaleness or maleness because it just makes the most sense and it hits the majority of the audience.

Pam Allan: Right, across the board typically it’s a switch though from maleness to femaleness to really high desire, low desire. Would that be relatively-

Corey Allan: Okay, but let’s go characteristics-

Pam Allan: Is there a correlation between those two?

Corey Allan: … not just gender necessarily.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Because if you think about it, this is my experience with the clients and the people that I have come across in my life as a marriage family therapist. The dynamics between the two people, one will play more of the maleness role and the other will play more of the femaleness, role even in same sex relationships.

Pam Allan: Yeah. And he’s got like air quotes going with that.

Corey Allan: Yes I do. But it’s because there’s a dynamic and a synergy that relationships seem to thrive in when those two polars are manifested. So it’s seeing it as, there are a lot of times, and we have good friends where he would say he’s the wife and she would say she’s the husband, because of the dynamic and the way they go about life. So it’s going to-

Pam Allan: And so then my followup question, he’s like, is that socialization versus nature? And so what we peg as the husband and peg as the wife, I think you’ve got a combo of what’s nature and what socialization. Clearly our bodies, the mothering, the person who actually gives birth to a child, there’s nature in some of these aspects. Certainly there’s going to be some socialization that comes along with it.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Pam Allan: But I don’t know that you can draw a line down the middle to say that it’s one or the other across the board.

Corey Allan: No, no. This is too fluid and permeable of a line if you will, that it’s interchanged. That when you’re getting into the nature versus nurture argument, now you’re bringing back grad school to me because we did a whole class on this. And in reality, is it nature or is it nurture? It’s both. They’re both playing out all the time. Because there was some great seminal studies from way back where there was a researcher that said, “Give me 20 kids. I could raise them and I could create a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, by just the way I nurture them.” And after researching even more, he came back and said, “Yeah, no, I can’t.

Pam Allan: Can do it.

Corey Allan: Right. Because there is something to the way we’re wired. There is something to the way we view life, the way things make sense. And that’s the nature side of things. So it’s both. But when you’re talking about maleness versus femaleness and the brains, which Dr. Glover refers to, the dynamic that a woman seeks safety and security, which I think that’s a physical component because most of the time a man makes her feel safer. And far as in a wedding, in a marriage, that it’s like, “Okay, I know I’ve got somebody that will meet someone if they come in the door in the middle of the night. I got a bigger creature that can go ahead of me.”

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: And so some of that’s just physical protection.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But some of the other is, if you’re talking about … He’s talking about other, any empirical research that shows this. There’s no difference between a male and female brain other than there is some correlation in some of the studies I’ve seen that show a male brain might be slightly larger by some percentage, but that’s also-

Pam Allan: Okay. In proportion or something?

Corey Allan: That’s also physical size, stature.

Pam Allan: We’ll have some MDs out there calling into the show.

Corey Allan: Please do.

Pam Allan: Filling in on that.

Corey Allan: Please do. But then there is one that’s interesting to me because it’s talking about that the male and female brains are wired differently though. And what’s found is if you’re looking at some of just the way the neurology happens in a brain, the circuitry, a woman’s brain is much more highly connected between the two hemispheres, the left and right.

Pam Allan: Interesting. Okay.

Corey Allan: Whereas the male’s brain is more highly connected from front to back.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: And so there’s a fluidity to it. And the way I see this play out in the way it makes most sense to me from this data, is that a woman’s brain most of the time has much more connectivity between logic and emotion.

Pam Allan: Really?

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: So that’s where the moodiness can come from. That’s where the change their mind … Well, a woman’s prerogative, she’s going to change her mind. And that’s where a lot of that stems from, is that feelings play a higher role if you’ve got left and right hemispheres connected more. Whereas most men don’t have that level of connectivity.

Pam Allan: They have it. It’s just not as-

Corey Allan: Right. It’s there, absolutely. And again-

Pam Allan: Just [inaudible 00:25:12] back and forth is rapidly.

Corey Allan: This can still then spin back into the whole nurture argument of, there’s a lot of men, and this is where Dr. Glover’s work is resting on a lot. Is there’s a whole generation of men that have been raised by women. And so a lot of times we raise people as we see life. So a mom raises a boy not from a masculinity stance.

Pam Allan: But from the way she thinks?

Corey Allan: Right. But from the way she thinks and if she’s been done wrong by man or discarded, that’s going to trickle down. And so that’s where the nice guy syndrome that he’s labeled, comes from.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Is because as men, not being quote unquote masculine men. And again, if this is not a hierarchy of men that aren’t coming from their masculine, their more feminine or bad or rotten, no.

Pam Allan: No.

Corey Allan: It’s really just how do you play your role as best as it is you? Because that’s what your relationship is built on.

Pam Allan: Yeah. You go back to his call, that’s a societal thing, right?

Corey Allan: Yes.

Pam Allan: Anyway.

Corey Allan: Right. So, there is some, if you’re talking about circuitry, there is some neural pathways that have been found that show that, the differences.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: But again, when we go general on the show, we’re staying general but we realize that there’s exceptions to everything. And so to me, ultimately what it comes down to is, how do you play your role best? We’ve done this with higher desire, lower desire, a lot. Whichever one you are, be the best one on that.

Pam Allan: Well, I think that’s part of what we want the Nation to be. We’ve got a smart group of people out there, [inaudible 00:26:59] what you’re saying and really … You’ve got to analyze your own marriage, each of husband and wife within your relationship. You’ve got to analyze it and understand where each of you fall within the topics that we’re talking about.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: And apply that to each of you individually, not down to male, female line, but what role do each of you play? So there’s got to be some ownership with you as an individual to really break down and understand whether you’re reading a book or you’re listening to a podcast or whatever it may be. You’ve got to apply it to you.

Corey Allan: Right. So this is about the edification and the improvement of yourself. Whatever role in the dynamic you play, play that role to the best of your ability, that’s the point. Well, we say this most every single week, but we really do love the Sexy Mearriage Radio Nation.

Pam Allan: Love the Nation, love the Academy. I’m interested to hear what they post today for the extended version.

Corey Allan: Yeah. If you missed some of the conversation in the extended, you might be good that you missed it. I’m not sure.

Pam Allan: No, come one. It was good.

Corey Allan: No, no, it wouldn’t be good. But it is just recognizing that the Nation’s engaged with what’s going on and that they speak up, they ask their questions. And this is one of the taglines I love for our show right now is, if you’ve got a question and you’re not sure where to ask it because you don’t want to be like, have your friends look at you like, “Really?” This is where you ask those kinds of questions. Two, one, four, seven, oh, two, nine, five, six, five. Because we won’t judge, we won’t laugh, we won’t ridicule. We’ll try to answer as best we can. At least start the conversation because that can be what leads to elegant solutions in your world.

Corey Allan: So that’s been Sexy Marriage Radio. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to spend it with us. We’ll see you next time.