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On the Regular version of today’s show …
A voicemail from a husband about their therapist’s advice that the should not have sex for the next 4 months.
A husband emails about how his wife will not allow herself to have an orgasm.
An email from a soon to be divorced man wondering what he will do about his sex drive when single.
On the Xtended version …
Retroactive jealously and judgment. And how do we view our spouse’s past.
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Announcer: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio. SMRnation.com.
You've turned on Sexy Marriage Radio where the best sex happening in the marriage bed. Here's your host Dr. Corey Allan.
Corey Allan: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio where we are having straight forward honest conversations about life, love, marriage, sex, all that happens within it and around it.
Pam Allan: And I'm going to cut you off this morning.
Corey Allan: Okay.
Pam Allan: And I'm going to say to the nation, give a shout out, send an email to Corey today because of the day of this airing, on Wednesday, May 19th, he is 50 years old.
Corey Allan: There we go.
Pam Allan: He's 50 years old.
Corey Allan: That's halfway home, baby.
Pam Allan: And he's fabulous. He's better than he's ever been.
Corey Allan: Wait, so that's right. This is airing on birthday.
Pam Allan: It is airing on birthday.
Corey Allan: So what am I doing working?
Pam Allan: Right? You don't work on your birthday.
Corey Allan: I don't. I follow my father's tradition. I'm going to throw this out there to the nation because I love strategy of just don't work on your birthday. Just take that day off and do what you want to do. But again, what I would want to do is do the show.
Pam Allan: Right, exactly.
Corey Allan: This is fun.
Pam Allan: Exactly.
Corey Allan: Well, thank you very much.
Pam Allan: But I want to give you a birthday shout and say thank you for being you, and it's really fun to be on this journey with you.
Corey Allan: Absolutely.
Pam Allan: And I hope that this year's a fabulous one for you and we just make it even... Each new year even better.
Corey Allan: So looking forward to the next decade because as was talked about on the Academy Coaching call this month, somebody pointed out a reference about how research can show sex gets better as you get older, even up into your 50s. So man, let's see.
Pam Allan: 60s. I think the 60s crosstalk-
Corey Allan: Oh no. But the 50s are going to be right now.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: So let's see. I want to test that theory out. Well, this is Sexy Marriage Radio where we want to hear from you, not just for the birthday wishes. Although, bring them on. I love hearing any kind of things like that that just celebrate things together. But we want to hear your questions, your thoughts, your concerns, what's going on in your world. Let us know. 214-702-9565, email@example.com, and then we have the platform my.smrnation.com where there's some fabulous conversations going on with weekly questions and deep dives into some things. And then there's the Academy, you can go even deeper. You can find all kinds of information. We'd love to see you there.
This was a quote that was sent to us from a listener that the source is unknown. It's attributed loosely to somebody, but ultimately the source is unknown and the quote just goes, "Life is made up of a series of judgements on insufficient data and if we waited to run down all our doubts, it would flow past us."
Pam Allan: It would. Wow, that's true. You'd have to make a call sometime and just go do it.
Corey Allan: At some point, you just got to go. This is what I'm going to do and then pivot if I need to.
Well, coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio, several of your questions and our answers. And then on the extended version today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at SMRnation.com/smracademy. We're going to do a deep dive from an email from a listener from a little while ago asking about the idea of retroactive jealousy.
Pam Allan: Interesting.
Corey Allan: In other words, it's how do I deal with my partner's past? Largely even when I didn't even know my partner at that point.
Pam Allan: Right, right. You may have met him 10 years later or something. Okay.
Corey Allan: So we're going to go in a lot of different directions with that.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: So all that's coming up on today's show.
Speaker 4: Hi, Corey and Pam. My wife and I, we've been married for about 15 years, and at this point, we've been having a lot of trouble with sex. And we thought everything else was kind of in line as far as intimacy and that sort of thing. So we seek the counsel of a therapist, and in the second session, he decided that we should not have sex for four months. My wife seemed to be kind of okay with that. Just a little bit of background, she also is going through menopause and is not doing any kind of treatment for that. And she also has quite a bit of pain during sex. So we've been trying to navigate that.
The main part of my question is that I just don't feel that that's normal for therapists to say not to have sex for four months. One of the reasons I think he said that is that I'm out of town three or four days a week, and so when I come into town, my wife basically was telling the therapist that we try to cram in sex. And she doesn't want to do any kind of scheduling of sex or anything like that. So that was one of the reasons why we thought at that point that I was going to back home full-time in four months. And I think he thought we would avoid trying to cram it in.
So the main part of my question is that is that an under any circumstances normal for a therapist to say, "I don't want you to have sex for four months." Now we haven't been back yet and I haven't gotten a reason why. But my wife is delighted. She thinks it's a great idea for us to connect on an intimate level without sex, and he said there's no touching, no nothing. So that's my question. Have a great day, and I love your show. I binge listen all the time. Talk to you later.
Corey Allan: So there's two things that jump out to me. We got the therapist and what he's recommending, and then we've got the caller and what's going on. Wife secondarily in there, but she's not involved in pursuit of an answer. From the way he's framing it for sure, this is great for her. Relieves a lot of pressure. Did you hear anything different in this?
Pam Allan: No, I mean, he said she thinks it's a great idea. So she's excited about it.
Corey Allan: So is this normal for a therapist to recommend it? Yeah. There's times where I've come across that in my history from other therapists that they will do that. I would hope it would be a collaboration.
Pam Allan: Four months seems like a long time. Is that-
Corey Allan: Well, he also mentioned in the voicemail that that's also the timeframe when he will be able to stop traveling. So it's like I'm home regular and so-
Pam Allan: I mean, I heard that. But four months still seems like a long time.
Corey Allan: True. But there are times where I've heard of sex moratoriums if you will. My hope would be because a therapeutic relationship at its base should be a collaborative alliance. If the therapist is not an MD telling you, "This is what you should do, in my opinion," there are some instances where you're talking about health or safety where yes, they need to step in and make some decisions for you in a sense.
Pam Allan: I guess that's my question. He's saying she has pain. It didn't sound like there was something she was supposed to be doing in the meantime to help mitigate that.
Corey Allan: That's why there's a lot of unknown information.
Pam Allan: inaudible something like that.
Corey Allan: Right. So there's a lot of information that we would want to know, and that's where hopefully if you're talking about it being a collaborative decision, then you can understand, "Well, maybe..." I'll tell you what I would do in this instance if I had a couple coming to me and we went down that route of, "What if you took a break," I would almost phrase it that way. "What would you suppose would happen if you guys just took sex off the table for a while? So you could this, you could do that," but you would want to have a scope of, "Here's what you need to be doing in the meantime. Here's where you need to be focusing. Here's where something as I see it." But again, I hear it, he's kind of like this is the higher desire saying, "Hold on, what just happened?" Right?
Pam Allan: Right. You just gave me an edict of what I can't do.
Corey Allan: Right. And it's totally slanted as he sees it and is framing it in his wife's favor because she's delighted about it. Absolutely. So this is like, "Wait, this is a raw deal," for him. What I'm hearing from him is yeah, there's a lot of issues that are going on when it comes to your sex life. The biggest one being, it seems to all be centered around him.
Pam Allan: Why do you say that?
Corey Allan: Because she has pain but still participates in it. She feels like it's a whole kinds of pressure to have to cram it in. That tells me it's like I'm not trying to carve out time for me to have some pleasure. I'm carving out time just to take care of you.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: His travel adds a different weight to it because I'm assuming they follow a lot of the strategies I seen and heard from clients that when you're gone a lot, there's a lot of reentry issues. Right?
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Just because life gets kind of set with a normal pattern, then you come back and it's disruptive. Then you layer on top of it. Now we got to figure out how to have sex because we weren't able to do it before, even though yeah, you still can keep that energy and that erotic dynamic going.
Pam Allan: You can, but if you're traveling a lot, I guess potentially that maybe decreases some connection. And I hear that. I guess I was surprised by the therapist saying there's no touch.
Corey Allan: Yeah.
Pam Allan: Four months with no sex, no touch, it seems like touch adds to connection.
Corey Allan: Right. Because this is trying to ease into how do you confront the pressures of this dynamic better in the way I think of it? Not how do you just relieve the pressures because we've talked about that in the past many times of how the pressure of sex in a marriage is just there. You know who the higher desire is if you've been in that marriage any length of time. So you know the fact that they are interested more than you are, so that's pressure. Whether they're doing something overt about it or not, it's there and it's felt.
So how do you lean into it more to feel better and confront that better, and then at least be honest about, "You know what, I don't want to face my issues," or, "I really do want to deal with this. What should I be doing?" That's where hopefully then it becomes more of a collaborative concept with the therapist both of life, "Okay. So what should I be doing in the meantime? Check with my doctor, deal with what's my view. Is sex really for me or not?"
As Ian Kerner puts it in his book, "What's the script I follow?" Where did that come from? Is it valid? Is it accurate? What is this about for me? And start trying to grow towards what I want too. So that way it's a collaborate alliance going on in the marriage primarily and most importantly, not just the therapeutic relationship.
So this is something, an email that came in that's similar, and this came via Instagram. It says, "Good morning. My wife has basically zero sex drive. I've seen some things mentioned that it might be her birth control or hormone imbalance, but we aren't sure," which just a quick aside. If you're not sure, get that checked out right away. That's a medical thing of go get levels tested. Go ask some questions about what are the possible side effects on whatever form of birth control she's using because there's other alternatives. There's other options.
Pam Allan: Yeah, that's potentially an easy fix.
Corey Allan: Could be. "But whenever we start having sex, she gets excited and she wants to continue though. But whenever we do have sex, I can't make her orgasm, and it seems she stops herself whenever she's close. I want our physical intimacy to grow. It's hard. What should we do? Thank you again for asking me to email so I can talk to you directly, and I hope you're doing well."
So this is something I've come across a bunch is the framing is wrong.
Pam Allan: Why do you say that?
Corey Allan: Because it's this element of, "My wife has basically zero sex drive." Okay, that is a blanket statement that puts out fires that likely are still already there because he says, "Whenever we talk about having sex or we start it, she gets excited."
Pam Allan: Yeah, so she does have some drive.
Corey Allan: Right. It's responsive it sounds like.
Pam Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Corey Allan: She doesn't have the drive that's the spontaneous or the aggressive or the just out of the blue, let me initiate and make this thing happen, which is what all higher desires really wish would happen with their lower desire partners. But it sounds like how do you frame it better in your own mind of, "Okay, wait. How does my wife really respond to sex? What is her desire and her drive really? What are the circumstances where she does get into it or doesn't? How much work is involved to get her into it or not?" All of that is a better way to look at the landscape, right?
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: Because that's more accurate of what's going on. That's what goes on in most marriages is sometimes the lower desire... Not that they have to be coaxed into it, but they have to be coaxed into it. They have to kind of create a space for it.
Pam Allan: They have to create a space. Coaxing maybe, but I don't know that it's coaxing. Just think for my experience, it just takes longer to get the mind there. Creating the space I think is the key to getting all the other stuff out of the head to get there.
Corey Allan: Yeah. So then we talk about how does this transitions though that the arousal part happens. It kicks into gear, and a lot of times for a responsive desire women the best framework I've heard of this is the idea that the brain makes a decision and the body will soon follow.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: It doesn't always work that way, and it's not always as clean as what we're saying. But sometimes it really is, you know what... And I like this even more where rather than looking at my sexual drive and my sexual overtures that are coming my way from my spouse, rather than me putting them in a yes/no category, what if I actually carve out a neutral in the middle?
Pam Allan: Meaning?
Corey Allan: Meaning oftentimes when the higher spouse will initiate or instigate or bring up sex, it lands in lower desire partners laps with a yes or a no. It's kind of how they hit it. It's like, "Yeah, I'm onboard," or, "No." Just because it's not on the radar. It's a disruption to where you are.
Pam Allan: I'm with you.
Corey Allan: A lot of things. So what if you actually in your own work start to look in your own head of, "How do I move more towards a neutral on that?" Yeah, it's not on my radar right now because that's a more accurate statement. But it's also not an immediate shutting down.
Pam Allan: Yeah. I could be.
Corey Allan: Right. So I like that kind of idea of how do I start to see it because I think if you could get a framework and a dialogue going between spouses, that's this idea of yes and neutral means possible. No, don't try to talk them into it.
Pam Allan: Right. I would agree with that. I would agree with that. Well, there's something else that I'm hearing in his wording here that sounds like he's putting more pressure on himself. His wording was, "I can't make her orgasm."
Corey Allan: That's the last component of this too.
Pam Allan: Yeah. That's a pressure he's putting on himself that he is totally beyond-
Corey Allan: And her.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Well, good point. He's putting the pressure on her that I want you to do this, and orgasm... Yeah, it's got to have some good methodology, right? There's got to be some understanding of the body and what makes her click.
Corey Allan: But ultimately it's up to her.
Pam Allan: It is. It's up to her to have her head in the game and realize what it is that gets her to that point.
Corey Allan: Which over the history and the archives of Sexy Marriage Radio, there's three guests that have talked specifically about this. One is Vanessa Marin. She has a class out there even called Finishing School. And then Laurie Mintz with Becoming Cliterate. And then Dr. Emily Jamia which I want to reference her first because I was watching something that she just posted not too long ago about one of the ways... What are some of the things that kill orgasms and one of is asking your wife if she orgasmed because it makes it one, too prominent of a goal, and two, it's a marker that just adds another pressure on did you or didn't you. It's like I'm aiming for this, and it's another thing that's felt.
Pam Allan: Yeah, it's pressure. It's all about getting to that rather than a connection between the two of you.
Corey Allan: But then if I put all three of these ladies together and what they've kind of talked about over the history and the stuff I've read of theirs in the past is a lot of the things that you need to do as a woman trying to reach that point, if that's where you are wanting to go, is you have to figure out how do I relax and get in tune with my body and almost like invite it, not bear down to achieve it.
Pam Allan: Yeah, bearing down crosstalk-
Corey Allan: It's not a willpower thing. It's a relaxing and breathing into it, getting in touch with the sensations and the moments and the partner and the environment. Just kind of breathing it all in, which is interesting because a lot of times it can be a little bit of an opposite for a man of it's a focus, it's a determination. Again, there's the biology that's slightly different. That's not again every man or every woman that we're talking about. But it is how do you let each of... Like your pointing out here, Pam, how do you recognize each of you need to play your part? So play it well, breathe into it, that's the biggest thing I keep giving advice to couples that are quick interactions with people or this topic seems to come up is one, breathe and be more present, and then two, just slow down. This is not a race to a finish line. If you don't achieve it but she gets a little bit closer, that's a victory.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: Right. If you learn something new about, "Wait, I don't need to focus on this so much. I need to just focus on the fact that I can be a conduit of something she enjoys." Whether it reaches a goal of that or not, she still enjoys it. Good on both of you us then. Just reframe this whole process into a journey, not necessarily just the goal.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: So another message that came in via Instagram from somebody that has followed and found us via Christians Who Curse Sometimes. That he says, "I've listened to all the shows. Still working on the past shows too because there's a lot. Here's a question I've got that I'm curious about even though I'm soon not to be married. My wife of 12 years hit me with a curve ball when she told me that she wasn't in love with me anymore and that there has to be somebody else out there that's better suited for her. There's a lot more to it, but that isn't important."
"Now that I'm a few weeks of being away from being divorced, my question is what do I do about sex? How do I get it? If I masturbated before and thought of her, it wasn't a big deal. We talked and both agreed that we felt that was okay. Well, soon I won't have a wife, and I can't do that. Based on the events that have led us to now, I've lost all my feelings of love for her. So I don't really feel like that anyway. So I've been forced into celibacy now. I'm 39 and still have a drive. I'm just not sure what the road ahead looks like because I really will miss sex. Thanks."
Pam Allan: That breaks my heart.
Corey Allan: It does, and that is one of those things that's not talked about a lot.
Pam Allan: No.
Corey Allan: If you had this avenue of I could express this aspect of my life under the moral compass I have and now it's going to be gone, what am I supposed to do?
Pam Allan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Corey Allan: Well, there's two things that come to my mind. One is what do you do forward and the other is I want to ask a question that's a little more pointed for the whole thing. But what do you do going forward is we get into this area of what do you do about masturbation or not? Now that I'm doing a lot more dialogue with people that are actively involved in the Instagram community we're building, and it seems to be a whole lot more younger leaning. This is a question that comes up a lot. Is masturbation okay or not?
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: And we've said in the past that it's what surrounds it that's the issue more than the doing it or not. Because if it's out in the open and it's "guilt-free" as far as not involving a lot of other things and porn, erotica, that kind of stuff, that's just a body. That's just pleasure. That's just release. There's a lot of other things I can reframe that. I don't know if that's necessarily guilt inducing or not. It can be for some people, but that's some good questions to ask yourself. Where's that come from? What do I really believe? So can you just do it for pleasure sake? Dr. Glover in his book No More Mister Nice Guy actually has a chapter at the end called Healthy Masturbation. And it's just talking about the idea of how do I get in tune with the sensations of my body better and figure out what do I like, what do I not like, what feels good, what doesn't? That's not necessarily involving fantasy. It's a solo, I'm just involved in my own senses experience.
So I would explore that because if you're in a situation where a marriage has crumbled because she feels like it wasn't for her, he's not for her, there's somebody else that's better. There's got to be a whole lot more going on that he's not acknowledge, at least to us.
Pam Allan: Well, he said there's more.
Corey Allan: Which begs the question what kind of sex were you having in the first place?
Pam Allan: Well, that's not his question though.
Corey Allan: No.
Pam Allan: I hear what you're saying, but that doesn't-
Corey Allan: But I'm just curious about that sounded, to be crude, that sounded like that could've just been masturbation too. The partners weren't actually together. It was just a joint getting off.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Maybe.
Corey Allan: I don't know. I'm kind of going out there for a little bit.
Pam Allan: Well, you're bringing up another topic that he wasn't asking about.
Corey Allan: I totally am, but I want to use that to kind of frame the idea of how do I view what has been going on to help give better light into what will be going on for me?
Pam Allan: Okay. Good point. And what if I have a new relationship in the future, how am I framing this? How am I looking at it?
Corey Allan: How do I look at this different rather than, "Well, I hope her drive is better," or, "I hope she's more into me." That's that concept of how do I start viewing this as? What's my role? All the way through whether I'm in a relationship or not.
Pam Allan: Gotcha.
Corey Allan: There needs to be a consistency because integrity to me and solidness to me is I am the same person regardless of life circumstances. So how do I start to view this as this is a tremendous opportunity for me to grow in more solidness with myself, steer my sexual energy in better ways. I can't necessarily express it the way I want to ultimately, but so what? I can't do that even in marriage sometimes too because it's not always available. It's not always conducive. It's not always from goodness. So how am I using all of that to just help grow up and then whoever I'm in relationship with in the future is just going to have a tremendous benefit from that.
So as we tend to do when we're moving into the extended content, before we do, let's frame this.
Pam Allan: Sounds good.
Corey Allan: And we will answer it in the extended. So this is from a husband that says, "I've stumbled upon the podcast, and I'm so glad I did. You've covered topics that I now have on my mind to listen to. But I'd love for my wife to listen to certain ones, but that's a little bit down the road. Do you have any podcasts devoted to the retroactive jealousy? I struggled with this for the life of my relationship with my wife. As a believer, I know for a fact that I am to forgive my wife for her past sexual relationships before we were together and married. I've prayed about this over 17 years of marriage and 22 years together. Here's a few bullet points for background about us."
"We've known each other since grade school. She's the girl I've always wanted to be with, regardless of her past. Being in a small town, being close friends prior to dating and going to school together forever, I know basically everything about her and her relationships with her boyfriends before me. I've heard small details that I don't need to know but I have to live with. Again, small town USA. I've talked about her past and honestly have forgiven her for those relationships before me, and I know it's not a sin against me but against the Lord. But again, she wasn't a believer before we met, just for information."
"Seeing certain things, hearing topics or names, my brother has the same name as one of her previous boyfriends, and I can't stand hearing her say his name. I know how petty or childish this sounds as I write it or think about it, but it still sucks. Plus, seeing those old boyfriends out in public simply cause the triggers in my mind, and I have these little movies that I put with them that play in my mind and cause me to spiral in sort of a depressed state. And it builds a wall inside me and she feels separation of sorts when this happens."
And then a couple more bullet points. "I feel like this carries into our intimacy as it causes doubt of her love for me to creep into my mind, and I realize this is a me problem, not her. I hate that I have these issues, and I want to rid myself of them. This is really our only area of struggle, and I hate it that it builds a wall between us. It happens so frequently in my mind that I just want to be over struggling for it for so long and be done with it. Is this the topic for discussion that you might be able to shed a little light on? Thanks in advance."
Yes, we will shed a little light on this. Join us in the extended content. Well, anytime we get the opportunity to speak into some specifics with people in the nation, I love it.
Pam Allan: Yeah, I do too.
Corey Allan: It's so fascinating to me how so much in our lives actually overlap. That you can have these emails that come in or the voicemails that come in that there's a part of me that'd be like, "Wow, I'm glad that's not me." But then there's a part of you that's like, "Wait, that is me."
Pam Allan: Right. Yes. Oh dang it.
Corey Allan: Because it's the human condition. It's life on life terms, right?
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: It's dealing with another person in real time because that's what marriage is. We just wanted to always be on the positive, but we don't always just get always the positive.
Pam Allan: No.
Corey Allan: Well, this has been Sexy Marriage Radio. If we left something undone, please let us know. 214-702-9565, firstname.lastname@example.org. So wherever you are, whatever you chose to listen today, thanks for hanging out with us. We'll see you next time.
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