BONUS Sexuality Counselor Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife on Partner Desirability Hi/Low Desire Relationships

In this special BONUS episode of Tony’s top-10 most downloaded episodes of all time on the Virtual Couch, Sexuality and Relationship Counselor Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife makes discusses what to do if you no longer find your partner physically attractive, as well as how to communicate in a relationship where one partner has a high desire for intimacy and one has a low desire? Also, find out what men do that Dr. Finlayson-Fife says will result in them being “toast!” You can find out more about Dr. Finlayson-Fife’s work, as well as her online programs for individuals and couples around their sexuality at And please sign up now at for Tony and Preston Pugmire’s FREE webinar on how to create a more Magnetic Marriage on Monday, April 26th, 2021 at 5 PM PST. Space is limited so go reserve your spot today!Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram

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[00:00:00] A couple of days ago, I flew home with my family, we had been on a weekend trip to Southern California there for a basketball tournament my son was playing and we weren’t able to get a flight home on Sunday night. So we headed back early, very early Monday morning. And the plan was for my family to drop me off directly at work and I would immediately jump in to therapy with clients. And as often can be the case, the flight was delayed and leaving Southern California. And by the time we landed in the Sacramento International Airport, I was running a little bit behind and I let my clients know and they were wonderful in understanding. And we immediately headed to my office and I was already in my head a little bit, just kind of thinking about the day ahead, client issues, ready to get myself all ready for therapy. And I missed a very necessary exit to head to my office when that was going to add several minutes onto my trip. And it’s hard to describe, but there was a way to still kind of make the on ramp. But it would take a little bit of, let’s just say, a tiny bit of off roading. And I was driving the opposite of an off road vehicle. But I said, man, I missed my exit. And we all shared a couple of ideas and I calmly made a power move. I made it to my exit and we were on our way, did a little bit of that off roading.

[00:01:08] And I commented to my wife that I felt like situations like those are where the mindfulness training pays off. I remain calm. I noticed I had missed my turn. I didn’t beat myself, beat myself up about it, or unload a profanity laced tirade or anything like that. And I was pretty accepting that I had had this off roading option and that I needed to embrace it and I would get to work eventually when I got to work. So fast forward to yesterday morning. I had a podcast that I was so excited to record. I’ve been writing some notes down for a couple of weeks, but I needed to be at my office by 4:00 in the morning to get it done before starting with clients at 6:00. So I get to my office and I back into my parking spot, as I often do, and I reach for my keys where I think my keys are going to be. And I do a lot of typical aid like behavior, but I feel like I’m pretty decent and not losing my keys because I kind of put them in the same place every time. So I take everything out of my bag. I’m searching through my car and nothing. So I had to do what I have literally never had to do before. I had to drive back home. And then I spent an hour tearing through the house while everybody slept using the the flashlight on my phone, just looking for my keys and no luck.

[00:02:15] And I remain calm. I was fascinated by this and I ended up heading back to my car, took everything out of my computer bag very methodically, and eventually I found them in a little pocket that I truly never use until apparently yesterday morning. And I vaguely remember thinking that was a great place to put them when we were heading to the airport to head back from Southern California to Northern California. Now, why do I tell the story? Well, because of mindfulness. Because I’m telling you, you’re practicing the ability to notice thought because you have tons of them and not necessarily have to act upon the thoughts, meaning I had all the old favorites, that I’m an idiot, that I can’t believe. I can’t find my keys, that if I have to cancel my sessions at six and seven and possibly eight waiting for other people to get to the building, that I’m going to look unprofessional. And all of those thoughts were there. But I noticed them and there were plenty of other thoughts that were coming even in the midst of me trying to find these keys about things, about my bag, about things, about taking out of my bag, about the fact that having to drive back home and some of the things I noticed, some of the things I noticed heading back to work at the time, I did a little more traffic.

[00:03:14] And so I think my brain, for whatever the goal was of throwing some of those thoughts out there, some of the productive ones, the unproductive ones. And I really got myself back to present and I kept looking for the keys. So if you aren’t already practicing a daily mindfulness routine, I highly, highly encourage you to do so. Their apps and books and YouTube channels. But just start. You don’t need to be perfect at it. The second reason I tell those stories is that I then maybe it’s no big guess, but I had no time to record this episode that I wanted to. But the good news is that I’ve been working on letting out another bonus episode. And what I’m viewing is a bit of a series of the top ten episodes that I’ve ever had on the virtual couch in the previous four years of episodes. And so I been working on another bonus episode with virtual couch favorite Dr. Jennifer Finless and wife. And this is truly one of my top episodes from a downlow perspective of all time. And in this episode, we talk about the concept of having a high desire and low desire partner in a relationship. And I’m going to leave it right there because I really want to get to this episode, but know that the audio isn’t necessarily the best. But that was because Jennifer was in Europe at the time.

[00:04:18] This was a few years ago. And she was calling from, I believe, her phone and talk about perfect segue. This is actually the episode I had kind of forgotten about this, where she mistakes me at one point for press. Buckmeier, who she mentions that in this interview and at that time I didn’t know who Preston was. So that was what actually led me to Google him. And as he has shared on a couple of my podcast episodes, especially about our magnetic marriage course, that he then reached out to me later looking for some help. And at that point, the stars that aligned the universe had spoken. I knew who he was, thanks to Jennifer Finless and Phife in this episode. And despite being a little bit overbooked at that time, I made room for him. And the rest, as they say, is history, magnetic marriage history, no doubt. So back to the Segway next Monday. April 26th at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Preston and I are putting on a free couples or relationship webinar on creating a magnetic marriage that is absolutely free. So now you can go to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic and sign up to reserve your spot on the webinar, because thanks to technology, there’s there’s a lot of spots available. But there’s there’s limited as well about the number of people who will be able to participate or view that webinar live. So go right now to Tony everyday dotcom magnetic. And while I have you, don’t forget that if you are looking for therapy, if you’re looking to try out the world of online counseling or online therapy, if it’s hard to find someone near you or if you just really want to continue to embrace the online experience, head over to virtual couch and there you’ll get 10 percent off your first month of online counseling.

[00:05:49] They offer a sliding scale and they also can put you in touch with a counselor in up to 24 to 48 hours. And you can do this through through text, through email, through video, whatever works best for you. You owe it to yourself to really start digging in deep and looking at some of the things that maybe you’ve been dealing with over the last year or two years or your life. So head over to, slash virtual couch and get it going with couples therapy or individual therapy, whatever type of therapy, whatever kind of help you need, it can start right there. virtual couch. So let’s get to this episode, this bonus episode. And with Jennifer Finless in five, I’m going to try to push out my regular episode a little bit later this week. So stay tuned for that. But hopefully you’ll go over to Tony over magnetic. And I will see you at this webinar coming up next Monday at five p.m. on April 26th. All right. Let’s get The Today Show, my interview with Dr. Jennifer.

[00:06:58] For the return of

[00:06:59] This guest, you probably read it in the title already, it is Dr. Jennifer Finless and Faith. If you haven’t already done so, please make sure you check out Episode 45. That was the first time that I had Jennifer on my podcast. And that episode is Neck and Neck with Episode 12 on Raising Your Emotional Baseline for the most downloaded episodes of The Virtual Couch. And I think when I checked last, that Dr. Phenix episode is in the lead. So what does that tell us? It tells us that talking about intimacy is something that we need to do. And it’s hard it’s difficult for a lot of couples to do that. And so I think that they are willing to look for anyone who can help, who can give advice, who can talk about what a healthy, intimate relationship looks like. And Dr. Fife is one of the best that doing so and so. I am so grateful that she is willing to make a return to the virtual counselors. Kind of a funny story about how this came about. And we talk about that on the podcast. So if you are not familiar with Dr. Fife for her work, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, if you can find her at Finlayson Dash five dot com, and she is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationship and sexuality counseling. In addition to her dissertation research on LDS women’s sexuality and relationship to desire, she is also taught college level human sexuality courses, as well as community and Internet based relationship and sexuality workshops. And if you go to her website, she has some online programs that are incredibly popular. And I have had many, many clients take those online courses, a couples relationship course, a couple’s sexuality course of women’s sexuality and desire, of course, and how to talk to your kids about sex course. So I highly recommend those. And she has workshops and events all over the country so you can sign up to find out more on her website. Finlayson five Dotcom. So without any further ado, let me get to the interview

[00:08:40] With Dr. Jennifer.

[00:08:50] And that’s well, the big question is, where are you today?

[00:08:53] I’m in Lisbon, Portugal.

[00:08:55] Wow. And you’ve been gone for a while. How many days?

[00:08:58] September. We left beginning of September. And so we’re like, what would that be like six, seven months into this? I didn’t realize it was that long. Yeah, it’s been phenomenal. So we’ve been all over again. We were in the U.K. and then we were in New Zealand and Australia and then Asia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and and then now Europe. So we’re kind of starting we were just in Africa last weekend. Wow. And now we’re heading up into Europe. So we’ve done Spain, France. So it’s been amazing

[00:09:35] When you get back to the US,

[00:09:37] The middle of June. Wow.

[00:09:39] I did not realize that. Yeah, yeah. But what do you what do you miss what do you miss from home.

[00:09:45] Oh nothing.

[00:09:48] No food. No pizza. You’re from Chicago, right. Nothing like that.

[00:09:52] Honestly, I don’t feel any sense of missing it right now, I’m sure if I were doing this for a very long time. Yeah, I was just remembering a time for some as I was speaking, I had said all this to you, but it was actually another person that interviewed me because we as a family decided to take our kids out of school and just travel for nine, 10. I’m talking to us. If you knew that

[00:10:12] Well and I was funny, I was thinking I should probably know that.

[00:10:15] Ok, yeah. I really like you do know that. I’m like, wait a minute. That was that other person, Quagmire. But anyway. But yes, we took the kids out of school and happened to work fine for everybody. My son is going to college in the fall and he was only had a couple of classes left to do, which he’s done online and things like that. So and my husband and I both can work online. So we just took the show on the road and it’s been really phenomenal experience.

[00:10:43] So you’ve been doing a lot of the retreats and workshops and that sort of thing I’ve done.

[00:10:47] I did, yeah. I’ve done a lot to I’ve done two things. So I did one thing before I left. My family went ahead of me to England and I did it with them. And then I flew back for a couple of phratry. Then we did a couples retreat in Italy. So I was just there and now I’m flying back to Oregon to do another women’s retreat. But that’s tell me about

[00:11:09] That, too. I mean, because this is going to air pretty quickly. I’m gonna maybe try to get it out tomorrow, Friday. So.

[00:11:14] Yeah, yeah. Great. Yeah. So May let’s see. May 1st through the 4th. We are doing another women’s retreat in outside of Portland, Oregon, and we did this last year and it was a huge success. It was it’s the heart of desire class that I teach for women, LDS women, about their relationship to themselves, to their bodies, and to desire both in general in their lives and sexually. And so I’ve taught that course in the two day forum, but I expanded to three days to just have more time with the content, more video clips, more discussion. I teach in the evenings as well. There’s exercise, there’s good food. And it’s really it’s you know, it’s more than two times better than the two day trip because because women have more time to connect with one another and to really immerse themselves in the content. And so you really do see a transformation happen from the beginning of day one to the end of the day three.

[00:12:13] I have to tell the story of how this came about. So I was sitting in a session. I’ve got my iPad in front of me. I’m taking notes. I’m probably asking somebody how they feel right in that moment. And I’m very present with my client. But a text does come through from my nephew and he says in all caps, they’re talking about you and my psychology class and he goes to BYU. And so it was funny. The imposter syndrome kicks in, I think. Is he saying I’m a fraud or what’s the competition? Then when he gets back to me, he lets me know that the professor was talking about our interview that we did about a year ago on my podcast, just talking about couples of intimacy and challenges and ways to communicate. And I was really grateful. That was neat to hear that we were we were part of the subject matter. But I have this I don’t think I shared this part with you. He didn’t told me later that he had presented the professor presented it is that you were an expert. And I was I think he said something to do with I had something to do with pornography. So then one of the one of the women in the class said, oh, that’s horrible that he makes his living over that. And there was like, no, I’m not a porn star. You know, I helped men overcome pornography addiction. And so I thought that was funny. So hopefully people heard the second part and people aren’t Googling me and thinking me. So I’m grateful for taking the time, especially with you on the road. And and I just I initially said, hey, I’d love to talk about one thing, but then, man, the more I think about the second part of the topic I had asked you about, I wouldn’t mind if we maybe started there. And that’s the the concept of do you run into this a lot? The I have I work with women who will just say, what do I do if I no longer find my spouse attractive or physically attractive? Do you run into that?

[00:13:50] Yeah, definitely. And so what do people do about it? I mean, I think the question for me around that is, why do they not find their spouse attractive and what’s happening in the marriage? You know, is it and basically, would you be OK with your spouse applying the same standard you’re applying to you? Like, are you in a double standard or would you understand if your spouse felt the same way, given the same behaviors or whatever? But I think the question of why don’t they? And, you know, sometimes people don’t feel desire. I would say oftentimes because their spouse is disappointed them, because there isn’t a lot of investment in creating a vibrant, lively sexual relationship that they’ve kind of just wanted the central part of the relationship to take care of its. And rather than taking care of it as a couple and so are you not attracted because you are creating that kind of energy in your marriage, you’re not attracted because your spouse is doing things that are unattractive and out of good judgment. And we could talk more about that if you want. OK, or is it that you haven’t really chosen your spouse and you haven’t really invested and you haven’t really made a decision that this is where you’re going to bring your whole self and your best self? And so the lack of desire is more it’s a way to get out of the pressure that a marriage places on all of us, at least a choice based marriage. And so a lot of people will kind of use the idea of their lack of attraction and almost cultivated in their own minds as a way of not having to deal more straight away with the marriage with themselves and their role in it.

[00:15:51] And I appreciate that. And maybe if I even start from I think when I see it a lot, it’s coming from if I’m working with someone who is working through betrayal, trauma, if they’re their partners, had a physical affair, an emotional thing, or if they just found out that their husband has been addicted to porn for years. And so they’ve just got shaken the foundation of their marriage. And so so I think what you’re seeing there, if you like, at times, is that more of the the emotional piece?

[00:16:18] Oh, yeah, definitely it can be. And, you know, for me, what I want to think about with that is this person’s lack of desire or a function of good judgment or poor judgment something is their spouse behaving in a way that is truly untrustworthy and that this is not a person that anyone in good judgment is going to want to open her heart and body up to. OK, and so I don’t see the lack of desire as a problem as I’m seeing it as an expression of her self-respect. Yeah, OK. If she’s been with someone who’s been lying to her for years or who has been unfaithful, that’s a function of self-respect. And I’m not saying that it needs to end there. The conversation needs to end there. I certainly can understand where it’s coming from. On the other hand, I do see a lot of people that kind of claim and foster a victim. Position in their marriage that often has some basis, right? Yeah, but that it takes on its own life because it becomes a solution to their own anxieties about sex, intimacy, choosing a partner. And basically what they’re doing is saying, you know, because you haven’t so filled some unrealistic fantasy of what a marriage should be. Right. That you revolve around me. You make me feel good all the time. Your sexuality is only reinforcement of me and my sense of self when I want it.

[00:17:54] If you won’t do that, then I’m going to punish you for being a disappointment and a failure. And I can go find a whole group of women who will agree with me on this and my betrayal trauma. And I don’t have to deal with myself in the marriage. And and so sometimes people will kind of lock down on their victim position and their lack of attraction as a way to get themselves out. Growing up in the marriage, really knowing their partner, really dealing more strictly with the marriage. I mean, I think and I’m certainly not you know, people are always responsible for their actions because they’re the ones making them. But there’s often a context in which people make their decisions. And oftentimes couples collude in a dishonest marriage. They. They make it difficult to have an honest conversation with them, and so they they certainly make it easy for there to be a kind of undercurrent of deception or non truthfulness. And then when that becomes explicit, you can kind of go blind to their own participation in a low intimacy marriage because of two people who really struggle or don’t have it yet, developed enough of a sense of self to show up and tolerate the exposure that’s inherent to an intimate marriage,

[00:19:21] Like what you’re saying about if it is an out of use the word reprehensible. But is it something in the letter to say that the husband is doing that is just if he’s not being there for the partner? Because I feel like when I do the couples work, if the husband is trying to do the repair, he’s trying to do nice, emotionally focused therapy and attachment apologies. And and then he’s being there or he’s doing this, that he was trying to be there, trying to have those conversations, I feel like is that and I like where you’re going with that and the acceptance and commitment therapy world, is she hooking, refusing to that? I don’t find him physically attractive. So if she can believe or fuse to that story, then she doesn’t have to lean in or do the work or go through that uncomfortable part.

[00:20:01] Exactly. Because I’ve worked with a lot of people who, you know, there’s a basis for their lack of desire, there’s a basis for their lack of attraction, and then their spouse really does get it together. Self confronts, really becomes a better person. They know their spouse is more trustworthy. Yeah, I know. And we’ll even acknowledge he’s really made changes and I respect it. But then they still want to kind of hold on to. Well, but, you know, I don’t know if I can forgive him. I don’t know if I can really open my heart up. I don’t know. I mean, that’s legitimate. Everybody has to make their decision about what they’re going to do. But I see it often they’re putting it in this issue of I don’t know if I can forgive them because maybe it’s too little, too late, but not really focusing on their own anxiety about intimacy. I don’t mean just sex and really letting yourself be knowable. Yeah, really showing up and knowing this other person as a flawed human being and yourself showing up as a flawed human being, a lot of people don’t want to do that. So they’d rather find a reason why they would do it if only their spouse would get it together.

[00:21:06] I like that because I do often say that if I get the woman, then one on one, if he is meeting those emotional bids and he’s there for her and she knows if she goes to him with the trigger that he’s going to respond appropriately, then lovingly and gently. Is that then where she can say, all right, maybe I do need to look at him, I am fusing to this thought or now I because I feel like a lot of times in the material world, they don’t want to say that they necessarily have to do anything. And I’m not saying that’s a generalization, but it’s look, he’s the one that did the betrayal. And, you know, I don’t need to do any.

[00:21:38] Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s at least not a view you’re going to find a lot of sympathy for from me in my office. Because, I mean, listen, I mean, if someone goes and has an affair and is lied to for five years about it, I’m not talking about that. The woman has somehow is responsible for this guy’s choice, obviously. Exactly. But but on the other hand, people do need to look at what their part is in a marriage and which may be putting up with garbage from the other person. But I really understand as how is this couple linked and how they put themselves together as a couple and how has that sort of created an equilibrium in each of them so they don’t have to grow because that’s what as human beings we tend to do. And I think a lot of people get stuck around this betrayal, trauma, infidelity thing. They kind of go and find their intimacy with their respective groups, meaning betrayal trauma group and the porn addicts group, for example. Yeah. Rather than really growing into a more honest, intimate, choice based marriage. on I. Yes, to that. I think that when we as women have been kind of constructed as dependent upon men for our happiness, for our well-being and we’re the nicer ones.

[00:23:12] That we’re the weaker ones. I mean, not very many of us want to admit to that kind of cultural idea, but a lot of us have inherited that idea. So I’ll love you as long as you husband loves me first. That’s the one a lot of us want to pull off internally, OK, because you’re the man, because you should make the world safe for me. Then I’ll love you with a response. And if you don’t do that, I don’t. I’m off the hook. And I think that’s a convenient idea. But I think. Constructing ourselves is much weaker than we are as women and that we also have promised God to love our spouse as much as they promise not to love us. And so what does it mean to love this man? Flaws and all? What does it mean to choose him? Was it mean to know him? I don’t mean putting up with shenanigans and betrayal like that. But, you know, is there a way to not just vilify and understand who this person is and how they’ve come to make the choices they have and how I wanted to see them more as a solution in my life rather than some someone to love and to choose.

[00:24:21] And I. Yeah, and I love that. And you feel like and I almost feel like we’re both agreeing that. And that’s with the caveat that the husband is willing to do work or try to repair the relationship or own his own his own stuff that like you say, there are plenty of people that don’t end up having the affair, but even though there’s dysfunction or or that sort of thing.

[00:24:41] Yeah, yeah. And that’s exactly that’s assuming there is a partner who is wanting to deal with himself and is trying to grow and become better, that the spouse is also looking at herself in the marriage.

[00:24:56] Can I take a slightly different path? I’m curious your thoughts. So and I feel like this is the basically the most part of what I work with every now and again. I do get someone that is saying my husband literally is put on two hundred pounds, but I don’t find him attractive and then they typically want to go in and just be brutally honest. And what are your thoughts on that?

[00:25:17] Well, again, I would be looking at the reason of the why. Why has the partner put on two hundred pounds and what is the meaning of it in the marriage? Is it that the person has a metabolic issue and there really is some issue that can’t be changed? Yeah. And then I say, you know, is there still some way for you to love and choose this person? What would you want for yourself if you were in your spouse’s shoes? Like what would you hope for? What kind of acceptance would you want to have? And are you able to offer what you would expect or what you would see as a decent and fair? If if it’s I think it’s harder if it’s that you’re married to somebody who is indulgent in the marriage. Right. That they’re not really taking responsibility for themselves, that they’re kind of in a some kind of indulgent behavior in this particular case, maybe with food or if you have somebody who’s indulgent in their, you know, with alcohol or pornography or something like that, then I think it’s. It’s much harder to sort of look past it because you understand there’s a volitional behavior that is undesirable and that someone is choosing a path that isn’t desirable because it’s an expression of weakness. And I don’t mean that we can’t choose our spouses knowing that we each have weaknesses and knowing that we’re fallible human beings. I think it’s a lot harder to desire somebody when you think they run their life by their weakness.

[00:26:56] Yeah, when I when I work with addiction, it’s I talk about there’s a void there somewhere. So you are not connected in their job or as a parent or with their health or their faith. So I’m coming at it with more empathy of trying to see.

[00:27:08] Ok, yeah, well, I would say that maybe with empathy, but also I do think that marriage, if you’re going to keep passion and desire alive, it has to be a growing marriage on some level. And you have to be willing to look at yourself and have conversations about things that are difficult. And if you really want a good sexual relationship and your spouse is struggling honestly to be attracted because, you know, you’re not trying, you’re not putting in effort. I mean, I think if you if maybe a hard conversation to have. But I think if you are really trying to create something better, it’s probably a conversation to have. Yeah. And it’s not about trying to push the other person down or make them feel small. It’s about trying to create something better. Yeah, well that’s really what’s driving it. And I like

[00:28:03] I was saying, is empowering them as therapists and instead of going in and saying, hey, you put on a ton of weight, you know, coming at it more with the more of the. Tell me more about that. Tell me what’s going on in your life, not only in this indictment, I guess.

[00:28:18] Yeah, yes, exactly. But exactly. And the focus of it is not about, you know, I’m going to trample you because then I have an excuse for not desiring you. But I really do want to have a good sexual relationship. And so what kind of going back to what I was talking about initially, like is the lack of desire a function of good judgment or poor judgment? Let’s say that is a function of good judgment. You feel like your spouse is living indulgently or they’re not respectful of you or they don’t care about you except for when you climb into bed at night. And this is the only time they seem to care that you’re there. Your lack of desire may be a function of good judgment. You’re saying this is not the kind of sex that I want. One thing I talk about in my women’s course is that women have as much, if not more sexual capacity than men do, but they’re much pickier about where they show up and open up. And so that’s that’s how we’re wired. That’s fine. But then it means sort of advocating for what you really want. And so if someone is saying, look, I’m not as attractive as I want to be because I want to have a good sexual relationship with you, I want this to be a good part of our lives.

[00:29:30] And the fact that you do X, Y or Z or if you would do more of A, B and C, I would find it much more desirable. I would find it much easier to choose and be here. And it’s not to tear the other person down, it’s to actually create something better. So it’s not about, hey, I just don’t desire you, it’s OK. I am having trouble. I need to think about it. This is about selfishness on my part or limitations on my part, or if this is something I need to address and if I need to address it, that I really do take it up in the frame of I want something good. Yeah. Like that. And this is this is interfering. And I say it too, because I love you. I say it too, because I want good things for us. And if you mean that and your spouse can track that, you mean it might be a hard conversation but it’s going to be a productive one. Yeah.

[00:30:23] So really. And how you frame it like that a lot on those lines. I’m dying to know your theory on this too. I think before I did the whole became a therapist that I call it the Beauty and the Beast theory where, you know, love will will rule regardless. It doesn’t matter if I find the person even in the slightest bit attractive. It doesn’t really matter. What do you see with that? Do you think that?

[00:30:46] Well, I mean, I do think there’s something to kind of a visceral attraction, which is not the same thing, that it will make you happily married. Yeah, but there is some research. I think Lattman talks about some of this research where there’s certain people that other certain people will find attractive, kind of over and over a certain characteristics, certain. You know, I always was kind of drawn to sort of lanky guys like not buff, but like kind of slender. That’s exactly the person I’m married to. And and I think there’s a lot of people that just sort of feel an immediate kind of attraction. I definitely felt that when I first met my husband. And I think that’s important. And when we when we are dismissive of that, I don’t think we do ourselves a favor. What we should be dismissive of that is of the idea that that’s enough for a good marriage, because it’s not a lot of people are very attracted to each other, but that are mean, selfish people incapable of creating something good. Right. And so it’s not everything, but it is something that said, I think that a lot of people felt very attractive in the beginning will undermine their feelings of attraction. Things will happen in the marriage, as we’re talking about, that will undermine attraction.

[00:32:06] And you may feel no attraction to the person that you once felt a feelings of attraction when you first met them. And that’s not about something fundamental to who the person is. It’s about what you’ve been creating as a couple in the marriage that’s undermining desire. If you are one of these people who married somebody in part because they weren’t that attractive to you. And I know a lot of people who’ve done this because they found it safe before they found it easier if they could just say you’re going to be the father or the mother of my children. And I can sort of desexualized you because as I like sex and I like those feelings, but I’m afraid of them in a marriage. Well, I think it’s harder. But just to be completely honest, I think it’s a really indecent thing to do in a marriage. I think it’s a really unfair thing to marry someone thing, the secret that you’re not that attracted to them because you’ve now entrapped somebody who feels your lack of desire and you’re just kind of putting up with that sexually every single time they’re with you. And I think that’s a very humiliating thing to do to somebody that created

[00:33:21] An unhealthy relationship with intimacy in general, right?

[00:33:25] Absolutely. And it’s going to undermine the whole marriage because I think the sexual choosing part of the relationship is really fundamental to the foundation of a marriage in a choice based marriage. I mean, if we were in arranged marriages, that’s that’s a different framing and a different understanding, but and a choice based marriage. Part of the understanding is that I choose you, I desire you and you desire me. And of all the choices, we have made one another special. And that part of the specialness is that we share our sexuality with one another and we choose each other. And I think when that doesn’t play out in a marriage or you don’t hold that as an important part of the marriage and something you have a responsibility to an understanding, you have a responsibility to, it wreaks havoc on the marriage.

[00:34:19] I did a podcast on a concept that Dr. Skinner, Kevin Skinner talks about, and it’s these levels of intimacy and where it’s natural to go in this physical attraction, but then underneath that physical or these layers of verbal intimacy and emotional intimacy and cognitive intellectual intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and that if we just go in at that physical, then if we’re trying to have that verbal intimacy and we can’t even talk to our partner for a while, we can say at least there or at least we have sex and then we jump back down to emotional intimacy and they don’t meet our emotional bids and OK, but at least there’s the physical and that that kind of sets things off in a pretty negative pattern. But if you nurture those levels from the ground up, this verbal and emotional, then physical intimacy is the byproduct of what a different experience that is other than the it’s just we’re going to have we’re going to have sex instead of the we feel like it’s the the the next thing that we need to do because we feel so connected.

[00:35:12] Yeah. I mean, I think that, yes. You can’t build a marriage on just sexual attraction. I mean, I think that’s clearly going to fall apart pretty quickly. That’s the only thing you share because a marriage is so much more than just having sex. Yeah, but on the other hand, I don’t think we should make sex the thing that you arrive at after all the other pieces are in place. Sure. I’m not sure if that’s how Skinner talks about.

[00:35:41] No, no. And in fact, he talks about it. When those things are intact, then it is even easier to. Then he referenced there was a sex therapist when he introduced this name, Pat Love, who said she she has a small libido, her husband has a large libido. And when those things are intact, she now feels like when she knows that he needs the base, that he needs sex and he stressed whatever that she knows. I think she said the phrase, I can just pull him over and give him a quickie in the closet, which everybody laughed about. But it was like, yeah, so it wasn’t saying we have it always has to build these layers up, but that sure helps secure the connection.

[00:36:14] Yeah, I think it’s part of the foundation, the emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy are just fundamental to a good marriage. And if it’s only one or only the other, I think the. Struggle’s. Yeah, so, yeah, I think we we owe it to ourselves to understand not the importance of having sex is not really what I’m saying so much as the importance of desire in marriage. Yeah. Which is not the same thing as having intercourse with a lot of people have intercourse without desire.

[00:36:49] Yeah, well,

[00:36:50] I mean that you choose this person that you want them in your life

[00:36:55] When that’s perfect Segway to just a couple of more minutes so that you and I were both on a low. I love marriage therioke. I think we were both on the right. That was fun. Your episode was fantastic in the you talk there about low desire and high desire. And I and I run into this all the time of the high desire person just saying if we only had more sex, the low desire person feeling like when he pouts and goes about it in a certain way, I feel like eventually I just have to give in and then it just creates this like unhealthy dynamic. Can you talk about low desire, high desire?

[00:37:24] Yeah, sure. It’s kind of a broad and I think where to step in. OK, yes. It’s a very well

[00:37:31] How how about when I get I get the guys, they look at me and they I think and I don’t even know if it’s because as a male therapist, they assume that I’m going to have their back, so to speak, when they just say, look, when I when I have more sex, I’m a happier and better husband, better father, better at work. And they look over at me and then I typically look at the wife. And just having done this for a while now, we’re knowing that she’ll say, OK, I basically feel like I’m responsible for his happiness, his world. And here we have that. So she’s the desired partner in that situation. He’s the High desire and they created this kind of negative relationship with sex and intimacy in general.

[00:38:03] Yeah, because I first of all, I think if a husband starts out in that framing, he’s toast.

[00:38:11] It’s not that there’s a quote. There’s the quote for the book. Yes. Right there.

[00:38:15] Yeah, I get it. My husband serves on everything. He’s screwed. Yes. Not screwed.

[00:38:22] Yeah. I like toast. Toast.

[00:38:24] Yeah. Toast is better. OK, but you know, he’s in the sense that he’s happy because it’s setting it up that you need to take care of my emotional world through putting out. Yeah. Now if the two of them buy into that idea she may put out, but she won’t desire him. She is not going to choose him because she’s got a job to do, which is propping up his sense of self. And so if she feels like she’s got to handle his feelings so she doesn’t pout and punish. Exactly. And so on, it’s just like having another kid that you’ve got to take care of. And then he’s like, why don’t you want me? What’s your problem? Maybe you need to go to the Finlayson-fife workshop again.

[00:39:11] I have had those conversations in here.

[00:39:15] You don’t desire me. And he’s not seeing that. He’s setting up a framing of sexuality things is going to get in more like get more sex, but it’s not going to get him wanted. And and if a woman sees sex as something she gives to a man and a man needs, quote unquote, it’s it’s going to go that way. Yeah. Because I don’t see it that way. I mean, I see it as men and women, don’t need sex. I mean, they both can survive without it. It’s not it is not a need capital and need. It’s not a survival reality. It is part of thriving. It’s part of living. A good life and desiring and being desired is really part of a good marriage. But then the question is not how do I just get this guy off my back? Right. How do we create a marriage where sex is a good part of it, that sex would be desirable for me? And how would my higher desire spouse need to handle him or herself differently to make themselves more choosable? Right. Or to get it out of this framing that I have to do this to manage your sense of yourself. So it’s this need idea is the one that a lot of people buy into, but actually then infects the marriage, especially the idea that men need it.

[00:40:47] Yeah, no, I like that because I do feel like it when I am. I love everything you said there. When I turn to the guy and say, all right, she now feels like she’s in charge of that. And so you’ve created this unhealthy dynamic. Basically what I’m trying to start the process of is letting the guy and he will say, OK, so if I do this for a little while, I don’t make her feel like she always has to have sex with me. Then will we eventually have more sex? I do feel like that’s basically he’s looking at me and it’s no, but I feel like the guy is telling me that, no, I don’t get it. But it’s really you work with people long enough to see that they do feel that they can have a connection without it having to be with sex or the wife can lay in their lap. And if he gets aroused, it doesn’t mean we have to have sex or the hug. And if the if she if it’s open mouth kiss, it doesn’t mean, OK, I’m having sex tonight. And that’s where. How far some of the I feel like some of the spouses pull away because they don’t even want to give any indication of that. Absolutely right.

[00:41:37] Yeah, well, there’s a lot of that where women feel like if he gets aroused, then I don’t have any choice. Exactly. Which I think is crazy. Yeah, I mean, that’s crazy. I mean, I don’t mean I’m not trying to say women are great, but I’m just trying to say that that’s that’s a framing also in a marriage that will undermine intimacy, because I think a good marriage is you’re going to feel arousal oftentimes where no sex happens. It’s just part of being in a marriage where you desire and feel desire. Yeah, and that’s even a good part of the foreplay, even if it’s a few days before sex, that there’s this kind of ability to touch and be with one another and feel arousal and not have to have it mean that now you have you’re going to get well, it gets good. You know, that that idea makes people just try to stay away from the high desire person. And and so I think, you know, when the guy is asking you, well, if I stop pressuring or pouting, does that mean I’m going to have more? I’m trying to think how to that. I mean, I think on the one hand, I would say this is not a tactic. Exactly. No, this it’s not about how to manipulate. OK, this is this is about the fact that you are making your spouse responsible for something that is not her responsibility. She’s not responsible for your sense of desirability. responsible for your sense of self. Yeah. And are responsible for having respect for yourself and seeing yourself as a desirable human being. If she gets to decide if she’s going to choose you, she gets to decide if she has sex with you. She’s going to decide if she’s going to confront her own anxieties, limitations, but that’s her responsibility. And when you’re trying to make sex about something, she has to do so you can handle yourself. Yeah, but you have made yourself a very undesirable partner.

[00:43:34] Absolutely. And then this is a part where I feel like you guys listening. Well, I’m sorry, but they will resonate with this part. So if it didn’t happen that night, if they were if they. OK, fine, we’ll cuddle. But I had it. I was aroused and nothing happened. And and then they go to bed angry and they still try to poke a little bit at her. She wakes up, then they wake up the next morning and they and now they’re ruminating about it and they’re in the shower. It’s like, what’s wrong with this? I’m not get. And then they go to work and they’re just thinking. But then you’re teaching someone instead of like exactly what you just said of love. When a guy gets to the point where and I will teach mindfulness and they’re going to go to bed and they’re going to have this thought and it’s not really productive because they’re going to breathe through it. They’re going to be present. They’re going to be grateful that they are coming closer together. And then they wake up the next morning and now they don’t ruminate in the shower. They don’t they’re thinking of other thoughts and productive things. They go to work and they’re happy and they’re not doing what’s wrong with this marriage. If she just had more sex, we’d be happy. And it’s a look at all that unproductive time and mental energy that now is gone. And then over time, I feel like you’re right. Then the guy realizes, oh, wow, I don’t have to have sex three point six times a week to be happy or whatever it is that he’s come up with.

[00:44:37] Yeah, right. Well, and exactly. And I need to handle myself. I mean, this is all we have control over in marriage is ourselves. Yeah. And the more confused we get about that, the more unhappy the marriage. Yeah, exactly. So so I think, you know, I can’t make anyone desire me. I can’t make anyone choose me. That’s what makes it so beautiful, is that if it really is freely offered and you know, there’s no coercion and someone chooses you or brings their best to you, you know what a gift it is when you’re always coercing, even if they comply, you never get you never have the sense of feeling really chosen. And I think for those of us who struggle with our sense of self, we’re many of us are going to feel tempted to coerce because we don’t want to know the answer of whether or not this person chooses us. Well, that’s good. And so I see it not just as managing your thoughts, but a very important process and growing into adulthood is being able to handle your own sense of self in the face of invalidation. Yeah, in the face of not being wanted or reinforced in the way that we would most like. Not having this throw us into that kind of disorganized emotional state, that’s important work and it’s not work you’re doing because you’re defective partner, right? Yes, it’s a work you’re doing that’s a part of becoming an adult. Yeah. This is like what they think Christ was quintessentially was a nonreactive, purposeful being who could tolerate invalidation, could tolerate the disagreement, or that people would see him as someone other than who he really was because he had enough sense of self to sustain it, to not get vindictive or cruel, and to stay invested in creating goodness in the face of that invalidation.

[00:46:42] Wow. That’s that’s really a hallmark of goodness. Yeah. And it’s a hallmark of strength. And if you don’t learn how to do that in a marriage, you’re going to have a hard time creating a good marriage because it’s so fundamental to creating something better. You know, just the other day I was having a conversation with my husband, I was telling him something invalidating of himself, it was giving him some thoughts that were a criticism, I suppose, saying I wasn’t being mean. I was just saying honestly something that was hard for me. And he just honestly absorbed the conversation and responded to it and was thoughtful about it. And, you know, what’s interesting is even that was not a really easy conversation. I was just afterwards, I just felt so much traction to him because I just said to him, I’m so grateful. You’re the kind of person that can handle that kind of conversation without being punitive or mean or saying things back to me. And I just really respect it. And that’s the, That’s sort of the ability to kind of deal with hard things and walk towards them and look at your role in them. It’s a really fundamental to creating, to being a good parent, to being a good partner, to being a good human being. And so that’s fundamental to learning how to be a desirable person. So I think a lot of us get a lot more fixated on whether or not our spouse desires us than whether or not we genuinely see ourselves as choosable, as worthy. And that’s the part we have control over.

[00:48:33] It does. And it does take work. I mean, do you feel like your husband is a natural at that or is that been something that is evolved over time?

[00:48:41] I think it’s evolved over time, but he’s probably more natural at it than I have been. You know, the first year of marriage, I’m like that. Now, why is that? That’s what I’m

[00:48:53] Just thinking through a couple of difficult couple of sessions yesterday where I feel like we’re making some point that is that we want. But don’t you want your partner to be able to come to you and share their feelings and emotions? And somebody will say, yeah. And then they’ll say, then there’s that. You wait for this, but they need to be, but they need to be nice about it or but they can’t be it. It’s all OK. You can’t put the rules around it, though, because you’re then telling your partner, no, I want you to do that as long as you do it the way I would like for you to, because that’s what makes me comfortable.

[00:49:21] Yeah. Yeah. And I think you can be honest about things and still respect. Absolutely. Yeah. You can’t. But I also agree that basically are you going to deal with what’s true about you, whether or not it gets said nicely. Yeah, I mean that’s really the measure in the question. Yeah.

[00:49:40] That’s beautiful. That is. I love that we went there. I do. I am so grateful for your time, Jennifer. And again, I realize you’ve been traveling for months and months and so you were so kind when I reached out and just made yourself available. I really appreciate that. Hey, I would love to I would love to do another episode again. I almost felt guilty. I was grateful that my nephew did that. You’re being talked about. There’s my in. But I appreciate your generosity with your time and your again, your podcast is my most downloaded by far. And the video on YouTube of our first interview is the most viewed video. So you’re doing so much good and I really appreciate that and appreciate the taking the time. So. OK, I got to ask you one more quick question. The chart when we were on before, one of the things that people tell me and they laugh about is I think we both joked about there was some Wi-Fi issues at your home because your son may be playing for a fortnight. And I say, so how is the fortnight overseas? I mean, is he giving it up?

[00:50:38] Hey, yeah. That yeah. Yeah, that’s not happening.

[00:50:41] So that’s that’s the key. As long as all you do is move your family, become a pack of nomads for about nine months and the four year addiction

[00:50:48] Will be exactly I mean that is actually part of what our thinking was taking this trip is just actually having a little less time online, a little bit more time actually out in the real world. And he is actually currently studying in China for a couple of months doing language immersion program. So the Wi-Fi is so bad there is no there’s no foreplay.

[00:51:10] So there’s the breaking news. The real reason that the doctor five left was the fortnite. You’re in a fortnight. There’s no way. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you have a great rest of your trip. And then and I can’t wait to talk to you again in the future.

[00:51:24] Great.

[00:51:24] Thanks so much. All right. Bye bye.

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