On the show today we are joined by Dr. Adam Mathews. Dr. Mathews is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 15 years of experience working with couples and families. He’s an adjunct professor for both North Central University and Piper University and he’s also the cohost of the popular podcast, Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy. Currently, Dr. Mathews also serves as president of the North Carolina Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
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In this episode we’ll be discussing the five sex conversations every couple needs to have to improve their sex life and address the regular problems that persist in relationships when sex is MIA or when your partner isn’t comfortable talking about it. Who better to talk on the subject of sex in relationships than the expert, Dr. Mathews!
- How Dr. Mathews came to be a therapist and started Foreplay Read Sex Therapy.
- Why some couples intentionally avoid difficult conversations about sex.
- Why when conflict grows: disconnection grows and your sex life follows suit.
- The first initial steps, what leads people to therapy and how to uncover the problem.
- What emotional and sexual disconnection does to your relationship.
- The right approach when you want to initiate the ‘sex’ conversation.
- Owning your part in it and focusing on one thing at a time.
- Laying off the pressure when making new requests.
- The “My parents did what?” conversation: what your family was like about sex.
- The “I’ll have what she’s having” conversation: getting away from assumptions.
- The “Indianapolis 500” conversation: what puts us in the mood for sex.
- The “I have a headache” conversation: How to deal with rejection, when you’re not in the mood.
- How to politely honestly and politely say, “Hey just not tonight”.
- The “The professor plum in the bedroom with the lights off” conversation.
- Not underestimating the soft skills: communication and how it can bring connection.
- And so much more!
“Just never force a sex conversation on somebody if they don’t want to have it.” — @MathewsCounsel [0:13:17.1]
“Sex is the ultimate expression of love and connection.” — @MathewsCounsel [0:16:38.1]
“You mention the soft skills and I think that is what they are and I would just say, don’t underestimate the power of this stuff.” — @MathewsCounsel [0:35:33.1]
Resources, extended show notes and Alice’s details can be accessed by clicking here.
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[0:01:05.0] Sean Jameson: Today, I’m talking to Dr. Adam Mathews. Dr. Mathews is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 15 years of experience working with couples and families. He’s an adjunct professor for both north central university and Piper university and he’s also the cohost of the popular podcast, foreplay radio sex therapy. Currently, Dr. Mathews also serves as president of the North Carolina association of marriage and family therapist. Adam, thanks so much for coming on The Bad Girls Bible Podcast.
[0:01:39.0] Adam Matthews: Shawn, I’m so happy to be here, thanks for having me.
[0:01:41.8] Sean Jameson: I’d love, you know, before we kind of delve in, if you could maybe tell my listeners a little bit about your background and how you came to be a therapist and how you came to start foreplay radio sex therapy.
I got into therapy as a result of just seeing friends and family around me that were just struggling in their relationships and struggling in their marriages and not really knowing they would.
Sometimes I think therapist they always kind of relay the same story that people come to them with their problems or started coming in to the problems before they were therapist and that was the case for me. I just didn’t know how to help them. As I got in, I don’t think I expected to talk – to be talking so much about sex. I knew it was a part of it. The more that I’ve gotten into it and working with couples, the more I see how kind of vital having those conversations in therapy and with each other have been.
And then, I started working with my cohost Lorie around this and as we got into it, sex has just been this natural way that is a physical representation of problems a lot of times. The couples are having problems in sex, often or emotional problems that they come in with, often times, they’re having problems in their sexual relationship as well and it’s sometimes it’s a more direct way to kind of work through some of the issues couples are having as well is by working on their sex lives.
It’s kind of been a natural evolution coming to this and as we talked about the podcast or as we’ve started the podcast and kind of more people have heard us, we’ve just gotten more feedback about that’s just a true, we’ve just heard that over and over again and it’s something that I don’t think couples like to talk about very much.
[0:03:21.6] Sean Jameson: You’re absolutely right. Like today, we’re going to talk about all those sex conversations every couples should have. But first, I’m kind of wondering why do some couples intentionally avoid difficult conversations about sex and they often do it for years.
[0:03:39.4] Adam Matthews: For years and years. I think, there’s obviously every couple’s different and there’s a lot of reasons. I think one of the big ones is we are just sometimes just conflict avoidant as people. We don’t like – we get overwhelmed by things that carry a lot of emotion to them and I don’t think we often think of sex as being emotional or maybe guys don’t but typically but I think it’s just, it is a really risky conversation, there’s just a lot of vulnerability that has to be talked honestly about sex.
I think we can talk on a surface level about sex, right? We can complain about sex, we can say, I’m not, we’re not having enough sex or you’re pressuring me too much to have sex. We can talk about those kind of things but talking about really what we want in sex, it’s such a vulnerable experience. It is literally as we are, when we get physically naked with each other, there’s also an emotionally naked component to talk about what we really like, what’s not going well, what we would really enjoy, what would make us feel care for.
Those conversations just feel vulnerable to us, it’s risky because what if the person says no, I can’t do that or they see me as weird or god forbid, perverted for what I want and what I enjoy. On top of all that, you have just our cultural in general which just has a lot of weird consumptions and weird repression around sexual issues that were still I think working for.
[0:05:09.8] Sean Jameson: Would you have any maybe case studies or examples, maybe the people could relate to?
[0:05:16.1] Adam Matthews: Yeah, for sure. I think it is first of all very common but I’ve had one couple who have been married for over 15 years, they were fighting constantly and just feeling really emotionally disconnected and they had over time, they just began to, because their conversations were so heated, they rarely fought about sex but they would fight about other things because their conversations were so heated, they just avoided talking about sex at all.
They would talk about everything else under the sun because they had their – again, their fights were escalated so much, they just eventually stopped fighting about anything. Over time, their sex life in the beginning was really good. It was kind of like in that, in the dating phase and the kind of the infatuation phase, their sex was awesome, they’re having sex often but over time, their sex life just declined.
[0:06:18.7] Sean Jameson: Kind of honeymoon phase ended?
[0:06:20.6] Adam Matthews: Yeah, the honeymoon phase ended and then it was for a couple of years, sex was really good but over time, it just kind of faded their frequency and their satisfaction both went down, it’s kind of the worst fear about what you fear about marriage that you know, when they got married that sex declines.
It did happen for them but they were never – when I asked them, what were their conversations around sex like, they both said, well, we don’t ever talk about that. They didn’t ever talk about that. They just assumed like many couples that their sex life would just take care of itself. They thought they wouldn’t have, that that part of their relationship.
If their relationship was good, that part of their relationship, the sexual part would just be good as well and it would just evolve naturally into something good. We sometimes, I think sometimes we think about sex as the parts fit and so it’s just going to be okay because that happens.
[0:07:12.9] Sean Jameson: It’s just going to work, we don’t need to worry about it and so let’s not talk about it.
[0:07:18.0] Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely. That’s exactly right and they had that assumption, I think most couples have that assumption that It’s just going to – it’s just going to be okay and it just wasn’t. As their conflict grew, as their kind of disconnection grew, their sex life followed suit and really kind of went by the way side to the point where they were having sex maybe once every few months if that at all. It just wasn’t very satisfactory.
[0:07:45.0] Sean Jameson: Was there a way, were they able to pull themselves out of that?
[0:07:49.1] Adam Matthews: yeah, I think couples can, they did, they were able to but it took that kind of really, that vulnerability, the courage to be honest with each other. They obviously had to do somewhere on the conflict side where they kind of begin to reduce that, when they started to talk about sex, they started to have these honest conversations, they were able to really see that they had way more in common that they thought they did.
They thought they were way apart on this conversation and they were not, they thought, they were making a lot of assumptions about what the other person was thinking. She thought he wanted sex just to have sex, she didn’t think that he wanted sex to really actually be about her.
He thought that she just didn’t want sex at all, she was super cold about sex that she didn’t have any desire or attraction or any kind of libido to speak of and so they got locked into those assumptions and started acting as if they were completely true when they weren’t. They were much closer. Now, it was true, she didn’t want sex as much as he did, there were times where he – sex was a more a drive for him but ultimately, what they found out was that he really wanted to have sex as a way to connect with her and he was okay having less sex if she was into it.
She was more interested – he discovered, she was more into it than she thought. She just needed a couple of things to help her get to the same place as he was at. They were able to find this middle ground; the compromise was not near as much as they thought. I think sometimes, couples get locked in as they do to this idea that for it to be successful, I have to go all the way to my partner’s side.
He thought that if for it to work, he was going to have to never want sex and she thought, if, for it to work that she was going to always want sex. They just never – they had never communicated that and once they started tom, they realized the steps for each other were not quite as big as they had anticipated.
[0:09:49.8] Sean Jameson: I’m wondering if we could unpack that a little bit? Are you able to talk about just in those initial first steps, maybe it’s the reason they went to therapy in the first place and then maybe how you work with them to kind of uncover this?
[0:10:06.4] Adam Matthews: I think the reason that they came to therapy in the first place is just, they would, this is very common for couples to, they said they knew they weren’t communicating well and so they came wanting better communication skills. This is just again, when I hear that with couples, that’s a red flag for me. My antenna goes up when I hear communication skills because most of the time, that’s a really ambiguous goal for therapy.
[0:10:34.0] Sean Jameson: Improve communication.
[0:10:35.4] Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely, we can do that but there is tons out there about good communication skills, right? How to communicate well with your partner. When they’re coming for that, most of the time, I know that there’s something else that’s happening and usually, it’s emotional and sexual disconnection.
As we started to kind of unpack why they were there, you discover that their dissatisfaction in their marriage was much longer than either of them would have admitted to each other in the beginning. When they start talking about maybe they have had problems over the last couple of years, well, it turns out, it’s been much longer than that and that often times, it starts with the dip in the sexual relationship, right?
Like we talked about, that honeymoon period wore off for them and they stopped having sex or satisfactory sex or sex as often and as that went down, their conflict went up, right? Their emotional – their spites increased as that went as their sex life went down. They did not come and say, we’re having sexual problems, right? As we talk about it, that’s something that I know to ask and I say, “well, tell me about your sex life. “
Once that happens, they were almost waiting for me to ask that conversation. As soon as I did, as soon as I cracked that door a little bit, then it all just starts coming out, they get more honest about what is happening and what has happened in their sex life. Did that answer your question there a little bit?
[0:12:07.3] Sean Jameson: Yeah, I think it did and from what you’re saying, it’s almost as if your sex life could almost be like that oil light on the dash in your car.
[0:12:16.6] Adam Matthews: Absolutely.
[0:12:16.3] Sean Jameson: It’s sort of like there’s something up here and it could be a sign of bigger trouble, it’s an indicator light for sure, it’s going to speak to what else is going on in their relationship.
[0:12:27.9] Adam Matthews: Let’s say, a couple maybe – they’re listening and they’re not thinking about therapy but they do, one or both of them do want to talk to their partner about their sex life. I’m guessing, I mean, it’s quite obvious you don’t want to randomly spring a conversation on your partner when they’re least expecting it, what kind of approach would you recommend that one or both partners take?
[0:12:57.3] Sean Jameson: I think if they want to have this conversation, it definitely shouldn’t be random. They should set it up well. I can say hey, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, I like for us to sit down and have a good conversation about it, you know, what do you think?
[0:13:11.4] Adam Matthews: Then, that conversation, if you’re both on board with having the conversation first of all, just never force a sex conversation on somebody if they don’t want to have it. If they do, then IIthink carving out some time, some uninterrupted time, you know, put the phones away , if you got kids,, make sure somebody’s watching them or they’re in a space where they’re not going to disturb you. Make sure you can just really create an environment, don’t talk about it right before you go to bed or when you’re getting in bed.
As you’re brushing your teeth at night, don’t have it in that moment. Carve out some time to sit down, face each other, look at each other to have the conversation and just – a couple of things that I suggest in the conversation like, first of all, just be kind and positive, know that you all are in that together and you’re trying, you’re wanting to – you’re both wanting the same thing, you’re both wanting a better sex life.
Then, adding over that, just kind of an atmospheric no blame or no judgment, right? Not trying to pint hat your problems in your sex life on your partner or trying to judge what they’re wanting or what they don’t want, there’s just, it’s creating what we call in therapy, just an emotionally safe place for each other to be able to have that conversation because you recognize you’re both going to take risk and try to be honest about that.
The last thing that I suggest, a couple of other things but just not trying really hard not to take your partner’s thoughts and feelings personally, right? It’s really hard and it’s really hard in a conversation about sex. Not to take it, if my partner’s dissatisfied in sex or my marriage that my wife has, it comes to me and says, she’s not orgasming in sex.
Wants to work on that, it’s very hard not to take that personally. But if we do, when we take things personally, we get defensive and that just going to create a fight and you’re not going to get anywhere. Working on kind of just say, “Okay, this is what’s happening,” just take it as information and then you can go into the solutions. “Okay, how do we fix this? How do we make this better?”
[0:15:20.1] Sean Jameson: That’s really great advice, especially from the listener’s point of view but maybe for the person talking, is there any kind of framework they can work from to minimize the potential hurt feelings?
[0:15:36.0] Adam Matthews: Absolutely. I think there’s that old standby, it’s kind of a cliché but it really holds true and that is just talking about yourselves, this is the cliché, the I statements. I feel this way. But it is very helpful because what it does is it keeps you from blaming the other person or talking about their, what’s going on with them and this is one of the things that Shawn, that I just find couples just struggle with.
I don’t know what it is about, I mean, I have some ideas but I don’t know exactly what it is about us but we just have, as humans, we just have trouble doing this, just talking about ourselves but I think the more that you can do that and not speak about your partner or their intentions or their thoughts and their feelings and just say, “this is what’s going on with me. I am feeling really dissatisfied, I don’t know why, I don’t know exactly what’s going on but we don’t have sex as much as I would like to and I want to have it more.”
Then, also, make it about your partner in the sense of you want better connection with them, right? Sex is the ultimate expression of love and connection and so you want to make sure that you want them to know that that’s what you want. When you’re talking about this, when you’re saying the things that are going on with you, you’re wanting to say,, this is my ultimate goal is for us both to feel good about our sex life, for us to feel satisfied in our sex life and then you’re setting a tone that just say, we’re in this together, I want it to be better for us, I know you want it to be good, I want it to be good and here’s where I’m struggling.
I think, when you can do that, you set the conversation up for yourself and then I would say too, have one more thing, this just occurred to me that you – if you can say that and own any part of it and say, I know that this is where I struggle, right? Then, it helps make it a balanced conversation. Know that when you’re in a partnership, you both are contributing this at the same time.
Any part of it that you can own, I think really helps kind of again, just set that tone that you’re in it together and your goals are the same.
[0:17:41.8] Sean Jameson: Should – let’s say you’ve carved out some time to have this conversation and in the conversation, I’m guessing, for most people, you know, might have one or two major issues and then a bunch of kind of minor smaller things. Should you talk about absolutely everything when you have that conversation or should you just focus the conversation on one thing?
[0:18:02.8] Adam Matthews: Yeah, that’s a great point, no, it should be one thing. If you try to talk about everything, it gets messy and it just goes – it can go on a bunch of different directions and then you’re bringing up stuff from the past as well. That just makes it – you cannot solve everything in one conversation. If you stick to one thing, I think it will really help direct that conversation and keep it going in the right direction and then that becomes productive and then you’re more willing to have another conversation, right?
If you don’t feel like you all are getting anywhere in this conversations, you’re going to be less likely to have them. Being able to focus and say, “This is what I’m hoping to get out of this conversation can be really good.”
[0:18:44.3] Sean Jameson: I just want to give you a scenario because I get some messages and emails, kind of along these lines where one partner in the couple is open to trying lots of new things and the other partner either isn’t or maybe, but they don’t really too much about it, you know?
They seem closed off but they may actually be open to it. So let’s just say for example one partner want to try something new, let’s say anal sex something like that, how would you recommend they approach their partner to say, “Hey, let’s try this new thing or is that all they have to say?
[0:19:21.2] Adam Matthews: Are you talking about how do you do it if you are the one making the request?
[0:19:24.4] Sean Jameson: Exactly.
[0:19:25.1] Adam Matthews: I think that you can just start off say I want to talk to you about someone new that I want to try. I think you also have to make sure that you are that there is not a pressure to do this new thing that there is not the relationship is at stake, your sex life is at stake when you’re making that request, right? I think a lot of people make these requests and they make them out of desperation sometimes. They make them out of a place of fear or anxiety. Like they are unintentionally communicating, “If we don’t do this, it’s going to be a huge fail” and so –
[0:20:09.4] Sean Jameson: They’re staking everything almost kind of.
[0:20:10.9] Adam Matthews: Yeah absolutely and they may feel a lot of anxiety about that as far as internally, they’re feeling like if this person doesn’t reciprocate and want to do this with me then that means that they don’t love or they don’t care about me and so when you go into that conversation with that much at stake, you automatically put so much pressure on the relationship and again, just sets it up to be a bad conversation because the other person is going to feel that.
Your partner is going to feel your own anxiety about it and it is not just going to be a conversation about desire or about need or about want. It is going to be all of sudden, it becomes a conversation about the state of your relationship. I think that puts a lot of it on there as well and then I think you have to be willing to compromise. You get to say in relationship I will say that you get to state what you need or what you want. You don’t have the right to demand to the other person.
But there is ways that whatever the request is, the person that is wanting anal sex for instance, their partner may not be able to say that, “I just can’t do that” but may talk about anal intercourse but they may talk about other anal stimulation in different ways or they may be other things that they’re into that would still be sexually satisfying and new but may not be exactly what they want. So if you put that thing that they are asking for as the pinnacle, as the only thing.
And not willing to compromise or move it in some way then your partner is going to feel that too and be real resistant. Ideally, you ask for something that you want sexually and your partner says, “Yeah sure, let’s try it. Let’s do that together” but it may be that you also be open to just be more adventurous in sex and saying especially, I think I hear a lot of this. I don’t know what your listeners say a lot but they’re wanting – anal sex is a good one.
They’re wanting anal sex but they’re also going, “My partner is not just adventurous with me” they don’t want to try it. They’re vanilla, they just want to try one or two positions that’s all they want to do.
[0:22:16.2] Sean Jameson: Yeah, I get that.
[0:22:17.1] Adam Matthews: So when you are coming and asking somebody that is not adventurous in the bedroom and you are starting with anal sex, you’re taking them from zero to a 100 really fast and so being able to say, “Hey I know you may not be into this but I just want to try to be more adventurous, what do you think we could do? What would be outside” maybe you’ll step outside of your comfort zone but a step toward me and that way, when you approach it more like that I think you’ll more likely to get something that is still really very satisfying and pleasurable but it may not just be all the way and not being that one thing that you are going for.
[0:22:55.2] Sean Jameson: I absolutely get it. From everything you’re seeing, I am guessing talking about sex – I mean I am not guessing, we all know talking about sex should be an ongoing process and we’re setting up this podcast, you mentioned that there is maybe five conversations about sex that every couple should be having. So I am wondering, what are those conversations?
[0:23:19.3] Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely. There are some that seem to be really common and when couples have them they go really far. Some of them I think are obvious but I think some of them may not be. The first one that I would call is the “My parents did what?” conversation I think this is the one that maybe the most uncomfortable but I think we all get messages about sex from our family and especially in the beginning of the relationship, I think this one just helps get your sex life all to a good start.
These are the messages that led to a lot of beliefs about sex that just affect our adult relationships and I think knowing and sharing what those messages are with our partner just leaves a deeper intimacy and sexual maturity. Knowing whether your family was overt about sex, if they talk, if your parents talk to you about it, if they knew that they were sexual themselves, if they tried to keep you from having sex early or they were more permissive and really educated you about sex.
All of those thing just lead to a better understanding of each other and what you are going into the relationship feeling about sex. You know, were they more conservative, were they more liberal, did they use sex a positive thing or they did it feel like they only had sex just to procreate? Those types of things they can be an uncomfortable conversation for some people but ultimately, it really opens that. It begins to open that doorway just a little bit to better conversations about your own sex life because you know it is going in.
I am doing a premarital with a couple right now and we are about to have those conversation and one of them is completely terrified. You could tell she is completely terrified to have this conversation about sex and the other one is really excited about it and so I could already tell just by their reaction that it is going to benefit them a lot because it is going to take them further down the road than they would have if they weren’t doing that with a – they would never have this conversation that conversation otherwise.
[0:25:25.0] Sean Jameson: That makes a lot of sense.
[0:25:26.5] Adam Matthews: The next conversation is the “I’ll have what she’s having” conversation is what I call it. The Harry met Sally, the famous scene where Meg Ryan is pretending to orgasm or faking orgasm in the restaurant. I think this idea is just that, it’s getting away from assumption. It is being open to sharing what our desires are with our spouse. I think any assumptions in a relationship are dangerous but sexual assumptions or assumptions about our sex life can just be deadly.
So it is just understanding that everybody and everyone is different in where they like to be touched, what excites them and what gives them pleasure and discussing these as ours goes a long way to a passionate sex life and you know, we often like we are talking about before, if we can see our sex life as evolving, is constantly getting better as it is not going to work, it’s not going to be the best that it’s going to be in the beginning that it can evolve over time.
They continue to be better especially if we are having this conversation so that if things come up, if issues with orgasm come up or issues with pain or issues with touch, we’re just constantly having that conversation. That conversation is open and we know that that’s going on and we know what brings desires, what brings pleasure and desire to our spouse or partner that just continues to help our sex life be something that’s growing rather than something that’s going to plateau.
[0:26:57.2] Sean Jameson: That’s a fantastic point. I think you mentioned it before that this presuming and assuming that just because person A like this also person B is going to like it as well and that we are all being the fact of the matter is we’re all different people.
[0:27:14.0] Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely and what turns as on is different and the third one for me it is a similar conversation as you kind of mention there but it is a little bit different. I call it the “Indianapolis 500” conversation it is what gets us revved up, what gets us started and it’s a little bit different than the desire where we liked to be touched conversation because this almost starts at the beginning of each day. It is what puts us in the mood for sex and it is constant.
Well a lot of times we think of arousal and desire as occurring just before sex but it actually starts earlier and how we are talking to each other, how we are staying sexually connected throughout the day, what is it that helps us feel loved and cared for so that we can go into sex feeling connected. It’s the set up part of that. You know I had a friend one time that told me, he said for his wife he knew that sex started in the kitchen meaning when he took care, meaning when he cleaned up.
When he helped cook, when he help prepare the meals that spoke so much to her about their connection that he is much more likely to be engaged and ready and wanting to have sex when he was in there doing those types of things but it is going to vary for everybody, right? So knowing what that is for your partner is so beneficial because you are saying, “This is what gets me ready. This is what gets me revved up. This is what gets me turned on” throughout the day.
[0:28:43.5] Sean Jameson: Absolutely. I think a certain portion of guys sometimes they forget that they think, “Oh you know we need two minutes of foreplay, maybe I’ll give her a kiss and then she’s ready to go” and that actually looking at it as a much longer process even before things get physical in anyway is going to have better results.
[0:29:06.5] Adam Matthews: Yeah and I think on the other side, I think for women often times they know that more instinctually. They know it takes a little bit longer but they often times don’t, they’ll say “I just feel connected to you” when they’re in the relationship but they often time, if they can be more specific about those things that would be helpful and then asking for and not assuming that her partner is just going to be ready to go all the time.
I mean most of the time guys are but there are times that there are things that help with that, that help them to then connect better as well and so I think it is just a super valuable conversation. The next one I will tell you is I think this is the more difficult one as well but I call it the “I have a headache” conversation. It is the rejection conversation like this is just going to happen in a relationship. There are going to be times where either partner is not just going to be in the mood for a variety of reasons.
And you know there is nothing that will derail your sex life more than a bad rejection, right? Because those things stay with you. First of all, it’s okay to not want to have sex but the handling of that when one partner initiates like they are putting themselves out there because they know that it is a possibility of being rejected and that is what people fear. They fear when they start to initiate sex that their partner is going to say no.
And if it is not handled well over time, that is just going to create a whole bunch of separation and so talking about what is a safe rejection, how do you say that, how do you first say that in a way that takes care of their partner and then how does the person that is being rejected will see that in a way and typically this is gender a little bit. It is not always the case but a lot of times it is. It is that women say that, when I say no to him that I don’t want to have sex, he immediately just assumes that I don’t want anything and he turns out really bad and he is just ignoring me.
I think that what that communicates is that it is just about sex, it is not about the person. So talking about how we see that and then talking about what she could do in those rejection, maybe you could still cuddle, maybe you can still kiss, maybe there’s still physical affection that can be had. Maybe it is okay that you sleep naked together. There’s things that can still happen after that rejection but talking about what is it that still supports our relationship that makes it doesn’t derail the momentum for a good sex life helps the person that’s rejecting be honest.
I think saying “I have a headache” or “I have to get up early in the morning” maybe sometimes that true but we don’t want to make excuses for why we don’t have sex to spare our partner’s feelings. We want the ability to be honest but then we also want the person that is being rejected to handle that well. To know that again it is not to take it personally, to know that there is going to be moments later that they have sex that sex is still going to be there in the relationship. So I think figuring out for them how that can be done and done in a good way is just vital.
[0:32:14.9] Sean Jameson: So would you have examples maybe of how one partner could I guess politely or honestly and politely say, “Hey just not tonight”?
[0:32:28.3] Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely. I think just a couple of principles there is one, is to be supportive and care for what their partner feelings but then to make sure that they interject that it is just for tonight. It is not forever and so saying something like, “You know baby, I still want to be connected with you. I love you but I just am not feeling it tonight. There is stuff going on” maybe talking some of that, maybe if there is something specific that seemed saying.
“Can we try again tomorrow night?” or “Can we try again this weekend?” or “Can we schedule some time away together? So that I can be more in the mood that way” things like that that’s just saying, “Hey, I still love you. I still care about you. This is not a rejection of you. I enjoy sex with you, I want to have sex with you but tonight is not a good night for me” and then picking some quiet time in the future where maybe it might be better for them to try to initiate again I think would be helpful for people.
[0:33:30.1] Sean Jameson: Do you have any other conversations that couples should have?
[0:33:33.8] Adam Matthews: Yeah one more and this is just logistical. It is the “Call from clue, the professor plum in the bedroom with the lights off” conversation. It is when, where, how, what do you like, there is practical considerations, are you more a morning, evening or afternoon person, lights on lights off, how do we make time for each other so that sex can more naturally happen. Just some practicalities that I think it’s a simpler conversation but sometimes couples don’t have it.
It’s just clearing up those simple problems that left unattended that can get more complicated but this is just the real – the down and dirty like and if you are more – if one of you is more morning person and one is more of an afternoon person or evening person then you’re just flip flopping some. You are sometimes doing it in the morning, sometimes you are doing it in the afternoon. It’s those kind of things so you just know what works for each person.
[0:34:27.0] Sean Jameson: Adam, this has been really fantastic, really eye opening because I think a lot of people, a lot of guys email me and they say, “Hey Sean give me the techniques, I need the techniques, what do I do here? What position do I use?” I think often a lot of guys are missing the bigger picture and the more subtle stuff of I guess you could say soft skills of just talking about sex and like what you said in that last conversation, you know there are logistic to it.
As well as what you said about you have to be able to handle rejection and do it in an open honest way as well as learning how your partner actually gets in the mood, what you can do to help her get in the mood and not assume she’s just or he likes what everyone likes and so I am wondering if you have any advice you’d like to wrap up the podcast with or leave my listeners with.
[0:35:32.6] Adam Matthews: I would just say and you mention the soft skills and I think that is what they are and I would just say, don’t underestimate the power of this stuff. I think when in relationships I know and if you listen to our podcast we are constantly saying, “Did you talk about it?” Did you talk about it? Did you talk about it? And I think that this is just a – there is so much power in it because you just avoid a lot of misunderstandings.
You avoid a lot of conflict and I would just say that I recognize that’s difficult and it is not a silver bullet all the time but there is just a lot of power in it and I’ll just say don’t underestimate that.
[0:36:13.8] Sean Jameson: Awesome. Well Adam, I am wondering now if people want to get in touch with you or find out more about you or more about Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy, what is the best way to get on touch and find out about those things?
[0:36:30.1] Adam Matthews: Yeah, absolutely. So if they want to listen to the podcast, we are weekly releasing episodes on Friday, they can go to foreplayrst.com to find out more information about that. They can get in touch with me at mathewscounseling.net. That is Mathews with one T and they can also, I have a pre-workbook on this topic that we had on some conversations where I give them some questions to ask and some more details about how to do that, and that is a free resource if they go to mathewscounseling.net/couples, they can find that there, as well and all my contact information is on that website. We’d love to hear from people as well.
[0:37:07.0] Sean Jameson: Awesome, I will include all of that in the show notes. Adam, thanks so much for coming on the show.
[0:37:11.4] Adam Matthews: Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me.