Show Transcript for Episode 246: Ask a Sexual Question and Get “I don’t know” For An Answer – What to Do?

Announcer 00:00
The following content is not suitable for children.

Laurie Watson 00:02
George, we’re going to talk today about how to ask the sexual withdraw our questions that they might just answer.

George Faller 00:08
I can’t wait to hear.

Laurie Watson 00:13
Welcome to foreplay radio couples in sex therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

George Faller 00:18
And I’m George Faller, a couples therapist,

Laurie Watson 00:21
and we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other.

George Faller 00:26
Our mission is to help our audience develop a healthier relationship to sex that integrates the mind, the heart and the body.

Laurie Watson 00:36
Just as we began, please remember to check out Uber lube it really calm is where you can get this great lubricant and help support foreplay radio. I’ve got this client who I’m going to call them D and Damian, and he really wants more variety in their sex life. He’s all about breadth of what you want to you know what he wants to do in bed and I really I think she’s about depth. I think that she’s inviting him into an intimate place that he’s, he can’t quite get the vision for yet but she listens to podcast. And apparently she listened to the vibrator episode. And so she she tells him she wants to buy a vibrator. And, of course she buys one and never gets out. So what do you think he wants to ask her?

George Faller 01:30
A whole lot of questions about that vibrator, why how when she bought it, why does she listen to Laurie and not to me? Sure, there was a whole list of questions.

Laurie Watson 01:41
Right. And just as you say that, why does she listen to Laurie and not to me? That’s that’s a great question because I think it is an example of how our frustration with our partner kind of gets in the way of curiosity. The problem I think with any withdrawal, but certainly with a sexual with jar is The way we ask the question lacks curiosity. So our partner feels our agenda and they shut down. And I mean, I think he wants to say, you know, why haven’t we used it? Which of course this is

George Faller 02:15
a judgment not a not a curiosity,

Laurie Watson 02:18
right. It’s a judgment. Exactly. And what’s the pursuer

George Faller 02:21
has good reasons for it. It is pretty frustrating when you’ve tried and tried and tried and got rejected, rejected rejected and then all of a sudden Here comes Laurie, this and she says you should try this and all of a sudden that works. It’s like are you kidding me? Have to start sounding like Laurie to get something through you.

Laurie Watson 02:42
That is true.

George Faller 02:45
What I love what you say because it it is the difference between judgment and curiosity is all the difference between making a nervous system more receptive than not receptive?

Laurie Watson 02:57
right if you feel that judgment, I mean I’ll already be on edge. And if I’m on edge, I’m shut down. I’m certainly not sexual, right? I mean, this cannot be a sexy conversation if I feel on edge. And so when he says, Why aren’t we ever using it? Like, suddenly I’m Tongue Tied? I have no answers. And I wanted him to ask questions like, tell me when you listen to Laurie, what made you rethink vibrators? I mean, just kind of an open ended question. Start at the beginning with some real curiosity instead of instead of some frustration or you know how you thinking a vibrator would help you or help us. I mean, she knows that he’s favorable. So it’s not like he’s defensive about a vibrator. But it would be interesting I think to him to understand the way her mind works, but I think he he and most sexual pursuers we narrow it down to something that we want And then our partner doesn’t kind of open up about all the nuances and the corners of their mind that they’re feeling about this issue.

George Faller 04:11
Right? So the all the sexual pursuers now, if they work so hard so they listen to this and they’re like, how can I say it? I think that’s what puts some of the pressure on they rehearse it and they try to be so delicate with a message and a you know, and that is frustrating when you’re working so hard and you’re constantly getting blown off. But I love this spirit of it. It’s like they put pursue is put this pressure on themselves before it even goes to their partner. Right? So it’s hard to do all this inner work with yourself and all this pressure. How should I say what’s the best way? Sound like Laurie like you could see the wheels spinning like Laurie and that vibe that spills over into the question. So I think I want to backtrack, I said that

Laurie Watson 04:51
anxiety is

George Faller 04:52
that anxiety, right? So how do you get that sexual pursuer to even acknowledge their own pushing Because that is the vibe that’s going to get sent. So it’s not not trying to say it perfectly. But I think it starts with how do I kind of, like get some relief valve for my own inner world? Mm hmm. That makes any sense. He does. How do you do that? So good question. I think it’s just, it’s the mindfulness of noticing and naming that pushing energy that allows you to then go to whatever your strategies, it might be. May I might make a joke to myself. That’s a nice way of kind of letting off some, some energy. I might say a quick prayer, I might focus on my breathing. I might, you know, that first step before I can get to that open question. Mm hmm. Right. So let’s

05:48
play with it. Mm hmm. I might have a glass of wine. All right.

Laurie Watson 05:54
Before I start a conversation like this, just to feel a little relaxed and Not so uptight because I can I can feel it inside me. Just thinking about this having a conversation as a sexual pursuer. You know, I have all kinds of questions, but I think I too tend to narrow them instead of making them really open. Right. And I wanted to talk about before we roleplay, which we’re going to do right after the break, I wanted to talk about some questions that are really typical that sexual pursuers ask and maybe give them a better way to do it. Okay. So, number one is, you know, what are your sexual fantasies and as a sexual withdrawal, or I think people absolutely freeze with that question. Maybe a better way to say it would be you know, asking them a memory memories are sometimes safe, or just a time. You know, like, can you tell me about one time that you felt really excited or exhilarated during sex because it gives them something to focus Focus on versus this hugely open ended question. What are my sexual fantasies? I don’t know. I’m and you know, I’m not going to tell you.

George Faller 07:11
Yeah, I find effective it’s as a therapist, right? engage kids in therapy, right questions don’t work so well. You got to get much more creative. So it’s very similar with sexual which are ours. If you’re just going to ask, you know, what is your sexual fantasy? Or you can just feel them freezing. And sometimes it’s easy to to talk about your own fantasy, right or tell a story or make a joke, right? All these a different ways of just trying to to lighten the mood and to get that shift from judgment serious to curious, not knowing I think that not knowing is what’s so key.

Laurie Watson 07:52
Mm hmm. You mean the not knowing? For the sexual pursuer

George Faller 07:56
for both to not know the answer to the question? That’s what makes In an exploration, if I don’t know about your fantasy life, Mm hmm. And I try to talk about mine, but you don’t seem to be so interested. So you can’t really know mine. We’re starting from that point of really not knowing. So my first question is, what is your fantasy life? You know, I’m assuming that you know, it’s and you’re just withholding it from me. Mm hmm. Right.

08:24
I don’t know.

George Faller 08:25
Right? I don’t know. We’re we’re dead in our waters to sentence into this conversation. It’s so that’s likely to happen if I know you’re likely to not know and hear my question is an accusation. That creativity I might have a better success said hey, I don’t really know. You know, we don’t normally talk about this stuff. Would it be okay if I explored my fantasies with you? I think a lot of times it’s it’s easy for the majority to be in a more passive role in this exchange, then being put right in the spotlight.

Laurie Watson 08:59
That is true. Yeah, that is true. Sexual pursuers often tend to tell a little bit more do you think they fantasize about? What would we do though, if that’s been shot down? You know, they, they have shared this, that and the other thing, and their partner doesn’t like that. Yeah, can can kind of edit and maybe deny certain things that you know, that doesn’t sound interesting. That doesn’t sound interesting, but is having difficulty coming up with what does sound interesting to them or what does turn them on?

George Faller 09:34
Right? I think that’s the million dollar question that Laurie. How do you get somebody who can’t force somebody to do it at all a pursuer can do which is hard work is to just keep trying to take ownership for their side of the equation, which is the pressure that they could be putting on and trying to kind of reduce that and send it over a more playful open. You know, a pursuer has to know their own heart. are they sending a message loaded with pressure? are they sending a message that’s a little bit more open ended. But yeah, it’s really hard when and you’re working so hard to send in an open way and it just gets dismissed and pushed aside. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 10:17
Absolutely. Another question I’m just gonna throw them out is how do you like to be touched? I hear sexual pursuers asked that one all the time. And what they get back is, I don’t know.

George Faller 10:30
Picking up a theme here. I don’t know. We’ll get it. I don’t know the second half because it’s a it’s a great answer. It’s such a good answer. It’s such a good answer.

Laurie Watson 10:42
It’s such a great answer. Again, I I think on this one, if they could ask it just a little more specifically, like Tell me one touch one stroke that I do that feels good to you. You know, they’re looking for a tiny win. Because sometimes they when they’re asking, How do you like to be touched? I think The sexual pursuer is actually saying, reassure me that I’m a good lover. Yeah, kind of the agenda. So they don’t bring the curiosity. They’re they’re not necessarily open to that they’re, they’re looking for something that says it’s gonna be okay between us.

George Faller 11:14
Yeah. I think I like the playfulness. So if I want to know if my wife likes her feet, rubbed, that she’s touching my feet. And I say, I feel so great. You know what I want to try that on you? lets you know that that kind of just in the moment when you don’t get a lot of chance to rehearse, right, but again, that pursue and leading with telling them that you’re doing something right that something feels really good. They’re starting with their experience. If I start with my experience, it’s a lot easier, which then kind of lean into their experience than the spotlight being turned right on. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 11:54
And I’m just going to give you a bonus for working on this podcast, which is all women like their feet rub So

George Faller 12:02
that’s, that’s just a bonus tip. I thought I finally had a question I could answer. Yes. All right.

Laurie Watson 12:11
Or another good one.

George Faller 12:12
No, that take a look. That’s good. If you know the answer is yes. Ask it anyway, that way to get success with the question. There you go. That’s the I think we’re done with this podcast that’s dealt with. That’s a good one. That’s a keeper.

Laurie Watson 12:29
Okay, well, let’s come back and talk some more about I don’t know. We are grateful to Uber lube for still sponsoring us. This is a fantastic lube. If you haven’t tried it yet. Please check it out at Uber lube calm with the coupon for play, which gives you 10% off I keep forgetting to tell people that they can support us and they can try this great lubrication, which is really it’s made out of a high grade silicone and, you know, I do Have ratings on lubrications just in my work and silicone doesn’t get absorbed into the body so it it really provides smooth, touch, smooth and of course a great glide. It’s scent free it is taste free so you can switch from foreplay to oral sex to intercourse with no problem.

George Faller 13:20
Well, if you use an Uber lube to enhance or relax your body, then it’s just that much easier to open up your mind and expand your heart

Laurie Watson 13:27
and having something fun that makes sex even better. I would love for you to try Uber lube, support the foreplay podcast and save 10% off your order when you use the coupon code for play at Uber lube.com. Done to Facebook Lives for our patrons, George and we try to do that once a quarter we try to send newsletters and give exclusive material. But it’s really we are grateful for people who believe in our mission to help couples keep it hot and help them Form people and help them talk about sex, help them get better at their sexual relationship.

George Faller 14:05
Right in partnering with us is it’s really an honor to know people are joining us on this mission, that this is a an effort to produce and for the listeners to put aside time, and we hope that’s valuable, but when when we joined forces, it’s just a lot easier to get that message out there. So we so appreciate the support both financial and just to make those ratings and to spread the word because our world really needs it.

Laurie Watson 14:35
And we get so many letters from people, not just patrons that are grateful for what we’re doing and say it’s changing their lives. And so if you want to help us change the world, we would appreciate that support. And certainly this is something that our hearts are in and we’ve given a lot to and you can join with us.

George Faller 14:56
Okay excited about talking more about My favorite line? I don’t know. What do you think about that? Laurie?

Laurie Watson 15:06
I think it’s a show stopper. Right? It’s the worst thing that you get from your partner when when you ask them a question and they say, I don’t know, are you like talking to your teenagers? How school? Or what what do you feel about going back to school or not going back to school? I don’t know. It’s a block, right? It’s a total I don’t want to talk to you is what I think. And if it’s about sex, and we ask our partner something specific, it’s, it’s, you know, for me, there’s already courage that’s required and had to get vulnerable to even bring up the tech and to ask and then you get the I don’t know, it’s like, okay, you don’t want to talk about this. Great. I feel so open here and you just shot me down.

15:50
That’s what I think about, I don’t know,

George Faller 15:52
showstopper. So we’re trying to expand on that definition, right, because when a drawer says I don’t know how actually a pretty safe. What in the moment is that? I don’t know, say it’s creating space for them spaces what feels safe? Right? I don’t have to answer the question, which means my answer won’t be judged as wrong. Saying I don’t know is much easier option for them. I get how it’s frustrating for the pursuer, but we’re trying to kind of understand that I don’t know, is actually an emotion with them, that they’re trying to create safety. And most of the time people don’t see the threat of the question that’s causing that answer. I don’t know is also revealing an emerging part of that which are that they normally don’t have words or aren’t so focused in looking at this specific topic, or question

16:47
whether or not I can say that again.

George Faller 16:50
When you you ask me a question, I don’t have the answer to right you’re there. A space is opening up inside of me. That’s revealing something that I’m not really clear about my own inner experience.

Laurie Watson 17:05
So when I say I don’t know, I’m taking time to think it’s a it’s a little pause button.

George Faller 17:11
It’s a little pause button. I but it’s an excited pause button. Because it’s, it’s something that if you don’t have words, it’s an important area. Mm hmm. Like, how do we have like, if a kid doesn’t? If you’re learning a new language, and you don’t have words, are we going to get impatient with you? Because you don’t have words? Like, let’s let’s speak Greek. And all of a sudden, you’re gonna try you don’t have words, and I stopped yelling matches? how effective is that going to be with your learning of Greek?

Laurie Watson 17:41
Not very effective.

George Faller 17:42
Right? So I think the teacher has to be able to say, you know, I have to be patient here. This is a good sign that to say they don’t know, this is an area of their life that they haven’t spent so much time exploring like I have. So I’m just gonna have to take the lead a little bit in this conversation.

Laurie Watson 17:58
So I’ve been thinking about myself. fantasies all day long. And all the things in

George Faller 18:03
vivid detail in color, right

Laurie Watson 18:06
that I want my partner to tell me about. And I’ve also had a lead in the conversation because I’ve been thinking about this conversation. And I say to my partner, tell me about your sexual fantasies and he says, Ah, I don’t know. It’s it’s hitting a nerve and he’s just pausing for a minute because what he might not feel safe What if he tells me something I don’t want to hear. I mean, there could that could bring up all kinds of conflict in him like do I really want to tell her my sexual fantasies?

George Faller 18:37
Do I want to get it wrong? I love how you set that up because this pursuer has really gone into vivid detail with fantasies and how should I share it or what could be my partner’s and spent hours in this spot? The withdrawal is braised. It’s not even on the radar screen at all of a sudden they’re being asked. So tell me your fantasies. Right. And immediately that brain is like oh shit. Right, so it’s that I don’t want to get it wrong. I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I don’t want to feel bad about myself. I’m in trouble. I don’t know the answer. There is a

19:09
lot of sexual fantasies are boring and you don’t like them.

George Faller 19:14
Yeah, I mean, they’re so sensitive to being judged. And this feels like a pretty loaded question that’s likely to lead to that.

Laurie Watson 19:21
Yes, it that is so smart. It is so loaded. And so I don’t know is saying, wait, you know, give me a little space back real space. I

George Faller 19:31
figure out what I’m supposed to say. You know, how much you actually need versus you know, maybe give you a little something that’s enough to settle you down. How do I make you happy here? That’s really a big part of it. Right?

Laurie Watson 19:43
I mean, they’re not necessarily even able, I think to think about what pleases them or what turns them on. They’re so wrapped up in the dynamic between us and them of, you know, I just want you to walk away from this conversation. not angry with me.

George Faller 20:00
Which is why listening to Laurie is so much easier. Because if you’re listening to somebody else you’re not your body’s not in that defensive state, it’s a lot easier to take in information and be curious about it. Right? So when your partner, say, do you want to use a vibrator? How about a vibrator? I bought a vibrator. I can go on Amazon. Now we can look at different types. Right? And that you can see that wife in that scenario like with the brakes on, you know, only sudden she’s driving in a car, here comes Laurie talking about Uber lube and a vibrator. And all of a sudden, what happens? Right her brain is she’s relaxed, it kind of takes in the opportunity. And now she starts kind of exploring it for herself, instead of a byproduct of the performance.

Laurie Watson 20:44
I’m sure you’ve had this happen, George, but that does happen in my room so many times. You know, I’ll make a suggestion and the partner goes, You know, I set out like 500 times. How can Laurie can say and it’s all Okay, now.

George Faller 20:56
That’s right. Yeah, we can validate How frustrating that is. But it makes sense if you’re the withdraw who’s so defended and doesn’t want to get it wrong, and is waiting for criticism to hear the question his criticisms. So that’s really a key challenge here. It’s like how do we pose that question? In a way that feels like an invitation instead of that accusation?

Laurie Watson 21:19
Okay, pose it. Let’s see what happens. So, and you got to give another name, you know, just for the record. When George and I roleplay we I have people write in all the time and say, thank you so much, Laurie, for your vulnerability when you were answering George questions. I’m like, No, no, no. We’re not my answers. They’re parts

George Faller 21:39
of all of us. Right. Well, okay, tap into these places. Yeah. Okay. And that’s a nice range and flexibility when you could understand both the world of what you’re and a pursuer and kind of touch those parts of yourself. Okay, so I’m gonna I’m gonna be the pursuer here.

21:54
Yeah. All right. I’ll be the pursuer.

George Faller 21:57
I’ll be the pursuer. I switch roles here. Are we using a vibrator example? Sure. All right. So, uh, Laura, I was really hoping to get a chance to kind of talk about something I think is really important for our relationship. So, you know, I was thinking a lot about, you know, fantasies and spicing things up and I you know, I think a vibrator would be really great. What do you think about a vibrator?

Laurie Watson 22:21
So is this like the middle of the afternoon? You’re asking me this?

George Faller 22:25
Yeah, why not?

Laurie Watson 22:26
You’ve been thinking about spicing things up. Oh, man. I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about that.

George Faller 22:33
What do you mean you don’t know? I mean, you don’t think about this stuff at all. Okay, I mean, this is

Laurie Watson 22:41
Ralph. I’m gonna call you Ralph. Alright, but this

George Faller 22:43
is part of but this is part of the problem. You don’t really think about these things. Well, no, it’s

Laurie Watson 22:49
this you know what? I got to go pick up the kids and like a half an hour. I just, can we talk about this some other time. I just feel like I I don’t even know what you want for Hear

George Faller 23:00
You always want to talk about nothing? No time right? What is a good time to talk about it?

Laurie Watson 23:07
Well, not in the middle of the afternoon,

George Faller 23:10
right? Whatever.

Laurie Watson 23:14
Now you’re mad.

George Faller 23:16
Let’s so let’s pause again. Look how quickly you went from vibrated to what for you, Laurie? How many messages of getting Iran Did you get from me?

Laurie Watson 23:25
A lot?

George Faller 23:27
like six or seven, six or seven or 30 seconds not bad.

Laurie Watson 23:33
I mean, like you’re you’re asking me you know, I don’t ever think about it. So I’m wrong for not thinking about it. Right? When you’ve been thinking about it all day long and you come into the middle of my day and are telling me I should have been thinking about this. I’m bad. You know, I don’t think about spicing it up. You want to talk about a sex toy in the middle of the afternoon. The kids are going to come home. That probably means you’re turned on and what you’re going to want to do it in five seconds. Before the kids get home, we don’t have time to do it. I mean, I all these things are going through my mind.

George Faller 24:05
Right. So how do we do that differently?

Laurie Watson 24:09
How to be a lot softer did

George Faller 24:10
a little different. same scenario. Middle afternoon, I got to talk about a vibrator.

Laurie Watson 24:15
Yep. Go for it.

George Faller 24:17
Okay. All right. Talk about pressure. All right. So, hey, Laura, I don’t know if this is a good time or not. But I was thinking about something kind of wild and fun. You want to? You want to talk about it. You want to talk about it another time?

Laurie Watson 24:36
Um, I don’t know. I guess it depends on what wilden fund means.

George Faller 24:43
Well, it’s so you want to talk about it. You say?

Laurie Watson 24:50
Go ahead, go ahead route. Tell me what your you’re thinking.

George Faller 24:54
Well, again, it’s I’m just thinking about my own You don’t my brain likes to take about sex lot. It’s usually at weird times.

Laurie Watson 25:05
I do know that about your brain. Yes.

George Faller 25:07
Yeah. And I was just kind of playing with the idea of what about using a vibrator? Oh?

25:19
Well, pitch you think about this.

George Faller 25:21
That’s a great question. It’s so weird. All these things pop into my brain at the weirdest times. Yeah, I don’t know. I just, I was thinking of how important our love make it is and kind of spicing things up. But I just want you to kind of be engaged and excited and not feel all this pressure. So I was thinking, you know, how what are some ways I could not put pressure that’s why they want pressure on this conversation. Right? So it’s not a good time. That’s totally cool. I know you’re gonna pick the kids up and stuff.

Laurie Watson 25:53
I do. We get 20 minutes I suppose. I’m so So you’re saying you thought that it would not put pressure on me to think about a vibrator? I’m not sure I know what you mean there.

George Faller 26:08
I was just thinking about what the ways that we could help you and may just kind of not have to have a routine or have different ways of, you know, thinking outside the box that you could just have. I don’t know if it’s something you’re into or not I thought it would you know, this is really more your your call to just there’s no right or wrong answer I’m looking for. I was just taking now I wonder what Laurie you think about that. Maybe it’d be something she’s into maybe some she totally what it wants to have is your body what what, what you’d like or that?

Laurie Watson 26:41
I guess I would worry that it would just, it would reduce us to mechanics. And I worry about that. Or I worry that it would I don’t know If we do that, then you’re going to want to do all kinds of other things with paraphernalia.

George Faller 27:06
Yeah, well, you probably have a good point. I don’t know I guess maybe it would be an just an idea. It’s not something we have to ask God, I just wanted to just kind of get to know you more and get to see kind of, you know, there part of you that takes home maybe interested, I get to pot that’s cautious and don’t want to raise expectations. So I just appreciate you having this conversation. I actually got to run. Okay, all right. Okay. Good job. Bye.

Laurie Watson 27:38
Okay. Bye.

George Faller 27:41
All right, so I left you with that.

27:44
Geez. I was just starting to open up and that’s

George Faller 27:49
good. I’ll try. I’ll try to leave you with that sense of you wanting more which is a good a good side for conversation.

Laurie Watson 27:55
You were supposed to call me by another name. Yeah, yeah. That was good. It felt you gave me a lot of room. We didn’t have to have the conversation. I kind of liked it that you were you’re backing up. I don’t know that. I liked it when you left me though, because I was really starting to noodle on it and think about it. But I I see your point, you know, you’re trying to say this is not going to be an extended conversation that we’re going to get in a fight over. Right? I can I can talk to you about this a little bit. And I can let it go. And I think that for a lot of withdrawals that would feel really good.

George Faller 28:36
I love my main goal in this conversation is for you to have a little bit of success with the conversation. Just whatever that looks like. Just if you feel a little bit afterwards. I was better than I thought. Mission accomplished.

Laurie Watson 28:50
Mm hmm. That’s good. I like that. Okay, yeah, you definitely accomplished it. That’s because the pursuer bar I was like, wait, we got to talk about this more. Okay, so I hope we’ve given people a sense of what to do when their partner says, I don’t know, especially your sexual withdraw or how to say things a little bit better, and how to let it go and take the pressure off your partner so that they want to come back and they they don’t feel like they’re gonna get in a fight with you.

George Faller 29:26
I don’t know is more than just a show stopper. It’s a doorway. It’s an opportunity into the unknown, but those brave enough to take it.

Laurie Watson 29:35
Thanks for listening to foreplay radio,

George Faller 29:37
keep it hot baby.

Laurie Watson 29:39
And PS please tune in to our Patreon page so that you can catch the next exclusive episode and our next Facebook Live.

George Faller 29:48
We appreciate you joining us to spread this really important message.

Announcer 29:52
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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