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On the Regular Version …
In today’s episode, we continue the discussion on the topic of mercy sex and the pressures and obligations that can arise in marriage.
Let’s explore the impact of religious beliefs and family of origin on sexuality, and the importance of peeling away layers and developing new ones to create a more fulfilling sex life.
So what are the practical steps for dealing with pressure and obligation, shifting responsibility, and finding your voice?
- Pressure and obligation can arise in marriage, and it’s important to navigate these challenges together.
- Religious beliefs and family of origin can have a significant impact on sexuality and the dynamics of a marriage.
- Taking the time to evaluate your desires and needs is crucial for personal growth and a fulfilling sex life.
- Enhancing sexuality and growing together as a couple requires open communication, understanding, and a willingness to explore and adapt.
On the Xtended Version …
What are the components that help create optimal sexual experiences?
We talk through some research that found six factors and work through them and how they overlap.
Enjoy the show!
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Corey Allan: Welcome to the show. I'm Dr. Corey Allen, alongside my wife, Pam. Each and every week having straightforward, honest, real conversations about marriage and sex. The good, the bad, the ugly, this troublesome, the cruel, the underbelly, the positives, the optimal. Let's cover it all. What do you say, Pam? Let's do, so if you're new to the show or you want to find a handy way to tell other people about what we got going on here, check out our starter packs. These are episodes that are arranged by topic and by popularity. You can find them at smr fm slash starter. And also, if you're new to the show, we want to hear from you because what goes on with the episodes we do is it's largely framed by the nation for sure. Today is this is a conversation that took place a couple weeks ago that continues on, and even John Eldridges last week.
We kind of touched on some of this with trauma and triggers and different aspects of what happens in life. And so as part of the nation, if you listen to the show, you're part of the nation, let's just get that in the open. We want to hear from you. So 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, your thoughts, your feedback, your comments, even your criticisms. We want it all. I'll take it because we are in relationship with you and we want to be better as well. And one of the things that can happen that I believe fully, and I know I'm speaking for you here that can help every couple out there be better, is joining us at the Sexy Marriage Radio getaway, which happens June 13th through the 15th in 2024. So man, six months away, just under five
Pam Allan: Months. Five months,
Corey Allan: Oh, my mapping, my math is wrong, just under five months away. And so registration is going on now, SMR fm slash getaway is how you can save your spot and come join us. And also, since it's still January, there's a little bit of time left. If you want to enter into a giveaway, we're running. That's right. If you leave a review on Apple Podcasts and then you send us a screenshot of the review or your username that you use, that enters you into a drawing to get your registration fee covered. And if you've already joined, we'll refund it back to you.
Pam Allan: Yeah, you'll just have to get the hotel when you're here in debt, we'll
Corey Allan: Make it right. But that goes through the end of January. So jump on, leave a review, let us know you left a review that gets you a chance to win the registration, which is $675 value, and then it gets better. But Huwait, there's more. If you don't win, but you've entered and you come to the getaway, you get $75 off just by going through the process and entering, because we want your help in spreading the word. Plus, we want to have you come join us at the getaway.
Pam Allan: Yeah, that's a no-brainer. Come do it because
Corey Allan: It's a lot of fun. So coming up today on the regular version is a continuation we did two weeks ago, an episode on Mercy Sex, and there's several comments that came through. One in particular came through on the platform with a dialogue that's been taking place on how helpful that was. But we also left some things and would like to have it rounded out a little bit.
Pam Allan: Alright, so we're going to go there.
Corey Allan: So we're going to pick up portions of what was left as a comment at my SMR FM in the platform and go a little deeper in a different way with the idea of the pressures that are inherent in marriage and where mercy sex or obligation sex becomes problematic. And what do each members of that spousal unit need to do about that? How do you each look at it? What's your dilemma that you're facing and how do you navigate your way forward? Alright, and then on the extended contents today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at SMR fm slash academy. I came across some research. The easiest way to describe this is what are the components of optimal sexual experiences? Or put another way, how would you know great sex if you stumbled into it? Here's what jumped out in their research that they found with an interview of 50 hours of interviews and they found, what are the conditions, what are the components that make great sex? So you're going to want to tune in. Alright, that'd be fun. I'll be taking notes. All that's coming up right after this for years, Pam, we've talked about we need to get fluent in other languages.
Pam Allan: I want Spanish. Yes.
Corey Allan: Well, we live in Texas, we live in the south. It can be a very useful skill to have acquired and learn. And the easiest way to do that is to immerse yourself into the culture, which at this point in time, we're not moving to a Spanish speaking only country. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Maybe in the future. But the second best option is get on with babble a sponsor that we have that one in five Americans actually say we want to learn a new language in their bucket list. And so if that's you make 2024 the time that you check that off the list because Babel makes it incredibly easy with their 10 minute lessons, and you can take it with you everywhere you go. And the whole goal of it is because our experiences from schooling is not always conversational language.
Pam Allan: And this teaches normal conversations. What am I going to have throughout the day to make it like you would learn if you're a kid? That's how we learn when we were kids.
Corey Allan: And so it's designed by real people for real conversations. They have 10 minute lessons that are designed by over 150 language experts to help you start speaking a new language in as little as three weeks, babe. And so this is the time to jump on because their tools are approachable, accessible and rooted in real life situations because the times we've had experiences in other countries, the real life situations are unavoidable.
Pam Allan: True.
Corey Allan: I'm reminded of an airplane flight down to Panama.
Pam Allan: He's making fun of me. I couldn't speak Spanish to the flight attendant.
Corey Allan: Well, Babbel has over 10 million subscribers sold and babble can solve that problem for our next trip. So here's a special offer for a limited time deal for our listeners right now, you can get 55% off your Babbel subscription, but this is only for SR listeners. And so you're going to go to babbel.com/sr and get 55% off at babbel.com/ssr. And that's B-A-B-B-E l.com/sr. Rules and restrictions may apply. Over the last couple of years, Pam, we've gotten really serious about our nutrition and looking at our overall
Pam Allan: Health, especially you
Corey Allan: And how we're aging, getting up there. It's an unavoidable, every year is another year added
Pam Allan: To the tally. Every day is another day. Yes,
Corey Allan: To added to the tally. But one of the things that I've loved is a G one has become part of our normal daily routine.
Pam Allan: Agreed.
Corey Allan: And I love the fact that it's foundational nutrition that helps me not have to do all kinds of different supplements or added all kinds of different things that this AG one fills in the nutrition gaps is the way they describe it. And so since I've added AG one to my routine every morning, I have felt the energy and the consistency throughout the day.
Pam Allan: I feel the same
Corey Allan: Because there's lots of times I would have midday man, there's that midday crash and AG one has really taken the edge off of that over the last several weeks for sure, because I've consistently, that's been a part of my routine every single day. And we love the fact that it's simple because it's one scoop every morning and
Pam Allan: And a cup of cold water. I like the taste of it and
Corey Allan: It tastes great. We even got our son to try it out with us for a little while too. And then he is a kid.
Well, AG one supports healthy aging, which I think every single one of us understands is an important aspect of our life because I got a lot of life left with this lady hopefully that I'm doing this show with. That's the goal. And I want to stay healthy all the way through because I got a lot of pursuits still left to happen. So AG one is the supplement that we trust to provide the support that our body needs and that's why we're excited to have them as a partner on our show. So if you want to take ownership of your health this year, it starts with ag one. Try ag one and get a free one year supply of vitamin D three K two and get five free ag one travel packs with your first purchase, which over the holidays was a tremendous help when we traveled.
Pam Allan: I use it to take to work too
Corey Allan: Because you can grab that the pack, grab a little travel pack and it's right there with you. So go to drink ag one.com/sexy marriage radio. That's drink ag one.com/sexy marriage radio. And you can check out a way that you can add the foundational nutrition that you need in your life today. So the conversation we had a couple of weeks ago, Pam was from an emailer that they had taken sex off the table for a little while. They had really grown a lot through the help of a therapist. They had started improving. And then when sex was being cocked about, maybe we bring it back on the table, she started feeling this inordinate pressure. And then I feel like we're taking steps back because every night she goes to bed and she's really concerned and anxious about what do I do with the pressure inherent in sex in marriage. And so what we said, highlights of that episode, this is worth going back to here if you're new to the show. So jump back two weeks is all you got to do to find the show. It's entitled Mercy Sex. But one of the main things we kind of talked about is there's nothing you can do about pressure that comes inherently in sex and life. We sometimes I think get caught up in this dilemma of maybe I can have this pressure or no pressure,
Pam Allan: But there's pressure either way. But in
Corey Allan: Reality, which pressure do you want? Yeah, I get this pressure or that pressure. That's the only way that we get to deal with things. And so you have to accept the pressure. And then we also described a little bit of what is mercy sex? What are some of the characteristics? One way to really sum it up is when one person's really just having sex for the sake of having sex to get the other person off their back, they're just going through the motions, mailing it in and not really participatory at all, and then harboring resentment and struggle over the choice that they feel pressed into doing.
Pam Allan: So mercy sex always has resentment attached
Corey Allan: To it. I don't know if it always does, but I think
Pam Allan: One of the I
Corey Allan: Don't pieces of that will be, it can happen. It can ultimately probably result in this because resentment tends to happen most of the time. If you think about it after something's gone on for a while, a few times like okay, and then you get back to a better groove and you're back to kind of choosing and being engaged and connected and it's okay. But if it's a repeated one-sided equation here, it's going to probably manifest some resentment and it's going to turn into some real struggles because, and where we landed with the episode, what we hope to try to get across is the fine line between the higher desire and lower desires route when it comes to sex of choosing it versus just being obligatory or feeling pressed into it or being mercy sex in a sense. And so the way I describe how do you differentiate between the two is if something goes on in your life, and I think this is applicable, tell me if you agree. I think this is applicable to all areas of our life. If something doesn't go the way I want, the way I determine if it's coming from the better or the goodness part of me, or coming from the worst in me is who do I blame and who's responsible for what happened first?
Pam Allan: So in either of those you had said you choose it, you can either choose it, but I would say even if I'm doing mercy, if I'm giving mercy sex, I'm still choosing to give it.
Corey Allan: Well, the belief I got is if you can make that out in the open more of, you know what? I'm not really interested in this for me, but I'm willing to be a part of it with you, that's different rather than, so I've still
Pam Allan: Chosen,
Corey Allan: Okay, go ahead. Get it over with quick, which are all phrases of powerlessness, basically. They're one down rather than I've got to face either going against myself in this regard ultimately or standing up to you.
Pam Allan: Yeah, yeah. That's a dilemma. And the uncomfortableness either way.
Corey Allan: And it's the same kind of dilemma for the higher desire spouse too. I get to face accepting what little is offered or standing up to what is offered. So it's still a dilemma and the pressure is still inherently similar. And so a conversation took place from a couple that's been very active in the nation, in
Pam Allan: The academy.
Corey Allan: Well, this isn't the academy. This was in the whole scale.
Pam Allan: Okay, gotcha,
Corey Allan: Gotcha. Where she was just talking about that she would've loved to have heard some tidbits in this podcast sooner, like the blame versus choice. Okay. Was stopping a sexual experience if it's not unfolding because there's an element of life that has gone on, particularly in the Christian world of, well, you really don't have a voice. This is one-sided for the man. And so there has been either overtly but for sure covertly a message built in through the history of some of the Christian teachings out there that this is for the husband period. It's not about a woman sex sexual husband, it's about his sex life. That's really all that matters.
Pam Allan: And I mean, we've got so many listeners to the podcast that the woman is the higher desire. So there's a lot of women out there hearing that and are like, are you kidding me? This is not just about a right,
Corey Allan: Right. It's totally dismissing the fact that women have an incredible superpower when it comes to their sex life and their sexuality and could be tapped into that produces a ton of goodness for themselves.
Pam Allan: So again, this broad brush view,
Corey Allan: Right,
Pam Allan: Burns me
Corey Allan: Up. And so this was their experience for certain. Okay, perfect, perfect. And so she talks about that she believed boundaries weren't available as a Christian woman, that God wanted her to be submissive when it came to her sex life, that it really was about him. It's one thing, and this, I love her quote here. It's one thing to argue with your husband that things are not working, but I didn't know how to refute the God these marriage resources were portraying
Pam Allan: Interesting.
Corey Allan: Right. Because it's almost like it's a biblical route that we're supposed to be following in the manner in which I offer up my body, even if I don't honestly offer up my body that's somehow holy or good or serving and pleasing when No, it's detrimental to both ultimately. Yeah.
Pam Allan: I go back to what you said right before that she believed boundaries were not
Corey Allan: Available and saying no was not a possibility. Wow.
Pam Allan: Right. Wow. And that's insight into I'm sure many people's world that they feel like they can't. Right? They can't say no. And
Corey Allan: To be honest, that was our, we didn't get the message. I won't speak for you completely, but there was a for sure one sidedness nature in the first seven, eight years of our marriage.
Pam Allan: I would agree with that.
Corey Allan: You wouldn't say no, but it wasn't really for you.
Pam Allan: No, I didn't like it at all. Right. But I didn't
Corey Allan: Was there,
I look back at that and remember, and so she continues on just talking about she didn't really have a voice and so she's having to learn the voice. And some of this goes back to family of origin stuff, and I'm not going to go deep into that of what was written, but she makes the comment, and this is worth noting, and I appreciate you ma'am, for bringing this up, that we have other podcasts like episode 5 83 and 5 49 on obligation sex that this topic's been covered before. And so if this is ringing true with you, it's worth going back and hearing because Jennifer Finlayson Fife is one of those that we talked about this idea, if I'm remembering correctly. And so it's nice to know there's more than just this one episode now too that we're talking specifically on this subject. And so she would like to have us rounded out a little bit more on, so what do we do when we're faced with this? Because, and here's where the crux of what I want to get to, okay, we've mentioned this a couple different times over the last month on the episodes I've had, this one quote keeps coming back in my notes as I'm preparing for each week, right?
And there's an element of life that we go through that I'm blind to things in myself and my family of origin in my upbringing. I know it had impact on me, but I'm blind to the severity of its impact. Maybe I'm not seeing the fact that because of what's going on, I have no voice. And so I just kind of have accepted that's what it is, that that's just my lot in life. We do this a lot in a lot of areas of my life. That's just not me. That's a phrase we'll throw out there. This could be on the food subject. Why don't you like, I'm speaking you here, why don't you like this kind of veggie? It's such great variety. Well, that's just not me, baby.
Pam Allan: I just don't like it.
Corey Allan: But the last two years has shown it can be me,
Pam Allan: Right? You've changed your palette, you've changed what
Corey Allan: You tried. And so that's where there's an element of life that we have to realize that we have grown accustomed as people to looking at our struggles as reflections of unconscious processes. It's all because of something else that's gone down. That's why this is a dilemma that I'm facing.
Pam Allan: Well, you go back to what she brought up about what was the wording she used about this God that
Corey Allan: Had to refute the God message that like, no, no, this is how you are holy in the manner in which you go about being a wife.
Pam Allan: And so if I've been brought up, if my current belief in God says, this is how I'm supposed to treat this part of my life and I want to hold firm to that biblical truth within my life, then that's a huge dilemma, right?
Corey Allan: Absolutely
Pam Allan: It is. And all of us hopefully have gone back to evaluate and study and look at what is it I believe? What is it that I'm putting all my actions that I'm basing my actions, I'm basing my thoughts on? And is that really right, is what I learned is what I learned growing up.
Corey Allan: So having the courage
Pam Allan: Where I am today,
Corey Allan: Having the courage to ask the questions of yourself and what you've grabbed a hold of that maybe, I mean, there's two things that come to mind in this Pam. One is we find survival mechanisms early in life when we need to because every single person out there, I mean, this is some of the conversations we've had over the last couple of days in our household about this kind of topic and others that are going on. But one of the things that I think everybody, we all have to come to grips with is the world is not a safe place.
No, it's just not families. They're not always a safe place. Some never really are. And I'm meaning those words intentionally. Here they are out to get you. Actually, some people have that as an upbringing, that was absolutely their experience. So we develop survival mechanisms during those times. If you look back at it, it makes sense. But when we carry that forward, that's when that coping mechanism isn't serving us like it did back then. And that's where we have to have the courage to ask ourselves the questions. Is this working well for me? Is this helping me? Is this producing what I'm hoping it would actually produce?
Pam Allan: Is it what would be intended for me in a godly relationship?
Corey Allan: Right? And so I'm going to take on my profession for a quick little detour. A lot of my profession is built on this idea that therapy is a method of peeling away the layers of your character like an onion. I want to get down to what's the root of all of this. I come at it thanks to Shana's training and his belief, it's actually, it's not a matter of peeling away layers, but developing them, creating new layers. Because I really, and I have clients ask me this a lot, how much do you go back into the past? Our experience can be let's go dig and dig and dig. I mean, Freud, that's what he did. Psychoanalytic, I believe we retroactively take care of our past better by dealing with the present better. And I need to understand my past. Absolutely. So there is some digging and curiosity and questions and yeah,
Pam Allan: It gives you
Corey Allan: Clues scoping through things
Pam Allan: And understanding of where you are today.
Corey Allan: But it's understanding the goal becomes developing layers to be more mature and resourceful adults who can solve our current situations better. And so to the woman that started the whole conversation, part of the process becomes when you understand how you've gotten to where you are, what do you do in real time now that changes your life better? So the past doesn't rule you anymore. That's how we start to shift it. I understand how I've gotten here some now how do I find my voice? That's where you start finding some serious power.
Pam Allan: So I feel like we've talked a lot of theory and she wanted some practicals.
Corey Allan: Okay, I feel
Pam Allan: Like we're talking all theory. So some
Corey Allan: Of it goes right back to what we introduced of sex is starting to unfold that you're not interested in, you can't get there. Then you bring your voice forward and say, I'm not there. Maybe we alter it and I'll make it just for you. If that's something she's willing to get to and give out of the goodness of her more than anything, or it's a, I'm just not there. I'd like to table this until later and see, because then you put your spouse on the spot to say, well, are you just willing to accept what little bit I'm going to offer or not? Because both of you have things being exposed here.
Pam Allan: And then the question is, if night after night you say, no, this isn't right, what is that? I mean, have you gone a month without having sex? And it's just because it just still doesn't feel right to you. Right? What else is it you've got to go after? So once you've had, so that's one step, Corey, that I think is maybe step number one. I speak up and I say, I'm just not there and I can't do this when it's all just about you. But what if that's happened for a month,
Corey Allan: Months? Well, then I want to add the caveat here of the speaking up. Your truth better is actually a step of being more sexual, better in and of itself. Maybe sex isn't happening, but you're actually leaning more towards being sexual because it's a different power of you coming forward. Because think about this, if you went through, let's go back, alright, let's use our life here. If it's one-sided and you were know what? No, I want to be in more involved in this, I'm not getting much. That's kind of what it ultimately culminated in that in and of itself, if it's a legit power from your goodness, best in you, kind of a move immediately improves whatever does happen. How? Because bringing you more into the equation of your life, the equation of our life.
Pam Allan: I hear that from one perspective,
Corey Allan: Okay?
Pam Allan: Because I'm not willing to just maybe just lay there and let it happen to me if I'm relying on you to come at it with a different approach so that I can feel better. I just speak from what am I trying to spit out here? It took me years to finally come around and figure out more of what I wanted and get more into what I expected you to do. All the work, I guess is where I'm going with
Corey Allan: This. That's a great example because that's kind of where I went too. Because now our language can be because of the moves from both of us at various times. Some of them were subtle moves and some were monumental moves. Individually speaking. Now, there's much more likely if something was starting to unfold as far as what was being offered up or sought, was going to be more towards the one sidedness. And it's like, because I would maybe bring up something with you and you're just not there because of the day, the struggle, sickness, kids stress, whatever. Now it's like, okay, you know what? You have a greater likelihood of been able to say, no, I'm just not there. Or You've even done this to me a couple times. I'm not really there, but how much energy do you got to help me try to get there? At least that's more overt about the dynamic between us.
Pam Allan: I don't think those instances though are mercy sex.
Corey Allan: I don't either. That's kind of the point
Pam Allan: Of moving towards it. The mercy sex was earlier on as the two of us try and clarify where we are. It was earlier on when I'd felt like it was one-sided. I felt like I was just an object. Yes. Right? And I wanted you to make some sort of change that made me feel better about who I was and what my sexuality was like.
Corey Allan: I was supposed to waken that up for you
Pam Allan: Way. That's what I want. That's what I thought, right? Because when we were dating, I wanted it all the time you were awake. Yes. There was just this transition once we got married that said, and we've talked about it on the show, some things that happened that I think in my opinion, flipped that switch. But in my mind, I expected you to make some of those shifts for me. I'm not saying that's what everyone has. I'm saying that's where we were, and it took a long time for me to then not have that responsibility beyond you. The responsibility then became my own. So impractical steps too. I think that there's got to be this. Yeah. Speak up and say, I'm not willing to stand for this. And then I've also got to look at, am I expecting something of my spouse to make me feel better about this situation? Did they need to change some mentality Potentially. Do I also though need to look at, do I even want sex? Is this
Corey Allan: Something? Thank you. That's what I was just about to bring up. Do I want this to be a part that's enhanced in my life or even existent in my life? And I need to be honest about that because sometimes people keep dancing around this equation because they don't want to take the risk of actually saying, I don't want this in my life, because the cost of that could mean the marriage.
Pam Allan: Well, and I think part of the question is, do I not want it just because of the person I'm in here with because I don't trust him or whatever the case may be? Or is it just I a hundred percent wouldn't want at all, even if they made some sort of transition? I dunno. Well,
Corey Allan: That's what the whole crux of this conversation, Pam, to kind of wind this down is these are the things that ultimately are being exposed in both members of the equation. And what we often do is avoid or bite our tongue or want to change them or do all these other things or blame, well, this is just the way I am. Rather than have you taken the courageous steps to see is that really, I mean, because I've had clients before that have like, yeah, I finally have put it off long enough. I got to get serious about this aspect of my life. And that right in and of itself is a gigantic courageous step. And that's what I think If we look at what we're really being asked of in marriage and in sex, it's unavoidable. But I have to choose because ultimately the way life on life terms inevitably happens, if I don't choose, life will choose for me.
Pam Allan: Somehow
Corey Allan: Something will happen and the problem becomes magnified when one partner really wakes up
And then it's like, I'll wait. I'm going to see. Because what they've actually done is they're not holding their partner. The higher desire is not holding the lower desire hostage for it, but they're not being incongruent with their character or out of line with their integrity. They're just like, no, no, no. I want this in my life and I'm going to start enhancing that and I'm going to start being more of sexual and how I interact. And that's the goal then, because I think I want couples to hear from this, this is not in my mind. You need to have sex more. But it's recognizing I don't want to talk anybody into something. I want them to understand what's being exposed in them. And now what is the best in you do about that, that brings your best forward, that grows you to where there truly is the possibility of a lot more goodness and room for both of you. That's the ultimate goal here. And if we look at the dynamic and the dilemma of our sex lives and our marriages in its entirety, all of it is the drive will and the grindstone of our growth.
I just have to have the courage to see it that way and then take the steps accordingly. Do you find it interesting, Pam, that we went from the two ends of the continuum almost in today's episode.
Pam Allan: It was kind of a nice change app, kind of liked it,
Corey Allan: The real struggles of the darker side of how we can operate, and then what are the components and conditions of the really great sides of ourselves and our lives that we can create with each other?
Pam Allan: Yeah. Pretty beautiful.
Corey Allan: Yeah. I love that concept of what are some of the components that help create this? Because the beauty in this is not a recipe of you have to have all these ingredients. These are just components that will be at play some greater than others to make it even better for each
Pam Allan: Couple. And I think that there's not a huge gap between getting from what we talked about in the first part of the episode, correct, to getting to the last part of the episode.
Corey Allan: And I
Pam Allan: Don't think there's a huge gap there.
Corey Allan: No. And the biggest step of that to help change that gap is getting to where you don't allow what your spouse thinks of you to determine how you feel about yourself. We can feed off each other so much that I don't let myself come forward when coming forward is my power move. And that's also what creates greatness.
Well, if we left something undone, let us know. 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 email@example.com and jump on Apple Podcasts. Leave a review that enters you into a giveaway for your registration for the getaway, but you got to let us know your username so we know how to find you. Usernames are kind of hard to decipher sometimes. Transcripts are available on each the episodes pages at smr fm and also all our advertisers deals and discount codes are available. So please consider supporting those who support the show. Well, however you took a little bit of time out of your day to spend with us. Thank you, and we'll see you next time.