I wish they would SLOW DOWN – Coaching Maria

Maria delves into the age-old struggle of asking for what you want during sex in this coaching episode. Tune in to explore why it's so challenging.
Good Girls Talk About Sex
Good Girls Talk About Sex
I wish they would SLOW DOWN - Coaching Maria
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In this coaching episode, Maria asks the age old question: why is it so hard to ask for what I want?! She’s convinced that her problem is in poor communication skills, but it doesn’t take long to discover that the issue lies in a complete different area.

Leah works with Maria to:

  • understand how gender dynamics are creating friction in the “what do you want?” conversation,
  • rethink how her definition of “sex” makes asking so difficult,
  • practice the way she’d like to initiate a conversation about sex with potential partners.

Maria is a 27-year-old cisgender woman. She describes herself as white, bisexual and single. She describes her body as athletic.

Leah offers valuable insights and tools to help Maria and all listeners to reconsider talking about their desires.

 

BEYOND PERMISSION workshop:
www.beyondpermission.com

Apply for a free coaching session:
www.goodgirlstalk.com/session

Become a client:
www.leahcarey.com/coaching

Support the show:
www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex

In this episode we talk about

  • Gender dynamics
  • Freezing when talking about sex
  • What is the definition of sex? And how does that affect the way you interact with sexual activities?
  • Asking for what you really want in the bedroom

Resources

Join the waitlist for the BEYOND PERMISSION workshop: 

www.beyondpermission.com

Full episode text

LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I am sex and intimacy coach, Leah Carey. And this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: Hey, friends. For this last episode of 2023, I’m really excited to be bringing you a coaching episode where we talk about one of the most common issues I hear from women. Why is it so hard to ask for what I want?

 

Before we get started, I’ve got a little bit of housekeeping. First and foremost, I have been overwhelmed by the love that you have shown since I put out the identity crisis episode in November. I haven’t responded to all of the messages yet and I do hope to do that. But I really want you to know what a difference they’ve made. It was scary, being that vulnerable, and putting that out into the world. But the way that so many of you reached out really made a big difference for me.

 

I know, it’s easy to think, “Oh, she has a podcast. So, she must have all these people reaching out to her. And she must be inundated with emails. And she must know how wonderful.” And I got to tell you, it’s not true.

 

It’s a trope at this point in the podcast community that we very rarely hear from our audience. So, when you do take the time to reach out to send a note letting me know that something has touched you or that you’re thinking about something differently now or whatever the case may be, it really makes a difference for me. So, to every one of you who took the time to reach out, thank you. I appreciate you more than you know, even if I haven’t responded yet.

 

As a quick follow-up, since I recorded that episode, I have now started seeing a new therapist who has a specialty in narcissistic abuse recovery. This has been really scary and also a godsend. I have been wanting to work with somebody who has this specialty for several years, but it has been really difficult to find someone. First, because it’s not a particularly common specialty. And second, because there also has to be a match in the insurance that someone takes, and they have to have appointments available.

 

So, all of those things finally came together a few weeks ago. And I’ve now had three sessions with this new therapist, and they seem like a really good fit for me. There’s a lot of work to do, and it’s really scary. But it’s also really such a relief to have someone with the proper training to lead me through it. So, that feels like a really big step forward.

 

Okay. So, now let’s talk about something entirely different. I just want to take a moment to talk about the way that I use language around gender. If you listen carefully to this show, you may have noticed that I speak differently to different people to a certain degree. And that’s because there’s a real divide in the generations. I would say they’re like the under 30 crowd. And then, there’s the over 40 crowd. And then, there are the people who are 30 to 40,  in the middle, all mixed up.

 

The under 30 generation has a much broader understanding of gender than people of my generation, the over 40s, tend to. And that’s because these younger people have grown up in a world where gender variation was very much a part of their everyday experience. Whereas those of us who are over 40 grew up in a world where it was just hidden.

 

So, I need to use different language when I’m talking to people of different generations. And this is all going to be very dependent on each individual person. I’m going to listen to how they use language, and I’m going to mirror it back to them.

 

If I’m talking to somebody who’s over 40 and seems to view gender as a very clear two-gender binary, I’m going to speak to that person primarily in terms of men and women. I will often also talk about people who are brought up as little boys and little girls because I talk so much about how our childhood experiences really affect who we become as adults. But I’m going to focus more on the language of men and women.

 

When I’m talking to somebody under 30, if they are demonstrating a much wider, broader version of understanding about gender, I’m going to talk to them about people with penises and people with vaginas, rather than men and women. And this is because I want people to be able to relax into the conversation and not have to think about code switching, if you’re familiar with that term. I’m the one that’s doing the code switching. And that’s fine because I’m perfectly comfortable with it. I am fluent in both of those languages.

 

But if you’re somebody who sees gender as very binary, and I come at you talking about people with penises and people with vaginas, that is probably going to bounce you right out of the conversation you are trying to have so that your brain can process, why doesn’t she just say men and women? Why is she making it so difficult?

 

Meanwhile, for somebody who has a wide understanding of gender, if I come at them with a whole lot of talk about men and women, they’re going to probably tune out because they’re thinking, why would I listen to her if she doesn’t understand that there’s this wider world out there?

 

And this is so cliche, but I try to meet people where they are. I want to respect where each person is because that’s the way that we can have the most fruitful and effective conversation, if they get to focus exclusively on what we’re talking about and don’t have to pop out of the conversation in order to think about the words we’re saying.

 

So, the reason I’m bringing this up is because today’s guest, Maria, is under 30. During the few minutes that I chatted with her before we started recording, it was clear to me she has a very broad understanding of gender. So, I wanted to make sure that Maria felt fully seen and understood in her particular journey. So, I was using the people with vaginas and people with penises language.

 

As we got further into the conversation, and it became clear exactly what the dynamic was that we were dealing with, and that it was a very gendered dynamic, I was able to call that out, and then relax my terminology. Because at that point, it felt appropriate in context. And it felt like we had connected in that way so that we have that shared understanding.

 

So, I know I don’t talk a lot about that. But I do think that it’s important to call out partially so that people who hear that language and don’t understand why I’m doing it will be able to clue into that, but also because I think it’s important to just be aware. There are opportunities. There are ways of doing things that may feel a little awkward at first, and trust me, this felt really awkward at first, but now it feels pretty natural.

 

Okay, enough chit chat. Let’s dive into today’s coaching session. This is Maria, a 27-year-old cisgender woman. She describes herself as white, bisexual, single, and she describes her body as athletic. Let’s get into it with Maria!

 

Hey, Maria. I’m really happy to talk to you today. I know that you want to talk some about communication in relationships and in the bedroom. So, why don’t you tell me a little bit about where we’re starting from? What are the questions you’ve got? And maybe what are some of the challenges you’ve dealt with?

 

MARIA: Yeah, I would say that I come from a pretty basic sex life. And in the past year or so, I started to open up more. And with that, I noticed that I’m just not great with communication. I’ve been in a couple of situations where either when somebody asks me what do I like and what do I want, I don’t know how to describe it and I don’t quite know how to explain it, even though I know what I want and what I like.

 

And then, another scenario that I’ve come up against is in the case where things aren’t going necessarily in a way that feels good or in a way that I know it could feel better, how to also communicate that.

 

LEAH: Yeah, these are really big questions, and also incredibly common questions. So, first thing to know, you are not alone by a longshot. I don’t know if that makes you feel any better or not.

 

MARIA: It does.

 

LEAH: Okay. Good. Let’s go back to the very first thing you said, which is that in the past, you’ve had a very basic sex life. What does that mean to you? What are the hallmarks of a basic sex life for you?

 

MARIA: Pretty standard, penis in vagina. And that’s pretty much it. Not a lot of foreplay, more so just get it done type of stuff. And to be completely honest, I’m just not interested in that anymore because I’ve had a taste of the other side of what pleasure can look like, what that can be like. And yet, sometimes I find myself with partners who don’t really know or I don’t know if it’s that they don’t know or that they don’t experience anything else besides that standard basic understanding of what sex is.

 

LEAH: Yeah, which, again, super common because almost none of us got a comprehensive sex education. And even those who got something that was called a comprehensive sex education, it was primarily focused on how to not get pregnant and how to not get an STI. So, there’s nowhere in there that includes pleasure, communication, how to talk to your partner, how to really understand what you want, and how to hear that from another person so that the two of you are actually communicating. None of that is covered. So, that’s why this is such a common experience.

 

I also want to flag that when we’re bringing up our little boys in this culture, we don’t give them any vocabulary for intimacy, for pleasure. We basically give them sports and sex. We give them sports that has got some teammate kind of stuff in it. But also, it’s a lot about letting out aggression in a socially sanctioned way. And people talk a lot about the homoerotic thing that happens in sports. And I believe really deeply that it’s because it’s the only way that men have to get touch that isn’t sex.

 

And then, they have sex. And the only thing that we give our men in terms of how to experience pleasure is get the penis in the vagina, pump, have an ejaculation. What I really want to impress on everyone in the culture in the world is that we give men a lot of shit for not knowing how to do the things, not hearing all of that. It’s that they have not been trained on how to do these things.

 

And then, those of us who are brought up as little girls have not been trained about how to actually communicate what we want. We’ve just been trained about how to show up in service to the pleasure of someone else. So, this has not set anybody up to communicate well.

 

Now, it sounds like from what you’re saying, because you told me you’re bisexual, you said you’re exploring pleasure more. So, is the challenge of communicating what you want and how you want it and what’s working and not working for you, is that true across the gender spectrum, or is it particularly true with people of a particular gender?

 

MARIA: That’s an interesting question because I didn’t even think about that. But you’re right. I specifically have trouble, and I specifically struggle with communication in terms of people with penises.

 

LEAH: So, when you’re with someone else who was brought up as a little girl, when somebody asks you what you want, do you have answers?

 

MARIA: Yeah. And I feel like the answers are oftentimes understood in a way where I don’t have to say a lot. And I feel very heard and listened to.

 

LEAH: Great. I’m really happy to hear that for a bunch of reasons. One, I’m glad you’re getting that pleasure. But also, it means that communication is not actually the issue. You know what you want, you know how to communicate what you want. It sounds like the barrier here is some cultural conditioning around communicating with somebody who culture has told you, you’re there to please, you’re there to take care of rather than allowing them to please and take care of you. Does that feel accurate?

 

MARIA: Yeah, very.

 

LEAH: Okay. So, what happens in your body? So, what are the body feelings? And what happens in your brain, the thoughts and voices, and I’m just going to use the word man to make it easier, what happens when a man, you’re in the middle of sex with him, and he says, “Hey, baby, what do you want?”

 

MARIA: I freeze. I think what happens is I get anxious that prioritizing my pleasure is not going to bring them pleasure.

 

LEAH: Yes, that is a huge recognition because you understand the dynamic, which makes it so much more accessible to deal with. Do you ever talk about the sex you’re going to have prior to having the sex, or do you start getting involved, and then, they say, “What do you want?”

 

MARIA: A lot of the times, it starts getting involved, and then the question pops up, which I think maybe that’s a problem.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: Yes, for a couple of reasons. One is because if your chemicals are already pumping, if you’re already in some version of the pleasure cycle or the turn-on cycle, which does not necessarily mean that you’re already having pleasure, but it does mean that your body is starting to lubricate, that the blood is flowing to particular parts of your body, which just happens as a natural result of any type of sexual encounter, again, whether or not you’re having pleasure. And one of the things that happens is the chemicals, in this case, infects your brain.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

If you’re having fun, it’s great when you have those chemicals. We call it sex brain because it just is like, oh, yeah, I want all the things. Let’s do all the things. This is awesome. But when you’re not having as much pleasure or when you’re not sure how to communicate what you want, sex brain can actually create some difficulties because it can push you to say yes to things you don’t actually want.

 

And you tell me if this is accurate for you because it may not be. Something that I experienced and that I’ve heard from other women is this feeling that when a man asks you this question in the middle of sexual play, we interpret it as them asking, “What can I do for you for the next 30 seconds before we go back to doing what I want?”

 

MARIA: Yeah.

 

LEAH: Yeah, which is a pretty impossible question to answer. Yeah, because what is it you actually want? When somebody asks you that question, what is it that you really want to say and can’t get out?

 

MARIA: For things to slow down. I love teasing, I love foreplay, I love very slow skin-on-skin touch. I find that insanely pleasurable. And oftentimes, I feel like most men don’t have the patience for that. And maybe I haven’t really communicated by saying, “I’d like to slow down.” Maybe that’s a first step. I don’t know.

 

LEAH: Yeah, so there are a few things going on here. One is to go back to what I was saying earlier about when we bring up our little boys, I’m going to go a little bit deeper into this particular soapbox rant.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So, when we bring up our little boys, in general, this is not going to be true for everybody. But in general, we love them and we cuddle them. And we nurture them the same way that we nurture our little girls until a certain point, That point is going to be different in every family. But in some families, it’s as young as five or six, when boys start getting told, men don’t cry, and you man up, kind of stuff. In some families, it might be closer to 10 or 11. But usually, by 12, most boys very clearly have the message that wanting to be cuddled, wanting to be hugged, wanting that affectionate interaction is not really okay.

 

And even worse, it might get them labeled as gay or a sissy. And those words are not being used in any positive context. That’s like at that age, that is the worst slur. So then, we open up the arena of sports for them because that is a way that they can get some physical touch and some camaraderie. Yeah. And so, we have the sports touch.

 

And then, at some point, again, depending on the boy, somewhere between 13 and 16 or 17, the world of sex opens up to them. And all they are looking for is touch, connection, nurturing, but they don’t know how to ask for any of that because what they’ve been told us that’s not okay. And so, all they know how to do is put the penis in, pump, ejaculate, be done. And that is what masquerades as connection for them.

 

So, as long as we don’t teach them about this whole other world of pleasure, that’s all they know how to do. Again, this is not them being stupid or not being thoughtful enough or not caring, it’s none of that. It’s literally that they don’t have the skills.

 

And we also as a culture have turned foreplay into a dirty word. We have taught our men that if you have to engage in foreplay, it’s like this thing to suffer through, to get done as quickly as possible. So, really, what we’re talking about is one of two options, finding the men who have already been trained, either because they grew up in a home that gave them different messages or because other women have come before you and given them the training or you training them yourself. So, let me just stop there because I just spewed a bunch of words at you. Where has all that landed with you? What are you thinking and feeling right now?

 

MARIA: It makes sense. A lot of that information is a new perspective and a new lens. I think for a while, I was almost angry, getting getting angry and blaming partners and being like, this isn’t going to work. But also, I would take some responsibility on myself because I recognize that I didn’t know how to communicate.

 

And also, I just thought they’re just not great people. I would make that inference a lot of the times of if you’re not caring and thoughtful in bed, you’re probably not somebody that I want to be in a relationship with. But with that perspective of like, no, this is how we taught them to be. That makes a lot more sense. And I think that with that lens, maybe a lot more men would be willing to learn and to be taught.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: The reason that I’m able to share these coaching episodes is because some very brave people have stepped up to say, “I would like to be coached by you, and I’m willing to let you record it.”

 

It’s time for me to start recording more of these coaching sessions. So, I’m hoping that you will be the next person who steps up. The sessions are free, and the podcast episodes are anonymous. So, you are not taking any risk of being public about things that you’re unsure of. We will do whatever is necessary to preserve your anonymity.

 

The conversation itself takes about 45 minutes. And my goal is that you should leave with new information and some actionable guidance that you can move forward with. And because I know that a lot of people are motivated by the idea of helping others, I want to promise you that there are people in the listening audience who are dealing with the same questions and concerns and challenges you are, but who have not gotten to the point where they’re able to voice them yet. So, doing one of these sessions is actually a service to so many others, who aren’t yet able to put words to what’s going on for them. If you are that brave person, I would love to hear from you.

 

And because I’ve been doing a lot more couples coaching lately, and I got to tell you, I love it, I actually think couples coaching might be my calling. It’s like doing a high wire act. So, I want to get some couples into the mix in these episodes.

 

So, if you and your partner could use a mediator as you start a challenging conversation or if you want to look at exploring something new in your sex life and you’re not sure how, so you want some guidance or if you have any other issues or questions in terms of communication or sex, I would love to do a session with you for the podcast.

 

So, if you’re interested in doing one of these free coaching sessions for the podcast, go to www.goodgirlstalk.com/session. And a reminder, you will be anonymous. So, this is really safe. If you have listened to the episodes that I’ve done with anyone else and gotten something out of them, remember they were brave enough to step up and do this themselves. And so, maybe you can do it, too. So, that’s www.goodgirlstalk.com/session, and I’ll put that link in the show notes.

 

[MUSIC]

 

MARIA: How do you go about that? What does that look like in a way that doesn’t trigger?

 

LEAH: So, approaching this conversation in a way that helps them to see this as a partnership where you’re both going toward the same outcome is the key, I think. In my conversations with men, I do some coaching with men and with couples, what I hear are a couple of things.

 

One is men desperately want connection, and they don’t know how to ask for it. Again, they don’t have the vocabulary, and they’re afraid that it will make them weak. What they don’t understand is that this is what women are craving. We all want the same thing. We just don’t know how to get there because this was completely left off the syllabus.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: And also, what I hear consistently from men is, “I want my partner, my female partner to have pleasure, but she won’t tell me. And so, I’m just doing the things I know how to do because she won’t give me any guidance or any information.”

 

As we’re recording this, just in the last few weeks, I started doing something with my partner because I’m trying to reprogram some things in my own brain about how I communicate and how I ask for things. And this is this is feasible because he and I have an established relationship trust, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest saying this to someone you’re going to bed with for the first time.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: But I said to him, “How would you feel about doing a session or a few play sessions, where first of all, it’s all about me, about my body, but second of all, you don’t touch me until I ask you for something?” Which puts the onus on me to actually know what I want, put it in words, and then speak the words out loud because that can be really challenging.

 

And for me, the challenge goes even deeper when what I’m asking for is some power dynamics stuff. “Will you bend me over the bed and spank me while you talk dirty to me?” That is a very scary thing for me to say out loud. But when I asked for it, holy fucking shit, I got it.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: When we finished that first play session, and I turned to him and I was like, “So, how was that for you?” First of all, he had a huge grin on his face. He was like, “That was amazing. I loved every second of it. It was really hot. And it was great because I didn’t have to wonder what you wanted.” So, again, they’re craving this as much as we are. We just have to figure out how to share it with them. Okay, so that was a whole lot of words again. I’m not doing great at leading you to your own conclusions.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

MARIA: No, but this is great.

 

LEAH: This is as much education.

 

MARIA: It’s true.

 

LEAH: So, what is it that you would say to a man, I don’t know what your pre-sex routine is. Let’s say you’re out for dinner. And you’re like, yep, this one’s good. I’m willing to take this one home with me. What is it you might say to open this conversation?

 

MARIA: So, that’s an interesting question, because I feel like I’ve tried this before. And the person didn’t catch on. The question I asked was, “What turns you on?” But I have a feeling maybe that question can be a lead into that conversation and also can totally not be.

 

LEAH: It can be overwhelming if somebody is not prepared for it.

 

MARIA: Right, or I’ve had people take it in a non-sexual way too, to which I was just like, not what I was getting at, but okay.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So, do you have an idea of how you could still ask that question, but lead into it in a way that might get their buy in?

 

MARIA: I don’t know, some sort of preface. Because I don’t want to put the idea in their head that they’re automatically then getting sex. So, the first thing that came to my mind was, we both know where this might be going this evening. So, yada, yada, yada, but I also don’t like that.

 

LEAH: So, when you say I don’t want to give the impression that they might get sex, how are you defining sex in that sentence?

 

MARIA: In that context, I’m defining sex as penetration.

 

LEAH: Yes. Okay. So, I’m going to give you my definition of sex. And you don’t need to adopt this one wholesale. But I’m going to encourage you to use it as a jumping off point to start rethinking what sex is. My definition of sex is any activity clothes on or clothes off that has the potential to produce an orgasm.

 

So, that could be dry humping. That could be fingering. That could be making out with a lot of breast attention, if a woman has orgasms from breast play. There are a lot of things that can be included in sex that we shunt off and call foreplay. And then, we reserve the word sex just to mean penis in vagina penetration.

 

If you can start to broaden your idea of what sex means, this conversation starts to get easier. This thing that we reserve over here, instead of calling it sex, we call it intercourse because that is a very specific word to mean that thing that we’re doing.

 

But if we call sex just this thing, then it’s almost like if we don’t get to penetration, then somehow we’ve cheated them. Whereas, if we think of this whole range of activities as sex and sexual activities, we get to be present for the fun we’re having for the sake of the fun that we’re having. Does that make sense? And can you see how that might change a little bit how you’re having this conversation with someone?

 

MARIA: Yeah. I think what’s coming up for me is a fear. And this is a huge generalization I’m making, but it’s a real fear that all men just want intercourse in that sense. And so, then when I bring up a conversation or I try to enter in a conversation, how do I expand that so that it’s not interpreted that I’m just talking about intercourse?

 

LEAH: Yes. Excellent question. And it goes back to the fact that we have not given men a vocabulary to understand anything except intercourse as sex. And so, the presentation of this question needs to be thoughtful. So, here’s how I might approach it. Again, not suggesting that this is how you would do it. But just to give you a sense of it.

 

I might say, “It feels like there’s a vibe between us. Am I interpreting that correctly?” So, first of all, getting their buy in. Second of all, cool, I’m psyched. And I like to have a conversation about what we might both enjoy and what our boundaries might be, so that when we start playing, we already know what’s going to be exciting for the other person so that we can give each other the most pleasure possible.

 

Again, presenting it in terms of how much fun they’re going to have, how much pleasure they’re going to have, and not putting a specific end point on it, allowing for the fact that there could be boundaries. There will be boundaries. There should be boundaries.

 

And if somebody gets freaked out by the idea of A) talking about it in advance, and B) having boundaries, they are somebody who you should not be having sex with. Yeah.

 

Now, I’m not saying if somebody is thrown off by the question and is like, “I don’t know how to have that conversation,” or they’re just uncomfortable, that is not an automatic fail. But somebody who’s like, “I don’t talk about that stuff, or I just like to let it happen naturally, or if we have to talk about it, then it’s not worth doing,” walk away. So, what might your version of that intro sound like?

 

MARIA: I feel like there’s a connection here. There’s something between us for sure. And I’m curious to learn more about what you find pleasurable, what your boundaries are, and maybe talk about what that could look like for us together if that ever were to happen.

 

LEAH: Yeah. I love it. How does that feel?

 

MARIA: Feels empowering. Yeah. I’ve always felt like I have to be the submissive one in the relationship when it comes to this stuff because I don’t think I’ve ever been able to find the language to initiate conversations like that.

 

LEAH: Yeah. And you just did a fucking fantastic job.

 

MARIA: Yay!

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: Yeah. Here are the couple of things that I would invite you to think about based on what you just said. I heard you say, “I’d like to find out what turns you on and what your boundaries are.” But you didn’t say, “And I’d like to share mine with you.” Yeah, this is a two-way conversation. This is not all about him telling you, two ways.

 

And the other is, at the end, you said something like, “If that should ever happen between us.” You don’t have to be so vague. You could say, “If we’re going to go make out, let’s have this conversation now so that we can  talk about what we want and how far we might want to go tonight.”

 

You could say to somebody, “I want to make out tonight, and that’s as far as I want to go.” You could say to somebody, “I’m interested to see how this goes. And that might include intercourse, but it might not. Is that something that you’re willing to let happen?” And if they say yes, great. If they say no, then walk away.

 

MARIA: Yeah, red flag.

 

LEAH: They’re not willing to hear where you are. One of the things that I would say when I’m on a first playdate with somebody is, “I don’t have intercourse during the first play session for a couple reasons. I want to make sure that I’m really comfortable and feel safe with you before we go there. But also, I want to be able to set a boundary and know that you can keep it before this goes any further.”

 

Not every man is going to be able to hear that. But I find that I get such a positive response to that because they hear me taking care of myself and knowing that I am strong enough to set boundaries. And again, that calls in the right people and lovingly dismisses the not right people.

 

Yeah. All right, so let’s try it again. What might you say to bring up this conversation?

 

MARIA: I’m feeling like there is a great energy between us. And I’m wondering if you’re open to having a conversation surrounding what our mutual boundaries are, what your boundaries are, what my boundaries are, and what pleasures you and what brings me pleasure as well. And maybe we can indulge in a conversation about what this could look like together if things were to go further this evening.

 

LEAH: Yes. How does that feel?

 

MARIA: It feels good. Yeah. It feels knowledgeable and educated and inviting.

 

LEAH: And what it does is it sets you up from the first moment to be able to communicate, you’re setting yourself up in a relationship that involves communication. Yeah. Now, I’m not saying that this is going to magically automatically eliminate the freeze when somebody says to you, “Hey, baby, what do you want?” But they’re maybe less likely to say it in quite that way if they already know what turns you on.

 

Instead, hopefully, they’ll do something and they’ll be like, “How did that feel, or did you enjoy that? Do you want more of that?” Because they already have some knowledge about your body and how it works. Yeah.

 

MARIA: Yeah, I think that this feels like this addressed a lot of my questions. I feel like I have a lot of processing to do with all this because it’s amazing information, and quite frankly information that’s life changing. Yeah. I genuinely feel 90 times better and well equipped to communicate. That just wasn’t even a part of the picture. So, I feel like that’s a game changer.

 

LEAH: And, again, it’s not because you have done anything wrong, or you were somehow uninformed. It’s because we are not given the skills. Awesome. All right. Maria, I have one final question before we wrap up for today. What would you like to be appreciated for right now?

 

MARIA: My courage.

 

LEAH: Maria, I would like to really appreciate you for having the courage to show up, ask the questions, have the conversation. This has been a lot. We’ve covered a lot today in the last hour. And you have been so present. And that takes a lot of courage. And I know that you probably have courage in a whole lot of other areas of your life, too. But this is the only hour that I can really speak to.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So, thank you for being here. Thank you for having this conversation.

 

MARIA: Thank you. Wow.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: Here are my takeaways from this session with Maria. Number one, we very frequently misdiagnose ourselves. What Maria thought was a lack of communication skills actually turned out to be social conditioning around gender dynamics. And those are two completely different things.

 

This is why it can be so useful to work with a coach because she’s so inside her own experience and her own assumptions and her own conclusions that it’s virtually impossible to step out of them and get a broader view. Meanwhile, I’m coming from outside her head. So, I naturally have a broader view. I can hear the unquestioned assumptions and conclusions that she’s making. And I can call them out and question them.

 

This is what the coaching relationship is about. It’s not about me telling you that you’re right or wrong and what’s good and what’s bad. It’s about helping you to see yourself more clearly and with more compassion. And I want to be super clear that this self misdiagnosis is not at all about being self unaware or stupid or ignorant or any of that. I have a pretty finely tuned skill in this area, but I still misdiagnose myself because I am inside my own head, which is why I’m going to a therapist. So, this coach relationship or therapist relationship is about getting outside your own experience so that you can understand it better.

 

Number two, practice is crucial. The first time I asked Maria how she might introduce a conversation about sex, she was really tentative and unsure. But did you hear how much more confident and sure of herself she sounded the second time through? And if we’d done it a third time, it would have become even more so.

 

It’s really not unusual to have a conversation where I explain, “Here’s what’s going on. Here’s why. Here’s why it feels so difficult.” And then, we talk about, “What do you want to do differently?” And you have all these ideas, and you feel like, oh, my God, I got this. And then, it comes to the moment of having to say the words, and you still have no idea what to say. The first time that you’re going to say those words, they’re going to feel incredibly awkward. And maybe not just the first time, maybe the second, third, and fourth times, too.

 

So, that’s why I encourage people to do those first few run throughs with me, so they can get the nerves out, they can get the awkward out, they can hear themselves speaking the words, they can learn that they’ve said the words out loud, and the world has not ended.

 

Sometimes, like with Maria, they love what they hear. Sometimes they feel like a complete train wreck. And those are both fine. Either way, we can work on the words so that when the big moment comes and it actually matters, you’re not stuck back at awkward, you’re actually feeling confident to step up and say what you need to say.

 

Number three, gender dynamics are no fucking joke. They pop up in every aspect of our lives. And we often have no idea that they’re even there. It’s like they’re part of the air that we breathe, we don’t even notice. That’s why I spend so much time talking about the messages we learned as little kids.

 

If those messages go unchallenged, they become part of our operating system, our adult belief about the way that the world is. But none of that was pre-baked into our original coding. So, for instance, a little boy baby doesn’t think, I’m a boy, so I shouldn’t cry as much. And a girl baby doesn’t think, I’m a girl, so I shouldn’t bother people with my crying. All of that, boys don’t cry and girls shouldn’t be needy, they don’t come pre-programmed with that. But once they’ve learned it, it is reinforced every second of every day from every direction to the point that it feels like it’s just part of who we are.

 

Part of what makes these conversations so powerful is that we’re taking a half step back and looking at why we think the way we do and what has contributed to that way of thinking so that it then becomes a little easier to shift into new ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving.

 

 

Now, if this is of interest to you, if this is exciting to you, I am so excited to tell you that I have been working with Danielle Silverstein of the Marriage and Martinis podcast, which I know a lot of you are fans of. We are putting together an intensive three-day virtual workshop. It’s titled Beyond Permission: Unleashing Your True Sexual Self in Midlife. Now, you get to decide what midlife means. What we mean by that is that I’ve lived a chunk of my life in one way. And now, I’m ready to experience myself in a new way for the second part of my life. So, there’s no age limit on this.

 

The Beyond Permission workshop will be happening January 25th to 27th. Registrations will open at the beginning of January, but you can get on the waitlist right now so that you’ll be the first person notified when tickets become available. It’s going to be really exciting.

 

Danielle and I are absolutely just over the moon. We are so excited about what we’re doing. It’s going to be filled with information, interactive activities. You’re going to be able to connect with other people who are in the same place that you are, asking the same questions, wanting to have the same kind of experiences you do. So, you’re going to be able to talk about things that we don’t usually get to talk about. So, go to www.beyondpermission.com and join the waitlist right now.

 

All right. That’s it for today. If you’d like to follow in Maria’s footsteps and do a free coaching session for the podcast, go to www.goodgirlstalk.com/session and send me your info. If you’d like to become a regular client, all of that information is at www.leahcarey.com. While you’re there, set up a free no pressure, no obligation phone call to see if we’re a good fit for each other. And all of those links are in the description of the app you’re listening on now. If you have questions or comments about anything you’ve heard on the show, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX. Full show notes and transcripts for this episode are at www.goodgirlstalk.com.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced and edited by me, Leah Carey. And transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo. This is the last time I will be talking to you during 2023. So, I will look forward to talking with you again in 2024. And until then, here’s to your better sex life!

 

[MUSIC]

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