Top iTunes Marriage Podcast

10.3+ Million Downloads

hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

Not Enough #572

On the Regular version of today’s show …

An email from a husband wanting to explore some new things during sex with his wife, yet she takes this as she’s not enough for him.

A husband emails us about his never being attracted to his wife, even while they were dating. What are his options now?

On the Xtended version …

How do our family of origin patterns play out in our lives and marriages today?

Enjoy the show!

Sponsors …

Adventure Challenge …In Bed Book: Get 20% off and add play back to foreplay in your marriage. Use our code SMR20 at  https://www.theadventurechallenge.com/

Better Help: Online counseling services accessible from anywhere. Save 10% on your first month https://betterhelp.com/smr

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Got a question?


CALL US 214-702-9565

or email us at feedback@sexymarriageradio.com

Speaker 1: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio, smrnation.com.

Corey Allan: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, where we go where the nation wants to go, or as was mentioned in the coaching Q and A call that we have every month with the academy, as of the time of this recording, we were having a conversation last night for the May 2022 coaching call. And one of the comments that was made, because it's interesting how different things can come along in conversations, and Star Trek was mentioned. And they loved how we weave some of the different things in, and the whole group. And one person said, "Yeah, it's kind of like Sexy Marriage Radio, going where no podcast has gone before."

Pam Allan: I don't even remember that part being said.

Corey Allan: Well, I was there and I ... That's my memory. Maybe I heard it different, which is some of the things that trips us up in marriage. Isn't it?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Things happen and they're heard different, we don't remember them at all.

Pam Allan: I'm thinking of all the other quotes that were coming out.

Corey Allan: There was a whole bunch of them. Well, one of the things that is a quote that's regular here at Sexy Marriage Radio is we want you to call us and let us know what's going on in your world with what your questions are, your topics, or your additions to the conversation. So you can all us at 214-702-9565, or feedback@sexymarriageradio.com is our email. That allows you to be part of the crew, part of the show, because we want to help you with whatever's going on in your world. And that's what we do each and every week. We also ask that you help us spread the word by rate and review the show, leave a comment. If you like the show, give five star reviews and leave a comment because that helps spread the word on iTunes, which the big 800 pound gorilla in the podcast world is still Apple. And so if you're an Apple listener, leave a comment, please. That's a personal request from us to you.

Corey Allan: Well, coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio, we've got a couple of your questions, and then our answers. It's kind of the way that works.

Pam Allan: Thank God.

Corey Allan: Nothing's changed.

Pam Allan: Just throw out some answers and leave it.

Corey Allan: We're just going to ask the questions and then wrap up the show. And then on the extended content, where it's deeper, it's longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at smrnation.com/smracademy, we're going to look into the world of the patterns we have in our marriage, particularly the family of origin things.

Pam Allan: That runs deep.

Corey Allan: And it's prevalent because I think there's a lot there.

Pam Allan: Well, it's there for everybody.

Corey Allan: Good and bad.

Pam Allan: No one avoids that.

Corey Allan: And so we're going to kind of set some frameworks to help explore that a little bit today. All that's coming up on today's show. So an email came in saying, "I'm trying to explore new sexual avenues with my wife. She takes this as me saying she's not enough. I'm at a loss as to how and why she could feel this way. I'm trying to initiate a conversation about what I'd like to try, but she's taking that as a personal attack. How do I have this conversation with her without her feeling attacked? For what it's worth, I'm the higher desire partner."

Corey Allan: And this is that classic two choice dilemma in some ways. And for those of you that are new to Sexy Marriage Radio, two choice dilemma is a term coined by Schnarch, who I did a lot of training under, and that is where I want two choices, but life often, and marriage for sure, often only gives me one. And what I'm picking up in his question on this, the two choice dilemma is: How do I do X without her feeling Y? And so he's trying to navigate. How do I bring up something and her not be upset?

Pam Allan: But he's got no control over her being upset.

Corey Allan: He doesn't get the second choice of that, of the without you, the classic one is I want to tell you something, Pam, that's been bothering me about us, but don't get mad at me, because if I can keep you from being mad at me, it makes it easier for me to tell you something that likely is going to make you mad because if I already know there's a chance you're going to get mad, then that's why I get preemptive with it. So I steal your choice and basically say, "You can't have a reaction about this," because then this is the trick that's so funny on how we work as humans, if you get mad at me, I can then make it about you.

Corey Allan: I told you, don't get mad at me. And now we're fighting about that, not the possible hurtful thing I said, even if the hurtful thing included truth. So in this case, this is a real common occurrence in couples, where I want to try something, but my partners takes it a different way. They internalize it or interpret is as an inadequacy or an insecurity.

Pam Allan: And maybe it's in how it's brought up. Maybe it's not. Maybe this goes to family of origin stuff that we're going to talk about in the extended content. But it's interesting, it's a pretty vague ... I guess, do you need more details to be able to talk about this really well? Or is this an overall generic thing? Right?

Corey Allan: You as in me, or you as in the questioner?

Pam Allan: You, to be able to talk about it, you, as in Corey. And I ask this because when I think about a spouse saying, "I'm not enough," want to explore new sexual avenues, my assumption is that we're bringing in something outside of just the two of us. I'm making an assumption here. Right? If I'm not enough as your spouse because that's what he was saying, she feels like she's not enough.

Corey Allan: In this area.

Pam Allan: In this area.

Corey Allan: And that's typically one of those things that happens in the sexual arena.

Pam Allan: Does it even matter what it is that the spouse wants from it? Is he saying he wants to introduce just toys? Is he saying he wants to introduce other things that would make me feel like, wait a second?

Corey Allan: Obviously, if we go down the spectrum of that, it could get into some of the things that are much more taboo and out there in the fantasy erotic. It could be like, "Are you kidding me?" Right? There's an element of that. But I think we should keep it kind of generic in the sense of one of the things that this kind of a pattern can reveal is: What does each partner play in the way they see themselves in this role of their life? Am I the sole source of pleasure for my spouse? Am I the sole source of sexual adequacy for my spouse? Or is some of that on them, themselves? Because that is this idea that one of the things that happens a lot between higher desire, lower desire dynamic is the lower desire feels like the higher desire's insatiable. And that could very well be the case. But their insatiability is not the lower desire's responsibility.

Pam Allan: Got you.

Corey Allan: It's a dynamic that absolutely plays out.

Pam Allan: And you have to deal with it.

Corey Allan: So that's where you have to face that in the sense of, you know what, my job is not to satisfy all and every single one of your urges and desires in this world. I can be a co-creator and a participant in some of them, but I've got my own too. And so I think a lot of this is looking at it as: What are the patterns of the relationship dynamic that are playing out here? Because it likely is they think they are supposed to meet each other's needs entirely, when that's where we're a little bit off base in my mind. No, some of this is self respect, self sustaining, self regulating, not my partner ... It's like if I'm down, your job is not to make me feel better.

Corey Allan: If I come to you with, man, I'm really struggling with this and I'm feeling kind of down with that, I've set myself in a different position to possibly invite your help. But if I go about it how do send the signals without really saying anything, you're going to read that as: What's wrong with you? That's not a caring response I'm looking for in that moment, but it's an accurate response of what's going on. So one of the other trend I often see in this, Pam, is we often in marriage can tend to take on our spouse's problem as our own.

Pam Allan: Yeah, and that can be ... I think that's when it really gets the hardest because then I feel totally out of control because I have no control over their problem.

Corey Allan: And then I personalize my spouse's problem because it's obviously mind now too, when it's a different dynamic to be able to squarely face it and put it on both sides of the equation cleaner because in this, just from the little bit that have been mentioned in the two paragraphs or sentences in this email, what I'm reading from this is her problem as it's being framed is insecurity in her own deeming of worth, her value in the sexual context of her life. His problem is confidence without the thought of it coming across as being uncaring because the reaction he gets likely causes him to be reluctant because he doesn't ... Because most of us, and I can speak as a higher desire here, and walking down these shoes in the past, I don't want to come across as some uncaring, insensitive person when it comes to what I want with you.

Corey Allan: But there are still things I want with you that are going to go right in the face of insecurities, or uncertainties, and so this is a difficult stance for both sides. And one of the problems we often do is we avoid taking any solid stances for the fear of the feedback or the hit, metaphorically, that will come from it.

Pam Allan: Okay. So what is his next step then?

Corey Allan: Then it's becoming more solid in the sense of: How do you frame it to the degree of, honey, I want more variety, I want more exploration of some things? And kind of have a map out of what it is you're really looking for because some of it could be a lot of lower desire spouses, I'll speak ... It's just us lower desires here for a second, Pam.

Pam Allan: Yeah, you and I.

Corey Allan: Yeah, just you and me. We will be representatives for the nation. A lot of times with the lower desires, we can get caught up in the scenario of: Well, if this is satisfied, then what? It's that insatiability. It's never enough. It'll be this tsunami coming my way. So I don't really want to look at: What's my role in this? I just keep it on, you are out of control with all that you want as a higher desire.

Pam Allan: Okay. As a lower desire, I guess I-

Corey Allan: I didn't do a good job of lower desire.

Pam Allan: I don't know that I've ever thought of it that way.

Corey Allan: You answered my question.

Pam Allan: And if I have thought of it that way, my initial reaction is shame on me because: Why would I automatically assume that just because this is being asked for, now I'm going to have to-

Corey Allan: Go further and further and further and further.

Pam Allan: It's just going to keep going. It's just going to keep going. And why not enjoy this and then take the next step and see what the next step is? And see what they do. So that's my two cents on that low desire response.

Corey Allan: Having had 29 years almost of life with you, this is the Pam right now saying this. This is not the Pam from two decades ago.

Pam Allan: Okay. So all those people out there that are Pam 29 years ago, listen to what I just said.

Corey Allan: Fair enough because that's a separation of claiming your role in the dynamic better, which is what we need to be doing on both sides of this equation because that's where what he needs to do in the sense of the framing of this is look at the dynamic of: How do I bring up what it is I'm looking for? And clue her in on what that could be, because sometimes that can settle some things because they can ... If you hear the whole, you know there's a tension point and I come to you and just say, "I'm really just looking to change things up," you don't know what that means.

Pam Allan: True, true.

Corey Allan: And that then freaks us out all the more.

Pam Allan: Yeah, might get on the defensive immediately.

Corey Allan: I was looking to change things up, but I'd love to try it on the couch one night when the kids aren't home. And that's like, "Oh, that's easy. Perfect. We could do that." Now all of a sudden, you're settled differently. But it's still, you can do that to help calm a little bit because you know enough about your partner to alleviate some of their concerns preemptively, but then after that, it's that: If I don't want to be seen as uncaring, how am I making sure my pattern throughout the entirety of my marriage and all the other areas of life do show I am caring, and I'm supportive?

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: And I'm not just ramming things through that I want, regardless of what you want.

Pam Allan: Right, about money, about kids, about where we go on vacation, about all those things.

Corey Allan: This is where all of us in all of our life is a data point that I can use to dissuade some of the feedback that I get from my partner that then I can think of it as, well, wait, I feel like I really am pretty caring. And she could see it as I'm not in this area, both can be true, but I'm making sure it's largely more towards, no, I'm good with me here. And I'm not asking too much. And I'm going to deal with that pressure and I'm going to deal with that dilemma better.

Corey Allan: And then you get a chance to have a better conversation, hopefully. That's the whole point of this, to where she's like, "This just brings up in me," and now all of a sudden, you've got some stuff to talk about because then you start to look at it as, my job's not to make sure you do your work. My job is to be a good ally alongside you while you do it. That's how you get to the comment you just made a few minutes ago on the show of, wait, my role in this is, okay, that's on me then. Let me handle me for a second. And let me do my heavy lifting. And then we see where we go. And if they refuse to do that, or they continue to dig their heels in on those dynamics, that's good data too. Now you know what you're up against and then you can reach out for some additional help if you're looking for that to keep going. So our sponsors today, Pam, fits perfectly with the first segment.

Pam Allan: It does.

Corey Allan: I'm trying to change some things up or add a little adventure.

Pam Allan: Explore new sexual avenues.

Corey Allan: Well, our sponsor can help because today we have a sponsor of The Adventure Challenge: In Bed Edition, which is a book full of 50 unique romantic ideas for you and your partner to do together and spice up your intimacy in and out of the bedroom. And it's very simple, Pam. And we've used these books before. All you do is you pick a challenge together. You scratch it off. You follow the instructions for an experience that we promise could lead you to be doing something you've never done before. And it's worth noting, the thing that it might lead you to be doing that you've never done before, it's not necessarily Kama Sutra, or new positions. It's new presence and activities involved in how you get to the sexual encounters, what you may do during, who you are during. So it's the whole picture, it's not just the book of positions. And that's worth noting because The Adventure Challenge actually does bring and put the word play back in your foreplay, and it puts exciting and adventure back in your sex life.

Pam Allan: I love their books. They're so creative.

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Pam Allan: Sweet.

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Corey Allan: So another email came in. Says, "First of all, you and Pam do an amazing job on the podcast." Well, thank you very much. I was particularly interested in your last two episodes relating to attraction. In the last episode, the question you read from a listener mentioned that the wife had no attraction whatsoever to her spouse. I listened to the whole episode, but you didn't address this issue at all. Rather, you went deeper into the dynamic between them relationally, which of course is important too. I was wondering if you would circle back and possibly discuss attraction to one's spouse, or more specifically, the total lack thereof. In my situation, I found out early on in the honeymoon that there was no attraction because we were not intimate beforehand. I took a chance, I guess, and even though I find her so much attractive in her face, her body's a big turnoff, and I don't get aroused sexually. It's been two years since we've been intimate.

Corey Allan: Looking back honestly at myself, I had a feeling in my gut that something was missing, but I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. I believe I now know why. Before my current marriage, I was divorced and in a few difficult relationships where I made poor judgements on who I chose to date, and none of those ended well. I was a poor picker, so to speak. With my current spouse, I was in a relationship where we got along well, she had a great spiritual and emotional maturity. But I had no passion physically for her where I was overwhelmingly drawn to her with feelings of physical passion.

Corey Allan: In short, I believe I married her because after so many failed relationships, I felt safe with her and we were married. I don't think this is unusual at all. But what does one do now when there is no physical attraction whatsoever towards one's spouse? As a Christian, I want to hang in there and be faithful to my vows and honor my commitment. But honestly, I don't see the attraction or passion being there, even though we have a good marriage otherwise. Thank you and God bless.

Corey Allan: So this is a theme we've had the last several weeks, he's picking up on. And it deals with the whole idea of attraction. And when you do some Googling, which I did on this just to kind of get an idea of what else is out there, most of the stuff you can find in the whole world of attraction is about the dating scene and the initial stages of relationship because attraction in a committed relationship after it's already been going a while is a harder nut to crack, if you will, if you can crack it at all. And I don't want to be a downer right off the bat, but let's be honest because he's even picking up on some of it in his question. I look back and realize, I had a feeling in my gut something was missing. And now all of a sudden, how do I find it many years later?

Pam Allan: Yeah. How do I create it? So when you say attraction within the marriage is a hard nut to crack, but there's all kinds of stuff out there about dating, help me out there. I mean, we're talking a science thing because typically the attraction comes when I see one. It's the chemicals. It's all that. And I can't create those things after the fact.

Corey Allan: That's what the science would show on initial attractions, that there are things that we click and that can be the physical, that can be the looks, that can be something that just kind of gets it going. And that typically, everybody has types. And when you come across somebody that's that type, it registered differently. I've even come across some, where it's symmetry is what's the most, so it's the curves of a woman if a man's looking at her, or it's the structure and the confidence of the guy, if the woman's looking at her. It's not necessarily his body. It's how he carries himself. So all of these things speak to the difference of us, to the differentness of us. Right?

Pam Allan: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: But it is one of those interesting dynamics and dilemmas he's in of: How do I create something that's never been there?

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: And that's the biggest struggle because then it becomes: How do I look at what is there differently and see if that's enough? I think that's the better question because I hear he's asking for the magic bullet of: How do I rub the genie and get that wish? Not that it can't happen, but there's no formula to make that happen that I've ever come across.

Pam Allan: So I'm kind of stuck, is that what we're saying? Is that what you're saying?

Corey Allan: Yeah. So in that sense where he is and he framed it in this at the end of his question, this is an integrity of self versus commitment to my choice dilemma. Do I have to have a marriage where there is full on raring to go, chemical, physical reactions with attraction? Or is the choice I made the choice I need to face the most, and see if I can't cultivate something in the future that makes it bring about some drawing in? Because the other dilemma to this, Pam, is: How do you suppose she's reading this, the wife? Do you suppose she's picked up on?

Pam Allan: I don't know how she couldn't.

Corey Allan: Because this is one of those things that we can act like all the time that it's a hidden problem and it's just mine alone. But the likelihood is if we live in close proximity to each other, if either one are moderately even paying attention, they pick up on it, that I know you're not really into me, or I know you're upset with me.

Pam Allan: He said it's two years since they've been intimate. She knows if that's happened or not. Right?

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: She knows if there's been sex happening or not.

Corey Allan: Good point. Yeah, I was not even thinking that in this thread right now.

Pam Allan: Yeah. She gets it.

Corey Allan: Right, as in too, well, she now is left to have to fill in the blank as to why. What's led to the two year mark? Right?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But it is one of those. How do they recognize? Okay, so here's a better question then for them to ask, for him to ask, because I ask this of couples when I work with them. How do you initiate sex? How do you guys actually have sex? What is it that creates that happening? Give me the data points. And then the other one in this occasion. How do you actively go about avoiding sex? What's that about?

Pam Allan: Yeah, because that has to be super uncomfortable too, just to avoid it and realize. Well, if he were the higher desire, I don't know, she's just sitting back and she's perfectly happy not having sex.

Corey Allan: She could be completely comfortable with a companion in marriage and that's it, where it's just the roommates because it's what he's talking about. We get along in all the other areas. There's some maturity in all the other areas. Well, in that case I'm curious. If there's some maturity in the other area on both sides, test that out by having a conversation about what's really going on.

Pam Allan: And maybe he's afraid to hurt her feelings.

Corey Allan: Of course he would be afraid.

Pam Allan: To come out and actually say, and say out loud, "Man, I'm not attracted to you," that hurts.

Corey Allan: Yes, it does.

Pam Allan: That hurts really bad on both sides.

Corey Allan: But acting like it's not there is still sending hurt.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Because this is that whole, we get caught up in the dilemma of focusing on what's missing rather than what's present. How is this actually out there between you anyway? And acknowledge it better. And I'm not saying that is the formula that will create attraction. But what it has the possibility of doing is watching the best of each of them stand up, which I've seen in my office over the years, brightens us as humans, which then can start to become kind of more of a turn on. It's not a physical necessarily.

Pam Allan: It brings connection. Right?

Corey Allan: Right. But it is one of those, it lights us up as we go forward. But at least, at minimum, it puts the dilemma between us out in the open better. And I see if there's allies that we have on how do we deal with it.

Pam Allan: Okay. Because I'm an elementary school kid in this arena, how does he go about, what steps to go about starting these conversations and addressing the issue?

Corey Allan: Well, one of them can be the conversation about if he's wanting to have sex but not making moves, or she's wanting to and he's avoiding it. One of them can just be about, you know what, our intimate life, our sex life, it's not at all what I thought it was going to be coming into this. What's your read, babe, too? Where are we? Because it could be she's not really raring to go for him too.

Pam Allan: And then what do we do with that?

Corey Allan: Right. I think we get in better positions, and this is when ... I mean, this probably should've been from the outset, if you want to go down this path, do it alongside a professional. Get someone in your corners for both of you to help walk through this and navigate it. That's what we're trained to do, is to help walk alongside people when they're dealing with really tough spots like this. So that way, you don't feel like you're just flailing at the wind trying to figure it out on your own. But there is an element of it's already an understanding, and you both maybe went into this because this is the safer option, I don't have fault at all for couples that choose safety. Just make it conscious. Make it true.

Corey Allan: And then don't hold my partner responsible for my choice. So instead it's: How do I focus on what's present? Which is the other aspects of my marriage, the other aspects of my relationship that actually do bring about good things in my life. And I steer it towards: Is that enough? That's better questions. Can that be steered towards a sexual charging? Maybe. That's how as we evolve and change, because there's one thing if I'm not attracted to my partner's body or physical stature, and there's another thing that I'm repulsed by my partner's body or physical stature. Those are two different things. But the more I can look at it and get the answers to those questions, the more you know what you're really up against. And then the more you know what choices you've really got. I will be interested, Pam, to see if the end of the extended content produces a little bit of pushback I guess, or a little bit of unnerving, or discomfort.

Pam Allan: Yeah. When you're talking family of origin, there's some sacred jewels there that we just don't touch.

Corey Allan: Yes. And that's the truth. That's why I always refer to them as the third rail things when I'm talking to clients. Okay, what's the third rail thing we're dancing around here? Because usually one of us has this thing of, no, no, no, we don't talk about Mom's drinking, or Dad's anger, or brother's whatever. That's the thing that's a secret. And if anything with Sexy Marriage Radio and those of you in the nation, the hope would be we start to realize, hey, we need to have some tough conversations about things because they're impacting us. That's what the two segments were prior. That's what keeps us hostage, or keeps us stifled, or keeps us uncertain. And we constantly keep coming back to this idea of when I can have a better picture and it's cleaner about this is what we're really facing, elegant solutions then appear.

Pam Allan: True.

Corey Allan: And it doesn't mean it solves the problem, but it gives me steps towards a better likelihood of that happening. Well, this has been Sexy Marriage Radio. If we left something undone, let us know. 214-702-9565 or feedback@sexymarriageradio.com. See you next time.