Show Transcript for Episode 255: Mailbag! Unrequited Sexual Fantasies, When to Compromise and Being Vulnerable

Laurie Watson 00:02
We’ve got a mailbag George, people have been writing in and we have not been answering. So let’s go.

George Faller 00:08
Bring it on, Laurie.

Laurie Watson 00:12
Welcome to foreplay radio couples in sex therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

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

Laurie Watson 00:20
and we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other.

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

Laurie Watson 00:35
For a great personal lubricant, please check out uberlube.com and use the coupon foreplay to support us at the podcast. Thanks. So our first question is from a person who says, Do you have any tips for stopping fantasy and dreams of an unrequited lover from your past, is killing the intimacy with my partner on so many levels? Because I keep comparing them to this fantasy. And there was only one time and it was real, and it was amazing. I feel like I can’t even talk to my partner about it. Because I don’t want to crush them. No kidding. Logically, I know, fantasies are always better than reality. And my memory is probably making that one time better than it actually was. And if things had continued, there would have been all kinds of reasons that it wouldn’t have worked out. Help me.

George Faller 01:24
Let’s go go on to the next question. Laurie.

Laurie Watson 01:30
Any ideas is a

George Faller 01:31
tough one. That’s a tough one choose good reasons to you know, I think my test is always says the fantasy help. The emotional connection is the fantasy getting away and what she’s describing as a fantasy that’s getting in the way, right, she’s not being able to be present with our partner. Even worse than that. It’s, it’s, it’s really blocking her her expression of love for her partner, as her brain is going off. And, and she feels guilty about it afterwards. So I think it’s a, what do you think of that one?

Laurie Watson 02:04
I agree. I mean, clearly, this is a block, it’s not something that’s adding sexual energy, it’s taking away from sexual energy. And that’s kind of what I say to, you know, I think what flitz through our mind, we can always even control that, but where you put your energy, you know, if you keep fantasizing about the same person, over and over, I mean, that’s going to build in your own head. True, or not some sense of connection to that person, some relationship in your mind, something that is just not true. And it’s going to take your energy, you know, people ask all the time, is it okay to fantasize? And I think it’s that same criteria, can you fantasize and then when you’re with your husband, or your with your wife, you know, overall, you’re back in the bed with them? Or is it something that you start to basically longed to be with that other person? You know, that’s going to kill it? I mean, you’re not going to put the work in sexually that makes your real relationship good.

George Faller 03:03
And there’s great information in the fantasy. So I would rather take as much of that out, like, what was the seed? What turns you on? What was that partner to do? And like, how can you get that in your relationship now with your current partner? Very, so we, we want that. And they’re also partners that are open to share in fantasies like it doesn’t, they’re not insecure about it, it turns them on, like, so that could be an option to share the fantasy. But if you if share, the fantasy doesn’t work, and you’ve gathered all the information you can out of it, that I agree trying to let that fantasy go because it’s not serving you. Well. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 03:41
So how do they do that? How do they stop the fantasy?

George Faller 03:46
What we’ve been talking about in all these podcasts? It’s, you know, that erotic mind is racing. So how do you get back into your body? How do you get back into your heart? Try to slow that, you know, try to imagine that, you know, just turn it off the television set, to allow yourself to what is my skin feeling? Like? What is the sound I’m making? What’s my partner’s sounds allow yourself, you know, to think about your wedding or whatever it takes to get your kind of heart primed and back into the present moment. Mm hmm. And I think sometimes people need to really just kind of jerk their mind away from the thought, you know, they they find themselves going down that road. And that’s not fruitful, and it doesn’t add to their connection with their partner. It’s like, you kind of have to do a mind block, you know, commit to every time I start thinking about this guy. I’m gonna think about this really hot moment with my husband or I’m gonna think about our wedding or I’m going to think about how grateful I am for what they provide for me or bring to the relationship. I mean, it’s an it’s an action. It’s what we call on a neurological level, you’re adding a mismatch experience. So the old man Memory right in that Rico’s the neural pathways in your brain. So either, as you’re thinking about, you’re replaying that fantasy with the other person, you bring your husband into the room or something happens that it gets recoded, you kind of think of that person, it ended in differently. Right? Instead of it ended in this great and amazing moment, maybe it ends in, who knows, whatever you could come up with, have fun with this stuff. But it is about I don’t like the harsh and a judgement and a willpower and a white knuckles just I kind of stopped doing this, you know, I want to be able to take from it. That’s what’s healthy about it. And then putting in those boundaries that say, right, let me kind of let this go. Let me think about it, you know, be more realistic. Yes. What would have happened, if I would have continued with this person, that person would have probably had an affair on me something else would have happened? I wouldn’t got my like, let’s play it out. Add more to that fantasy that develops a full of context. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 05:55
And I know I, I kind of interrupted this by saying, Yeah, no kidding. You shouldn’t talk to your partner. And I appreciate you bringing in George that some people that that would be totally okay. I think adding to the fantasy of making it full bodied in terms of what really might have happened is smart. I just bear I’ve left the area, but I’ve been back in touch with my girlfriends, that, you know, we were all in a church group together and all the boys that I had a crush on, you know, now I know the outcome.

06:24
It’s kind of nice. It’s like, Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s how it ended. That’s good.

George Faller 06:29
Good old golf, Brooks on acid, Pres. Chives, you know, if you if you can add a different end into the fantasy, the fantasy start to kind of dissipate.

Laurie Watson 06:42
And I think you know, this is we all can create a fantasy that’s perfect about sex versus what sex really requires, which is, it’s a growing relationship. It’s a growing process, even the ones who come to me, the couples who come to me who had super hot sex in the beginning, they get tripped up, you know, there’s lots of things that they need to grow up in and develop and change. And, I mean, you know, it doesn’t stay that way.

George Faller 07:10
Exactly. And the fifth is see, going back to good information, there are probably things that do need to change in your marriage, right? Sex might not be as fun or creative as it could be, your body is just trying to, it’s so sad that people because they’ve experienced great sex, and now they might be having mediocre sex, that their brain goes to what it wants, right. And then when it goes in that direction, then there’s all the shame afterwards and feeling guilty, and you can’t talk about that, then there’s more pressure. So next time, we see this a lot with trauma, there are a lot of, you know, a lot of people who might have experienced a rape. And yet somehow in a rape, there is a some kind of arousal, something happens in the brain that the wires get crossed. And all of a sudden, I’ve worked with people where they have to, they have to fantasize about being raped to have an orgasm with their partner. Right? So this is an abnormal This is what happens when we have strong emotions around orgasm and intimacy. Right. So I appreciate that this person’s naming it because that’s the that’s the most important step to say, Hey, listen, there’s something i’m doing i want to change.

Laurie Watson 08:17
Right? And I like it that you talk about actually naming it, you know, so Oh, yeah, that’s my crush fantasy. That’s, I’m having the crush fantasy. What’s missing? For me now in my relationship? How can I translate that to make this hotter? Love that? Okay, let’s go on to the next question. listening to your latest episode on 248, the mind the body and the heart for her. This, this reader says, or this listener says, I am so sad to hear this episode as I live it. How does someone teach their partner to be in the moment? How can one get a woman to focus on the moment? In my scenario, I’ve tried a lot of the options to get her present.

George Faller 08:57
That is, again, given us some hard questions. Yeah. I was in a study group for three years, trying to figure this one out, like how do you get people with low desire and not present? To kind of want to do it for themselves? You know, not do it for you? Right? It’s, it’s it’s not an easy answer. So I think that that, not the frustration, but just the vulnerability that causes in the husband writing this, like that, that has to be expressed in a way that kind of can get his wife not out of guilt, but to say, Hey, listen, this isn’t working so well. You know, to identify what is stopping me from wanting more from sex, instead of it just being something to kind of calm my partner down,

Laurie Watson 09:50
or make my partner happy for the moment so that I can get back to the laundry? Yeah, it’s hard. I mean, I think What we’ve been talking about together Georgia of, you know, just how busy the mind is, I mean, certainly for women, I really hear this all the time they, they have such a to do list and really time for themselves, pleasure. Relaxation is kind of not on their list. It’s not high up there. And they need so much time in order to enter the moment. I mean, certainly in our latest podcast, I’ve been talking about how the female body takes, you know, comes into the moment, often it’s zero. And, you know, if you’re at zero and you’re at zero, and you’re at zero, and you don’t have confidence that that’s going to build, and maybe you don’t trust your body, or maybe you don’t trust that your partner really wants to give you that time. Who knows all the things that you could worry about? It’s hard to think, yeah, you know, I really want to give it an hour, you know, they just, I guess, I hope as a woman to get across to men, that they maybe can help. I’m not saying they’re responsible. But they could help. And I think a lot of what women need is emotional connection, I know that they mess it up, because they’re not sexual enough. And then the guy feel so frustrated that he can’t be emotionally connected. And that’s a cycle. But, you know, if there’s a way you can get present, and take her to a hotel, Oh, my gosh, you know, so there’s no laundry, there’s no children, you know, she can be focused. It’s tough it

George Faller 11:28
is. And it is frustrating that if somebody is willing to confront their blocks, and willing to talk about their sexuality, it will improve. Yes, that first step and just saying, hey, I want to do it differently is all it takes. And when somebody is not willing to do that, because of muscle memory, because of past experiences that have not worked out so well. And they resigned themselves that it’s just this is the way it is it there’s a loss in that and it’s pretty tragic. So after the break, I think we’ll come back and talk more, okay.

Laurie Watson 12:05
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George Faller 12:43
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Laurie Watson 12:58
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George Faller 13:01
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Laurie Watson 13:07
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George Faller 13:14
So Laura, you know, at times I can be a bit old school. Yes, growing up with a bunch of man who didn’t do any kind of trimming or cleaning. They just kind of just let it roll. No, I think I’ve tried to get caught up with the Modern Times said, Hey, when you notice all what women have to do to go through the grooming plane and make them slacks racks and all this stuff that seems quite painful. I figured the least I can do is not give a little tremens. Crush it up the promise I used you know what I was using to shave my son’s head, you know, it didn’t feel so good out here. So

Laurie Watson 13:50
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George Faller 14:04
where you’re going close to the family jewels, you’re better be safe and take your time.

Laurie Watson 14:08
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George Faller 14:22
sold manscape here right? Calm,

Laurie Watson 14:25
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George Faller 14:42
Come on and join me. So we’re validating this frustration Mari and but also simultaneously not blaming the person. This is just the language that they’ve learned. Right? And it’s really trying to you’re given all these ideas, which is sound Like what this, what our listener has said he’s tried, which is just to make it safer, to get the person to look inward and to want to do it for themselves. Mm hmm. Right. So but again, those same strategies of how do you get your partner more into her body more into her heart. it’s counterintuitive, but a lot of times when when the husband can share this struggle, which is I feel really lonely and disconnected, not the frustration and the anger, but that pain around this is so much more than the orgasm, it’s like, this is how I see you and feel you and with you. And I want you to experience that with me, then when I don’t get that the pain of that, like that, that kind of wakes the partner up a little bit more to say, Wait, you know, I’m hearing anger and frustration, I normally don’t hear this, right. And as they start to engage, it is more vulnerable place. Everything else starts to come online, right, the the romantic side, the the body, all of it starts to become more engaged.

Laurie Watson 16:06
I love everything you just said, I think that’s beautiful, because he’s coming with the vulnerability of what he feels, what he needs from her, versus the criticism and the frustration that she internalizes, I’m not doing enough, I’m not good enough. And I do want her to have a good experience, I want her to have an erotic mind. And I think sometimes though, women enter the erotic place, out of love for their partner, you know, they don’t necessarily have that lovely body prompt. They don’t have it in their genitals, they, they, but they feel love. And so then when they enter the moment, and then they turn on, you know, they just kind of got to hold on to that’s the pattern for me. And that’s okay. And you know, and remember, the ending, that we feel connected, I feel good.

George Faller 16:58
Exactly. And seeing a sex therapist taking some of the pressure off for her to instead say focus exercises where there is no expectation of sex, trying to waken up her body through massage. I mean, there’s so many little things that we can do that are really tangible signs of progress as she starts to have success and less pressuring ways.

Laurie Watson 17:22
She can be in her body and be successful, feel good about being in her body.

George Faller 17:27
Right? And who knows body image inhibitions? I mean, there’s a lot of these things for good reasons why sex has gotten constructed. And having an ally to help with that, instead of somebody judging it and criticize it is really the key shift.

Laurie Watson 17:43
The sex therapist, ally?

George Faller 17:45
Sure. And your partner is your main ally. Yeah, you’re part of the solution. And you’re part of the problem. As a partner, you choose which one you want to be.

Laurie Watson 17:54
Okay. Next question, let’s, let’s see the last one here. I want to do things with my partner that my partner does not want to do, particularly like BDSM, would it not be love for them to do these things anyway, because it makes me happy. So I see this as a problem all the time. And, you know, I want to do this, this is what is sexy and sexual to me. And I so don’t want to do that. That is not sexy. That is not sexual to me. In fact, that’s a turnoff. And, you know, we come across these in many ways, right? I want to save money, I want to spend money, you know, the children should do this. The children should do that. You know, I mean, there’s so many times we come up against total blocks, but I think in sex because we’ve pledged fidelity, this is a really difficult, dicey place. You know, is it going to be as erotic as I want it to be? Sorry, George,

George Faller 18:51
go? No, it’s it’s it is tricky. I mean, if a partner wants Angel and the other partner really is turned off by Angel, I mean, that’s that’s, this is a hard one to what we’re encouraging. Is the conversation like, what is it that you really like about it? What is it that you really don’t like about it? 70% of issues, couples fight about a never resolved, I bet we just have different styles, different likes. But if you feel safe and seen and securely connected, it’s a lot easier to agree to disagree, or to compromise. And even if you’re not so into it, hey, if it makes your partner happy, that’s great. So I guess I really want to be curious about, you know, what is this partner’s reluctance to do these things that turns on his partner?

Laurie Watson 19:39
And what is what is for in this case than BDSM? What’s the turn on? Like, what’s so exciting? What do you what do you imagine is happening? I mean, sometimes people get close, they can replicate those feelings without necessarily doing the act that’s in question.

George Faller 19:59
And it’s That act, again, where we’re searching for information. Yes. What is the turn on? And can you replicate that with your partner? Or if you could kind of help your partner understand that really, it’s this not knowing it’s kind of pushing me to the edge? It’s it’s like what is if we really want to lean into the details, and so many couples, the conversation stops just that. I like this. No, I don’t want to do that. And they have no idea. There’s no exploration. And this is curiosity.

Laurie Watson 20:30
Yes. It’s so fraught with tension when we get to these moments in therapy, right? They are. They’re so anxious. I mean, I’d be willing to question them, talk to them figure it out. But they get tight lipped because they know they’re just about to trigger their partner. And so they don’t want to do that. They don’t want to open up and talk about it. They don’t want to talk about these places.

George Faller 20:54
And most people don’t realize the cost, though, of trying to suppress your sexual energy. If you don’t explore the fantasy, or the logging, and you just try to hide it away. Well guess what happens to the levels of engagement in that relationship, they start to plummet, right? If you could decide not to act on it, but I think it’s really important to be able to talk about it, and was so often afraid of being judged or kind of being repulsing our partner, that we just keep these things hidden. And the more we hide, the harder it is to kind of just have the vitality that we all deserve sexually.

Laurie Watson 21:30
Mm hmm. And what about this part? Like, you know, it would be love if they did this for me? When can’t I do it out of love, even though they don’t want to do it? How do you feel about that sentence?

George Faller 21:44
I think if it’s in your tolerance zone, that you can do that for your partner, I’m sure there are a lot of things that we do for our partner that we’d rather not do. Right, that is what love does. But if it crosses a line where it makes you feel unsafe, or it does bad things to you, then no, you can’t kind of give it and these are the tough conversations. Right? It really, you could still agree to disagree, and love the heck out of each other. If you both really get why this is so important. I have a lot of couples that I work with, they don’t really get why it matters so much, or why the other person doesn’t want to do it so much. So it’s really going into the details going deeper into why is this so important.

Laurie Watson 22:25
I just see people when they really truly listen to the other one. And they like enter their experience that the why I want it Why don’t want it and and they’re with their partner. Oftentimes that sense of you get me loosens up what we’re going to do in bed, it totally gets looser, you know, the person who was like, No, absolutely not, you know, three years later, it’s like you, you stood with me, you heard me, you felt with me, I now feel safe with you. And I can do the things with you sexually that I didn’t feel safe about three years ago, or, or vice versa, you know, now I get it, you know, gosh, it brings up trauma memories, you know, and no, I’m I would never ask that of you again, it’s still my fantasy. I still think it’s right. But I’m never gonna do that again. And and you know, there can be released that way.

George Faller 23:16
It’s a great point that a decision somebody makes today doesn’t mean it’s the same decision they’re going to make a couple of years from now. And and where is the flexibility that I maybe I’m not comfortable with you tie me up in whipping me. But you know, hey, if you want me to spank you, that’s okay. Like, I mean, there are there there are ways that we can approach each other and compromise that kind of meet some of the needs and maybe not all of the needs. And that’s what love does. Mm hmm.

Laurie Watson 23:45
That’s good. Do we have time for another one?

George Faller 23:49
We do.

Laurie Watson 23:50
Okay. You truly have been a godsend for me. They’re talking about the podcast, I could launch into a very long description of what I face with my partner. He’s a 35 year old male. I’m a 28 year old female. And the crux of the issue is I’m a pursuer and while not a total withdraw, or he does not need sex the way I do, he does not need it for connection. I’m attend and he’s the one we’re only a year in. We only have sex basically once a month, we’re at a breaking point. What do we do?

George Faller 24:25
So hard a year in and already, we’re at that huge discrepancy, right? 80% of couples have discrepancies around one watts or more one watts at less. But that’s a big discrepancy. A huge discrepancy. That’s a huge discrepancy. And, again, let’s be curious, what is stopping this man, newly married? Why not yet

Laurie Watson 24:47
married? They’re not

George Faller 24:48
dating the new relationship. I think

Laurie Watson 24:50
it’s different. I mean, I think there’s more flexibility about decisions at that point, then the feeling of being trapped and I’ve pledged this To you, right?

George Faller 25:02
Well, again, I would want to know what’s going on on his side. Is he masturbating every day? Mm hmm. You know, was he how just floated? He’s just not interested in sex? I mean, that’s two very different roads that we really we don’t know about. Good point.

Laurie Watson 25:15
Yeah. So definitely get his testosterone checked. happen. Do that. And I gotta say a lot of men who have low tea are not very motivated to have their testosterone checked. You know, they’re just not motivated towards sex. But

George Faller 25:30
I think couples can get creative. They could, you know, she might lay next to him in bed, if he’s not in the mood, and she could take out a vibrator and masturbate, but they could then cuddle up afterwards. I mean, if the goal is connection, we there are different ways. We can do it than just half an hour have intercourse all the time. Sure.

Laurie Watson 25:48
She says, though, that he doesn’t need it to feel connected. She does need it to feel Connect. How

George Faller 25:53
does he feel connected?

Laurie Watson 25:55
Right. That’s a good question. So how do I feel connection?

George Faller 25:59
If that’s one of the easiest ways to get connected? And he’s not using that then how is he feeling connected? Right. And where is he emotionally I want to look at that pattern. Is is the is the sexual withdraw, but also emotional, which are like, how does this man How does she know he’s connected? How does she know? He will? He wants her he desires her. He enjoys her she’s intelligent, she’s witty, he laughs like, Are there other things that are really working well in that relationship that we got to figure out how to harness and bring that into?

Laurie Watson 26:33
And I I love your therapist park here. George, last question for you is, this is a buddy at the Firehouse is now gender reversed. You know, he’s 35. And she’s 28. And he tells you, she never wants to have sex, George. I mean, I want it all the time. And she’s a one. I’m a 10. What would you tell you, buddy?

George Faller 26:56
I’d say get curious. We got to figure out the good reason she don’t want to have sex. There’s something blocking this natural process. I trust, she loves you. I trust she’d want to have sex. Right. But she’s she probably don’t even know the answer to why she doesn’t want to have sex.

Laurie Watson 27:14
And maybe this is controversial. But I tell my children, you know if sex goes offline before marriage, and you know, there’s a huge discrepancy. That’s a red flag. Yeah, that’s really something to pay attention to. I mean, I know you and I are both were therapists were helpful about resolving problems for people. But I, you know, I think this is a red flag, a huge red flag.

George Faller 27:39
Well, we are optimistic, and we believe if people are going to do the work, they could find solutions. But yes, if you’re really not attracted to somebody, you know, maybe you’re attracted to, you know, maybe the husband’s attracted to men, and he’s just in there a lot of things that could happen that get in a way. So there’s a lot of wisdom that saying if that sexual attraction is not there, right from the beginning, you know that some of what’s blocking, it could be something that you can’t solve.

Laurie Watson 28:06
Yeah, exactly. You got to get to the bottom of that. Yep. Absolutely. Okay. Thanks for writing in. We do appreciate the questions and the emails and the encouragement that you send to us. And I meet everyone and I’m a little bit behind right now. But I try to get back to you all. So thanks for listening.

George Faller 28:27
Were with you and your struggles were with you and your successes and keep it hot. So for all you therapists out there listening to our show, I really want you to check out success invulnerability.com on new training website that we believe is taking online therapist training to the next level. It’s so focused on moment by moment, practical moves, less theory, to really get people to have immediate success, right? We’re trying to measure targets of change. So we can see if we’re on target or we need to adjust. And the feedback we’re getting is really excited. We’re incorporating that feedback to continually adjust and to change the schedule and come join us si ve T.

Laurie Watson 29:16
Also I’ll just put a plug in for it as well because I am one of the learners. And they just released module three, which is so nuanced and so smart. I was listening to thinking this kind of instruction just is not out there, how to do the micro moves that change people’s hearts toward each other. It’s so good. So it’s reasonably priced. I just encourage you to go over to success and vulnerability.com and sign up. It’s great training.

George Faller 29:48
Lori I want to give a big shout out to our patrons whose support is really helping and as we’re starting to notice, with success comes more expenses and it would really be great Great for our listeners to have new patrons Come and join us to be part of this mission talking about sex, the importance of that, to change our culture to help us not have to figure this stuff out and feel ashamed and along with all this.

Laurie Watson 30:14
That’s right. Thanks so much. I mean, it feels good that people are believing in this mission, wanting to help other couples and wanting to help make sex something that is beautiful and easy to talk about and reduce the shame that people feel about it. So your financial support has been helpful and it would be wonderful to have you behind us

Announcer 30:34
calling your questions to the foreplay question, voicemail, dial 833 my four play that’s a three three, the number four play, and we’ll use the questions for our mailbag episodes. All content is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for therapy by a licensed clinician or as medical advice from a doctor. This podcast is copyrighted by Foreplay Media, LLC.