On the Regular version of today’s show …
An email from a wife whose husband regularly views porn and when confronted replies with “I have needs.”
A husband emails in asking our thoughts about how if his sexual desire has waned over the past couple years is it because he’s stopped viewing porn over that timeframe or is it because sex is only on his wife’s terms.
On the Xtended version …
We share a blog post from an author where he gives 8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal – and our reaction.
Enjoy the show!
Hello Fresh: Visit www.HelloFresh.com/smr80 and use code smr80 to get a total of $80 off, including free shipping on your first box.
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 Allan.
Corey Allan: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, where I announced this via email last week, but we have topped 8 million downloads now.
Pam Allan: That's so sweet. So cool. Congratulations, baby.
Corey Allan: That's pretty awesome.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: And that is thanks in no small part to the SMR Nation.
Pam Allan: Thanks totally to the SMR Nation.
Corey Allan: Well, we keep producing the content. We play a role.
Pam Allan: If they don't listen then-
Corey Allan: That's is fair.
Pam Allan: Then there's no downloads.
Corey Allan: If the SMR Nation was not listening, then we're not making that happen. You are absolutely correct. That would be my wife, Pam, always riding shotgun well here each and every week.
Pam Allan: They listen because you produce some great content. I'm just saying
Corey Allan: Well thank you. It's been a great ride.
Pam Allan: You're a rockstar.
Corey Allan: And here's to 8 million more.
Pam Allan: Right. Exactly.
Corey Allan: At least. So if you are new to the SMR Nation, welcome. Where you been? We're so glad that you found us. There is a wealth of information to go back into the archives and listen to. We still get emails from some bingers that they went all the way back and they're working their way through.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Start at number one and working up.
Corey Allan: It's so great to hear from you guys that are our binge listeners. We love binge listeners, and we love those of you that catch this each and every time when it comes out on Wednesday mornings, and what we want from you is your questions. What's going on in your world? What questions do you have that we can specifically dive into that will help you frame the journey of your sex life in your marriage? And the way you can let us know your questions is call our voicemail line, 214-702-9565. That gets you to the front of the line, or you can email us at feedback@SexyMarriageRadio.com where all those emails that come in are read. Some are answered directly. Some become show topics. Some become topics for extended content. There's a lot of different things that we get because this is listener driven radio. The other thing that listeners do is they help us spread the word, and we ask you if there's something going on that you really do enjoy and like, share it with your friends, subscribe, subscribe them, and get them on board with the SMR Nation and rate and review the show.
Pam Allan: Yeah, and help them in their relationship. I mean, there's too many people that this topic just isn't shared with one another.
Corey Allan: Absolutely.
Pam Allan: And we can create a better legacy if we're sharing it and creating better lives for one another.
Corey Allan: Absolutely, so coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio, a couple of your questions and our answers. This will be a fun one I think. This whole episode is going to have a little bit of a theme, and it might rile my wife up a little bit.
Pam Allan: Okay. He surprises me, folks. I'm telling you. We don't prep this. Sometimes he just says, "I just want your reaction."
Corey Allan: Yeah, I don't give her the whole playbook to what's coming up, and today would definitely be one of those, and where for sure she does not know the playbook is coming up on the extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio, which is deeper, longer, and there's no ads. We're going to have a conversation about a blog that I came across via a listener that the title of this blog post is Eight Steps to Confront your Wife's Sexual Refusal.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: Because what we have had as a theme through a lot of the shows the last month, month and a half has been a content that's designed around gridlock, which is where what you want is blocked by what your partner wants. And so in the extended content, we're going to do a deep dive into, what if there's flat out refusal? And what's a spouse to do?
Pam Allan: Okay. So we have an eight-step plan from this blog, huh? Okay. Be interesting to see what that says.
Corey Allan: This guy has biblical gender roles that he's taken the stances from.
Pam Allan: Oh, biblical gender roles. Okay.
Corey Allan: And so he's got some definite thoughts, and we're going to unpack them, and Pam's going to react to them. All that's coming up on today's show.
To start off today, Pam, this is an email that just came in from a wife that just says, "Good morning. I'd like to give you a little background on my situation. I've been with my husband for 10 and a half years. In the beginning, we had a lot of sex, but then he was unfaithful with multiple women, one that lasted for seven months. Fast forward a few years. We've had two boys. Incidentally, I was on birth control both times. I told him after the boys were born, it's his turn to be proactive to assure that there's no more pregnancies, i.e. he needs to get a vasectomy. He refused and said he didn't want to mutilate his body and that I had to be on birth control, so I suggested he wear condoms because I had done my part with birth control and birthing the children.
"He didn't like the condom idea, so he said that he wouldn't have sex if that was the case. So I had my fallopian tubes removed because I did not want any more children. That medical procedure has really affected my sex drive to making it almost nonexistent. My husband now gets very frustrated. Plus he watches porn, and that bothers me a lot. It makes me feel disrespected, but he says, 'I have needs.' Even after we have sex in the morning, I've caught him watching porn, maybe even 15 minutes later. I hold a lot of anger and resentment towards him, and I hold out on sex quite a bit. I'm lost. I don't know what to do because he still watches porn after we have sex. Please help me. I'm so frustrated. My marriage is definitely on the rocks."
Pam Allan: Yeah. So we talk about my reactions in the extended content, but my reaction to this one, are you kidding me? He won't have a vasectomy because it's going to mutilate his body, so she has to go get her fallopian tubes removed? How is that not mutilation to her body?
Corey Allan: Well, it's a disrespect on the equality side of it that my-
Pam Allan: My needs need to be met and I don't give a crap about what your needs are.
Corey Allan: My genitalia is more important than yours. Yeah, there's some stances, and it is interesting because the way she's framing this question, or questions, because there's multiple things going on here, but the way she's ... I appreciate, and I realize this is one sided view, right? And that's half the truth of what's going on, and I don't mean anybody's lying about anything. It's just-
Pam Allan: It's her perspective, yeah.
Corey Allan: We all have views and filters through which those views come from, but she at least says, "I withhold sex too, because of his reactions, or his moods and his porn watching and his disrespect." So they both are manipulating situations.
Pam Allan: Well, it's funny because I go back to so many times we've said on the show, "Maybe go ahead and say no, because the sex you're having isn't worth having." And where does that play into this?
Corey Allan: Yeah, absolutely. Because if you're doing it just needs based sex, that's usually not real deep and satisfying, touching the erotic and the deep spiritual content that can be accessed in a vibrant sex life. It truly is just getting your rocks off, which it sounds like is exacerbated with incessant porn usage. Because it truly has created a pattern in his mind of my sex drive is all that matters, and I'll do what I have to do with my needs, but if I have to wear a condom, I won't have sex with you. That's an interesting move. When he's demonstrating that he is going to have sex in his life even if it's not in his marriage.
Pam Allan: Well, he's demonstrated that already with affairs, right?
Corey Allan: Right. So since he's not the one that emailed in, we can't go after him. We have to go after her, and help her frame what's going on. Because this is one of those where we do get a lot of emails that come in with couples that are in real serious rocky situations, and if we're honest, a lot of what we're hoping is, fix my spouse. Right? Make it easier for me by them changing their ways. What can I do to make them recognize their role?
Pam Allan: Well that'd be fabulous, but I don't think she's asking a question about, how do I fix my spouse? It was, how do I view this? Right? What do I do?
Corey Allan: Right. So, to answer that question, what comes to my mind is you view it as you are married to a man that at a base level is disrespecting of you, just at a bare minimum. And it can go up from there, but at a minimum, that's what you're facing is total disrespect for your wishes, your wants, your interests. It's just based on him.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: So then you have to start asking yourself, how do I conduct myself in self-respecting ways? This is not about earning his respect yet. This is about earning your own.
Pam Allan: Is that part of what she's doing by saying, "I'm not going to have sex with you if you're going to focus on porn 15 minutes after we just had sex?"
Corey Allan: Right. Right. So the difference is, that's the base of this, right. But what I'm hearing in this and what I would say a next step that could be a self-respecting move would be, you take her statement of, "I hold out on sex quite a bit because of the patterns and the behaviors that are exhibited by my husband." So make that a little more known of the holding out. Because a lot of times we try to make moves in marriage, and I don't know if she's doing this or not. This could be a blatant she tells him straight out, "This is why I'm not interested." But my hunch is if she's like normal married people, we're not as forthcoming as with what we're wanting to do or why we're making our decisions. We're hoping our spouse just gets the message without me having to be completely clear about it.
Pam Allan: Okay, so make it crystal clear then.
Corey Allan: Right, so when he makes a move and he comes on to you, but yet you know for a fact porn is still part of the equation and you don't want to have a relationship where you're having sex with someone that is using porn regularly, then your role and response that's usually more self-respecting is, "I don't want this in my marriage, and when you continually bring it into your life, you're bringing it into mine, and I'm not interested in that in my sex life. So therefore it's off the table with me for right now. Your move." Knowing full well that might mean he goes off and has an affair, he goes off and just does a porn binge. Okay, but what's happening then is you're each starting to show your real character.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Right?
Pam Allan: Yeah. Yeah.
Corey Allan: So how do you face the data that's being presented better by seeing it as, that's the data. It's not being hid, so what do I do? What's my move? Because begging and pleading is never successful. Instead it's a bolder move of, this is not something I'm interested in my life, so here's my response to that. And then you live accordingly. So then that begs the question. You're not going to ask this, because this is not where your head goes because I know you and we've been together for a long time, but I can hear the audience. That begs the question, but what about her needs? Because she's a sexual being, even if she's saying the procedure really affected her sex drive, almost nonexistent. What she's also saying is it still exists though.
Pam Allan: Yeah, and I got to think that with his poor leadership and his use of things, that can't help the libido.
Corey Allan: No. That's going to squash things too.
Pam Allan: That's going to squash it on top of the physical issues of having tubes removed.
Corey Allan: But here's what I say to anytime I hear the pushback of, "Yeah, but what about my needs? What about when I want to have sex still?" That's when I say you take matters into your own hands more, meaning if you are interested in the pleasure that can come from a sexual encounter, have sex with someone you trust.
Pam Allan: Yourself?
Corey Allan: I.e. yourself.
Pam Allan: So masturbation going on?
Corey Allan: Right, because I think that is a healthier way to demonstrate, "This is still something I'm interested in in my life, and I would even love to have it with my spouse, but not under the conditions that it's going on currently." Because it's still a sense of manipulation or a withholding, but I think we get so much better when we make it out in the open.
Pam Allan: Well, I'd agree with that. Having it out in the open is ... Everything out in the open at least puts you on the same playing field so that you guys, you know what you're doing.
Corey Allan: Right, and I think the better way I hear that Pam is rather than being on the playing field, it claims the dynamic between you cleaner. It makes it better to where it's like, okay, you can sense the tension when you know something chronic has been going on in marriage. You and I have had this in our life before where even if it's not something either one of us have brought on to the equation, there's just seasons or times where you're just not clicking, and we know it, but we don't claim it. And once we claim it, it softens it.
Pam Allan: Totally.
Corey Allan: But until you do, it just runs rampant, and so a lot of times when you're dealing with this kind of in some regards egregious behavior, you got to clearly name it and say, "This is what I have a problem with, and this is what your actions have shown me, and this is my response." And when I make the self-respecting move, it makes the things a little cleaner and then I start to see, how does he then respond? Then I can figure out what my next wisest step is, because it truly is a tennis match in some regard. I make a move, I see how it's responded, and then I respond to that response, and it truly becomes that step by step. So if I was to characterize one of the issues that wreaks the most havoc in our marriage, it would be meal time. Would you agree with that, Pam?
Pam Allan: I would totally agree with that.
Corey Allan: It's because I'm married to a woman that enjoys much more variety, much more healthy options, and much more adventure when it comes to meals. Whereas I am a get the job done and move along kind of a guy. Well, we want to tell you about our sponsor today, HelloFresh, which I think you made the comment at one point it didn't save our marriage, because we weren't necessarily precarious, but it has definitely-
Pam Allan: It's taken away a sore spot in our marriage, right? You're the one at home. I want you to have a meal ready when I come home in tax season and holy cow, when we started HelloFresh, boom. I come home and he's chopping up onions and he's chopping up shallots.
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Pam Allan: They are definitely delicious.
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Pam Allan: It's the perfect portions and cute little bottles that everything's-
Corey Allan: It really is.
Pam Allan: Our kids jump in and help cook.
Corey Allan: Our kids love it. We've loved it. There's even leftovers some of the times because we get the family pack each and every week, and then the last thing is flexible and it fits your lifestyle, because it keeps your fridge stocked and you can add extra proteins or sides like garlic bread to your weekly order. It's so easy to do, and I'm getting this look from my wife like she didn't even know we could extras.
Pam Allan: I didn't know we could add garlic bread.
Corey Allan: Well actually Pam, then you should take advantage of this special offer.
Pam Allan: Okay.
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Here's another email that came in. A little bit of the background of this story rather than reading the whole thing is another marriage where pornography has been part of the equation. The wife knows about it, but for the last three and a half years, porn and masturbation have not been a part of the equation for him.
He goes on to say, "My wife has noticed that I don't initiate sex as much anymore, and she's wondering if it's because I haven't looked at any inappropriate content or masturbated for about three and a half years. Her theory is that when I stopped fueling the fire with those inappropriate things, my sex drive got under control. I suspect that a piece of that could be true. Plus age can be a factor. I'm 45, but I think there's one really important factor about which I am ambivalent. For the last three and a half years, whenever a sexual spark is ignited inside me, be it a thought, a desire, whatever, I force myself to shut it down because it's just too painful. Masturbation has been off the table out of consideration for my wife and her trauma around it, so I literally have zero outlet for that energy, except maybe once per week when she's somewhat receptive to my advances.
"My brain has learned to associate more pain around sex and fantasies and desires than pleasure, at least in my thought life. In other words, if I'm constantly in shut it down mode, is it any surprise that my sex drive has waned? Seems logical to me, but it kind of makes me sad because I miss the sparks."
Pam Allan: That's breaks my heart that he's forcing it to shut down in essence because ... Because of her reactions.
Corey Allan: Yeah, and granted some of the desires have been steered in not healthy, marriage honoring ways in the past.
Pam Allan: Well, kudos to him. Well I'm in agreement. I don't think porn brings great results into a marriage bed.
Corey Allan: Correct. Agree with that. Yes.
Pam Allan: So maybe the spark in this regard, if my spark was only coming from porn, well maybe my spark isn't so healthy.
Corey Allan: Well, okay. But there's also a natural desire that happens.
Pam Allan: Right. I don't want to squash my desire.
Corey Allan: And a lot of times it gets skewed because it's steered different ways. I mean, this is one of the things I have found a lot with the men I've worked with in mastermind groups and then just as clients, that porn entered their world early on and it became the outlet and the avenue to deal with and medicate life, to escape from things. Because a lot of men that have struggled with porn, this was my mantra. A lot of it was out of boredom.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: That it's just like, "I'm just bored. Well, hey, that's something that'll excite and titillate. And okay, let's do that, spend some time that way," and that's not a good thing and way to spend time. Sometimes it's better just to be bored in life, because there's a lot of things in life that I got to just learn to be okay with myself. But a lot of things that if you're talking about stress relief or anxiety or escaping, they just, whenever I've got a pornography path involved where masturbation is associated with it, a lot of times I've sexualized things that are not sexual. Stress is not sexual.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: Anxiety is not a sexual thing. I can take the edge off with a sexual relief and dopamine hit, but it doesn't solve it. It just escapes it for a minute, and so a lot of men, and women too because women can fantasize and escape in ways that aren't healthy and they're sexual too and they sexualize and romanticize some things that aren't that way, but there's still this element of what I'm hearing in this email is when she is the object of his desires, she shuts it down.
Pam Allan: That's where, okay, I'm coming at this from the wife of someone who was using porn, right? And knowing how I reacted for a period of time, and so I'm probably projecting myself onto this poor wife. I'm just picturing someone who just has not dealt with her own situation. It's what it sounds like, right?
Corey Allan: Okay.
Pam Allan: I'm still assuming my husband, just because he's not looking at porn, well, that was the only thing that drove him before. And I've got my negative Nancy hat on, but I don't think I'm alone in that-
Corey Allan: No.
Pam Allan: That train of thought that I used to have, and that I just thought that if you had a desire for porn, well you were just sick and you just didn't know what a real relationship was and you're just missing out. Then when that got captured, for instance in his scenario, three and a half years he's been working to try and rein this in and focus on the spouse, and it sounds like she's just still pissed about it.
Corey Allan: True. There could be a lot of baggage that have come up and so now anytime there's any sexual overture or whatever, it's immediately through the lens of it's tainted. It's not pure.
Pam Allan: So she felt like she was a piece of something, but I just beg and plead for her. What is she doing to get past that? What is she doing to say, "Okay, we can have so much more?" He's been working on this and three and a half years in, here's where he is. What is she doing on her part to make this better?
Corey Allan: So let's do this then with this segment, with what we've got left with this segment. Let's do both sides, because I think this is a message that's larger than just what he's writing in. This impacts more people than just him.
Pam Allan: Truly. Heck yeah.
Corey Allan: Because this captures a pretty common journey. Because for him, if she's saying and has noticed that the desire seems to be less, the interest seems to be less in him, a move can be, "Yeah, because you don't handle it well when my desire comes at you."
Pam Allan: Yeah. Truly.
Corey Allan: Right, and so I do withhold and try to squash it because it's painful, and that's kind of calling out the dynamic between us. But like we talked about in the first segment, and for her, when yes, it is a hit when that is a part of your marriage and it is not something you want and it does make you feel objectified and virtually betrayed and there's a lot of different things that women react and respond to this in their marriage, but you've got to parse it out, and I'm saying this for a larger audience because I just had this conversation with another man just recently that you've got to parse it out as a wife, and this works with the other genders too but in this context, a wife has to recognize. We here at SMR, because I think it's biblical and I think it's holy and I think it's honoring, I want a 100% of my sexual energy to be steered towards my spouse.
But you have to understand, my spouse is not the source of 100% of my sexual energy. There are other things that turn us on that are not my spouse. I don't think that's sin. I think that's just arousal and response and reaction to triggers and things in my life, and moments and movements of stuff that just happen. To me, a maturing character, integrity driven man, when he has a trigger from whatever other thing in his life, that is then steered towards his wife. I think that's the God honoring path. Because God made some beautiful creatures, men and women both, and those can be very enticing, but just because I get a trigger from something and I steer it, I think that's the better route. I think that's where a spouse then becomes an ally in this journey.
Pam Allan: Well, I think you're right. I think that there's going to be people listening that say, "Well, if he was looking at porn, and then he steered that to me, well, I still feel like someone else was in our marriage bed." And I totally see that, but that's not what you're talking about here.
Corey Allan: Correct. I'm just talking about normal, everyday life of passing people.
Pam Allan: No, and I hear you so I just want to get that clarification out there.
Corey Allan: Thank you.
Pam Allan: Because, we all know sex sells, right? So it's in everything we do, whether it's a billboard or a TV commercial or social media.
Corey Allan: Sex sells and sexuality gets noticed, because in the world we live in, in North Texas in the suburbs, there's a lot of enhanced and magnified things, especially in the summertime. Things are worn to be seen.
Pam Allan: Ridiculously so.
Corey Allan: And those are triggering.
Pam Allan: Ridiculously so.
Corey Allan: Yep.
Pam Allan: So yeah, but I guess I just want to make that point of, as a woman, I want to know where your mind is.
Corey Allan: Fair.
Pam Allan: But then again, I don't need to know every detail of your mind.
Corey Allan: Nor do you want to.
Pam Allan: Nor do I want to, and I don't want you to know every detail of my mind either.
Corey Allan: Exactly. Because I'm just, at a base level as human beings when you're talking about sexual desire, because I've been doing a lot of digging into this for where we're going with the next getaway and some of the different content I want to start rolling out on the whole wanting to be wanted idea, and then diving into the deeper arenas of desire. But you have to recognize one of the things that triggers desire is biology. It's testosterone. It's dopamine. It's norepinephrine. It's all these different things that we have that are triggered in our brain, but the other stuff that triggers sexual response and arousal is visual stimuli, audible stimuli. Taste, smells, scents. All that stuff can be arousing.
I can't control all of that, and that's the difference. Because we've talked about here in Sexy Marriage Radio that a lot of women, they may be lower desire, but a more accurate description is their responsive desire. It's the same content. So it's just recognizing what matters to me in this regard is, am I steering it well? Because that's where I can take things captive and then make them more wholesome and sacred. Because I think that's a biblical route. But at the same time, am I being upfront about the fact that, hey, there's a lot of pain associated with this, and you're saying that you're recognizing I am doing this less, and some of it is right because yes, maybe I don't have the burning desire because I'm not doing things that are a little more inappropriate or flat out inappropriate even, but some of it also is, it's really painful when I bring my desire towards you, because it's not received well. And then you see what happens with that, because it is a bolder move.
Pam Allan: Yeah, it is and you know, I get and understand her potential, I don't know, withdraw, or maybe that's the word for it.
Corey Allan: It is hard.
Pam Allan: But at some point, if you want to make it better-
Corey Allan: It's hard to recover from things that happen in marriages where there's infidelity, there's betrayal, there's other things introduced that really do knock you back. But you also have to recognize it's not solely the betrayer's role to make it better.
Pam Allan: And how long are you going to go on living that way?
Corey Allan: Right. It's also the point of, what do I have in front of me? What am I presenting that's worth wanting and owning? And I'm earning my self respect with the moves that I make. That's the best path forward. Well, if you miss the extended content, you might want to check this one out. I love my wife.
Pam Allan: You like getting me riled up.
Corey Allan: I absolutely do, but I also know you're not property.
Pam Allan: Thank you by the way for that.
Corey Allan: This has been Sexy Marriage Radio. As we say each and every week, this would not be possible without you in the SMR Nation, and so if you've got something that's left undone, or you need a little more, or something specific that we need to cover, let us know. 214-702-9565, or feedback@SexyMarriageRadio.com because we want to go where you want to go. We're in this thing together. Wherever you are, whatever you've been doing, thanks for taking some time out of your day to spend it with us. We'll see you next time.
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