Sheila is the face behind ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com, the largest single-blogger marriage blog on the internet,
with approximately one million page views a month. She’s an award-winning author of nine including The Great Sex
Rescue, where she surveyed 20,000 women to discover what makes sex great for some and terrible for others. This
is the focus of this podcast episode.
Buy the book “The Great Sex Rescue” here: https://geni.us/rBwAs
Connect with Shiela here:Website: ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
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[00:00:00] Why are most of your books about sex? Like, was there something that happened some kind of event that you, you thought, okay, I got to talk about this. I’ve got to investigate this. Oh gosh. Well, I think it’s partly serendipity and it’s partly my personality. Um, but I started out in the mommy blogs sphere, like back, you know, 2008, 2009, all the mommy bloggers were all the rage.
And I was writing about housework and about parenting and just all the stuff that every mommy blogger did back. Yeah. But I found that whenever I wrote about sex, my traffic went up. And so, so part of it was like mercenary, right? You’re chasing traffic. That was part of it. And I think a lot of, a lot of the other part was I was writing, um, mostly in the Christian sphere.
We’re so bad at talking about sex in the Christian sphere. And I’ve never had a problem saying like clutter IHSS or like, [00:01:00] I just, I’m just fine with that. And my husband and I were speaking a lot of marriage conferences. He’s he’s a doctor, he’ll say anything too. So it just was like a lot of people weren’t comfortable and we were in, so we got slotted into this quite a bit for different magazines and TV shows and things.
And so we just found ourselves talking about this, and then I realized, well, if I’m going to talk about this, I better it. What I’m talking about. So I started doing a lot more research and, you know, reading all the books and making sure that what I was saying was right and all that. But yeah, it wasn’t actually deliberate.
Like nobody grows up thinking I really want to be the sex lady for the Christian Church. Like, that’s a weird thing. And so, yeah, niche kind of group though. I mean, I was, when I first read your email, um, I saw Sam. And I thought, okay, cool. And then I saw Christianity or something along those lines and I thought, oh, and I read it again because it’s just something that you don’t usually hear, [00:02:00] which is really great.
And it’s really perfect. And I’m so excited to like, really talk to you about this because there’s so many questions that I have on this subject. My upbringing is. Super religious, but it was, it was kind of spotted with church. So I would go to church like every month or so, uh, whenever my mom felt like it and I grew up as a Christian baptized Christian, but.
We, we weren’t devout. Uh, however, I know exactly what you’re saying. When you talking about the, you know, that, that whole uncomfortable air around the subject of sex in this religious culture, because I had. For sure. We were a very conservative family growing up. And so whenever we would sit in the living room together and we would be watching a movie, you know, you were always on the lookout because you know, there’s always going to be some kind of love making scene.
Right. That’s just part of the formula. So you’re kind of like sitting there in the chair and you’re kind of [00:03:00] thinking, when is it going to have, when it’s going to happen? And it happens and you start to sweat and you’re like, mm, what are they thinking? What are they thinking? So it’s that kind of thing that I had to go through.
And just like you, I don’t know what it was. I decided that to just start talking about relationships and sex is just part of relationships and it’s one of the most important parts of a relationship. And so I have to become very comfortable talking about it. So what, what is that mind mindset shift that happened like for you?
How did you do it? Or did you just, you, you said you were always comfortable doing it, but, okay. Let’s talk about just people in general, when you talk to them about it, like, what do you think is holding them back from being open about it? Well, that’s really what our, what, um, my latest book is about, you know, cause it’s, it’s, it’s a huge research project.
Um, it’s called the great sex rescue. And what we did was we surveyed 20,000, um, predominantly Christian women to figure out, are [00:04:00] there certain teachings in the church that are wrecking orgasm rates? And that are causing rates of sexual pain to increase. So like, are there certain teachings in the church that are wrecking sex?
For women I just want to clarify, you said 20,000. Yeah. Like huge. It is. And, and the, the survey was minimum 130 questions. It was more, if you were divorced or remarried or different, there were certain other things where you might’ve had more like 180 questions. So it was, it was long. It, most people took about 25 minutes to do it.
Um, so this was a huge project. It’s, it’s going to be an, uh, we’re preparing some journal articles for peer reviewed journals as well, but we got the book out first, um, But we re we really wanted to get to the bottom of this question is what is it that is hurting sex for Christian women? Because there are certain things that we already knew, like for instance, and the 1970s, it was [00:05:00] becoming very well known in gynecological journals that religiously conservative women.
So that would include Christian women. It would also include Orthodox Jews or devout Muslims or. whatever Had higher rates of vaginismus or sexual pain than the general population So this has been known for like 50 years. Okay. But nobody’s ever asked why, like, what is it specifically about being religiously conservative that causes that everyone just says, oh, it’s just because you feel shame about sex, but we’re like, well, no, like what is it like let’s, let’s drill down even deeper and figure out the why.
And so that’s what we were trying to figure out in this survey is like what’s causing sexual pain and what is causing the orgasm. gap Because we haven’t seen that there is, right. Yeah. So this is my next question is like, how stark is that gap? Like, is it really visible or is it like, kind of just there and not many people have noticed.
Well, um, among men. So we didn’t survey [00:06:00] men for this particular book we have for a subsequent book. But, but if you look at other studies, um, roughly 95% of men almost always, or always reach orgasm during a sexual encounter. But for, um, the women that we looked at, the number was about 40. So that’s a 47 point orgasm gap, and that’s pretty much in line with other studies.
Like we’ve seen orgasm rates for women. It depends how you measure frequency. So we all had different ways of naming frequency. So you can’t, you can’t look at the studies, compare them. Exactly. But you know, other studies have shown between like a 37 and a 61% orgasm rate. So we’re kind of. Smack in the middle.
So we did, I think we’re pretty good at accurate, but yeah, we got a 47 point orgasm gap between men and women and, you know, I’d really like to bridge that gap and figure out how to make it. A lot less cause that ain’t right. So
that is one of [00:07:00] the, uh, I think from the beginning of civilization, one of the biggest challenges between the sexes is what happens in the bed. And is it, is it fair? Are we, uh, are we, are we giving what we take and, uh, yeah. I I’m no stranger to that kind of information that, that 47% sounds about. Right. For just in general anyway, but like you’re saying that that’s the that’s in religious groups specifically.
And if so, do you know what the difference is outside of religious groups or is that the difference between the religious groups? Yeah. Like I said, other studies have had a female orgasm rate that we looked at, um, anywhere from like 39 to 61 is what we found, you know, who would say that they frequently or always orgasm.
The problem was we were measuring almost always, and always in some people were measuring like frequently. And so like what counts as what? Right. So it’s hard to measure exactly between studies, [00:08:00] um, because people might’ve interpreted those words. That’s a huge difference. But I think for the listeners, because I got confused.
Yeah. But regardless, like you’re looking at a female orgasm rate across the board of roughly, like, let’s say somewhere between 45 and 60%, probably always, or almost always whether they’re religious or not. Whereas for men, you’re looking at an orgasm rate of about 95%. So that’s your gender gap? Right now that’s the, I mean, what do you attribute that to?
I mean, if we’re going to go into this, uh, kind of the roles that sex sex has play when having sex, um, I have my own thoughts. And I’ve talked about this a bunch with, with other people. I, our first episode ever was titled faking orgasms and what men can do better in bed, uh, which by the way, just to [00:09:00] mirror what you said earlier, it was literally a traffic grab.
Like I was, I was thinking, what can I make the first episode? Let’s make it about orgasm. Surely that’s going to get clicks. And it did. But, uh, I have my own thoughts about, you know, why, why men are quote unquote hopeless on average in bed. Um, but, but what do you, what are your thoughts about. Well, what we were looking at specifically was are there certain beliefs that are causing women’s orgasm rates to lower it?
Like, we all know that like lack of foreplay, you know, contributes to lower orgasm rates for women and all of those kinds of things. But I think it goes deeper than that because what causes lack of foreplay. You know, like, like, like we have to ask the next question. And a lot of the reasons for the lack of foreplay is also how we look at sex or even, um, [00:10:00] What we think of in terms of how the genders approach sex.
So for instance, if you look at the four big beliefs that we found really lower orgasm rates, the one overarching one kind of like in Lord of the rings language, like the one ring to rule them all, like, you know, the one thing that unites everything is the idea that sex is primarily for men. And when we approach sex as something which a husband needs or a man needs, but a woman might want, but she doesn’t need it in the same way that he does Like sex is something that he needs. Then that’s what really causes problems. And if you think about it, like if a woman thinks, okay, he really needs this, I don’t really want it, but he really needs this. Then she’s way more likely, like if he wants, if he wants to do foreplay, if he wants to make her feel great, she’s way more likely to say no, don’t worry about myself.
Just go on with it. Right. Like it’s Because she thinks, no, it’s your experience that matters. It’s not mine.[00:11:00]
Um, yeah. All right. That I can understand. I can see that. And it’s made me, it’s made me realize maybe something I haven’t thought about too much, which is, you know, how you, how you initiate and, and the conversation around the event, or at least the actions in the conversation. Maybe, maybe one or the other, because it’s a psychological process, right.
You’re working your way up to something and, and with women, it’s totally different. You know, I, I understand that. I know that for men, we can go as one woman put it, who was on our show from zero to a hundred miles an hour in this, in a split second. But for women, it’s a, it’s a psychological play. You you’re, you’re kind of building up to that and it takes time and there’s certain events that have to happen for, for it to get very, you know, wet and ready.
So. I think that I can see how that would play. One of the biggest [00:12:00] roles is, is, is that belief that maybe, and, and you’re, you’re clearly, clearly you’re saying that this is something that’s taught on a certain level, right. That. I think it’s definitely taught in Christian circles. And that’s one of the things we’re trying to do is change the conversation.
But I think there’s even something else that goes, even beyond that, which is this, like, if I were to say to you, did you have sex last night? Which I’m not actually asking. Okay. So you don’t have to answer that. But yeah, if I were to ask you, we’re very open on this show, painting my nails. You know, you’re picturing something specific in your head, right?
Like you think what I’m asking is did you put your penis into her vagina and move around until your climax? Like that tends to be our definition of sex, which is intercourse. The problem with that definition. Is that she could be lying there making a grocery list in her head, right? Like not even present or she could be lying there in emotional [00:13:00] turmoil.
She could even be lying there in physical pain. And it would still count as having sex because our definition of sex doesn’t actually involve her experience. Her experience is secondary. It’s really what’s, he’s doing, and it’s his climax. And so we need to change our entire definition of sex. Like even with the orgasm rate, what we found is that of the women who do reach orgasm regularly, only 39% can orgasm through intercourse alone.
Okay. Most need a whole lot of foreplay and most can’t even orgasm through intercourse. You know, other routes are way more. Reliable. And so if, if our definition of sex is intercourse, then if she needs something else, she’s going to feel like she’s being selfish. Like she’s broken. Well, he has a really good time with this.
What’s wrong with my body that I don’t, you know? And so she starts to feel like she’s broken. Like I’m not working. [00:14:00] He starts to feel like she’s broken or like she’s just not sexual. And so they rush through things and they never learn how to figure out that arousal piece and how to figure out how to make her feel good.
And so, you know, even changing our definition of sex so that we have two different words, you know, we have sex, which is something which I would say should be mutual, intimate, and pleasurable for both. And then we have integral. And intercourse can be a part of sex for sure. But intercourse in and of itself is not it.
Wow. That’s great. And you know, there’s a few things here. I can see how there’s a lot of, obviously there’s a lot of factors that need to be taken into account when you do studies like that. And I’m sure that you you’re you’re, you’re definitely aware of them. You just been speaking about that. So yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s kinda like a, you won’t know exactly, but you’re getting an idea of it.[00:15:00]
Um, and another thing that I wanted to say is that. As a man and as a person, who’s quite sapiosexual for anyone who doesn’t know what that means. It’s when you’re attracted to someone’s way of thinking or someone’s mind, uh, more than you are physically. And I don’t know if it’s true that I’m more attracted to someone’s mind than I am at a physical appearance, but I’m definitely very interested in their, in the way they think.
And so. For me, uh, intercourse isn’t enough. Like I need to have different ingredients in there. Uh, and you know, the, even for the, the, the guy that doesn’t think that far ahead or doesn’t just operate that way, we, we have to also recognize that. A guy might go back to his friends and say, Hmm. You know, I, you know, I fucked her or, you know, we, we had sex or whatever and feel good and get that validation is trying to achieve something that isn’t pleasure.
It’s notoriety. It’s [00:16:00] uh, it’s his open self validation. It’s like, yeah, I did it. You know, and I’ve, I’ve been through that before. I know how that feels and I’m sure most men feel that way too. Or they get that kind of fear. Yeah. W one of the biggest challenges for men in the bed is a, is a fear of performance or lack of performance.
So it’s a, it’s a constant battle in the mind. Um, yeah. And I think, I think too, I mean, people just want connection. Like we make sex and something, which is only physical. And it really isn’t like there is that intimate connection that people want as well. And that really makes sex fulfilling. And when we focus only on the physical, we lose that.
And I think that’s why guys really don’t like duty sex. You know, like, no, you, you don’t want to get duty sex and yet, can you explain that for us? What that means? I think most people might not know what it means. Yeah. I like that idea that, that, um, she needs to give him sex because he needs it [00:17:00] or he’ll be frustrated or he’ll be grumpy and it’s been a couple of days and he’s probably do.
And so it’s not that she’s into. She is just having sex because she figures he needs the release and most good guys don’t want that most good guys want to experience where she’s really into it as well. You know, because otherwise it doesn’t feel, it just feels like. I’m just using her and where there’s no connection there.
And so you want it to be something that you’re experiencing together. And the problem is that what we found in the great sex rescue is that a large part of the things that women internalize, these messages that women internalize is, you know, you’re obligated to give him sex. Like you owe him sex, you know, especially once you’re married, like you have to give him sex every couple of days or he’s going to get grumpy and he won’t be able to function and he won’t be able to be nice to you.
And you know, this is just what he needs. And we focus so much on what he needs, that it makes sex into a [00:18:00] duty for women. And when something is a duty, it’s not fun. It kills passion. Mm. Yeah. And we see that all the time. Right? In, in mainstream media, we hear about it from our friends and maybe even family as well about how the sex life has just died.
And that’s, that’s actually what sex life is kind of about the show on Netflix. It’s uh, it’s uh, a woman who is in a relationship, a marriage she’s got children with him. She seems like the perfect guy. And, um, you know, the, it, the passion just isn’t really there. And when her ex comes into her life, again, she’s reminded of how past.
You know, sex can actually be. And so there’s a kind of a dilemma. And how big do you think a problem like this is, and it’s obviously a big problem, but I mean, in, in your opinion, how much of a problem is having this kind of situation with sex in relationships? Well, we found [00:19:00] is that when women feel obligated to give him sex, um, She does end up having sex slightly more frequently than if she doesn’t.
Okay. So they, they live, they have intercourse more frequently. It’s not a big difference. It’s not like you go from like four times a week to like zero or something or once a month. It’s it’s, it’s like it’s, you know, instead of 1.1, it’s like 1.4 times or whatever it might be. It’s not a huge difference, but it is, it is more frequently.
However, her chance of orgasm goes down. Tremendously her chance of sexual pain in his doubles. Um, there’s all kinds of really negative outcomes. What we found is that if you want sex to be frequent, it’s way more important. Instead of telling people how much they should be having sex to figure out why it is that some people don’t want sex because frequency is a symptom.
It’s [00:20:00] not the thing in and of itself. And when we start saying, oh, you know, the average couple has sex twice a week, or, you know, those who have the best sex have sex three times a week or whatever, we’re missing the bigger picture because having sex three times a week where she never orgasms is not going to help.
Right. Like, and so instead figure out why she doesn’t want it. Yeah, figure out why she doesn’t want sex and figure out how to make it feel good for her and give her a reason to want it. Um, and of course we have to remember too, that like in 19% of marriages are long-term relationships. Um, he’s actually the one with the lower sex drive.
It’s not her. So it’s like, it’s not always the one way, right. It can go either way and we need to keep that in mind as well. Absolutely. Uh, I’ve suffered from, you know, I don’t, I’m not so sure about you, but from my experience, you know, I was in, uh, I was engaged to someone and we were together for five years.
And during those five years [00:21:00] toward the end, I would say the last, the fourth year, you know, things literally and figuratively dried up. And that was a big problem for me. Uh, and for her, we were in our twenties and it was just a, it was just a big bottle. And the funny thing is so, so she would go through, I’m not sure what you called it earlier.
I should probably know this, but, um, some kind of sexual pain, uh, some kind of like, you know, rigidness to the vagina, which causes a pain. And I think a lot of women apparently go through that. Um, when they’re doing. There’s some kind of mental, psychological trauma or something blocking them. And, um, it wasn’t always like that.
It, it became like that. And I think, um, well, I’ll tell you about the next relationship and then I’ll come back to this and I’ll give you my conclusion, but the next. You know, the next relationship for example, was just nonstop. Like w [00:22:00] w we couldn’t get enough of it. And I don’t think it was, it wasn’t due to the honeymoon honeymoon phase.
It wasn’t because we were still getting to know each other, and it was exciting. The difference, I believe, was a mutual understanding that just as we’re talking about now, There is a lot more involved with just then than just intercourse. You know, sex is a massive spectrum of human emotions and behavior and language and communication.
And so with that different partners, I, we tried, you know, we, I mean, I guess the chemistry was there, but the chemistry was there with my previous partner too. It wasn’t like we didn’t have chemistry. What I think was different is we really took our time and we really communicated and we really let each other know how we feel.
And we just. A lot more into each other and a lot more, uh, excited about the actual process. And so, uh, you know, um, I mean, if anyone’s [00:23:00] listening to this, I, I would personally say it again. It’s not about the frequency, it’s not about the frequency or the, or the, or the, uh, um, you know, uh, Th the th the effort that you put in at the actual moment that you’re having sex.
Cause that’s just it’s if it’s not right to begin with, it’s not going to be right. And if you put in more effort, like, I mean, probably, so I would say in my experience, it’s all about the building. It’s about the setting, the tone it’s about, you know, really kind of like being open emotionally with your partner, because if there’s anything, if there’s like a, I don’t know if there’s something there that you haven’t addressed or you you’re just not, you’re not talking about it.
It’s it’s like it’s in the back of the mind, right? There’s, there’s something there and it’s like a block it’s actually. A block to this energy. Um, so I don’t know what you think about that, but that was my experience. Um, well, you know, um, there’s, uh, one of the outcome [00:24:00] variables that we were measuring as well was feeling emotionally connected during sex.
And what we found is that that is a key thing for women’s marital and sexual satisfaction. And for women’s orgasm rates, like if you don’t feel emotionally connected during sex, it’s much harder to achieve orgasm, um, or to say that your sex life is good and. Women just, um, well, let me back up. We have a hard time with that though, because we tend to compartmentalize sex and we tend to separate the physical from the emotional, I mean, our culture has a very pornographic.
Way of seeing sex like that sex is about using someone that the sex is about a power differential. That sex is about, um, you know, just all kinds of different insert adjective here, but it’s not, it’s not about an intimacy or a sharing. It’s more about a taking or using, and that may have some physical highs, but it doesn’t tend to, to, um, get people [00:25:00] feeling emotionally close.
And so how, you know, how we can separate and how we can find a new way of relating that isn’t a pornographic style of relating towards sex is really important. And that was another one of the big findings that we had is that, um, a lot of women feel like I need to have sex with my husband to stop him from using porn.
You know, like if he’s, if he’s got a sex addiction, if he’s really into pornography, if I have sex with him, then he won’t use porn as much. And that actually is a misnomer. But that, that idea. Really hurts women’s sexual performance and satisfaction because it’s like, it’s like having sex with a gun to your head, right?
Like if you don’t do this, then something bad is going to happen and that’s going to kill sex anyway. But also, you know, sex is not a substitute. I want to say something about that actually, because there’s, there’s something really, really fascinating in that point that you just made. If a woman. [00:26:00] Tells her partner that he must have sex with her.
Let’s say she’s fed up. She, she needs him to do this. Otherwise she doesn’t know what she’s going to do. Maybe it’s the end of the relationship. Maybe she’s going to leave for awhile. And she’s like, we have to have the guy is unless he takes Viagra or some kind of, you know what I mean? He’s not going to be able to perform like he would normally.
And the thing is, men need to be able to be hard to perform, but women don’t need to be able to be for men to perform. And so what we’re seeing here is. Again, to your point, intercourse does not equal sex. It’s it’s, you know, it’s just, uh, an unfortunate situation where, um, and I know that both sexes suffer, but it’s just an unfortunate situation where this problem can go unresolved for so long.
If it’s the woman. That is having the issues. If it’s the guy who’s not having any issues, it could go on [00:27:00] for years and years and years. And we’ve seen that before in relationships. Yeah. But what’s your thought about porn anyway? I mean, if you want to answer that, but that’s fine, but I also wanted to ask you what’s what are your thoughts about porn and relationships?
Well, what we found is it is it’s pretty much universally destructive and most studies are finding that now, too. I mean, even aside from. The impact on your sex life or whatever. I just have a big issue because the sex trafficking thing, I mean, you look at porn hub, um, Anyway, it breaks my heart. I just, it’s more, it’s more, uh, it’s more than people think, right?
The girls in those videos are more of them are actually trafficked than people would believe. Yeah. And, and, and so much of it is not consensual. And even if you think it’s consensual, if she was sexually abused her whole life, and now she’s using drugs, or now she’s whatever, like how, how much consent is really there.
So I just, I have, I have some moral issues just with the sex trafficking angle of it. Um, But again, [00:28:00] Yeah. If what you’re really looking for is a sexual relationship where you feel intimate and you’re feel pleasurable together, then you need to be emotionally present. And when porn is involved, you’re not being emotionally present.
You’re dissociating from your partner in order to fantasize about whatever is going on, and then you’re trying to recreate it. And so you’re actually distancing yourself from your partner at the same time as you’re with them. Um, and so that’s why. Porn off it doesn’t work. And the more people use porn, multiple studies have shown this.
Um, the more guys get delayed ejaculation. The more they have, um, erectile dysfunction, the more women, um, women can get away with this a lot more than men because women can fantasize to orgasm. And so women can be like, totally not there in their heads. And the guy may never know because. Imagining erotica or, you know, imagining porn or whatever it might be.
And so again, there’s just no emotional connection. You’re just using each other like sex toys, which you know, is not really what I hope we want and [00:29:00] healthy relations.
I think people know if they’ve been listening to this for some time, I’ve made it very vocal. How I think about porn in relationships. And I, I am not a fan of it. I think it’s fine if you’re, well, I mean, I also think that it’s not entirely healthy anyway, even if you’re single, but, um, in relationships for sure.
You know, like, like you, you kind of mentioned. The whole point of being in a relationship with someone is to share intimacy and connection, uh, among other things. And if you are letting something like porn, leach that from you, and I’m talking about using it independently within the relationship, if you watch it together, I guess fair enough.
Like, you know, that’s fine. But if you’re using it individually by yourselves, in the relationship, [00:30:00] your, um, funneling off that, uh, attention. Right. And, uh, and it’s just. You, you did say it very well. It’s just so damaging. And so people will argue with me and I, I had a conversation with someone that I was actually that I’m actually dating.
Right. And I’m very, I’m very open to people’s opinions about things. I don’t shoot anyone down. Usually. Um, but, but, but when, so when we talked about this, I just, I wanted to ask her what she really thought and, and find out if she actually ever really had any thoughts about what she’s saying. Cause she said, I don’t see any problem with it.
So I said to her, you know, well, um, if your, in a relationship and your masturbating to porn, um, what’s the difference between you going and having sex with someone else? And just masturbating to someone else having sex. Like what’s the difference apart from the physical connection and she couldn’t answer me, she said, you know what?
You’ve got a [00:31:00] point there. I’ve never thought about that. And that’s that’s uh, so it could be, you know, tantamount. From one angle, it could be tantamount to cheating and people don’t realize that, you know, because it’s so accepted, it’s so widely accepted and used it’s it’s like alcohol, you know, we drink it, we kill ourselves, but we don’t question it because it’s so widely accepted, but damaging.
Yeah. It’s really a splitting of your sexual self because, um, What you are doing is you’re splitting the physical desires and release, et cetera, from the relationship. And what we’ve known for years is that the best sex is had by people who can combine those two, not people who, who split them. And so, you know, that’s for both men and women, it’s, it’s, it’s much more pronounced for women, but it’s true for men as well.
Um, And so when we, we want to get over is the splitting, because sex, I think really was intended to be something which [00:32:00] binds us together, which, you know, makes you feel like you don’t know where you end and the other person begins, like, it’s this, it’s this wonderful, passionate experience. And that’s not the case.
If you’re kind of dissociating in your mind from your, from your. Partner spouse, whatever, when you’re with them. So , you could really get into a long conversation about this is this is this. I want to say this because I think it needs to be said. And, uh, I haven’t really thought about this to any great degree.
So forgive me if I’m not eloquent in the way that I communicate, but I believe even if we cut porn out and we’re still using social media and we’re still on Instagram and we’re still seeing these. Uh, almost picture pixel perfect. Photo-shopped images of people with very exaggerated, you know, um, sexual appearances, right?
Uh, it’s not just Instagram. It’s, it’s EV it’s on YouTube. It’s in the videos that we watch. It’s, um, it’s everywhere. It’s in the [00:33:00] cosmetic surgery that we do now. These days, that’s just kind of taken on a life of its own. I think we’re really challenged in our relationships to stay. Interested in our partner, because there’s so much out there that we’re being exposed to so much exaggeration, uh, that wouldn’t have existed before until recent years where everyone seems to be obsessed or a lot of people are obsessed with their physical appearance and attraction.
And so they’re going and getting surgery, or they’re hitting the gym six times a week and I don’t have a problem if you want to hit the gym six times a week. I don’t even have a problem if you want to do surgery. But I think we need to, well, this is my question to you. What do you think is going on and, and how do we, how do we get out of this situation that we clearly seem to be having trouble with?
I think we’ve forgotten what the key to great sex is. You know, the key to wonderful sex, amazing sex is vulnerability. It’s the ability to. [00:34:00] To truly be yourself with someone it’s to let all pretense go it’s to be completely naked in every way. You know, it’s not physically naked, the easy part. That’s not the hard part.
It’s letting them see who you really are. And then sex is a joining of you being completely authentically you with all of your flaws, with all of your fears, with all of your baggage, but also with all of your dreams and all of like with everything. And then you’re joining with someone else. And that’s the key of the problem is most of us can’t be that vulnerable with someone.
Yeah. You know, either we’re not in the place where we can honestly trust our partner enough, you know, we don’t know if the commitment levels there. We don’t know if, if they’re a safe or not. Um, what if for whatever reason, and then sometimes even when the commitment is there, you still feel like they don’t really accept me, or I’ve never been able to really show them this part of me.
And, and so I think all of them. Not all, but a lot of us are [00:35:00] having sex and it’s like, we know we’re missing something, but we don’t know what that something is. And so we figured that we just need to get kinkier or make everything more hot or whatever, and I’m not, you know, go do what you want. I’m like, whatever.
I’m not trying to make a statement on that. I’m just saying that for most people, what we found is that the solution doesn’t necessarily lie in like a sex toy shop. The solution lies in learning how to actually let someone. In every way. And that that’s why makeup sex is a real thing. Like, like people don’t realize this, but you know how after you’ve had a fight, you really want to jump each other.
Okay. And it’s because you’ve been totally emotionally vulnerable. Right. Like they you’ve, you’ve let them know, Hey, I’m really scared of this. Or are they really makes me upset when you do this and that’s a vulnerable thing to share. And so, you know, you’ve hashed this out and you’ve talked about how, yeah, this is just a really sore spot that you hit and, and, you know, this hurts me or I didn’t mean to hurt you and you’ve shared emotionally, and then that’s what [00:36:00] gets you hot for each other?
And so it’s like, vulnerability is what we’re missing so often. Hmm. Oh my gosh. That’s something I’ve never heard before. I mean, I know all of makeup sex. I’ve had it many times with very toxic relationships that I’ve been in. It’s great, but I’ve never really thought about what’s going on chronically and that’s an excellent way to describe it.
I mean, um, It’s profound actually, you know, because vulnerability, like we talked about at the very beginning, if we could just learn how to access that and be accepting of ourselves, I think it’s really accepting yourself. Isn’t it? It’s vulnerability is in essence, your ability. To accept yourself and be open to criticism and potential pain and hurt, uh, and have a confidence that [00:37:00] you are enough that you’re going to be fine, that you, nothing could ever hurt you, um, when it comes to you being yourself.
And so it’s kind of like a genuineness, right? It’s a, it’s an understanding that there is no other way to really play this game. Then to just as if full, if happiness and fulfillment are the objectives of life, then vulnerability is the, I guess the foundation of that, uh, because without that, nothing else can, can, none of that can, can manifests.
Right. And the problem is that the foundation of vulnerability is safety and trust, right? So it’s like, you can’t, you can’t just manufacture vulnerability. You can’t just decide I’m going to be vulnerable right now, but you need to, you need to have the right conditions for that. And that’s where I guess we’ve come full circle in the discussion, but that’s where the relationship matters too.
Like you have to feel, you know, like, like I we’re emotionally connected [00:38:00] and this is about both of us together. Yeah, I definitely agree with you in that respect when it comes to a relationship, it’s a, it’s a dance it’s like it’s two, two, it takes two tango. Um, I wanted to ask you, um, do you think that this is the unhappiest generation so far?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Cause, cause you know, I’m not saying you’re really, really, really old or anything.
When I asked her the question for like what, what we didn’t, we didn’t live in previous generations. Um, but I mean we have history books, so that’s a start. Yeah. I actually think Jen’s ed is going to get a lot, right. I think Jen is going to turn everything around, honestly. Um, like when you look at the stats for millennials or gen ed, like millennials go to therapy, like no other generation before them, [00:39:00] millennials will talk about their junk, you know, which is awesome.
Um, I think millennials know what they don’t want and gen CEDS know what they don’t want even more. So, um, And I think people are really yearning for significance and they’re, they’re really getting rid of the disposable society. I think my generation had the disposable society and you look at the trends among millennials and gen ed, like even the minimalism trend, right?
Like where we’re only going to have what we absolutely need, but then we’re going to buy the best. So we’re not going to have 10,000 things in our house. We might only have like 500, but those 500 are going to be really good quality, you know? And that’s what the younger generations are really valuing.
And I think that’s going to play over into our romantic relationships as well. Is that people want stuff that’s going to last, people want significance. They don’t want shallow anymore. Um, you see that in politics? You see it everywhere. We want something [00:40:00] that’s that’s not, that’s going to last. So I don’t know.
That’s nice. That’s really, really nice. That’s a positive message. Um, yeah. It’s especially difficult for young people to catch a break just because of, you know, tech talk and all of the things that they get up to, which is kind of harmless when you think about it. But I think it’s been that way. Every new generation that comes around the previous ones kind of rolled in their eyes and always kind of saying, know, you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that.
Um, but I like what you’re saying and I, I want to believe it. And I think yet life, at least I think there are cycles too. And so we’re, we seem to be coming to a very heady climax of a, of a whole long list of just disastrous behavior that has gotten us into a situation where a division is at an all time high.
Um, you know, there’s a lot of social movements right now, [00:41:00] our economy isn’t doing well at all. And, uh, I hope. Yeah. I have high hopes that we’re going to be able to turn things around. Um, but it does start with the young people. I had a conversation earlier, and this is someone that’s something that I’ve talked about quite a few times is do you want to have children?
And I say, yeah, I want to have children. I mean, there’s been times where I’ve been quite, um, I didn’t want to have kids because I didn’t want to subject them to what I believe could happen. Very, you know, very, probably could happen in the lowering of the quality of life and just terrible things that might come from whatever stuff we’ve been doing.
I think that I do believe more in the fact that the children we raise are going to be the ones that are going to be able to build a better world for everyone, because parenting is another big topic that I love. And I think our parenting sucked a lot, like over the last a hundred [00:42:00] years, it really sucked.
Um, and so we’ve got a lot of work to do. Uh, yeah, for sure. Um, but when it comes to this, uh, This book, how can people get their hands on it? Where is it being sold? Yeah. So the great sex rescue everywhere, Amazon, everywhere you look, it’ll be there. It’s doing quite well on Amazon. So, yeah. Um, yeah, and it’s again, based on our survey of 20,000 women to see what really works for sex and what really wrecks it.
So yeah. Come up with the 20,000 figure. Like that’s a huge amount of people as a study. Well, I have a pretty large peer review. Yeah. And we’re, we’re working on some peer reviewed articles right now, especially around sexual pain, but I have a fairly large newsletter list. So we got, like, we probably had about 10,000 from my list.
And then we had a lot of [00:43:00] other influencers sharing the links so that we could get people with all different diverse belief systems so that we could compare against each other. And that was important to us. So, yeah. It’s fascinating stuff. And I’m so, so happy you came on and talked to us about this today.
It’s been a real pleasure to have you here. Uh, how do people get in touch with you online? Where do they find you? Um, so I’m the bear marriage podcast, or you can find me, I’m Sheila, Greg we’re on Instagram and Twitter and all those things. So yep. You go there and you will find my blog, my website, everything.
Excellent. I appreciate it. Hope you, uh, do really well with this book and I can’t wait for the seventh book coming out. Thank you. Hey, thanks for tuning in. Make sure you subscribe today and you won’t miss the next episode. We covered topics like recovering from infidelity, online, dating, managing chronic anxiety, and so much more we’re on all the popular platforms.
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