On today’s show we welcome Laurie Watson. Laurie is a Certified Sex Therapist and Licensed Couple’s Counselor and author of Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage. She is also the co-host of a podcast along with Dr. Adam Matthews called Foreplay: Radio Sex Therapy for Couples, designed to help couples keep it hot.
In clinical therapy, she has helped thousands of couples recover sexual passion and make love again in joyful, intimate, creative and exciting ways, sometimes even after years of sexless marriage. Inside this episode we dive into the topic of people wanting to reignite their passion and the desire that’s lost in a marriages or relationships. Laurie shares some incredible strategies to help you get back that fiery passion, today. We also diving into Laurie’s 444 Solution and getting your SEX confidence back!
- Laurie’s background and how she came to writing Wanting Sex Again.
- How a good marriage becomes a sexless marriage.
- The power struggle between the pursuer and the “distancer” in the relationship.
- Examples of a pursuer and a distant person.
- Understanding the concept of Attachment theory.
- Detailed talkers versus bullet point talkers.
- Importance of secure attachment.
- Doing a self analysis to understand where you are at personally (and your relationship).
- Laurie’s 444 Solution and how to use it in your relationship.
- What birth control can do to a woman’s libido.
- The Madonna Whore Syndrome.
- Common issues affecting couples in their sex lives.
- Getting your self confidence and body confidence back.
- And so much more!
Resources, extended show notes and Alice’s details can be accessed by clicking here.
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[0:01:19.5] Sean Jameson: Today on The Bad Girls Bible Podcast, I’m talking to Laurie Watson. Laurie is a Certified Sex Therapist and Licensed Couple’s Counselor and author of Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage. She has her own podcast along with Dr. Adam Matthews called Foreplay: Radio Sex Therapy for Couples, designed to help couples keep it hot. Laurie, thanks so much for coming on the show.
[0:01:47.2] Laurie Watson Hey, I’m so excited to be one of the bad girls.
[0:01:51.3] Sean Jameson: Great. Well, I get emails about this all the time, about reigniting their passion kind of desire that lost in a marriage or relationships. I’m really looking forward to discussing some of those strategies listeners can use tonight to do just that but I’d love to start off maybe with your background and how you came to write Wanting Sex Again.
[0:02:14.6] Laurie Watson Well, I’m a sex therapist clinically which means I work with couples and individuals and women who were referred by their gynecologist usually said, you know? “I just don’t want it, I don’t know what, I used to want it but I could care less if I ever had sex again.” I was like, “How is that possible? It’s not like going to the dentist, right? It’s this fun experience, why are they not wanting sex” and so, I began to hear this complaint as actually separate issues and that was the book I wrote.
I wrote it for the woman who has low libido and there are many different reasons for that and I wanted them to both have something where they were understood as well as get some direction in terms of how to get through this so that they can have that spice of spice back.
[0:03:11.7] Sean Jameson: I’m wondering if you could give our listeners maybe an example then of how an otherwise good marriage becomes a sexless marriage and how that process unfolds and then hopefully how they can fix it.
[0:03:26.1] Laurie Watson I’m really glad you asked this because I have a scary stat to tell you. Within two years of marriage, one third of all couples are sexless and it’s two years of committed coupleship or marriage. One third. I mean, Shawn, that’s incredible and it is not because we’re growing old and approaching menopause or because the children are distracting us.
It’s actually before children enter the relationship oftentimes. Why is that?
[0:03:59.8] Sean Jameson: Yeah, why is that?
[0:04:00.9] Laurie Watson Is it just, “Well, sex has become boring because we’re with the same person” or what happens? I think that there’s a really distinct problem. I call it the power struggle between the pursuer and the distancer in the relationship. Everyone of us wants two things, we want to love and be loved, that’s closeness, we also want our own autonomy to pursue our purpose in life, to do what we feel called to do, to feel what we’re, what we enjoy, our hobbies, our personal interests.
When we do one thing, it takes away from the other. If I’m at work, I’m not with my family, if I’m with my family, I’m not fulfilling my purpose perfectly.
[0:04:47.4] Sean Jameson: That makes sense.
[0:04:49.3] Laurie Watson In coupleship, one or the other seems to corner the market on one of those things. For instance, one of them says, “I want more time together, more closeness, more emotional talking, let’s talk feelings, I want more closeness with you.” Then the other person says, “You know, you feel a little suffocating to me, I want to make sure that I have good boundaries and I have time to do the things that are important to me and I need to spend some extra time at work,” and seems to pull away from the relationship.
That pulling away makes the first person who is the pursuer a little anxious so they get critical and they’re like, “You know, you’re not with me enough, this excitement in the beginning devolves into criticism.”
[0:05:41.6] Sean Jameson: They’re like, “What the hell?”
[0:05:43.3] Laurie Watson Yeah, then the other person says, “You’re so critical of me no matter what I do makes you happy anyway,” so they pull away further and it becomes this toxic cycle. That is why really, truly, of all sexual issues, that’s the problem, there’s one central problem and it’s the resolution of this issue where sex gets caught and sex is a very fragile area of our life because it’s like so primitive, right? To say, “Hey, touch me till I have an orgasm.” I mean, that’s just primitive.
We don’t want to be that vulnerable and so women traditionally pull away and lose desire in the bedroom and men often dilute desire through the use of porn or you know, potentially others. Both people can have affairs certainly. It’s that delusions, they’re not as vulnerable to these primitive needs and therefore, you know, they’re still married or they’re still in committed relationship but snap, there goes sex.
[0:06:53.2] Sean Jameson: That’s pretty depressing, especially that statistic of one third within two years or in a sexless marriage.
[0:07:00.4] Laurie Watson isn’t that depressing? You know what? I have good news because when we resolve that conflict, first of all, sex comes back and second of all, we actually grow as humans to become more fully developed. The person who is the pursuing partner who has become critical learns to represent their needs and say what they need without clawing at the other person.
The person who is more distant actually learns more people skills, learns how to communicate better, learns the joy of being closer and more intimate and so we become more well-rounded when we resolve this. That is the task of I think commitment is how do we resolve this problem and then the great thing is that as we do, sex is restored.
[0:07:57.3] Sean Jameson: Could I ask you for a few examples then of the behaviors of maybe a pursuer and then someone who is distant. Just to give people an idea, maybe they recognize it in themselves, maybe I recognize it in myself and hopefully not.
[0:08:14.4] Laurie Watson Right.
[0:08:15.1] Sean Jameson: Yeah, that would be great.
[0:08:16.1] Laurie Watson Okay, good. I will give you an example of a patient, obviously without her name but she was 35 years old and she had two children, she was married, she taught part time in her children’s preschool during their hours and her husband was an executive. He spent long hours away from the home. She did not want more children at that time so she was on birth control.
They were both busy and tired and exhausted and they often prioritize the children over their marriage. She began to feel like you know, “Sex is so much hassle, it takes me so long to reach orgasm, let’s just get it over with.” She really stopped having orgasms during the sexual experience so her libido plummeted because what I say is, if there’s no big bang, there’s no big deal.
[0:09:16.7] Sean Jameson: Absolutely. I mean, it just becomes a chore for when you’re doing something for someone else which is nice. But if you’re never getting your own reward, I mean, I can understand.
[0:09:28.0] Laurie Watson Her husband was more of the distancing partner emotionally but he was the sexual pursuer which is typical in a heterosexual relationship. He wanted sex, he felt closer after they had sex and more able to talk about his feelings afterwards whereas she felt so alone and overwhelmed by her life and the fact that she didn’t feel emotionally close to him because he was gone so much and she would say, you know, “I really don’t want to have sex unless I feel emotionally close and I never feel emotionally close.”
“It’s not that great anymore, frankly.” She started to say no more often, he started to feel more frantic about their sex decline, he was pestering her and she felt like the more he pestered her, the less she wanted it but she wanted more closeness so in heterosexual relationships, frequently, the split happens but it’s a little gender defined. She wants more emotional closeness, he says, “I can’t give you that until I have sex” and she’s like, “You know, I’m really not interested in the bedroom unless you are close to me.”
As we started talking, a couple of other things came up, she also had a little bit of pain and which very frequent. Often times, young women on birth control pills can experience a little bit of pain and she wasn’t frankly very aroused. She was in that get it over space so her body wasn’t lubricated, her body wasn’t engorged vaginally. They would start to have sex and she was like, then it hurt and because it hurt, she was like, I mean, it wasn’t terribly painful like it might have been in menopause but it decreased her libido further.
[0:11:25.4] Sean Jameson: Naturally, I mean, not only are you not reaching maybe orgasm but it’s actually causing you pain. I can understand exactly what you’re saying right there. The pain during intercourse is going to make you not want it so much.
[0:11:40.5] Laurie Watson Exactly. Low libido is complex. I mean, all of these things started to happen, it isn’t, I think men often think, you know, “if I could just learn the secrets of how to touch her and give her wild screaming orgasms, she’s want it all the time.” But women, it’s different. They have this huge emotional component that they often want to feel safe and connected and I know you and I, we’re talking a little bit before we started. What about the couple who what I say is in meshed, they’re on top of each other, they spend every minute, they say they’re best friends and do they give each other enough breathing space to even have that erotic edge, right?
Because some of what turns us on really is the difference from the other.
[0:12:34.8] Sean Jameson: Yeah, it’s also giving each other I think space to create a little bit of tension, a little bit of mystery almost and something to look forward to.
[0:12:46.3] Laurie Watson Right. In true attachment, I’m talking about a theory called attachment theory. In true attachment, we actually feel so safe that we tend to explore the world even more. We feel so safe that we can tell our partner with courage. “Hey, you know what? I really want to try this and that.” It actually encourages us to take more risks to do our own thing and then we come back into the relationship with something to say, you know? “I’m going to tell you about my exciting life that was outside of you.”
It adds that sense of dimension. “I don’t know everything about you, you have this whole day or this whole week away from me and I support you, I trust you.”
[0:13:34.9] Sean Jameson: I wasn’t anxious that you were gone, checking you every five minutes.
[0:13:40.1] Laurie Watson Right, exactly. I mean, in bad situations where there’s not solid attachment, actually, then jealousy comes in, people become more distant, right? I have men who say, “She wants to talk to me at the end of the day but frankly, I don’t want to hear all those details. I’m not that interested.” Which I think is so tragic, right?
Something or another has gone wrong about their willingness to be interested in the difference.
[0:14:12.4] Sean Jameson: Yeah, something they’re not interested in but they’re interested in it perhaps because the partner’s interesting and they want to be interested in their partner.
[0:14:21.6] Laurie Watson Exactly. I have never in my life talked to a boring person. I mean, people are fascinating, even people who are repetitive are fascinating. Because I begin to wonder about why is this so important, why do you keep telling me that? Somehow or another, couples lose that ability to see the other as an other. “I know everything you’re going to say” and it’s a way that they mute their desire, it’s a way that they kind of simplify things, right?
“I already know what you’re going to say, you don’t need to tell me, net it out, just tell me the” –
[0:15:00.8] Sean Jameson: “Just give me the information. I don’t care about your feelings, what do I need to know?” The typical guy thing, I think I do it a little bit, I try not to but se la vie.
[0:15:13.3] Laurie Watson You know, I would say, often times, people who are very detailed talkers get together with people who are bullet point talkers. It’s not always male and female. You know, I have a girlfriend who is a bullet point talker and she’s like, her dread is that she’s going to repeat herself. You know, she likes things, “just tell me the highlights,” she doesn’t want to hear all the fluff but I think that sharing and communicating with each other is a basis for attachment and physical sharing, sexuality is part of that communication.
We need both parts, we need a talking avenue and we need a physical touching avenue to really have secure attachment. Sometimes I think people hear that word secure attachment and they think that means it’s not going to be exciting. It’s like when we’re children, if our parents love us and provide financial security and emotional interest and care.
We actually grow up and want to leave them, you know? We want to go out and face the world and conquer the world, and conquer the world, we feel secure to do that. That’s the same thing in relationship, when we’re secure, we want to go out and explore the world, we know we have a home base to come home to. We know that our romantic partner is there for us. That makes sex more exciting.
Because I bring something from the world back into the relationship. Back to our person here, our 32 year old woman, I mean, I think in part, this idea that young couples prioritize the children, they’re only little ones.
[0:17:07.3] Sean Jameson: Let me interrupt you, just to – before we discuss how kids can affect your sex life, would you have said that this woman and her husband were both securely attached or not?
[0:17:20.9] Laurie Watson This was actually a high functioning couple, they probably were securely attached, they took a bit opposite sides of the spectrum. Most of us who are pursuers, married people who are slightly distances but we can still be securely attached and they were, that was exhibited because they were working, they were taking care of their children well.
Their children were good kids, you know, they were securely attached but life had gotten in the way and they weren’t prepared for the demands of raising children. They really had not explicit teaching on what do you do next when you find this? How do you stop this toxic cycle that drives couples apart? The pursuing partner, if they’re a sexual pursuer or if they’re emotional pursuer. The number one thing they need to do is not criticize, they need to state their needs clearly, right?
They need to say, “Hey, you know, I really like to make love, you know, several times a week, it makes me feel so safe, I feel close to you, it gives me stress relief, this is super important to me. Can we work this out?”
[0:18:34.8] Sean Jameson: Instead of implying, is what you’re saying that and dropping hints that this is something you want, it’s probably better just to be explicit, straight forward and just say it.
[0:18:47.6] Laurie Watson And have the discussion because what normally happens is the sexual pursuer begins to initiate more often than they really want sex. That might be hard to think of if you’re male but they think, you know what? I have to be up at back three times before I got a hit. I need to keep asking and asking and so they start to weigh in more than they want and it becomes a pressurized system and the woman who says, you know, “I just need to say no because every time I say yes, he just wants it more.”
Needs to get in touch with what her real feelings of desire are. I mean, women who have low libido sometimes, they’re really caught in this cycle more than they don’t have sexual feelings.
[0:19:38.2] Sean Jameson: It’s almost.
[0:19:40.0] Laurie Watson “I don’t have a chance to have a sexual feeling because he’s always after me.”
[0:19:43.5] Sean Jameson: I understand so it’s almost as if she’s so used or he’s so used to saying no and it’s just easier to say no the next one.
[0:19:51.6] Laurie Watson Yes, she’s used to saying no because what she’s fending off is not sexuality, she’s fending off pressure in the cycle and so she’s lost her in touch-ness with her own body and some of what I recommend to women who are caught in this cycle is first of all, to really do a self analysis.
If you are not having orgasms, why not? Do you not just pull out a vibrator when you’re having a hard night or do you not just say to your partner, “You know, look at – I need you to go down on me. I need oral sex to climax and you’re not doing that anymore and why are you not doing that,” and really represent her sexual needs? Because she has to get there without orgasm, her libido will drop so I challenge her to know her own body, to know what works for her and to also find a way to initiate.
I say, look at, you’re pressed on all sides. Most young women that are 32 with small children don’t have enough autonomy. They have all the connection in the world with their children and with the needs of the community and with the needs of the marriage. I say, look at, take four hours to yourself every week which they all roll their eyes but I say it’s really important because as a woman in the sexual experience, you’re penetrated, that means somebody’s coming into you, it’s invasive and if you don’t feel like you have enough self, you know, enough of yourself already where you have autonomy, you’re not going to be able to share, you’re not going to want that to happen.
What I challenge her is on the weekend, I call it the 444 solution. I want her to take four hours off that she’s not doing anything for anybody. Like go to the gym, go see your girlfriends, go to the park and sit. Go pursue a hobby. Do something for yourself so that you have that autonomy back. Then come home and relieve your husband or your partner, let them take four hours off. Then take four hours together off.
You know, go away to dinner and have time alone because without that four hours a week that’s concentrated, you’re going to lose touch with each other. It’s like the first half hour is just debriefing what happened to the kids or how they’re going to pay the bills or.
[0:22:36.2] Sean Jameson: I have so many friends with that debrief is do the kids have the bowel movement today?
[0:22:43.0] Laurie Watson Yeah.
[0:22:42.9] Sean Jameson: That was it. What clutter was it?
[0:22:46.4] Laurie Watson Exactly.
[0:22:47.3] Sean Jameson: It’s so crazy.
[0:22:48.6] Laurie Watson They need to get through that, into where they’re actually having an interesting discussion about something that might not have to do with the dailyness of living but right when we date we talk about all kinds of interesting things and they need to get back to that. So it is the 4-4-4 solution that really help couples in that stage.
[0:23:10.5] Sean Jameson: I like it and it just makes perfect sense to be honest and I am just wondering if we could sidetrack a little bit.
[0:23:18.8] Laurie Watson Sure.
[0:23:19.7] Sean Jameson: You said that this woman was on birth control. So can birth control change for better or for worst a woman’s assets or even appetite?
[0:23:31.4] Laurie Watson So this woman actually found her husband attractive that was not the problem but birth control often times actually does lower libido. We get on birth control and we’re in a relationship and we say, “Great now I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore” but birth control pills have estrogen which binds with testosterone and women have testosterone, men have testosterone. Men have oodles more than women but when it binds with the estrogen, it basically lowers what is we say bio available to make you feel horny.
To make you feel desire and so that’s one of the ways birth control pills can mess up a woman’s libido and secondly, a huge proportion of women on birth control young woman, experience vaginal dryness. So I highly recommend that if you are not going to have children for a year, consider an IUD because it doesn’t have the hormonal impact even the one that Meraina which has a little bit of hormone in it that is not systemic and so it doesn’t mess up desire the way birth control pills do.
So I really think and a lot of times they’ll go to their gynecologist and complain about this and the gynecologist says, “You know it shouldn’t be doing that” and there are studies that say but it does.
[0:25:05.0] Sean Jameson: Well it is good to know and I guess it doesn’t affect every single person that takes it but it is probably something I guess that people should be aware of if they start taking birth control and suddenly they realize they are suffering from vaginal dryness or that their libido is dropping as a result.
[0:25:26.1] Laurie Watson Exactly, at least think about maybe it is the birth control pill.
[0:25:31.5] Sean Jameson: So was the 4-4-4 solution enough for this woman and her husband to solve things, to get things back in track or did it need –
[0:25:41.5] Laurie Watson Yes.
[0:25:42.1] Sean Jameson: It was enough? Oh great.
[0:25:43.4] Laurie Watson It really was and the other recommendation I made to them was I wanted them to go away once a quarter for a weekend away even if it was just one night away so that they were completely outside the parenting relationship and they were back into the couple relationship and often times women who are mothers have real difficulty being the sexual woman. You know those roles get mixed up and it is the majority and it’s the Madonna Whore Syndrome.
You know, “I have to be ever available, the perfect Madonna to my children. I don’t want to put a lock on my bedroom door because what if my kids need me” or “I don’t even want to close the door because what if they call out in the night but then I don’t feel secure and safe to really let go sexually” and so I say look at have the in laws come, hire a babysitter, develop a babysitter that you can trust and get away with your partners once a quarter.
Where you are in it overnight and sometimes that is a much higher erotic experience when they are outside the home and so it sustains their sex life during this really busy years and then the four hours a week reconnected them emotionally and one of my tips is actually what I suggest is have sex before you go out because often times date night is, “let us dress up, let us go out to nice restaurant, let’s have some drinks and you know it is now 10:30 or 11 before coming back.”
“We are too drunk, we have too full, we have indigestion and we don’t make love. There’s no climax so to speak, right?” To the evening, so I say really have the baby sitter come early and take the children out to play or out for pizza, take a bath together or shower together, make love and then you have this lovely sense of connection when you go out, you’re safe, you’re warm, you go out to dinner together then you drink and enjoy the food and you’ve already connected.
I mean it is a better order of the evening to which they said yes. She had a little resistance because she said, “I know but then I am having sex before I really feel emotional connected to him before I have spent time with him” and I said, “I understand. I understand that you want to feel emotionally connected first but every single time, I mean can some of the times be that you give sexually first so that he is melted and safer?” and then in the evening ahead he opens up and he’s more vulnerable to you.
And maybe another night of the week, you have a glass of wine before the fire and get connected. I mean sometimes we have to give first before we get the thing that we need and want. You know overtime, hopefully we are having sex a lot so overtime we both get our needs met.
[0:29:04.9] Sean Jameson: I totally agree. So I am wondering are there any other common issues you come across when you are dealing with couples when you are counseling couples, when you have couples in therapy that keeping popping up again and again that are affecting their sex life because the one that I found that – well there is two that I found that I get emailed a lot are porn and then one partner losing their confidence, their self-confidence or their body confidence?
[0:29:35.8] Laurie Watson Sean you are on it, absolutely and first of all, I would like to say while we’re talking about a low libido woman, I talk to scads of couples where the woman has actually higher libido and is actually sexier and more erotic than her male partner and wants sex more often. So it isn’t just a one way street. I have talked about it very stereotypically today but often times the woman is and one thing that happens is a male who maybe is more of a distance.
He is more avoidant of intimacy and he decides at some point either because it is so frustrating to take, to negotiate sex with his female partner that he says, “You know I’m going to take sex into my own hands” literary. I am going to use porn instead of having sex with my partner and it does shut down couples. You know some men will say, “Well I would never chose porn over a woman or being with a woman” but that is not true for all men.
Some men are tired of a negotiation or you know sex requires a level of courage and vulnerability and talking that they are not interested in and so they say, “You know it is just easier, I’d rather do it” and so they drain off all their sexual energy into porn.
[0:30:59.6] Sean Jameson: Is there an easy solution? I always like to ask this but because usually unfortunately there is not an easy solution but is there any type of solution that you’d recommend couples examine?
[0:31:13.9] Laurie Watson Well in this case with porn, I mean it really takes confrontation. It takes saying, “You know it is not a marriage” or “It is not a relationship that’s without sex. We are distinguishing romantic relationship from friendship. If you want to call this a friendship, okay we’re friends and we are living together but we are not really having a romantic relationship because romance requires sexuality. So if you want to be in this we need to have a solution here.”
So certainly with the pornography, many men find that when they reduce looking at porn and what I suggest is they can go ahead and masturbate into a fantasy even is okay but the high hit that comes to their brain’s visual images actually makes partner sex less appealing. So when they reduce looking they become more interested in their partner and partners have even desires too and female partners have their needs and desires and I think that that’s when you’re looking at an image or watching a film or something and she climaxes super easily.
And it turns out women need about 45 minutes to climax. An average woman Sean, she needs about 20 minutes to warm up and be touched and then she needs about 20 minutes of clitoral stimulation to reach orgasms and that’s a lot and a lot of men think, “Well you know porn is just intercourse, intercourse, intercourse and why aren’t you doing that?” you’re not very sexual when actually for women the center of their sexual universe is their clitoris.
Only 15% of women climax through sexual intercourse, only 15% and women come to me all the time and say, “I’m dysfunctional. I am not climaxing through intercourse” it’s like “no, you’re not dysfunctional.”
[0:33:21.2] Sean Jameson: It could be your month.
[0:33:22.1] Laurie Watson So I mean I think some of it is education about what actually should be happening sexually to turn her on that is not received by watching pornography. So he has to let go of some watching habit and also re-educate himself in terms of what actually turns her on.
[0:33:43.5] Sean Jameson: Absolutely. So could you speak a little bit then about again, I guess we’re sticking with female partner who’s struggling with her libido but if she is struggling with it because of a lack of self-confidence, a lack of body confidence, could you speak a little bit about the causes what often leads that to happen and then maybe the solutions or potential solutions.
[0:34:07.7] Laurie Watson Yes, thank you for bringing that up because I would say next to partner resentment the next reason that women struggle with libido is their poor body image. I mean it is an onslaught if you’re a woman seeing the beauty industry, the marketing, I mean there’s a billion dollar industry out there wanting us to feel bad about our bodies so that we will buy product. People are spending millions and billions of dollars on a strategy to help women feel worse.
So that they will buy-buy-buy and it is difficult to feel good about a body that yeah, has a little bit if wear of it when you are presented with so many images of perfect bodies.
[0:34:56.1] Sean Jameson: Yeah, airbrushing Photoshop, Snapchat filters it’s crazy and that is just available to most people before you start talking about it professionally edited photo. So I think looking at something like Instagram is definitely a cohost for questioning your own body.
[0:35:15.6] Laurie Watson And anxiety. I mean young women are so up against it, you know my grandmother immigrated to the United States and when she came here, there was no such thing as glossy magazines. She didn’t have money to go to the movies. I mean there was no comparison with models of the supermodels of the world. She only compared herself to women in town. So an attractive woman can feel pretty confident like, “You know I have a waist and I look as good as Betty my neighbor.
So there wasn’t this same pressure to look so great and to be so thin. I think weight is of all of the difficulties really one of the more toxic issues in our culture for women who struggle with even to be an ordinary weight, to be a good healthy weight. Often they’re calling themselves fat and so this comes out in their inhibiting their movements during sex, their desire to be seen in the nude, their sense of being desirable because for women thinking that they are desirable is a huge turn on.
So they judge themselves, do they think they are desirable just purely on their own judgment and then they make up in their heads if their partner thinks they’re desirable. So there is two aspects to this body self-image. It is how I judge myself and I how I believe my partner judges me and I think the frustrating thing is if it’s your partner sometimes you can say, “Yes I think she’s hot” but she is so self-critical of minor issues that she doesn’t like.
They go, “Well she won’t let me have sex with the lights on” or now with pornography women are judging their vulvas. They are saying, “Well my vulva doesn’t like the standardized porn vulva so it is ugly. It is unattractive.
[0:37:28.7] Sean Jameson: But there is even plastic surgery available I think to change your vulva which to me is just insane.
[0:37:37.8] Laurie Watson It is completely insane because they are reducing their labia which has nerve endings that add to sexual pleasure because they say, “My vulva should look like X” and it turns out, every vulva is beautiful and it is different. Different colors and it changes after childbirth but women don’t have that message right? There is a standardized vulva in pornography and I mean in part while I understand that porn is erotic for many people, for women and for men, there’s a toxicity about it as well.
In terms of this polluting women’s minds about how their vulva should look, how their bodies should look and I think it doesn’t educate men about what really goes on in the sexual relationship and there is so much variety that they can view and look at that the ordinary relationship loses some of its allure. That it is a visual sexuality instead of sensual sexuality. Sensuality is about touch and feeling and I worry about this young people.
Sean, they are having sex for the first time after having viewed all of this and they’re performing. No longer are they sensing, “Wow, this is the first time somebody’s touched my breast or my vulva” it’s like, “No, I should be moving. I should be doing this” there’s all this pressure of how I should be performing so that they think I am hot in bed instead of, “Gosh, this is an amazing experience” I mean in those ways I think pornography has become toxic.
[0:39:32.8] Sean Jameson: Absolutely and I think there is a great website called makelovenotporn.tv that discusses this very frankly and some people they like to put on a performance. That’s what gets them off and that is totally fine but it is when you are doing something only because you think it is what you’re supposed to do which doesn’t allow you to get out of your head and just enjoy yourself. It is very tragic.
[0:40:01.4] Laurie Watson Right, to immerse yourself in that love making.
[0:40:04.5] Sean Jameson: Exactly. So I am wondering is there again, I am asking is there an easy solution but is there some solutions perhaps that can help alleviate or rebuild your self-confidence, your body confidence?
[0:40:18.9] Laurie Watson So one thing I suggest to women is to really do hard self-work on your body image and no it is not easy. It is very difficult. So maybe talk with a therapist especially right now I have a patient who she is five seven. She weighs about a 130 pounds, she is stark raving beautiful. She’s had breast implants, she is not a large woman. She is small but they’re perfect. She has a flat stomach and she can’t stand to be seen because she says she’s so imperfect.
I mean this is really a disorder. A body dysmorphic disorder and it is good that she’s in therapy with me to get through this. So you know if you have real struggle and you don’t feel that you can fight it with internal logic and being kind to yourself and having self-compassion, right? Instead of saying, “Oh my thighs are fat” or “my butt is too big” or “my breast are too droopy,” try kindness like, “Wow, I can run. I can walk. I am alive, my body has given me children”.
“You know my partner thinks my breast are erotic” you know try to say those things before you go into a love making time instead of the down regulating self-criticism, try to say the positive things and then if you’re making love and your mind is wondering off and you are starting to hear that self-criticism one quick trick is to use your cable muscles to squeeze because it is very difficult to physiologically squeeze those muscles and hold them while you are thinking these critical thoughts.
It’s like it sucks your soul back into your body instead of wondering above the bed and thinking, “I wonder if he’s thinking about this or I think he is critical of that” it is like suddenly you’re in your body again and you’re feeling again and that brings you into the sensual relationship. Into that experience again, so try the cable squeeze.
[0:42:33.5] Sean Jameson: That is awesome. I love that last one and I think it is a great place maybe to leave the podcast. So I am just wondering Laurie if people want to find out more about you, they want to find out maybe a little bit more about Wanting Sex Again or even the 4-4-4 solution, what’s the best place for people to reach you?
[0:42:56.5] Laurie Watson As you said, I have my own podcast. It is called Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy and we’re everywhere. We are on iTunes and Stitcher and Apple and Google. You can find us very easily and I am with a cohost, a male cohost Adam, Dr. Adam Mathews and we’re both therapists. So we like to have fun and talk about sex but we also like to really help people solve their sexual problems. We use examples and just have a good time together as we talk about it.
And we’d love for you to join us on Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy and then awakenloveandsex.com. They can find me there on my website. It is awakenloveandsex.com and I have a really fun little quiz. It is the love and sex quiz and it will quickly help you discover which attachment style you are. If you are a pursuer or a distancer emotionally and which one you are in bed and then it also gives you the next step. This is what you could do to help makes things better.
So it is awakenloveandsex.com and it is my love and sex quiz and of course, my book, Wanting Sex Again, is on Amazon and I would love for you to check that out and it is written in way for woman who struggle with libido. It is not very technical but it has good answers. Every chapter has its own story so it is a really easy read.
[0:44:25.3] Sean Jameson: Awesome. Guys check out the book, Wanting Sex Again. Laurie, thanks so much for coming on the show.
[0:44:32.0] Laurie Watson Well thank you, Sean, for having me.
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