Show Transcript for Episode 14: Variety

Laurie Watson: Hi, welcome to Foreplay. This is Laurie Watson, sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again, with my co-host Tony Delmedico, who is our psychotherapist. And we are here to talk about all things intimate and all things sexual. And really help you get the most out of your sex life.

Tony Delmedico: You can check us out on the web at ForeplayRST.com. Let us know what you think and let us know what you want to hear about. Sex talk with Laurie and Tony. Laurie, where will Foreplay lead us today?

Laurie Watson: Tony, today we are all about variety.

Tony Delmedico: Yay.

Laurie Watson: Yay, he says.

Tony Delmedico: Variety is the spice of life.

Laurie Watson: Absolutely.

Tony Delmedico: Well, I’ve brought my list Laurie, and it’s alphabetical.

Laurie Watson: I imagined you would.

Tony Delmedico: Hopefully, we’ll be hitting all the letters at least once. A is, anywhere, anytime.

Laurie Watson: That’s a good one for A. Absolutely.

Tony Delmedico: B would be what? In the backseat?

Laurie Watson: The backseat.

Tony Delmedico: C, would be change.

Laurie Watson: Change?

Tony Delmedico: Change it up. We’re always after the kids have gone to sleep or on Saturday morning.

Laurie Watson: And I find that often one partner really craves this variety more than the other partner. Do you find that as well?

Tony Delmedico: In terms, just in general?

Laurie Watson: In a couple?

Tony Delmedico: One of the couples, likes to mix it up a little bit more than the other?

Laurie Watson: Yeah.

Tony Delmedico: I don’t know. You’ve got far more experienced than I do as a sex therapist.

Laurie Watson: Okay. So, I mean, I think that men talk more about wanting variety. I will say sometimes a woman comes in and she says, “You know, I have low desire.” And often I find that after we peel away the layers that that means that she actually is more erotic than her partner and she’s kind of given up. So, she’s put her eroticism on the back shelf. You know, that might’ve included her ideas about variety or her ideas about what she wants in bed. But for whatever reason, she’s tabled that. And now, she doesn’t really want to do it.

Tony Delmedico: So, what you’re saying is these guys who talk the big talk, once you start looking at it, maybe they’re not as adventurous as they say they want to be. Or maybe we’re just more meat and potatoes guys after all.

Laurie Watson: No, I think sometimes it’s dynamic. You know, sometimes one person kind of holds the quantity of I’m the one who’s creative and sexy and you’re the one who is kind of the stick in the mud. I mean, do you notice how couples hold quantities of many different things? You know, I’m the one who’s smart about this. And you know, I’ll take care of you. Or I’m the angry one. Or I’m the one who’s patient with the children. I’m the one who knows everything about the children. It’s like they kind of split up quantities and oftentimes this creative part gets split. And one person seems to claim all responsibility.

Tony Delmedico: And you’re saying women are far more erotic and imaginative, then the culture is allowing. And I’m wondering if that’s —

Laurie Watson: Sometimes, sometimes.

Tony Delmedico: — that’s threatening to the male ego.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, I mean, I would say some women are really shut down too. But sometimes yes, women, they’re often whispers, you know, they do talk about what they like and maybe what they want to experiment with. But then if it’s not heard, they give up. And you know, women often say it once. Once and done. They’ll say it one time and then they don’t keep putting it out there. So, tell me about variety. What’s on your list there, Tony?

Tony Delmedico: A, B, and C went very quickly. I wonder if we have anything for D?

Laurie Watson: A, B, and C, anniversary, birthday, and Christmas sex, is that what you’re talking about?

Tony Delmedico: Hopefully a little more variety than that.

Laurie Watson: Oh, good. Holiday sex. Woo-hoo.

Tony Delmedico: Well, I’m wondering again, we’ve talked in previous episodes about how do couples talk about sex? And I’m wondering how a couple has this conversation about variety? And, you know, is it safe to put out there some of the things that you’ve fantasized about or some things you’ve done in the past and you want to do again? Or can your partner receive that without a whole lot of shame or blame or –

Laurie Watson: Yeah, I think the difficulty, one difficulty, is if we put out the fantasy of what we want in bed. There are two possibilities. You know, our partner says, you know, “Wow, where’d you learn that? You know, did you learn that from someone else?”

Tony Delmedico: Which can be threatening.

Laurie Watson: And they’re worried about an affair. “Did you learn that recently from someone else?” Or the other thing is, you know what you, “You can think like this and you don’t tell me these things? You’ve been holding out on me on your creative thoughts all this time? And you know, we’ve been pulling down the sheets, you know, getting ready, doing it, getting cleaned up, you know, going to bed.” It’s like, it can be so boring and that thought of our partner withholding from us, their creative ideas, can be really threatening to.

Tony Delmedico: I think that’s fabulous, Laurie.

Laurie Watson: And it’s disappointing.

Tony Delmedico: I’m wondering if it’s okay to be creative, and have, and push for variety after being with someone for five years or 10 years or, or even 15 year? You know, is it okay to keep pushing that envelope for couples?

Laurie Watson: I think that there is a difference, I think reasons that people get into ruts, right? I think for women their patterns of arousal are often a little more staid than a male pattern. I mean, little boys learn to masturbate standing up in the bath, you know.

Tony Delmedico: When the wind blows.

Laurie Watson: In their bedroom, when the wind blows, you know. I mean, they learn their bodies in such a more varied way. Whereas women often learn, little girls often learn to have an orgasm and masturbate to. 70% of all women learn how to have an orgasm through masturbation. But that’s something that we don’t talk about very much. But they often learn in a pattern that is not partner assessable. Many times, on their belly. And they learn one way. They don’t learn to masturbate in multiple ways. And so, they’re a little more anxious about sex in terms of, “Will it be what I need to get there?” You know, all these fancy turn me upside down, pancake flipping kind of stuff that you see on porn. She’s like, yeah, “But it doesn’t really do it for me, you know?” So, he may be very aroused and enjoy all that. Whereas her, it’s not getting her up the mountain. She’s not getting closer to orgasm. So, she’s not as enthralled by the whole idea.

Tony Delmedico: And I’m wondering, quite frankly, if variety exists more before couples get married? Or with someone you don’t know, like a hookup or a short term girlfriend or boyfriend? We seem to be much freer.

Laurie Watson: Don’t get me started on hookups.

Tony Delmedico: I think the previous episodes — I think it’s hard —

Laurie Watson: The woman doesn’t get there if you haven’t listened to the other podcasts.

Tony Delmedico: But I think they are fair more open to variety on the front end.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, sure.

Tony Delmedico: But I don’t want to make it a male, female thing.

Laurie Watson: Then why is that?

Tony Delmedico: I think that’s true for both.

Laurie Watson: Why do you think that is that we’re more open to variety, you know, before this length of time goes on?

Tony Delmedico: I think we’ve talked about this on other episodes. I think the key word is the V word. It’s the vulnerability. I mean it’s — I don’t have anything at stake if we can swing from the rafters and we just met two hours ago.

Laurie Watson: Right. If you don’t like what I’ve suggested, I can walk. You know, and if it doesn’t turn out well, I can get out of it. But I think in a partner where that person becomes more important to us, endear and more precious, their rejection of what we might suggest, you know, like you often say it could wound us more deeply. Or if it doesn’t turn out well, I mean, so many couples kind of lose their sense of humor in bed, you know. If it doesn’t turn out well, so what there’s tomorrow. But if they’re only having sex once a month, you know, and it doesn’t turn out well, that could be really problematic.

Tony Delmedico: There’s not much to build on. We are a bit on life support.

Laurie Watson: And if they’re only going to try something once or once a year, you know, there’s no way to perfect it. There’s no way to make it, you know, good.

Tony Delmedico: Or expand on it or create off of it. So, I think what we’re saying is that there’s a natural tendency for couples over time to have their bandwidth of creativity and variety really narrow. And so, you’ve got to work towards opening that back up.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, it’s natural. And like you said, I think it’s what happens, but it isn’t necessarily good for their sex life, right?

Tony Delmedico: Right. I don’t think.

Laurie Watson: Because I think variety does help everybody. It gives it an edge that makes it more erotic. You know, if we do the same thing day in, day out, or week in, week out.

Tony Delmedico: Year in, year out.

Laurie Watson: It’s just not as exciting. Another thing that comes up for me is, you know, one of the problems why couples don’t suggest new things or try new things, is anxiety. Just their own anxiety about the thing. You know, the A, the B, the C pattern, whatever their partner wants to try, they feel anxious about it because of so many reasons. You know, maybe it was taboo. Maybe their childhood, you know, they heard something about that act and they’ve always had in their mind that that act was dirty or bad or wrong or whatever. And so, they already feel anxious about it when their partner brings it up.

Tony Delmedico: And we’re also coming out of a paradigm 50 years ago in some religions, sex was simply for procreation. So, we’re talking about really being creative and playful. And that’s what ForeplayRST is all about.

Laurie Watson: Sure. And that’s what cultural things and obviously, the way we were raised, our own families have very unique ways and messages about sex. It can be a problem. I had a girlfriend whose husband really wanted to do something with her. And I’ve known her all my life. And I’m just like, “Yu know, she has just not going there. I know she’s not gone there. You are spoiling your sex life.” Because she was a really good sexual partner. But I kept saying to him, “You’re spoiling your sex life by continuing to push for this thing. It’s a no. I understand for you it’s a big deal and you really want that. But it’s a no. And you have 85% of what you want. And you’re pushing for the 15, and you’re wrecking the 85.” There is a point I think in time, sometimes in our sex life, that we need to say, “Big disappointment, my partner is not going there. And I have to grieve the fact that I don’t ever get to do that.”

Tony Delmedico: Laurie, I would agree with you. But as a psychotherapist, it is uncanny how the human mind goes to the thing that has taken off the table.

Laurie Watson: Right. The negative.

Tony Delmedico: 85, even 95, 97% of the things that are all yeses, the human mind focuses on that 3%.

Laurie Watson: What’s missing?

Tony Delmedico: And just started trying to bore a hole in it.

Laurie Watson: Yeah, we do. We do. You are right, Tony.

Tony Delmedico: It’s hard to let go. It’s like a dog on a bone almost. It becomes the bone of contention.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. So, yeah, okay. Exactly. Okay. Our minds.

Tony Delmedico: We’re approaching the end of the first part of the program. Variety is the spice of life. We’ve been talking about the whys and wherefores. And Laurie, in the second half, hopefully we’ll be given our listeners some juicy ideas just to spice it up.

Laurie Watson: Oh, boy. Okay.

Tony Delmedico: So, stay with us. We’ll be back for some more Foreplay. I’m Tony Delmedico, psychotherapist, with Laurie Watson, author and sex therapist.

Commercial: Wanting Sex Again, how to rediscover desire and heal a sexless marriage by certified sex therapist, Laurie Watson. Each chapter is designed to fix one of the problems that caused low libido from early marriage through the childbearing years, even all the way through menopause. I’ve also had men read it and tell me that for them it was the most helpful thing they read about resolving sexual problems. Look for Wanting Sex Again on Amazon.com. You can also talk to Laurie Watson for therapy in person or via Skype. I offer couples counseling and sex therapy and I think about both aspects of the relationship, emotional intimacy, and sexual technique. And that combination together helps marriages be happy. Improve your sex. And improve your relationship with awakening center for couples and intimacy. Find out more at AwakenLoveandSex.com and sign up for their next couples retreat weekend hosted by Laurie Watson. AwakenLoveandSex.com, awaken what’s possible.

Tony Delmedico: Welcome back to Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy. Thanks for snuggling up with us for the second half of variety is the spice of life. I’m Tony Delmedico, psychotherapist. With my co-host, Laurie Watson, author and sex therapist. Laurie, in the first half, we jumped in with the alphabet for variety of spice of life. We got to A, B, and C very quickly.

Laurie Watson: Yes. What you have for D, Delmedico?

Tony Delmedico: And, I think, just a little bit of dirty talk. Every now and then just do something —

Laurie Watson: Dirty talk.

Tony Delmedico: — we’re talking about variety, just a little bit different. If you’re not into dirty talk, just try it. See what happens. See what your partner thinks.

Laurie Watson: Okay, wait, wait, wait.

Tony Delmedico: Oh, I’m ready to go. I got E, F, and G all lined up here.

Laurie Watson: Slow down. Slow down. I’m always saying slow it down.

Tony Delmedico: Just get excited.

Laurie Watson: I think, you know, dirty talk is fun. If just a hint for the guys out there who want to talk dirty and their partners, their female partners don’t. You know, first of all, I would ask her. And I have a chart on my website by the way, AwakenLoveandSex.com. There’s a chart there in the resource section about different ways to talk about sex, different languages. One is dirty. One is slang. One is playful. One is romantic. And sometimes what men say is dirty is really her slang. So, he’s saying talk dirty to me. And if he would say use these words, use this. She would be more for it. She would do it. She just doesn’t know what he means. And I would say so many people, men and women, when they say talk dirty, they mean talk explicit. Tell me really explicitly about what you’re feeling. And about what you want. It’s not necessarily the F bomb, right? It’s not just that. I mean dirty talk can be — it can mean something different. So, I think you need to talk about what does it mean when you say talk dirty.

Tony Delmedico: Laurie, I’m so glad you slowed us down here. The 20/20 rule once again just continues to pay off in spades.

Laurie Watson: Yup.

Tony Delmedico: E, I think, edibles.

Laurie Watson: Like edible, what?

Tony Delmedico: Like whatever you can find that’s edible on your partner or on yourself. Whip cream, I don’t know.

Laurie Watson: Whip cream, chocolate.

Tony Delmedico: You’ve mentioned coconut oil in prior episodes.

Laurie Watson: There is a good lubricant that is edible. It’s called fireworks and I don’t know if you can find it out there anymore. I have not been able to find it for a long time. But I’m sure it’s still manufactured. And it’s great for oral sex because it really has a decent taste. You know, believe it or not, I’m a sex therapist. I went to one of those passion parties or whatever they are. Never been to one. You know, they pulled out all kinds of stuff. And I made sure I tasted everything, every product that they had. And this was the only decent product out there and it was fun. The other thing you can do, speaking of edibles.

Tony Delmedico: [inaudible] and slip.

Laurie Watson: Edibles, with oral sex, you can use like one of those Altoid mints. Especially if the partner is a little anxious about taste, they can do that and then they can blow gently over their partner’s skin and that menthol, you know, breeze can feel really good. And its kind of sears both the nose and the taste. So, if those are anxieties about oral sex, that can be really wonderful.

Tony Delmedico: Oh, that’s fabulous.

Laurie Watson: Hot and cold too. Hot and cold taste. Hot tea, ice tea, and then giving oral sex. Those two different temperatures are fun.

Tony Delmedico: Wonderful. Laurie, what have you got for some variety? I’ve been dropping alphabets on you.

Laurie Watson: Okay. You know, one thing that I hear consistently from women is that the variety of speeding it up and slowing it down and the variety of energy. So, more women than not talk about that they want a lot of energy from their male partner. So, this kind of blasts that we see in the movies, see my female camera person is nodding her head when I say that. Can we turn the camera back on Lucy?

Tony Delmedico: She who must not be named.

Laurie Watson: I think this desire for his energy like really sets her off. I mean, it is a big cue for women. And oftentimes men don’t do that because they’ve been shut down so many times. They’ve been rejected so many times, so they don’t initiate with a big blast like they ought to. Because they’re so afraid, look at, you know, I have to like nearly to get, you know, permission to even ask her, let alone, you know, when I ask her, and she says yes. And I’m not talking about force, I’m certainly not talking about going for it without permission. That’s off the table.

Tony Delmedico: You are just saying show up with everything you’ve got.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. Like seduction and some heat.

Tony Delmedico: So, don’t come in with a whimper. And put it out there.

Laurie Watson: Absolutely.

Tony Delmedico: I like it.

Laurie Watson: You want to hear something else?

Tony Delmedico: What do you got?

Laurie Watson: I think in general there’s something about power dynamics in sex. I mean this is why people are attracted to powerful personas in their life. You know, it is kind of the teacher student dynamic or the powerful professor or the teacher again. Maybe the nurse patient. She is still in control. I mean there’s something about control and power that’s a big turn on and people could act that out.

Tony Delmedico: So, some role playing.

Laurie Watson: Role playing.

Tony Delmedico: You bet.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. And my favorite role plays to suggest is go meet your partner at a bar. Pretend you don’t know each other. Get the hotel room. I think for the record, if you’re tired mommy, go and take a nap at four o’clock from four to seven. Take a long bath. Meet him downstairs at eight all dressed up. Pretend you don’t know each other. You know, pretend to hook up with each other. Go upstairs, have wild sex. Then go out to dinner and then she gets to stay the night, all night long. He goes home and takes care of the kids. I mean that’s hot and sexy. And she gets the rest she needs. And it can be fun.

Tony Delmedico: That sounds fabulous.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. There’s not a mommy in this room nodding their heads, but trust me, when I give that talk to young mothers, they all nod their heads.

Tony Delmedico: What about just having a tease night where the goal isn’t to reach the mountain top for either one of you.

Laurie Watson: Or it’s forbidden.

Tony Delmedico: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: It’s not allowed.

Tony Delmedico: Going to tease and bring her up.

Laurie Watson: That’s a power thing too, again. You know, who’s in control? One person being in control of the other person’s body.

Tony Delmedico: Yeah. Laurie, what about accessories for variety being the spice of life. What about accessories, could that spice it up?

Laurie Watson: I don’t know, Tony. What do you mean by accessories?

Tony Delmedico: I don’t know. Blindfolds.

Laurie Watson: Blindfolds, okay.

Tony Delmedico: Handcuffs. I don’t know. Vibrators.

Laurie Watson:  So, these are more traditional. Vibrators, there you go.

Tony Delmedico: We talked about role play, costumes.

Laurie Watson: Costumes, those are good things. Yup. And can you, have you been able to persuade many women to do these things? No, I don’t mean that for you, sorry. I mean with your patients, you know, how many, how many couples feel anxious when they talk about that kind of stuff?

Tony Delmedico: I think each couple is different. And I think the couples that are open and playful and honest about what they like, it just becomes everyday conversation. Let’s try this, let’s try that. We tried this. Oh, we didn’t like the taste of that.

Laurie Watson: Yeah.

Tony Delmedico: And I think each, each person is coming out of their own paradigm.

Laurie Watson: People that people ask me, you know, as a sex therapist, do you ever recommend this, that, or the other thing. And I would say as a sex therapist, I never recommend anything. Because I want people to draw from their own inner fantasies and creativity to decide what they want to do. It’s not my job to lay out all the different ideas. I mean, that would make them dependent on me, right? I’m the generator of ideas. But since we’re talking about it, I mean certainly, you know, this roleplay idea that you’ve said that includes accoutrements, can we say that word? You know, that can be fun. Many times, people have — there’s different modes of sexual expression. One might be the pulled inside sensory mode. Another is a real interpersonal way of making love where they’re looking at each other and laughing and talking. And then, this role play is kind of, it could be not themselves in their own mind or they’re doing higher variety things. And people have natural native modes. You know, for some people, variety is, that’s what they want every single night. For other people, that’s kind of salt, you know, they want some of it, but they want these other ways mixed in. And so, again, this is a negotiation of differences. Do they want high variety every night? Or do they want something that is, you know, more regular? Maybe more sensory oriented on many nights? And then this is a special gig thrown in?

Tony Delmedico: Well, we’ve teased everybody with variety being the spice of life. And I think what you’re saying is that may not necessarily be the case for everybody.

Laurie Watson: But if you drown everything in cumin or if you shut down everything in cinnamon, I mean it may be too much for some people, it’s too much for others. You know, can’t get enough of that curry.

Tony Delmedico: And for couples to negotiate that is the important thing. Whether there’s a lot of variety, whether it’s too hot or too spicy or not spicy enough.

Laurie Watson: Right. Tell us one more. Tell us one more, Tony.

Tony Delmedico: One more. Let me think here. I’ve got such a long list. We’re talking about probably things you did back when you were still dating. You were slow dancing, very passionately. Every once in a while, there was maybe a strip tease night.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. I got to say dancing is the number one thing I hear from women. If you’re a guy out there, just take ballroom dance, it’s so easy. It’s so easy to learn and learning how to move on the dance floor. Woo. That is a huge turn on.

Tony Delmedico: Yeah.

Laurie Watson: Yeah. Always marry a dancer.

Tony Delmedico: There you go. I’m wondering under the guides of variety we don’t really meet the unexpected. What can you do that’s unexpected? Meet him at his office. Meet her at her office after hours if she’s working late. And that’s just an unexpected something. Reach over in the car and begin to initiate —

Laurie Watson: Build saran wrap at the door.

Tony Delmedico: Exactly. Or just being met at the door with the saran wrap in your hand, you don’t even have to wrap it around yourself anymore. Just something different.

Laurie Watson: With a genuine authentic peck.

Tony Delmedico: You bet you. Exactly.

Laurie Watson: That would make Tony happy.

Tony Delmedico: Right behind your lips, that would be fabulous. I’m thinking about the mile high club.

Laurie Watson: Oh yeah. I’ve actually had that described to me by somebody who did that and that was — that seemed like a lot of fun but really awkward as it turns out.

Tony Delmedico: Tight spaces.

Laurie Watson: Tight space.

Tony Delmedico: I’m wondering a little bit about the more edgier sex. Some bondage, rough sex, biting. I mean, those things mix it up a little bit. And how does a couple begin to have that conversation or just play around the edges of that? And see if one or both of you like it?

Laurie Watson: And I think that, you know, we need to talk about that a whole lot at some point. Because the power dynamic, while it’s really sexy. I think some people, it can be frightening and I have certainly treated many people where it goes too far.

Tony Delmedico: Right.

Laurie Watson: You know, where it becomes dangerous and that can be problematic too. And so, you know, with 50 Shades of Gray, we’ve heard a lot about BDSM and bondage and all that. And you know, it made it seem like everybody was longing for that. But I think what women were really longing for in the 50 Shades of Gray, was his attentiveness and his energy about sex.

Tony Delmedico: Great turn ons.

Laurie Watson:  Yeah. Big turn ons. More generic than perhaps the beauty of them.

Tony Delmedico: I’m thinking about a phone sex and selfies in this day and age with iPhones and Androids that are so prevalent.

Laurie Watson: Yes, be careful when you’re sending those though. That you’re sending them to the right person.

Tony Delmedico: Well, we’ve come into the end of this episode of variety being the spice of life. We’ve gotten a lot of good ideas about the why’s and the wherefores in the first half. And some very practical ideas to push the edges, to keep your sex life fresh, and interesting. Laurie, do you have a tip of the day for our listeners today?

Laurie Watson: You know, I think that if you’re married to somebody or partnered with somebody who wants higher variety, I think you need to push yourself a little bit. You know, to try something that is within your own ethics, within your moral bounds. But maybe a stretch for you. You know, just try it.

Tony Delmedico: Right. And my tip is a well-worn expression around the house, you’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit.

Laurie Watson: So, Tony, I have no idea what that means. One more?

Tony Delmedico: You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit.

Laurie Watson: Here we go, Tony’s tip.

Tony Delmedico: And that’s it for Foreplay Radio, Sex Therapy today. I’m Tony Delmedico, psychotherapist.

Laurie Watson: And I’m Laurie Watson, sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again.

Tony Delmedico: Again, we’ll see you next time for some more Foreplay.

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