You are currently viewing Episode 268: Sex on the Table: How to Respond to a Pursuer’s Request

Episode 268: Sex on the Table: How to Respond to a Pursuer’s Request

When sexual pursuers make attempts to initiate sex, they are coming from a good place– but their method of delivery may not be the best.
When their attempts are not reciprocated by the withdrawer, they can feel rejection, hurt, and anger. This is a major dilemma. Pursuers can come across as being critical of their partner if they don’t approach it in the right way. A soft or playful approach is best, and being vulnerable is key for both partners!
If the pursuer is brave enough to initiate the conversations, withdrawers need to respond better by matching their partner’s mood. But withdrawers also need affirmation in these conversations – How can sexual pursuers represent themselves and express their sexual needs without pressuring their partner? How can withdrawers listen to their partner and express their own feelings? Listen as George and Laurie keep going back to the drawing board in a roleplay.


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

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

George Faller 00:11
And I’m George Faller, couples therapist,

Laurie Watson 00:13
and we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other.

George Faller 00:19
Our mission is to help our audience develop a healthier relationship to sex that integrates the mind, the heart and the body.

Laurie Watson 00:28
For a great personal lubricant, please check out and use the coupon foreplay to support us at the podcast. Thanks. Hey, G. Hey, how you feeling?

George Faller 00:42
I’m doing all right. Oh, really? Yeah. No big deal.

Laurie Watson 00:46
No big deal. I’m gonna tell our listeners what’s going on with you.

George Faller 00:50
Yeah, my son. Working out with his friend gave my whole family COVID it was.

Laurie Watson 00:57
Oof. And everybody’s recovered. But you?

George Faller 01:01
Yeah, it was. Thank God. It wasn’t too bad. A couple days and symptoms and everyone seemed to recover. Except me. I got a lingering cough. So listen is forgive my cough if it comes.

Laurie Watson 01:15
I’m just glad you’re doing okay.

George Faller 01:17
Me too. I mean, all these months of being careful and pretty strict. And that one little mess up and boom, I saw quick it happens.

Laurie Watson 01:24
Hmm, that is true. You guys got to be careful out there. Well, we got lots for you today. But I wanted to thank the people who have been leaving reviews. Somebody just left one it says a life changer. I recently got into podcasts and happened to come across this podcast. And I can’t believe I lived without it before. I’ve especially loved the episode about being intimate with a hot tempered man, and would love to explore that topic some more. This podcast is fun and comfortable. Thank you. Wait, I have one more comment about that hot temper man episode and I’m going to read it to you Gee, it says Whoa, George just listened to the hot tempered guy podcast. That last little bit. Wow. Let’s take a jackhammer to the foundation of the house Oscar worthy. So he Yeah, he really

George Faller 02:15
remember the episode.

Laurie Watson 02:18
We were talking about the hot tempered guy and how that shuts down sex. Right?

George Faller 02:22
Anger, not the biggest turn on right?

Laurie Watson 02:24
Anger is not the biggest turn for safety, lack of safety. So this is all on you, George, this how the sexual pursuer represents himself and keeps, you know, their own sexual needs alive and how they should talk to their partner about this? How do we do that without making the partner feel pressured and causing the negative cycle to happen? You know, how do we say, Hey, this is what I like, this is what I need and not let that die even if our partner is maybe not so interested in all of those things. You got some

George Faller 03:01
more inside me coming out? When you say it’s all on me? And I want to go away? So I’m not sure I have all the answers to this question. It’s a dilemma. Right? When people find themselves stuck in a negative cycle, they’re stuck in dilemma, their options aren’t great. So does a pursuer say something, which makes them feel like there’s a chance things are gonna change, but it comes across as being critical and shuts their partner down? Or do they say nothing at all, which means nothing’s going to change and they sit and fester in that kind of resentment. And those are not two great options. So we’re gonna get people out of a dilemma, we have to really be able to come up with a different move. And most of the time that different move involves both people, right to change a feedback loop, you got to get both people to do things a little bit differently. But I think the biggest part that we’re focusing on with these sexual pursuers is to just be really explicit about their process. They know their partner’s sensitive to criticism. So they, they really got to have a lot of affirmation in the feedback in the kind of trying to talk about these conversations, you know, and

Laurie Watson 04:11
they got to make it really soft and vulnerable, so that their partner hears that part of themselves. You know, the longing, the wishing, without the disappointment,

George Faller 04:24
right. And if they’re doing that in a way that holds in mind the partner, it’s a lot easier if a department hear it. So if I’m speaking to you, and I’m saying, I so like the direction we’re going that we’re getting better and better at talking about things that, you know, that does make me so hopeful. And, you know, the last thing I want to do is every time these conversations come up that you get the message, you’re doing something wrong, and I’m really working on how to do that differently. And I’m also trying to do that in a way that stays true to like I could still be myself and share myself with you. I’m trying to find That balance that’s better than the way I’ve done it in the past.

Laurie Watson 05:04
Yeah, I do like what you are saying, it feels soft enough to me to I don’t feel defensive if I’m pretending to roleplay. And I mean, it’s always a billion times easier in a roleplay. But as a sexual pursuer, right, I can feel the desire to go further than that, you know, like, but I want to tell you, X, Y, and Z about what I think about and what I fantasize about. And I somehow or another, want some joy and excitement in you not necessarily signing on the dotted line, that that’s what we’re going to do, but I need some resonance within my partner. You know, I get that I get how exciting that is to you. So how can you can you do that? Can you make that palatable?

George Faller 05:49
I think there’s a lot to be said with getting the with Jorah to have more agency here, right, more control over the outcome, that they’re not just waiting for the criticism that they can be a little bit more proactive. Like, normally, when I work with a couple, I try to get that withdrawal to be the one initiating the conversation, saying, hey, can one time this week, you bring up the conversation, you kind of ask your partners kind of what’s going on, there’s something about seeing the opportunity, and and bringing it up that feels different than just waiting for it to happen.

Laurie Watson 06:23
I agree. One of the things I tell my withdrawal bars is, are you going to have the conversation? And they say, Yep, I’m going to have the conversation. I said, if you’re going to have the conversation anyway, bring it up yourself. Because then your partner your pursuing partner feels like not forgotten feels like you’re remembering it, you’re holding it in your mind. And they will feel better. Or they

George Faller 06:49
might have to exaggerate right, they might have to put an exclamation point on it. Because a lot of times pursuers don’t remember the stakes. So I like whether which was like Hello, are bringing up sex? You can see I’m talking about it. I do do this sometimes. What do you think? Like, it’s trying to let them have a bit of fun with this. But that that’s why you need to withdraw it to be part of this change. Right? Otherwise, they fall back into that positions.

Laurie Watson 07:14
You know, as we’ve been sorting out sex and emotions and thinking about what we’re teaching in our classes, you’ve brought up that this, that the sexual withdraw has to make a behavioral change. And I’ve thought about this for the last couple of days since I talked to you. But doesn’t the emotional withdraw also have to make a behavioral change? You know, you were saying no, they just need to share their emotions. And it’s so easy because these two people love each other. Whereas It’s, uh, you know, maybe one person doesn’t want sex or doesn’t want as much sex and so that becomes behavioral. But if I’m the emotional withdraw, and maybe this is just splitting hairs, you guys, but if I’m the emotional withdraw, and I have to reassure my partner of my love, I have to use words. I have to do something. It’s still behavioral. George.

George Faller 08:05
Absolutely. I don’t remember the conversation. But you know, you were in COVID Fogg, corrective emotional experience comes about through a behavior, you have to be responsive, that response has to be put into action. A lot of times, it’s not words, it’s not hug. It’s the physical, it’s the, you know, empathy in the eyes. It’s, it’s being impacted by your partner’s pain. It’s two people coming together and joining in that spot of vulnerability. So it’s certainly a behavior.

Laurie Watson 08:36
Yeah. And isn’t it the same thing though? I guess it is slightly different sexually because the sexual withdraw or has to make a move. Right, they have to come forward in some way not necessarily. Even initiating sex but like you mentioned, initiating a conversation about sex would be great.

George Faller 08:56
I think the sexual which are could come forward and could engage behaviorally around that partner’s vulnerability of what it feels like to be rejected to be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t desire them. But ultimately, that the block around cannot withdraw access their own desire. Right. It’s that that’s part of the work.

Laurie Watson 09:18
Yeah, I think that’s the biggest part for the sexual withdrawal. It’s, it’s not enough to just do it. I mean, they have to get in touch with the erotic self, they have to explore some eroticism inside. I mean, without that complete block, if they have a complete block, you know, it’s never going to be satisfying to their partner.

George Faller 09:40
And that’s the same thing you know, that emotional which are is doing right, they don’t want to access their fears. They don’t want to touch these parts of themselves. They don’t want to do the work because they haven’t had success, right. And we’re trying to get them to notice these parts of themselves and be more responsive to themselves and fight for themselves in different way because they deserve that. With a sexual withdraw,

Laurie Watson 10:02
I agree they deserve to have an erotic life themselves, life is so much better with sex with touch with that spicy part being alive,

George Faller 10:13
right? Why settle for poor sex or no sex, when there are tangible things that you can do to change that. And that’s the frustration of Brazil, that they they know there are simple things that could happen. And when they don’t happen, it kind of leaves them in this resentful, frustrated place. Right. So the withdrawal also give him permission for that like to not get so caught up in their own sense of failure, criticism of pressure, to keep that focus on that partner be walking his shoes a little bit, just feel what it’s like, when you just want something to change that’s coming from a good place, you want better sex, you want more engagement, right? It’s the pursuit as a coming from a great place. It’s just that method of delivering it doesn’t work. So well given that cycle. So both both sides got to kind of change how they, how they approach each other here.

Laurie Watson 11:05
pursuers you know, they are presenting to their partner a plan for more excitement between them. I mean, it’s, it’s an adventure and so they, they are brave enough to initiate they’re vulnerable enough to initiate usually in the face of having been rejected quite a bit. So it’s Valentine’s Day coming up, and I saw on Facebook, I get the manscaped adds to my Facebook, and there was like the little manscape or the lawn mower. In this box with rose petals. I thought it was really cute. But Valentine’s Day would be a perfect gift right to buy our husbands and male partners the perfect package 3.0 so that they can be well groomed,

George Faller 11:48
exactly more men are are doing this and I realized Cosmo magazine just published her research that 69% of men trim their pubes. So if you’re reluctant and you think, hey, mate, my partner’s not gonna like it, chances are they do.

Laurie Watson 12:04
Chances are, chances are they do. And certainly you can get in the package the lawnmower, they have all kinds of other grooming things that are really high class stuff, a weed whacker, which is like, you can trim your nose and ear hairs. Please do that. And they have crank cologne. I do love their clone of the refined smell so good. They gave us a new package in their black bottle. It’s beautiful. And I’m really picky about that kind of stuff, you guys so definitely good. But there’s a lot of fun things. I think the funniest thing that they offer is this little piece of pretend newspaper so that when you trim, the hair falls onto that knot onto the floor so you can clean it really quickly. I think that’s hilarious. The Magic mat with the coupon foreplay that supports us at the podcast. Thanks so much. I got a G spot

George Faller 13:00
is a sentimental one. Why don’t we close our eyes where we sleep when we cry when we imagine when we kiss when we pray. Because the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen with your eyes. It must be felt with your hearts.

Laurie Watson 13:17
And another perfect gift for Valentine’s Day would be Uber lube. Right a beautiful bottle of that at Uber lube calm and you get 10% off with that. If you want to have a great Valentine’s Day unit need to order this perhaps a little bit early so that it gets to you right now. This is the week to order it if you want it before Valentine’s Day for sure.

George Faller 13:37
Otherwise, you’re gonna have to pay for that rush delivery.

Laurie Watson 13:40
And it’s silicone based doesn’t stain anything, doesn’t create any allergies, tastes free and scent free. And so you can use it in all kinds of different situations we suggest definitely use it right at the beginning of a sexual experience. I had a woman who said sometimes he touches me dry I’m like, Oh my goodness, you know, you need to just put this on yourself really quickly. So Uber with the coupon foreplay for Valentine’s Day to make it really slick.

George Faller 14:12
A little squirt a Debs doesn’t just work for her. works pretty well for him too. So

Laurie Watson 14:16
right makes him feel better as well. Absolutely. So coming back, George to our topic of how the sexual pursuer is representing the self and their sexual needs and not pressuring their partner. Oh, it’s so tough to think about this as a therapist and as a person. Yeah.

George Faller 14:44
Because certainly and I so enjoy just saying that. You know, when partners can be that real and share the bind that they’re in the struggle that they’re having, right, that’s being present that says, You know, I really do need to speak my truth and I want to do that in a way that I You and doesn’t make you feel bad. And I’m having a hard time figuring out how to do that, again, the more they’re thinking about that balance that’s holding their need to stand up for themselves in a way that also is trying to protect their partner. You know, to put both of those things out there, I just think it makes it so much easier for the partner to hear that.

Laurie Watson 15:21
It’s the conscious recognition that talking about this even can cause our partner to go into shut down and withdraw or freeze or feel blamed or feel inadequate in some way. Just being conscious as we talk about and saying that out loud. And then yet talking about the longing that we might have to go further sexually.

George Faller 15:48
I’m a big fan of just trying to when something comes up, try to get it out there in a playful way. Because I think the problem with so many sexual pursuers is they don’t want to hurt that partner. So they they stay silent. And as they remain silent, that’s where the resentment starts to brew. And is there resentment bruise. Now by the time it comes out, you know, they are so negative and angry and frustrated that even if they try to put a spin on it, that vibe is still pretty negative. So I do think the key is to kind of, is to communicate it before that kind of long process takes over.

Laurie Watson 16:26
Communicate it early, as they feel it instead of holding it inside and letting it build to kind of a boiling point.

George Faller 16:35
That maybe mean you can roleplay it, it’s like what would it look like early if, if I’m playing Joe, who’s a sexual pursuer? And you know, I’m passing my partner in the house and, you know, my brain goes to a place I think it would be great to have sex on a table right now. And just like that, that fantasy comes over, you know, chances are if I say that out loud, you know, my partner’s not in a mood, they’re in the middle of doing their things. It’s and it feels a little like criticism, because now I’m asking them something that they’re gonna say no to. Right. So chances are, if I know that I’m not gonna say anything, and then all of a sudden I kind of that’s these little hurts that happened that start to build that resentment. Right. So how could I say that in a playful way that says, hey, Laurie, you know, I know this isn’t realistic at all. But this idea of having sex on a table, that’s what my brain just kind of went for a moment.

Laurie Watson 17:34
Yeah. So am I role playing?

George Faller 17:37
Yes. Joe is married to Lori here in relationship.

Laurie Watson 17:43
So am I doing a good one or a bad one?

George Faller 17:46
do both? Let’s see if we can see the difference helpful.

Laurie Watson 17:51
All you ever think about is sex. I mean, God, it’s the middle of the day that kids are home. Are you freaking kidding me? Ouch. I’m hurting you.

George Faller 18:02
Yeah, I mean, I just gotta go right to anger, right? That’s gonna go right to Yeah, cuz you never think about sex. That’s the problem here. You know, I never bring it up. It’d be okay, if we never had sex. Just that that’s, that’s exactly what’s so wild. It’s and every time that happens is training both of us to continue doing the same that you’re going to be more defensive next time. I’m going to be more angry next time. Right. So we got to find a way of stepping out of that. Okay,

Laurie Watson 18:27
so let’s talk about sex on the table. Again, you go. I’ll try to be good this time.

So I’m your Chow.

George Faller 18:38
Right? I’m doing it the same way. I mean, I was trying to do

Laurie Watson 18:41
it. No, no, that was good. I could

George Faller 18:42
do it in a in a, you know, in critical way. But you know, so. Yeah, you know, this. And I was walking down the stairs and kind of you were kind of doing your thing there on a computer on the table. And like, my brain just went to how cool would it be to put that computer down and just throw you up on a table. And I get that’s not realistic, or we’re not doing that, but it’s just I want to let you it I just, I think you’re attractive. And it’s, it was just fun for me to think about that.

Laurie Watson 19:14
Okay, I’m taking a deep breath. And I, I know you find me attractive and that I really do think is super reassuring. You know, and I love that, you know, you want me that. That feels really good. Like, there’s, there’s this part of me when you say it, that just kind of like clenches and I don’t want to be like that with you. But I can feel it in my stomach. Just it’s I don’t know, it’s like it gets tight. And you know, I wish everything in me could be as free and uninhibited as that, that I could meet you there at some point. And maybe I can get there. I want to be able to get there sometime. I just how can I What can I do? What can I say I you know I love you. You know I think you’re attractive. It’s like My brain just doesn’t quite move that fast. And, you know, I want you to tell me though, I want you to tell me the things inside that you think about because I want us to work on this, and I need your energy. I mean, I, because my brain is not working that way, I definitely need your sexual energy in this relationship and in this equation, you know, without it, we’re just not going to have any movement. And I know that I don’t have the testosterone, I get that. So okay, so can I give you a hug? I don’t know if I can do it on the table right now.

George Faller 20:34
So much fun that Judy’s role plays, because they’re less theoretical. And they’re more of a bottom up process. You know, so what I have coming up for me, and again, there’s no right or wrong, did you feel trying the best we can, that whoever initiates the conversation, the emotion that delivering and then if their partner can meet them, and that emotion, there’s a better chance of having connection. So I was in a positive emotion of the fantasy and something playful, so to have a serious conversation about, you know, not being able to breathe and get it wrong, and you know, you still love me, it’s like, what? Like, it still feels to my nervous system, like, like, it’s not what it’s looking for. And again, you might not be able to get there. But for you to actually make a joke and say something like, yeah, who knows, maybe, maybe next week, we could actually do that. I didn’t laugh at it or something like that, like that. Even though we’re not doing it that that meeting me in that fantasy in a playful way? It’s kind of what I’m looking for. So you need to how realistic that is.

Laurie Watson 21:34
Yeah, you needed a match in terms of energy and play, like you needed a tone match. match exactly. And she was

George Faller 21:44
I don’t want this to always be serious. You know, these conversations are two series. Every time I bring it up, there’s like this deep conversation around pressure and rejection. And like, sometimes that’s important. But sometimes I’m really just looking to laugh, I’m just looking to be playful, then not have it go anyway, they just kind of connect for a second and say, Yeah, that would be pretty cool. But I think you would be on the bottom of the table, I’d be on top it’s like something like like that, that just kind of we both laugh and they go about our day would I think be so healthy for both of us to just have some success around these conversations

Laurie Watson 22:17
under the table, we can make a fort with blankets, so the children don’t see us. I gotta tell you that what came up for me it just as play acting the sexual withdraw when you told me, you know, you wanted a match, it was like I really as a sexual withdraw was was trying to be as vulnerable as possible, like trying to really tell you what was on the inside of me. And, and I did feel that, Oh, my God, I got it wrong.

George Faller 22:45
I’m feeling which sucks. But that’s why we’re trying to increase the math scores, the percentages here. Right? If I pursue was initiated, initiating a conversation around, feeling rejected, that’s where that that vulnerability, that conversation that you came with is more likely to match and we’re going to connect there. If I’m initiating a conversation from a more positive, energetic, playful place. You know, if you want to connect with me there, it’s trying to tap into that side of you. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 23:17
And I hear this all the time that, you know, sexual pursuers want flirt, they want, flirt back. Even if it’s not sex back. They do want that playful side to be part of the relationship. So I hear that I hear that a lot. I think you’re right on with maybe what this guy was wanting. Okay, let’s do that. One more time. I’ll flirt back.

George Faller 23:40
All right. So I’m coming down says hey, you’re looking good on our computer. Just let you in real quick. I mean, I had this this this fantasy in my head real quick. I know we’re not doing it. It’s no big deal. But I just figured I’d let you in because we’re trying to kind of be more direct with each other like just kind of right now. I see you on top of that table mean you haven’t some fun. That’s it kind of gives me a rush

Laurie Watson 24:05
meet you here at midnight, baby. After the kids are in bed, how’s that? Now that’s too much. That’s too much. Way too much

George Faller 24:18
to listen to this podcast.

Laurie Watson 24:22
Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. The Pursuit? What? What would I say? More flirt, more flirt from you, I think would have worked like it was it was too tentative.

George Faller 24:37
And that’s the the pursuers have been shot down so many times.

Laurie Watson 24:40
I know it. Oh my god, I know it. Yes. Yes. I hear that all

George Faller 24:46
every day. We gotta you gotta breathe, like flickering that flame. You know, if you want more of it as a witch, you’re the kind of playful kind of we got to have some success with it.

Mm hmm.

George Faller 24:59
So what was be wrong, we’re just laughing and saying, Hey, you know, who knows, one of these days might happen.

Laurie Watson 25:06
Okay. That would be just teasing and, and frustrating.

George Faller 25:11
No, I think the acknowledgement that it’s okay basically to have that fantasy. Like I’m so expect that I’ve had to see the beat that’s not realistic and be shot down to just say, yeah, that’s cool. Who knows? I got just kind of leaves it lingering.

Laurie Watson 25:28
Okay, one more time. This time I’ll say it again. And I’ll try to come back with with Star flirt.

George Faller 25:36
Hey, my love. I was just kind of walking down the stairs. See you on that computer. I’m just letting you in. Like, I have this kind of quick fantasy, it pops into my brain of closing that computer. Throw you on that table? Me You go to town.

Well, I love it when you come in love. Who knows? You know, I’ll get there. Maybe I’ll get there. I’m working on it. any better?

George Faller 26:03
It’s still working on it. You’re still feeling the pressure of it. Right? Yeah, that, that that idea of just being able to say and again, this is helpful to get clear on like, what is it I’m actually looking for? I’m just looking for you to say it’s okay to have that fantasy. It’s not wrong. Because it’s putting pressure on you.

Laurie Watson 26:24
You’re not an actual creator.

George Faller 26:27
freak. I’m not doing something wrong. I’m not trying to be on a table,

Laurie Watson 26:30
like crying out loud. I mean, the table is hardly a freaky fantasy, but okay. Go ahead. Why’d you keep talking? Sorry. Just bear that in there?

George Faller 26:42
No, again, we’re inviting all our listeners to, you know, let’s not just assume we know, we actually got to practice these compensations, we got to get in the reps. You know, as we did a couple scenarios here, I felt myself getting clear on kind of what it is that I want. You know, when I come down that says that I’m saying them, I’m not even sure what I’m looking for. Right. But as we kept kind of going over and over, I kind of started to become more clear, I really, I just want to hear that. It’s okay, and fun to do that. And we’re not going to have sex on the table, I realized that. Not that I’d be against that if you want to write but just kind of have you say, you know, that’s kind of cool. Thank you for sharing. Like, that’s what I’m looking for as unrealistic as it might be at times, especially given how it lands. But the more that you have that target and you’re working towards them, the more likely we can have connection around these conversations.

Laurie Watson 27:37
It’s like you want it to go in somehow or another and be received. Yeah, I mean, I hate it. I had to make the obvious but right. It’s it’s penetration and reception that connects.

George Faller 27:51
I don’t for me, it’s just want to know that. That’s okay. like to have you join me in that to be like, that would be fun. It could be fun for you to fantasy, and fun for me. Even if we never act on it. I’m still connecting with you in that moment. Instead of feeling like I got to keep it to myself, because you don’t really want it and now I’m angry at you like what I do with that fantasy, either sharing it and have success or keeping it to myself and feeling resentful. It really makes a big difference in kind of which direction we go.

Laurie Watson 28:30
Yeah, yeah. And if you’re a sexual withdrawal or trying to heal this issue between the two of you, meeting your partner, sometimes with tone and some sort of playfulness can help them feel understood can help them feel contained can help them feel like their joy and excitement about sex is a good thing that they’re bringing to the partnerships. Okay, on the kitchen table, thanks for listening.

George Faller 29:01
Keep it hot y’all.

Announcer 29:04
calling your questions to the foreplay question, voicemail, dial 833 my four play that’s 833 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. This podcast is copyrighted by Foreplay Media.