Episode 70: Five Things Passionate Couples Do Differently

by | Last updated: Apr 20, 2024 | Podcast

How do we get more comfortable talking about sex? Is it “okay” to add sex to our schedules… or should it only be spontaneous? What if one of us is never in the mood?

In this episode, I’m detailing FIVE things that passionate couples do differently – taken from the teachings of Esther Perel. I’ll explain the concept of “responsive desire” (and how to be intimate when you’re not in the mood), what to do if it feels like your partner is only ever “taking” from you, and the importance of consistency with physical intimacy – for both partners!

Listen in if you’re ready and wanting to ignite deeper passion inside your most intimate relationship.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

2:36 – I rarely want to work out… but I never regret it
5:50 – When it feels like all he wants to do is take from you
9:07 – You cannot punish your partner for this!
10:41 – Your relationship needs physical intimacy (consistently)
13:40 – Maintenance sex v. Spontaneous sex

Featured On Five Things Passionate Couples Do Differently

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Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

Welcome to the Loving Truth Podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now, your host relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope. Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is the Loving Truth. Today, I wanna share with you the things that passionate couples do differently. There's five things that passionate couples do differently,

and I learned this through one of the teachings of Aire Perel, who is a psychotherapist and a sex therapist, and is just brilliant in many ways. So I wanted to share these things with you. So let's get at it. The very first one, the very first thing that passionate couples do differently than other couples is they are comfortable talking about sex.

They're comfortable talking about their desire. They're comfortable talking about what they want and what they like, what works for them and what doesn't. And by the way, they don't expect that what worked for their partner 10 years ago is the same thing that's gonna work for them today. They know that those likes and dislikes and wants and needs and desires, that those are going to change over time,

and they're comfortable talking about it. So if you want to be in a passionate relationship, if you want to create more passion inside your relationship, then my friends, we have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, which is talking about sex. I'll often joke that we are more comfortable having sex with someone than we are in talking about sex with that same person that we are having sex with.

It's sounds crazy, like we're more comfortable having it than we are talking about it, even when it's with the same person, or especially when it's with the same person that we are having sex with. And that just doesn't make any sense. So we've gotta just start getting more comfortable talking about it. And that can start with talking about it with your girlfriends.

That can start by listening to podcasts like this. It can talk about, it can start by, you know, reading books by sex therapists and, and listening to podcasts and just having it in your experience. And that way as you get more comfortable with it personally, you're going to be able to speak about it more comfortably. Okay? So that's the first thing.

The second thing is that they start from a place of willingness. They're open to having sex with their partner. Now, here's why I say this, because so often when our partner initiates sex with us, we're in the middle of something else, whether we're physically doing something else, or our minds are elsewhere, right? We're thinking about something, we're solving some problem,

we're worrying about something, focus somewhere else, whatever. And so sometimes our initial reaction is, no, I'm not into it, because we're thinking that we can only have sex when we're feeling aroused or we're feeling, feeling a heightened sense of desire. And my friends, it does. Like if you, if you wait until you both are aroused at the exact same time,

you are waiting for the stars to align. And yes, it will happen occasionally, but it will not happen very often, especially in a marriage that might have happened when you were dating, but it doesn't happen in a marriage. So if you can start from a place of, am I willing, am I willing to see where this takes me? Am I willing to see if I can get aroused?

Because sometimes my friends, we have what's called responsive desire, which means we need something to react to in order to feel desire. We don't just spontaneously feel desire. Some people do feel spontaneous desire. Most of us feel responsive desire. So a touch on the back of the neck or on your back, some, some sort of affection, a loving act,

something that was said that made us wanna lean in a little bit more. Like there's, we're, we're reacting or responding to a stimulus. And so sometimes we just need the stimulus. And that's the part of, can you be willing, you know, I think about there's so many times, 'cause I go to, I go to Pilates about five days a week.

There's so many times that I don't really feel like it. Like I can't wait to work out and sweat and have them push me and all that. I don't, like, there's plenty of days that I have to talk myself into going, but I'm gonna tell you what, there is never a time that I regret it when I'm walking out the door.

Even if it was really hard, I don't regret going, I might be cursing the, the trainer or the teacher or the instructor during the, the process, but I never regret it. And this is the same way sometimes is, sometimes you just gotta, you gotta be open and willing and you gotta kind of go there before you feel like it.

And on the other side of it, you'll probably feel a lot better. You'll probably feel more connected. You'll probably be attracted to your partner and feel passionate about your partner and your marriage, right? So the second thing is you have to start from a place of willingness. All right? Number three is both people initiate consistently and either can decline anytime they want.

Now here's the, the caveats to this. So why do both people have to initiate? Because if one person is always initiating, then the other person is always sort of in control of the experience. And sometimes that can begin to feel like, oh, this person wants something from me. So if this is the dynamic in your household, this will sound familiar,

where the man is always initiating because it's, we think it's the man's job to initiate, but then I decline and then he feels rejected. And I feel like, oh, this is just another person in my life that wants something from me. Can't they see? Can't he see that I am exhausted, that I'm depleted? Can't he help me? Like any of that?

Then it starts to feel like that. Like someone's trying to take something from you and you have to protect it. And then we end up in this unhealthy place in our sex lives inside of our marriages. So we both have to be able to consistently initiate. The other reason for that is because if the person, if one person is always initiating, then at some point they're going to question,

does my partner really want to have sex? Or are they just appeasing me because they never initiate. So that initiation don't leave one person to do the vulnerable thing of inviting the other partner into being physically intimate all the time. Like meet your partner halfway with that. So both of you initiate and you both have to be able to decline without your partner being hurt by it.

So here's the deal. You cannot own your yes. Like hell, yes, I wanna have sex. You can't own your yes if you can't also have a very clear and full no. Look, we've got to get beyond that. When someone says no to us, that it is a personal rejection. It can be a no not right now or a no.

And that no is about me. What's going on inside of me, right? If I am stressed, if I'm worried, if I'm upset, if I'm hating my body, if I'm really down on myself, beating myself up about something, a no to being physically intimate with your partner, there has nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with what's going on within you and your experience.

And so we can't see that through the lens of personal rejection. And yes, are there ways to tell our partner no. So that they can receive that differently? Of course. But we also have to be able to talk about it and say, look, we in order to own our yes, when it comes to sex, we have to also be able to own our,

no, either of us is allowed to say no. And that does not mean that we are rejecting our partners. It means that now is not, I'm not in the right head space to be open and willing to explore that with you at this moment. And so then what we can't do is we cannot punish our partners when they decline sex. And I know you're thinking,

well, I would never do that. What do you mean you're probably thinking this is irrelevant to you? And yet, how many of us have given the silent treatment when our partner has declined sex? Probably a lot. Or maybe we get grumpy or maybe we go sleep on the couch. There's some many times there's some form of punishment that comes towards our partner when they decline sex with us,

and it creates more struggle in the relationship because then they're less likely to initiate again anytime soon. And they're carrying resentment. And next time that they do initiate, it's probably going to be a half-ass initiation, which isn't going to be turning you on. And it just creates this ripple of toxicity around our sex life inside of our marriage. So we cannot punish our partners.

When my husband declines me for sex, I don't make it mean anything about me. I'm like, okay, babe, no problem. I don't have to make it mean anything. It just means it's not a good time. That's all. So you both initiate, and both of you can decline at any time without the partner getting hurt or punishing you in some way,

shape, or form. Okay? That's number three. You ready for number four? Number four, the four thing that passionate couples do differently is that they know the, the relationship itself, the marriage itself will need sex more frequently than the two of us will need individually. Here's what I mean there. You know how I was talking about if you wait for both of you to be aroused and want sex at the exact same time that you're sort of waiting for the stars to align,

that is lovely when it happens. And you know, maybe one of you has a high sex drive and someone else has a moderate or a low sex drive, like we're gonna have different sex drives, that's okay. But the relationship itself needs that point of physical connection consistently. So there's gonna be times that you are not all a Twitter paid on fire,

excited, aroused, but you still choose to have sex, let's call it maintenance sex, to keep the relationship connected. And the other thing that will happen, my friends, is that when you have consistent maintenance sex, it makes more space for that spontaneous sex, for the really good sex, the really good stuff. And I don't want you to think of all of this as,

wait a minute, Sharon, are you saying that I'm supposed to have sex three times a week? Like you get to decide the frequency. There's no magic number, it's whatever works for the two of you. Some people that's once every two weeks, sometimes it's twice a week. Like it doesn't matter. It's whatever works for the two of you. But there's some degree of consistency that has to happen.

This is why I am a fan when you're married, I am a fan of scheduling sex. You know why? I know for myself, if it's not on my schedule, it doesn't happen, right? And this is the same thing. So scheduling sex is just making it a priority and saying, I know that our relationship for us to stay connected,

it needs this. So I'm willing to carve out a part of my calendar to say, yeah, that's what that's for. And just like you, you know, you don't ever go, yeah, you know what, I don't, I don't feel like going to Johnny's baseball game today talking about your son or something. I don't feel like going, I'd rather just sit in front of the tv.

I'm sure that you have days like that, but you don't say that you go to Johnny's baseball game because you know how important it is for him to see his parents supporting him, right? You gotta hold it to that same highest regard. You don't move that date. You don't say, well, yeah, I know I have that blocked out on my calendar,

but I don't really feel like it. Like, nope, nothing. Things move around that time, that time doesn't move. And one of the things that Astaire Perel talks about is, you know, you can think of maintenance, sex and spontaneous sex as kind of how we think about making a a dinner, right? You have dinner every night, sometimes it's a quick fix,

sometimes it's a really beautiful meal. This can be that kind of creative work. It, it doesn't always have to be a beautiful meal. It doesn't always have to be a four course amazing creation. Sometimes it can be a really good, I don't know, mac and cheese, right? Or I, I know I've used another podcast. Sometimes you just need Taco Night,

taco Tuesday. And that's sort of the quick fix approach. Okay? Last thing that passionate couples do differently than other couples is they are comfortable with presence. Presence for themselves and presence for their partner. Which means they're all there. They're not in their phone, they're not watching tv, they're not worried about the kids walking in. They're not worried about their to-do list or fretting about what's on the to-do list for the next day.

They're present and focused and in their physical bodies so that they can experience physical pleasure. You can't experience physical pleasure when you're in your head, when you're thinking and thinking and stewing about something or worrying about something or putting together your shopping list or anything like that. Like you can't experience physi physical pleasure from that place. So you've got to be comfortable with presence,

and not everyone is. So here's what I want you to do with this information. I want you to choose one thing. And if you talk to your partner about it, then you're kind of choosing two things because you're getting more comfortable talking about it, and then you're talking, and then you're sharing some, like, we should both be able to initiate,

and either of us can decline, for instance, or I'm gonna start from a place of willingness. Or maybe you tell your partner that, look, our relationship needs more maintenance sex than we've been sort of scheduling and planning for. And then that will create more opportunity for the good stuff. But we can't have a four course meal every night, right?

So just choose one thing, choose one of these five things and apply it or talk about it and apply it to, you know, to your relationship and to your marriage, and see if that doesn't shift some things, you know, you're not gonna do this once, and then all of a sudden you go from feeling, you know, disconnected to passionate and alive in your marriage.

This is a body of work, right? And this is, this is a walk. So there's gotta be some degree of consistency that has to happen before you're gonna feel the effects of it. But just take one thing and say, you know what? For the next 60 days, this is, this is what I'm gonna focus on. This is what I'm gonna do.

And it always helps if you let your partner in on it. So many of us, we tried applying a tool inside of our marriages, but it's like we're keeping a secret. And look, if you're trying to make your marriage work, we're not trying to keep secrets from each other. Let your partner in on it. Let 'em know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

Because when they understand the motives behind it, they're gonna, maybe they can help get on board with it. Maybe it's something that the two of you could do together, that's not the point of it. The the point of telling them isn't like, Hey, you need to do this with me. Sometimes we do that with books and things like, Hey,

I, I, I wanna read this book and I think you should read it too. And then they don't. And then you get pissed that they don't. So that's not the point of it. But just the sharing, just the like, Hey, I want us to have a healthy sex life. I want us to feel more passionate. And it's gotten a little bit away from us.

So I listened to this podcast today where they shared some tips on things that passionate couples do differently. And one of the things that I learned is X, Y, and Z, and I think we can apply that to our marriage. So I just wanted to let you know that if you see more of this kind of behavior from me, this is the reason why,

right? It's not so hard. We make it so hard by overthinking it. All right? I hope that gives you something really good to chew on so that you can create the kind of passionate relationships that I know you all really want. Alright? Until next time, take good care. If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer,

it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and I to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage. Go to clarity for my marriage.com to fill out an application now that's clarity for my marriage.com.

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