Author and sex therapist Laurie Watson and psychotherapist Dr. Adam Mathews presented a seminar on sex therapy to attendees at the North Carolina Association of Marriage and Family Therapists on March 30, 2017. Here are exceprts from the Question & Answer period.
Laurie Watson 00:09
Hello again and welcome to foreplay radio sex therapy. I’m your host certified sex therapist Laurie Watson, author of wanting sex again and blogger at Psychology Today in Web MD. And I have with me Dr. Adam Mathews my co host, who’s a couples therapist, psychotherapist and president of NCAA MFT foreplay is dedicated to helping couples keep it hot. Each episode we cover an aspect of sex that impacts your sex life and something that you can relate to. So if you find our discussions helpful, please give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. We would love it if you would tell a friend about us. You can find us on the web at foreplayrst.com, and if you have a comment or a topic that you’d like us to talk about, we’d love to hear from you. Please send them to us at info at foreplay rst.com Thanks for listening. Now on to today’s topic.
This podcast As part of a presentation given by Laurie Watson and Adam Mathews at the North Carolina Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Association annual conference,
Laurie Watson 01:08
most of what I see is problematic sexually between a couple is the power struggle. We can fix the sexual dysfunctions fairly easily honestly. It’s getting them to those exercises. You know, that’s the hard part. Because dynamically, how they’re operating is often a function of power in relationship.
Adam Mathews 01:29
I think understanding there’s some where there’s actually I think, couples are intentionally doing that to each other. I think there’s also times where there is the perception that they are doing that with each other, where either he wants it or she’s withholding it, or vice versa, or there’s the perception of that. And that’s where I think that understanding of how they are trying to use sex, how they view sex is so important because sometimes I agree with you that that’s the that’s the impetus. They’re trying to exert power in the relationship or they’re trying to, I think for men, sometimes they are trying to feel adequate. In the relationship and that’s the one area that they feel they can always succeed at. Sometimes I think that’s the case. And we have to address that. There’s other times where I think what’s useful about me understanding a woman’s perspective and what it’s like from her end, and for a man as well that I can then kind of dispel some of the assumptions that they’re making in regards to how their partner is, is pursuing sex.
Laurie Watson 02:21
So we’re going to talk about the pursuer distance or and the pursuer, the sexual pursuer and the sexual distance. And I’ll start at the bottom and we’ll kind of come back to that point. But in attachment theory, we’re managing closeness between us and oftentimes we have similar needs. We need closest and connection and we also need space, respect for our individuality and some distance. And there’s a balance between that and many people fight this out on the sexual playing field. Oftentimes, sexual pursuers, they they feel empty And they feel out of control. A male sexual pursuer will say, she’s the low libido partner, she has all the control. She tells us when we’re going to have sex, when we’re not going to have sex. She’s the one who maintains all the control. And he feels very much like he can’t do anything about this. He worries about being starved. But oftentimes, ironically, the sexual distance or feels controlled. My partner just wants to control me. They want to they want sex all the time. I feel like I can’t move I can’t breathe. You know, I think one of the issues we talked about the partner who wants to playful sexual encounters all day long. You know, what is the complaint that you hear your patients make about why they don’t do that? Why aren’t they playful sexually during the day? My sense is if I send a text if I hug them if I’m affection if I you know, wink, we’re going to have to go upstairs and go to bed. Right then that’s usually the sexual distance or right, They’re so afraid that that to participate is to say, I’m ready right now. And ironically, they feel control, they feel like they’re exhausted because they, they never can please their partner, their partner never gets out of bed and says that was fantastic. I mean, control is a is a big deal when a person is
Adam Mathews 04:25
so they’re reacting to that control react, right? They’re either reacting to the lack of control or they’re reacting to the feeling that they’re being controlled trying to move trying to either regain some control or keep from being controlled right and so there you can see the reactions that are playing apart there.
Laurie Watson 04:39
Yeah, so sexual pursuers as as any pursuer is the person who initiates they’re the ones who move toward their partner. Oftentimes in dysfunctional relationships. A move toward our partner is met with the response of a bump back. So it’s like South pole magnets on a rod. I move towards you, you love back. Sometimes the distance or does come forward a little bit and ironically in in less more rigid relationships, less functional relationships, the pursue will actually take a step back. I had a couple who they’ve been coming to me and he has prostate cancer and she has been the sexual pursuer their whole relationship. She’s wanted more sex, lots of sex is absolutely the way she feels love. I mean, she’s just oriented that way. Lots of struggle for many, many years about this, and she is terrified of what this prostate cancer will do for them. So she says, you know, I’ve initiated I’ve begged, I pleaded, you know, and now he doesn’t feel as much, you know, he can’t get an erection. You know, all of this stuff is going on and I’m really, really mad and she kind of came to a point that said, I’m done. I’m absolutely done initiating. And I’m thinking of leaving the marriage which these, this was a pretty solid couple. He’s like, I can’t believe he even said that. Like, to me, it’s just so injurious that you would say you would divorce me over sex. And she said, it’s that important to me. And now with prostate cancer and the lack of erections, you know, I don’t even know how to think about this. And they had had lots of sex for many years where she had kind of given up, he had come toward her they had had sex, but they’ve just kind of had quickies. And this thing had gone back and forth between them, but this time she put her foot down. So he made a huge effort and an enormous change in his life. He started initiating with her, he started touching her, cuddling with her giving her orgasms, even when he didn’t feel like being sexual. He would initiate sexual touch with her and playfully and lovingly, you know, give her sexual release and pleasure. And this is the, you know, the power struggle, right? She came in after all these changes, and she said, but he’s not having sex with me, he won’t take the shot. That gives him an erection. And without sexual intercourse, I’m not fulfilled, I’m not complete. And I was like, okay, but five minutes ago, you were having sexual intercourse that wasn’t very loving and you weren’t complete, then it can’t be sexual intercourse, right? It has to be something between the two of you his desire for you. And she was like, you know, she kind of let that sink in. Finally, she’s like, you’re right. And we talked about that this was dynamic, that it was her hunger that kept being activated because he had really made significant changes. He was different. Initiating with her, you know, he had become the sexual pursuer and suddenly she was saying, you know, it’s not enough still not enough demand anymore. So, the sexual distance are typically Is the responder in heterosexual relationships frequently, the female is more responsive sexually than she is initiating. In my lesbian couples, what I see is often one of them is more pursuant sexually than the other one. So even though they both maybe have low tea, you know one of them kind of takes the position Lee feels more oriented sexually. In our gay couples or homosexual couples that we see, we really don’t see this font so much over desire and frequency we see pursuer distance or dynamics. But sex is not usually the place they’re fighting it out over. in different ways between them. It’s, it’s often good and responsively good. Sometimes it can be about outside, you know, maybe Go stepping outside the relationship and those kinds of things that feel distancing. But oftentimes between the couple sex works fairly well. Yes. Yeah, she came from a background a family of origin background that was like her needs not been met. And so she carried that into the relationship and indeed, he did not meet his needs, in my opinion, sexually very well for 20 years. But some of what left her was so much heat about this and, and inability to see how he was now meeting her needs was this backlog of pain and hunger from her childhood. And once she kind of got a hold of its, you know, like, she kind of saw it through my eyes, which was easier than him arguing with her but I’m really really different. You know, yes, I can’t have an erection right now, but you know, I’m getting there. You It was sort of like she was insistent on struggling over sex, even though it had changed so much. And the good news was I really thought he was proceeding in terms of his erectile ability. Given his report about what was happening, I imagined that they would be able to have sexual intercourse. I will say something I learned is the shot but men can take to ensure an erection has two drugs in it. One of them is very, very painful and stinging. And it did give them direction and it did allow them to have intercourse. And I didn’t realize that you could separate out those meds. I went back to the urologist, I’m like, What can we do because this is killing him. And unfortunately, during his post recovery time, he would take the shots to ensure interaction which is important in prostate recovery. And he essentially got traumatized by it. You know, because it was so painful, not just the shot itself, but that the after effects of the medication. So in we’re fixing that.
Adam Mathews 11:02
So Laurie, I want to make sure we have some time to get some questions. So what are the important ones on Okay, the pursuer distance or that we would want to highlight.
Laurie Watson 11:09
You know, I would say that sexual pursuers are improvers, you know, they get out of bed and they’re like, how can we make it better? This was better than last time this is, you know, we should make it hotter in this way and that’s completely mystifying to the sexual distance or who is very present in the moment is it was good, it was nice. I liked it. Why are we talking about it? You know, what, why do we need to make it better? Why can’t it just be good enough the way it was. Oftentimes, I tell the sexual pursuer get out of bed say that was great and buttoned up. Don’t say anything more. They often crave intensity and I think that the sexual distance or fears intensity, so so the sexual pursuer wants the earth to move. They want something to happen. That’s an 11 on a scale of one to 10 and that is very fearful for sexual distances. They often are avoidant not of their partner. But of the very experience orgasm for some sexual distances is an intense experience being touched. genitally is very, very intense for them vulnerable and intimate. And so they’re not necessarily trying to control their partner. They’re trying to control intensity. And that’s how I talk about it with them. So I’m going to leave you there. I can send you these notes too. And I will, but because we really have six days worth of questions that we want to get to
Adam Mathews 12:30
first one that we got, how do you address sexual issues when one or both partners has experienced childhood sexual trauma? This is this is something that’s just incredibly common. Unfortunately, trauma is common, right? And so we’re dealing with that and there’s the first thing that I would say is that you have to get both of the partners to go slow. Their sexual relationship is not going to be solved by them just doing it, right. A lot of times, the person that’s been traumatized doesn’t even realize how much they are disassociated from the sexual experience, particularly if there was any kind of sexual trauma that of the way that they are having sex that reminds them of how they were abused, right, or how of the trauma that happened. For women, I have a lot of women who, if they were raped, if they were assaulted in their genitals, then any kind of touchdown there is going to automatically start to remind them of the trauma, but most of the time, and then over your experience with as most of mine do not even realize that it’s happening. They can talk about the trauma, and they can talk about the sex with their partner. But there’s a disconnect between say, when their partner touches them, they feel re traumatized, or they have a or they have a dissociative experience. And so a lot of times they’re checking out so helping them understand what is happening is one of the first steps and getting their partner to understand so that they can go slower for the partner, their partner is not going to understand this experience at all. If there’s no trauma with them. If they haven’t experienced trauma, they’re not going to understand the experience that their partner is having around sex and they can be really offended or get their feelings hurt a lot by the fact that this is hat This is the experience because they don’t intend harm to their partner. They don’t intend to re traumatize. But that experience is happening on the less.
Laurie Watson 14:11
Yeah. But dissociation I think is really important to bear in mind, I probably do not suggest stopping the sexual relationship during recovery, because that puts the marriage at jeopardy. I also think that we can teach couples to have a safe place for when the traumatized partner is dissociating or has a traumatic memory emerge. So a safe place. One exercises I think it’s Wendy miles who suggests coming into essentially a cuddle with head to heart. And we I have them do that first to see if that feels like safety. Sometimes the heartbeat of our partner can be very reassuring. bring us back into the present and in the moment I have them hold. Talk about it stop that particular sexual encounter. But not necessarily stop the sexual relationship during recovery. Okay. What are your thoughts about swinging and open marriage? Good thing my husband’s here today? I’m not exactly sure if this is a proposition or what but So, I mean, I do work with people who are swingers and in open marriages, not as often, but I think that, you know, actually, I should probably let my husband answer this, but he says, you know, like, one woman is complicated enough, how in the world can you think about, you know, a further complication. And I think that swinging in open marriages is an effort to deal with sexual monotony and boredom, right? It’s, it’s, that’s what they’re trying to resolve. But with it comes magnificent problems of emotional and sexual complexity. So they’re trying to solve one problem. My experience it brings on a raft of others.
Adam Mathews 16:03
Yeah, I would say just like any other relationship, there are boundaries that are that have to be in place. Like I think boundaries are super important in relationships. And so when you add another component, I think, personally, I think they’re more difficult. But I think that that’s one of the ways that you have to start to manage that if that’s going to be how you’re going, what you’re going to pursue in your relationship. Then one of the jobs as a therapist, I think, is to help the couple define what the boundaries are, how they’re going to stick to them, and how they’re going to honor them because they become a little they become more fluid than just in a standard diet.
More from Laurie Watson and Adam Mathews at the North Carolina Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Association annual conference is coming up next on foreplay radio sex therapy. Wanting sex again, how to rediscover desire and heal a sexless marriage. by certified sex therapist Laurie Watson,
each chapter is designed to fix one of the problems that caused low libido from early marriage through the childbearing years, even all the way through menopause. I’ve also had men read it and tell me that for them, it was the most helpful thing they read about resolving sexual
problems. Look for watching sex again on amazon.com. You can also talk to Laurie Watson for therapy in person or via Skype,
I offer couples counseling and sex therapy and I think about both aspects of the relationship emotional intimacy and sexual technique and that combination together helps marriages be happy
weekend couples intensives are also offered. Improve your sex and improve your relationship with awakening center for couples and intimacy. Find out more at awaken loving sex calm, awaken what’s possible.
Adam Mathews 17:51
It is one of my great joys in life to be able to really help individuals and couples find strength in their relationship. friendships and really find hope again
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Adam Mathews for Matthews counseling.
Adam Mathews 18:07
I work with a wide variety of issues including depression and anxiety, marital issues issues with adolescence. I believe that therapy should be designed around you that it should be personalized to who you are and to your unique situation.
Therapy is available in Office Online and by phone.
Adam Mathews 18:25
I want therapy to be comfortable for everyone at our office, you’ll find that we sit around a fireplace and deep comfortable chairs and look at the problem differently and offer practical solutions for you to take home and utilize outside of the therapy room
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Adam Mathews 18:42
you can find me on the web at Matthews counseling dotnet Matthews with one team you can contact us through email or phone and find a lot of resources on our website Matthews counseling dotnet
Welcome back to foreplay radio sex therapy. The one here How
Adam Mathews 19:05
can a couple include spontaneity when they are going through infertility treatments and have already experienced multiple miscarriages.
Laurie Watson 19:11
Adam Mathews 19:13
Yeah, sure. How can a couple include spot Nady when they are going through infertility treatments and have already experienced multiple miscarriages? I think anytime that a couple of either trying to have a baby or has had trauma around that, I think I think we could include stillbirths in this. We could include not just infertility treatments, but just a span of time where your couple is trying to get pregnant and has not been able to as this is one of the times where sex really takes a hit. Because it becomes it becomes work for both parties. I think it becomes regular it becomes very routine. So spawn at how we keep spontaneity up is important. My initial thought is that you have to take sex out of the work realm, like you have to have them most the time they are only having sex on routine. They’re only having sex at specific times. And so at some point, they have to, they have to begin to take it out out of that one category, it’s just begun to fall into that category in their minds of, it’s only for reproduction. And so you have to move it into a category where they’re not having sex to try to get pregnant, or where that’s even a concern. Sex vacations is probably one thing that I would recommend to a couple like that is that there are times where they are going to get away specifically, they’re going to break up that routine, and they’re going to go specifically away to someplace that they enjoy someplace that where they’re not even going to talk about pregnancy. They’re not even gonna talk about trying to get pregnant. What else would you say?
Laurie Watson 20:39
I mean, I think it’s complicated and I think that it often leaves lasting problems in the sex life, which is something to remember, but to me, I don’t have any quick tricks on that one. I mean, it’s dealing with grief. You know, and we know that a miscarriage or stillbirth, you know brings tremendous grief dealing with angst about will it Be able to have a child or more children, you know, coping with those things and talking about the actual sexual encounter what happened, you know, why was it so boring? Why did it feel so tense? You know, many times there are conflicts internally about starting a family. And we’re dealing with those as you know, sex is on demand. So I think it’s a processing issue.
Adam Mathews 21:22
One thing I’d add that you highlighted that I didn’t say is that I think, the inability to have children right away, that’s that expectation that you think is you’re gonna have sex or that you don’t anticipate problems, that there’s a loss there as well. Even if you don’t experience a miscarriage, or you don’t experience of stillbirth, there’s still a loss there. And you have to deal with that grief component that failed expectation and begin to separate it from the sex itself. Yeah, right.
Laurie Watson 21:45
Absolutely. When does pornography become a problem for couples and sex is a huge problem in my mind, in and different than when I was first therapist 27 years ago or 28 years ago. I mean, I rarely have a young man come in with erectile dysfunction. Now we have scads of young men who make appointments because they have a DD. And what has happened is what I believe, is they’re using so much pornography, that they become accustomed to having ejaculation and release. After a very, very high level of arousal, looking at multiple pictures, there’s a Psychology Today article not mine, but says 300 vaginas before breakfast. And in many times when men view porn, they’re looking at image after image after image, which heightens the excitement in dopamine in their brain. And then they release and have an orgasm, but
Adam Mathews 22:44
it doesn’t give them the same release as coupled sex. I mean, it’s not it’s not exactly the same, which is why that build up that build up that build up there is a release but it’s not exactly the same as as a couple.
Laurie Watson 22:55
Right, but I also think it’s hard to have that kind of excitement about assault. partner that is very familiar. And so sometimes, you know, they just lose it. So that’s problematic. I also see that many times men who have low desire have partner specific low desire, so they have plenty of desire. They often siphon it off into using pornography exclusively. I do not want to negotiate this difficult transaction with a female partner about sex. I don’t want to have to keep talking to you about it. I I’m a more avoidant person in general, intimacy is difficult for me. I will manage it. I will literally take sex into my own hands using pornography. So I mean, I think when pornography is a substitute for intimacy, very problematic, some men, I don’t know if they absolutely know, but I think it’s hard to overestimate what a naked woman picture feels like on a male brain. I think by and large. I rarely see women who are attics who are sex addicts or who are using And obviously, to some extent that is worrisome. A lot of times if a woman is a self described sex addict, there’s, you know, probably borderline bipolar issues, whereas I do see men who use pornography excessively problematically in their lives that are not necessarily personality disordered. Yes. How would we address it in the military culture where couples spend a lot of time apart? I mean, obviously, it’s, it’s a substitute, and in the military in general has so many problems, my heart absolutely breaks in terms of the separation of couples, the affairs, the prostitution, managing sexual drive and desire away from your partner is very problematic. So you know, how would I say it should they not I don’t say people shouldn’t use monography monography can be problematic.
Adam Mathews 24:57
I think it’s problematic when it turns them away from each other. Yeah, right when it’s not when they’re not turning towards. So if, as as a man, I think it’s problematic as well. And that the issues that come up because of pornography are greater than the gains that come up when a couple uses pornography. But in this specific example of the military, like, we’re going to talk about other ways that you can have your desire met. I mean, we live in an age where technology helps in this, it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t hurt this, there’s some helps there. And so they may have to expand their view of what sex is and how they can connect sexually with their partner over a distance, either through phone sex, internet, like whatever, whatever it is. But if the pornography in that situation and a couple that’s either distance or in the military, it’s very hard for it to be a turning toward each other. Right? It’s very hard for that boundary to be held enough for it not to lead to something that’s more problematic than it is helpful.
Laurie Watson 25:50
And I might add that post traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury. Both of those have a 70% impact, negative On sets. And so I taught down at Fort Bragg and to the psychiatric facility there and oftentimes the partner is at home waiting for this fabulous reunion and the soldier comes home without any drive. Most of the time it impacts them with lowered libido, not hyper libido, sometimes hyper libido, but oftentimes lower libido. So is it a myth that sex therapists have great sex lives?
Adam Mathews 26:29
Laurie Watson 26:32
My husband put thumbs up. I think we work hard at sex. We understand how deeply important sex is that makes a difference.
Adam Mathews 26:41
You’re thinking about sex all day.
Laurie Watson 26:43
And I’m thinking about sex all day. Yeah, absolutely.
Adam Mathews 26:47
How do you help couples when one partner finds the other physically unattractive IE overweight, etc.
Laurie Watson 26:53
Adam Mathews 26:56
This is so this is so common and a lot of times, this is where it You’re seeing a couple and then individually, hopefully they don’t bring it up in front of the other. I think that they This is a hard issue to move into. And there has to be some tact around it. I think that’s one of the things that we talk about a lot, too is there has to be, there has to be some tact and how they’re going to bring it up. I think one of the things, there’s a couple things that I would think one is, is just expectations over how your partner is going to change over time how their body is going to change over time. A lot of these complaints can come from men after pregnancy can come from women, after a man has let himself go and not me notice not stayed in shape or other things like that. But I think the the expectation of what our bodies are going to look like over time has to be realistic. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have that complaint and ask and ask your partner for to do more in that area. But I think we have to be sure that our expectations about what is going to happen over time is realistic,
Laurie Watson 27:50
right? Hang on to that because there’s been research how women perceive men after they’ve gone off of birth control, and that they’re deceased. For certain types of men are completely different. So how would you address that as well? There’s a study that’s been done and I read the study, I don’t remember the result that women off birth control are attracted to different kinds of men than they were on birth control. Do you remember the results of the study? I don’t remember the results. But other than, like, I think what you’re getting at is that there is a component of sexual attraction that is physical. But I think there is a component that is mental and emotional as well. So in avoidant people turning off sexual desire is a strategy to create space. So let’s say it’s a man who says, you know, I’m married. In fact, I had a couple call me yesterday, they had heard me on a radio show, and another different radio show and they said, you know, he had four children. He said, I’m just not attracted to anymore. I don’t ever want to have sex with her. And there was no particular physiological change. It wasn’t that it was. But what came to it was, this was the way he avoided things. And what I said is, you know, I don’t think that’s the end game. You know, I think that psychologically you might look inside what am I afraid of insects? What? What did I know about intimacy and connection growing up? Where are my attachment wounds? I mean, I think it’s very complex. I don’t think it’s just chemical. I mean, certainly, I think, you know, it’s, it’s better if people stay in shape, and, you know, step it up for each other. And sometimes that can be a comment often with men, that’s an easier comment. I find if I say to a man, you know what, dude, first of all that, you know, 20 extra pounds you’re carrying is going to impact your erections in five years. That’s I was motivation. And second, you know, she kind of seems to indicate that she’s more visually oriented than some women. And so her desire is for a fit body and, and he’s like, Oh, you mean we’ll be having more sex. Okay, well Going on a diet, you know, not as easy culturally, when a man needs to say to a woman, you know, I think I’d be more attracted to you if you lost that. 20 pounds. It’s a little dicey. Er,
Adam Mathews 30:10
yeah, I think you also have to look at it. Where’s the decline in their emotional connection? I think that’s one of the things that you’re talking about. Are you really, are you really emotionally connected? Is there that base level of friendship that’s there? That is the basis of that attraction as well. But then I think there are some cases where it’s not just about the physical attraction, it’s about the self care that has gone into yourself, right? There is an element where I think a lot of couples come in thinking that relationship is 5050, as opposed to 100 100. And so if either one of the partners I think has kind of checked out, if there’s depression, if there’s anxiety, if there’s other areas that are really stressful that they have taken on, that they have kind of just let themselves go, right. I think one of the most attractive things, I think, for both men and women is somebody that is confident and takes care of themselves, either The way that doesn’t mean that you have to be rail thin, that doesn’t mean that you have to have, you know, bulging pecs and biceps, right. Like we’re not, I don’t think there’s some kind of Epitome there that we’re shooting for. But I do think that there is a sense of how do you take care of yourself? How do you begin to pour into yourself so that you have enough to be able to get back to your partner? And I think exercise take eating well, taking care of yourself in that way, isn’t isn’t a vital part of that. To be able to talk about attraction. They’re
Laurie Watson 31:28
really delicate topic, though. What’s the best way for couples to re engage in sex after infidelity or a lull in sex? I think in terms of infidelity, there needs to be quite a bit of processing and oftentimes healing. I also think that couples might be engaging in sex and we don’t realize it after infidelity, or they engage in sex sooner than we think the betrayed party is ready for so we need to think about that. One thing I think about as a therapist is a reengagement. sexually after potential promiscuity or an affair is are they safe other STDs? Are they using protection? You know, if you know one person comes to me and says, I’ve found out my husband’s with prostitutes and blah, blah, blah and I’m sleeping with him, I’m like, you shouldn’t be sleeping with him, you need to go get tested, you need to wear a coat, you know, make him wear economists like I don’t want to do that. And there’s a lot of positivity in that sometimes, I think re engaging with sex. And a more classic pattern would be, you know, the person who stepped outside of the sexual relationship man or woman or a woman or a woman and dealing with remorse, sort of an openness like opening their phone opening their computer, their passwords, a complete cut off from that person. And then a reengagement sexually talking about it. I think the injury can be my partner stepped out sexually, because I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough and bad. I wasn’t have enough that needs to be healed.
Adam Mathews 33:03
And so often when they’re when their perception is that they stepped outside of the relationship. And because sex wasn’t good in the relationship, a lot of times they throw themselves back into the sexual relationship with a lot of renewed energy. And oftentimes, I think too quickly, I had one client who would talk about she felt that way that that’s what happened with her husband. And so she just started have sex with him just every time he wanted it. And probably more than that, as well, but and then she would just cry afterwards. Right. And it was just so is so dangerous for her in that way. And so I think one of the things that those couples have to understand is that the person that stepped outside of the relationship when they come back and decide they want to reengage the relationship they have processed and already much faster than the person that the injured party that has found out about it. And so talking about how they’re going to reengage sex has to be a process where they understand that that’s happened, where the the person that stepped outside of the relationship slows down, and perhaps the person that is injured speeds up just a little bit but they have to undertake And that that process, they’re going through two different completely distinct processes, especially in regards to sex.
hear more from Laurie Watson and Adam Mathews at the North Carolina Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Association annual conference on upcoming episodes of foreplay radio sex therapy. Thanks for listening.
Laurie Watson 34:19
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