You are currently viewing Episode 290: Turnons and Turnoffs

Episode 290: Turnons and Turnoffs

All gas, no brakes!! We’re using our acronym B.E.S.T. sex to talk about turn ons and turn offs. What works, and what doesn’t work. Body, Emotional, Spiritual, and Thoughts… Use B.E.S.T. to be more intentional and find practical tactics to apply to your relationship.

B.E.S.T. sex is all about attunement! When your partner knows what you like, what you need, and how to touch you, that’s hot stuff! The best love is when you feel safe, safe enough to take risks and know you’ll still be accepting. A big part of great sex is to keep growing together, and the best lovers are vulnerable.

We’ve got some homework for you! Write down your turn ons and turn offs using the B.E.S.T. acronym and share them with your partner!


George Faller 00:02
Time to get specific. What turns you on? What turns you off?

Laurie Watson 00:07
I can hardly wait to hear this.

George Faller 00:09
Get ready.

Laurie Watson 00:13
Welcome to Foreplay Radio Couples and Sex Therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

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

Laurie Watson 00:21
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 00:37
So we’re gonna use our acronym right? B.E.S.T. sex. What is the best sex and we want to think about best B is for body, E is for emotions, S is for spirit, and T is for our thoughts. And we’re going to think first about what the turnoffs are, George.

George Faller 00:56
Yes, we’re getting so many questions and comments from our listeners. We want to like practically go through a list. What works, what doesn’t work. So we’re going to start off just going in each category. We’re going to start off with our bodies. What are some things that turn us off? Put on brakes in a relationship?

Laurie Watson 01:16
Yeah. Number one thing I hear is poor footwear, haha. Women get turned off by men’s shoes that are not nice. I did have a patient who went on a date with this guy who, you know, he had money, he was fine. And she said he came in like unpolished, scuffed shoes. And she said, You know, I mean, if he’s not going to care about those kinds of details, it’s like, forget about it.

George Faller 01:47
This is a good lesson for the men Listen, cuz I could care less what my shoes look like,

Laurie Watson 01:52
We know that haha.

George Faller 01:54
But if you think about it, I mean, women love shoes. For the most part. My wife’s closet’s got like a whole rack of them.

Laurie Watson 02:02
And I am up here in New York with George in person, live. And I actually saw their closet because Kathy invited me to help pick out George’s shirts that we were going to use for our photoshoot. And you’re right, she has a rack of shoes!

George Faller 02:15
And I have like three pair…I gotta up my game now that I understand how important this is! I had no idea. This is a revelation.

Laurie Watson 02:26
Poor shoes. That’s a turn off from the body. You know, when I hear this one its just bad news, is poor dental hygiene. Like a man who has bad breath or doesn’t go to the dentist or he has bad teeth and he doesn’t do anything about it. Oh, that one is just killer.

George Faller 02:45
Right? We can go through all the five senses, smell is certainly gonna be a turnoff for a lot of people.

Laurie Watson 02:52
And certainly, I mean, so I cannot fight this in women. Women are anxious about smelling bad themselves. If they don’t have a shower, there’s just not going to be uninhibited. So I’m like, take the damn shower. Right? You know, don’t fight her on that. Don’t even don’t waste your time. Just, a shower is what, five seconds? Go take a shower. But man, definitely shower gentlemen.

George Faller 03:14
Visual can be a turnoff too, right? If you want to turn the lights off and your partner wants to kind of see things, that can be a big turnoff from that, right?

Laurie Watson 03:22
Right, because we know men don’t know where they are without the lights on, haha.

George Faller 03:27
Well, this is true. When you have a bit of your kissing, and you can see something also ,the lights go off. It’s like, such a bummer, such a turn off, right? And maybe we can get into turn ons and candles and stuff. But just that idea of recognizing what are the brakes? Get curious. What are the things that just kind of dampen your desire? Cuz the more we can identify them and kind of try to remove them, the more emotion more energy we have. What about taste? Yeah, something doesn’t taste good. Your body doesn’t want it.

Laurie Watson 04:03
I think sex is an acquired taste. You know, it has its own taste. We have to get comfortable with that. Okay, right. Kiss your partner in the back of a sweaty neck. Right? Yeah. salty. That can be hot, or I can maybe not. We’re talking about turn offs, not turn ons! I got off track!

George Faller 04:24
She keeps getting back. She wants to get to the turn ons. Touch can be a turn off. The touch is too hard, It’s too tickly, it’s not asking permission, you’re spanking someone’s butt, they don’t want it, it could be a turn off. So again, just recognizing that the body’s communicating. If something doesn’t feel good, there’s a reason it doesn’t feel good.

Laurie Watson 04:43
Right? And that’s all about attunement. If you’re touching your partner in ways that consistently turn them off, I mean, forget about it. I hear this all the time. It’s like “I’ve told them 100 times. Don’t do this” or “I’ve told her I really like this and She doesn’t do it.” And so it’s a turn off.

George Faller 05:03
Yeah. I mean, you can think about pulling hair. Some people love their hair pulled, others don’t like their hair pulled, you know, we just can’t use the same move over and over again, it’s about recognizing the person you’re with. There’s probably a reason they don’t like their hair pulled. So I think touch is a big one to look for feedback and not just assume that you know, but to kind of ask.

Laurie Watson 05:25
And pacing. You know, I think that so many times we’re off and misattune in terms of what we’re expecting in bed, or what we want in that sexual encounter. And so the pacing is off. Maybe he wants it fast and furious, and she’s not ready. Or maybe she wants it fast and furious sometimes. And she never gets that. So I mean, that can be a turnoff too.

George Faller 05:45
Yeah, when you’re in a good rhythm and it’s working well and you mess with that rhythm, You know, it’s okay for the body say “I don’t like that.” Like, really? You were right where you needed to be. And it was working well, please don’t move it. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.

Laurie Watson 06:01
Okay, so what about our emotions? What’s the turnoff there? I mean, obviously, resentment. You know, you were talking this morning with your wife about that book, Fair play. And so many women talk about, they don’t want foreplay, they want fair play. They want a partner who shares the load. And that resentment, I say it’s the monster under the bed. You know, it’s a huge turnoff. If you feel overall that you do more than your partner know that resentment is big. I mean, and people can divide up they can do different tasks, but I think there’s a sense of, are we sharing the load with some equality?

George Faller 06:39
There’s a lot of terminals here emotionally, right? This is where those feelings of rejection, failure, dysfunction, I mean, these things put the big brakes on sex. So just being able to name them and to be able to talk about that is is huge, because it’s hard to be turned on when you got a load of pressure on you. Your body’s waiting to be told it’s not wanted, it’s doing it wrong. I mean, those things just make it hard to let go and be playful and all the things we need for really healthy sex

Laurie Watson 07:10
Not going to be terribly erotic if you are waiting to be rejected, right? I mean, I think this one particularly is the one that shuts men down. Men need to be seducted, that’s how I think they share testosterone. But if they’ve been turned down a million times, why risk saying something clever? Why risk initiating in a way that is sexy? if all you’re gonna get is no? They’re so afraid of that, it comes down to Hey you wanna do it? Do you want sex tonight? Which no woman responds to.

George Faller 07:44
That’s nasty.

Laurie Watson 07:45
So boring!

George Faller 07:46
So you get to fear rejection and then the parts don’t work so well, then you got the fear of performance on top of that. And these fears just mount. And the more cumulative they are, the harder it is to want it.

Laurie Watson 07:57
No pun intended, but you’re right, they do add up because I mean, if you’re afraid of being rejected, and you’re coming into it tentative there’s not enough energy, I think, particularly for men, to perform. They need that kind of that energy, that excitement, so then his body doesn’t do as much as what he wants it to do, then he’s just covered in shame. And she’s like, What’s wrong with me? Why can’t you get excited about me, my body? Forget about it.

George Faller 08:24
It is very helpful to intentionally think about this. Or if you’re worried about what your body looks like, you’re worried about your partner not liking it, you’re worried about things not working, these are all going to put brakes on the process and the more we can name those breaks, the more we could kind of free them up and then go to the other list which we’re going to get to Alright, let’s move on to spiritual. Am I being a good boy or a good girl? Does God like this? Is this wrong to do? You know, judgement. This is where shame kicks in. Those parts can really put on the brakes.

Laurie Watson 08:58
Oh, yeah. Messages from our childhood, our faith backgrounds. You know, I want to affirm that there are many faith traditions that do support healthy sexuality. And then there are others that don’t, you know, and all you get is the shoulds and should nots.

George Faller 09:18
I read some verses in the Bible. I’m like damn, God’s a sexy thing. The way, you know, this is being described, but we don’t get a lot of those messages.

Laurie Watson 09:26
Let the marriage bed be held and defiled. That’s my favorite. And I’m not that religious. But I hold on to that one because I think the message behind it, is that what two people are consenting to in their bed, is good.

George Faller 09:42
Right. And let’s get on to the thinking, the erotic mind. What are some of the brakes, the turn offs of the erotic mind?

Laurie Watson 09:50
I think that the lady likeness. You know, when I was growing up, ladies, young ladies, there was a decorum, a way you were supposed to behave. And I’ve said this before on the podcast, but I remember being five years old in the doctor’s office, and my mother’s saying, ladies sit with their legs crossed. And I remember thinking like, why? That’s uncomfortable. You know, my brothers got to sit any which way they wanted, but there’s a closeness that we’re socialized, legs are closed. And you know, when I hear people say, about a lady, my thoughts are about, you’re talking about a set of behaviors that goes through that is polite, and you know what to be sexy in bed, you kind of got to let go of the lady. Yes, the freakin bed, or at least the woman who can open her legs and isn’t polite and isn’t so worried about what her body smells like, the noises she makesm anything. It’s like, it’s really having to be unladylike as a woman. And, you know, I think for men, and I want to be really careful here… But so many men have a part of them that doesn’t want to offend a woman, and doesn’t want to hurt a woman. And they really are concerned about being supportive of women and politically correct, but in some ways, they tamp down the sexual part of them. And that energy that the sexual experience needs, right. I had one guy who said, you know, I’ve got a 16 year old inside. He’s anxious. I got a 22 year old who wants to respect women. And then I got a caveman and the first two always outvote the caveman. You know, his wife was like, Can I sleep with the caveman? You know, I mean, that energy can be so unerotic if you’re so concerned about decorum every single minute.

George Faller 11:41
So all of these conditioned habits over time causes not to develop the erotic mind. and not developing the erotic mind, you can’t resource it, it will then turn into a brake. Right, we miss a chance to kind of use these pieces to pull them into the engagement. And worse it can start bringing up overthinking, so we start to be anxious, we’re going over the list of what needs to happen. Were thinking about the kids birthday party, all these other things are filling the mind because we don’t know how to let the erotic mind do what it’s supposed to do. And it will just kind of stop this process. So Alright, and there’s also talking, like sometimes somebody doesn’t stop talking. How was that? Was that good for you? I mean, it’s this constant kind of feedback that’s not well timed. That also is going to kind of get in a way that erotic mind.

Laurie Watson 12:33
Distract somebody from enjoying their sexy moment.

George Faller 12:36
Right. This is not an exhaustive list. This is just our attempt to throw things out there to start a conversation to get you all thinking about what might turn you off. When we come back, let’s get to the good stuff.

Laurie Watson 12:51
Hey, I just want to take a minute to thank our Patreon supporters. I am very grateful for what you’ve done and we’d love to invite the rest of you in on our mission.

George Faller 12:59
Your support means more than you realize and it keeps this project moving forward and we’re really hoping to reach greater heights

Laurie Watson 13:08
Find a link on! We are so thankful for your support.

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Laurie Watson 14:19
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George Faller 14:43
Laurie’s been anxiously awaiting. Second half.

Laurie Watson 14:46
Yeah, and I’m the only one who cares about turned ons.

George Faller 14:49
She’s been jumping and wants to talk, chomping at the bit. Let’s get to the turn ons.

Laurie Watson 14:53
That is me.

George Faller 14:53
And that is our energy here. Okay, so let’s get started over. Let’s get to the body. What are some of the turn ons? What are the ways to just get us going?

Laurie Watson 15:03
Get the game on, Yeah, the body. Nothing like attunement. Somebody who kind of knows you and knows how to touch you, does that well, that is hot stuff.

George Faller 15:15
Yeah. Different types of touch. Let’s get specific. Pressure, tempo, texture. There’s so many elements to this. You know the timing of it. We can really get a lot better if we practice and we’re intentional.

Laurie Watson 15:28
Yeah, and we need to know ourselves. We need to know those touches that turn our partner on to make hot sex.

George Faller 15:37
Let’s go to those senses. Smell. Smell nice, clean. That’s a big turn on. Perfume, cologne.

Laurie Watson 15:45
Yes, please. All of that is so good. Even a nice shower with good soap. That can be great.

George Faller 15:52
I got a few of my soaps a lot like my shoes. I gotta up my game, Laurie, gotta up my game.

Laurie Watson 15:59
George. You kknow what I’m gonna send you for Christmas? Good soap. Okay, what else? Smell? Sight?

George Faller 16:06
Right? Those candles, just the right light.

Laurie Watson 16:10
Talk about men and the visual. This is where you nailed that need.

George Faller 16:15
Yeah, the light can be really important because men can be visual. I don’t want to generalize too much. But yes, men generally, generally men get turned on visually. They like seeing their partner in whatever they’re in. You know, that’s why negligee a striptease. All these things just feed the part of that brain that kind of gets the erotic mind going. To just have that visual that’s the springboard. Right? So you know, when you just turn the lights off, that’s not going to get that part of the brain kind of like lit up.

Laurie Watson 16:46
She turns the lights off because she believes that he doesn’t he’s not going to like what he sees, right? He wants the lights on because he does like what he sees and it turns him on further. What a miss.

George Faller 16:58
What a miss.

Laurie Watson 16:58
Yeah, but I think you’re right. Men are so visual, and so hard to get across to a partner who is not comfortable with that.

George Faller 17:07
And this touch isn’t just for your partner, right? With the visual, we’re trying to get men especially more grounded in their body. Can you feel your heels? Can you feel your butt on the bed? Can you feel all these different parts of your skin that it’s so important to be relaxed and not getting too intense and too tunnel vision focused on just your genitals? So again, this a huge part of being turned on.

Laurie Watson 17:30
Yeah, that is good. Him having full sensuality. And thinking about his body as a whole. Do you think men like full body massages?

George Faller 17:43
Absolutely. Who doesn’t like a massage?

Laurie Watson 17:46
Yeah. Right. But is that like frustrating because he really wants to get to sex.

George Faller 17:51
And now you know, you want to scratch my back and rub my head. You know, these different parts of touch are so important to relaxing. And sometimes you want a quickie, But other times it’s it’s all about timing. Or we can say this is a big area of the body, of getting people more intentional about bringing their whole body in. Bringing in smells, tastes, sight. There’s so many things here that can hit that gas pedal and really accelerate the process. Alright, let’s get into the emotional, the heart.

Laurie Watson 18:24
The heart. I think we want to have sex with people we feel connected to, right? I mean, that’s what the research shows. It’s like, it’s better if there’s something happening with that person. Maybe that’s just me, but I mean, I know there are a lot of people out there in the world having hookups with people that they don’t feel connected to. I think for women, though, there’s a fantasy that there’s gonna be a connection. I think, that’s what my women patients tell me. I mean, I know there are women that just do hookups. And that’s okay. But a lot of them are fantasizing. This is the beginning of a relationship.

George Faller 19:04
Right. And again, men need this part big time. They don’t get appreciated enough. So that afterglow period, I want to cuddle, that wanting, it’s all about that emotional bond, and how do we just make that more explicit throughout the process?

Laurie Watson 19:22
Right. I remember this scene from a movie they had hot sex, and afterwards, you know, he’s kind of lying there. And he starts reminiscing and talking and just you could see, you know, she turns and looks at him and he opens up. It’s very emotional for him. The sex was sort of the keyhole into this place, of his emotions and his heart. And I remember thinking it was a really hot scene, not the sex. But the emotional connection afterwards was really hot.

George Faller 19:55
Showing interest. Right? This isn’t just in a bedroom. Before the bedroom, this really looking in each other’s eyes, I want to see the green brains that are feeling kind of fun and excited and playful. I mean, to get there, we have to feel safe, right? And the things that we can do that set us up for that, that just gonna make this process better,

Laurie Watson 20:16
We do have to feel safe. I also think eroticism is also about taking risks. You know that sometimes to make it hot sex, it isn’t just a starting place of safety, you know, that we have to challenge ourselves to do the thing that maybe feels a little vulnerable. I mean, don’t you think?

George Faller 20:35
The best love is because they feel safe, they can take risks, it’s easy to risk. When you’re feeling safe with somebody, you’re not going to be rejected, right? You’re going to still be accepted. So yes, it’s a big part of good sex is to not know, to bring different things and to keep growing and stretching. That’s what the best lovers do write they take risks and they’re vulnerable.

Laurie Watson 20:57
I like that. Okay, what about spiritual connection?

George Faller 21:02
Yeah, I think when you have a healthy image of God, that’s about connection. And it’s about having fun, and it’s something that you’re grateful for that you have a body and a mind and a heart that can do these things that it can feel like worship, like God’s kind of happy that you’re in this place. I mean, it frees you up from all those brakes and actually brings in this other sense, you know, great love is described as feeling a sense of transcendence. Part of being something bigger than ourselves, it’s about as spiritual as we can feel in those moments of ecstasy when we’re super connected. So just making that explicit and being like, Wow, man, this is it’s good to be alive. Thank you, big guy.

Laurie Watson 21:46
Yeah, just the gratitude, you know, for having a body that can love. I mean, that’s amazing. And I love that you’re talking about the idea of a sex positive God, you know, because so many people grow up believing God is frowning on them for masturbating or being sexual in some way or judging them and they don’t feel the message of Hey, you know, if you believe in God, and you believe God made your body and all things are good, and your body, I mean, that’s a powerful message. Your body is made for pleasure. You know, the clitoris, there’s no other reason for the clitoris. Except for sexual pleasure. Like, if you believe in creation, you really got to believe in female orgasm!

George Faller 22:32
I hear you, I hear you. And we need to hear more of those healthy spiritual messages. Alright, we got a lot of brakes in this department, but not a lot of gas pedals. And why not develop that? Why not feel like you know, this is loving? Well, if God is love, God is here. Right? And how do we find God in these events?

Laurie Watson 22:54
Yep. And I probably want to expand the idea of spirituality to include like you were just about to say the transcendence of merger, you know, when you are together with somebody your bodies, I mean, I really think there is very little in life that beats intercourse. I mean, it is so merging.

George Faller 23:13
To become one.

Laurie Watson 23:15
To become one. I mean, it’s an incredible experience and technicalities aside on whether or not you orgasm that way, just intercourse is freakin amazing. I mean, it’s so intimate, so beautiful. To me. I mean, it’s still wonderful.

George Faller 23:32
Let’s finish off these turn ons. Let’s get to the thinking, erotic mind. Laurie, what do you think?

Laurie Watson 23:38
I think that cultivating a life of thoughts that are sexy, is really important. I recently shared with some girlfriends about all our sexy thoughts. And we’ve known each other for a really long time. And you know, what we thought about when we were kids compared to what we think about now has has grown and developed. And I think what was so neat was to hear women who are very alive sexually, you know, very erotic like, had continued their growth. Their heyday was not when they were in their 20s it was like they were sexier now, they thought more deeply now and allowed themselves sort of mind freedom to be erotic, you know, sex starts in the brain and it ends in the brain. I’m probably not going to be wildly attractive when I’m 80. And I hope my husband still thinks my brain is very sexy.

George Faller 24:34
I love it. It’s an area that we all need more practice with. That erotic brain, there are no limitations to it. It’s got such beautiful freedom. And if we can remove some of the brakes to it and really go on an exploration, it’s an endless fun exploration.

Laurie Watson 24:53
It is and so I think allowing ourselves to think and to plan, to be creative. You know, like, what would be the next encounter? That would be a great turn on. I mean, that’s a way to fantasize about your partner, about the possibilities, about making it hot and spicy and sexy. I mean, that’s

George Faller 25:13
That’s this whole episode. Using B.E.S.T., trying to get your mind to be more intentional, trying to give you more tactics, trying to get you to be more practical in applying this stuff. So you all have your homework assignment. .

Laurie Watson 25:27
Yeah, and let’s make it explicit. I think that they should write out the acronym B.E.S.T. body, emotions, spiritual and thoughts. And write down their own turn offs and their own turn ons and share together on Friday night. This comes out on Friday morning. So tonight when you hear this, this is your date night, I want you to share B.E.S.T. turn offs and B.E.S.T. turn ons.

George Faller 25:50
And if you don’t do it, you’re in trouble with Dr. Laurie.

Laurie Watson 25:55
Thanks for listening. Keep it hot.

Announcer 26:00
Call in your questions to the Foreplay question voicemail dial 833-MY4-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.