I’m Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed, the book that was released at the very start of the pandemic and became a lifeline for millions. I watched in awe from my home while this simple phrase from Untamed – WE CAN DO HARD THINGS – the mantra that saved my life twenty years ago, became a worldwide rally cry. Life is freaking hard. We are all doing hard things every day – we love and lose; we forge and end friendships; battle addiction, illness, and loneliness; care for children and parents; struggle in our jobs, our marriages, our divorces; we try to set and hold boundaries – and we fight for equality, purpose, joy, and peace right in the midst of all the hard. On We Can Do Hard Things, my wife Abby Wambach, my sister Amanda Doyle, and I do the only thing that has ever made life easier: We talk honestly about the hard. We laugh and cry and help each other carry the hard so we can all live a little bit lighter and braver, free-er, less alone.
Thu, 25 May 2023 04:01
Sex therapist Vanessa Marin is back and we’re digging into: why we’re (sadly and ironically) proven to be less likely to try new things in the bedroom the longer we’ve been partnered; how to spice up your sex life when things get bland – including how to find out and explore your sexual fantasies; how not all orgasms (even for men!) are created equal; and the TikTok sex challenges we should probably pass on. For our previous conversations with Vanessa, check out: Episode 195 Sex Talk & That Night in Miami: Sex Therapy with Vanessa Marin and Episode 196 How Glennon & Abby Learned to Talk Dirty with Vanessa Marin. About Vanessa: Vanessa Marin is a sex therapist and instant New York Times Best Selling author of Sex Talks: The Five Conversations That Will Transform Your Love Life, co-written with her husband and partner-in-crime, Xander Marin. Vanessa is here to help you kick shame out of the bedroom so you can start feeling the connection, pleasure, and joy you deserve! Vanessa has been featured in various major publications and has written for The New York Times, Allure, and Lifehacker. TW: @VMTherapy IG: @vanessaandxander To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Welcome back to We Can Do Hard Things Today. Okay. So Abby's laughing already because... Okay, how do we set up this? I... So we had Vanessa Marin on the pod for two episodes recently that were all about sex. And the pod... Baby. That squad had a big response to it. And we did too because we ended up much to my chagrin in an actual, like, sex therapy exercise where we had to talk dirty to each other. Did you have a vulnerability hangover? Yes. And so when we did those episodes, they were so awesome, but we didn't get to this last category of things that Vanessa talks about in her book, which is how to spice up your sex life when things have gotten a little bit bland. And a big topic inside of this chapter is about fantasies. Okay, sexual fantasies. By the way, those two episodes are talking about episodes 195 and 196. If you choose to go back and listen and just... I'm not going to be going in retrospect. You should. I just have to say before we get into it, I was so proud of all of you. I couldn't believe that you went there, that you allowed me to be your guide in going there. It was such an honor. And I'm sure you guys have gotten a ton of feedback. I've gotten so much feedback from people saying that was unreal to listen to. So I just have to thank you. You did very hard things in those episodes. We did. You're really good at this. Vanessa. Thank you. Thank you so much. We talked about it right after. I'm like, we need to have her back right away because you're very good at challenging, but also being very easy to talk to and feel safe with. Vanessa Morin is a sex therapist and New York Times bestselling author of Sex Talks, the five conversations that will transform your love life, co-written with her husband, Sandra Morin. Vanessa is here to help you kick shame out of the bedroom so you can start feeling the connection, pleasure, enjoy. You deserve. Today, we asked if you would come back to talk to us about exploration. So the reason she's laughing is because Vanessa right before like five minutes ago when we logged on and we're waiting for you. Abby kept. She just kept saying the word fantasy and I kept screaming at the top of my lungs because it makes me so uncomfortable. Just the existence of that word. I don't even think the word should exist. Did she do the car salesman voice with it too? Yeah, once you're going to see it's step right up for a brand new fan. There's new things that like Glennon struggles to talk about and this is one of them right and it makes me giggle because I know what she's feeling on the inside when she says the word. And to my credit whenever there's something I can't talk about I always want to talk about that thing the most. Yes, so here we are I have requested this goddamn episode. Okay, we're doing it. We're doing it. So she gets no more credit throughout this episode. Please give her her credit now. Yes, you have all my credit. I almost requested not to be on this episode just because I can't even watch my level of discomfort with you being uncomfortable is like a bridge too far from me. And just before we jump in I want to say if you're wondering why Vanessa said that Abby has a used car salesman voice you have to listen to the episode what episode is it sister. It is 196. Okay, the talk dirty but 195 is not to be missed that night in Miami. So Vanessa had a practicing talking dirty to each other and I was doing my best while sweating from head to foot and speaking as if I was a robot who had just been put on the planet and Abby was speaking in a voice like she has been recording erotic novels for a decade. It was actually borderline suspicious. Here we are. I do like it when you go slow. Oh my god. Oh my god. She was very good at it. I have to know. Did you guys continue doing that exercise after the episode? No. I'm not going to be honest. We did it publicly and we're yet to do it back private. I am someone who can do something in front of millions of people that I cannot do in front of one person and that is a real serious thing for me and I'm working on it with my therapist. But Vanessa, I am glad that you whom I have never met in person has been a part of my most intimate moment. So can you talk to us about what the white toast problem is? The white toast problem is my way of describing the quality problem that a lot of us are having with sex. I think a lot of us are more concerned with the quantity of sex. We have it in our heads that there's this magic number. There were all supposed to be having. And as long as we hit that number, we're okay. And we don't really think so much about the quality of the sex that we're having. But I like to make the connection in sex talks between the quality of the sex that we're having and our desire for it. I love food so every comparison that I make somehow comes back to food and one way or another. And so the way that I was phrasing it is, do you ever find yourself craving just plain white toast for breakfast every single morning? Maybe every once in a while white toast might sound like, okay, sure that sounds fine. Maybe it's vaguely comforting. If you've been sick for a while. Yes, sure. There's nothing wrong with white toast. But it's not something that we get excited about or that we crave. And so a lot of us are having what I call white toast sex. It's predictable. It's routine. It's not particularly exciting. So there's not much to get excited about. And there's certainly not much to crave about it. So I think if we focus on the quality of the sex that we're having on improving it, making sure it's pleasurable and enjoyable and satisfying for both partners. That's so much better of an approach than just trying to find that magic number of quantity that's going to work for you. I love that. And it reduces the shame around not wanting sex because we're all like, why don't we want it more? Why don't we want it more? But you're saying sometimes we don't want it more because we don't want things that are boring. Exactly. Yes. So easy for us to feel like something is wrong with us or broken with us. If we don't desire sex all the time, you know, we have this idea that we're supposed to want sex all the time. And to be clear, like, desire, it's not just about enjoyment. There are plenty of other reasons why we might not desire it. And more isn't always better. Like everybody has a natural frequency that works for them and for their relationship. But if we look at our actual enjoyment of it, it really does take the shame away and help us realize like, there's nothing wrong with you or broken with you. Why would you enjoy playing white toast for breakfast every single day? Can I admit something that had never occurred to me, which is somewhat embarrassing until I read your book? I had just always been thinking of it. Well, I am just huge fan of women and feminism and the fact that, you know, women's pleasure has been historically and absurdly overlooked. Period and mostly insects too. And so many women have never had norgasm. I didn't realize. Oh, God, this is embarrassing. But I thought. Okay, guys are fine. They're having an orgasm and orgasm equals an orgasm equals an orgasm. Same, same. And not until reading your book, did I realize she's whispering now. I'm whispering because I don't want anyone to know that they didn't know this. That it's not the same. What do you mean? So a dude can be having sex with you, have an orgasm and you're like, check everything's good. But it's not even remotely in the same category as another time that they have sex and they have a different kind of orgasm. What? Where was that in the book? Yes, I was just skip the man orgasm parts. Yeah, you're not applicable. Here's a way of summarizing it is that men and really people of all genders. But we want to be having sex with somebody, not having sex to somebody. And I think because we have all these stereotypes of men of as, oh, they want sex all the time. They'll take whatever they can get. They just want the orgasm like you're saying. There are a lot of women who are forcing themselves to just let their partner have sex with them. Like, oh, I'm supposed to give him what he wants. This is my wifely duty. I'm putting that in the ear quotes. And so they'll just allow it to happen. And they think, oh, an orgasm is an orgasm. He's getting his, he should be satisfied. But so many men tell me that's not what I want. I want my partner to be present in the moment to want to be with me, to be connected to me, to be enjoying it as well. It's similar to what we talked about last time with Abby saying, like, Glenens pleasure is just as important. If not more important to me than my own. I thought that's what so many men are experiencing. So it's not just, yeah, I had my orgasm great. I'm done with it. It's, I want to be having sex with my partner. I want to be experiencing something with them. It just didn't occur to me. I understand why guys ask women that. Like, because sometimes it's not as obvious or sometimes if she doesn't orgasm, there's like, okay, we talk about it and make sure it's better. But I've just never, if a guy's an orgasm, I'm like, my, I know it was good. So now we're done. Instead of talking about it being like, was that or was something better than that? Or was, I just didn't even know that was a thing. Didn't know. Yeah, I talk a lot about the crappy socialization that women receive. But men get a lot of crappy socialization and messages about them too that, yeah, they're just in it for the orgasm. That's all they care about when the reality is there. Complex emotional creatures too. And they're wanting intimacy and connection just as much as somebody of any gender is. Didn't know that. Okay. So in terms of the inhibition effect, I think this is interesting. And rings true to me in that you would think that the longer you know someone and the more intimate and close you are, the easier it would be to ask for new things or share fantasies. But you say no. Yeah, I have noticed what I call the inhibition effect that the longer we're in relationships, the more narrow sex starts to look. So yeah, just like you're saying, you would think I'm more comfortable with you. We know each other for longer. I should be willing to try new things, push my comfort zones. But if you look at the reality of what's happening for most long term couples, the way that they have sex, like you can script it out. You know exactly what sex looks like. It's 30 seconds of this and then it's 10 seconds of groping and it's my seconds of kit. And then we do it in this position and it takes this long and you know, and we jump up afterwards. It's just so predictable. We can script it right out. Yeah. So yeah, I've actually found that our sense of vulnerability seems to increase the longer that we've been with somebody. We feel too embarrassed to like, oh, well, we've been doing it this way for that long. I can't suggest something new or I would hurt my partner's feelings if I asked for this. I don't want to suggest this and get turned down because it's going to hurt so much more now than it would have when we were just starting to date. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's not when you think about any long relationship as a pattern. Like the hardest patterns to break are not within new friend. They're with your mom. Yeah. It's like the longer relationship goes, the more the pattern is ingrained and the harder it is to change any of it, which is what makes this conversation so hard for so many people. Yeah. One of the aspects of my professional soccer career that I cherished most was being able to travel, not for the travel itself, but for the experiences. The experience of seeing new things, meeting new people, exploring new foods, and learning about different cultures. And when you use Viator, you'll discover over 300,000 bookable travel experiences in over 190 countries. Our family visited France to support our US Women's National team at the World Cup in 2019, and we used Viator to plan some of our experiences. We did a guided tour at Versailles and a walking tour that led to the breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower. Viator offers everything from family-friendly tours to extreme outdoor adventures, and their website posts detailed travel reviews so you know what you're signing up for. You can't wait to book our next Viator experience. Download the Viator app now and use code Viator 10 for 10% off your first booking. One app, over 300,000 experiences, you'll remember. Do more with Viator. So you say when your sex life got a little bit stale, you asked Zander, so what are your fantasies? Do you have any fantasies? Tell us about that conversation. So this is early on in our relationship. We were starting to get into that, you know, the routine after a few months or maybe it was a year or something like that. And so I remember asking him that question and just expecting to hear this, you know, very long laundry list of all these fun, new, exciting things that we could try out. And then I could prove to him that I was so adventurous and down for anything too. And he said, I don't really have any. And that absolutely blew my mind until he turned the question around. And I thought, I don't really have any either. And so what I realized in that moment is that's really the wrong question for us to be asking because I think a lot of us have built the idea of fantasy up in our head to mean something so much bigger than what it needs to be. So if you think about what's your fantasy, a lot of us think it has to be this really elaborate scenario like we're role playing, we're in a different era, there are costumes involved, like a power dynamic. And it's something that we feel like, you know, it's this secret desire. It's guaranteed to make us orgasm. It's going to be wilder than any sex we've ever had before. So it just feels like a really big thing. And so instead, I think it's so much more useful for us to ask each other, what is something you're curious about trying. Because that brings the bar so much lower. It's I'm not guaranteeing that I'm going to like this. It's not this is the one and only thing that defines a peak sexual experience for me. And it doesn't make it feel like it has to be this big elaborate detailed thing. So I mean, to be clear, if you have very elaborate fantasy, that's awesome and wonderful and you should explore that. But not everybody does. And it's okay. We don't have anything elaborate like that. Okay, I have to stop you though, because this is where I get confused. Just just this one place in my life. It's just about this. But aren't they two different things or not aren't there things that people have a fantasy about, meaning that they think about it. And it makes them very excited to think about the thing. But they don't ever want to try it in their real life. I can think of some things, which I am fing not going to say no matter what kind of magic you do, Vanessa Marin on my head. That are in my brain that can be activated and go, okay. And if I would never in a bazillion trillion years want it to be acted out in any way in my marriage. Is it two different things? Yeah, so people definitely do have fantasies. Absolutely. But if you're somebody who freezes up to that question or you feel really put on the spot, you feel like you don't have an answer. The what's something you're curious about trying might be a better path for you to explore. But if you're somebody who says no, I actually do have fantasies. There are things that come to mind. That's normal and great as well. So they are like two different things. What you're speaking to is a very common misunderstanding about fantasies. A lot of us think, oh, if I have a fantasy about something that must mean that I want to try it. And even if I feel nervous or I'm not sure I would want to, it's my fantasy. So secretly, I actually do want to try it. And that's just not true. Many of us have fantasies that are fun to play with in our minds, but we wouldn't want to do in real life. And we have these outside of the bedroom too. Like you might have fantasized about somebody pisses you off. And I fantasize about saying, well, what do I really think right to their face that we don't actually want to do it in real life. So it's the same way with sexual fantasies. And that's totally fine. It doesn't mean that some secret desire that you have to do. To do. It's fine to play with it just in your head. We got to call that that something like fantasy not going to happen though. There should be words for it. Because I think that sometimes I mean, I can just speak for myself. I would be scared to tell my partner the thing. Because then I would think that they would think that I would actually want to do the thing. And maybe in some situations, there's things to try. And in some situations, there's things just to like think about and talk about and never try. But there should be words for each of those things. Because you would forgive people for being confused. If you know what I love that I think we should come up with a new word for it. Something that I like to play with it in my head. Maybe I choose to share it with my partner. Maybe I just keep it to myself, but it's not something I want to. Yeah, it's a non actionable fantasy. Like fantasy and a fantasy never see. It's like the safety mechanism in place for fantasy thought because I do think that there's room obviously for the stuff that can happen in reality. And then the beauty of fantasy is it's in a different world. It's in your mind. And it can be happening while you're doing this sex. And it also is happening while you're not doing this. It's cool. A really common one for people is who are in monogamous relationships is a threesome. So the idea of it like, ooh, that does sound really hot and sexy. What would it be like to have this third person? But they know for themselves like I wouldn't actually want to bring a third person into our bedroom. I think the reality of what that would look like would not feel fun to me. But boy, is it fun to play within my head? Interesting. So then is that the fantasy? So maybe it's all fantasy or some things you're curious about trying. But the thing I'm curious in that scenario, the thing I'm curious to try is just like talking about that thing. Yeah, as opposed to doing that thing. Exactly. So dirty talk is like going to play around with fantasies that you don't actually want to do. So you know, you could have a whole dirty talk scenario of imagining what let's stick with the threesome example, imagining what it would be like to have this other person here. And you can get each other very hot and bothered like, you know, what would you think if you saw me kissing somebody else or touching somebody else. You can have a lot of fun talking dirty about it. And talking dirty is also a great stepping stone for fantasies that you might want to try out. And let's say you're thinking about the threesome and thinking, yeah, I might actually be open to it. I'm not totally sure, but it's not a hard no for me. Try talking dirty about it first and see how that feels. If you're feeling excited and it does feel like a turn on to you, then maybe you want to take another baby step towards exploring it. If you start talking about it and you're like, no, I don't want to imagine what it would look like for you watching you touch somebody else. And that's a pretty good sign for you that you can just stop it there. Are there questions that someone should ask to make sure there are safe boundaries for things like because I'm just imagining someone with a trauma history of being, you know, left or cheated on feeling used or something like this. And then someone thinks they're doing something to deepen the relationship by being like, I want to talk about my fictional fantasy of a threesome. And that person feeling not only that doesn't bring them closer, but like lock down in fear, you know, like how do you test the waters with that to make sure this is a deepening thing to get you closer instead of a thing that's going to alienate you. And then I'm talking about it outside of the bedroom first and that's why I think a book like sex talk can be so beneficial is because you're reading it, you know, outside of the bedroom, it's separate from sex, you can use it to open up these more objective conversations of like, hey, what do you think this would be like we have lists in the book of like different fantasy is and different things that you could play around with. And so if you talk about it separately, I think people get themselves into trouble when they try to spring something on their partner in the moment we've all heard the advice to try new things in the bedroom to keep it spicy and sometimes we get. So nervous and worked up about it that we try to initiate something in the moment and then our partner feels really caught off guard like whoa, where did that come from and those are the kinds of situations where you have much more likelihood of triggering your partner or making them feel unsafe. And then one of the most common is three sims in monogamous couples what are some other common fantasies and then what or things people would want to try and then what are some unusual ones that you've heard. So the most common ones are really interesting so you hear the word fantasy and again a lot of us think really elaborate things right but some of the most common fantasies are actually things like romance like having very romantic sex that feels very intimate and sweet and connected. Or having sex that feels like very passionate like really intense and kind of sweeps you away in the moment so it's not always something like super specific like that. But the more specific ones do include like three sums or group sex a very common one for women is what I call like a ravishment fantasy which is that your partner is like really in control in the moment kind of dominating that type of thing. And just in general power play types of dynamics so whether it's like a full BDSM type of dynamic like a DOM and a sub kind of thing or just somebody being kind of bossy in the bedroom that's another really common one too. Can you explain what BDSM is and DOM and sub beans. Yeah so BDSM is in the most simple way to say it is it's a way to kind of play with power dynamics in the bedroom so if you have like a DOM and a sub the DOM is dominant in control they're guiding the interaction and kind of leading things through and the sub is submissive they are sort of going along with it but I do want to say one of the big misconceptions about it is that the DOM is completely in control in true like responsibly done power play. Dynamics like this everything is negotiated beforehand you're talking about boundaries what's on what's off the table the sub actually has a lot of control around it but it's a way of playing with power dynamics in the bedroom so you don't have to do anything that feels like you know very intense but I think most people like to play around with power of like you take the lead a little bit you be in control now I'll be in control for a little bit. So I have a question about that in your therapy what is that doing for people is it people who usually have a lot of control outside of the bedroom that are craving to be unable to access that control in the bedroom or is it the reverse like what is the personality trade there. Often I do see that we tend to show up in the bedroom in the way that's different from the way that we are in real life in real life of the backwards but in your day to day life you're somebody who has a lot of power a lot of control you might enjoy being able to take a step back in the bedroom and having somebody else take the lead and guide things and tell you what to do it's not always the case though but that is the more common dynamic that I see. That's interesting one of the suggestions that you offer and sex talks which I thought was a great one was if you're too scared to talk about what you're curious about trying you can use the dream scheme which is you just go to your partner like I had this while while dream last night which is like we were having a three some and it was so weird and like what do you think so weird can you believe that's so weird unless you don't think it's your job in which case we can continue talking about it. Like how we don't think it's yeah so that's so interesting and then I was you know thinking about the idea of like using the sex talks books and being like oh you know Vanessa made us talk about this thing which really speaks to a deeper question which is why are we so ashamed of our desire I'm never scared to say I really like Thai food or like I really I personally just prefer dogs to cats but when it comes to sex we have to have all our desire. All our desire or fantasy is it because we're ashamed of it because for example you talked about the ravishing fantasy. I might as a fierce feminist be nervous to claim that desire because I wonder what it says about me I don't wonder what my preference about Thai food says about me or what my preference about a certain animal or pet but like sexual fantasy seems to be so tight. So we're scared of it. Talk about that like where does this shit come from is this all Freudian like why do some of us want three cents and some of us want to be dominated and some of us want like feet and like where is it coming from. Okay there are a bunch of really great questions that you asked in that so I want to back up a second and go to like it's really more of a discomfort around desire in general I think that's the bigger picture picture issue and then one piece of that is our specific shame around our fantasies and our curiosity is. So I think our shame around our desire really just traces back to all the negative shame and socialization that we get around sex it just feels so hard for us to claim what we feel pleasure from and curiosity about an enjoyment from I mean I've had people tell me I feel ashamed for liking long French kisses. I feel ashamed for liking to be on top when we're having intercourse you know the most basic simple things that you wouldn't think would evoke that kind of feeling people feel ashamed about it and people feel alone in it too I can't tell you how many times I get the question like am I the only person who likes when my partner nibbles on my ear low. No you're absolutely not but I think it's the shame that we're taught about sex and the lack of open and honest conversations about sex that make us feel so alone and make us feel so ashamed of it so then we have the more niche issue of our fantasies and the thing that comes up here is that we have this desire to want to make sense or make meaning out of our fantasies and sometimes you can you might be able to trace back. You know oh I had one of my earliest sexual experiences I was wearing leather pants and now you know I have made this association with leather gets me turned on it's so exciting so for some people there is a clear connection for the vast majority of people there isn't no there's no specific reason why you develop that interest instead of this other interest that you could have. And I think there's this danger that comes up when we try to psychoanalyze like well what does it mean that I like this am I am I actually not the person that I thought that I was or am I being hypocritical in a certain way so it truly is random so the way that you know Glenn and you made food comparisons I wouldn't judge you and you wouldn't judge yourself or like what does it mean about me that I like Thai food kind of person does that say that I am. And I think the same needs to be true out of our curiosities and fantasies it doesn't say anything about you if you're interested in feet it doesn't say anything about you if you like playing with latex it doesn't say anything about you if you like long French kisses yeah it's like a right to pleasure right to have pleasure yes where does it come from it comes from inside of you and it comes from you know when you're young and you want somebody to tickle your arm and you're like oh my gosh that feels so good so every time you go to. So every time you go to sleep you ask your mom and your grandma please tickle my arm to sleep I want you to do that because you're you're getting in touch what feels good to you and as you get older you keep investing and you keep learning about what feels good what is pleasurable and it doesn't matter the what it just matters that there is. But I do that's a great point to Abby like I think you know as children we're so in touch with what brings us pleasure and what brings us joy and there's a simplicity to it if just that feels good I like that that's fun and as we become adults we get so many messages about that's not okay don't do that don't touch yourself there no I'm not going to give you those rubs anymore you're too old for that. So many messages and so we start to shut ourselves down and we internalize that belief that pleasure isn't okay and it's not acceptable and you know we're not allowed to continue having that joy and that delight in our own bodies that we were all born with and all deserve to have. And that whole concept like what you're just saying Abby makes so much sense to me my daughter Alice is very sensory and I rub her back before she goes to bed and she'll be like harder there nope stop over there I love that that feels so good if you like panned out and just read a transcript it would be like god damn I wish I could do that yeah but it's just the idea that there's a person that loves you. Who wants to do something for you that feels good in some cases we're totally welcoming to it when it's a little child and it's a mother's love scratching your back so that they can give you some joy and sometimes i'm amazed because i'm like you're just over there accepting. This thing i'm offering you and you're not only accepting it you're giving me directions about how to do it better absolutely i'm not mad i'm like that's helpful information and every time i'm like keep. That please keep that for the love of god your whole life you know and i don't know at one point if i ever had that and then it left but this idea that someone would be there. And delighted to respond to my ability to communicate to them what was the thing that made me feel most cozy and joyful and pleasurable i would argue you taught Alice how to do that obviously there's some natural instinct like. But you helped her and you are part of that whole situation so you can actually do that for yourself in your marriage if you chose yeah i think we're all born with that and if we have great parents then we get encouraged in that way the way that you're describing this is so beautiful and so you're encouraging her to continue having that but like this is why i'm so passionate about this stuff is that we all have this within ourselves we all have that history of like feeling. Joy and pleasure and it being simple in our bodies so we can all get back to there just. The amount of comparisons that we can make to the last time that we talked about feedback and being in the moment like I know feedback can feel so scary in the moment i don't want to say that i don't know what to say i don't want to shut down my partner. But like just look at the simplicity and the beauty of that example that Amanda is sharing she's giving you feedback and it's just it's so in the moment it's not in a maybe sometimes there's a little bit of a demanding to it but like it's not a you know it's not in a rude way it's not aggressive it's not hurting your feelings and you're receiving it in a beautiful way to like yeah of course i want to know more about what feels good you want me to scratch you a little bit more over here scratch you a little bit more over here. And it delights me to know that i'm making you feel good and I know that i'm making you feel good because you're giving me that feedback like imagine what all of our sex lives could look like if we could have that same sort of exchange or imagine if she didn't like her back being scratched and I found that out five years from now that I thought I was doing something lovely for her by scratching her back as she went to bed and she's like i haven't like that for six years. How much of an asshole would I feel like that and she's just placating me and think about the parallels with relationships on that one. Right. Right. From our nonprofit together rising to our team supporting Glen and Abby in the podcast the most important magic key has always been the people as our work families have grown. We have been so grateful to know that we can get through anything together. Thankfully there's a place you can go that does most of the work for you zipper cruder and right now you can try it for free at zip recruiter dot com slash we can. 3.8 million businesses have used zipper cruders smart technology to find candidates who are great match so let zipper cruder take the work out of finding amazing candidates. We are going to be able to do it all day. Just go to this exclusive web address to try it for free zipper cruder dot com slash we can again that zipper cruder dot com slash w c a n zipper cruder the smartest way to hire. Let's talk through a little bit. We can talk to each other about spacing this shit up because when I think about how hard it is to do this. I think about all of the people I know who have gotten divorced. Got another partner gone through all of that shit partly because they don't want to have this conversation. It's easier to incur thousands of dollars of debt. You know what it's easier to get divorced every six years and start over. Then defucking have this conversation so you can keep more fingers sex life with the same person. I like the idea of what is something that you might like to try what something you're curious about trying. You're a partner. You must bring your own first because it's not there to ask somebody else to be vulnerable if you're not bringing something. Would you agree with that? Absolutely. So let's back up for a second and talk about like why is it important for us to try new things because we've all heard this advice. There's nothing new about it and a lot of us kind of roll our eyes about it. It feels like something you see in a cheesy women's magazine like splicing it up in the bed. But research actually has shown that when we do new things with our partners inside and outside of the bedroom. It lights our brains up. It's just so exciting to us. It's a new experience. It helps us see our partner in a new way. Think about dates that you guys have gone on. You're not going to feel excited about, oh yeah, there's that Italian restaurant that we go to like every Tuesday just around the corner. That's not going to be the date that you remember. You're going to remember, oh, that time that we went through axes or we went to that super weird murder mystery party that we hated. We remember the novel and you know. I want to do one of those. Somebody invite me to a murder mystery party. We can all come here one later. Well, it's glad it's fantasy way to ruin the mystery. So trying new things in the bedroom. It really is the best way to keep your sex life feeling interesting and exciting and feel like you're falling in love with each other, even though you've been together for years and years. The problem is that a lot of us think about trying new things and we get really freaked out. A lot of the reasons that we've already talked about like making it feel too big. Like, oh, I have to go have a threesome. That's the only way to keep it spicy or we try to spring something on our partner in the moment. And we really catch them off guard. And then maybe they are judging us for the thing that we tried to do. So in this chapter of sex talks, I really try to dial it back and like let's talk about ways to ease into trying new things so that it doesn't feel like this scary overwhelming throwing yourself into the deep end of the pool type of experience. For me, this is really ringing really true because it's like, what's next? Are we going to be like polyamorous? Do you know what I mean? It feels like fantasy as well. Yes, but that's an important question to have. We have a friend to introduce polyamory and her partner wasn't so scared of the polyamory as she was afraid that this is just the way that her partner was trying to tell her that eventually she's going to want to divorce. So it's like, is that an important part of the conversation? Like, I'm not just saying this because it's it's an easier way to say something else. It's like its own thing. Absolutely. So I think one of the best starting points is let's kind of reframe this because a lot of us here try new things and it feels like, ooh, the bar just keeps going higher and higher. If I try this one new thing, then I have to try something more. We have to do all this wildly kinky stuff. And there's nothing wrong with kink. It's wonderful. It's incredible. But it's not what everybody's interested in and we don't have to keep pulling that bar up. So instead, a great starting point is, can you just bring back some of the things that you used to do with each other that you haven't done in a while? Yes, we have a lot of things that we used to do and that we used to love. I promise you everybody listening to this can think of at least one example of, oh, yeah, we used to do that all the time. Why haven't we done that in a while? So it's not just doing new things. It's doing different things. Yeah, or old things. And you say that I like the idea of there's lists in the book, but you can make these up yourself too of like yes, his nose and maybe that's good. So you could have a conversation. There's a list in here. I cannot read them. I cannot read them. Come on, read a couple. Read a couple. Just read it. It's not your part where you can say you're curious about a thing, but there's different levels of that thing that you could do. For example, say you're interested. I have a question after this list. Okay. Say you're interested in sex clubs. The first one could be you're just open to talking about sex clubs. Or you're just open to watching erratica about sex clubs. Wait, what's a sex club? That was my question. What the hell is a sex club? The first rule of sex club is we don't talk about sex club. I spent a couple years living in Berlin. So sex club is a place that you go to to have sex. So there are people who don't know each other. They're having sex. Or it could just be a sex party. In most major cities, you can find networks of sex parties where maybe it's not a club specifically, but it's held at somebody's house. But it's basically a group experience of having sex. There are multiple groups of people having sex in the same space. It's like a big orgy or different orgies or people are just finding like singular partners to have sex with or all of the above all of the above. And you went to these places. I was living in Berlin. I had to explore something. Hey, when in Berlin, you know what I mean? That's what I always say. Oh my god, that is so fast-moving. Okay, so talk to us about that yes, no, maybe list. Yeah, when it comes to trying things in the bedroom, sometimes we just freeze up and we don't feel very creative. And we think like I don't even know what is a new thing to try. Then we judge ourselves and feel ashamed. It's like when you're wanting to watch TV. And you're like, I want to watch TV. And now I can't think of a single show. Exactly. So instead we present you a menu of options. It's not a complete menu, but it's pretty extensive. It's a lot easier to choose items from a menu than to just come up with something out of nowhere. So we have these lists in the book where you can look at. Okay, here's one option for something. So here's a random example is like masturbating together side by side. You're both masturbating. And it gives you the opportunity to think of, all right, is this something that I'm interested in? So the obvious categories are yes, yeah, that turns me on. That sounds sexy. Maybe I have done that before, but haven't done it in a while. Or no, it doesn't feel interesting to me for certain things. There might be things that don't feel safe to you. And then the interesting category is maybe. So I love including that because I think there's so much gray area when it comes to sex. And it's important for us to think about like, yeah, what is something that I might be open to. So the maybe is might come up for you if it's like, it depends on the partner. Like I wouldn't want to do this with somebody I just started dating, but maybe if it was a trusting long term relationship, that would feel good. Maybe it's the circumstance. Maybe it's, you know, if I had a partner who is really into it, I would do it, but I wouldn't do it just for myself. Or maybe it's like, there's a piece of this that could be intriguing to me, but maybe not this piece of it. So it just gives us this opportunity to turn it around to examine it a little bit and to figure out what are those gray areas for us. And then you can make a jar like the conversation jars and you could just pull one out when you got some extra time. Yeah, you and your partner fill out these lists separately and then you get together to compare what are the overlapping yeses and the overlapping. When you get some extra time, I don't know what do you mean when you get to have sex to begin with when you get some extra time and some extra energy and you're like, let's try something from our sex fantasy jar. Got it. Right. People on TV shows people seem to be very into role playing. That's a big thing, right? People like to meet out at a bar. My entire experience of this is from modern family. You meet out at a bar and you pretend you're somebody else. Do you think that it's possible that we're scared of conversations about fantasies with our partners because we're afraid we are not enough for partner. Because Vanessa Abby and I did a list in here and it was like, what of these things do you find sexy. Do you remember this? Okay, it's fine. We worked it out. But one of the it was like, do you think this is sexy? Do you think this is sexy? And then one of them was like, do you think being athletic is sexy? And I said, yeah, and she said, yes. And I was like, because I felt like, oh, but I can't be that thing. I can do a lot of things, Vanessa. I can do a lot of hard things. I cannot suddenly become athletic, you know, and that's not a big deal. That is not the point. The point is, is it scary for us because we're afraid things are going to come up that we feel inadequate to meet. I do think that comes up for a lot of us. And I think what's so important for us to recognize is that the vast majority of people don't have an incredibly narrow, super specific version of what they think is sexy. A lot of us say, I find all of these things sexy. So it might be I find athletic people sexy, but I also find these types of body types sexy. And I also find somebody's personality and their energy. And I don't really care what kind of container their spirit is held in. I find them sexy too. So just because your partner says they're curious about a certain thing or they think that something is attractive or sexy, that doesn't mean that everything else that is not that thing is not sexy. It's a much wider experience. So that can come up sometimes with role play people think, oh, do you want me to role play this character because you don't think who I am is sexy. So I've got to play the naughty school girl or the nurse or whatever it is. And that's just not true. We all find lots of different things sexy. And it's fun to play around in that space with each other. One of my biggest inspirations in life is the bounty of incredible women entrepreneurs who have seen a problem and seen it as an opportunity to bring their passion, skill, rage and imagination to birth something beautiful and necessary into the world. Folks like Shannon Watts who founded the mom's demand action movement from her kitchen table to fight the profit grabbing gun lobby. Women have to juggle so many things. And on top of their responsibilities as an entrepreneur, they have to consider how to effectively scale their businesses and add talent to their teams. Now there's a place you can go that will do most of the hiring work for you. And right now you can try it for free. With zipper cruders powerful matching technology, you can feel confident when you delegate your passion. When you delegate your hiring to zipper cruder for out of five employers who post on zipper cruder get a quality candidate within the first day. Just go to this exclusive web address to try it for free. zipper cruder dot com slash we can that zip recruiter dot com slash w c a n zipper cruder the smartest way to hire. Do we get closer to each other when we try new things in bed or out in the world. And do we remember those things and do we have a better time at those times because the thing is better. And new or is it just being vulnerable with someone else at the same time. Is it is that it because it's like we don't want to have these conversations or try these things because it's too awkward and too vulnerable. And we're exposing parts of ourselves and that's why we don't do it. But is it the sex act that brings us closer or is it actually just entering into the scary vulnerable, relovatory place with each other. As if like when we go on a hike to place we've never been and we're both like what the fuck what do we do next and we're scared with each other and it's new with each other and we're revealing different parts of ourselves. Is it about the sex at all or is it about new territory together and being vulnerable. It's about that it's about the new territory and the being vulnerable vulnerability is what makes us feel close to each other. It's what makes us fall in love with each other. It's what makes us attracted to each other. And that's something that we forget in long term relationship. We've normalized it at the beginning of a relationship. We know I'm going to feel super vulnerable with this new person. I'm letting them in. I'm letting them see me. Maybe they weren't like what they see. But that's how we fall in love. That vulnerability. And then all of a sudden we get into these long term relationships and we're become definitely afraid of that vulnerability. We forget like that's what makes the closeness. So you can have with your sex life like we could script out for you. Okay, here's the perfect sexual interaction that the two of you could have of the things that are safe and you've always done and they've worked in the past. And that's going to get really boring and really tiring very quickly. It's the act of being willing to put ourselves in those vulnerable spaces with each other that creates that real intimacy. And that's really with trying new things like some of my favorite experiences with Xander. Sure, we've had incredible sex and those times come to mind. But there have been also tons of times that come to mind of like we tried this weird sex tip that we saw on TikTok and it went horribly wrong. And we laughed like so hard with each other. And it was just this incredible bonding moment. So it's not about having perfect sex. It's about having vulnerable sex. I think that's so good. That's so hopeful because I'm like, I can't do these things. Like I'm going to feel so awkward. It's going to be so weird and uncomfortable. And that will be proof it didn't work. But what Vanessa is saying is that when it is weird and awkward and you're embarrassed with your partner, that is proof that it is working. Because you are both outside of your comfort zone together and you're catching each other, even if you're just catching each other in a laugh instead of an orgasm. And it's also when you've been with someone for a decade, you can have this kind of resign chip on your shoulder that's really awful when you think about it. But I think so many of us walk around with it, which kind of like I know everything there is to know about you. We have read that book 16 times. We know what we're dealing with here. And it's just like an avenue for the truth that that's not the case. Yeah. Reading the same pages, but there is like a whole both we ourselves and this other person is this living thing. And we don't think of our partners as living evolving things. We don't think of ourselves as that. And so it's just a way to add life, right? Because when you're doing this thing, shit every day, and you think you know everything there is to know about someone, you're already setting the ceiling of what things will be. But when you believe that there's still life there to figure out, then you're engaging in life together and surprising yourself and each other, which is not common when you've been together for years and years and years. One thing that you're not full of is surprises. Absolutely. So we did a whole podcast episode where we made ourselves the guinea pigs and we tried out all the weirdest TikTok sex tips that we've seen floating around. And so one example was it was to lick your partner's armpit. And so I licked Sanders armpit. It felt very strange, felt very awkward and he liked it. And it was like this moment of delight for me of like, I never knew this before. I didn't know that you liked to have a your armpit lick. It brings me back to that conversation about like childlike delight and wonder in our own bodies like, wow, I discovered a new part of you. I've been with you for 15 years and I've never licked your armpit. But like again, we tried a lot of things that were horrible. Like what I was telling more things. I can't handle this. There was a fruit roll up blow job. I could not get the fruit roll up to stick. It was like choking me. It was all over the place. It made a mess. But again, it's like we laughed so hard. I could not get it to adhere. It was falling all over the place. It's terrible. But like we laughed so hard about that. And like, you know, it's just such an incredibly funny and bonding experience that I'm never going to forget. And that was not perfect sex. Like I didn't do a good job at giving him a blow job. You know, I couldn't look at it in a different way. But it's like we both chose to show up to be vulnerable to giggle with each other to just like have an experience with each other. And I'll remember that so much more than, you know, some perfect sex that we had a different time. Vanessa, it's a story you'll be passing down for generations. The fruit roll. My God. I know. Okay, we're going to stop there because we could go on forever. But we're just going to challenge the pod squad to be vulnerable, be vulnerable in one way or another find something out about your people that you didn't know before. It makes so much sense to me. It is hard to maintain an open-hearted sense of vulnerability all the time. So like if you have gotten into a little bit of a rut of or narrowed sex space. This is like going into the bedroom is an opportunity to open up and to be that vulnerable self that you once fell in love with even yourself. I miss that part of myself from like the early days of our marriage, you know, like not just the desire and the drive, but I miss like kind of how I was like confidently walking around like my shit didn't stick, you know, like I was talking to you. And we learned it then, you know, and now we've done a lot of winking. Also, if you are very scared of these conversations theoretically, I heard this from a friend that you could send a link to like an article or you could write up in a text some of the things that are from sex talks. And then you could send and say like, hey, let me know something on this list that seems interesting to you because it's just your sending a few you're like, you can tell me tonight one of these things that might seem interesting to you. And it's very less like sitting down eye to eye being like, I want to know your stance on. Exactly. Yeah, similar to the to the dream scheme, you know, yeah, it's just finding different ways of bringing it up with our partner so we don't have to feel so ashamed and embarrassed about it. But I just think there's so much potential for us to tap back into our own vulnerability, our curiosity. And that sense of like, yeah, I mean, I don't know everything about my own body and my own interests. And I don't know everything about my partner and their body and their curiosity is in like this beautiful place of us being able to explore together and being vulnerable together and bonding over it, regardless of how the experiments turn out. So good. And I think that's the best way to go forward the better the longer you'll remember it. But start with the things that feel easy. It's all about the baby steps, bring back the things that you used to do that you don't do anymore start there and that'll give you the confidence and the motivation to then go to a sex class. And all else feels if the conversation doesn't go well, just go to Berlin pack in my fruit roll ups and stop by Miami on the way back. Thank you Vanessa. Thank you, Pot Squad for hanging in there. Once again, we did hard things. We'll see you next time. Bye. If this podcast means something to you, it would mean so much to us. If you'd be willing to take 30 seconds to do each or all of these three things. First, can you please follow or subscribe to We Can Do Hard Things? Following the pod helps you because you'll never miss an episode and it helps us because you'll never miss an episode. To do this, just go to the We Can Do Hard Things show page on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Odyssey or wherever you listen to podcasts and then just tap the plus sign in the upper right hand corner or click on follow. This is the most important thing for the pod. While you're there, if you'd be willing to give us a five star rating and review and share an episode you loved with a friend, we would be so grateful. We appreciate you very much. We Can Do Hard Things is produced in partnership with Chemist 13 Studios.