The Inviting Shift Podcast

S2 Episode 22: A Guide to Courageous Conversations about Intimacy: Tips from the Intimacy Doctor

November 16, 2023 Christina Smith Season 2 Episode 22
The Inviting Shift Podcast
S2 Episode 22: A Guide to Courageous Conversations about Intimacy: Tips from the Intimacy Doctor
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever thought about how compromise can be the poison pill for your intimate relationship? We tackle this provocative question as we challenge the traditional relationship advice of constant compromise with our esteemed guest, Dr. Alexandra Stockwell, the Intimacy Doctor. Together, we dissect the dangers of passionless relationships and explore the pivotal role of emotional intimacy in keeping the flame alive in long-term bonds.

Dr. Stockwell guides us on this journey to deepen emotional connections. Tune in to uncover how judgment-free curiosity can create a safe space for your loved ones to open up and share their deepest thoughts and feelings, fostering connection, creativity, and diminishing disconnection.

The closing segment of our conversation takes an intimate turn, focusing on communication about sex. This often awkward and tricky topic is handled with sensitivity, with Dr. Stockwell providing a practical guide on initiating and navigating this crucial conversation outside the bedroom. Tune in now!

ABOUT Alexandra:

Alexandra Stockwell, MD, aka “The Intimacy Doctor,” is widely known for her ability to catalyze immediate and profound shifts in high-achieving couples who want it all–genuine emotional connection, sensual passion, and erotic intimacy.

A physician coach and Intimate Marriage Expert, Alexandra is the best-selling author of
“Uncompromising Intimacy,” host of The Intimate Marriage Podcast, as well as a wife of 27 years and a mother of 4. Couples who work with her discover the key to passion, fulfillment, intimacy, and success isn’t compromise–it’s being unwilling to compromise--because when both people feel free to be themselves, the relationship is juicy, erotically alive, and deeply nourishing.

For over 20 years Alexandra has shown men and women how to bring pleasure and purpose into all aspects of their relationship: from the daily grind of running a household to intimate communication and ecstatic experiences in the bedroom–all while achieving extraordinary professional results. She offers private relationship and intimacy coaching, group programs, and independent study courses.

FREE GIFT from our Guest:
The first chapter of Dr. Stockwell's book, "Uncompromising Intimacy." The chapter is called "Is Companionship as Good as it Gets?" about the four main types of relationships and how to have the one you want. Get it here.

CONNECT with Alexandra:

Website  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Youtube  |  Tiktok

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Speaker 1:

Welcome back, shifters, to another episode of the Inviting Shift podcast. I am super excited today because the topic we talk about today is something that hits just about all of my clients, especially if they've been married for some time. And Dr Alexandra Stockwell is here and she is going to talk to us about rekindling that intimacy, getting that intimacy back in our lives. So maybe your kids have now left the coop, you have a little bit more time, but you're realizing, wow, this person next to me kind of feels like a stranger, or we're not as intimate as we used to be. This is going to be the conversation for you. So welcome, alexandra. Thank you so much for being here.

Speaker 2:

I'm glad to be here and get right to it, because our topic is wonderful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, tell us a little bit about you, because you're a little bit more expert than we might think. I love your Instagram is the Intimacy Doctor, so we are talking to the right person here, folks.

Speaker 2:

Yeah well, I'm the Intimacy Doctor. Because I am a physician, I don't practice medicine anymore. I've transitioned full-time to be a relationship and intimacy coach and an intimate marriage expert. I myself have been married for 27 years. My husband and I have four children, and so that is certainly one of my wonderful resources for the work that I do, as well as all of the formal training. I have written two books. One is called Uncompromising Intimacy, and the other one, co-authored with a friend of mine, is the Invitation Vital Conversations About Menopause. I also have a highly ranked podcast, the intimate marriage podcast, and I invite all of you to listen to it and let's see what else should I say about me? Oh, here's the most important thing as context for this conversation.

Speaker 2:

Far and away the most common relationship advice that is given is that if you want a great marriage, you've got to learn to compromise. You've got to be good at compromise, because compromise is the way to be happy. That is completely wrong. If you want a pleasant, bland, conflict-free, passion-free relationship, compromise is your friend. But then you end up in exactly the kind of situation you described just a few moments ago, christina, where the kids leave home, you have more time, but everything has relatively fizzled out, either completely or mostly.

Speaker 2:

So the antidote to that which we'll of course, get into I refer to as uncompromising intimacy, and what I mean is not that you are uncompromising in the sense that you get your own way. This is not some variation on my way or the highway. It's that where compromise is withholding who you are, your desires, what is going on inside you and sometimes even around you, but withholding significant aspects so that your partner is more comfortable Going for pizza when you want Chinese, I don't know, storing the shoes in this closet rather than that, I mean, these can be minor things and what house you live in, major, what movies you watch. If you are in the habit of just withholding that so that your partner is more comfortable in order to keep peace, that essentially is toxic for passion. And when you learn to really express yourself, to know yourself and express yourself and share the truth of who you are and what's alive inside in a way that your partner can hear it, that is the foundation for sensuality, intimacy, sexuality and erotica liveness that expands with every year.

Speaker 1:

I love that I'm taking all of that in, because it is the thing that we're always told is like compromise, compromise, and trying to think about my own marriage, and it's like we don't always compromise. We kind of look at a situation and tell our own truth about it and then we try to figure out what is it that you need out of this and what is it that I need, and then how do we both get most of that or at least some of that? But I love that you said that, because it is like that's how we get to be strangers is because we're not really speaking up for what we want or giving direction. And I do know several women who it seems like they're always walking on eggshells, which means that you know they really go to that point of like people pleasing and not really asking for what they want, and I can see how that could be a real intimacy problem. But what we're seeing is that our intimacy starts outside of the bedroom.

Speaker 2:

By the way, folks, right yeah, in fact, I really enjoy saying that, when it comes to a one-night stand, you don't even have to know your partner's name in order to have a really great experience. It's certainly not guaranteed, but it is possible. But when you're married or in a long-lasting committed relationship, it's really not possible to have fantastic sexual intimacy without emotional intimacy, and one way to remember that well is that, basically, in the context of a long-term relationship, anything which isn't sex functions as foreplay. It either brings you a little closer together or a lot, or pushes you a little or a lot further apart.

Speaker 2:

And I think the thing that is so important, particularly for somebody who is wanting to graduate from people placing, is it's important to remember that human beings do not have some magic switch that gets to be found.

Speaker 2:

So if you are in the habit of not being fully honest, not being fully transparent about what you want, just going like essentially responding, letting your partner set the tone, even if they don't want to, even if they want you to be more confident and present and true to yourself, but you're in the habit of withholding who, you are, leaving things unexpressed, accommodating and compromising. When you get to the bedroom, there is no special switch where now you can be fully present and you know, drop the judgment and get out of your head and really be fully there and expressed in the way that is essential for nourishing sexual experiences. If we're leaving aspects of ourselves outside of the relationship in day-to-day interactions, it's almost impossible to bring our whole selves to one another when we're naked, and that really is the context for developing emotional intimacy as one of the best lubricants for sexual intimacy.

Speaker 1:

I love that because I think back to like when you're in the puppy-love days of your relationship, you know, and it's everything's very exciting there might be a lot of sexual passion and, you know, passion outside of that is. I know that that's a time where I'm really curious about the other person, like I want to know more about them. I want to know all of the things where I think, where some of us can lose it along the way is that we almost know too much. Sometimes we think we know too much but we're not necessarily getting the knowledge that we actually want. Right, we get the.

Speaker 1:

I live with you every day. You leave your clothes on the floor and that makes me, you know, I get angry about that or whatever the thing is. That would actually be my husband, not me, but but yeah, so it's almost like getting this curiosity back might be helpful, especially if you have a partner that has a hard time opening up and sharing with you, like getting a little bit more curious. Going back to that curiosity of what else? Because I don't know about you but I'm still learning things about myself, so I can only imagine I actually don't know everything about my husband and so learning that all over again is, or getting excited about being curious about that again seems like it might be a really good step.

Speaker 2:

I really love what you've said and I've listened to enough other episodes to know that we have our own ways of saying things. But so much of what you say is deeply aligned with what I say. So I totally concur. And I'm just going to add my perspective on exactly what you've just said, because when you think back to the feeling of being in love, it absolutely like people don't talk about it this way, but it is kind of defined not only but also by curiosity where is that scar from? And if this weren't your profession, what would you rather be? And how old were you when you learned to read? And like we just have so many questions. It's part of that feeling of being in love. And then it's actually really beautiful when we transition out of the curiosity driven newness into the comfort and the safety and security that comes with familiarity. Like that is real and yes, we know if our husbands are going to leave clothes on the floor for you, it's your husband and my marriage. It's honestly more likely to be me, but regardless, the problem is when we enjoy the familiarity and the safety and security and it comes at the cost of curiosity. The problem with sacrificing curiosity is definitely that feeling of interest in one another fades for sure, which you were saying. But the other reason is that human beings grow and evolve and if we're not curious about our spouse or ourselves but let's just talk about our spouse for now If we're not curious about our spouse, we're basically seeing them through the lens of being relatively static. Sure, they're growing older, hair is turning gray, eventually, wrinkles, maybe a little bit more weight.

Speaker 2:

Whatever we notice the physical changes, those are obvious, we all know they're happening and we perceive them. But the nature of being human and feeling alive and vitally engaged with your life and having joy and passion and purpose and also room to feel sorrow and anger and whatever it is that contributes to being alive, All of that happens in the context of growing and changing and evolving. And so when we stop asking questions, there's a way in which we get stuck in operating as though our partner is stuck. And when that happens, as I've already said, we know physical changes occur and the other main context for change is tragedy, sorrow, bad things happen, and then we also are very clear about the changes happening. But there are so many often subtle, nuanced, exciting changes that happen and when your marital culture has room to include them. Well, that also contributes to passion, and I'll just be more specific about what I'm saying.

Speaker 2:

So maybe you already know your partner's favorite movie, favorite book, what they like to eat for dinner, which side of the bed they prefer. Like all these things, you know you can go by clothes without them being there to try it on whatever it is. But what you don't know it's just not possible, not every week anyway is what was the highlight of this past week for you? You might know, you might not know. If you could have dinner with absolutely anybody, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you want to ask them? If we didn't live here, where would you want to live?

Speaker 2:

What is an area of growth for you right now? What is something that you'd like to celebrate that you feel proud of In any given relationship? You might already know some of that, but the point is to expand and, as I hope it's clear, your questions can be whimsical, they can be humorous, they can be profound, they can be existential, they can be personal, they can be professional, they could be a sexual fantasy that you've never shared with me before. It can be all kinds of things, but the main thing is to season many, many communications with curiosity, just as you already outlined, christina.

Speaker 1:

It's beautiful. I love curiosity because I always say curiosity kills the judgment. We always want to put our brains, we want to always put things in boxes, and so we can easily put something in a box and there's so many variations in that box of what that is and we're not that curious about it. So, yeah, curiosity keeps us open and understanding and wanting to understand, which I think is really key in life, whether it's a relationship or yourself or whatever.

Speaker 2:

Yes and I would expand that, just if I may, that curiosity antidotes the judgment and judgment leads to disconnection. And similarly, curiosity leads to creativity and it leads to connection. So again, I'm completely agreeing with what you're saying, but just specifically amplifying it in the context of intimacy.

Speaker 1:

That's right. I like your secondary comments because I think that they are helpful for people to understand that there's true lines of delineation there between judgment and curiosity. So how do we deepen this emotional connection? What I heard was we can start asking a lot of questions and getting curious, and that obviously can start outside of the bedroom, because I think a lot of women are like me where emotional connection like if I don't have the emotional connection, it's going to be really hard to get some in the bedroom right, and so I really need that piece. I also know that I have an intellectual connection, that I need to be able to talk about issues and what I'm thinking about, or even just the news or whatever is going on right now, and so I imagine that there's a lot of different pieces of this. But how do we deepen this emotional connection beyond asking questions and getting really curious about each other? Again?

Speaker 2:

Well, I am a huge fan of curiosity, and so I just want to add one more thing so that it can actually serve anyone who chooses to implement it, because it's not just asking the questions. The intimacy, honestly, really arises in how we listen, and so the first thing is only ask something you're genuinely interested in knowing the answer. Don't just ask a question for the sake of asking a question. That will not accomplish what we're talking about. And after you ask the question, listen generously, make it safe and appealing to open up to you. So that could take some time if it's out of the ordinary. And when I say listen generously, I mean ask open-ended questions in the first place, so that there is no right answer or wrong answer. And if you, for example, ask the question where would you like to go on vacation and your partner says I want to go camping, and you just, if you're going to go on vacation, you want some luxury, like you work hard you want, do not respond with I hate camping or even oh, I don't really like it, or any of the. The point is not to make a plan, it's not to problem solve, it's not really to do anything in the future, the kind of curiosity that really enhances intimacy. What it does is allow you to reveal yourself and to see one another more, and that, as you've said, does not include judgment, and so you might have a judgment, but don't say it and learn to just open your heart and realize your job is not to agree or approve what your partner says, it's to know what is alive in them, it's to know what is there, and the only difference is now is now you know it too. So I just really want to emphasize that you can go so far with curiosity. We are going to get to more things, I promise.

Speaker 2:

But I gave a talk on developing emotional intimacy once, and there was a woman who had been married for 32 years in the audience, who hadn't even intended to come to the talk, but she wanted to be there for the next one and she arrived early and she thought, okay, well, listen.

Speaker 2:

And the reason she wasn't looking to be at the talk is because she thought her marriage is good, it's better than her friend, she's happy with it. But she listened and she took action, and when she went home, she asked her husband a few open-ended questions and she contacted me a few days later and said we've been married for 32 years and we felt closer than we felt in about five years and we had a passionate night that seemed like it came out of nowhere, but I understand it was because we were putting attention on one another in this way. So I'll share other things, but I really want to emphasize that if all you get from this conversation is generous listening and open-ended questions, that truly is enough to really create a state change and a different dynamic between you and your partner.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I appreciate you adding those, because I think that that is really important. Sometimes we ask these yes or no or black or white questions and it's like you're not getting enough information. So even if you're like, well, why is it that you like to go camping? What do you get out of that that you find so fascinating and so exciting, right, Other than, oh God, I don't want to go camping?

Speaker 2:

That's such a great example. What is it about that that you enjoy? Absolutely so good? Okay, thank you. Since we're focused specifically on intimacy, let me share that, based on research, the best positive predictor for a long-lasting happy marriage is whether or not a couple talks about sex. Of couples who are happy and have long marriages, only 9% of them don't talk about sex. That means that 91% do, and so if you are in a marriage or a committed relationship where you're talking about the sex that you're having and what you enjoy and what you'd like to do differently, that is an amazing, amazing contribution to your sex life. But most couples are not doing that.

Speaker 2:

So I'm happy to share some step-by-step instructions for how to get that conversation going, which, honestly, it's a variation. It's like applied curiosity, because it includes everything we've already said about curiosity, but is specific to this topic. So if you've never had a conversation about sex and there are plenty of people who are married for decades for whom it is much easier to have sex than to have a conversation about sex so those are two different things. Anyway, the first thing is do not have the conversation when you're about to having or have just had sex. This is a conversation to have when you're both calm neither one of you is naked and in a relaxed manner, even outside the bedroom, literally. So there's no confusion. You can start your conversation about sex.

Speaker 2:

So that's point number one, because if you share about sex and you share anything that isn't positive and you've just made love, that just brings up rejection, disappointment, sense of inadequacy. It's just not helpful. So do it separately, when you're both calm. That's the first thing. The second thing is you can start by sharing something wonderful. So if you had a really great time last week, you can start by saying that was so fun last Tuesday night. You don't even use the word sex, but you both know what it means, and maybe it was 10 years ago. Whatever, it doesn't matter how long ago. Just start by pointing to a wonderful sexual experience you've had. Now they're going to be women listening and they can't think of one, and maybe they've never had one.

Speaker 2:

And if that is the case, then I highly recommend you start by talking about the aspects of your relationship that you really enjoy. Maybe you say you know, I just love how we parent together, or you know I feel really proud of how we navigate financial decisions. Whatever it is, the point is it doesn't need to be so romantic, it just needs to be. You want to start with something that you both feel good about and you can state gladness and appreciation. That is the beginning of the conversation, and if this really is new for you, that might be enough.

Speaker 2:

This is not like a one and done having the talk. You want to open the communication channel so that talking about sex becomes part of the fun repertoire you share. Most of those conversations will be fun. Some will be more challenging, but regardless, you don't need to force it, you don't need to push it. Take it at the pace that your relationship is ready for in terms of making changes. So you might just start with the positive thing, in which case the next time you start the same way, but go a little bit further, or you just plan, do more of this in that first conversation, and then you might say something like you know, I loved what we did Tuesday night and I've been wanting to try this. You might say something like that. In other words, there's no point at which you're saying your partner is a bad lover or this doesn't work for you.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes it's hard to know what we actually want to say so I'd like to be very clear that it's okay to start with complaints, to start with what doesn't work, but don't do that in the conversation with your partner. Do that in advance. Think about what isn't working for you and look at your complaint and discover the desire that's in there. So a complaint might be like I had a great time last Tuesday, you know, and say more about that, and then you know I've been thinking I really wish that we had more time before we actually had penetration. There are so many things that we could do with other parts of our bodies. I'd like to explore that, other than you make it move too quickly or, you know, you insert yourself inside me and I'm I wanted more time, like there's a way to say it that essentially Inspires your partner to collaborate with you. You want to feel like you're on the same team, wanting to create something together, as opposed to giving a report card that Was never solicited.

Speaker 1:

I have more to say about so much.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean that's so, that's so good.

Speaker 1:

Because what I'm also noticing about those statements is like I get to come from what I want rather than what.

Speaker 1:

I think you're doing wrong or we're doing wrong, right, it's more of a this is nothing to even do with you, necessarily, this is what I want and, and so that's not putting that negative vibe out there.

Speaker 1:

Because you mean, if somebody says, oh well, you know, you never give me enough for player sense, sensuality before we have that penetration, then it's like now, now that person's gonna be in their heads going okay, so what does that mean? How much time and blah, blah, blah, rather than just us being able to clearly ask for what we want, like this is this is what I'm desiring, without anything being bad. But that also requires us to do the work ahead of time, which I really love to, because I think that that's why my second marriage is so great is because we go away, we do our own work and then we come back together and share what it is, that we Figure it out about ourselves, so that it is in a positive way and it's not like you never pick up your clothes or whatever, right, it's more like I really like when the this force clean. Thank you, babe.

Speaker 2:

Great example and also this is true in general, but is especially true when it comes to sex. As women, even unconsciously, we somehow assume that our partners should know what to do, and so it could be that it's been years that you've wanted more for play, more sensual experiences before penetration Not that sex always needs to include penetration. I just want to be really clear, but I'm using a kind of standard example cuz everyone understands. But If that's been going on a long time, it's very easy and common to build resentment towards one's partner for doing it that way. But if you've never said so, are you never said so in a way that was kind and inspiring and maybe playful? How is your partner gonna know it? Nobody, I mean. I suppose there are mind readers. But In intimate relationship, is your job To communicate what is true for you. This gets back to uncompromising intimacy. Whenever we assume somebody else knows, that is a recipe for disappointment.

Speaker 2:

So, yes, you need to spend some time identifying what you want Before actually bringing it up. Or this is also very possible that you're not sure and then you can just say you know I love this and I don't really know exactly what I want. But I'd love, together, to see if you know whatever it is that you want. And I wanna kind of point out that I'm not speaking like a boss to my spouse. I'm not speaking like a child to my boss. I'm not even really looking for opt-in. I'm vulnerably sharing what is true in a way that it's appealing to join you there and see what you can co-create together.

Speaker 1:

Like a partner, not like a parent, not like a child, right? I mean Exactly, who wants to have sex with their parent or child? Anyway, no one. So we hope, and so I think that that's a really great point too. So how do we heat up, like, how does it go from there to? How do we transfer that to the bedroom? Well, and I love the part that you said, little conversations. I just want to point that out.

Speaker 1:

So this is not like I'm gonna have this conversation and our sex life is gonna be fixed or whatever, like that's not how it goes. This is, this is a process over time, because what I'm hearing from you and you exactly say this, so you can correct me if I'm wrong but there's this trust that starts to be built over sharing these things and vulnerably with each other, and it's that trust that really brings that intimacy, at least in my life, that's in my, because I'm emotionally you know I need that emotional connection. But it's that trust that brings a lot of that intimacy back in because I can I feel like I can be naked in front of you and I'm safe.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and what you're calling trust I call emotional intimacy, but it's the same exact thing. So, yes, and the more that we have that in communication, the more that can be had in the bedroom. Now, in terms of taking it into the bedroom, there are A few main things. One is, I think probably anyone listening is familiar with fight, flight, freeze or faint, all of which happen in the sympathetic nervous system. And sex Lube, vacation, orgasm all of the physiological phenomena that make it appealing those happen In the parasympathetic nervous system. So what does that mean? It means that if we're thinking about the laundry list or, you know, any form of stress, whether it's physical discomfort, emotional discomfort or disconnection or intellectually, our mind is somewhere else. Those are impediments. So Each person is responsible to come to sex in his relax, the state as possible.

Speaker 2:

Now, I'm not a Pollyanna here. I'm not saying everyone needs to meditate An hour in order to have sex. Of course not. But just know that if you're not in the mood or not responsive, the first place to look is what do you need to do to feel less stress? Then the next thing that I would say about that as women actually, men think this too, but particularly as women, we often have the idea that the proper order for sexual experiences is desire I want to have it, I feel turned on, and then we have arousal, where there are physiological changes, blood flow goes to our genitals etc. And then we have sex. I mean, we could include desire and arousal in that, but anyway on the way to climax in orgasm.

Speaker 2:

But it does not actually need to happen that way. It certainly does early in a relationship, when there is novelty and excitement of a certain kind and then we feel desire and then after that we feel aroused and then we're ready. It's totally fine to begin with arousal and let desire arise in response to arousal. So what does that mean? That means that instead of blocking sex until everything is just right and you feel desire this again is in the context of a long term relationship where there's trust and there's emotional intimacy and you can relax with one another it's totally fine if, for example, your partner starts touching you in ways that you both know will be arousing. Now I don't mean you go straight for the genitals and be aroused that way. In fact, for me, some days I work late because I have clients all over the world and with different time zones. I have a lot of flexibility, but it means that I sometimes at least one night a week I work pretty late, and so I don't emerge from my office ready to lose myself in sensual abandon.

Speaker 2:

So my husband knows to say would you like a massage? And initially it's not even a sexual massage particularly, but he will say would you like a massage? And just through his warm hands, his attention and essentially bringing me back into my body, I relax. And then there's not even a clear line, but it just can kind of transition from a non sexual massage to a more erotic touch and basically in that scenario, which doesn't have to include massage I just use that as one example arousal precedes desire. So I'm kind of going with the notion that all roads lead to Rome, and what I mean by that is there are many, many different ways to bring emotional intimacy into the bedroom.

Speaker 2:

So these are some, and I guess one more that I would say is this is kind of a high order of play, like it's not a beginner move but it's a great move, and that is to use timed containers.

Speaker 2:

That is not something that couples normally do, naturally, but like if you want to be having sex and you're not like that's the scenario in which I'm suggesting this it's pretty hot if you are having sex too.

Speaker 2:

But I'm bringing it up for people who want to be having more sexual intimacy you can agree to, like set a timer and make out for 10 minutes or set a timer and you know there are a lot of different things that that can happen.

Speaker 2:

But the point is that sometimes it's much easier to say yes to something finite rather than say yes and have no idea how long you're going to be there and how involved it's going to be, because maybe you feel like being sexual but you don't feel like taking your clothes off, or I mean there just are so many options and I think we have ideas that sex should be unscripted, undirected, spontaneous, and that's not true. You know you can have or don't set an alarm, but just decide. Let's enjoy kissing tonight, and you do enough kissing or massage when you're fully naked, or getting in the bath together, taking a shower and washing one another, in other words, things that aren't sex but certainly are expressions of sexual intimacy or sensual intimacy anyway, and you do that often enough. It's not such a big jump to include more and more and more.

Speaker 1:

But we have to make that space for it is what I'm saying, what you're saying and I love that because I do this with my clients too, when they want new goals and whatever that is even outside of intimacy is like, if you really hate it, just set a timer for 10 minutes, like and I hope that we're not gonna hate this, right.

Speaker 1:

But if you find something challenging, set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes, do it for 10 or 15 minutes and then see how you feel after that. You know you might feel really good that you're starting to get aroused or maybe even starting to get some of that desire. But we don't have to feel like, oh, it's gonna take up my whole time and all of my energy and you know all of the things that we might, all the excuses or things we might be making up in our head. That just makes it like here's one super easy thing we can do we can kiss for five or ten minutes, like that's, that's possible, right? So finding that, that, that bit that's possible right now I guess is what I'm saying, is what I'm hearing from you is like find that bit that's possible and see if we can expand that over time, or explore and try different things. That may work or may not work, but you'll find out.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, although I want to emphasize that. Any kind of timed container as you've described, using with your clients, that is the whole activity Now. You always can choose to go on and do more, but this will serve to just kind of steadily increase the temperature between you if it's understood that all you're both saying yes to is ten minutes of making out. That's not some variation on foreplay, because if this is a helpful move, it can't imply more is coming.

Speaker 1:

I like that too. Yeah, because that's the the part that's different with this. Intimacy is like it's one thing. If I'm setting a timer for myself, all of me agrees that that's what I want to do and where the limits are, whereas with a partner you'd want to have that expressed right. Like this is. This is all we're doing right now so that everyone's expectations are being met on what's going on, and that I know for a lot of women like they can get to feel like if he starts massaging me, that means we have to have sex or that that's what he's expecting, or whatever. And so I like this ten minutes or whatever time limit you put on it, because it makes it, you know, as long as we're very clear about it, like this isn't about sex. This doesn't mean that this is gonna lead to sex.

Speaker 2:

Well, it is about sexual connection, like you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but not necessarily like it needs to be penetration just because we start here does not mean that we have to end at orgasm.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and I'll piggyback on something you said that I think one of the saddest things for couples who have voluntarily or involuntarily or some unconscious mix thereof, sacrificed their sexual relationship that they often give up non-sexual physical touch as well, and that really is another way to really warm things up. Now there are plenty of couples who have a lot of non-sexual physical touch and it never turns sexual, because it's a really different flavor, it's just like affection, but for the couple that wants to be having more sex, or one of them does and the other doesn't, and they avoid non-sexual physical touch because if I say yes to holding hands, then who knows what it's gonna mean. Or if we're in the bedroom and the you know no one else, kids are in bed or not at home or whatever, and I want to give a good night hug standing up or lying in bed, like I don't, because he's gonna misunderstand that. If you can either indirectly or directly establish that non-sexual physical touch does not automatically lead to sexual physical touch, that also contributes to more closeness and connection.

Speaker 1:

I love that a lot. Well, I know that I could continue asking you questions and talk to you all day, but we've got to cut this off somewhere so I know that you have a little gift for us. You want to tell us about this gift and your book.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'm glad to. You'll have the link in the show notes. It's the first chapter of my book, my book uncompromising intimacy, and the first chapter is called is companionship as good as it gets, and it really is looking at exactly the topic that we've talked about. And in this first chapter I talk about the four kinds of relationships and which ones are going to lead to long-lasting sexual intimacy and which aren't, and how to. Well, I guess it's really the rest of the book that's about how to change the kind of relationship you have. But just people get so much value just reading that first chapter and evolving how they think about intimacy in their relationship. So definitely download it, enjoy it and if you've listened this far in this interview, you're gonna get a lot of value from reading that chapter.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I appreciate that I'm gonna pick up the book, because I actually haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Both of those seem very exciting. I like the invitation one about the talk about menopause, because that's something else that we don't talk enough about in this, in this country, right, right, at least in our culture, my culture yeah, I don't want to claim that for everybody.

Speaker 1:

I'm sure there's some families who have these conversations, but none that I was part of. So thank you, dr Stockwell. Again, alexandra, for being on here. I really appreciate all of this really great feedback talked about curiosity. We talked about asking these open questions and how we start establishing more intimacy emotionally and then move that closer to the sexual intimacy, which I really appreciate. So thank you so much for being here.

Speaker 2:

My pleasure, christina. Thank you for inviting me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and thank you, shifters for tuning and we will talk to you next week.

Rekindling Intimacy in Long-Term Relationships
Deepening Emotional Connection Through Curiosity
Building Intimacy Through Communication About Sex
Exploring Timed Containers for Sexual Intimacy