The point of the holidays is to share love and connection! It's also a great time to spur meaningful conversations!
Set aside time to ask each other questions like:
What’s your earliest Christmas memory?
What is your favorite part of Christmas?
What was your favorite gift?
What was your worst Christmas and why?
What was your best Christmas and why?
The simplest of questions can lead to a deeper conversation. Sharing memories and stories can be a great tradition to start!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
The holidays are busy for everyone! But you can't forget to make time for your partner... Let's talk about the 5 love languages and ways to express your love during the holiday season.
Gary Chapman's five love languages describe how we receive and give love:
-Acts of Service
-Words of Affirmation
Do you know your love language? What about your partner's? We all want to feel loved and appreciated, but in different ways. We may be more responsive to certain love languages than others.
But, we need all five! If you put them all together, it gives room for major growth in your relationship. Little reminders can go a long way- simple things like helping wrap presents, taking over chores, sitting by the fire together and watching a romantic movie, telling your partner how much you appreciate them, mistletoe kisses or a massage! Listen to hear our suggestions on how to speak your partner's love language during the holidays.
Originally identified by Freud, the “madonna/whore complex” is the inability to maintain sexual arousal in committed, long-term relationships. It is the split between the softhearted and sexual currents in male desire. Freud wrote “where such men love they have no desire, and where they desire they cannot love.” Men want to keep the two separate- they desire a sexual partner who is sexy and promiscuous, while they cannot sexually desire the respected partner. Women in particular split themselves- whether it’s the all-giving, loving mother madonna or the fun, sexy party girl. It can be hard to merge the two! The difficulty when you're in a committed monogamous relationship, is this how do we let both parts of ourselves out? And how do we see both parts in our partner. The same applies to women and their conflicting desire for the “caveman/co-partner!”
Don’t settle for either/or! How can you have both? Sometimes this requires re-eroticizing your partner, taking risks, and rekindling the lustful side of yourselves. What Freud was missing was...you need secure attachment to make it work! In order to bridge the divide of how to feel safe while also bringing out that lustful side, you need clean ways of communicating that create safety in your relationship. That integration is the key!!
Women who have felt or seen their partner’s anger will not be able to feel his erotic vibe. Sexual pursuers can become demanding when their partner isn’t responding to their attempts at intimacy. Their frustration can keep increasing and eventually boil over and become anger (COVID definitely hasn’t helped with impatience!) While anger can sometimes provide quick change in the short-term, it is not sustainable in the relationship long-term. In the long-term, anger can slowly disintegrate the relationship and feeling of safety.
Men and women can both be hot-tempered! However, an angry man can unconsciously frighten a woman by his intensity, strength and size. For a man, moving out of a place of silence into a place of speaking and expressing your feelings is important - the manner in which you do this is more important. Even if you have no intention of physically acting on your anger, it may shut down your partner’s sexy feelings. Hear what Laurie does to respond to a roleplay of George’s anger by 1) not responding in kind 2) being firm and 3) removing herself when the anger reaches the point of abuse.
This one comes at you fast! George and Laurie talk through a variety of sex acts that couples choose to liven things up. No judgements just a curious exploration of what might turn a monogamous couple on and why. With lots of laughter, they talk through where to do it, what you might try, how to reduce some anxiety when trying new things - everything from sexual positions to taking control to role play. If you’d like to receive the list Sexual Variety for you and your partner to talk about - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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How can you and your partner align your emotional and sexual cycles?
We can be on different planets sometimes when it comes to these cycles, but when they align with each other they are more consistent. Finding an intersection between your emotional and sexual cycles requires both partners to take risks. However, you may not recognize each other’s attempts!
Sexual pursuers often look for connection through physical touch...they are being vulnerable by initiating. They are trying to make repair without words, but the withdrawer may not see this attempt because they need words. The withdrawer may perceive it as their partner “only wanting them for sex” which can add to the pressure and make them pull away. The pursuer then perceives this as rejection to their attempt for connection. This miscommunication is what causes us to get lost in a negative cycle.
When the withdrawer takes a risk to open up sexually and lower their defenses, they are also being vulnerable. Again, flexibility from both partners is key; having the mindset of “let’s see what can happen…”
Sex can be a great repair; it can bring you closer together and help you get to a place of connection to then talk about hurt feelings and emotions with each other.
Can willingness replace desire? Are you wanting or just willing to have sex? Sometimes willingness can mean being vulnerable and communicating with your partner about your needs, anxieties, desires, and what you are comfortable with. Simply opening a safe space for conversation can make a world of difference. Both partners want to be heard and responded to simultaneously and that's hard to do when emotions are so prominent. Who is initiating vulnerability and bringing it up? If a withdrawer takes the risk to initiate a conversation or explain their anxieties, the pursuer needs to keep focus on the withdrawer. The way that the pursuer chooses to responds makes a big difference in the outcome. It's not a time to compare your pain, or feelings of rejection, because that will only increase the pressure and their sense of failure. Instead, listen to them, address their hesitations, and make them feel safe. For pursuers, it can be so frustrating when the withdrawer doesn't want to talk, so it's important to voice your appreciation for their vulnerability. Withdrawers, be open to taking a leap! Never force yourself to do something your body doesn't want to- but maybe use willingness as starting point, not desire. Be willing to make love in hopes that your body starts to respond. Take time for pleasure, the goal is to connect and be present with the person you love. Pursuers, this requires patience. Start with the understanding that it may not lead to sex or orgasm and be open to connecting in other ways. This takes off so much pressure for the withdrawer! A strong relationship needs both partners to be willing to be vulnerable emotionally, physically, and sexually. The goal is good enough or resilient sex. This requires lots of flexibility and adaptability!
Mailbag!! George and Laurie answer questions from the Foreplay Fam in this week’s episode! They’re talking all about unrequited fantasies, compromise, and vulnerability. Sexual fantasies are extremely common; in fact only 4% of men and 14% of women report NOT having fantasies. A listener talks about a fantasy of an old lover and not being able to get it out of her head. While this one may be a block to emotional connection, fantasies can also be mined for good information about what turns us on. And some partners feel comfortable and like sharing their sexual fantasies as a way to grow learn and get aroused with each other. Sexual improvement requires vulnerability and willingness to talk about your sexual needs. Discuss with your partner what they are comfortable with and address any of their concerns. Compromise is important in any relationship. While we want people to feel respected sometimes we might do something for tour partner out of love in order to just make our partner happy. It’s all about communicating these things! Listen to this week’s mailbag episode now to hear more of your questions answered!
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What should a woman think about a man who doesn't initiate sex much and doesn't even seem to want it? She wonders if he's even attracted to her. Laurie and George explore his mind, heart and body's experience before, during and after sex to see what really goes on, what his secret fears and hidden insecurities are.
What does resilient sex look like in a female? George and Laurie take another look at how a different woman - a sexual pursuer - might answer questions about her experience pre, during & after sex for her erotic mind, her heart, her body and her genitals. It makes sense why she would want to connect sexually when all 4 categories are so high during the sexual experience.
Sex during COVID (still!) - while kids are home, while we're stir-crazy, closeness is feeling claustrophobic; and we've got the big sex killer - stress! Sigh. And the forecast is for .... more home time. Who knew in April we'd be looking at lockdown for a much longer time. Are you bored in bed? Need a bit of encouragement to keep it hot? Here's some help!
Thinking about getting married and want to make sure sex is good and you stay emotionally connected? Never had these important conversations about basic sexual expectations? Set yourself up for success! Couples often believe all of marriage is going to be like George’s example of the “high road” – the great dinners, great sex and good times but we also want couples to have success during the “middle road” – the grind like paying the bills and the low road – dealing with their insecurities and vulnerabilities. Especially, George and Laurie emphasize the importance of learning to talk about sex and direct couples to have the who, what, when, why conversation. If you’ve never had these conversations you can jump right in now and make things better. What so obvious later, needs to be worked out early. Who should initiate? What are you going to do in bed? When is the best time for sex for your energy?
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George and Laurie talk with Dr. Polly Watson, MD (no relation!) about all the new exciting advances in sex medicine to find out what helps. We discuss the O-shot, hormones, female desire drugs, toys, Scream-Cream; JoyGell, even sex robots for a laugh! Find out what works and what is fun!!
With the average Joe and average Jane so different in their approach to sex and the ways and timing of arousal, what can a couple do to close the arousal gap? Join sex therapist and author Dr. Laurie Watson and couples therapist George Faller as they talk about how to negotiate the differences.
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This week it is Average Jane's turn! Join sex therapist and author Dr. Laurie Watson and couples therapist George Faller as they talk about what the sexual experience for an average woman is and how to improve their sex life!
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George wants men to have a method to improve their sexual game in 3 zones—pre-sex, during sex and post-sex in 4 different areas: heart, mind, body, and genitals. Twelve variables for guys who like stats to measure their self progress. George gets into specific numbers for the average Joe in each area and has a plan for what they can do if they don't like their own assessment.
As a sexual pursuer, how can you open a conversation with your sexually withdrawing partner? What are some typical questions that pursuers ask and how can they ask them in a better way without being dismissed?
Ever asked your partner: What are your sexual fantasies? What turns you on? How do you like to be touched?
These questions are often met with an "I don't know" response - and we know it's so frustrating to the sexual pursuer who has planned and thought about them only to be seemingly met with disinterest and rejection. Hear Laurie and George talk about how sexual pursuers can open communication with their partner about sex and reduce the pushing energy that blocks their partner? Open up to curiosity and leave them wanting something more.
Let's talk about “killjoy” – the negative cycle that squashes the love life is so many millions of couples out there and how we can name it, notice it and do it differently. Sexual discrepancies are the most common thing we're going to see over 80% of couples are going to find themselves in a dynamic where one wants more than one wants less. In his marriage, George calls the negative cycle “California" and Laurie calls it “Drowning” with her swimmer husband. But there's something really fun about naming the negative cycle, the merry-go-round Groundhog Day, whatever word you want to come up with. The beautiful thing about doing this is it starts to externalize the problem. The problem isn't Joe. The problem isn't Mary. The problem is the dynamics that they've unconsciously created in this attempt to be with each other. George and Laurie role play a new way of communicating in “killjoy”!
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Is the orgasm gap fair? Laurie and George don't think so. But it's so natural to feel criticized when your partner tries to tell you what they need; how can we get excited about feedback to change this problem? How often do normal couples have bad sex? George suggests often enough that it's coming for you! (you gotta expect it!) But if you strike out... get back in the game. Do men who worry about their penis size even know what's normal? How big is big enough? What's so special about sex in Finland - what are they getting right for women? We got the stats!
Why do YOU want to have sex? George and I talk about the 5 most frequent motives to get it on! Pleasure, Intimacy, Approval, Coping and Procreation. Each motive can be used in sexually healthy relationship as sex serves many purposes for a couple. Sometimes though some motives fail, like when pleasure is never accompanied by intimacy or when the anxious need from approval doesn't develop into pleasure.
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Welcome Dr. Emily Nagoski, PhD, fellow podcaster and award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller, Come As You Are: the surprising new science that will transform your sex life.
Dr.Nagoski's mission is to help us live with confidence and joy in our bodies! Together, Emily, George and Laurie want to help people have a healthy view of sex and challenge people's assumptions about what they believe and where they get stuck. We all see EFT as a way to help couples deal with the difficult feelings around sex where we often are anxious about hurting our partner's feelings or fearful of being found sexually inadequate.
To help us understand desire, Emily tells us about where to find our brakes (all the good reasons not to be turned on... potential threats) and accelerators (everything we think, believe, imagine & touch, taste, smell, hear that has sexual connotations.) Fun topics in this podcast: look at your genitals! (if you want to make friends.) She and George talk about the complicated relationship men have with their penises. Nagoski uses a hedgehog visualization to gracefully accept our feelings around sex. Ever wonder why your body may be turned on but you really don’t want sex? Emily shares the concept of non-concordant sex – when our body’s arousal and subjective sexual feelings don’t align.
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book - Come As You Are
Knowing that their withdrawal triggers their partner, what can someone who feels attacked or criticized do - other than walking away? Wrestling with themselves and naming their feelings, gives them a moment to feel instead of shutting it down. Recognizing what happens in their body makes some room and space for the withdrawer distress. And becoming curious about their pursuing partners criticism and anger helps them reconnect emotionally.
Men want an engaged partner and frequently ask for communication in bed. Yet, how can a women ask for what she wants without sending the message that she is critical and unhappy? Laurie and George discuss how a woman can offer sex tips so her guy can really be the best in bed for her especially if he is a sexual withdrawer.
Pursuers have beautiful motives to push toward their partners - wanting more connection, more intimacy and more sex. But they often feel rejected and are told they are too much which escalates the cycle.
Learn two things that help the pursuer calm down. 1) Remind yourself that you have good intentions to create change. 2) Use an image of someone who made you feel safe - a therapist, parent, grandparent or even of yourself comforting a younger version of yourself. See how taking a wider lens including both peoples vulnerabilities can stop the pursuer-distance cycle.
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Dedicated to Dr. Jeanne Yorke.
It's so hard to ask for what I want in bed or how to answer what do you want me to do to you sexually. Why? George says we either want to protect our partner from something hurtful and we're avoiding what we feel. But without talking about it, we shortcut that delicious exploration, even the missing spots and getting redirected - that is part of the magic of excitement. Our 4 questions are open-ended and hopefully spark real conversation between you and your lover - even if you've been doin' it forever.
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