Husband Material

Secrets Of Sex And Marriage (with Dr. Michael Sytsma)

July 03, 2023 Drew Boa
Secrets Of Sex And Marriage (with Dr. Michael Sytsma)
Husband Material
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Husband Material
Secrets Of Sex And Marriage (with Dr. Michael Sytsma)
Jul 03, 2023
Drew Boa

"He said at 74, I am having the best sex of my life. At 74, my penis only occasionally shows up for the party. But I am still having the best sex of my life. I wish I had known in my thirties how to have this kind of sex."

What is sex ultimately about? How can married couples enjoy sex more? How do you deal with differences in sexual desire? In this episode, Dr. Michael Sytsma offers a robust theology of sexuality AND clinical wisdom on how to unlock arousal, increase intimacy, and have fun in the bedroom.

Dr. Michael Sytsma is a licensed professional counselor, certified sex therapist, ordained minister, professor, and national speaker. He has over 30 years of clinical experience in sex therapy and is the founder of Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. and co-founder of Sexual Wholeness, Inc.

Buy Mike's new book: Secrets of Sex & Marriage: 8 Surprises that Make all the Difference (this is a paid link).

Learn more at secretsofsexandmarriage.com

Come to our free online workshop:
HMA In A Day on Saturday, July 13!
Sign up now at husbandmaterial.com/workshop

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

"He said at 74, I am having the best sex of my life. At 74, my penis only occasionally shows up for the party. But I am still having the best sex of my life. I wish I had known in my thirties how to have this kind of sex."

What is sex ultimately about? How can married couples enjoy sex more? How do you deal with differences in sexual desire? In this episode, Dr. Michael Sytsma offers a robust theology of sexuality AND clinical wisdom on how to unlock arousal, increase intimacy, and have fun in the bedroom.

Dr. Michael Sytsma is a licensed professional counselor, certified sex therapist, ordained minister, professor, and national speaker. He has over 30 years of clinical experience in sex therapy and is the founder of Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. and co-founder of Sexual Wholeness, Inc.

Buy Mike's new book: Secrets of Sex & Marriage: 8 Surprises that Make all the Difference (this is a paid link).

Learn more at secretsofsexandmarriage.com

Come to our free online workshop:
HMA In A Day on Saturday, July 13!
Sign up now at husbandmaterial.com/workshop

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how Let's go. Hey man, thank you for listening to my interview with Michael Sitesma. It was so amazing.

Speaker 1:

You are going to learn why sexual desire often looks different between men and women. We're going to undo some shame beliefs that you may be carrying or some frustration that you may be having with your partner, and you're going to learn why sex is important but not a need. We're also going to talk about some techniques to live more seductively, to be more embodied and to have boundaries, about different types of intimate touch. Even if you're not married, and even if you don't plan on getting married, you're still going to get a wonderful vision of God's design for sex and sexuality that will continue to encourage you on your journey of healing. Today's episode is basically like getting a graduate level class in human sexuality from one of the experts in the field. So here we go Enjoy the episode. Welcome to husband material. Today I am with Dr Michael Sitesma, who is the co-author of a new book called Secrets of Sex in Marriage. Welcome to the show, mike.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. It's an honor to be here. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

So I have appreciated you for years and I would love for you to let some of these guys know who you are.

Speaker 2:

Well, thanks. So I started off studying pre-med and then I studied addictions and then as a pastor, i pastored for a number of years and people kept coming in with hurts that nobody taught me how to address. So I kept going back and getting training. I have a master's from Georgia State in community counseling. Then I fell in love with doing and I worked inpatient for quite a while. Then I fell in love with doing marriage work and started working with sex addicts in 1990. So I've been doing that for a little while.

Speaker 2:

Mid-90s fell in love with marriage work and started building intimate marriages and got my PhD and a marriage and family therapy PhD and specialized in marital sex therapy. So I have been doing that since about 2000 and just fell in love with research, going through a research PhD, and so continue to dig into what is making a difference in couples and have a lot of really courageous couples about 20, 25 a week. That's set in my office for therapy And then, as you experienced, i teach in about six different seminaries across the country. So I do six to eight different graduate courses a year And that keeps me a little busy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, dr Mike. This show is for men, outgrowing porn And we're talking about sex today. So talking about sex and having a better view of sex relate to outgrowing porn.

Speaker 2:

I'm often a little bit critical of how many people in the world handle unhealthy activity I'm a porn being a great example of that And they just say stop it, don't do that, stop looking at it. And I like to point out that that's kind of like, well, if I said to you, don't think about a pink elephant, don't imagine a pink elephant, don't picture it's big, pink floppy ears or it's rope like pink tail, but what goes out in our mind? The more we work on not thinking about a pink elephant, the clearer a pink elephant gets in our mind. And we've learned in our field, the counseling field, that the more we push against something, almost the more power we give it. So how do we not think about a pink elephant? Well, we imagine a real African gray And we picture it walking across the grassland and its trunk is swaying through the grass and the motion of its sides and its ears flipping and its tail kind of flipping around. And the clearer we have the image of a gray elephant in our mind. What happens to the pink one? It just kind of falls away And, as I mentioned it, it shows up in the background. But all I have to do is focus back on that gray one and it disappears again, which makes sense because Scripture encourages us to set our affection on things above, and things of earth will just fall away.

Speaker 2:

And many times I experience guys, when they're triggered and they start to get horny, that they work so hard to not think about porn or not, and I think, okay, that's a fine tactic, but it's probably not going to be highly successful. Can we instead focus and envision what is rich and what is good and pursue that? And when we have that in mind and we pursue it fully, then the reductionist opportunities get less appealing. Even Now, the reality of it is that requires two people to be involved And if we've done woodenness to our spouse, we have a lot of work to do to get back to where we can be actively pursuing it. But we can still work on that as my goal, that's my target, and I'm going to be the kind of man who creates the space for that to occur in his marriage. And that may mean some penance. It may mean sometimes of abstinence, where I am showing I can discipline this, but I discipline it by fighting for what is good, not just fighting against what's bad.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely So. That's what I'm hoping for this conversation, and we'll get to hear some of your view of sex. Good Taking your class on Introduction to Human Sexuality and your view of sex and your insights about sexual intimacy were so mind-blowing for me, and now some of them are in this book, which is really exciting.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and the chapter 10 really fleshes out my view, or as I call it, my theology of sexuality, that sex is first and foremost about intimacy, it's about oneness. God designed sex to be a divine object lesson. It teaches us a lot about him. It teaches us about his relationship with himself, about our relationship with him, our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with each other. It's just a really rich object lesson, but the point of it, the goal, the focus of it, is all about intimacy and oneness. And then we do that in what, to use theological language? we do that in an incarnate way where Christ is fully spirit, is fully God and he's fully man. You cannot separate either of those out and have him so be Christ. And anytime we separate out either the body or the spirit of sex, it's no longer rich sex, it's no longer healthy sex.

Speaker 1:

Can you give some examples of sex without the body or sex without the soul?

Speaker 2:

Yes, sex without the soul, i think, is the easiest in our culture, especially with what you're working with. Pornography is sex without the soul. It's focused on just an act, it's focused on parts, It's focused on just the pleasure or the excitement, the thrill that I get from it, or the escape or whatever is driving my desire to engage in it. It's debased, It's so shrunk down to one aspect of sexuality and it might be potent, but it lacks the richness and eventually it becomes highly destructive. Similarly, though, sex without attending to the physical part is destructive, and we will see people talk about that.

Speaker 2:

Sex needs to be about heart and don't really attend much to the body, or you don't need to know your body or how your body works that arousal and orgasms really aren't that important. Sometimes I'll have, especially wives, come in and say that well, we do it because he wants to. No, it's not for me and I don't enjoy it. And I think I love the spirit of the act there, that you're trying to connect with your spouse in a way that's meaningful to them. But it's not healthy And it's going to become destructive to both of you because you're not keeping the body fully engaged in it, you're not figuring out what physically feels good. You're not pursuing what's good for you and you're not teaching him what feels good for you, which breaks down the intimate part. We're back to the oneness.

Speaker 1:

So part of what we need to do as men is to learn our wives.

Speaker 2:

Become a great student, and it does fall to our wives be willing to share with us, to get to know themselves and to teach us. And if most young men especially we do wounding in our relationship, and especially if we've broken the covenant, if we've brought something into the marriage, that there was an understanding that we wouldn't like pornography or like fantasy about somebody else, that brings a woundedness, that creates a lack of safety, that makes it even more difficult for them to teach us about themselves, because now they feel like we're measuring them against some fantasy and no real person can compete with the fantasy. I always point out that fantasy cannot compete with real either, and people forget that. No, you are a real person who engages with me And my fantasy life can't come close to that if it's about intimacy and oneness, and I'm keeping it incarnate.

Speaker 1:

You've worked with thousands of couples to make sex fit that vision of contraception, at least to guide them there.

Speaker 2:

People do what they want in therapy office, but to try to guide them to that richness And unfortunately many people come in looking just for the physical part, or they want their spouse to just reflect the spirit of the act and helping them to find the richness in it Allows for sex that goes way beyond our 20s, 30s, 40s. That's where the couples that are seeing me in their 80s and 70s are learning rich sexuality, even if their bodies don't work great, because they've learned that it's more than just one aspect. It's more than just the orgasm or how firm their erection is or what actual practices that they're doing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Yeah, where are some of the places where couples often get stuck?

Speaker 2:

Obviously, desire is. One of the biggest things that comes into the office is couples arguing over frequency and arguing over do you really want me or not. That's one of the biggest. A second would be a big part of what your podcast is is couples where there's been a breach in covenant. That I thought these were the boundaries for our relationship. I thought I was going to be. The only one you looked at was sexual interest and desire, and now I'm finding out that you've looked at thousands of others. That type of woundedness is another thing that brings couples in. When it comes down to it through, the core of all of those is selfishness. When I'm stepping in and I'm demanding that my spouse be who I want them to be, rather than believing in that they are pursuing the heart of God Not always are they. If they're pursuing the heart of God and they're seeking to be their best self, how do I discover who that individual is and come alongside them rather than keep telling them who to be?

Speaker 1:

I want to point out how radically different that is from how many of us have approached sexual intimacy. We often are thinking what can I get out of this? Why isn't this working for me, rather than how can I fully accept my spouse and make this amazing for them?

Speaker 2:

Or how do we meet in the middle with it? We step into it saying if you really loved me, you would do what I want. The selfishness in that statement. There's nothing that is caring for the other. We're using guilt and manipulation to demand that they measure up to what I want and then we wonder why it doesn't work. But I like to point out that if somebody starts to push just about any human we have an instinctual reaction of locking down and pushing back. Why would that not occur in our sexuality, in an arena that is so core to who we are In? the moment a wife starts to demand something sexually of their husband, there's a flare up inside and I'm going to push back. The moment a husband starts to demand that his wife have particular practice or be a certain way or approach me in a way that makes me feel good, we're engaging in automatic defense. Even if she's a soft, tender, caring person, we're still engaging it and she has to work through it because of that sense of selfishness.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so challenging. One of the reasons why we often have conflict in the bedroom is because of something you referred to earlier sexual desire and how it typically works, different for men and women.

Speaker 2:

It often does For men, especially, though there's a significant number of men that experience, that don't experience what we call an initiating desire. That initiating desire is I'm hungry for it. Some in our field call it spontaneous desire because it just seems to appear out of nowhere. I don't like that term because it's not spontaneous. It something has triggered it, but it seems very spontaneous that all of a sudden I'm just thinking something sexual, or you walked by and I want to chase you down and pounce on you.

Speaker 2:

That is what we reference as the initiating type of desire. That's the one that we tend to think of as sexual desire, and it's a fun type of desire. We often have it. We typically have it in new relationships, so dating relationships. That tends to be there for everybody.

Speaker 2:

A part of the problem is in an affair relationship.

Speaker 2:

It tends to be there, and so people compare the affair to the real, and again we've got fantasy versus real and they're thinking well, i do care for this person because I have initiating desire towards them, and that's not accurate.

Speaker 2:

That's just one type of desire. The second type of desire is more typical for women, but for us as men, especially as we get older, and that type of desire is what we call a receptive desire, rather than thinking about sex engaging and then getting aroused. It works almost the opposite where we choose to engage in something, we begin to get aroused, we are aware of the arousal and we view it positively, and then the desire turns on in our brain. So for some people sexual desire doesn't turn on until five, ten minutes into the process of play, until they're kissing and they're touching, and then all of a sudden the desire clicks on in the brain and they look at their spouse and say don't you dare stop Now I want this. If we don't understand that both of those types of desire are legitimate, they're normal, they're healthy types of desire, then we start to demand of ourself or the other the kind that we want, which is usually an initiating desire.

Speaker 1:

Right, or we can also carry a lot of shame.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

Either. Shame because my spouse doesn't have this initiating desire.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

And then it feels like she's rejecting me. I must not be sexy to her, i must not be desirable. Maybe she doesn't really want me, or maybe I have a more receptive sexual desire, and if a man sees himself as well, i'm the lower desire partner. Maybe it's actually just more of a receptive desire, spot on, and you're right.

Speaker 2:

Those guys come into the office and they are really convinced that something is broken, wrong, deficient in them, and often their wives have supported that message so that it's not helpful. But to understand, oh wait, no, once we start to engage, then I'm aroused and I do want it. Yes, we call that receptive desire. It's just a slightly different way your brain works.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So let's all realize that maybe what we have seen as higher desire or lower desire is actually initiating versus receptive, and that has a lot less judgment attached to it.

Speaker 2:

It does And there still can be, like a individual who has receptive desire, who has high receptive or low receptive, or an initiating and high initiating and low initiating. So the levels are different than the types. But what I like to point out especially, we're talking largely to men here. So let's say a man has the initiating desire and he is just starting to learn that his wife wow, she might be receptive desire. That she doesn't think about it, that she's not initiating with me, that she's not waiting for me, is normal, it's healthy. It's just different type.

Speaker 2:

Now, rather than him pressuring or demanding or feeling bad, rather than all the icky stuff in between them, i invite him to shift his mindset. Because if his wife is receptive desire, then what's his task? His task is to be and I call it seductive to be really seductive, not to act in a seductive way, but to be a seductive person. You know, when he was dating, every time he was around her he was seducing. Or he's drawing, he is being his best. He is trying to be the kind of person he thinks she's going to want to be with.

Speaker 2:

And I tell guys, why do you give that up at the wedding? You know, keep being that guy to where you're drawing her in and you look over and you initiate and you say, hey, you look really cute, can we be together? And I have been so seductive all day that she looks over and goes I think I could do that And it's like challenge accepted. I've got five to 10 minutes to get that desire turned on And I know how You know. And once it's turned on, this is going to be great. But it becomes almost more of a self challenge of how do I create an environment that draws her into the place that desire is going to click on, rather than stepping outside and demanding that she be there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I sense the need for some practical tips. How can I live more seductively?

Speaker 2:

You know, this is where it gets tough, even in setting in my office, because when I'm looking at a couple and I look at the wife and I say so how does your husband you know? or how do you seduce your husband, she almost always immediately knows how to seduce him. If I look at a husband and say what seduces you, he's pretty quick. You know it's often something physical or it may be the way she looks at him or engages with him, but both of them know what seduces him. Drew, i am continually amazed at the number of couples where I look at the husband and say what is your wife find seductive? And they are clueless. But then I look at the wife and say what draws your heart, what? what helps you to look at your husband and go, oh wow, that's sexy, i like that. And how many wives go? well, i don't know. I don't have a clue. But and that's part of the problem is when we set up that sex has to be a particular way, that you have to be hungry for it, you have to be horny, you have to, then the pressure is always to be that type of person. We don't allow somebody to sit back and go wait, what draws my heart, what gets me to where I'm receptive. But once we start to work on it, the women start to go. You know what?

Speaker 2:

One of my favorite stories. She said we've got two little ones. He came home from work and I know he's tired But he looked at me and I she says I must have been a wreck because he says, babe, why don't you lay down? And he says he picked up the infant, he grabbed our toddler And he said on the floor, I'm laying on the couch. She said he's holding the infant in his arm and he's caring for him And the toddler is wrestling all over him And with the other arm he's grabbing and pulling him back and he's laughing and they're playing and giggling. And she said I'm watching him being Papa Bear with my kids. And I told him if we didn't have two little kids right now we'd be naked. And she said I realized that was so seductive. Now we couldn't engage in that moment, but just the awareness that my husband still has what it takes to draw it out of me.

Speaker 2:

I've had other wives say him sitting across the table from me, truly listening to me, engaging in what's going on in my world. That is so seductive And I occasionally have two women in my practice right now that have said, yeah, we get into this argument and it's so hard to like them. And then he takes a shirt off and I can't think straight. So it really varies from couple to couple. What works? So the question that you asked to me is the key one what works for this couple? And I invite him to sit down. And if she doesn't know right away, that's meaningful, that tells us something And it's well.

Speaker 2:

Can we start to figure out what does and did not be discouraged? if it's, i need to behave in a way that takes all day long, so long as Solomon. She says we'll go out early to the vineyards to see if the vines have buttered and if the pomegranates are in bloom and if, if, if, then I will give you my love. And guys are like there's so many steps. Yeah, i'm sorry, that's normal. You're a warrior, you're a sportsman, you're an athlete. You can do this. She's given you a very defined challenge. Go knock it out with integrity. Do it good.

Speaker 1:

One of the tools you mentioned in the book is signaling. Can you explain what that is?

Speaker 2:

Yes, in simple terms, that's initiating with each other. My language is actually this is the spark. So once I've been seductive long enough and I've helped to create an environment that is drawing, that's wooing, then how do I let my spouse know in an honoring, clear way that I'm open to this And we spark this process of connecting physically. And I think it's important for couples to talk through what doesn't doesn't work. Oftentimes I'll look and since we're speaking largely to men, we'll use this gendered example that I'll look at a wife and say how do you know when your husband's in the mood? And the most common answer, of course, is when is he not? But you know specifically, how do you know when he's in the mood? And she'll give me an example of well, he just comes up behind me and starts nibbling on my neck. How well does that work for you? And you see this look in their face like I don't know if this is safe to say.

Speaker 2:

And you know, we invite him to talk about it. They talk about how the way he sparks intimacy, the way he initiates, really doesn't work for her. The way he does it, just kind of slamming on the brakes of any receptive desire. Well, what would work for you. And again, the first answer is I don't know, but something will. So can we figure out what might? and it may be a nonverbal, it may be verbal, it may be scheduled that every Wednesday night at eight we're going to do this, and so I've had all day to prepare my mind for us to engage, and that's an important way to spark this event. Now somebody still has to say let's get this going. But to get him talking about it, to me that's the spark, or what we call in the book, signaling each other that we're ready.

Speaker 1:

Right And having that shared language even if no words are said.

Speaker 2:

Correct. And then, when we do, i do encourage couples to be really clear And I have them sort through three different levels And to talk about them cuddling, making out and having sex. And some of the couples that I work with come up with different language for it in their relationship And I actually really like that because they make it their own. But what's the line between cuddling and making out and knowing exactly where that line is? You know, is laying your hand on her thigh cuddling or making out? moving your hand to her inner thigh, is that still cuddling or have you moved to making out? You know what type of kiss is still cuddling, what type of kiss is moved to making out. So the couple knows where that line is. And then the same where the where's the line between making out and we're having sex? Where is this just about arousal and us feeling good And where are we moving more towards an orgasm focus? Once we have those three categories, then I might I might try to spark having sex. Hey, can we be together And she can look over and say you know, it's been a rough day. I'm not sure I have the energy for that, but I'd love to cuddle with you, dude, i know where the line is and I'm game on, let's go. But I'm going to be a warrior and protect that line.

Speaker 2:

When I protect that line, i say so much to myself, to her and to our marriage. Especially if pornography has been an issue, there's the concern that I cannot discipline my sexuality. And when she says I'm willing to cuddle with you and I guard that line with everything in me, i protect it from myself. I'm teaching myself, i'm teaching her, i'm teaching our marriage. I am capable of disciplining my sexuality. I can keep it within the boundaries that we agree on And that gets so safe for most wives who've been wounded. That gets safer for our marriage And it's really good lesson for me. Wow, the more we cuddle, the more horny I get, the more my initiating desire goes up. But it does not rule me. I will still honor my wife. I will still honor the boundary that we set for this time And sometimes she'll look over and go can we change the boundary?

Speaker 2:

Game on, let's change the boundary. But it's a negotiated boundary. It's not that I've pushed that boundary enough that she's given in No bad plan. That goes back to teaching that. It's about me and what I want, and I am not disciplined in it. But when we draw those boundaries And I like for couples to have a number of times a week where they are cuddling One, two, whatever is the frequency for them, times a week, one to three is kind of typical of them having sex And then at least once a month, every six weeks or so, for them both to agree, we're just going to make out, because most couples when they were dating they would spend sometimes 45 minutes hours just making out because they had a clear boundary We're not going to go past.

Speaker 2:

So they played around that boundary And the moment they're married they skip all of that rich, sensuous connect time and go straight to having sex And they go back to not often but maybe once a month, every couple of months, to have times that they protect that boundary and they just play and they get to know each other's bodies as they change. And wow, i never knew that felt good. A couple come in recently and he says there's a spot in my back that's really erotic. He says when she kisses it. He says I don't know what that's about. I said I don't either. But isn't that cool that you learned? And the only way they learned it was having that time of just making out, otherwise they they went straight to the having sex and miss the richness of that physical connection.

Speaker 1:

Wow, i hear you painting a picture where sexual intercourse and orgasm is one small part of a much bigger playground.

Speaker 2:

It is. It's a really cool part. It is, in some respects, that surrender moment. The parasympathetic hands off to the sympathetic, so there's a major shift in our bodies and there's a flood of different chemicals that go on. So it's good. But you're right, it is such a small portion of the richness that sexuality can be where it incorporates the spirit of this act. It incorporates the emotion of the act. It incorporates the cognitive knowing of knowing what parts of your body do what to you. It incorporates all of intimacy into this act. And to make it about one thing For guys, to make it just about the size or the strength of the erection is, oh, dude, it's so much more than that. To make it just about an orgasm or just about intercourse or just about the way she responds, that's so limited. It's so much richer.

Speaker 1:

Right. Sex is important, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation. It is, and yet it's not a need, and that was one of my favorite insights from you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. It's one of the more controversial things that I say. People often get pretty upset about it And there are many that push back pretty strongly. But you and I I'm sure both know and you're listening audience knows people that live their life without due to a variety of different issues, due to their convictions, due to where they're at, and nobody dies from a lack of sex. What we need are the things that sex gives us. We need the intimacy, we need a sense of affirmation and being chosen, and those are deeper needs And sex can help to fill those. But when we flip that script and we start to say that sex is the need now, we start to say that a specific behavior in a specific way is a need, we're back to pressuring And the moment we put pressure into sex, things don't work well.

Speaker 2:

I often tell guys, if your wife is sitting there going make it hard. Don't make it harder. Come on, are you ever going to make it hard? The chances of it working are just not that good. The moment you add pressure into this process, it starts to disrupt it. Why do you think that doing the same thing to your wife is going to make her get aroused, that you're putting pressure. She has to respond a particular way. You're making it a need. You have to do this for me to be okay. That's so destructive And it's not accurate. It's not true.

Speaker 1:

And that's why some of us need to maybe stop putting so much pressure on what we hope sex could be and grieve, which nobody likes to hear.

Speaker 2:

That I know We all want this life. That's ideal. We have this mistaken belief that I deserve to have things, that I deserve life to go well, i deserve my spouse to treat me the way I want them to, and all of history and Scripture says, yeah, we don't really deserve anything except maybe death. I do think that the best spouse is probably 80% of what we want. None of us are just good enough to meet all of anybody else's needs And I don't think it would be healthy if we did. I think part of the design is for us to not meet each other's needs, so we have to grow up. But the question is what do I do with the 20%? What do I do with those areas that you don't meet my desires?

Speaker 2:

I wanted to stick with the topic we're talking about. I wanted a sex kitten who would play And wow, i married somebody who is very, just, really good in life. She is so structured, she keeps everything running smoothly, she's very cognitive And, wow, she's not a sex kitten. What do I do with that? Or I wanted somebody who is really horny And she is aggressively pursuing me, and I married somebody who has a, really works well, but is a very strong receptive desire. She'll go three, four a week without ever thinking about sex And she only thinks about it when I raise it And it's like, oh yeah, we should probably do that. Huh, that's not what I wanted. How do I manage that?

Speaker 2:

And it crosses into other areas of life. I wanted a wife who is more neat, or a wife who's more relaxed, or I wanted a wife who is more extra virgin and loves the parties, or I wanted one who would sit home and read a book in front of the fire with me. I wanted a sports enthusiast or whatever it is that we thought we were getting. We didn't get. The moment we start pressuring our spouse to be that individual, we're doing damage The ability to step back and go. Well, what do you know? You're not who I thought you were going to be. How do I grieve the loss of it? How do I let go of it so I can fall in love with who you really are and what you do bring?

Speaker 1:

You talk about three steps to accept your spouse. What are those steps?

Speaker 2:

I may not get them just perfect, pulling off the top of my memory but I think it's along the lines of acknowledge, accept and then reenvision that first I have to acknowledge this was a desire of mine. This is something that I wanted and I don't. I'm not getting it. This is not who you are. Accept that. This is not who you are. You just don't think about sex in yours often, as I do. Well, bummer, i really wanted that, but it's not you. We then have to really let go of it. That's that acceptance piece. Let go of.

Speaker 2:

You are not ever going to be what I want in this arena. Even if she is initiating, she's doing it out of a desire to initiate, a desire to please me, not because she's horny. Even when she's behaving the way I would like, i know, yeah, it's not quite there. Well, if I'm communicating that to her, she can never measure up. Most guys, if you show us the field and you say, go out there and play your best, but, by the way, you're never going to be able to win, we're not going to get on the field. If I can't win this game, why even bother? We said the standard of yeah, here's the playing field, but you're never going to measure up, taking her off the hook and saying to ourselves she's never going to be that person.

Speaker 2:

That allows us then to do that step of re-envisioning. And what can we have? How do I get to know who you really are? Wow, you have a rich, receptive desire. Challenge accepted I will be the kind of guy who lives in such a seductive way that you're always drawn to me. And the pathway from I haven't thought about it in three days to yes, i want it now is much shorter because of who I've been. That's a whole different mindset that comes from accepting who you are. If I don't, i stay focused on the 20% of who you're not and everybody else looks better because they have the 20% I lose track of. They don't have the 80. That's not important to me. That area is filled. So it takes that grieving to be able to truly appreciate and love who our spouse is and does not.

Speaker 1:

That's so profound.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's not fun, but I think it's what allows for a rich relationship. And when we realize that I am not all of who she wanted either And I appreciate the grace and the grief that she's had to go through to accept me, You know there's a lot easier acceptance of her then If I think I'm all that and more, this grieving gets tough because we're a little deluded.

Speaker 1:

One of my favorite things from taking your class years ago was a video that you played showing older couples in their 60s, 70s and 80s saying sex is better than ever for us, Even better than when we were newlyweds. How do you get there?

Speaker 2:

By recognizing that sex is an incarnational act, to use my language. The moment I reduce sex down to the body, the moment I reduce it down to an act, to a practice, sex can never be rich. It can't be good. And individuals who make sex about the strength of their erection or their ability to have an orgasm or their physical function, stop having sex in their 50s because their body stops acting like a 20-year-old body, go figure. Somewhere in that stage, if they haven't learned it beforehand, they have to learn that sex is more than just their body And they learn to make it about that incarnational piece. They learn to make it rich and that the body is an add-on an important add-on, but it's an add-on. And they learn to be really adaptive, creative, flexible, and what doesn't doesn't feel good physically And they keep it focused on the heart and really learning one another, getting to know each other in profound ways, that yadapis I talk about in the book, and that's when sex gets great, my favorite, and I talk about this often.

Speaker 2:

But the client that said across from me at 74, and he said at 74, i am having the best sex in my life. At 74, my penis only occasionally shows up for the party. He said but I am still having the best sex in my life. He said I wish I had known in my 30s how to have this kind of sex. When I made it just about my parts And I told him I didn't think it was mature enough at 30 to experience what he was today. He was pretty selfish and demanding at that stage. But that transition is what we're after And I love when I do see people learn it in their 30s and 40s to make sex something that is really heart focused, while attending to the body and what feels good, not being a reductionist in any point.

Speaker 1:

Amazing Mike. what is your favorite thing about sex?

Speaker 2:

That connection, the opportunity to reflect something that we can't in any other relationship, that in some respects we reflect a part of who God is, or an aspect of God, or whatever language you would use. There's something about God that is able to become present in that moment. That doesn't any other time And that only happens in the context of a lifelong, emotionally committed, loving relationship, where they are protecting it, that they're guarding it and they are deeply learning one another, and then that has the ability to show up, And that's the rich piece.

Speaker 1:

This was amazing.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thank you, I appreciate it, drew.

Speaker 1:

And if you guys want to hear more from Michael Sitzema, you should definitely get the book. I've got the link in the show notes. Secrets of Sex in Marriage.

Speaker 2:

Your listeners can go to secretsofsexinmarriagecom. We have links to get to the book, a lot of other resources and resources for where to find help. If they need more help in any of these arenas as well, just secretsofsexinmarriagecom.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much And, gentlemen, always remember you are God's beloved Son. In you He is well pleased.

A Theology Of Sexuality
Understanding Different Types of Sexual Desire
How To Initiate or "Spark" Sex
Why Sex Is Important, But Not A Need
How To Have Great Sex Into Old Age

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