A person’s sexual history is profoundly revealing.
Those who have attempted to discuss sexual histories with their lover know the conversation can elicit different emotional reactions. It can be awkward to ask your partner about their past or have your partner ask you about your sexual past, but the outcome of braving such a conversation is stronger intimacy.
Join George and Laurie as they get beyond numbers and into curious questions. Find success in discussing sexual histories, learn about your partner's accelerators and brakes.
Caveat: use caution if your partner is a jealous person.
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How do we heal the pain created by reaching for our person and finding they aren’t there? We’ve all experienced hurt and disappointment in relationships. When a healthy attachment is present, the pain is acknowledged, and you move past it together. However, when there’s an attachment injury, the process of moving forward is blocked...
Dr. Sue Johnson defines an attachment injury as a “feeling of betrayal or abandonment during a critical time of need.” If our lover isn’t there for us in those moments or doesn’t show up, it’s incredibly painful, and our bodies are smart enough to avoid future pain.
The pain we experience in these moments is sent to our limbic system. In response, our limbic system releases stress hormones, alerts our amygdala to danger, and embeds a message in the hippocampus that says, “Do not depend on this person again.”
The good news is that it’s never too late to heal an attachment injury! The body and the brain stand outside of time. Our bodies hold memories, and we can go back to them and heal them now. While you can’t change what happened, you can change how you feel about what happened, which can change everything.
Let’s talk about HOW to heal these attachment wounds… together.
Let’s talk about all things smooches! Types of kissing, “good” and “bad” kissers, what a kiss means to you…
Labeling someone as a “good” kisser implies a one-size-fits-all technique, but in reality, we don’t have good and bad; we have compatible and non-compatible kissers. Kissing is a matter of preference, attraction, attunement to your partner, and perhaps even genetics.
Once we become sexually active, we often throw kissing into the foreplay category and give it little thought, but kissing can be the end game. Kissing doesn’t always have to lead to sex! Kissing can be exciting, and my challenge to you is to let it stand alone. Spend a day making out with your partner and explore how that feels together!
Communication is, not surprisingly, key when it comes to kissing.
Does your partner prefer wet kisses or dry kisses? A hot and heavy makeout or soft and slow caress? Do you like to be touched while kissed? Where and how?
The bottom line is that you don’t know what your partner wants and they don’t know what you want unless you talk about it. When we explore kissing with our partner, we learn to dance together, and we learn to enjoy the kiss!
Shame and disgust are heavy words that inhabit dark places, but we can't avoid dark places if we want to experience the highs a relationship can provide emotionally and sexually.
The power of shame is in secrecy. We don't want to show our shame. We don't want to be rejected, so we lock away parts of ourselves and pray that no one sees us. The irony is that the antidote to shame is connection and empathy, gifts we can only receive when we allow others to see us.
Within the sexual cycle, shame takes many forms. We might feel shame over what we've done, over things that have been done to us, or over our desires and fantasies. Many feelings of shame and disgust are rooted in our childhoods (or trauma).
If one partner brings up a new sex act and their partner has a huge reaction of disgust, it can create deep shame for simply bringing it up or even disgust at one's self for having "such" ideas, further fueling the shame cycle.
So how do we close the gap and find attunement within this mismatched experience? The answer is communication.
Listen as Laurie and George roleplay and show you how to have these conversations with your partner – with safety.
Let's talk about five primary emotions: joy, fear, anger, sadness, shame, and disgust – feeling all of them is important, especially with your partner. Emotions are the language of the body. They say, "pay attention, something's happening!" But so often we don't pay attention, choosing, consciously or unconsciously, to disconnect...
We may have been raised in homes where anger was expressed in an unhealthy way, joy covered by a wet blanket, or shame used to control and manipulate our behavior. Regardless of how our childhoods taught us to relate to emotions, we can rewrite the script by creating healthy emotional attachments and responses.
While there are many tools we can use to do that, in this episode we're going to talk about co-regulation and co-creation ("CoCo.") And learn how to share and navigate emotions together.
If your loved one is excited, you match their excitement. If your loved one is angry, you honor their anger. Co-regulation is not co-dependency. Co-regulation does not say, "I feel happy only if you're happy." It says, "You feel happy, and I'm happy for you." Co-regulation allows the witness to be there for their partner while also honoring their own emotions.
Most of the time, people don't understand the emotion they're in, and they need someone to support them in a curious and non-judgemental way. Co-creation allows partners to act as witnesses for each other. By asking questions and being present, the witness can help the emoter explore and deepen their understanding of their feelings.
Listen to learn how to apply 'CoCo' to your relationship and create positive shifts in your emotional and sexual cycles!
Let's use the 3 road analogy to discuss the sexual and emotional cycles: the High, Middle, and Low Roads. Research highlights the importance of navigating all three roads for relationship success. The question is, how do we navigate them?
We’re putting all the pieces together in an exercise that will challenge your relationship and open the door to communication.
Balancing the High, Middle, and Low Roads within your relationship will require a conversation that isn’t for the faint of heart. In your relationship, attempting such a pointed conversation will probably come naturally if you are the Emotional Pursuer.
If you’re a Withdrawer, channel your inner Simon Cowell while expressing what you need to feel safe within the conversation. After all, clarity is kindness.
Listen to hear our 5 exercises that will engage you and your partner, and explore how each of you show up in the relationship!
EFT (or Emotionally Focused Therapy) walks couples through a de-escalation process, but what sets EFT apart is Stage Two. The second stage of EFT focuses not on “what’s wrong” but on making things right in the relationship.
Laurie and George celebrate as Laurie becomes certified in EFT and both thank Dr. Sue Johnson for the amazing gift of this therapy model!
In sex therapy, we discuss emotional patterns, but we also understand the interdependency between sex and emotions. One isn’t more important than the other, and when leveraging patterns to create lasting change, the sexual cycle can’t be ignored.
When the sexual pursuer learns to communicate from a place of vulnerability, the withdrawer feels a release of pressure that allows them to draw closer to the pursuer, which is ultimately what they both want...
In stage two, couples learn to replace the negative cycle with a positive cycle. They create “new moves.” The “new move” script in this episode is about compassionately sharing and accepting each other’s needs. By integrating these new moves into your relationship through better communication, you can continue to grow in sex and love…
Listen as Laurie & George talk you through a success script for addressing the sexual/emotional cycles in your relationship!
How do you initiate in the bedroom? ;) George and Laurie explore (and joke!) about 5 different initiator styles: Seduction, Touch, Emotional Connection, Sex Talk and Power Play.
Which way do you like it best? Which way does your partner like it best? Does seduction begin with the way you drink your coffee in the morning like it does with Laurie? Are you missing each other because of a style difference?
Both Yin and Yang are needed for our sex lives to flourish. Where do you fall on the spectrum? Partners in relationships can both be dominant in one type, but we most often see opposites attract.
When Yang dominates a relationship, sex can be passionate at first, but eventually, this gives way to dissatisfaction as the emotional component of the relationship is ignored. You might see resentment and frustration manifest toward the Yin partner and an inability to be vulnerable.
On the other hand, when there's too much Yin, the relationship is sexless. If there is no initiator, there is no sex. When sex does occur, it's described as "boring" as Yin lacks creativity and sensuality.
Combining Yin and Yang in the bedroom requires honoring our evolving natures. The balance of Yin and Yang is ever-changing because people are ever-changing. In the bedroom, that means honoring and asking, “Where am I now? Where is my partner now? What do I want now?”
Touch, smell, sound, taste, vision... Which senses cause you sexual "blocks?" Perhaps touch feels unnatural, painful, or irritating. Maybe you are self-conscious about the way you smell and aren't comfortable with letting your partner go down. Or maybe some sounds or things your partner says turns you off...
Moving past these requires communication with your partner. Start by sharing your "blocks" with your partner.
Explore what you don’t like, explore what you do, and share when you’re ready.
Laurie and George discuss the 'still-face' experiments and how that shows up in the bedroom.
Sex and emotions—there’s a delicate balance between the two, an overlap that can’t be ignored. Emotions can enhance sex or inhibit sex, and sex can enhance emotions or inhibit emotions.
Borrowing concepts from the attachment theory, we dive into how sex and emotions intertwine by exploring the role of the Pursuer and Withdrawer...
Great episode for EFTers – So important for therapists to know how to leverage the sexual attachment cycle in order to get change in the emotional attachment cycle and vice versa!
While we don’t always fall neatly into a cycle, there is always a cycle, some level of interdependence. This interdependence can shift as patterns and is not concrete. A Pursuer can become a Withdrawer, or you might find that you were a Pursuer in an old relationship and a Withdrawer in your current relationship. The patterns are not your personality; they are a response to the complexity of sexual and emotional connections.
Understanding yourself and your partner requires intention but a balanced connection is worth the effort.
What can we learn from Hollywood about balancing sexual 'yin and yang'? In this episode, we'll focus on sensuality as a pure act of giving, and on the importance of balance between the yin (sensuality) and the yang (assertiveness) of sex.
Shifting from yang to yin asks us to unravel our unrealistic views of sex, and Hollywood occasionally provides the perfect how-to guide. Let's talk about three movies with scenes that perfectly capture yin sensuality...
The movies we discuss all focus on men performing sensual acts for women – but ALL genders crave sensuality. A back scratch, a hair massage in the shower, an affectionate touch in the middle of the day, all of these efforts allow the mystery to unfold between partners.
Focusing on the mystery is focusing on the journey – which is where endless possibilities unfold...
Want to explore new moves with your partner, but don't know how to ask? How can Pursuers approach and encourage their Withdrawer partner to open their mind to new things?
Pursuers can get discouraged themselves after being rejected time and time again; They assume it is a hopeless attempt and stop trying, eventually resulting in pain, distance, and resentment.
When we want variety or want to suggest something new to our partner, energy and enthusiasm can carry the day. When there is reluctance, a Pursuer needs to resist the wish to fall back and at least bring their heart and passion.
On the flip side, the partner receiving the request can really support their partner’s vulnerability at asking, with encouragement and responsiveness. Unfortunately, when a sexual Withdrawer is the suggester, it can feel like just a drop in the bucket compared to all that has been longed for. Instead of receiving the new suggestion with grace and gratitude, it often becomes an opportunity for the sexual Pursuer to complain and feel disappointed.
In order for Withdrawers to feel safe enough to initiate or try new things, Pursuers must acknowledge their effort and vulnerability – no matter how "small."
Pursuers – in order to open a conversation about sexual variety, ask your partner what THEY want and need, and tell them what YOU want and need. With your heart and deep vulnerability.
All of us have struggles communicating, and these struggles often seep into the bedroom. As sex and couples therapists, we often run into couples who avoid talking about sex and sexual needs. Instead, they defer to an avoidant-style habit that can be a sex life killer: making assumptions.
When we make up stories about our partner, it kills the curious drive that creates sexual magic. When we assume our partner knows what we want, we forfeit the possibility of getting our needs met.
People make up stories and assumptions for understandable reasons. They do it to avoid embarrassment or vulnerability. They do it because they don't want to hurt their partner, make them feel insecure, or because communication wasn't received well in the past. But no matter the reason, we can't stop trying. The cost of not sharing is so much worse!
Let's talk about some practical solutions to breaking the habit of assumption, and talking explicitly to get better sex.
Where were you on 9/11? We all remember. It's been 20 years.
Most of us were stunned, watching the twin towers fall, but George was with the FDNY rushing to Ground Zero, following his training, following his instinct to get people out of there.
Listen up as he shares about the worst of times -- the horror of the day and months to come, searching for people who were still alive and finding none. And the best of times -- the support and love that people poured out to the first responders, to their neighbors -- the cohesion of a community and a nation united. "There's value in pain if we face it with others." -- George Faller
Today, we honor George and all the first responders who ran toward the danger. We send gratitude and peace to Kathy Faller for watching her young husband leave in the midst of chaos, not knowing what would happen and for holding down the fort afterwards. To both of them, we celebrate that in the midst of fear, they could turn towards each other and find comfort.
G - we love you! Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing with us.
#20YearsLater #911 #FirstResponders #NeverForget #SendingRespect #PrayingForYourPeace #LieutenantFaller #28Truck #BraveHearts #343FireFightersGone #HarlemHilton_Manhattan #HelpingCouples #SueJohnsonTrainsGeorge #DoctorLove
Couples who find themselves stuck in the boring and mundane are often couples who have failed to be vulnerable.
George uses a three-road analogy to explain why some couples remain in mediocracy. The High Road—the road of great energy, great sex, vacations, and excitement.
The Middle Road—the grind of everyday life. It’s doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, and cooking dinner.
The Low Road—relationship depth. It’s diving into deep conversations, sharing, and vulnerability.
Failure in vulnerability reinforces our opposition to vulnerability and keeps us from exploring the Low Road. We perceive failure when we share with our partners, and they react by trying to fix us (yellow zone), blame us (yellow zone), or shutting down and saying nothing (red zone). Vulnerability contains a sense of danger.
When someone is vulnerable, it's important to understand that they are already in the yellow zone. Every couple must face the dilemma of addressing vulnerability. When our fears and triggers arise, if we draw closer to our partners and see beyond our triggers, we can rebalance our relationships.
We always talk about sexual Pursuers and Withdrawers—those who seek sex and those who withdraw from it.
Because sexual Pursuers are usually the sexual initiator, they are often facing rejection. Over time they become anxious about initiating. For Pursuers, rejection goes beyond being told “no” when they make a sexual advance. Rejection also happens when they perceive or assume rejection. It may seem unfair but it feels true to the sexual Pursuer.
Pursuers are prone to stories from others, past experience, and ideas they tell themselves about what they will happen if they ask for sex. The feelings created by potentially false assumptions are as real as the sting of actual rejection and can leave a pit in their stomach.
Couples (Withdrawers and Pursuers) usually have opposite protective strategies which can create psychological, sexual tension and frustration from the negative cycle.
How can Withdrawers seek to understand and help their frustrated sexual Pursuer? We’re breaking down 5 ways Withdrawers can protect their partner from rejection!
It is believed that 3-6% of people in the U.S. struggle with sexual compulsion, all genders can be affected. Sometimes sexual activities become compulsive and lead to damaging pattern in people's relationships and work lives.
Defining sexual compulsion is best done by identifying certain patterns and behaviors... Some of these include overindulging in porn, loss in interest in sex with their partner, having a "secret" life seeking seeking sexual activities elsewhere, the escalation of risky sexual behaviors, or neglecting responsibilities due to their sex addiction.
It’s difficult for many to understand what drives a person into these behaviors, which are clearly antithetical to relationships and how love-making bonds us to our partner. How do we understand and begin healing sexual addiction?
We talk a lot about romance outside of the bedroom, but what does a romantic interlude look like? “I wish my partner were more romantic in bed” is a statement we often hear from women. “Are you kidding me?” is a retort we often hear from men. “I thought we were done with all the jumping through hoops after we got married.”
While it is true that many men feel as described, it’s also true that both men and women appreciate romance and thoughtfulness in relationships. Bringing romance to a relationship will differ for everyone but based on our experience, there are 4 important elements for adding spice to the bedroom!
Let's break down each of these steps!
In this episode, we explore grief through the lens of sexual intimacy... For many couples, sexual intercourse is a safe space where they can be vulnerable, knowing that they can reach out to their partner and their partner will reach back. No matter what you are experiencing while working through sex and grief, the goal is not to force one behavior or another but to communicate so that you can return to that safe space when the time is right.
As therapists, we often see clients who successfully navigate the emotional aspects of grieving while failing to address the sexual side of their relationships.
It’s not uncommon for us to work with couples who are not having sex. Often, those couples can trace the loss of intimacy back to a period of grief. It’s understandably a difficult position: How do you maintain a sexual connection with your loved one while honoring the grieving process?
Grieving is a complex topic. Sex is a complex topic. Talking about both may seem awkward – but for anyone in a relationship, the reality is, sex and grief will eventually converge. When couples are faced with the terrible loss of a loved one, this conversation can comfort and add to their security with each other when they need it the most.
In memory of Mary Louise Faller
Q&A episode!!! We're answering a bunch of different questions from our listeners about the science of attraction, faking it, and how to bring sexy back!
What does scientific research say about attraction and desire?? What visuals spark chemistry and the get the erotic mind flowing? Hint: Red is SEXY! Like our Foreplay colors ;)
How can you bring passion back to the bedroom when you get a little too comfortable? Couples slip into habits... The key is being intentional, and building anticipation and excitement...
These questions... and more! Listen to Laurie and George answer YOUR Q's in this week's episode!
We often use the word "tango" in EFT in context of the cycles, patterns, or feedback loop that couples can get stuck in. How do you change that dynamic? To break free from the negative cycle you have to see the interdependency – it takes effort, vulnerability, and engagement from BOTH partners. Change can't happen without meeting each other halfway!
Pursuers and Withdrawers: What are some new moves to help you better understand each other's needs and strengthen your emotional and sexual bond?
For both pursuers and withdrawers, acknowledging the attempts of your partner and making them feel heard and seen, is the key to changing the dynamic you are stuck in. You have to protect each other and always reward the vulnerability and risks of your partner!
Affairs devastate the trust and connection in a committed relationship… Although healing after an affair is a delicate process and can feel impossible, we believe that recovery and reconnection is possible! What works best to restore the relationship and trust?
Acting out in an affair is often a sign of problems with the person’s life or relationship. A push/pull dynamic can fuel the infidelity…
While sexual betrayal strikes at the very heart of commitment, marriages and partnerships can often emerge stronger after an affair. Join sex therapist Dr. Laurie Watson and couples therapist George Faller, LMFT as they talk about the causes and how to recover from the pain of infidelity...