Show Transcript for Episode 54: Seven Things Not to Say

Listen to Episode 54: Seven Things Not to Say

Laurie Watson:
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@foreplay.rst.com Thanks for listening now on to today’s topic. So, we are going to talk today, Adam about the seven things not to say, when you’re talking about sex.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah, we should probably emphasize the not part of that. Right?

Laurie Watson:
These are things that we actually hear in the room, in the therapy room, things that people report to us, their partner has said, that are killers.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. And I think we’re always wanting people to talk about their sex lives. Right. Most people don’t. We want you to talk. So it’s not that we don’t want you to talk. But there are some things that you definitely should not say.

Laurie Watson:
Yeah, we want you to talk vulnerably. Yeah, about what you need, about what you like. We want you to say it positively. Never these seven?

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Well, before we get into them say, well, why do you think some of these things come out of people’s mouths? It’s defensiveness, right?

Laurie Watson:
Well, I also think that people have a misconstrued conception that honesty is the best policy in relationship. You know, now I’m married. I want to be really honest with you and I would say honesty is overrated.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
You’re a therapist, Laurie you’re supposed to be honest. You want want them to lie?

Laurie Watson:
No, I want them to be tactful. You’re gonna be married to this person forever for crying out loud. It’s like, please be tactful.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Please be tactful, okay.

Laurie Watson:
Tax is what works. Yeah. Especially when you’re talking about sex.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. So I knew someone one time, I was talking to his wife, okay. And he was trying to be honest.

Laurie Watson:
Oh, no.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
He was trying to be honest. And he said, “Just so you know, I’m not gonna be attracted to you when you weigh 300 pounds.”

Laurie Watson:
I mean, I hear it even worse, right? I’m not attracted to you anymore since you’ve gotten fat.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Since you’ve gotten fat.

Laurie Watson:
Yeah, and I mean, weight. I mean, weight is so important to people to our culture. I mean, and sometimes they’re not even fat when I hear that, right. You know, somebody has an incredible standard, but even saying to somebody, I’m not going to be attracted to you if you get fat or you are fat and so I’m not as attracted. You might as well just like, okay, is that person really going to sleep with you?

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Well just kills libido, doesn’t it?

Laurie Watson:
Yeah, or don’t ever get fat.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Oh, yeah, I mean prescription against that.

Laurie Watson:
I knew one guy. He used to say that all the time. Don’t ever get fat, you know? And I’m thinking, Okay, she’s about to have children. You know, you actually do gain weight when you have children. I mean, how is she going to feel about her body? Yeah. When even natural states create more weight.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
We tie attraction so much to weight and to size.And so I think some of the fear coming from that is that I’m not going to be attracted to you anymore. And attraction is solely based on weight. And that just sets people up, doesn’t it? It sets people up for failure.

Laurie Watson:
It does. I mean, because suddenly there’s this anxiety about something that has kind of nothing to do with sex. It has to do with your body regulation. But now we have an additional anxiety. And and you know a lot of women I see who do gain weight. Sometimes, they’re not either personally allowing themselves sexual pleasure, sensory sexual pleasure, and so they take it with food and then it’s a never ending cycle, right? Because they’re gaining weight, which then they feel more self conscious. And they don’t want to be sexual, so they don’t get that pleasure. And then they don’t want to have sex. I mean, that can be a crazy maker. And then if their partner is critical, forget about it.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah, there’s just, it’s all over. So what’s a better way to think to talk about to talk about that concern and more tactful ways?

Laurie Watson:
Yeah, so this is totally sexist. And, guys, if you’re out there, just tell me, you know, Laurie, you are full of beans. You’re too sexist. But I do see that when it’s gender reversed and the woman feels like he’s gained weight. And she’s not as attracted to him. If she says it really kindly like, sweetheart. You know, when we were in college, you were so fit and you know, your belly was so flat and I just thought you were hot as can be. Yeah, that was not exactly went through my mind. But you know, hot. And I just, you know, I would love it if you’d get in that kind of shape again, I really think I’d be turned on even more. Yeah, I mean, some of the really positive and encouraging.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. Well, and I think that to honoring your partner’s commitment to just just being healthy in general. Yeah. Right. Because weight is so hard to manage, right, especially as you get older, like, I mean, I think that the idea that you’re going to have the same belly and look that you did when you were when you’re in college is that there’s a high expectation, but maybe also talking about health in general, or inviting your partner to work out with you. Yeah, go for a walk.

Laurie Watson:
But I see men when they hear that often for men it translates to you mean if I get in shape? We’re gonna have some more sex. Yeah, that’d be okay. I will do that. I mean, a lot of men really respond to that. And I would say guys, this is just one little thing, belly weight translates to lost erections in 10 years or less. So if you have a belly seriously, that means that you are starting with heart disease. Your the capillaries in your penis are going to clog up and you’re going to lose your erections in 10 years or less. So that that’s a little motivation for you. But what about when is the woman who’s heavy or I mean, because sometimes men say to me, I mean, I’m just a visual guy. And, you know, she’s not that hourglass anymore and that’s what turns me on and I don’t know where to go with it.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah, I think that that’s more what I was talking about before too, was in inviting your partner to go with you to work out, get being active with them, rather than just sitting around or demanding that they go do something, especially if you’re not doing it yourself. But I also think that that finding qualities that are attractive that are honestly that are timeless that aren’t that aren’t going to change if you’re not nurturing that side of it as well. And helping her to feel attractive, doing things that make her feel attractive, then she’s not. And it’s more likely that it’s going to go the other way. I mean, would you agree with that? I’m speaking from a man’s point of view.

Laurie Watson:
I do think I mean, I think that’s lovely to invite your partner into exercise with you. I think it’s great to find things that are attractive about her. I just think weight is so toxic for women in our culture, and it’s such a killer, but I, I do understand, often for men, they’re very visually oriented. And I know if you’re listening and you’re a woman out there, I get it. You know, women can be visually oriented too. But I think the vast majority of men are visually oriented. So and weight is just such a big deal. I had one girlfriend’s husband say to her, you know, I just, you know, I really hope that you stay in shape or something. And it was really, really kind and it wasn’t the same sort of pressure. I don’t know how he said it that was distinguishing, but it was different. You know, This is a tough one. We are going get through seven of these. We are almost out of time here shoot. I mean, we should have done a whole one on weight which. Okay, we’ll come back to weight and we’ll do more than that. Be careful. Yeah. Be careful out there.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Okay, so another thing that we’ve heard often enough, which is just a killer is, you’re not big enough. I can’t feel you.

Laurie Watson:
I know. Right? I know. And I have had women say that in the room with their male partner, they’re saying, You’re he’s just not big enough. I’m like, Oh my gosh, how did how did sitting there? Say how did he not fall through the floor? You know, she said it A) to him, which I think is so incredibly toxic. And then, you know, she said it in front of another person, another woman. I mean, that I mean, just never, ever. I don’t care if you think that I don’t care what don’t say that.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah, just saying that out loud. Even with one other person in the room. Laurie Watson: You might as well just chop it off. Adam Mathews: She might as well just done that she might as well have just like said it on national television. You know, like, it’s that kind of public shaming.

Laurie Watson:
Right, men are so wedded to their penis, right? That little guy is their little buddy.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
It’s their little general.

Laurie Watson:
Don’t ever say that. There’s ways to fix it if you don’t feel it, right. And there’s other ways like condoms that are special that you can wear. There’s, you can add a finger in there’s, you know, a lot of women don’t climax that way anyway, you know, but I mean, that’s just the worst insult, I think.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Anything about size, I think should just be avoided altogether unless it’s unless it’s positive the other way. Unless you’re saying

Laurie Watson:
You’re awesome, man.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
So something else you’ve heard and I’ve heard as well. “Do you want breast implants?” I can’t I can’t even imagine that this is a this is something that somebody would say to somebody else. But it’s it is it happens.

Laurie Watson:
Yeah, I mean, basically he’s I’m not content with your breasts, right? Your size.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. What’s the difference though, then? Because I think it’s different for women. It’s not the same as her say she’s too small.

Laurie Watson:
Do you wants a penis implant.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
That’s, that’s, that’s what I mean. Like, I mean, I mean, what’s what’s that, like, from a woman’s perspective?

Laurie Watson:
I mean, I just think that that is insulting, you know that it’s he’s directly saying he’s not happy with the shape or size of her breasts. I mean, it’d be one thing, right? If she’s, like, you know, moaning it and saying, I don’t like my size or I don’t like the way I look after childbearing or, and he’s like, do you want breast implants? Okay, that that makes more sense. That’s contextual. That’s not a criticism. But just offering that up, because maybe he likes bigger breasted women. It’s like, ooh.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. So it’s got to come from it’s got to come from the woman right. It’s got to come from the woman.

Laurie Watson:
If you’re talking about breast implants. She better have said something first.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. Yeah, without you even making hints, right? No, not even hints in that direction.

Laurie Watson:
I don’t think so. Yeah. It’s so complicated, right, though. How do we talk about our, you know, particular desires and fantasies and things without hurting our you know, our buddy?

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. I mean, I think I think you’re right. I mean, I think there’s I think there’s ways to talk about the need that is there without insulting our our partners.

Laurie Watson:
I think so too. Kindness and tact.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yes. Go see your neighborhood sex therapist, and have the conversation. All right. Well, we have four more you want to come and explore those after the break.

Laurie Watson:
Let’s do that after the break. This is foreplay radio sex therapy with sex therapist Laurie Watson and couples therapist Dr. Adam Mathews. We’ll be right back.

Announcer:
Wanting Sex Again. How to rediscover desire and heal a sexless marriage by certified sex therapist Laurie Watson.

Laurie Watson:
Each chapter is designed to fix one of the problems that cause 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.

Announcer:
Look for Wanting Sex Again on amazon.com. You can also talk to Laurie Watson for therapy in person or via Skype,

Laurie Watson:
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.

Announcer:
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.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
It is one of my great joys in life to be able to really help individuals and couples find strength in their relationships and really find hope again.

Announcer:
Licensed Marriage and Family therapist Dr. Adam Mathews for Matthews counseling.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
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.

Announcer:
Therapy is available in Office, Online, and by phone.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
I want therapy to be comfortable for everyone at our office, you’ll find that we sit around a fireplace and deep, comfortable chairs, look at the problem differently and offer practical solutions for you to take home and utilize outside of the therapy room. Schedule today and rediscover hope. You can find me on the web at Mathewscounseling.net. Mathews with one t you can contact us through email or phone and find a lot of resources on our website Mathewscounseling.net

Laurie Watson:
Okay, we are back with more foreplay radio sex therapy. And we are talking about seven things not to say when you’re talking about sex, right? Things that should never come out of your mouth. You’re fat. You’re too small. Do you want breast implants. You’re not big enough. Okay. Now what have we got?

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Well, I think one of them is, why isn’t your erection working? Right?

Laurie Watson:
Yeah.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Just anything that has to do with why is it not working? Right? And that kind of contemptuous tone and way of, we talk about it all the time. And there, there are issues that come up with erection in almost any sexual relationship and commenting on it in that way. Just is just makes men not want to talk about it. I mean, it just, we’re just going to avoid it all together, and you’re never, we’re never going to talk about it ever again.

Laurie Watson:
That’s right, right. It was my very first session ever as a clinician, and I was, you know, actually fairly young woman. And I remember this woman saying, and this was way before I was a sex therapist, I was just beginning therapist and she said something like, you know, we’ve been fooling around for like an hour, and then he loses his erection. I’m just like, is he not attracted to me? First of all, I was thinking you’re gonna fool around for an hour. That’s pretty darn good.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
He kept it for an hour.

Laurie Watson:
And he kept it for an hour, and now you’re complaining about it. And of course, it kills it for him, right. I mean, I didn’t know anything about sex therapy at that point. But I knew enough as a person that that was really stupid.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Because every single time now that they try to initiate sex, he is going to be thinking about it. And that kills erections. I mean, when you think about getting an erection it is going, you’re least likely to have one right. And so that just it’s just again, it’s self defeating. Over and over again.

Laurie Watson:
Right, right.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Don’t talk about that.

Laurie Watson:
Don’t talk about you know, the loss or what’s happening. Just, just say, you know, baby, you’re sexy. Maybe it’s not your night. It’s my night. Yeah, keep going.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Encouragement. Another one that we hear often, especially when we get into kind of the details of what’s happening with them sexually. I don’t like the way you taste. That’s a hard one. Right?

Laurie Watson:
Yeah. And I’ve heard that twice in my practice from men in front of their wives. You know, I just don’t like the way she tastes. And I gotta say, oral sex is the route for a lot of women to experience orgasm. You know, so it’s like, if, if he doesn’t like the way she tastes, first of all, how is she ever gonna relax again?

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Oh, yeah. You know, so oral sex is almost off the table at that point.

Laurie Watson:
I would say for a lot of women. I mean, they’re already self conscious. I mean, even women who think they taste good as partners say they taste good. Barely can let him do oral sex. And so it’s like, okay, now he said this. You know, how is how is she going to ever get over that? Yeah, I would say there are certain foods that help: pineapple, papaya, guacamole, avocado. Those supposedly changed the way you taste. Coffee and cigarettes often make you not taste well. Both genders. Both genders everybody.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
So this can apply it’s gonna apply both ways. And so yeah, I mean oral sex is a component we talked about it often right? That’s important in healthy sexual relationships and so if you want it to happen, it’s not something you need to bring up.

Laurie Watson:
Take her out to Mexican food.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
I was about to say, start cutting up that pineapple.

Laurie Watson:
Lots of guacamole but I just you know if you’re willing to do it and I mean it’s one thing right it you know, if there’s a hygiene issue, certainly take get in the shower with her and all that, but really don’t ever say that.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Don’t ever say that. Alright, another one we hear a lot. All he or all she wants is sex.

Laurie Watson:
Yes. I mean, all these blanket statements that people make, I mean, it’s basically negating the complexity of your partner when you say all you want is sex. I mean, I know a lot of people, especially women who say this, but also, you know, men who say it to their partners, because I have, I would say 20% of my practice is women who want sex more than their male partners. You know, so it goes both ways. Absolutely. But really, you’re denying complexity when you say that, right? You’re saying, you just want to get off. I’m sorry to say that crudely, but I just want to get off. And that’s not what people want often. They want connection, they want eroticism. They want passion, they want responsiveness. They want it to be sexy, it’s not. And they want something from their partner. Most of the time, they don’t just want their own selfish orgasm. And that’s what that implies. You’re selfish. All you want is sex.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Well, then it reduces people to a stereotype right? Particularly when it comes from men towards, or I mean from women toward their men, right? That’s that’s usually where I hear that. And I think it reduces the stereotype but then it also denies the role. That sex plays in the relationship.

Laurie Watson:
It does like it’s a bad thing to want sex like I hope he wants sex!

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Oh, yeah, and sex being a primary way that men connect with their partners. It’s saying, well, he doesn’t want to connect with me. That’s what

Laurie Watson:
And it makes him feel ashamed of something that is a really positive, loving, important and essential aspect of the relationship. Right? Yeah.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
And that is a deep, that’s a deep need there. Yeah. And so I think that kind of any blanket statement, but that one in particular, is just going to just promote disconnection in the relationship.

Laurie Watson:
It does. It does.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
All right, last one, Laurie, you’re just so frigid.

Laurie Watson:
And I think this is the reverse, right? When the man says to the woman, because frigid is really a female adjective. You know, you, you don’t want sex, you’re just frigid. As if she’s a human being who doesn’t want it, and maybe for her, it’s very complex again, you know, she doesn’t want it because she’s angry at him. She’s resentful over lots of different things. Maybe she doesn’t want to because he’s not very good in bed or he’s not been sensitive to her needs or I mean, any number of reasons so it’s basically, it’s a blaming statement.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah, both of those last two are right. They’re blaming.

Laurie Watson:
Both of them are, it’s your fault.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah. If you would just change this one thing about you, our relationship would be okay.

Laurie Watson:
Right. Nothing’s that easy.
Right. So when we think about those statements, those seven things, I mean, I think people would say, Okay, well, if there’s some truth to those statements, how do we go about talking about it? What are the kind of things that we want? We mentioned it briefly at the top of the show, but what are the things that we want to say in sex? How do we want to talk about sex? What’s the some general guiding principles when we’re talking about that?

Laurie Watson:
Okay, so first know that talking about sex is vulnerable. And you want to pick a time and a place because just bringing it up out of the blue is often going to be interruptive or going to be like a surprise attack on your partner. Yeah, so I say do it over coffee outside. You know, go to some coffee shop that’s noisy or something where you’re not going to be interrupted and nobody can hear you. But go somewhere kind of public and neutral, or maybe the park or wherever, and tell your partner, I want to talk to you about our love life. I want to talk about sex. Yeah, I know, this has been a difficult subject, but I want to go there. And first, if you’re the initiating party for that conversation, decide what you want. Decide one thing you want out of this conversation and make it a very contained conversation.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Yeah, I think you want to avoid what we were talking about before those blaming statements. You don’t want to blame your partner, you want to see this as an us issue rather than a you issue? Right? That we’re on the same team and want the same things and when you ascribe to your partner that you that they want sex, like you want sex that they you both want a healthy, sexual vibrant relationship, then it’s more likely that you’re going to be heard, right?

Laurie Watson:
Yeah, or maybe ascribing that you both have a goal of intimacy. Yes, you know, I mean, I think for some partners, sex is that primary avenue and other partners may be talking, or spending time together, you know, or something else. But say look at I know, we both have a goal of intimacy and connection. And then the next thing is, is you have to talk about what you want. Short lived, you know, like one sentence. So, I really want to make love twice a week. This I think, is what would make me feel content and happy. So really lay it down, you know, in a in a small prescribed way, rather than saying, you know, why don’t you want to make love very much.

Dr. Adam Mathews:
Adam Mathews: Oh, yeah, that question is killer. Yeah.

Laurie Watson:
That’s a killer.

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. And I think what you’re talking about is making requests or making we talk call them bids before and talked about that. Yeah. And talked about them in those in those ways. And that’s the vulnerability part cover, right? Because you’ve got to be if you’re not risking something right in in that conversation, then you’re probably not being vulnerable. Right. And and so that’s, that’s the difficult thing. And I think that’s where a lot of those statements that we’re talking about come from of just being real defensive and real, like not risking a lot. It’s not it’s not a risk to talk about size or to talk about the ways that you’re unsatisfied. Right, as opposed to just

Laurie Watson:
That’s just anger and throwing mud. Yeah. And a poor beginning to a conversation that might change your sex life. Yeah. Well, listen, I think this has been great. Seven things not to say when you’re going to talk about sex. Adam Mathews: Don’t say those things. Laurie Watson: Don’t say those things. Okay, thanks for listening to us. This is Foreplay radio sex therapy with sex therapist Laurie Watson and couples therapists Dr. Adam Mathews. Hey, help us stay on top here at foreplay. We would love it if you would subscribe and share it with your friends. Please take one sec and rate and review us, thanks so much.