How do you know what kinds of foods you like? You try them – right? The same goes for your sexual experiences. This week on the podcast I may challenge your thoughts surrounding what you view as right or wrong, good or bad. Podcast #106, Expanding You Sexual Palette is all about considering some new approaches to your bedroom play. What would you like to try? What about your spouse? Is the topic even open for discussion? I will talk about how to communicate with your spouse, how to decide what you each desire and where to start. I am also sharing a worksheet to help the communication process for both of you. Think outside the box and let’s go.
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I’m not sure what it is with my food analogies for sex lately – but I’ve got another one for you today….
How do we know what kinds of foods we like? We try them!
Have you ever looked or thought about a food and been like ewwww no, but then you try it and it’s actually really good. I remember when I was in 6th grade and started to learn French and learned about eating escargot or snails. And I thought that sounded like the most disgusting thing in the entire world. But, a couple of years later, my French class went on a field trip to an authentic French restaurant and the teacher encouraged us to all try them. She said that they were actually really good. So…I decided to be brave and try it. And guess what? I absolutely loved them! They were so good! If I had been afraid to try them, I would have missed out on something that I actually quite enjoy.
Isn’t it interesting that other people’s opinions of foods can shape how we feel about them as well. Growing up, my mom told me how much she hated Brussel sprouts. She never fixed them because she disliked them so much. So, I very much assumed that I wouldn’t like them either and so I’d never had Brussel sprouts until just a few years ago when I married my husband. He loved them and so he bought some and cooked them for dinner one night. I was very reluctant to try them, because I was sure I would just hate them, but when I did, again, I really like them. In fact, my son, who is the pickiest eater on the planet LOVES Brussel sprouts! They are his favorite vegetable.
Now, my mom also used to say how much she hated liver and onions, so again she never fixed it. But I began doubting her taste when it came to food, so when my husband fixed it for us I was anxious to try it as well. Well, guess what, I hated it too. She was definitely right about that one. But I would have never known that, had I not tried it.
Ok, so how does this relate to sex. We have a lot of preconceived notions about what we like and don’t like in the bedroom. We also make assumptions about our partner and what they may or may not like in the bedroom. But, we won’t actually know, until we try them. We must be willing to experiment to decide what we like and what we don’t. Once we have tried it, then we can decide if we like it or not. Some we will and some we won’t, and that is ok. And there will also be things that we like and our partner doesn’t and visa versa. And yes, of course, there are things we know we are absolutely unwilling to even try, and that is ok too.
But, I would love for you to challenge yourself and your thoughts and beliefs about certain ideas. Many of our beliefs about what is “right” or “wrong” or “appropriate” or “not appropriate” in the bedroom really doesn’t have any validity. I get questions all the time asking me what The Church says about certain things in the bedroom. And do you know what my answer is? “They don’t”. The Church has chosen to stay out of the marital bedroom, I believe as they should. What happens in there is between you and your spouse and God. Not your bishop. Not your stake president. Just the two of you and Heavenly Father. That’s it. I have heard that the Church has said “you can’t have a third party” which could include pornography, but I haven’t been able to find an actual reference for that. I think it stems from the Law of Chastity saying that sexual relations are between husband and wife, and since that is only two people, then that would be inclusive of what it would be. But, I think what is MOST important is using your own abilities for personal revelation and seeking together as a couple to what creates goodness in your marriage, and draws you closer together and to God. And that, is completely up to you!
So, again, just thinking about what is going to create goodness in your marriage, let’s think about some beliefs that you may have that may hold you back from creating the sexual relationship with your spouse that you actually want.
One I hear quite often is that our genitals and bodily fluids are gross. I was reading a Facebook post in a group I am in from a woman who just couldn’t fathom performing oral sex on her husband because that was just gross. The thought of putting her mouth where urine came out was completely disgusting to her. This is a belief that we have been conditioned to think. You can choose to think and believe that if you want, but does that belief create goodness in your marriage? If you are constantly dwelling on the thought that it is gross, then of course that isn’t going to create goodness. You are rejecting a part of your husband. You are rejecting God’s creation and design. Now, there are certain hygiene items to consider, if you want to. He could easily shower beforehand and clean himself really good, and I don’t think that is an unreasonable request. But, it’s all how you are thinking about it.
I had a client who refused to let her husband perform oral sex on her because it was gross. She had been taught that her vulva is gross. That her bodily fluids are gross. So the thought of him being down there, completely repulsed her, even though she believed it could be very arousing. But, what I hear from most men is they actually really enjoy the way their wives taste. Which doesn’t surprise me because I don’t think that Heavenly Father would have made it disgusting. I just don’t. I’ve heard many many describe their wives excretions as tasting very sweet. And again, by thinking that part of our body is gross we are dismissing our Heavenly Father’s creation.
Talking to your spouse about what you want
Ok, switching gears just a little bit.
Do you have a hard time telling your spouse what you want to eat for dinner? What about when it comes to sex? Do you have a hard time telling them that?
When it comes to food, we usually don’t have a problem telling them what we want because we aren’t afraid of the judgement that might come with it. But when it comes to sex, we are really afraid of their judgement. We don’t want them to think that we are gross or weird or selfish. So we hold back telling them what we want, and then we aren’t as satisfied, and we have a lot of self-judgment about it. Isn’t it funny how we do that?
So, what if you did say what you wanted and they did think you were weird or gross or selfish? What then? Well, if you’ve listened to me for a while you know that what of the concepts that I teach is that our feelings come from our thoughts. They don’t jump from one body into another. So, if your spouse does think you are weird, or gross, or selfish those are HIS thoughts and they actually don’t mean anything about you. You can’t control what he thinks, or feels, or does. You can only control you. And when you aren’t saying and doing what you really want, then you aren’t in alignment with your own integrity and that feels terrible.
In order to get more comfortable telling your spouse what you want, I suggest you have conversations outside of the bedroom. Not during sex. Not at stressful times. Do it when you are relaxed and experiencing connection already. Going on a walk or drive just the two of you. In the bathtub together.
You want to create a safe space for both parties to express their wants and desires. Our brains are so sensitive about hearing criticism around this topic, so you need to be really sensitive and aware and reassure your partner. Try to see things from their perspective and how they might be feeling. But also be aware (especially if they don’t listen to this podcast) that they might not try to create that safe space for you. So it’s important for you to create that safe space for yourself. To validate yourself in this area and not expect validation from them. Know that you are allowed to want whatever your heart desires. That doesn’t mean you will get it, but its ok to want it. Also remember that their thoughts and feelings mean nothing about you. If it doesn’t go well, it’s really about them and what is going through their head. It’s their insecurities that are keeping them from connecting with you on this. Have compassion for that. If both partners are able to express their anxieties, fears, and vulnerability, then you can create a beautiful place to come together.
I think it’s also important to not come from a place of criticism or disappointment in what has been happening. But just wanting to explore more together for mutual benefit. Explain that it’s something that you think is really important and that you want to share that with them.
So, to go along with this podcast I have created a Yes/No/Maybe List. This is a list of different sexual acts, that you may want to explore with your partner. The list is quite extensive and some of the items you may not even know what they are. I suggest doing some googling. Some things may make you uncomfortable at first, and that is ok. It’s just matter of exploring things together. There are 4 options with the list – Yes, it is something that you are definitely into and want to try. Yes, it’s maybe not something you are into but are willing to do it. Maybe, and then rate that on a scale of 0-5 on how willing. And then No. Each of you fill out your list for yourself and then you can compare. If something is a NO for either party, then it is off the table. If it’s a maybe, then its something your partner might need to warm up to. A maybe at a 1 is still a maybe. And if its a yes from both of you, then definitely go for it. You may want to revisit this list periodically to see if things have changed. Something that was a NO or a low maybe, might make it to a yes or a bigger maybe after you become more comfortable exploring with each other. There should be no pressuring or cajoling or pouting if something you really wanted is a NO for your partner. Respect their personal boundaries. You can of course have discussions on it, but being willing to take NO for an answer.