Show Transcript for Episode 230: How to Assess Your Present Sexual Relationship

Laurie Watson 00:00
So today we’re going to talk about a sexual assessment and some questions that we ask people and that you can think about with your partner. Welcome to foreplay radio couples in sex therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

George Faller 00:17
And I’m George Faler, a couples therapist,

Laurie Watson 00:19
and we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other.

George Faller 00:24
Our mission is to help our audience develop a healthier relationship to sex that integrates the mind, the heart and the body.

Laurie Watson 00:34
Just as we began, please remember to check out Uber live it really calm is where you can get this great lubricant and help support for play radio.

George Faller 00:43
We just want to give a little shout out to sue Johnson, Michael Moran and Sawyer Zima cascara as mentors and people who are passionate about sexuality and helping us with some of these assessment questions,

Laurie Watson 00:58
yeah, these people have Sue and Mike Moran have developed this questionnaire, but we know that Sonia has done a lot of work in EFT with sexuality and she has really piloted helping integrate sexuality with EFT. So we’re grateful to them and their work and what they’ve done. You know, they start out with talking about sex in the present relationship.

George Faller 01:22
And well, let’s let’s set the stage what we’re hoping is a little follow listed is yes, let’s not rush right into it, Laurie. Okay. That just to sit back and imagine yourself as we read out some of these questions, just just open yourself up to notice just what what it brings up. I think a lot of people are surprised at these questions and, and and what it could elicit. So there’s no right and wrong and how you answer these questions. It’s really about opening up space. So what we’re going to do is read the questions and maybe Laurie, you’ll start off and I’ll just jump in how I’ve heard people answer the question how I might answer the question. Just Try to give a give and take and then we’ll take it from there. Okay, good.

Laurie Watson 02:04
So the first part, I mean, we’re basically going to talk about a person’s present relationship, and their sexual history. And kind of the, the problems in the sexual relationship. And I think what I really like about this is, it’s so gentle, they do a lot of permission asking, and we would encourage you, even though we’re giving you words, that it would be the same thing. If you talk with your partner that you would want to get a lot of permission from them that this is the right time to discuss this, that they’re open to that. And as a therapist, we’re not judgmental. We don’t we don’t care what the answer is. We’re, we’re in a discovery mode. And of course, as a partner, there’s something at stake when your partner answers this, but I think to encourage safety, bringing a spirit of curiosity to this would be important. Okay, so the first question is, in your own words, tell me how you’ve come to understand the sexual challenges with your partner. And I think what is important is I have both forms. And then I essentially ask again, in an initial session, you know, what is going on? And I like to hear the way they say it. I mean, it’s important to me to hear both parties. Talk about it, even though I think you say this a lot, George, there’s two truths that come forward. I like to hear the town, the feelings behind it, as they answer this. Okay, so, George, you want to volunteer to be the patient here? I do. Oh, okay. That’s very brave. Have you got a scenario in mind in terms of how you answer this, okay. Okay. Yes. So, George, tell me in your own words, you know, how have you come to understand what’s going on between you and your partner sexually. And what’s What’s happening? Yeah,

George Faller 04:00
I just take my, my wife has lost interest. I mean, we had a pretty good sex life. And I guess that’s happened to a lot of people. But over time, it just seems like that passion is not really there anymore.

Laurie Watson 04:13
So, could you tell me maybe when this changed, and when you began to notice this, you said it used to be good, and it’s not?

George Faller 04:21
Yeah, I think before kids, it was really good and inactive. I think it changed with kids, which we could expect. But, you know, I guess I always assumed it would it would pick up again, and it just hasn’t really come back since the kids.

Laurie Watson 04:37
So I’m gonna go back and forth George between you and our audience so that they know what I’m thinking and what’s going on. So as I listened to George George, the patient, he fortunately is really forthcoming telling me a lot of information. He’s already told me answered my second question, which is when did you remember it becoming an issue? And now I want to figure out what he’s already tried because it’s really useless as a sex therapist and I don’t see myself as a solver as you know, somebody who’s just going to give answers if only it could be that easy, right? But I want to figure out sort of where he’s at in the process. So I’m asking him to tell me what you’ve tried to, to do to figure this out between you and your wife. What What have you guys done to try to change this?

George Faller 05:29
I tried to introduce some fun things, some new things into the relationship. I you know, I purchased her a vibrator for my wife. I’ve, you know, tried to watch some pornography with her talk to her about role plays. I don’t know I had a couple books I read and I recommended

Laurie Watson 05:52
Okay, so lovely. What what I’m thinking is, many of the things he’s tried are sort of external salute. Right, he’s tried to spice it up. And as I listened to him, I think I’m wondering, in my mind, you know how his wife has taken these suggestions, you know, has she taken it as criticism as her being inadequate as her not living up to what he fantasizes about her imagines I’m just trying to imagine another side to it. And this would probably be done. I mean, since it’s only George right now, and thank you, George for being so willing to roleplay. But the partner might be there during this time, and I would be watching her face to see what she thinks what her body is telling me as he answers these questions, and probably with a couple, I would be going back and forth, but this might be an individual session. Okay, so I want to know, tell me, the typical sexual interaction with your partner. Kind of what happens play by play, and this is a really tough question, George, because we don’t talk about such with anybody. So I know it’s kind of odd to start talking about this with a pure stranger. But if you could tell me kind of what happens, how it goes, how it ends? How do you guys communicate what you want and need in the moment in the sex, sexual time that set aside?

George Faller 07:20
Well, I’d say, You’re right. We don’t talk about this much. But I mean, I think my wife gets a sense that I want to have sex. And how does she get that sense? Well, I might want to go to bed a little bit early.

Laurie Watson 07:35
So that’s, that’s my cue. let’s let’s let’s go to bed a little early. Right. She knows that means I want to have sex.

George Faller 07:44
I hope so. Does it always lead to sex or we go to bed early, but I think that might be the start of the process. And I think a lot of times I’ll just communicate. Hey, g in the mood for genomic love. And

Laurie Watson 08:01
so you’re really sometimes you would kind of give an innuendo, let’s go to bed or sometimes you would say, Are you in mood to make love? And right, and both of them I notice are verbal communications, essentially. And has your wife ever communicated with you in terms of that that’s something that works for her that she likes a direct verbal communication or is that? I mean, do you guys talk like that? Do you say, Yeah,

George Faller 08:27
I think so. I like that. I think in the past, I might not have said anything. And then I would get kind of frustrated and angry if we wouldn’t have sex. So the feedback I’ve gotten to her is at least tell me what you want. So then she can make a decision on that as opposed to not even know and then the next day I’m upset with her. So I think so. So let me tell you, I’ve learned to be a bit more verbal. I mean, I would rather just in the beginning, I didn’t have to think Talk about it, I just got to make a move or she’d make a move and we’d respond to each other. But now I guess it takes a little bit more work.

Laurie Watson 09:07
Okay, so I’m going to talk about what I feel as I listen to George, the patient talk about this. You know, one of the things he’s led us in on is that in the beginning, he would make a move, and that would work. And now he asked verbally because he’s anxious, he doesn’t want to get rejected, in bad. So he’s, he’s pre empting that rejection by checking. But what we don’t know is what is his wife prefer? He doesn’t know. We don’t know. And it’s possible that what used to work was his physical touch. You know, he made a move and and she may be more receptive to a physical initiation than she really is to these verbal initiations. And when he asked her, Hey, are you in the mood to make love He may be communicating anxiety instead of seduction. So I would be listening for all of that. And also, again, if she was there watching her body watching how she responds to this, does she turn away? Does she shake her hand? Does she listen, you know what, what’s going on? Okay, so thank you, George, do you experience sexual desire right now in your relationship? Obviously, you’ve told us you do. Do you think your partner experienced a sexual desire in the relationship for you?

George Faller 10:27
I think she does. Not as much as I do. I mean, I think ideally, I would want to have sex twice a week. You know, she’d probably be okay with it once a week or maybe even a little bit more than that. I think she does. Get into it once we have sex, but I think that starting out is you know, it’s not as strong for her.

Laurie Watson 10:53
Right, right. I often say women have a hot rock body, but they have broken stuff. It’s so hard, so hard for women to get started and sounds like that’s what you experienced with her. But you’re also telling me that you’re not that far apart in terms of what you like. I mean, you imagine it’s only a one incident a week difference and you’re not even sure that she wouldn’t want sex more. And, again, an aside to our audience, you know, many times people, ironically on their forums, when they come in and they tell me that they’re having frequency discrepancies. They’re not that far apart. But so I know that something’s going wrong with the way they get together. Okay, we’re about out of time. So we need to move on to our second segment, right?

George Faller 11:42
We do unless you want to try to finish these questions quick. This first pot

Laurie Watson 11:46
Nope, I don’t want to finish them quick. All right now quick. I’d love to thank Uber live again for sponsoring us we are so appreciative this we just think it’s a really fantastic product. I’ve been giving it out for years to patients and recommending it. It is made up of three types of high grade silicone. So it’s not sticky. It doesn’t have that gooey texture that some lubricants do. It’s really long lasting. And it provides a great glide. I mean, people I think should use it during the beginning of their sexual experience during foreplay as well as during sexual intercourse. It’s scent free, it is taste free, so you can switch from foreplay to oral sex to intercourse with no problem and it leaves your skin feeling soft and silky, which is awesome. It looks in this clear bottle like something that you can be proud of on your nightstand. It looks like perfume. It’s made in the USA, which I’m so grateful for and your support at Uber lube. Calm with the coupon for play helps us continue to provide content for you. So we would love for you to check it out there. Again, overload calm and then you want to use the coupon for play. Hey, just a word to our Patreon supporters. Thank you so much. Many of you have been really faithful for a couple of years, at least in supporting us. And we’re really grateful for that. And we’d also like to invite others of you into our mission, we see our calling essentially as to help couples develop a long lasting relationship that is both intimate and also sexually erotic. As you know, it’s what we talk about every week, we would be grateful for you in joining us in this mission,

George Faller 13:30
your support means more than you realize, and it keeps this project moving forward. And we’re really hoping to reach great heights

Laurie Watson 13:38
and our sponsors Uber lube have partnered with us and they have offered to send the first 12 people who sign up on Patreon for a $10 above level, a free package of Uber live find a link on foreplay radio, sex therapy, calm or foreplay rst calm and we are so thankful for your support. We’re back with sexual assessment and George has been a patient who’s playing a typical male. You’re doing a great job, George, this I hear this every single week.

George Faller 14:12
It’s a real stretch for me, I tell you.

Laurie Watson 14:16
Okay, you said that you want to have sex maybe twice a week. You think your wife, maybe one one and a half? You’re not sure. And how often do you guys have sex?

George Faller 14:26
I think it’s more like once a week,

Laurie Watson 14:28
once a week. Okay. So not as much as you would want. And when you have the sex Do you both have satisfaction to both have climaxes and and you’re pretty sure that it’s good for her and it’s good for you.

George Faller 14:44
Yes, I think we both reach orgasm. I’m sure we could do things to improve it, but I think afterwards we both feel better. That’s why it gets confusing sometimes why we don’t have more of it.

Laurie Watson 14:58
Okay, so like afterwards It’s good. And you’re like, What? Why don’t we do that more often? If it was good,

George Faller 15:03
I actually say that sometimes. Like, this feels pretty damn good. Why don’t we do this more often? It’s a good workout. We feel connected. I mean, there’s so many good things that come from it.

Laurie Watson 15:13
Yeah. So, of course, as I’m listening, I’m thinking he’s not absolutely sure. He hasn’t said, Yeah, I know. She has orgasms, too. He’s saying he thinks so he’s saying he doesn’t understand why a good time sexually doesn’t translate into more desire for her. So I know there’s a lot to be explored here in terms of her perspective, and also his understanding. Like he doesn’t, he doesn’t know why. And I think that in terms of healing, it’s really important for the partner to understand why that doesn’t work, why it doesn’t translate and so we’re going to try to help him get there. So if Okay, I’m gonna ask you this is crazy question. I love numbers. So could you tell me George likes scale of one to 10 how satisfied would you say you are with your present relationship sexually?

George Faller 16:06
I would say 6.5.

Laurie Watson 16:10
You like numbers to you are pretty precise. Okay. 6.5. And when you first got together, you said things were really great. What was it then?

George Faller 16:21
I would say it was a nine.

Laurie Watson 16:23
Okay. Okay. So also what I’m thinking about is that, you know, 6.5 these people are not in the dumps. They’re doing okay. They’re definitely having sex that is maintaining their relationship. Probably, this is what I’m thinking. I don’t know that.

George Faller 16:40
But I’m thinking, would you like me to be a 5.5 for a 4.5?

Laurie Watson 16:45
If you told me that you were at a four I probably. It’s not that I’m not concerned. Like this couple. You and your partner are coming to me for sex. So I know that something’s going on.

George Faller 16:55
Well, you’re right I that’s the presenting problem. So let’s go. Let’s go 5.5 Okay, okay, let’s do, let’s say five.

Laurie Watson 17:03
Okay. I like to hear your precision. Don’t you love that when people like are really precise, they won’t let you say the, you know, they’ll correct every word and adjective that you use to try to understand them. It’s like No.

George Faller 17:17
Well, I think a lot of men that I work with, they’ve thought about this a lot. They’ve rehearsed this conversation many times, or they’ve put a lot of energy into examining and analyzing this. So, you know, this sense of, let’s keep going with it. Five is the more of an accurate number. And it depends the number is going to change if the partners they’re not there, right. Maybe you don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings. So you kind of raise it up. You don’t really want to give what it feels like for you. So I love that you’re just you. You’re given space to explore what these numbers mean. Yeah, and why they change

Laurie Watson 17:56
and this guy said to you know, scale of one to 10 it was another So I know that his history with his partner was really good. And so I’m, I’m going to look to see what was different? Okay, this is a really deep question, I think. But what would be most important for your partner to know about you sexually?

George Faller 18:18
That’s a tough one to answer.

Laurie Watson 18:20
Yeah. And I will say that when I asked this question, I’ve been practicing using some of these questions with my newer patients and, and they have the same pause because it is such a deep question. It’s so vulnerable, so just easier to focus on what you want your partner to do different life. Yeah, hard, less about what you need differently, right. What would this guy say?

George Faller 18:49
Just that sex is something that’s healthy, and something good that I want? That it’s an area that I want to go deeper with. Hmm.

Laurie Watson 19:07
So you want them to see this drive that you have for them as something that’s good and healthy. And

George Faller 19:14
right because in my mind, I see it as something healthy and it almost feels like it turns into this. I just want to have an orgasm, it’s this, you know, it doesn’t capture I think the importance for what this represents.

Laurie Watson 19:33
And it is so important. And you want your partner to know that and to see the good side of it, not the part that pushes this cycle between you and her right. But you are important a good word. You want her to see you what it means to you. Do you think you’ve ever said that to her or that she knows this?

George Faller 19:54
I’m not sure. I mean, I think it probably comes across in my frustration. So I don’t know if I’ve ever said it that directly.

Laurie Watson 20:03
So she, she feels something that’s frustrated in you, she knows that part. But you really want to be seen for the part that is healthy and, and finds it so important and wants to go deeper with her in it. That’s what’s missing. She can see the frustration, but she can’t see this other longing that you have for her and for this to be manifest between the two of you.

George Faller 20:29
Right, yeah. So even at pausing it in the role of maybe and applied, I can feel some anxiety coming up around that. Right that there’s something there is something scary about exposing that that side of me that maybe my wife doesn’t want the same thing that I want. Right so it’s easier and safer for me to be frustrated because that doesn’t feel so fair. Yeah, but the vulnerability is just I think it’s more around this anxiety of being rejected or not being wanted, that I never really talked about.

Laurie Watson 21:09
Yeah, that’s that. I think what you just described is so typical that couples have a fight. And it’s so much harder to talk about need. And what you just did, is the patient talking about this desire to really be seen as good as that having a sex drive is good and healthy, and that it you know, rather than the frustration that maybe is this guy shows will lead to his vulnerability, because like, what happens if he can’t be seen that way? And so he doesn’t

George Faller 21:47
feel it starts to feel like it’s an annoying, it’s bugging. I’m pestering for sex, that it’s not being seen the same way. We’re not meeting in an equal place of wanting something that’s helpful. Being good. It starts to feel more like something that that my wife will be doing for me as opposed to for herself.

Laurie Watson 22:09
And then you’re the impetus. It’s, you’re the one who’s pushing it. Instead of it being something between the two of you that is enjoyable and they’re shared love and shared intimacy. It’s like, you’re just a pressure, something that she has to do for you not because she wants to join you here and she’s joining you and love and pleasure. Right? That that doesn’t feel so good. Yep. And Georgia, switching out here between his therapist self and his pretend patient self sometimes I think,

George Faller 22:44
just give you a little insight. Thank you.

Laurie Watson 22:47
Okay, what turns you on the most and feels most erotic with your partner? This is a tough question. I think in sex therapy, these kinds of questions. It’s like who I’m about to I don’t know. Can you tell somebody this? You know, most people don’t tell these things?

George Faller 23:04
And if all listeners don’t have answers that just shows you You’re exactly where you need to be. Right? This is a space that hasn’t really been taken. So to not have the answer for me, is that therapist is like, yes, we’re right where we need to be we’re trying to stretch and to grow and to learn and to move. So what was your question? I

Laurie Watson 23:30
forgot my question. Okay, so when do you feel most turned on and erotic with your partner?

George Faller 23:38
That was a good strategy. I had to that

23:40
was a really good point.

George Faller 23:42
Yeah, right. therapist, we got to expect that I feel most turned on when, when the passion level is high. What does that mean? So we go, we go out to see a movie or go out to dinner or maybe we go away to a wedding. You know, we have a drink or two, but we have that time to ourselves. And I think that’s the best way you go back to a hotel room and you just kind of just there’s no distractions and you just kind of lose yourself with each other. I to me, that was that’s the biggest turn on when those passion levels are hot.

Laurie Watson 24:17
Yeah, so you have time together. You’re spending time together. And I mean, you certainly described the wedding and that’s such a romantic time for many, many couples and there’s dancing, there’s little alcohol. And you have this other time that set aside, right, it’s you’re just going to go to a hotel where there’s no distractions, there’s no responsibilities, there’s no children, you can kind of anticipate sexual leisure. And, and all of that kind of makes you feel turned on and erotic and like this, this would be high passion. Yep, that’s great. Okay, what are your three most important expectations in bed,

George Faller 24:59
just the You need more than that.

Laurie Watson 25:04
I’ll take the first the first three that came to mind. You don’t even have to rank them that just as you listen to that question, whatever you feel,

George Faller 25:13
I would say openness to do new things. I would say openness to do new things, and openness to new things.

Laurie Watson 25:28
Okay, so that’s it. Okay. Just have one you can have just one. So that is really I

George Faller 25:34
think the expect expectations would be more towards different. Will she let me go down on her will she go down on me? Right, will we have different positions? Will that would be more of what I’m talking about with openness.

Laurie Watson 25:53
But, but that’s clearly important. I think what I love about your answer is You know, for me, I don’t care. I don’t care what their three most important things are. I really believe in people that what’s what is deeply important to them is going to come forward in the conversation. And so this is a great joke, having him answer it the same way three times. But you can tell you know, this is super important to this guy that, that openness from her. It’s not just specific, maybe it leads to his curiosity about what’s going to happen, which sex acts are are going to happen in bed. But it’s her openness that is paramount to him. And do you think your wife knows that? Have you shared this with her that that’s your most important if you could pick one thing which you only know now, since you’ve told me you only have one thing? Do you think she knows? Yeah,

George Faller 26:49
I’m not sure. I mean, I’ve communicated the information but the way you’re asking a question, it’s feeling a little bit differently now. So I’m not sure I’ve said it. I sent it to you.

Laurie Watson 27:01
So again, what I’m looking for it’s has he said it vulnerably to her? Has he offered this? So

George Faller 27:08
let me answer that question. No, I have not. I’ve said it in frustration, a criticism, and not in a more vulnerable.

Laurie Watson 27:16
Yeah. So we just offer you these questions as a way to start the conversation. You can see that with one person, there’s a lot of thoughts that as a sex therapist go through my mind, and I know it’s a difficult conversation. My husband and I had a conversation recently and I asked him something and he kind of went blank and, and I did say, George, just what you said, you know, that’s okay. You’re right where you’re supposed to be or I said something like that. I was very encouraging. And then he said, I think the dog needs a walk.

George Faller 27:50
Well, we got more questions for the next episode, and I think it’d be fun to switch it around. Now is asking a question on

27:59
the clip. Okay, okay next next week.

George Faller 28:02
All right, thanks for listening to for play radio

28:05
keep it hot.

Laurie Watson 28:07
For those of you who are listening today, we are also going to send out some free over lubed those of you who sponsor us on our Patreon page, find a link on foreplay radio sex therapy.com or foreplay rst calm and we are so thankful for your support and foreplay family I want you to know we had our highest download day ever. Thanks to you. Our downloads are just increasing by leaps and bounds. We are so grateful for your sharing thank you again definitely subscribe that helps our rankings in iTunes which is important for us

Announcer 28:41
calling your questions to the foreplay question voicemail dial 833 my four play that’s a three three, the number four play, and we’ll use the questions for our mailbag episodes. All content is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for therapy by a licensed clinician or as medical advice from a doctor.

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