Couple in bed looking at phone

Episode Description

When Your Sex Life Is Less Than Ideal

This is the first of the official “Taboo Topics” Series. In this episode, Kim and Ferne discuss what to do when your sex life is less than ideal. The bedroom isn’t as exciting as it used to be, things don’t happen as often as you want them to, or you’re looking for something else; we cover all these topics and more in this episode!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. And today is another podcast episode with Ferne and we call it The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast. Ferne is my daughter. We kind of lookalike, right? Smile. And she's here to bring up a conversation, whatever it is, a topic, a challenge, a case. Ferne, welcome.

[00:00:38] Ferne Kotlyar: Hello!

[00:00:40] Kim Ades: Hello.

[00:00:40] Ferne Kotlyar: How are you today?

[00:00:42] Kim Ades: I'm pretty good. How about you?

[00:00:44] Ferne Kotlyar: Good! Good, I just got my booster dose. I'm a bit tired, but all as well. So today we have a bit of an interesting question and I think it kind of falls under the category of taboo topics.

[00:00:58] Kim Ades: Okay. Taboo topics.

[00:01:00] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah! I would say particularly when it comes to mother and daughter.

[00:01:04] Kim Ades: Okay.

[00:01:05] Ferne Kotlyar: But I think that we can tackle any topic. So I'm just gonna go for it. Today's question is, what happens when your sex life is less than ideal?

[00:01:18] Kim Ades: So, who's the person asking? Is it a man? A woman? Doesn't matter?

[00:01:24] Ferne Kotlyar: Today let's talk about a woman.

[00:01:26] Kim Ades: Okay. So, it's very interesting. Sex is a very highly charged subject.

[00:01:32] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.

[00:01:33] Kim Ades: Very, very highly charged. And part of the dynamic of sex is that we come to relationships with all kinds of stories and ideologies and beliefs around sex, and what it means and how important it is and how it should go down, and if it doesn't happen the way we imagine it to happen, means something's wrong, something's broken, we're not [00:02:00] attractive, all of this stuff.

We have a lot of chatter around the topic of sex. And all of that chatter really seriously gets in our way. So if I'm a woman and my partner doesn't want me often enough, that's a problem. If they want me too often, it's a problem. Right? So--

[00:02:20] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, and just to clarify, your partner you're talking about could be either a man or a woman.

[00:02:25] Kim Ades: Okay, we could do it that way too.

[00:02:28] Ferne Kotlyar: I mean...

[00:02:29] Kim Ades: Yeah, sure. But what happens for us, and I'm speaking from my own experience, is that we evaluate our worth, our attractiveness, our sexiness, a lot of times based on how our partners interact with us, how they show up, the initiative they take, or sometimes they don't take initiative and that causes a problem. Their level of desire, sometimes it's overwhelming, sometimes it's underwhelming. It all just depends, right?

And so, the issue is that a lot of the way we perceive the health or the wellness of our relationships is highly dependent on someone else's actions, and that's a problem when it comes to a healthy sex life, because what we often do in our sex lives is we give responsibility for our sexual happiness to the other person, male or female, doesn't matter.

[00:03:31] Ferne Kotlyar: So you're saying you should take charge? Or you're saying you should come in with no expectations? Less expectations.

[00:03:38] Kim Ades: First, I'm saying that when you hold another person responsible for your sexual pleasure, you're creating a massive problem for you and for the person involved. And the reason why it's a massive problem is because you're abdicating responsibility. That's a problem.

And the second piece is [00:04:00] when you hand over your happiness, your satisfaction to someone else, you're setting them up to fail, 'cause they cannot possibly take responsibility for your fulfillment, even sexually.

[00:04:12] Ferne Kotlyar: So then what's the advice? What do you do if you can't hand over the reins? How do you fulfill that?

[00:04:19] Kim Ades: Well, the first thing we do is we stop blaming the other person for the way they are, the way they show up, the way they interact, the way they touch you, kiss you, hold you, whatever it is. Right? So let's stop. And let's stop this process where we wish they would do something else or show up differently. And then where we feel so disappointed 'cause they're not executing exactly as our dreams imagine they would execute, right?

So the first thing is, stop. Stop putting all of that on your partner and let's start by saying "okay, so I am responsible for my sexual fulfillment. I'm a hundred percent responsible. My sexual pleasure is my deal, it's my responsibility". So that's a change in the way we look at things, 'cause we've always thought it takes two to tango, right? But it doesn't really take two to tango. So what does that mean?

When two people are dancing, literally on the dancefloor, and one person, and let's say they're doing the tango, and one person changes the dance step, right? Suddenly it's not the tango anymore, and the other person can follow or leave the dancefloor.

But suddenly that dance is no longer the tango. And it only takes one person to decide to change the dance, and that happens in the bedroom as well. It only takes one person to change the dance.

[00:05:48] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, but it takes the other person to follow along.

[00:05:51] Kim Ades: But here's the thing is when you say "I'm only happy when the other person follows along", that's a problem. [00:06:00] When you say "I'm gonna dance this dance and the partner can do what the partner wants to do", you're having fun dancing.

[00:06:09] Ferne Kotlyar: But is it still the tango?

[00:06:11] Kim Ades: It's not the tango. Could be the tango, could be something else, doesn't really matter, but you decide which dance you wanna play... You decide which dance you wanna dance.

[00:06:21] Ferne Kotlyar: And so in practical terms, what does that mean?

[00:06:25] Kim Ades: In practical terms, if I say I'm fully responsible for my sexual fulfillment, then what that means is when I get to wherever it is I'm having sex, let's call it the bedroom, then I understand it's my job to come in turned on, tapped in, engaging at the highest level. It's my job to express myself. It's my job to say what I want, what I need, it's my job to say what I like.

It's my job to take care of the way things go for me by speaking up, by communicating, by asking for things, which normally isn't so comfortable, but when I stay silent and I don't say anything, what's happening is I'm having a dialogue by myself in my head, going "oh, I wish he went to the left or the right", right?

[00:07:15] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] Or she.

[00:07:17] Kim Ades: She, right. And when we have a dialogue in our brains by ourselves, nothing changes, and we certainly don't take full responsibility because we're just hoping. And so here's the thing, I remember years ago I had a client who had a real problem in his sex life, and how it worked was that he really, really, really wanted to please his wife before anything could happen for him.

[00:07:47] Ferne Kotlyar: Okay.

[00:07:47] Kim Ades: And so they were working at it, working, working, working, and it wasn't working [Chuckles] right? And so, I could understand probably how she [00:08:00] felt, which is "wow, you're coming in, you're doing a job. This doesn't look or feel like pleasure for you. This looks like a task, it looks like a responsibility, it looks like you're trying to achieve a goal".

[00:08:12] Ferne Kotlyar: And I'm not just a goal.

[00:08:15] Kim Ades: "And I'm not just a goal and it doesn't feel good, and I can't get into this and it's not working for me". And so I said, "Hey, your job isn't to please her, your job is to make sure you are pleased. And when you are pleased, when you show up and feel excited and express pleasure for being there and excitement and all of that stuff, things will go really well for her.

[00:08:43] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] Did it work?

[00:08:44] Kim Ades: It worked like a charm! [Chuckles]

[00:08:47] Ferne Kotlyar: Oh, you should be a sex coach instead.

[00:08:48] Kim Ades: I don't know.

[00:08:49] Ferne Kotlyar: [Laughs]

[00:08:50] Kim Ades: [Chuckles] So, he was so focused on making sure she was satisfied, that he wasn't actually into the experience. It wasn't an exchange, right? For him, it was "here's a task. I gotta figure out technically, tactically how to achieve my goal", instead of showing up turned on and letting her know that he's in, he's fully there, he's present, he's turned on.

[00:09:17] Ferne Kotlyar: And at the beginning of this conversation you asked, are we talking about a man or a woman? And does it make a difference? Like, let's say, I said--

[00:09:25] Kim Ades: It doesn't make a difference. I just use this as an example. It doesn't make a difference. Your responsibility is to take care of your own sexual fulfillment.

[00:09:33] Ferne Kotlyar: So if I said a man at the beginning, then the answer would be the same.

[00:09:37] Kim Ades: Yeah, I just wanted to use language that we could all use.

[00:09:43] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] Okay.

[00:09:45] Kim Ades: Yeah, the advice is absolutely the same. You're responsible for your sexual pleasure.

[00:09:50] Ferne Kotlyar: And I guess you--

[00:09:50] Kim Ades: And so, when you're lying in bed and your spouse or partner, whoever, is just lying there too, and you're like, "man, I wish that person would [00:10:00] start something, would initiate", right? You're lying there waiting for something magical to happen, don't wait, right? Get involved, take ownership of that experience.

[00:10:19] Ferne Kotlyar: So it's also about expectations.

[00:10:23] Kim Ades: The expectation is, and by the way, this doesn't only relate to sex, it relates to absolutely everything. When we hand over the reins of happiness to someone else, of our happiness to someone else, we are letting go of our responsibilities and we are setting somebody up for serious failure.

So in all areas of our lives, it's important that we take responsibility for our own fulfillment, for our own happiness, for our own emotional and mental wellbeing. That's our job.

[00:11:00] Ferne Kotlyar: Okay, now the question is... So let's say you put in the effort, you initiate and you get turned down. What kind of is the thought process at that point? Like, you've tried several times and you keep getting turned down. How do you take control of your own happiness at that point?

[00:11:23] Kim Ades: Well, again, what happens is you get turned down, what happens immediately?

[00:11:28] Ferne Kotlyar: You get disappointed.

[00:11:30] Kim Ades: You create a story in your brain that says "I'm not attractive. My partner doesn't want me. We have a problem in our relationship. Something's really seriously wrong". We immediately go to create this very dramatic story.

And so what we need to do is we need to address that story and we need to perhaps put that story on the table and say "here's where my brain goes. [00:12:00] Here's what happens in my brain when you say 'no, thank you'". And so that stuff needs to get addressed in a relationship.

[00:12:07] Ferne Kotlyar: So talk about it.

[00:12:09] Kim Ades: Talk about it. Talk about the experience of being rejected and what that means, etc. Right?

[00:12:19] Ferne Kotlyar: So it sounds like most of this is rooted in communication and taking control of your own sexual pleasure.

[00:12:25] Kim Ades: Yes. And also not building that story in your mind by yourself, right? Let's look at that story. Is it true? If it's true, then perhaps the relationship might not be ideal. Maybe that relationship needs to be reconsidered.

[00:12:44] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah.

[00:12:45] Kim Ades: Right? But if it's not true and oftentimes we think it's true and it's not true. We make it true, and when we make it true, we make things worse and we create greater distance, instead of coming together, which is what we're really after, we make it bad and people go further apart because those beliefs, that storyline is never really addressed. We never say, "Hey, is this what's going on? It seems to me like this is going on. Am I misreading it? Or did I get it exactly right?"

[00:13:25] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, communication's important, inside and outside of the bedroom.

[00:13:29] Kim Ades: Communication is important, and taking responsibility for your sexual fulfillment. That also means... You know what? Think about what is it gonna take for you to be engaged at the highest level.

[00:13:45] Ferne Kotlyar: A vibrator. [Chuckles]

[00:13:47] Kim Ades: Possibly! Whatever it is. Right? So bring it to the experience. If it means you need certain music, if it means you need a vibrator, if it means you need a cool [00:14:00] room, if it means you need to start in a different room and then ease your way into a bedroom, whatever the heck it means, think that through. Right? And take ownership of that.

[00:14:14] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely. Very interesting.

[00:14:17] Kim Ades: Very interesting.

[00:14:18] Ferne Kotlyar: Well, thank you for being okay to talk about this.

[00:14:22] Kim Ades: That one was easy. No problem.

[00:14:24] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles]

[00:14:24] Kim Ades: It was way harder to talk about my weight. That one was hard.

[00:14:28] Ferne Kotlyar: [Laughs] Well...

[00:14:31] Kim Ades: For those of you who are listening, and if you're having a less than ideal sexual experience and you wanna talk about it or not, it doesn't really matter, ask yourself a question: am I taking full responsibility for my sexual pleasure? If not, how can I take full responsibility? Can I initiate more? Can I have a discussion more? Can I begin the romantic experience somewhere outside of the bedroom? Can I be more positive?

Can I dole out a few more compliments? Can I appreciate my partner a little bit more? What does that look like? Can I be more engaged in the moment? Can I allow myself a little pleasure? Will that be okay? All of those questions. But think about, what is the role that I can play and how can I take responsibility for this experience in my life?

Hope that gave you some food for thought. Ferne, thanks for the question. If anyone has any content, any topics that they want us to work with, please reach out to Ferne. Ferne, how do people reach you?

[00:15:35] Ferne Kotlyar: Please email me! So email me at Fernekotlyar@live.com.

[00:15:43] Kim Ades: And you can reach me as well. It's Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. I don't know what's going on with my hair today. It looks a little funny. But anyways, everyone have a great week. We will see you next week at The Frame of Mind Coaching [00:16:00] Podcast.

[00:16:01] Ferne Kotlyar: Bye!