Episode 156: Let’s Talk About Sex with Kristin B. Hodson
Welcome back to Live Free Creative. You’re listening to Episode 156: Let’s Talk About Sex. Are you as excited as I am to have a whole episode to talk about sex and intimacy and desire and pleasure within a partnership and a relationship? This is one of those topics that is so often not talked about, and it’s a huge part of an adult.
In order to add a really incredible perspective and insight to today’s episode about sex. I’ve invited my friend and sex therapist, Kristin B. Hodson to join me in answering some community questions. I put a form up and did a call for questions on Instagram and received a bunch of questions about all different types of themes related to sex and pleasure and desire and intimacy and partnerships.
And I can’t wait to have Kristin on in just a minute to answer those questions with. You know that this whole month of episodes in October is going to be all about relationships, specifically am married relationship as my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last week, I thought that I would give the whole month the focus of relationships and partnerships and in perfect alignment with that this episode and all of the episodes this month of October are brought to you by Coconu.
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Introduction to Kristin
Let me introduce you a little bit to Kristin B Hodson. If you have been listening to the podcast for a while, you’ll recognize her from episode 90, where we talked all about intentional intimacy. If you like this episode, go back and listen to that one. We talk about sex in a different way and some different topics and ideas come up.
So that’s a great episode to listen to as well. Kristin is the founder and executive director of the healing group. She’s a practicing sex therapist and is the co-author of the book real intimacy, a couples guide for genuine healthy sexuality on her Instagram account. Kristin B Hodson. She shares regular ideas, tools, and strategies to help parents and people become the sex experts of their own lives.
And I’m thrilled to have her here on the show today to help you feel empowered, to become the sex expert of your own life. Last week. In preparation for this episode, I put up a form on Instagram, gathered some questions. I had about 50 questions about sex, intimacy, desire, pleasure. I kind of framed it as, what do you want to know?
Well, I have a sex therapist coming on the show. So ask me your questions of those questions. It was so interesting to see how they broke down into some themes. There were some very clear themes that I wanted to share with you. Some percentages.
So about 35% of the questions centered around the idea of desire. Mostly people saying I don’t really have a lot of desire for sex, and what do I do about that? There’s lots of different circumstances for why.
The next highest was about what turned people on, how to get in the mood. That was about 15%.
The next most asked about theme was 12%. And those questions all centered around orgasm, not being able to, having a hard time with it, needing to figure it out more.
10% of the questions were about specific recommendations.
8% of the questions were about shame, feeling shame around sexuality because of upbringing.
4% of the questions were about connection.
And then the other 16% was kind of a smattering of questions that I couldn’t really group together. Miscellaneous.
I thought it was interesting, out of 50 questions, to have so few themes come out. And one thing I just wanted to note was that the questions that you have, the things that you’re thinking about, that you might be a little bit feeling awkward to ask someone about or bring up or talk to someone about, because when we don’t have open conversations about some of these topics like sexuality, sometimes we feel like we’re the only one who has the question that we have, or who’s going through the things that we’re going through.
And in just this little subsection of questions, it was so clear to me how many of us are going through similar things or can at least relate on similar topics and. I hope that in pulling questions from each of these different areas that everyone who’s listening will find something in this episode that can enrich their relationship that can contribute to a more positive, more connective sexual relationship in your partnership.
So let’s do it. Friends. Let’s talk about sex.
Interview with Kristen
Okay. I’m so happy that you’re here. Thank you for being here.
K: Thanks for having me.
M: I received so many questions and I thought it was interesting how they were kind of divided by topic lines. And so rather than go through, I mean, we definitely don’t have time to go through all of the questions, I’ve pulled out a couple that seem to encompass the theme of each topic, because I think that answering one maybe gives all of the people who asked a similar question, the answer that they’re looking for.
So the first one that I thought would be interesting to start with doesn’t directly relate to sex, but I think that it actually really does. The question is about connection. The question was:
How do you reconnect with your partner when you feel completely disconnected mentally and physically?
K: That’s a really good question because at the root of sexual connection, is this overall, emotional and mental, full body connection.
I have a colleague that talks about the sweatpants phase of life, where we start getting into parenting, our children, we’re involved with work, we’re going 50 different directions. And we are usually literally connected, disconnected in that way, simply because we have so many demands in our life and it’s starting to prioritize and move out of being comfortable with our partner and being like they will get whatever’s left over that the carpool gets our time that our activities get our time.
And then if there’s any time left over, we connect with our partner. It’s starting to flip that and treat that as much as a priority as we are our children’s events or our other obligations and starting to connect. That’s big picture. Like how do we connect big picture?
The other thing when we’re talking about connection is I see that there are four natural times to connect in a day.
And this is from the research of John Gottman. We have an opportunity when we wake up to connect, when we both leave and go our separate ways for them, when we come back home, when one person or both of us comes back home. That’s the time to connect. And when we go to bed, that’s another time to connect.
And if we capitalize on those–I love to have couples start developing rituals of connection, that it becomes your routine. So if bedtime is when you talk, you sit down and some people have a cup of tea and like, “How was your day? I haven’t even seen you. I haven’t talked with you.” You can put your hand on their leg, but it’s starting.
When I say the comfort, the sweatpants part of life, it really is moving out of the routine, the comfortable–and starting to say, Hey, connection matters. If you’re in gridlock where you’re just disconnected and you’re waiting for the other person to start, sometimes you, you need to claim that you want to connect and you need to start that connection.
And then if there’s not reciprocation, having a conversation, ideally from a place of “I really want to connect with you. Can we problem-solve how we can start prioritizing connection?”
M: Yeah. I love all of those suggestions. Having specific times and specific rituals feels really doable to me. Like that’s so applicable that it’s not this overarching, “Oh, we need to solve this.” Like all day long, we have this problem, but it’s like, if I can focus on some saying something kind, or in the morning, you know, making sure that we get a hug and a kiss before we separate, whether that’s driving carpool or whether that’s him going off to work, or me going off to work that like, those are really actionable things.
And it’s always surprising to me how big of an impact the smallest intentional actions make. Sometimes we’re looking for the big. And we forget the basics and we want to find the big thing instead of going to the basics. But if we’re not doing those basics, it often speaks to why we’re not feeling connected.
And so going back to those everyday little things, they add up, it’s just like that drip in the bucket they add up. And when, if you’re not connecting at all, having those four times just if you just did nothing but that, that would make a big difference. I’d probably lead to a very loving, fulfilling feeling relationship because especially in the sweatpants phase of life, I love that term.
Those might be the only four times that you see each other. So if you’re intentional about these, you know, five minute or 30 seconds actions, four times a day, but those are the only times you interact, then your relationship will feel extremely connected. It will only be connection because the rest of the day you’re not interacting anyway.
K: I was just going to quickly say my husband and I, we have this thing where we touch hearts so that it’s not like a quick friendship hug that we intentionally, when we leave, we like to touch hearts and we do it’s, it’s probably a 32nd hug, honestly. And just that one thing makes that big of a difference, even the way that we shift in how we have it, as simple as that is, but being intentional and touching each other.
That’s really sweet. It reminds me of the book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, which we’ll talk about her book probably a little bit later. Um, but it’s called burnout and it’s about completing the stress cycle. And one of the things they talk about is I think it’s a 22 or 26 second hug, and you actually time it there’s research that shows that after that threshold, your body releases these endorphins, and it drops in stress level and it actually completes this cycle and really increases connection.
And so, even how silly it might sound, but turning on a timer and saying, when we give our hug, it’s not going to be like this quick, like pat and, and leave, but do we have 30 seconds to just stay in an embrace and what, like the actual physical, emotional, spiritual shift that happens after that threshold is really powerful.
M: So I love hearing about you’re touching hearts too. That’s really sweet. So I heard earlier this week to Monica packer said intimacy in the bedroom begins with intimacy outside of it. I saw that on one of her Instagram posts she’s, you know, it was also talking about intimacy, intimacy, and relationships.
And I was like, oh yeah, that like intimacy outside of the bedroom when you’re able to have those conversations, when you’re able to say, even if your partner seems disconnected, if you claim that and say, I want to be connected and I get to be connected, but inviting questions by being available emotionally myself, rather than always expecting the other person to begin. It can begin with us. And that’s really powerful.
K: That’s such an important thing you’ve said, because oftentimes we are looking at our partner to make the change. Our marriage would be so much better if they would do this, we would be so much more intimate if they did this and we can’t change our partner, we can only control and change ourselves.
And when we make the decision that we want to feel connected, that we want to elevate our marriage, that we want to feel differently. And then we act on that. Then we also don’t feel victim or resentful that I’m doing this and you’re doing nothing. And instead of like, I’m doing this because it actually makes me feel better, so I love that you said that, cause that really is the only place that we truly can focus and feel empowered.
It’s so, so important. Okay. So the next question that I have is about drive. I have two that are a little different, but let’s start with this one. I think I know the answer, but I’d love to hear your take on this.
Is it normal for sex to ebb and flow in a long-term relationship?
K: 100%. Absolutely. I’m looking at your face and like, yeah, that’s what you thought too. It just really is because we have a body and bodies ebb and flow throughout a lifespan. And then when you’re in relationship, when we look at stress and all the factors that go into designing your life, it is just normal and natural that our sexuality and our desire is going to ebb and flow.
So if there is something that we can underscore in this episode it’s yes, you are normal when your desire is ebbing and flowing. You’re not the exception that is happening to people.
M: Right? I love that. Yeah. Um, I think that we sometimes forget about seasons of life. That life is change. It’s always changing. And that means that every part of our life, every aspect of our own body, our own personality, our own energy level, our relationships, our children, like as soon as you start telling yourself the story, that things are supposed to be the same, or they’re supposed to be a certain way and you start fighting with reality, you’re never gonna win.
And so I think it’s so empowering to just consider that whatever I’m going through is normal and is okay because I’m in it right now. And I can, if I want to change it, I can change it. I can look for ways and look for solutions to get out of it. But that doesn’t mean that it’s, you know, wrong or bad or something’s wrong with me or wrong with my relationship.
K: No. And that’s something that when we’re talking about–we’re oftentimes trying to get back to–what I hear people say is I used to have desire, but now that I’ve had my baby, it’s gone. Instead of being like, this is the next chapter, of course, like my body has changed. My hormones have changed. My sleep has changed. My everything has changed. And so what you’re saying is I want to get back to how I was. We’re not, we’re going to keep growing, adding more children, aging, having new medical situation. All of that. So focusing with what is, and then where we want to go is where we need to be.
M: So there were so many questions about drive and about stress, or not wanting to have sex. Um, so this one, I thought highlighted kind of all of them:
What do I do if I have absolutely zero desire for sexual intimacy?
K: Yeah. I’m glad we’re using the word desire because again, Emily Nagoski, Come As You Are, right?
Her, it’s kind of the gold standard book. When we’re talking about desire is it’s not a drive. It’s not this feeling that necessarily pushes you. It is desire is something that we’re not unlike hunger. We’re not going to die. If we don’t have sex, we will die if we don’t have food. And so that’s a legit drive, like, is it drive for survival?
Some people might feel like they’re going to die. Like, we may have a partner that’s like, I’m going to die if we don’t have sex tonight, but they’re not going to die. So that’s important unless you kill them for saying, if you don’t feel like having sex, they’re not going to die.
Oftentimes we think of desire is something you have, or you don’t have, and if you can find the silver bullet and solve desire, then you’ll be, you will have desire.
Desire is–there are so many factors going into it, so many, and I hope can I list a few so people can just realize like, oh, okay. So when we’re looking at medication, when we’re looking at the level of connection in relationship, when we’re looking at partnership, when we’re looking at medical circumstances, such as pelvic pain, all of those issues, we’re looking at the kind of sex work.
I will often say when people say they don’t have desire, they don’t want to have sex. I’m like, well, how good is the sex you’re having? Because if it’s not great sex, you’re not going to want it. Um, are you working with me? Like if you, you know, your body and how you experience pleasure, are you, are you guys experiencing mutual pleasure, sleep fatigue?
Like, do you feel safe in your relationship? There are so many things, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Do you feel shame or guilt or something about sexuality that disrupts a part of your identity that maybe you invested in around being pure or not sexual? That can be a disruptor.
And so when the first thing is, do you want to have desire? Like when someone says I don’t have any desire, do you want to have desire? Like, do you want to shift that? Because some people will come into my office and they’ll say, I don’t have any desire to have sex. And they don’t necessarily want to change it.
So the first place you have to get clear on, is this something that I do want to improve–because therapists or a book, they’re not magicians, they can’t make you all of a sudden be motivated to want to have sex.
So that would be the first thing if then you’re like, yeah, I actually want to solve this. I know that sounds weird. A lot of people will come to therapy and say, I want to solve this or improve this. But they actually don’t, they’re not ready yet to make that change. They’re not ready to do what they need to do.
M: I’m curious in that, in that circumstance, do you just say, oh, okay. Like we talked about that. There there’s a readiness. You don’t have to do anything. You can stay in this position. You can stay in this place where you’re not having sex.
The challenge is if you’re in a partnership and the agreement is there’s going to be. So even if it was implicit, like we’re getting married, and we’re going to be monogamous. This is the bind I see a lot of people get into it. I want monogamy. I want to feel safe that I am your only person. And you’re my only person. And I don’t want to have sex. That’s a tricky thing to have in a long-term monogamous relationship.
K: And so it’s one of those things. You may not be able to have it all. So where do you want to solve this problem? You don’t have to do anything, but you also can’t control the consequences, right?
M: Yeah. That’s so interesting because. Maybe we don’t often think about that as part. I mean, I actually think it’s a big problem in a lot of upbringings that I’m trying to solve with my own kids, that sexual intimacy and sexual relationships are not talked about very readily until you’re in the position that you’re like headed to the church to get married, you know, or that you’re a full blown adult where all of a sudden you’re supposed to learn it all at once when it hasn’t, you know, you built your whole life by having created these stories. By virtue of nothing being shared or you’re inventing things you don’t know is true.
And so you just don’t understand, for example, that a marriage might not like a long-term monogamous relationship. Like a marriage has an implicit understanding that there will be sexual relationships.
And I mean, that sounds dumb when you say it, but you’re like, yeah, of course, you know that, but then when you find yourself, you know, 14 years in marriage, you’ve had a bunch of kids, you don’t feel like it and you just feel pressured.
I’m referencing some of these questions that, you know, like, I don’t feel like it. And I feel like I’m just a vagina to him, you know, I’m a baby maker and a vagina. And, but then yeah, it is interesting to kind of backpedal and say, but I agreed to be part of this relationship. And am I being a little bit victimized rather than taking control, you know, deciding do I feel interested in furthering this part of our relationship, which is, uh, it’s a big part of our relationship.
It’s a big, huge part of, uh, a marriage that we, again, most people don’t talk about until they’re married or until they’re almost like married, you know, so understanding or discussing like how you want it, because I think it is an obstacle when there’s intimate problems in it relationship, it is an obstacle that, that like begs for a solution.
And this is where people can get into what you don’t want to get into is like, okay. And then this long-term marriage, it’s an implicit agreement. Therefore I have to have sex. And then it becomes duty sex. And that someone specifically said, yeah, I feel like this is just all duty sex. How do I get out of that into wanting to have sex and not just feel like this is my obligation.
K: Yeah. And duty sex. You can’t have duty and desire in the bedroom at the same time. If you are feeling duty, then desire will get kicked out. And sometimes we’re avoiding conversations that need to be had. Oftentimes there’s a discrepancy in partnership or feeling like both partners are carrying the load around the home, or there’s zero connection throughout the week.
And then all of a sudden sex happens that can make people feel like duty sex of I’m just a vagina because the rest of the time, we’re not connecting. We’re not talking. I feel ignored. I felt unsupported. I don’t feel seen. And then all of a sudden you give me energy when you want to have sex.
So there’s oftentimes conversations that are being avoided and the person with low desire gets pegged as the problem. Like if you just wanted to have sex with her had sex, it would solve X, Y, or Z, or the ongoing conflict of the sex in our relationship. However, there’s usually other things that are going on that aren’t being discussed that are contributing to the feeling of duty and pressure.
M: Yeah. And that kind of goes back to the first question that we talked about, about connection. Are you connecting physically, emotionally, spiritually outside of sex? And if not start there, because those places, that actual connection is where that the emotional piece, which then lends itself to the physical piece comes back into play rather than thinking, oh, we have to fix our sex life thinking.
Maybe we need to heal some pieces of our actual relationship outside of our sex life. And the intimate piece will come as a by-product of feeling emotionally connected, feeling like we’re in a fair partnership, feeling like we’re supporting and encouraging and loving each other, then that desire is enhanced.
K: And that’s foreplay. I always love to say that everything that is happening in between sexual encounters, that is all the little stuff so that you are feeding that central connection and then sex becomes an extension of the connection you already feel. But if we are not investing in connection, then it is very difficult to go from zero to 60 when we’re talking all of a sudden, no connection to the sexual connection when we’re investing in that.
So usually when it’s duty sex there again multi-factor but usually there’s relational stuff going on.
And then really assessing individually, how do I feel about sex as a whole, have I ever wanted to have sex? Are there other pieces of this that I need to address that have gone unaddressed for a long time?
And it’s now hitting kind of a head because I’ve not dealt with it.
M: Yeah. Okay. So great. That leads into another section of questions. Actually. I feel like the next three questions all relate back to this idea. So let’s start with this one though.
How do I get past the feeling that sex is bad or secretive?
I grew up in a house where we never talked about sex until, and to say nothing until you’re married, then I got married and it suddenly, okay. And then I like my heartbreak. She says I’ve been married almost 14 years and it still feels like I’m doing something that I shouldn’t.
K: Yeah. I empathize with that question too, because a lot of people grew up in homes, some religious, some not religious, but growing up in homes where sex isn’t taught at all, then that is by default, it sends a message that sex is bad, or body parts are bad or pleasure is not okay. And we internalize that. And then that becomes true. That becomes a belief.
And so when it comes to sexual shame, it’s very important that when we come into this world, we recognize that we don’t have any of that. We don’t have those messages. We don’t have those beliefs. And they start to be shaped as we interact with our family. When we interact with our peers, when we interact with our church, when we interact with our community and when we interact with the world at large, then we start internalizing different messages around sex.
And sometimes it’s how we interpret those. But those messages come. Sexual shame is something that is planted into our life. It is something that is planted. And then it’s our opportunity and responsibility to uproot it, to recognize this is, this is the feeling of sexual shame.
And I like to say that when we’re growing up, oftentimes we start learning about the different emotions. It’s mirrored and modeled back like, oh, Miranda, you’re feeling sad. You must, you must be really upset. You’re angry. And you start to make this connection of like, that is what sad feels like. This is what anger feels like. Yes. I’m so happy. We learn those emotions and what they feel like in our body, no one grew up in a home that said, oh, you are feeling so much shame and sexual shame right now.
That wasn’t mirrored. So we don’t grow up recognizing that that’s a feeling, like happy, mad, sad, scared. When we start to feel it, we believe it’s true. We believe that I am doing something bad. Like this is really bad, instead of going, oh, that is a symptom of what I grew up with. And I’m going to need to continue to work that through and challenge that this belief is not true.
We need to recognize I am an adult and in a marriage aligned with my values. I’m having sex after marriage. This is I’m going from someone’s value set, right? It is okay for me to experience pleasure. It is okay for me to share intimacy with my husband. This is an old feeling that I have to work through.
And the thing with sexual shame is it’s that it’s a lot of affirmation and giving ourselves new scripts to hook onto and to recognize this feeling, make it come up, but I’m no longer going to accept it as true. I’m going to recognize I’m going to name the feeling because that wasn’t done for me as a kid, I’m going to name it and see it for what it is, but I’m no longer going to anchor it of, this is fact I’m going to channel, give myself those affirmations and work it through, and then you start to get to the other side, but you have to work at.
M: Yeah. Can you give me a couple examples of affirmations that someone’s experiencing religious or familial based sexual shame that they could use. Like if those feelings come up, what it would be a good affirmation for that?
K: Yeah. I kind of, kind of what I was listing of: This sexual shame is not mine. This was planted into my life. I inherited it. It is not mine. I am okay to feel pleasure. I give myself permission to feel pleasure. I give myself permission to connect with my partner in this way. I have a body that is designed to feel pleasure.
It’s the positive, like the, my body is good or, you know, my body’s designed to feel pleasure. This is my connection with my sexual connection with my partner. A relationship like this is divine and it’s beautiful.
And you know, like trying to maybe even pinpoint like, is it from my family? Is it from my religion? Is it from my culture and having some positive affirmations that relate directly?
If it’s a religious thing, this is a divine relationship. This is a spiritual connection. Like when we’re connecting intimately, this is also a spiritual connection. And, you know, and trying to find things that directly affirm the shame that we’re feeling from the institution or whatever that it came from.
It’s giving ourselves what we didn’t get as a kid. It’s the conversations. And it really is divine. If we look at the clitoris, its sole function as pleasure, it doesn’t give anybody else pleasure. It is just for that person, period. And I love that its sole purpose is pleasure.
Because that was by design. It was created, it was intentional. And so when we internalize–and it takes practice because oftentimes we have nurtured the shame part of ourselves for a long time. And so we need to be patient as we are now starting to plant the positivity and undoing that shame. That takes time, Brene Brown talks about shame, resilience, it starting to undo that.
And then it keeps that practice going because at times our shame will pop up when we don’t even expect it. Like, oh, there it is. Again, that’s odd. And again, giving ourselves permission to name it and getting acquainted with that feeling. So you actually see it as a feeling. I just can’t emphasize that enough.
It’s not true. It’s not like just this ultimate truth that you are just recognizing. This is a story that you have nurtured that you’re telling yourself. And it doesn’t have to be true and it may not, you know, if it’s not serving you, I always like to think like, okay, that’s a thought, but is it serving me? Do I want to believe that?
Because again, going back to desire, if you don’t want to have any more desire, then you’re probably not in a great place to begin that process. If you don’t want to feel like intimacy in your relationship is a positive, nurturing, nurturing, loving thing, then maybe you’re not quite ready to disband that story.
M: So I love that. Just the unlearning. And I loved the piece. I just want to reemphasize that this is something that was not inherent to your being, that this is something has been planted into your story by external sources. And it’s up to you to like, you have the power to go inside and to say, what do I really think about this? What do I really believe? What aligns with my values that I recognize as an adult human whose values may differ from other people, maybe the way that you want to engage in sexual relationships in your relationship is different than your sisters or than your friends are than your parents, you know?
This leads into a couple questions:
Is erotic fiction a moral way to get turned on and ready for sex. It’s been very effective for my sex life with my husband, but the books often contain unmarried sex. And I’ve been told that reading anything sexual or pornographic is wrong.
K: Okay. What I love about that question? Is there more to it? I know that’s the first question. I’ll do the second one in a second. Okay. Is I have been told, I have been told this has been wrong. Who told you, is that an authority over your life?
If it’s a church leader, usually what happens when w when we’re looking, oftentimes people are looking for the rules of sex. What are the rules of sex, instead of what if my partner and I agreed to what are my values? Is there space for this in my life. Um, when we’re looking at different church rules, there’s a whole bunch of dogma and it’s actually, when you distill it down into the rules, there’s very little rules.
It’s the principle of if you and your partner are agreeing or if you’re agreeing and it’s okay, and you have to get to the point where you can affirm yourself and you can be the authority. What she said is, so there’s such a paradox of this is working for me. This works and it feeds my sex life and my connection, but I’ve been told that’s where I would look at it and go discard that authority and claim your own authority and trust that it’s working for you.
Trust that if it is bringing you this joy and connection, go with it.
M: Yeah, I love that there is another question about erotic fiction and I thought it was interesting because at the end of this, the end of this other question–I just want to touch on this. It says: My desire for sex was definitely increased, but I want to know how consuming explicit romance material in that way will affect me longterm.
K: She’s talking about explicit romance novels. Will it affect me longterm? It’s working for my sex life right now. It’s increasing my desire, you know, and, and with my partner, but will it have negative effects longterm? It’s a great question.
And so our brain is our biggest sex organ. So as people are starting to recognize like, oh, this helps open me up. This helps to turn me on. There’s nothing wrong with that.
There can be, we’re essentially dealing with fantasy erotic–fiction is fantasy, and we can have really rigid rules on how we can experience sexuality, what we can do, how we can get turned on. And again, really narrow and then it makes it very difficult to get turned on because we’ve given ourselves these really narrow rules in how we can get turned on.
So when someone like this is like, I have discovered erotic fiction, they’re one of my favorite stories. So when we had, um, not 50 shades of gray, but what was the popular book that had Edward and oh, the vampires, do you know, I’m talking about, yes. What is it called? What is the book? Because this is everybody was reading it. I mean, religious moms across the country were devouring. It’s–we should know this. It’s like the most popular…
Twilight, the Twilight series.
For a lot of people, they liked the tension that existed and the relationship and 50 shades of gray was actually fan fiction. It was in response to that.
And I really love that simply because it gave women an outlet. It gave them a place to let go and to release. And so in terms of what it will do, long-term I think people are asking even a sub question of, am I going to get addicted? Is it going to make it so that I’m no longer wanting to connect with my spouse? Because I’m just connecting with erotic fiction.
Erotic fiction can be a tool. It’s a tool that supports you in connecting with your partner or something that turns you on. But your point is to connect with your partner. Wonderful.
If for you, you start to feel like it’s hijacking, you would rather be immersed in erotic fiction, and you’re no longer wanting to connect with your partner or yourself. Then let’s revisit the way in which and the amount you’re engaging in erotic fiction, but there can be a lot of nuance in that and it’s shifting.
People can start to feel out of control in their use of this goes right into I’m edging onto it, but I’m not going to, I don’t want to go there in terms of sexual imagery and pornography, we’re looking at fantasy and the ways that we engage.
The bottom line is there’s nothing inherently wrong. It would do nothing long term. It really is just if it starts to disconnect you from the things that matter in your life, do you and your partner and other aspects that I would revisit how it’s showing up in your life.
M: Yeah. I love that. I think that that kind of, um, circles you back to, what is the purpose? What are your values? Are you aligning with your values? Is your goal to create more of a connection and more of, you know, enhance that desire within your relationship. As soon as you start to, I would say, even tell me what you think about this: I think as soon as you start to feel like you should be secretive about something, like if it’s open, your partner knows that you’re reading erotic fiction and you’re like, oh yeah. You know, get excited because things are spicy on the page. So they’re gonna be spicy tonight. You know, like if you feel like it’s something that you can be open and it’s kind of a fun thing within your relationship and you, you’re not a sh you’re not ashamed of it.
You’re not trying to hide it. I feel like as soon as it shifts into secretive and like, then maybe that’s where you start to, like, for me, that would be a like, oh, maybe I need to revisit how I’m using this or thinking.
K: Absolutely. That’s one of the principles of sexual health is honesty. And part of that is agreements. And if it’s something where you feel like you’ve not talked about it, like there’s not ever been an agreement because you haven’t talked about it, but you feel like you have to go secretive because you couldn’t talk about it. That’s something to be curious about. Oh, what about this? Why am I not wanting to share? Is it because I’m violating an agreement or I feel shame. I feel scared. I feel embarrassed to be known in this way.
Those are good factors because you’re moving out of your values or moving out of your integrity. And so there could be a lot of reasons why we start to go secretive and secretive. There can be things that we don’t share with our partner because we’ve made an agreement that we don’t have to share all aspects of our sexuality, but there are parts that we actually go secretive. And that, that usually does not feed our relationship in ways that we ultimately. So just maybe to be pay attention to kind of the uses and the ways that you, that other feelings that are brought up around some of these tools.
Another one that relates to, I feel like pretty directly to this Is masturbation in marriage healthy, normal, okay? That’s the question.
I actually love the lightheartedness of that. It can be healthy, normal, okay. It’s up to you and your partner to decide how that works, how that fits within your relationship.
One of the challenges is people can feel like the only way that we can experience orgasm is with each other at the same time, when we both want to. And for some couples that does not work, they have different levels of desire. And so then people have conversations of sure.
Masturbation works for us. This is how we figured out how it becomes a bond, not a wedge, and they create their own agreement around it, where they feel safe and secure, and it’s a part of their sexual buffet. This is a choice and an option.
M: I love the term sexual buffet.
K: Yeah. There’s so many things we can choose and not all relationships. When I go to the buffet, I’ll pick up different things than you will pick up. So if masturbation works for this couple and it doesn’t work for you and you’re like, oh, they shouldn’t, it’s like, that’s not for you to decide. They can figure out what works for them.
M: Yeah. I love that. I remember a friend years and years ago who mentioned that she felt she had a much lower desire than her husband.
And she said she was wrapped up in a lot of duty sex because she feels like, you know, I get a tap on the shoulder and I’m like, well, I don’t. And because of their religious upbringing, they had both been taught that masturbation was not okay. And after years, I mean, years and years of her feeling like, okay, I’m just going to relent. I’m going to going to have sex because I’m his wife. So I’m how he has sex.
She finally said, Hey, do you think that masturbation could work? Like I want to give you my whole hearted permission that if I don’t feel in the mood and you do, that you can take care of that need thinking of me and like, love me, but just let me sleep while you’re, you know, and that’s fine.
And she said that their sexual relationship dramatically improved because she no longer felt like she was having all the duty. He didn’t feel some of the resentment. And they were just like, it was so connected. And I thought that was an interesting example of something that had been such a no-no, shameful, you know, we can’t do this, actually ended up being something that became very connective and very helpful in their relationship.
She approached him with curiosity, like, Hey, do you think. Or what there was curiosity and wonder instead of just sticking with the heart and best role that actually wasn’t serving their relationship anymore. And realizing there are a lot of ways we can experience sexuality as a couple, both partnered and solo, and it can all feed in because when she’s now freed from not being the way that he can experience sex, and he’s like, ah, she is essentially in control of my sexuality.
These are our values. This is our vision for our sexuality. We want to feel connected. We want to be each other’s person. And here are all the ways that we can do that. Solo and partner.
M: Yes, absolutely. So that brings me to another section. There was a whole topic about orgasm, many, many questions about orgasm.
Most of them, females responding that they either haven’t ever had an orgasm. They don’t know how to have an orgasm. They’re struggling after having children with orgasm. Um, the question that I really liked was:
What to do if your partner doesn’t seem to be able or willing to meet your needs, but they reached climax? So I think that that reflects on both situations. What advice would you give someone who’s struggling to climax when their partner doesn’t seem to have a problem with it?
K: So I’m going to go back cause you listed off this series of questions and that last one, I really loved, actually, the sequential order that you laid those out.
The very first one, I’ve never orgasm. If you don’t know your body, you can’t get around not knowing your body when you’re trying to orgasm. It is really difficult. This can be part of our upbringing where we never gave ourselves permission to learn or name or. We have no idea what it looks like. We don’t want to look at it or we don’t know how we experience pleasure, but we want our partner to figure that out.
That they’re only the one that has permission to touch and know your vulva, and that then becomes their job to figure out how you experience pleasure, really, really difficult circumstances. So know your body. It’s getting to know your body, learn the anatomy learned how you experience pleasure. There are a lot of ways that you can do that.
That, I mean, we could do an episode just on this last section of questions, but that’s what I will say. You got to learn your body.
Second, if you are not orgasming after having a baby go see a reproductive physical therapist, go make sure after having a baby, it doesn’t matter how you gave birth to that baby. When we carry babies inside our body,things shift and move and there’s pressure on our pelvic floor. And, uh, everybody, regardless if there’s issues, I always recommend going to a reproductive physical therapist just because those muscles require attention.
And so go and first and foremost, see if something has shifted.
Secondly, there can be, if you’re, if you’re taking medication after having a baby, if you’re experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety or you’re sleep fatigued, all of those things can impact orgasm as well. If you are breastfeeding, these things can all impact that sex across the lifespan of waxing and waning. That’s a very real thing.
And then the last question was when the partner is climaxing and they’re not, that is a relational issue. There is a conversation to be had there. And, you know, I used to take calls on the radio and people would have these questions about sex and they would want a solution without having to talk to their partner.
They’d want to figure out how do I solve this without having to have that conversation. And that there could be something bigger. This is where sometimes women can get in their own way because they either fake orgasm. They don’t say anything. So their partners like this must be working because you’ve not said anything seem great. Then it’s a different issue.
If they do know, they are aware that you’re not experiencing pleasure and they’re not attending to it either way. There’s a conversation that needs to be had. Uh, I would love to keep enjoying sex. And right now this isn’t enjoyable.
M: Can we have a conversation about that? For a lot of people talking about sex, they’ve not developed the language. They’ve not developed somewhat the courage. It can be scary to have these conversations, but that particular issue where it’s a relational issue, it’s involving another person. It’s really hard to solve that if you don’t involve them and, and take ownership.
This is where we can start to emotionally grow ourselves up. And we can say, my pleasure matters. My experience matters. And I want to feel valued and matter in this relationship.
M: Yeah. I think that that’s really important. One thing that I heard years ago that really actually was like a light bulb moment for me. I was listening to a podcast actually, where the podcaster was talking about sex.
And she said in our home, like in my marriage, our intimate encounter isn’t over until both of us have climax. And I was like, what? It was just like, I had never even considered the idea that you could just say, oh good. You’re like, you’re done. That was fun for you. That was good for you. It’s been fun for me. I’m engaged, but I’m not there yet. Like, we’re not done yet. Let’s keep going. You’re done. I’m not done. Let’s keep going. And let’s try new things.
And that’s where you actually maybe need to experiment a little bit more like the actual penetration may be over, but I know a lot of women don’t have orgasms regularly with penetration. If you’re trying to have an orgasm just with penetration, because you’ve only learned that that’s how sex happens. Like the, you know, this is the anatomy of making a baby. You have to maybe step back and understand that how you make a baby isn’t how you have an orgasm and that those things can be separate.
And the intimate relationship for me, started to grow and develop even further. When I was like, oh, there’s all sorts of different ways that we can experience pleasure together outside of penetration.
K: I hope everyone earmarks this part in the podcast. And they’re like, Miranda is dropping truth right now because all of that is very, very true.
And that’s where you are claiming yourself as a sexual person. You’re claiming that it matters. And that there’s another one of the other sexual health principles is mutual pleasure that are we both engaged in pleasure. That feels good to our bodies. And we’re both enjoying the experience. And so everything you just said, I underscore wholeheartedly agree.
And I think you said it beautifully. I hope that there’s someone listening that is like, this is their light bulb moment for them. And they can go home and talk to their husband and say, Hey, what if we just have this agreement that whenever we have sex, both of us gets to have an orgasm. You know, what if we just decide that, that in our relationship, that the pleasure of climax happens for both of us in these sexual encounters, not just you every time and me if it happens to work that time.
Why wouldn’t that be the agreement? I think because when you’ve never talked about it, it just, yeah. I mean, there’s nothing unreasonable about saying that. There is no reason why that should not be the agreement. I think that, uh, I go back to wondering why that isn’t and it’s, it goes back to that as soon as the penis is out of commission, then penetration is no longer an option. And so then if you don’t have a belief or an understanding that penetration is not the only way to have sex and to have orgasm and to have pleasure, then you feel like, oh, well we have to be done because we can’t have penetrative sex.
But when you start to understand that, that, like you said, the clearest is only for pleasure. Get real engaged there, maybe bring a tool or two in, you know, lube and vibrators come really hand in hand in this situation where you aren’t necessarily having penetration, but you still want to experience pleasure.
75% of women are going to experience orgasm with clitoral stimulation. I’m going to do this exercise with you and it’ll illustrate a point, but I want you to take your tongue and stick it into the side of your cheek. You can feel it. You can feel the pressure, but you don’t feel a lot of like massive direct sensation, right?
That is what the inside of the vagina is. Like not very much sensation.
There are 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris. That’s where the sensation is. But if you think about, just go straight back to evolution and vaginal births, if you had a lot of sensation in the vaginal canal, wow that would be intense. And so there’s actually a lot of point in the way that bodies are designed, but also bringing in a vibrator back in absolutely help. Um, not, not settling.
There’s a great book called Becoming Clitorate by Laurie Mintz. And I love it. And she talks about no longer accepting the orgasm gap. That if you need a vibrator, fantastic. If you want a vibrator, you don’t have to need it to just want it. It can be a very fun part of your play making that agreement. And you may also need to shift. If people are going from kissing, taking the clothes off, touching body parts to penetration, like we get into this rhythm, right.
Mixing up your pattern and being like, we’re going to shift this and not go straight to penetration so that I have more time to build up and experience pleasure. And then we can figure out when penetration can occur.
Sometimes we see penetration as the main event like that. We’re building up for that instead of that, is that how you experience pleasure. Wonderful. This is how I experience pleasure. Wonderful. Let’s figure out a new way to dance.
M: I love that. That’s it great. So hopefully this is enlightening for some people who are listening. So I think this is a great question.
How often with your husband is normal? No one gives me a real answer.
No, and that’s like, again, people want, usually there’s I always am like, oh, there’s a story or a conversation about. But if you were to just look at the data on average people having sex once a week. Okay. So that’s a great like median. Yeah. Once I concrete it’s like here, here at roughly, as some people are having sex a lot more, some people are not having that much sex.
Everything is normal. It’s what works for your relationship and where do you both feel seen validated and your needs are being met?
M: I love that. That’s a good measuring stick. Are you both seeing seen validated at are your needs being met? If those things are intact, then whatever’s working is what is great.
This is just another lighthearted kind of interesting question:
Are sexy or nude photos taken at home by or with a partner safe, responsible, connective, do responsible adults do this?
I think it’s such a fun and playful thing. The biggest thing I always, I have, I have so many funny stories actually, but the biggest thing you want to make sure is the, if your pictures are connected to. If you’re taking them from your phone, are you on a family sharing plan? Will they show up on your TV? Like pictures we were when we were living in Costa Rica, WhatsApp is the app that is connecting everywhere. And I had a good friend that sent a beautiful picture. She was in lingerie and she meant it for her husband.
And it ended up on the entire search school chat thread and she sent it and went to bed and her friend came in and was like, do you, because they were living in separate parts and she’s like, you sent this picture, you need to delete it. And that’s the biggest thing when we’re looking at pictures is just make sure you’ve got there.
I know that there are a certain apps or platforms where you can safely send it. That’s it just make sure.
Normal people absolutely do it. It’s a fun and playful and flirty and erotic building. It literally comes down to logistics where I’m like, just make sure they don’t just make sure they know they’re wrong, the wrong audiences.
M: Right. Okay. So let’s finish with maybe just a rapid fire:
Your favorite book for people regarding sexual health.
Your favorite toy.
Your favorites lingerie store.
Okay. So favorite book, hands down as Come As You Are. If you haven’t read it. I also love Becoming Clitorate. wonderful. And Ian Kerner, he has two really great books called She Comes First and Passionista. Great books.
Secondly, there is a new bullet vibrator that has warming technology and it’s amazing and it’s, uh, I will actually be releasing it. This is kind of a sneak preview for 12 days of sexiness. It will be available and is not available yet. So follow along with 12 days of sexiness. Yeah. So see when it comes available, there’s that one.
And then there’s one that is more of suction that mimics, that feels like an oral sex sensation, both toys, wonderful for partners and solo. And they’re amazing. They’re great.
Um, favorite lengerie? I’ve mentioned Bubbles a lot. Um, I share their stuff because I believe in their mission and their point, and they view that that lingerie is about you so that you can express and connect how you would like to, um, that it’s not necessarily designed to just arouse the other person. So I like that empowering message they have, and those are, those are that shared with people.
Lubrication? Get body friendly lubrication. Stuff from the store oftentimes have a lot of chemicals, can be thick ingredients, sticky and lube can be a way better experience in ways that people don’t realize.
M: Coconu is our sponsor for the podcast this month. So that’s perfect.
K: Coconu is wonderful. They are totally body friendly.
M: Awesome. I appreciate your time so much. And all of your insight, I’ll make sure that your information, as well, as you know, all of your recommendations are linked in the show notes.
Need Extra Help?
So if people feel like this conversation helped them realize that they could use a little bit of extra help and have a conversation with a third party outside of their relationship, but maybe there’s something that they don’t feel comfortable just addressing on their own, they could reach out to you and The Healing Group.
Of course, we’ll link your Instagram (@kristinbhodson), which is full of great resources, and you do such great content there. So people can just have an easy, accessible way to make their intimate relationships a little bit more intentional.
K: I will also do a quick plug that 12 Days of Sexiness will be happening this year. We’ll be dropping hints on what the theme is, but you will want to make sure that you are following along at a minimum by the end of November, because it’s going to be amazing.
M: Okay. 12 Days of Sexiness that happens on Instagram. So make sure you’re following Kristin so that you can engage in all of that. Awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Okay. We’ll see you. Okay. Bye. Bye.
Isn’t she wonderful?! I want to thank Kristin again for being part of this episode and being willing to come on and share her insights as we answered some of your community questions today about sex.
Make sure that you check out the show notes livefreecreative.co/podcast. This is Episode 156 and all of the resources that Kristen shared and that we mentioned during this episode will be there so that you can have quick and easy access to the products and books and resources that she suggested.
As always, I want to give a huge thank you to you for listening in. There’s so many different ways that you can spend your time and spending some of it here with me on Live Free Creative podcast means a lot to me.
I hope that something in this episode has helped you feel a little bit more empowered, maybe a little more confident to become the sex expert in your own life and your own relationship, to become more connected to your partner in all the ways: emotional and spiritual and physical.
I wish you a wonderfully sexy week and I will talk to you again next time. Have a good one.