You are currently viewing Episode 408: Desire: Initiating v. Responsiveness

Episode 408: Desire: Initiating v. Responsiveness

Since the majority of women are responsive to desire, does that mean all women are sexual withdrawers?” Dr. Laurie says, “Absolutely not!” Join us on the episode as Laurie and George break down the difference between initiating and responsiveness and the pursue/withdraw cycle. How they look similar and how they are different. We discuss underlying needs and tactile ways in which each partner can take risks to deescalate negative cycles and bring more connection to the relationship. Pursuers and withdrawers will feel validated and comforted with the information in today’s episode and walk away with action steps on how to improve their relationship with their spouse. We hope you join us and download and share this episode. Let us know how we’re doing by rating and reviewing our show. Your feedback helps us keep it hot!

Check out our fantastic sponsors!

Dipsea — Develop your erotic mind! Designed by women for women! An app with short, sexy stories to help you get in the mood! Go to for an extended 30 day free trial!

Cozy Earth has the most comfortable, breathable sheets! It is like sleeping on a cloud. Use the code ‘foreplay’ for 35% off site-wide!

Uberlube is our favorite lubricant for great sex! Silky, smooth, and safe! Order it today with the coupon code ‘foreplay’!

Show Notes

Changes in Sexual Connection
– Discuss how sexual connection can change over time in relationships
– Talk about the willingness to explore sexually in the early stages of a relationship
– Mention negative cycles that can impact sexual intimacy in long-term relationships or marriages

Disconnect in Relationships
– Highlight the disconnect where one partner may feel that the other only wants sex and not emotional connection or conversation

Emphasizing Adventure and Sex
– Emphasize that adventure and sex are enjoyable experiences
– Discuss the importance of maintaining a healthy sexual relationship in a long-term partnership

Understanding the Sexual Cycle
– Explain the sexual cycle and the goal of not making the withdrawn partner become a pursuer
– Discuss the importance of the withdrawn partner finding safety when needing space
– Encourage better communication instead of leaving to find their own safety

Emotional Initiating vs. Responsiveness
– Discuss the difference between emotional initiating and responsiveness
– Talk about how secure attachment is indicated by initiating conversations in a relationship
– Explore characteristics of individuals who are more likely to initiate conversations

Initiating Conversations without Triggering
– Highlight the importance of bringing up issues without triggering the partner and causing criticism and anger
– Discuss the need for clear and simple communication without emotional buildup
– Share strategies for initiating conversations in a healthy and considerate manner

Emotional Pursuers and Regulating Anxiety
– Discuss the importance of emotional pursuers regulating their anxiety before communicating with their partner
– Emphasize the need for clear and direct communication without overwhelming emotions
– Suggest practical methods for addressing communication issues, such as going on a walk and checking in for ten minutes

Emotional Self-Awareness
– Talk about the importance of emotional self-awareness in addressing relationship problems
– Discuss focusing on identifying feelings, triggers, and needs instead of getting caught up in emotional turmoil
– Emphasize the need for clear and direct communication using specific examples

The Slumber Party Retreat
– Discuss the women’s sexuality retreat called the Slumber Party
– Share the goal of enhancing and developing one’s erotic self
– Highlight topics covered during the retreat, such as anatomy, physiology, sexual attachment, and sexual pleasure
– Mention other activities like pajama parties and discussions on blocks and barriers to sexual expression

Receptive Desire in Women
– Discuss receptive desire in women and how emotional connection serves as a cue for sexual interest
– Talk about the female brain being triggered by sexual thoughts and cues
– Mention the difference between pursuers and those with an initiating sexual style

Flexibility and Understanding in Relationships
– Encourage listeners to be open-minded and flexible in their relationships
– Mention the importance of understanding oneself and starting somewhere in terms of personal growth
– Discuss the pursue-withdrawal concept in relationships and the role of fight or flight responses

Sharing Vulnerabilities and Flaws
– Talk about the benefits of sharing vulnerabilities and flaws in relationships
– Mention the importance of sharing personal experiences and moments of uncertainty with close friends and partners
– Discuss how sharing these experiences can foster a deeper connection


Joe Davis – Announcer [00:00:00]:

The following content is not suitable for children.

Laurie Watson [00:00:02]:

George a lot of therapists and people ask me, like, well, if women naturally have more responsive desire, does that mean that every woman then is a sexual withdrawal? And I would say, no, absolutely not. That we can have different styles, and it’s different than pursue withdraw, because pursue withdraw is actually a push and a pull that gets tangled up and is kind of dysfunctional. So I want to talk about that the difference.

George Faller [00:00:29]:

Let’s do it.

Laurie Watson [00:00:30]:


Laurie Watson [00:00:33]:

Welcome to foreplay sex therapy.

Laurie Watson [00:00:35]:

I’m Dr. Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

George Faller [00:00:37]:

And I’m George Faller, your couple’s therapist.

Laurie Watson [00:00:40]:

We are here to talk about sex.

George Faller [00:00:42]:

Our mission is to help couples talk about sex in ways that incorporate their body, their mind, and their hearts, and.

Laurie Watson [00:00:50]:

We have a little bit of fun doing it. Right?

George Faller [00:00:52]:

G listen, and let’s change some relationships. Again, we’re always trying to get specific on this podcast, so you got to start off simple, but sometimes that pushes people into boxes that don’t fit so well, right? And then they’re like, does this really resonate with me? I’m not really that, and no, you got to have flexibility. You got to start somewhere. So most of our listeners appreciate the pursue withdrawal because those are the two ways of protecting ourselves, right? Every human on this planet has a fight or flight response, and we all use some of both, but a lot of us are more in one category than the other. We talk a lot about a lot of times there’s an overlap, the emotional cycle. I withdraw because that’s what I do with my emotions, right. But sexually, I pursue, so I can switch roles. Not everybody does it.

George Faller [00:01:39]:

Sometimes people withdraw in both or vice versa. So I think labels can be helpful, but they also can be dangerous. Right. Because if I limit myself to just what this label says, and that’s what I hear you saying, if I’m a receptive person, does that mean I’m a withdrawal? No, not necessarily. There probably is a correlation a lot of the times, but not always. So let’s make that distinction.

Laurie Watson [00:02:06]:

So receptive desire is a more female style of how they participate in the sexual relationship, that they don’t have as much physical push from testosterone. So they kind of do need to be cued by emotional connection. When they spend time with their partner, that kind of gets their juices going and they want to have sex, or they get queued with romance, or they get cued by something clever. Sexually, there’s something that sparks in their brain and says, oh, yeah, oh, sexy versus, I think many more men with higher testosterone, their own body, they kind of wake up thinking about sex. They feel an erection, they have so much more in their body that just tunes them into the sexual world.

George Faller [00:02:56]:

Yes. So if you’re a female and you are receptive and you’re going to put yourself in a situation where your body should do what it does and turns on with the right foreplay and everything else. Yeah, that’s secure attachment, that’s a loving, beautiful thing to do, to be true to yourself and true to your partner. That doesn’t make you a withdrawal because you’re not initiating.

Laurie Watson [00:03:21]:

Right. And so knowing that this is what happens to me and I’m not a sexual withdrawal, I just make it really clear to my partner what I need. It’s like, I know you get prompted for sex a whole lot, and that’s such a great thing because it really keeps us sexual. And I need that from you. I love that from you. I don’t think about it naturally as often, so when you remind me, it kind of gets my mind going again. And if you just give me a little bit of space and the other thing that works for me is I like back rubs. I like to come into my body because me, I’m frantic.

Laurie Watson [00:03:58]:

I’m always running six ways to Sunday. And so that would really help me. And you kind of give your partner a clue as to how to help you. That’s not sexual. Withdrawing. That’s just my body doesn’t push me as much. I’m more responsive sexually, but I’m open, I’m willing. I come into those moments with a lot of information from my partner about what I might need, and that information is coming forward.

Laurie Watson [00:04:26]:

I’m not necessarily sending flirty texts every day or waiting for him to walk through the door, so I grab his briefcase and pull him into the bedroom. But it is the way I give myself sexually. I’m informative communicating.

George Faller [00:04:44]:

Well, it’s not just that you’re receptive. You’re also in touch with your needs and wants.

Laurie Watson [00:04:50]:


George Faller [00:04:51]:

Which is what makes it sound like that’s what a sexual secure person can do. They know their style, they know what they like, they know what their partner likes, and they’re able to respond to that. So you might be more receptive than the person we’re playing, but you don’t allow that receptivity to make you not in touch with what you want and what you need. That’s what a sexual withdrawal would be. They’re receptive, but they’re also not in touch with what their wants are. And they wind up using sex becomes something to do for the other person instead of themselves.

Laurie Watson [00:05:28]:

And the withdrawal is a defense.

George Faller [00:05:30]:

Is a defense.

Laurie Watson [00:05:31]:

Defense against intimacy.

George Faller [00:05:33]:

Receptivity is not a defense. It’s a way of being yes. Right. But as long as you can hold on to your wants and doing it if you can’t, then that’s what’s going to pull you in a direction of the sexual ritual.

Laurie Watson [00:05:44]:

Yeah. I have a girlfriend who is surprising to me, but she is a sexually receptive partner. And she and I talk about sex all day long. That’s one of the main things we talk about when we get together. And I know she’s very sexual she likes all kinds of things. She likes all kinds of experimentation, and she’s highly sexual. She’s orgasmic, and she’s communicative. She’s told me about flirty texts that she and her partner have exchanged.

Laurie Watson [00:06:14]:

She’s a great sexual partner. And I asked her recently, well, how often do you initiate? She said never. I’m like what? You’re kidding. Like, such a sexual brain. But she’s really still more responsive.

George Faller [00:06:32]:

Yeah. I still think there’s work with that. And we’re all never where we need to be, right. We’re all works in progress. But to lean into that, what is it that makes you not initiate? Never hits your radar. Could you give yourself a calendar alert on your phone? And what would that be like to play with it? I mean, I still would like to see a receptive person every once in a while tap into they got to think about it and want to initiate it too. Right. So that does feel like there’s an element of protection in that to never initiate.

George Faller [00:07:05]:

I mean, I think somebody that’s receptive in nature maybe might not initiate 90% of the time, but they still should be able to tap into something.

Laurie Watson [00:07:13]:

Yeah, I agree. And I think that if it were a problem between her and her partner, and her partner were to ask, like, look at i, too, want to hear you come out first with your want. For me, I think actually, she does do a lot of that, like, expressing how attractive he is, how desirable he is, how much she wants him, that kind of thing.

George Faller [00:07:35]:

And to ask for what you want is initiating, even if it’s in the act. Right. That’s in the act of initiating. Like, I want you to do this position with me instead of that. I mean, that’s pretty good stuff.

Laurie Watson [00:07:47]:

It’s coming forward. Yeah, it’s coming not withdrawing. It’s coming forward. It’s going towards your partner invulnerability.

George Faller [00:07:56]:


Laurie Watson [00:07:56]:

Yeah. So I would say that in a responsive cycle, if you’re naturally responsive and your partner says to you, I get it, and I’m willing to initiate, most of the time, I kind of like, pursuing and chasing. That’s exciting to me and see if I can win. Good. But some of the time, I just want you to drag me upstairs, or I want you to reach over and really grab me and tell me you want me right now, whatever it is.

George Faller [00:08:25]:

No, I think it’s helpful to help people honor their natural styles. We all have, like, a natural way of being. Some of us are late, and others are early. We have our personalities, and there’s nothing wrong if we flip it around. If you’re the initiator, that doesn’t mean you’re a pursuer. It doesn’t mean you’re anxious. You have this energy that wants to express itself, and you can put that into action. Yes, but so often, that person who’s the initiator we see as the problem in the relationship, they want sex too.

George Faller [00:09:01]:

Much they’re anxious, they’re pushing for it. Right. So how do we make that distinction?

Laurie Watson [00:09:08]:

I think you just said it. The difference between a pursuer and somebody with initiating sexual style is they’re not anxious, they’re joyful. It’s like, hey, guess what I just thought of? Oh, you know what I want to do. Or all of that is so exciting to them that they share it from their heart, from a vulnerable place, and they’re not thinking, I bet you my partner is going to reject me. I bet you I’m going to have to ask three or four times before this happens. My partner is going to say no. And so I got to push harder or I get angry or I flatten my joy because I’ll be too much for my partner. It’s like, without anxiety, that initiating style, I think many people experience that early in relationship, right.

Laurie Watson [00:09:52]:

They’re like, hey, I was thinking about you and you know what I want to do. And it’s not anxious.

George Faller [00:09:58]:

Yeah. And the goal is that secure attachment is to be a flexible, healthy initiator. So to have a clear map or target of what that looks like. Right. Just like the withdrawal, it’s access and their want for that pursuer. What’s the word that you’re using? It’s lack of anxiety. Which would be what? It would be that confidence.

Laurie Watson [00:10:23]:

That confidence. Oh, my God. Yes, they’re confident.

George Faller [00:10:28]:

Yeah. That feels good, doesn’t it?

Laurie Watson [00:10:30]:

It does.

George Faller [00:10:31]:

It feels like when you’re confident, you’re like, hey, baby, you look good. And what do you take? It just moves towards because it’s like eating an ice cream cone. It’s like you want something good and you know you like it and it’s going to taste good and there’s nothing stopping it. Right. It just expresses itself.

Laurie Watson [00:10:46]:


George Faller [00:10:47]:

But the anxiety is like, oh, wait, she’s going to say, no, I don’t have enough money for the ice cream and I’m going to get upset. Like, all of those worries start to.

Laurie Watson [00:10:54]:

Kind of change the message. Yeah, exactly. It’s freedom and confidence and joy.

George Faller [00:11:02]:

I think I like it. I hope there’s some pursuers out there saying, I want that. I want to feel that freedom. I don’t like this label of being this kind of anxious pursuer. I want to be this more direct, best version of me.

Laurie Watson [00:11:20]:

And some people, I mean, they did have it. Maybe early in their relationship, they were a little more secure sexually or it was just the stage of life, right. When they were in an experimenting stage where they just put it out there and their partner was really up for it. And so then, of course, in a long term relationship or in a marriage, when we get into that negative cycle, it can be so like, what happened? It can be such a blow. And the other person is like, yeah, all you want is sex. You don’t want to spend those hours and hours of time with me and talk to me, which is what I really needed to be sexual.

George Faller [00:12:01]:

Yeah, sexual negative cycle kicks their ass, right? And then it turns both people into somebody they’re not, but trying to get clearer on what it looks like in a healthy place. What initiation receptivity. I just think it gives more space and words for people to feel more seen instead of labeled. So let’s come back and talk about maybe the emotional cycle and what this might look like if we start to shift a little bit. These words pursue an initiated receptive.

Laurie Watson [00:12:36]:

Okay, good. Cozy Earth is so cozy, George, and we’re going into Fall.

Laurie Watson [00:12:45]:

I’m so excited.

Laurie Watson [00:12:46]:

I’m going to buy more sheets.

Laurie Watson [00:12:48]:

My kids are coming to visit, and so I’m so excited. Every bed gets Cozy Earth sheets in my house.

Laurie Watson [00:12:56]:

When you and Kathy come, you’re gonna.

Laurie Watson [00:12:58]:

Have to sleep on Cozy Earth. I’m just telling you, because it is the most luxurious. Like, ugh.

Laurie Watson [00:13:06]:

Soft sheets. Sexy sheets. It just makes you want to take your clothes off.

Laurie Watson [00:13:11]:

I’m telling you.

Laurie Watson [00:13:11]:

Cozy earth. It was featured on Oprah.

Laurie Watson [00:13:15]:

Five Cozy Things. No.

Laurie Watson [00:13:16]:

Five favorite things.

Laurie Watson [00:13:18]:

It’s responsibly sourced from Bamboo. It comes with a ten year warranty. And Cozy Earth bedding is temperature regulating, which is important if you’re like a person who likes warmth and then the other person likes cool sheets like my husband. I’m telling you, it is the softest sheet ever.

George Faller [00:13:36]:

Good news. Cozy Earth provided an exclusive offer to our listeners today. Get up to 35% off sitewide when you use the code foreplay. So go to and use that foreplay code.

Laurie Watson [00:13:52]:

Picture this. You’re hanging out in your favorite spot. You’ve got headphones on, and the world around you kind of fades away because you are listening to a Dipsy story and feeling immersed in this really vivid world. And you’re starting to turn on as you listen to these sexy scenarios. And then you bring all that energy back to your partner. What do you think, George?

George Faller [00:14:18]:

Voila Laurie developing that erotic mind through listening to one of these Dipsy stories.

Laurie Watson [00:14:25]:

Dipsy is an app. It’s full of hundreds of short, sexy audio stories designed by women for women, and they bring scenarios to life from immersive soundscapes and realistic characters. You discover stories about second chance romances and adventurous vacations. And it’s hot and heavy, so it can be really spicy. You might even be able to listen to an audio by your favorite TikTok creator to talk about their pleasure and their fantasies. So new content is released every week. In between listening to those favorite stories again and again, you probably find something new to do, something new to explore. And I think adventure is fun and sex.

George Faller [00:15:06]:

So for our listeners of the show, dipsy is offering an extended 30 day free trial. When you go to foreplay so you got nothing to lose, try it for 30 days and see if these stories rock your boat.

Laurie Watson [00:15:19]:

That’s 30 days of full access for free when you go to Di.

Laurie Watson [00:15:27]:


Laurie Watson [00:15:28]: foreplay.

Laurie Watson [00:15:31]:

Uber Lube.

Laurie Watson [00:15:32]:

It’s a luxury lubricant. Can you say that three times fast?

Laurie Watson [00:15:37]:

Uber lube.

Laurie Watson [00:15:38]:

Luxury lubricant. Basically, it’s pure silicone bliss. It is made from superior ingredients. It has skin soothing vitamin E, and it goes on just like natural moisture. And it lasts a long time. There’s no drip. The glass bottles are truly beautiful. You can leave them on your bedstand.

Laurie Watson [00:15:56]:

I do, no problem. Nobody notices. And it’s basically like this thin, slippery silicone formulation. It reduces friction, which is great, but it doesn’t reduce sensation, and it stays slippery long enough for lasting pleasure. They have travel friendly, toughened glass bottles. You can slip it in your gym bag. You can slip it in your purse. You can be ready whenever.

Laurie Watson [00:16:21]:

Try. Uber lube.

Laurie Watson [00:16:22]:

The silicone use the code Foreplay for 10% off.

Laurie Watson [00:16:28]:


Laurie Watson [00:16:28]:

It is the best lubricant on the market.

Laurie Watson [00:16:36]:

Secure emotional attachment. What would that be like?

George Faller [00:16:39]:

I love the emphasis in the sexual cycle. That the initiation and receptivity. When coming from a healthy place, we replace the anxiety with confidence. We replace the not knowing with knowing what you want. There’s a reason why that has a lot better results.

Laurie Watson [00:16:57]:

It does.

George Faller [00:16:58]:

So we talk about the sexual cycle. The idea is not to get the withdrawal to become a pursuer. The withdrawal still is going to want to go away and find safety when they’re introspective or they want to think things through. But the key is that when they don’t feel safe, they can talk about it instead of going away to find their safety. So if I’m having a hard day and I’m at work, I can’t talk to my wife about it. I got to figure out these problems. So I go into my own head and my own world, and I do what I do that’s resilience. You need to do that to function in this world.

Laurie Watson [00:17:35]:


George Faller [00:17:35]:

But if I come home and I’m worried about something and something my wife’s doing, it’s hurting my feelings or send me a message I’m doing something wrong, and I deal with that feeling by going away. I’m withdrawing. I’m heading towards self regulation instead of co regulation. So a withdrawer who can actually talk about that can engage. But would we call that initiating? I mean, so many emotional withdrawers are very receptive in conversations. If their partner wants to talk about something, they’re open to talk about, but they tend not to initiate the emotional conversation.

Laurie Watson [00:18:10]:


George Faller [00:18:11]:

So I don’t know if receptivity is enough here. I do think the emotional withdrawal has to initiate some conversations around what they need or help emotionally.

Laurie Watson [00:18:23]:

Yeah. I mean, if maybe in that moment, the partner is able to clarify. Look it, I don’t have any bandwidth right now to talk further, to tell you about my day, because I’m just processing it, and I’m at the end of my rope. It’s not you. I got to get a night’s sleep before I can even talk about today or something. That’s coming forward. That’s explaining yourself. That’s telling your partner what you need, what has to happen, and that’s okay.

Laurie Watson [00:18:50]:

It’s okay to not be instantaneously ready to talk emotionally. That’s not withdrawing. That’s explaining your needs and asserting your needs.

George Faller [00:19:02]:


Laurie Watson [00:19:03]:

But other times, I think yeah, when you have a habit of not telling anybody about or telling your partner about the hurts of the day or maybe the hurts in the relationship, and you just go, I’m going to keep that inside. I mean, you have to be brave and risk and say, you know what?

Laurie Watson [00:19:24]:

This is what I’m needing and afraid of.

George Faller [00:19:28]:

I think a lot of securely attached withdrawals don’t have the same need for some of these conversations, so it doesn’t have to be balanced.

Laurie Watson [00:19:38]:

Yeah. They have more autonomy, for instance.

George Faller [00:19:42]:

Well, they’re also more receptive to these conversations. Like, if my partner needs to talk about it, I don’t want them to be alone. I want to help them with okay.

Laurie Watson [00:19:50]:


George Faller [00:19:50]:

So they’re more receptive towards their partner sharing emotionally than they do. But you’ve got to have some reciprocation in that, right. We all have times in our life where we get triggered and get nervous. And to me, you just can’t always be receptive in the emotional conversations. You have to initiate when you get triggered.

Laurie Watson [00:20:15]:

Right. You have to share some of your own vulnerabilities and flaws and problems. Maybe we don’t share them with everybody, but with our closest friends, with our partners, we got to share, hey, I got triggered in this situation at work, and it reminded me of my dad. I was never good enough for my dad, and I heard that from my boss, and I just felt like I was 13 years old again or something. We don’t even have to ask for help, but it’s the sharing of those times that we wobble we don’t have confidence that really, I think for most people, it makes us so human, it makes us so endearing to hear those things. It’s like we want to hear that from our friends and partners.

George Faller [00:21:08]:

So it sounds to me the same as the sexual cycle, that you could, the majority of the times, be super receptive, and that’s more your style and your personality. But if you’re really going to be secure, you have to, at times, be able to tap into that part of you that can initiate into need. And that’s what a healthy receptive person looks like. If you can’t share your needs, then you’re going away for safety. That’s what we’re calling a witch roar. So you can be a receptive partner emotionally, too. So what about the pursuer? Pursuer who, again, often has the anxiety that pushes the need to protest, to try to create change because they’re not happy with the disconnection, which is also a pretty healthy thing to do, right? Going away, finding safety or pushing, they are healthy moves to try to get what your body needs to get out of these bad places, but it creates these predictable negative cycles. So the person who initiates, how do we distinguish emotionally initiating? Is it the minus the anxiety? What do you think?

Laurie Watson [00:22:14]:

I think it is kind of minus some of the emotional onslaught. It’s like when I think about, okay, there’s a problem between me and my partner. What am I feeling about that? How did I get triggered? What does that do to me? How would I normally protect myself? But what do I really need? And simply asking, that’s the only thing I communicate. You know what? I would really like it if you call me when you’re going to be late. That’s it. Like, instead of telling all this whole story about how you trigger me and how upset I am, just break it all the way down. Underneath it all is this need. And I ask.

Laurie Watson [00:23:00]:

I mean, it simplifies communication so much because the partner doesn’t have to go through, oh, I failed you, I forgot to call again, I was late. All that. It’s just like, okay, and I just need this. Can you do this? And you make a request, a real direct request, and your partner has an option of saying, no, I don’t think I can do that, or yes, I will do that. What would it be like?

George Faller [00:23:22]:

As clear as signals.

Laurie Watson [00:23:25]:

Direct requests and signals.

George Faller [00:23:27]:

It’s the sign of secure attachment. You’re still going to be the one who initiates probably more of these conversations. You have more of a need to have these conversations. You might be more of a verbal processor, and that’s just your personality, and that’s cool, but you can do it in ways, right? And you tend to notice distance quicker. You tend to be more focused on the relationship. And the key is that you can bring it up without triggering the partner, letting it turn towards criticism and anger. You can initiate, like we’re saying sexually, just minus the baggage. That usually comes with the initiation.

George Faller [00:24:09]:

You recognize your partner’s triggers, you know, your own triggers. So couples learn to have these conversations right, in more protective ways. So I like what you’re saying. You could say, hey, listen, I know you had a busy day. We haven’t had a chance to talk, but you know what happens when we don’t get a chance to talk. And I don’t really want that to happen. So if you could really just find ten minutes for us to go on a walk and check in, that’d be awesome today, right? And that’s a healthy initiation. It’s not unloading, all this kind of stuff that starts to overwhelm the partner and set this negative cycle into motion.

Laurie Watson [00:24:45]:

Yes, I like that.

Laurie Watson [00:24:48]:

Very cool.

Laurie Watson [00:24:49]:

So in the emotional cycle, the withdrawal has to be clear about what’s going on with themselves and sometimes be vulnerable about their needy place, their upset place, about what they need in the relationship. That’s not working. They have to risk that. And the pursuer stay with that a.

George Faller [00:25:11]:

Second, though, because it’s not either or, it’s and both. They can go away when they need to because they find some safety in there.

Laurie Watson [00:25:18]:


George Faller [00:25:19]:

And they could ask for help when things start getting too hard for them. They can initiate. Most of the time they’re probably going to be receptive in conversations. Right. Because they’re good at self regulation and we want them to continue to be good at self regulation. We just want them to also be good at co regulation. A lot of times they’re good at co regulation through responding to their partner. But what we’re saying, that’s not enough.

George Faller [00:25:41]:

Sometimes you also got to initiate because you need and your partner is not a mind reader. So sometimes you’re going to have to initiate. And when we can see that balance of them doing both co regulation and self regulation, even in a more receptive style, we know that’s secure because we see the evidence and the proof of that positive emotion.

Laurie Watson [00:26:02]:

Yeah, I love that. I do.

George Faller [00:26:05]:

Now do the other one. You were going to say now the emotional pursuer.

Laurie Watson [00:26:11]:

Yeah. So the emotional pursuer, they have to kind of learn to regulate that anxiety inside first and kind of sort it through. This is what I feel, this is where I’m coming from. But how do I just communicate to my partner simply so that I don’t trigger them most of the time? That’s without all the tee up of what I felt about this and how upset I was about this. And now at the very end, I’m going to tell you what I need. I think by that time, most withdrawals are kind of drowning. So if you just start with, hey, what I really need from you is like you said, maybe it’s ten minutes of conversation. Let’s go sit by the fire with a glass of wine tonight and just catch up.

Laurie Watson [00:26:56]:

That’s what I really need. Versus you haven’t talked to me in three days. You seem preoccupied by work. I’m feeling rejected, I’m feeling alone. It’s like drown, drown, drown. It’s just like, I just want to be with you. How does that feel?

George Faller [00:27:11]:

They see the help in initiating and asking for help. I mean, that’s the key. It’s okay to be anxious. We’re not saying you shouldn’t be anxious. We’re saying when you are anxious, you could identify it and you could ask for help in simple ways that protects your partner so they don’t get ambushed or blown up by kind of what’s going on. And both people appreciate that. The person who’s receptive likes being able to help. The person who initiates gets to help what they want.

George Faller [00:27:39]:

That’s a beautiful working cycle, right. That’s not a pursuing withdraw. That’s two people doing what they need to really strengthen their body.

Laurie Watson [00:27:47]:


George Faller [00:27:48]:

What I hope our listeners are taking out of this is just a healthier appreciation. We use these labels, pursue and withdraw, and a lot of times they fit. But there is a pathologizing that’s in that, like, I’m this pursuer and I’m this withdrawal. No, it’s just we’re in protective modes. Right. And there’s a difference between those protected states and these natural states of just healthy initiating or responsiveness receptivity. And again, if we look at that as a clearer signal, just like, great sex, what is it that works great? If we know that more clearly, it’s easy to hit the target. I feel clear in this conversation.

George Faller [00:28:27]:

Like, I can be more receptive. And that doesn’t mean I’m what you are. And I just know what I need to get out of that, which is I need to be in touch with my need or just like to pursue it. Like, I can be someone who initiates without being anxious. And I can come from a place of confidence that’s such a cool image of it working and it’s such a secure place.

Laurie Watson [00:28:47]:

Great. Thanks for listening.

George Faller [00:28:50]:

Keep initiating or receptive. What do you want, Laurie? You end us out today. I’m sick of it. Keep it hot. I want to hear, what do you got there?

Laurie Watson [00:28:58]:

And initiating. I want it both. I want both.

George Faller [00:29:03]:

Let’s end with having it both ways.

Laurie Watson [00:29:05]:

OOH, let’s have it both ways. I would love to invite you.

Laurie Watson [00:29:08]:

This is women only, but we are having a retreat in Asheville on November 10 through the twelveTH, and it’s going to be a slumber party. And so we’re going to all stay together in the same cabin. It’s a beautiful space and we’re going to have meals brought in and made, and we know who the chef is.

Laurie Watson [00:29:28]:

And so it’s going to be wonderful.

Laurie Watson [00:29:30]:

Maybe drink a little bit of wine, if you’d like to. And we have kind of some talks and time to work to Asheville. Your sexuality. So the whole goal of this women’s sexuality retreat, the slumber party, is to basically enhance and develop yourself, your erotic self inside. So we’re going to be talking about anatomy and physiology and sexual attachment. We’re going to talk through blocks. What stops us? What are the breaks against our sexual expression? And then what are our gas pedals? What are our turn ons? How do we open up more sexually, like, with enhanced sexual pleasure? And we’re going to talk about orgasms and roleplay and using joys and fantasies and some stuff. And each night we’re going to have a pajama party where we just relax and sit around and talk on the deck and hang out together.

Laurie Watson [00:30:22]:

And then on Sunday morning, we’re going to set our focus and have concrete steps toward sexual engagement with our partners.

George Faller [00:30:29]:

Sounds pretty awesome. Laurie and all the men. Don’t worry about it. Maybe we’ll have like, a Spartan camp out. Somewhere, have a couple of beers and we’ll do our own version of that someday.

Laurie Watson [00:30:41]:

That would be great. So, love to invite you. I will post it on under resources, and there will be the retreat, the scheduling events, and you can link and figure out if you can make it with us on November 10 through the twelveTH in Asheville. Okay, so tell us about your cutting.

Laurie Watson [00:31:02]:

Edge training that you’re doing on success and vulnerability.

George Faller [00:31:05]:

Laurie we just keep pushing it. Coming up with a new module on the playbook of a pursuer, playbook of a witch or really practical moment by moment moves of what a therapist can use. We’re so focused on what’s happening in session enough, there’s talk about theories and these global things. I think most therapists are looking for, what do I do in this moment? Give me a tool. George so that’s what we’re trying to do.

Laurie Watson [00:31:31]:

That’s awesome. I am so glad you guys are doing this work.

Laurie Watson [00:31:34]:

I think it helps us be organized.

Laurie Watson [00:31:36]:

To see you do it. You do demos, you do explanations. Teaching. It really is interactive, and I think.

Laurie Watson [00:31:43]:

That so many trainings that we sit.

Laurie Watson [00:31:46]:

Through don’t give us an opportunity for that.

Laurie Watson [00:31:48]:

So what you’re doing is really important.

George Faller [00:31:50]:

No, we try to emphasize the teach it, show it, do it model of learning. You need to have some ideas. So we try to teach those, and then we try to show what it looks like implementing those ideas. But most importantly, you now got to practice it. That’s how they become yours. And that’s what we want our listeners and watchers to do, is become their own moves.

Laurie Watson [00:32:09]:

Find George and his

Joe Davis – Announcer [00:32:14]:

Call in your questions to the Foreplay Question voicemail dial eight three three my. Foreplay that’s eight, three three, My, 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 substitute for therapy by a licensed clinician or as medical advice from a doctor. This podcast is copyrighted by Foreplay Media.