November 3, 2022
Do you sometimes feel like you talk a lot, but your partner doesn’t really hear you? Have you told them what you like, but they don’t seem to get it? This week, we weigh in on how to overcome blockages that hinder sexual communication.
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This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, sex and relationship advice you can use tonight. Welcome to the sex with Dr. Jess Podcast. I’m your co host, Brandon. We’re here with my my lovely other half and Dr. Jess. Hey. Hey. Today we are talking about how to get a lover, a partner to understand what you really want, how to really communicate and listen and push through the nonsense, the fog, the sociocultural conditioning that maybe makes it difficult for us to listen and hear. And we have a question from you, dear listener. And last week we talked about the spreadsheet, the sex spreadsheet, and a bunch of you emailed me asking for it. So if you do want to copy, I’m happy to send it out. I haven’t put it online, but if you want to copy, shoot us an email [email protected] and we will send it your way. I also had some follow up questions from the Blow Job Blue Job sessions. We did a couple of couple of those episodes about lube, and I was talking a lot about Loo, and they wanted to know what kind I recommend. And honestly, there are really great lubes on the market, so I have to share. Full disclosure, I work with Astro Glide, so I tend to use Astroglide Organics, which is paraben free and fragrance free and glycerin free and all that jazz. I also like pure woman P-J-U-R. But I’ve tried dozens and dozens of lubes. Brandon kind of just reaches, I think, for whatever is next to you. Right? You’re not picky at all. Yeah, I’m not picky. Whatever is in the cupboard, I’m happy to use. Yeah. So some people just aren’t that particular. So I would suggest if you’re able to go to a local sex positive shop, you can kind of feel the lubes and taste the lubes to see what works for you. And there are a ton of tons of different brands out there. Organic stuff, water based stuff, silicone based stuff. The silicon based lube will last a little bit longer, and you can use it in the shower because it doesn’t wash away as easily and it tends to be a little bit slicker. And then the waterbased stuff is just a little bit more generally, a little bit more viscous, and will wash away more easily. And a lot of people will opt for that. For example, oral play and anything to do with the vagina, but you can use both kind of anywhere. Anyone who’s having anal generally uses a silicon base lube just because there’s a little bit more padding to it. It’s a little bit thicker and longer lasting. Yes, you might have been away recently, and I might have used one, and it didn’t wash away in the water and had to use something to get rid of it. Like just soap, right? Soap and water. Yeah. Okay. Yes, I use some water, but I had to scrub a little bit more to get it off. Okay. It was a silicon based, I presume. Yeah.
Do you even know what it was? I don’t recall, because, again, I just reached into the cupboard. Anything that’s there they’ll use, but that really speaks to the fact that there isn’t one specific lube that is best. And there are, of course, ingredients that are not going to work for some people, but for other people, they’re perfectly fine. So you have to kind of figure out what works best for your body. Yeah. All right, so spreadsheet loop. Now we move on to how to really tell a lover what you want. And we have a question from somebody who’s been with their partner for 13 years. So I’ll hand it over to you, babe. All right, here we go. My husband and I have been together for 13 years. Awesome. We love to keep it fresh. Occasionally, it feels like we have trouble hearing as opposed to just listening to what each other wants. We often have to take a night to just talk about things. However, there are two things I can’t seem to get him to understand. Number one, I am very visual, so sometimes I just like to close my eyes and block out the visual distractions. He thinks that I don’t want to look at him, and that’s just not the case. I just want to feel in that moment. Number two, I can’t be the only one that sometimes just wants to feel the slow and steady for a while, to just close my eyes and keep a steady and gentle rhythm. I think that he is thinking that I’m not that moment, that I’m bored and I’m not. I tell him not to stop, but the moment has already passed. Would you mind addressing this? Maybe we both need to feel, need to understand in a different way than what we are using with each other. Thank you for what you do. All right. I think this is a common experience. You know, you tell your partner what you want, they have trouble hearing it, or they have trouble believing it because of ingrained beliefs or because of their own experience or because of a past experience. And of course, it can lead to frustration, and the moment passes and maybe a little bit of let down and even conflict. And I have to say, I get so many versions of this question where, you know, they’re saying ABC feels really good for me, but my partner doesn’t get it, so they do X-Y-Z. That’s z for my American friends. X-Y-Z instead. And when I tell them I want ABC, they don’t seem to hear me. Or worse yet, they’re upset by the request. And I can think of specific examples around orgasms. So I think about this question that I or comment that I hear from people all the time. I don’t orgasm during sex sometimes, and my partner feels like it’s their fault, but I really like sex even if I don’t orgasm. And I tell them that, but they don’t believe me. And then during sex, they’re asking me if I’ve had an orgasm, which totally ruins it for me. Or they’re trying so hard to make me orgasm that we both stop enjoying ourselves. So how do I get them to understand that I love sex even when I don’t orgasm? So I’m thinking about this cycle and how it shows up in so many different ways, and I think it’s really about ingrained. Education kind of trumping lived experience and communication. So the beliefs we hold are rooted in these sociocultural expectations. Or, and or I think the globalization of our individual experiences, and these are so powerful that we have difficulty hearing anything to the contrary. And I don’t know if I’m being clear, but I know I struggle with this. You can tell me, Brandon, that you’re really cool with something, but the wider culture tells me, no, no, straight guys are actually into the opposite. So I worry that you’re just saying it to appease me. Instead of just trusting you, I’m trusting another source, a source that doesn’t know anything about you or trying to think about. There were times when we met where I drew from previous relationships, and because an ex wanted something, I kind of assumed that you wanted the same. Even when you were telling me the opposite. I had trouble not generalizing an ex’s needs to you. And, yeah, I guess I see it as like a globalization of individual needs. We see it all the time. I’m thinking about even on Instagram. I had posted recently that some people are happy in sexless relationships, and people have meaningful, rich, happy relationships without sex, and it upset a lot of people. They’re saying it’s not possible their relationship is going to fall apart. They were laughing at me. They’d say, oh, they’d be missing out. They’re eventually going to break up. And God, I wonder why we have so much trouble seeing that our individual experiences and needs are not universal, you know? And I do find that if you’re a person living on the margins, like, for example, especially when it comes to sex, if you’re queer, for example, for sex and relationships, you’re kind of forced to see things from a wider lens and get that there isn’t just one way to do things. I don’t know. Do you have anything in our relationship you can think of where I’m telling you something’s cool or I’m telling you I want something, but it makes no sense to you? I mean, I’d have to reflect back, not off the top of my head. I remember when we first got together, there was discussion around, say, threesomes, or just the talk of it, and it wasn’t something that I actually wanted. And I remember that being something where I don’t know that I believe you that you don’t want it. So you avoided the question and just talked about me. But in that moment, I just remember you thinking and I don’t know how long it could have been very short lived, but you were kind of like, I don’t know that I believe that you don’t actually want that. Well, that’s right. No kidding. No. At the time, you may not have wanted to, but oh, how the tables have turned anyhow. Yeah. So we see this, I think, on an individual level in relationships, and it blocks us from really hearing what a loved one is telling us. And we see it on a societal level too, with folks. I especially think it’s those of us who maybe live with more privilege and see ourselves centered more often, we can really struggle and have to remind ourselves that our way isn’t the only way. And I guess before we get right back to the question, I want to add that we see big positive shifts in this respect with young folks really breaking this bad habit, with each generation continuing to be more open to alternatives and supporting mindsets and approaches and relationships that don’t work for them but getting that they work for others. And I think that’s really cool. So I guess we should go back to the original question. You know, for example, if you’re closing your eyes and you’re going slowly so that you can really be in the moment and he thinks he’s telling himself the story, we always have to say, what’s the story? You’re telling yourself that when you’re avoiding looking when you’re closing your eyes, you’re avoiding looking at him, and you must be bored, and you’re telling him the opposite. The bottom line is he needs to trust that you’re being honest about your experience and understand that you know your body and your mind best. So let’s kind of think about how we work, I think, on trust and understanding to begin with. So I’d want to explore where does he get this idea that closed eyes and slow, steady, gentle, rhythmic motions are a sign of boredom? And I’m curious if it’s maybe because that’s what he would do if he was bored.
There’s this globalizing of his own experience to you, which we all do, of course, or maybe he just views slow sex as less exciting. And I wonder where he gets that idea. Like, is it from porn? And can you maybe broaden the types of material you’re consuming? Or maybe he’s afraid that it’s taking too long for you to get to orgasm again. Where is this expectation coming from? So for me, it sounds like some education and trust building are required here. So I’d want to have a conversation with him. If I were you, I’d want to say, why do you think I’m bored? Like, where is this idea coming from? And make space for open conversation. I would also want to know, do you trust? Do you trust that I’m going to share openly with you? Do you trust that obviously I’m invested in our sex life. I love it with you and I’m going to be honest with you. And when I tell you that something feels good, do you really believe me? And if you don’t like, let’s talk about that. I also would be curious, what are the signs that he expects to see or hear as a signal that you’re enjoying yourself? And again, where is this messaging coming from? Because I do hear this a lot where if a partner is quiet, if a partner isn’t kind of jumping up and down, they think that it’s not that intense. But some people are quiet when they’re enjoying sex. Some people do want to slow down and enjoy themselves. And then I guess, does he want you what does he want from you? Does he want you to look into his eyes with intensity? Does he want you to make noise? Does he want you to move more quickly? Again, where are all these desires and ideas coming from? Because I think the bottom line is that everybody wants to enjoy sex, but they also really want their lover to enjoy sex. So I wonder if the resistance or the lack of capacity to really hear and understand what you’re saying, does it come from a place where he doesn’t feel you’re enjoying yourself? And so what can you do to help one another understand what you enjoy and to signal that in the moment without stopping and saying, I am thoroughly enjoying myself right now. That’s awesome. And I think we also need this reminder that there’s no singular way to enjoy pleasure and break down where those messages come from. Right? Some people have orgasms from jackhammering. For others, it’s a gentle caress. Some people get off from quick strokes and for others it’s slow. So I’d love for you to talk about not only this one specific thing, but what you really enjoy tuning into pleasure and talking about sensory deprivation. You close your eyes to drown out the visual, I think. Do you do that, babe? Oh my goodness, yes. Is it because of the faces I make? It is because of the case. Do you cover your ears? Because the noises that I make but I just like to wear this headset in bed because it’s kinky earplugs. But there’s so many things in here that I’m and again, I’m just applying to my own situation, but it’s like the idea of going slow, like playing with tempo, can really heighten my experience. We’ve talked before, but when you’ve said to me, you don’t make noise, I don’t know what you think. Like, if you’re enjoying, you’re just silent. But having that communication allowed me to change my perspective, listen and hear what you’re saying and make noises. Well, you know what the other thing is? I don’t think my noises are particularly sexy I grew up, and I was like, you know what I mean? So I didn’t want to make noise. So then when I didn’t make noise, I’m assuming or I know that you didn’t know if I was enjoying myself. Right. And we do. We stymie our sounds because, like you said, you don’t feel like they’re sexy. So, again, where is that messaging coming from? Sound like somebody was stabbing me in the leg. It didn’t sound like I was enjoying myself. Right. What do you mean? Is that what you think you sound like? Yeah. I’m sure if I recorded myself back in the day, I would have probably been mortified with how I sounded. Why? I don’t know. I just didn’t sound like something that would be attractive. And so have you changed those sounds over time? I probably still do if I were to think about the noises that I’m making. But I think it was more about having a conversation where you said to me, you should let me know if you’re enjoying it, and it feels good for me to know if you’re enjoying yeah, for sure. And then again, it’s like this person is saying about the partner communicating that slowing down and that tempo they really enjoy. Once they say that, it’s like, oh, yeah, now I want to give my partner what they like. Right, so starting with what you like as opposed to what you don’t like, recognizing where the messaging is coming from. Really? You very rarely in mainstream porn, see people take their time and move centrally right. And maybe move in a way that isn’t as visually exciting. Right. It’s kind of like a quick cut on everything always moving around, changing angles, changing positions. Well, you said it. The pizza person has to get back to their delivery in the movies. Right? Yeah. They just come in, let that pizza get cold, and then all of a sudden, everyone’s having a threesome. There’s a thing. Yeah. And then the other piece. So there’s a slowing down piece, which I think, again, we’ve never seen a representation of it. Right. And so maybe there are movies you can watch to show that other people you’re not the only one who likes slowing down. You like going slow. Yeah, absolutely. Yes. Even though I have to get up in the morning and I have a time limit. Brandon and not always. No, but sometimes I’ve played with that tempo, and it has really heightened the experience, for sure. And then the sound piece is really interesting. And I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but we all adjust our sound according to the roles we think we ought to play. There’s research with people who are deaf having sex, and the deaf community makes very different sounds because they haven’t been pressured or influenced by porn, which says that maybe my sound wants to come out, like, as a ugh. But I’m told that my sound is supposed to sound like. So then I’m adjusting it even like subconsciously we’re doing it. And it’s a great exercise to just masturbate on your own and practice letting your sounds flow freely with no inhibition, with no censorship and seeing what that feels like. And I know that’s a slightly different conversation, but if we bring it back to this, what I would say is I’d love for you to talk about what you really enjoy and share with your partner signs that you’re enjoying yourself without honing in on the specific experience of going slow and closing your eyes. So I was thinking, could you make a list of what you like first and foremost and then how your body responds, how you respond when you’re really enjoying the moment. So what are the spots you like to have touched? How do you like to be touched? All the ways, all the toys, all the rhythms, all the strokes, all the body parts, all the words you like to hear, all the sounds you like to enjoy. Like, could you come up with 20 to begin with and then kind of keep adding to it so that you can communicate to your partner, these are all the things I enjoy. And then here’s what it might look like when I’m enjoying myself. I might close my eyes to really tune in to the moment. Because that sensory deprivation. One sense being deprived means that the other senses, like the sense of touch, can be heightened. And then make a list so that you’ve got, here’s what I like, here’s what it might look like or sound like, here’s how my body might respond. And then just kind of share those lists and then really talk about the trust piece, making this commitment to trusting one another. And I’m thinking that to do that, you might try a touch activity, for example, that allows you to play with sensory deprivation. So maybe flip the rolls and let him give it a try where you blindfold him and you essentially touch him slowly and gently and maybe he can’t see. So ask him how it feels and maybe he won’t like it. Maybe it’s not his thing. If he says he’s not into it, same thing. You have to trust him. But then it’s your turn to get your turn and being touched and slowing down. And it doesn’t have to be sexual, right? It can just be sensual. It doesn’t have to be erotic in any way. And ask him to do the same for you in terms of trust. So I think it’s about working on the trust piece, talking about what you really like, sharing how you respond when you really like something. And then the last piece I was thinking about when I read this is really the flip side. I’m wondering if looking him in the eyes and moving kind of more quickly is actually what he wants.
Maybe it’s what turns him on and he doesn’t really know how to ask for it. Maybe it isn’t about his assumptions or a lack of capacity to hear you, but it’s about his desires that maybe he isn’t communicating. And then if that is something he wants, then I’m sure you can do some of that as well. I’m sure you can find a balance where you do both. So I talked about that. What does he want to try? Because it’s not one or the other. You can go slow and sensual in the dark for you, and then you can do all the things that he enjoys too. Yeah, I mean, I love the idea of both of you are playing with that sensory deprivation that’s immediately kind of what I thought of, and I was just like, that would be, I mean, fun. And if they don’t want it, they don’t want it. But at least you’ve tried something different to give them some perspective, because I think that would help me if you were trying to convey it. And I was like, no, I don’t believe you. And then you’re like, well, let me blindfold you and experience and see how it feels. Worst case scenario, you try something new with your partner who you trust and you care for, and you have sex, right. Or you don’t, or you’re like, oh, man, that sucked. And it’s like, okay, maybe we try it one more time, and if it still sucks, we’ll try something else. Right? There’s no quick fix. But I think there’s a lot here, and I think that it’s really relevant to so many of us. I think that piece around struggling with the globalization of individual needs that stops us from either trusting our partner or even if it’s not about trust, hearing our partner and believing that what they’re saying is true. And it can be tied to insecurity. It can be tied to messages around shame. And so all of that needs a little bit of unpacking, but it doesn’t have to be lying on a therapist couch for weeks at a time. It could be a conversation and a list of things that you can share with one another, as well as maybe this physical touch exercise. Yes. And I think about that globalization element that you referenced and how I do that, like, I’ve done it even outside of the bedroom, like it’s an idea of perfectionism. This idea. If I don’t listen to this, if I formulate my own narrative and my own outcome, then I’m going to keep working towards that, thinking that I’m going to improve, when in reality, I’m just not listening to my partner or to myself or whatever that is. And it’s only hurting myself. It’s only hurting me. And I noticed with you, like, if I tell you I like something, I kind of know you’re going to do it, but I guess that comes from you trusting that if I say I like it, it’s not for the fun of it. Yeah. No, I do. I trust you. I think if you tell me that you like something and you want me to do it, I believe you, so I’m going to do it. And it usually is there’s positive reinforcement there? Because I know, based on what you’ve asked me, that you’re clearly enjoying it. Yeah. And I think for this person, I think you’re already on the right track. Like, you already said that you’re just taking a night out to talk about things. So I think this is just one more thing to talk about. So even though this is a common behavior, even though it’s an ingrained behavior, even though it’s tied to dominant sociocultural messages, perhaps, and it sounds like those things are difficult to overcome sometimes, it’s really just about slowing down and reassuring one another. And I don’t think it has to be super complicated. So I hope that everybody will get a chance to, I don’t know, use this as a conversation starter or just go ahead and make your lists right now of what feels good. I’m thinking about if I were to make a list of all the things that feel good, mine would be really long because I feel I have a lot of permission to kind of like everything and do anything I want. But even if you could just start with a few things, I think that could be helpful. So we’re going to stop there, and I’m going to remind you that the Mindful Sex [email protected] is still on sale. I noticed that a couple of you snagged it last week, but we’re going to have it up there at 25% off with Code podcast. Once again, Happyrecouples.com, take your time. Slow touch definitely relates to this question, but I think that it’s really beneficial across the board. So Happyorcopos.com and a Mindful Sex Course code podcast, we will stop there. We were supposed to do a Quickie. Do we do a quickie? It was a media me. A media. Okay. Yeah. This is as fast as I go. Thanks for chatting, babe. Thank you. Thank you for writing in and send us your questions. I’m trying to get to as many of them as we possibly can. And yeah, we’ll be back next week with a brand new episode. You’re listening to the sex with Dr. Jess podcasts. Improve your sex life. Improve your life.