Okay guys. This is the episode everyone has been waiting for. You know this season is all about those conversations you’re most likely keeping within your friend group text – we just happen to be bringing it to the air waves with the experts for ya.
So today we are talking about S-E-X. Yep, sex.
I have with me on the podcast, Vanessa and Xander Marin, your new BFF couple friends.
Vanessa is a sex therapist with 20 years of experience and well, Xander is just a regular dude. Seriously, they’re the funny couple you want to grab sushi with – and ask all the questions to.
What I love about these two is that Vanessa is able to bring her education and clinical experience to the table – while Xander breaks it down for us in a way that helps us understand the men in our lives a lot better.
I know I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask them, but when I put a question box on my Instagram – ya’ll went crazy. And what I found was that we were all asking the same questions!
So let me be here to remind you: You are NOT alone. If you’re thinking about it, someone else probably is too – and we are here to talk about it.
In this conversation, we are covering things like:
- What is the average amount people are having sex? And we get into the data here, too!
- How to get the connection back after you’ve been in a dry spell with your significant other
- Physical vs emotional intimacy
- What a man is ACTUALLY thinking during those intimate moments, and
- How and WHEN to bring up sex conversations with your spouse – even though it’s going to feel awkward at first!
I had so much fun asking all YOUR questions to these two. They are funny, informative, and hopefully their insights will put a little pep in your step in your relationship.
I’m including below some of YOUR most asked questions – along with Vanessa and Xander’s answers. Be sure to check it out after listening if you need a follow up! And be sure to follow them here!
QUESTION + ANSWER FOR VANESSA AND XANDER
Question: “What is the average amount people are having sex?”
V: Oh yes. That’s I think by far and away, the number one question that we get asked, everybody wants to know, and I’m glad that the, it was phrased this way.
X: Because usually we hear,’ What’s normal, or what should I be doing, or how much sex do we have?’ – as if you know, just doing what Vanessa and I do is gonna be right for you too.
V: So we always like to be really clear with people: There is no magic number that’s going to work for every couple. Like I, as a sex therapist, I’ve worked with couples who had sex multiple times a day and they felt like it wasn’t enough.
And I’ve worked with couples who have had sex a couple times a year and they were totally fine and content with that. So no magic number, but we did do a survey. And I think at this point almost 40,000 people have responded to the survey. So we have numbers about data, about how often people are.
X: So there’s a total even split between two to three times a month, once a week and two to three times a week. So that’s three quarters of people fall in that range. And it’s basically about quarter, quarter, quarter in each of those buckets. So there’s like, there’s no winner to the answer.
V: We also tracked satisfaction with that, too. And there weren’t any noticeable differences in the level of satisfaction. So people who were having sex two to three times a month were not anymore or less satisfied overall than people having sex two to three times a week.
Question: This particular woman asked, “I can’t get back into sex. My sex drive is low. It’s been months since we’ve had sex. And we feel like roommates, like, what do I do?”
V: So this is another interesting one that we have a little bit of data on. We polled our audience about, ‘have you ever been in a dry spell?’ and 91% of people said that they had, so it’s like almost everybody has gone through a dry spell.
And I like to say that there’s: There’s kind of this funny sort of inertia that comes into place with our sex lives. So it’s like, if we are not having sex, the longer you go, not having sex, the easier it just feels to keep not having sex. And it feels so much harder to imagine like getting out of that dry spell then. So for a lot of people, it’s really normal to have a little dry spell to have a few days or a few weeks, or even a few months where you’re not having sex, but we just let it stretch on longer and longer.
So I think it’s really important to recognize, like when you’re in a dry spell, there is no non awkward way to get out of it. People are always like, ‘tell me what to do to make it not awkward.’ I can’t, it’s going to be awkward if there’s anything in your life that you haven’t done for weeks or months at a time, like going to the gym – you’re going to feel awkward doing it again.
So take away the pressure to find this magical way to get back in the saddle. We always recommend taking baby steps, too. I think a lot of couples, especially male/female couples. We tend to think the only way to break the dry spell is to have intercourse. Like we have to do the whole thing, but that’s so not true.
And that might feel like a really high bar if you haven’t had any sort of physical contact in months. And now all of a sudden you’re thinking intercourse is the only way to break it and it has to be great.
I think recognizing any sort of physical contact can start to ease your way back into that. So even if it’s just starting with a little bit more hugging or cuddling. Maybe it’s kissing a bit more having a make out session like that all counts. And that all goes towards breaking that drive spell.
There are a lot of women who just don’t really understand how their sex drives work. So they’re feeling like something’s broken or something’s wrong with them when the reality is that you just have to get your body turned on first before it’s going to feel good mentally and typically when couples are struggling with what they feel like is a sex drive issue.
But it’s because one member is a responsive type and one member is spontaneous. And so it feels like there’s something wrong with the person who is responsive because they aren’t seeming to want it out of nowhere. And the reality is, it’s just kind of rejiggering your expectations about the order that things need to happen in, in order for both of you to get turned on.
Question: What do I do when I’m not attracted to my spouse any more?
V: So much of attraction is about the emotional intimacy, how close we’re feeling to somebody. And so a lot of times we’ll hear this question from people and we’ll say like, okay, well, tell us what’s going on in your relationship right now?
And they’ll say, oh, well, my partner they’re working late all the time. They never help out around the house. We got in all these fights about da, da, da. And I’m like, so why would you be attracted to them? Right. You know, it doesn’t make any sense to be attracted to them in that context. So I think being able to recognize it’s a signal.
Question: How can I talk about sex expectations with my partner when he doesn’t want to talk about it at all?
V: Very common question that comes up. So, we are all taught to believe that sex is not something that we should talk about openly, and most of us don’t have any experience with it or the experience that we do have with it is negative. And so that makes us not want to talk about it even more.
One of the big problems that we see couples having is when that they try to talk about it, they really focus on the problems with their sex life, or they only wait to talk about it until something has gotten really bad. And it’s, you know, it’s like, it’s simmering, simmering, and then it’s boiling and it’s boiling over.
And then it’s an argument.
So our recommendation is to start off by talking about sex in a positive way.
So you’re not sharing any problems, no complaints. You’re not trying to problem solve anything, nothing like that. You’re literally just trying to get comfortable with it as a subject of conversation so that you could talk about sex the same way you talk about like what’s for dinner tonight. Right? So you can start with really simple questions.
Like, what are your favorite sexual memories? Of me, what are you most attracted to about me?
Question: Quite a bit of were centered around: What are men really thinking? I mean, are you looking at us as a whole?
X: Oh, yeah. I mean, I think men in general – we are not super picky. We’re not like scanning someone’s body and being like, ‘oh, okay, that looks off. That’s weird.’ Like, you said, when I look at Vanessa, I just really just perceive her as a whole.
I think that a lot of men have that experience of their female partner saying, ‘Oh, can’t you see this cellulite or can’t you see like these roles right here?’ And it, for me, it’s just like a total disconnect. I’m like, what, like, what are you even talking about? I have no idea what you’re talking about. So I think that we tend to be much harsher on our own bodies than other people.
Question: This woman wrote in, “My husband has low testosterone or just isn’t seeming like he’s interested in sex – how can I help him?”
V: First thing I want to say is that when it comes to sex drive, we have all these stereotypes that men always want sex.. But we have done a poll of our audience and we found that it is just as common in a male/female relationship for the woman to be the one with the higher sex drive.
But we never talk about this. So we hear from so many couples where the woman saying like, ‘I want sex more than my husband. Like what’s wrong with him? Does he not desire me? Am I not sexy? I’m not thin enough. I’m not pretty enough.’ Like we can go to some pretty dark places in our heads, but it’s just the reality that men don’t have higher sex drives than women do.
It just really depends on the person that you happen to be in a relationship within even the season of life. So it’s totally fine for men to have lower sex drives relatively. But, then when it does come to men who have sex drives that seem a little bit lower, we’re very quick to blame hormones.
And hormones are definitely play a role in our sex drive. Absolutely. But they are one small piece of the puzzle. They are not the whole puzzle. So a lot of times men will just try to like, go get on testosterone supplements, or even like take Viagra or CLS and stuff like that. And think that that’ll solve the problem.
For some men, it might, if that really is a medical issue, but for a lot of men, it’s not going to, because sex drive is, it’s such a bigger thing than just the hormone.
X: It’s emotional. As much as you try to repress the emotional aspect of things your body finds a to have an outlet, whether you’re able to express it or not.
V: So I would say, definitely go get his hormone levels checked, talk to a doctor, but don’t think of that as the whole picture.
And we have to start with the normalizing, like it’s okay, in a relationship, for the man to be the one that has a lower sex drive.
Question: “What does it mean if you have a sex dream about someone that is not your partner?
V: Literally nothing. It means absolutely nothing. It means that your brain and your subconscious are working as intended.
Question: “Eyes closed during sex. What are they thinking about and why?”
V: Most people keep their eyes closed during sex because it feels so vulnerable to have them open. So sometimes, closing your eyes might just be like you tuning into the sensations that you’re feeling in your body. So when we cut off one of our senses, it can heighten the others