In their most vulnerable session yet, Figs and Teale talk about sex and intimacy in their relationship.
In their most vulnerable session yet, Figs and Teale talk about sex and intimacy in their relationship.
Teale: Hello, and welcome back to–
Figs: Come Here to Me, with Figs–
Teale: And Teale.
Figs: So look, this week's episode, we're not going to talk very long beforehand. I'm, of course excited and terrified because we talk about sexy time, sex.
Figs: By the way, when I talk to my clients, I often say look, we can talk about sex, but we can only talk about it if we call it sexy time
Figs: Yeah, we in our therapy session that we're going to share a very large portion of not the entire episode with you. We are talking about our own sexual intimacy, our own relationship with sexual intimacy, it's a process [Teale laughing].
Teale: Well, I'm feeling so silly right now. And you know, that experience that couples therapy session was really deep for us, and really bonding.
Figs: Is the one we're going to talk about today?
Teale: Exactly. Yeah. And I'm in real life. I'm still feeling the reverberations of it.
Teale: And it feels really good. And I'm kind of silly right now. So I'm like, wow, there is like somberness in that session. And I'm like, this silly tail right now.
Figs: Yeah. But that's really important Teale, again, I think, you know, this whole, like, trusting the process is so important that like going into these places that are so hard, so scary to talk about, while we're talking about them, it can seem like, “oh, this is going in a really bad direction.” But trust going into those places, actually, it's so good to have the experience of what it feels like now that it makes me feel less constricted and more acceptable, that makes you feel like you know, the answer to some of your love needs.
Teale: Yes, it really does.
Figs: Which are?
Teale: Which are feeling important and cared about and chosen. And so isn't that amazing? It just shows up in our relationship. Figs I've had a lovely last couple days. You know just had some hiccups like anyone but teeny tiny ones bouncing back with resilience, feeling stronger between us.
Figs: But also like, you know, because this episode is about you know, intimacy just more you know, contact physically and you know, intimacy and sensuality and, and some weird play that you initiate, that I don't want to talk about.
Teale: When I have to dress up like the Hawaiian minor bird. It's always an erotic experience for me.
Figs: I'm not sure if I'm as into that roleplay, but I'd go with it.
Teale:I like that you go with it. It's just like, you choose my pleasure, sometimes.
Figs: Thank you. But look, all joking aside, again, just talking about these things that are really hard, trusting the process, even though we both feel vulnerable feelings, and just blown away how it always makes me feel better. And this session, as you'll hear me say, I was the most scared off. I was by far the most worried about talking about this, because I'm like, “oh, no, this will be really tough. And I don't know if it'll go well,” but I thought it was beautiful and healing. Now listen and I really think we're gonna try and keep this session almost in its entirety and release. So please what I invite you, as the listeners are, if you're watching this video, it's a really vulnerable place, for me, it's a vulnerable place for Teale, I am so grateful that you Teale are willing to actually share some of these parts of yourself. And obviously, you know, this is kind of what I longed for, is that we would use our ability to feel our own feelings, share our feelings, be in process, trust where it's scary to actually try and help other people not just be expert therapists, but actually be role models. And yeah, I hope it does help.
Teale: Thank you for sharing Figs.
Figs: Thank you Teale, thank you for acknowledging me. So here's our therapy session where we talk about sex and intimacy.
[Session Starts 00:05:00]
Teale: I would love for us to talk about sex and intimacy.
Teale: [Lauging] And then and, you know, like, I feel like we've had some, what usually happens is, we don't talk about this for a long time. And then there's kind of like a blow up about it. And then we ended up having a pretty good conversation and kind of rededicate to prioritizing, you know, this part of our relationship and that we've done that with varying success. And I- just what, what's it like for you to have this as a topic that's, you know, at least important to me, and you know, that I- and it takes courage for me to bring it up with you. So it might be nice to be something that you guys can acknowledge, right?
Therapist: Yeah, for sure.
Figs: Yeah, I mean, I guess I'm nervous about it. I'm scared about it. And probably more so now than any other time that we talked about it I'm scared about it. Like in part just to give context, we did a sex training for our whole team, we had someone come in and give like a two hour sex training, the person who's also an EFT therapist, but but just the why that makes me even more scared is like, I feel like, you know, you've even more of a bee in your bonnet to talk about it. And, you know, and go into it, and in details, like yesterday, we had a conversation about how like, for like a, like a, like, kind of like a clinical consultation conversation about how could I bring up with a couple their sexual preference menus?
Teale: This is like, good, like, which is like a stage two intervention, iIt was a good- it was literally I was like, wondering if I could do this with the stage one couple. And through the conversation, we both didn't really know and we kind of got to an answer, and I really appreciated you. But you know, I think just to reorganize the statement that it's more like I have a bee in my bonnet.
Figs: I used the wrong expression, I should have known there'd be something that was triggering.
Teale: Sweetie stay in context.
Figs: I am.
Teale: I'm not mad at you, what I'm trying to do is like, I hear that you're scared and that like tenderize, that, like, create some extra tenderness in me. And this is not like, let's talk about all the ways this is not good. Because it is really good when we do it. And it's more just like an about an attachment piece for me. And so let's just, let's, let's maybe stay in that place. I'm not, I'm actually- I'm trying to, I'll just say for for both of you, I am trying to be more conscious about my ways that I can be private around my own, like, you know, relationship with sex and intimacy. And so for me, it does take courage, hopefully, you can see that and hear that too. Is that, you know, bring it up with two men. Yeah. And and like, I feel like I'm being brave. And I'm like, I want to believe me, I want to have a successful conversation. And for me, a successful conversation about sex is not like,” these are all things that are not going right.” That doesn't go well with you, and it doesn't go well with me. And so I'm just trying to be like, “hey, let's just be brave and maybe dip our toes into this,” and it's not like “let's talk about our sexual menus today Figs.”
Therapist: There’s one thing, there’s one thing Teale that you said, you were trying to work on your privacy. Are you trying to work on being able to be less private?
Teale: Yeah, like- and Figs has actually been like has said, hey, you know, I think this would be helpful for us to have this conversation. You know, before we started doing this with you and before we started a podcast based on our therapy, we were thinking about doing you know, some exploration and in video and letting you know, people know and it to me, I'm just like, I am I know we've talked about before I am can feel pretty private. And I had a lot of shame about that because in figs in my relationship, I'm more of like a pursuer for intimacy and sex. And I think there's a lot of shame for both partners in a hetero relationship when that's the dynamic like because society tells women you're supposed to always be pursued for sex. And society tells men in hetero relationships you're supposed to always pursue for sex. And so both people can feel like crap about this when it's this dynamic. And then the reality like, you know, I'd say like about 90 /95% of the people that I've worked with over seven years, couples and hetero relationships, it is this dynamic. And I do think it's empowering for people to know more about our experience and I think it's important for you and I because we can get a little bit quiet about it.
Figs: Right, absolutely.
Therapist: That's familiar for you to be the distancer and her the pursuer?
Figs: The distance or when it comes to sexual intimacy. Yes, I think that's a fair- we react like description and the dynamic between us, yeah?
Figs: Yeah, I mean, I don't know, where's a good place to jump in, but-
Therapist: I have an idea. What if you each talk, and maybe it's too intimate or too vulnerable to share with me, and that's fine. But what have you talked a little bit about the arc of positivity about your sexual attraction and sex with each other, just for a moment to each other? Does that make sense?
Figs: Kind of, you mean, like, what it was like when we first met each other?
Therapist: And what's really good about your lovemaking? What's been really good about it? What does it feel?
Teale: Yeah, that sounds great! I like that.
Figs: Okay. Sure. Um-
Teale: Can I start?
Teale: Um, no, why don't you sir, it's too it's like, I I feel like it's gonna be too much positive for you. And you're gonna kind of shut down.
Figs: Well, yeah, well, I think what- Yeah, there- Well, I don't know about you. Yes. Like, I think part of what can happen for me is, you know, just expectation like, doing something really good or connecting really deeply in the past becomes a burden for the present in the future.
Teale: I guess. I'm not hearing this like, necessarily about the past, just like what's good about like, our sex and intimacy more in the present, like-
Therapist: Yeah, I mean, I brought up the past only as something that you might start in your mind saying, “wow, this was really good. And this still is good, when we do make love, we are sexual.”
Teale and Figs: Yeah.
Therapist: I was really drawn to Teale, I was really attracted to her for this, like, remember my passion for her. And I still feel that when we're doing that, or something.
Figs: Yeah. Right. Well, yeah, this is an interesting moment. That's a pretty, you know [pause]. It's just it's not the place that I let me I'd rather let me I'd rather start. I mean, I can do that. But it feels like a bit of an abandonment of what's really true. Okay, for me to do that right now. And I don't mean, those things aren't true. But again, it's just not where I'm at where I'm at right now, like I said, is scared. And that seems like I would be I would be trying to do something different. Like, I would have to kind of collapse a little bit of what's what I'm really feeling to do that thing, right? Because let me let me just say like a little look, I have sexual trauma, right? Like I stuff when I was a kid with, you know, relatives and stuff and um- and, you know, it's not the first time I've been in a relationship where I'm-I'm very, I was very, very attracted to Teale, we had like, a wonderful honeymoon sex life. Right? It was amazing and wonderful and awesome. And, and then, as you know, the way I think of it, as you know, we got more like family- [Zephyer their dog barking] Zephyr is barking her head off. As we become more like family like, I'm less less motivated, or have less desire to be sexually intimate with Teale.
Figs: You know this dynamic from seeing couples, It's pretty common.
Figs: Oh, exactly. I know. Exactly. Exactly. No, I totally. Yeah, it's, yeah, you know, I know it and it doesn't necessarily make it, you know, it rightly so it doesn't make it any less painful. You know, like, I would say, it's the thing that makes me the most unacceptable in our marriage and in our relationship are like that boat that it actually does, it makes me most fearful it does, right? You know, this is look, I don’t like- I don't like- Teale will make fun of me. I don't like when I'm even inadvertently touched. Like, you know, the kids. Like, you know, the kids touching my, my, you know, private parts or Teale like accidentally like you know, putting your feet on you know, my crotch while watching the movie. Like I don't- it's kind of like I'm not I really am, what do you call it, contract in those moments, right?
Therapist: And does It have to do with your early years?
Figs: Probably who knows. Like again, I'm making- but I imagined so. So So look, so my in some ways, like so my relationship with my sexuality is like, I was a very holier than thou because I'm a single, I'm the son of a single mother and a sister, I was very what do you call it? Reverent of women, and you know, I probably didn't feel and be in my sexuality as much when I was a teenager. And then, in my late 20s 30s, I kind of was but I did it through this kind of mask of seductiveness, like it wasn't I feel like it wasn't necessarily me. It's not wasn't about sensuality, as much as it was about, like seduction.
Figs: Exactly, yes. And so, um, you know, some idea that, like, you know, like, you want deriving self worth from being desirable or wanted or seductive. But then when you strip all that away, which look again, you know, Joe, you know, like, I, when you strip all that away, right, which, you know, gets stripped away in a marriage, right? You know, like, I don't, I'm not comfortable with being sexually intimate without those things. You know, so when one I'm not comfortable with my being sexually intimate without the, the, the seduction without the like, it's, it's a, it's a mental exercise more than a physical exercise. And then you add the, like, whatever, like trauma piece I have, like, being feeling invaded around sexuality,whatever it is. It's not- it's just not an easy thing for me, and I understand that that's pretty um, that's pretty- that's a, that's a pretty shitty thing for Teale right? That, that's what my relationship to sexuality is, like, you know, in a long term, intimate relationship, it's kind of get smaller and smaller and smaller and- so so that now with all that said, what I what I would say then now I could say what I like about, you know, so yes, when we first met look, it couldn't have been any better. Like, which is great. It's really good to know that, like, couldn't be more attracted, and had better-
Therapist: You were dancing. You were doing the dance stuff?
Figs: Yeah, were we then, you know, um, you know, we, you know, we just, it was, it was amazing, right for me. And I really remember that, like, it's not like there's, you know, it could it couldn't have gone any better. And that's really important. Because, look, I know, this is has nothing to do with Teale. Like, literally, you know, you know, it just doesn't matter. You know, the negative part of it doesn't matter, right? Because Teale is as wonderful and awesome and sexy and attractive and desirable a partner as I could possibly have. And I still have all these things. Right, right. Look, if she was an I just make it I always use this as a joke, right? I don't actually have celebrity crushes. Like, if she was JLo, JLo and I would be having the same conversation. Right? I don't care about JLo at all.
Teale: I hope you have celebrity crushes. That's okay. Because yeah, honey, I do too.
[Teale and Therapist Laughing]
Figs: But so, so now, so then just you know, so, and this is like a really important thing for me like I can-I can't answer the second question when the first question is really, you know, always what's, what am I really with right now? Right, you know, so now having said all that, what I like about our sexual intimacy now is we do show up infrequently, but at least we do show up and actually be sexually intimate with that reality. Like we do like there is a level of acceptance and love in moments lightheartedness about that being the reality and that's really nice. Right? You know, it was not as nice as it can be given, you know, expectations and fears.
Therapist: And I hear you saying that with the reality of the having kids and having long term familiarity with each other and aging and all of those things.
Therapist: And your own resistance to sexual intimacy-
Therapist: You still are able to have sex.
Figs: Exactly. Yeah, the the pipes they’ll work. And that is another thing. It's like, you know, as I you know, it may- it's just age, who knows, but, like, it's funny, like, I definitely need more spaciousness. And again, it's not like spaciousness because I need the pipes to work like to be able to have an erection or and like that. It's more like, you know, like, you know, I'm definitely like, I'm like a need more time, which of course we don't have, right? You just we don't just don't have like, like, you know, let's just relax or our nervous systems chill out. Like, it's more like, Okay, we have probably 20 minutes before two kids slam the door, “like, what the hell are you guys doing?!” [Teale and Therapist laughing]. Like, but but look, the big thing, look, I yeah, like my biggest fear is like, it's just- and why I don't always want to talk about it. Like, it's just not acceptable. Now, a lot of people like, you know, like Teale can be like, and I'm just having my fear. I'm not saying this is was true, Teale can be like, “yeah, no, I get it, I love you, thank you.” But it's not an understandably, my fear, It's just not an acceptable thing.
Therapist: So it's like, there's a burden for you feeling how Teale must feel.
Figs: Right. Exactly.
Teale: Well, if it's okay-
Figs: Because I just don't want her to be hurt. And I know that it can hurt.
Teale: But let's bring in another part of trauma, which is not childhood trauma base, but like Figs because this has happened in past relationships It's my understanding that sometimes partners have, you know, like, reacted in ways that have been painful for you.
Figs: You know, it's so interesting. I really don't think about that. Like, are you talking about, like someone like cheating or something?
Figs: Yeah. So the funny thing is, like, that's not it's probably should be, but I don't know that. For me the burden was much more burdensome is someone being- them being hurt because of a deficit of mine, a person, you know, a perceived self perceived me set up my own them like that, they may or they may do something bad, like I don't, you know, for better or worse, that's not how my mind operates. Like, I'm not the it's just, it's such a secondary thirst or airy fear that someone could cheat or exit a relationship that doesn't. Like, you know, it wouldn't exactly improve my life. If that happened, it would complicate everything. But you know, it would be bad, but it's not, it's just not as big of a burden for me of my my, my neurotic space as as being a disappointment and feeling bad that if you don't get what it is you longed for.
Teale: Great, and I would love to have a chance to respond to what you're saying.
Figs: Yeah. But let me just the last thing learn to notice it because it's just good to I guess, get it out. Like get so good. Look, there is a part of me like sexuality with the same- look sexuality with someone I like, I don't know. That's easy, right? And there is none of these burdens. So it's not as if like, I couldn't see someone go, oh, she- it’s not like I'm not a sexual being. It's just like with like, on burdened by by trauma, unburdened by familiarity, but I still find I'm still like a sexual person, that energy is still alive inside me. It just gets really like scared and contracted inside, you know, that primary attachment relationship.
Teale: Yeah, and I think Figs and I have talked about, like, that leaves us both a bit susceptible to potentially cheat on one another, that, you know, if and that's not conversation we've had for several years, but just in terms of opening up our relationship proactively as opposed to reactively and that's not something that we're interested in doing. But I'll just say that the unfamiliarity of someone else and that sexual aliveness that he has inside of himself, you know, it could lead to like a vulnerability in our relationship for him. Right? And then, you know, and then my own vulnerability in turning out to you know, someone else that was more sexually attracted to me and that I could, like, you know, feel that right feeling of being desired, which is really really has been historically important to me, and it feels let much less so to me now. So I just wanted to say that piece it's not like an impending threat, right. I feel that there's-
Figs: By the way, the same like, now it seems really like in like 99% of my waking moments, the idea of being “hello,” like seductive or like do you like it just seems ridiculous. Like, you know, I was just saying I love I love hip hop music in foreign languages.
[Teale and Therapist laugh]
Figs: Right? I really like it. But if as long as I don't have to hear the juvenile lyrics-
Teale: Of somebody-
Figs: Not of like, not being subjective or like, yeah, it's not all hip hop. It's like that, but I like pop hip hop, but, but the lyrics like kill me, it's like, I can't relate to like, the those kind of like, “yeah, I'm sexy. Ooh,” like, you know.
Therapist: Yeah. There's something about having a family that sort of-
Figs: Well, exactly. Yeah- I hate the way some of my favorite songs I can't play them for the kids. But, but yeah, no, I guess like, yeah, I yes, I think we're both susceptible to, like candy, like, you know, that someone come along and go “Teale you’re so sexy,” and you're like, “ooh, that's so nice.” And I, you know, like to feel those parts of myself that are like, are in there, but I guess are scared it's scary to feel them with you because of my own stuff. But yeah, like, it's, it's, it's, I was gonna say compelling, but it's actually not compelling, at all.
Teale: Oh, well, thank you. And let's let's go into like the there's a deeper part here, which is, like you've expressed a couple times just about what feels like a really unacceptable part of yourself.
Teale: And so that-
Figs: Within a relationship-
Teale: Within a relationship, yeah. And so I think that um-
Figs: I judge it so, and I imagine it is for you.
Therapist: Can I ask is that the source of part of the fear the scared part? The unacceptable part when you think of being intimate?
Figs: Yeah. Well, it's what makes it hard to approach proach it because look, ultimately, yeah, it's not okay to feel this way. Right? And so it's hard to approach intimacy, again, in two ways. Like, I don't think it's okay, work no matter what Teale says. And I imagine no matter what Teale says, it's not actually okay for her because she doesn't get to feel the way she longs to feel. So yeah, it's hard to willingly go to like, volunteer and initiate.
Teale: I don’t, I don’t really like that-
Figs: No, no, that's my thought. I'm not saying that's how you feel. That's, that's the way I have, you know, again, that that's part of what traps me in an inertia that it is a factor. Like the way now I have a story built up around it.
Teale: And I think what I noticed is like a similar thing happening for me right now that can happen just when we have these conversations, which is like, and I am scared to sound mean, but it's just I'm like, “whoa, this is really, really complicated.”
Teale: You know, so and there's a part of me that's just like, like, I get kind of, like, scared off like, oh my god, like, I can't seem to say anything to make you feel more, you know, acceptable, and, you know, pieces around sexual trauma and like, oh my gosh, you know, could you find that aliveness with someone else, it's just it all feels very overwhelming for me, not that you're overwhelming. I just am getting overwhelmed. And so what happens inside is that I just kind of like, back off, like there's a part of me, it's just like, I don't know what to do. And so I think that this is affected me, my own like I'm naturally really pretty high libido person, not necessarily just with a partner, but with myself. Like I have a very, you know, gratifying awesome awesome just self pleasuring world and like and I can say, oh, maybe it's my age and 37 which is like technically sexual prime, that I feel you know, it's probably stress in life stuff anyway, but it could also be this is that I I'm pretty a duled in that sense right now. And I think I'm just kind of emotionally like I don't know where to go. I don't know how to talk about this. I don't I don't know and I don't necessarily need to change it and I think in some ways I don't think it's duled because of Figs I think I've just have a lot of life factors going into this like you know, so I just feel even right now like I feel small and I feel overwhelmed. And I think just like I don't feel like you're unacceptable. It makes me like love you and want to talk about it. And I think I just, what I noticed is we both get kind of silent about it. And then and and now. I think the reason why I want to bring it up more often is like I felt like for so many years, even though I seem to want to have sex more than you did, that you would kind of like have this thing like every couple months and be like, I want us to make time. And like, you haven't said that anymore. You don't say that anymore? And like, just scares me that like, the opening is getting smaller.
Figs: Yeah, well, I do want to make time. But like having conversations like, this really helps me like I didn't, I didn't I didn't say that part, I wanted to say it is complicated and I wanted to share some of the internal complexity. But doing that really helps me feel like it's safe for me to try and and come towards and connect with you in this vulnerable, complicated emotional space. Once it's okay, that it be it is complicated and that like, and I mean, complicated as it is, you know, full of vulnerability, a lot of things. And that's what makes it easier for me to go, well, let's make the time. And that's the most important thing.
Therapist: How do you feel Figs just hearing Teales tears?
Figs: Yeah, I mean, I feel terrible, right? This is the thing that I'm like, I feel really sad for you. And I feel you know, and it feels like, you know, confirmation on one level of yeah, like, I it's not, it's too hard. I am, it's very hard to be with me in this aspect of relationship. You know, so I feel bad about myself. And, and I appreciate that we're talking about there's a way that it feels it also, it's, even though those things are true, it also feels, it helps me feel closer to being able to be intimate, more often not further away from it. So all of those things are true.
Teale: Yeah, I think you know, one thing, just to let you know a little bit about my story, in terms of partnership, and sex and all that stuff, not to get, you know, too detailed, but just to help you recognize that I've had three major relationships in my adult life. Yeah, I've had, you know, many more sexual experiences, but three primary relationships, and all of my partners have had sexual trauma. And that none of my partners were ever able to be open and honest with me about what was- they were experiencing. And it didn't have as long to be with them. And we didn't have as much maturity but there was a time where it felt like, you know, you know, sex kind of like dwindled, or started to kind of go out and a similar type of like, loneliness and concern. And of course, you know, what I'm not saying is that, you know, so I'm appreciating this conversation for that reason. And you're just like, knowing about yourself and being open with me from the beginning, like some of this trauma I've heard from other people came out at the end of our relationships, and it was really, really agonizing for me to know that they've been hurting so much. But with myself is I can feel, you know, when you said just in opening this conversation, like “Teale is this, you know, attractive and, you know, sexual partner,” whatever, however, you said, it is like, it felt really like news to me, then you felt like that and like, oh, we are-
Figs: But wasn't that obvious when we met each other?
Teale: It was but but I don't hear you say it now.
Teale: So hearing you say now, it's like, feeling like a plant that hasn't been watered, suddenly getting watered. And I'm not trying to say that to tell you what a disappointment I just like, I don't know that you feel that way. And I know, you know, Figs and I have talked about like, not having him not having, you know, desire for me in the ways that we had in the beginning. And that at times in our relationship being really hard for me, but something that I've like integrated.
Therapist: I was moved by you're sharing such a vulnerable place that probably makes you feel bad, you place of shame. And especially since you know, it sounds like maybe it's something you've known about with other partners too.
Figs: Exactly. Yeah.
Therapist: And on one level, I want to normalize it, which I think you already do, because you know that this happens to people in long term relationships. But on the other level, I was thinking the vulnerability of it I got the pressure It felt like a relief to be able to speak to it.
Figs: I always find a huge relief in just being more fully and honestly, openly in whatever I'm actually truly feeling. It's always better that because I'm already fully in it, but but hiding it on some level for myself from other people like distancing from it. So it's always a relief to beam actually, no, I'm actually still fully in it. But not with minus any trying to minimize that hide it, is always a relief.
Therapist: I guess my question is from that place of having some relief with having shared it with Teale when Teale has some sadness about, you know, not feeling like you ask for the two of you to have special time together as often for her to share that almost tearfully, I wondered if there's a way that you could slow down with that to not go to this I'm bad place?
Figs: Oh, of course. Absolutely. Absolutely. It totally makes sense that you would feel that way.
Therapist: It's like an intimate moment, actually.
Figs: Right. Exactly. Yeah, I know, that we both feel our refundability at the same time. Absolutely. [To Teale] I love you.
Teale: I love you.
Figs: I know by the way- I want to make sure I would say what was it you were saying at the very beginning?
Teale: Well, I mean, it's just feel so like obvious and cliche, but I'll just say it anyways, that I can feel you know, it's like I have my own history with sex and being you know, a woman that has been perceived as attractive over my life and feeling desired. And, you know, getting, like, getting a lot of sort of my ego stability based on that being, like, a sexually attractive person. And so what can I- I can have, and I feel like, you know, through our love and through our community, you know, communication about this, my own just maturing out of like, this being a really important part to be seen in this way. You know, I have had, I think susceptible moments in our relationship where, you know, where I wanted to feel sexually attractive to someone so like, you know, I, I've never like followed those leads, but it's kind of a think just a vulnerability for me, and, and, ultimately, I want to be attractive to Figs, like, all of that is reactive for me. And I've really, I'm proud of myself, because it was a major piece for me, and that I really kind of brought in and studied and turned towards the reality is that when I'm hurting, that I don't think Figs is drawn to me, which is it's so much more complicated than that. But that's one of the kind of egotistical pieces that I get sort of snagged on, is that I can be reactive outside of that, and I've never done anything that was inappropriate for a relationship. But I just, I feel that as like, kind of like a red flag that I go to so it helps me to just, like, hold that up. And be honest about and like, I really, you know, and I think, you know, anyway, it's just it, but I can feel bad about myself, I can wonder, am I looking attractive? Like maybe I'm not and if I'm not like, okay, like that's okay, I've got other qualities, you know, but it has at times you know, worried me or Figs said something, you know, just like about my body not kind of bouncing back after childhood. Not in a mean way, but just like an honest way.
Figs: Go on, yeah, I’m sory.
Teale: Every but isn't it funny, right? That every single thing that you've said, that's been that hasn't kind of gone and it's like, I don't hear anything, but then I'll hear something that feels a little bit like negative which is goes and makes a case where I'm just like, oh shit, I am not a sexually attractive person. I was wrong about this all the time. And I'm not sexually attractive to Figs and he doesn't want to have sex with me. And you know, I think I have a fear. Like, the fear is like, “oh my God Figs isn't even want to like he doesn't even talk about this anymore.” Like I have to like, I have to like be like we're doing this and like that feels really lonely for me. And I have a fear about it's not a big fear, but I do have a just a fear about like myself looking back at myself when I'm way older and just I don't feel like you know, anyway, I shouldn't even say that, but I'm just like, I like want to have more sexual experiences and like, you know, I don't want to- I don't want to just have like a relationship where we don't have sex ever. And like a want to you know, I'm working on, like, when we do have sex, I'm trying to like work on parts of myself where I bring pieces of myself to the experience that I don't think I've been able to before. And I just want to keep working on that and even if it's infrequent, and it's, you know, intentional or shy, you know, it's like, I have a lot of range of what I feel is acceptable and wonderful. And I really, you know, to get back to the things that I found and find gratifying about being intimate with Figs that I'm really attracted to him. And I don't always feel that way unless we're like, in each other's arms. So it really helps me, I do feel attracted to my partner. But just like, I'm like, always like, “ah, he's so big, and I'm a little-”
Therapist: It is really reassuring, right? Physical contact.
Teale: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Figs: Yeah, no, I appreciate you sharing it. It all makes sense. I've with you.
Teale: What's it like? Just to hear about the ways that I like feel negatively about myself? Like when we're not intimate, right?
Figs: I feel- it makes I feel terrible for you. Because you know, I think you're a beautiful attractive person like you know, general not just as my partner and so it makes me very sad to hear you that you hurt and suffered this way. Right. And of course I feel bad right? I'm not gonna I'm not disappearing and I feel bad that I'm the one because of what I don't do you know the view the triggers that pain inside of you and yeah, look, you know, yes. And I you know, as becoming a father all this stuff becoming married, founder, business owner, my identity. Like I have zero ident like, none of my ego identity is made up with being sexy anymore. Right? And I'm not like I want to work on this because I want the I want us to feel I want to be with you forever. I want us to you know, grow old and die together and and I want to work on the sexual piece because for our relationship and for you, but when this is a there's a little bit of a gap, I'm not actually that motivated to feel sexy. I'm motivated for us to be- for our relationship to be fulfilling, but I'm not it's not so this is the you know, you're saying you feel lonely initiating. I'm motivated to do this for you and for us. I'm and that doesn't mean I wouldn't bet- I won't benefit from it. Right? But it's not. I don't have a lot of ego identity anymore and being sexy Figs.
Teale: But I guess like, imagining it being like, that's not really what this is that this is about, like, being you know, the vulnerable selves.
Figs: Yeah, so absolutely. Well, I'm very happy to do and like he said, but I hear like it's it's overwhelming that it's complicated. The vulnerable sex is much more complicated for my vulnerable self. Right? It is just is.
Therapist: I think that that's what makes you to kind of go “Whoa, this is too complicated. I just want to have intimacy and tenderness and sex.”
Teale: [Teale crying] Like I don't want to have sex just because it’s something I want.
Figs: Yeah, but I feel I do feel really good when we do it, I enjoy it very much when we do it and I feel but I feel it makes me feel really good afterwards and I feel closer to you. So it's not it's not as simple- I acknowledge him and I only want to do it because you want it
Teale: That is the truth, it’s okay to stand by that, just because it brings up grief for me doesn't mean that-
Figs: Yeah, but it's also let’s again, you know you know, like raising our kids and making them happy I do it for them. It doesn't mean like to say that no, I'm not doing it because I want to well, of course that's what I want to do. It just kind of feels like yeah, but if you're not happy doing it then don't do it. Like that's what I want to do. Like like just because it's it's emotionally challenging to show up for sexual intimacy and you know, my my consciousness would go shit let's just avoided it doesn't mean that I don't actually enjoy it and then feel really good that I actually did that.
Therapist: Figs that's important point, what you just said.
Figs: Yeah, like it doesn't just because it's not my like, surface-level consciousness desire to do it, a lot of things like working out like frickin' being a good parent, is not my surface-level consciousness desire to do those things. But I sure fucking enjoy doing them, and I feel much better about myself afterwards, you actually feeling loved and cared for and us being connected to each other is amazing, and the look I-
Teale: Yeah, I don't think that's, that's, like, that's the part for me that just like wants to shut down, because I'm like, again, I don't want this to be something for me and like, making you be sexual. Like when it's not, like, I hear that it benefits you It's kind of like, oh, it should work out and that feels good after but like, that's why I want us to, to make and discover and get curious about is there something that draws you to this for your own like, for your own sanity, for own mental health for your own physical health, and that that's so important to me as the as the incentive, and-
Therapist: I can appreciate wanting that and Figs I was thinking all along that maybe the intimacy question for you can be an inquiry.
Therapist: It's a growth opportunity.
Figs: It's a growth opportunity for me, like showing up in a place that is scary for me for connection and intimacy is really, really good for me. And again, I actually really enjoy it. It's really nice experience, it's really good, it feels good. But sensually feels good. It feels really good that you're actually- I'm connected to you, of course, it feels awesome that you're happy. And again, this whole thing like don't do that make someone else happy. I don't get that it makes- you being happy, has a profound impact on my life, that's just the way I'm built. Like it's not I don't doesn't make sense to me this like, I shouldn't do something just for you to be happy. It fucking makes me happy if you're happy ended of. Now, the other thing is, and I really love how much more connected and light and playful we feel when we are attending to that part of our life. Of being being sexually intimate with you makes every other aspect of my life better. Why is that? Why can that be okay? Like, you know, it's yeah, but I have to it is there's a there's an emotional hurdle I have to get over because it's complicated on the front end emotionally to get those benefits. And I want to work on it for like, because it's personal growth.
Teale: I just wonder is there a way that I can help with that because it sounds like a lot, you know, hurdles and things that you need to work on is though, as though that's what this really is, that's how you- but is there a way that I can just help with that emotional aspect and I think one of the those ways like that's one of the things I was excited about thinking about like sensate touch and that's something that you're I think actually better at than me and have maybe more experience with than just have you know, and we can talk about just how to create that and more- because you're someone that benefits a lot from touch, Figs is very touch motivated, we do a lot of touching.
Therapist: That's a great access point. And you can keep the expectations of having to have intercourse every time down to that doesn't have to be that.
Figs: Yeah, yeah look in general I do better when there's a structure around whatever the the experiences right and so yeah, I like doing sense and touch, like that where we're like we're prioritizing sensuality and touching ourselves inside you know touching ourselves [everyone laughing] and like each other you know, while the other is videotaping like you know live.
Therapist: Like you’re putting it on your podcast.
Figs: Yeah look I will like you know, that's I like showing up inside of containers like like fixed time structure and then being intimate inside of it. Well this is the thing is don't give up pursuing I feel like this is a weird thing. And some level this conversation of there are parallels between this and me exercising, look I read I want I want to be intimate more I want to work on the way I've got blocks. As same as I want to work out and I don't I know it's a big ask so that's why it's a big ask, don't give up trying to make it happen. Like I want to get past my hurdle is on the front end. Right? And I do, I would like you to help me and not give up trying to get over that that initial hurdle, right? Because, you know, like getting over that initial hurdle, then you know, then like, you know, I'm greasing my body with oil all over you know what I mean?
Therapist: Yeah. But also, Teale, there's a way you can check in about whether that hurt place is coming up in you because that that hurt place probably is part of the cycle, right? It's him feeling burden, the burden of it, and the guilt and the shame about his not making you happy and so you guys can kind of catch that earlier when you're doing this.
Teale: And yeah, I mean, I think, you know, I not gonna give up on you, but I think I just want to be really real and honest enough to in a minute here. But just that, you know, there is a part of me that would feel like I am abandoning myself to reach at this point and that, I'm not saying I won't, I'm just, you know, it's, it's helpful for me to hear. But I think there's a part of me that's now really small and scared. And so I'd like to just be invited to come in as I am. Like I am not just like this sexual goddess, and no, no, and I hear that, and it does help me and I'm going to work to integrate it. And I also just want you to like, maybe hear and help welcome out whether it's just like with a hug or I don't know how we do it, but just like I'm actually really small and scared right now.
Figs: Right, right, absolutely, I get it, I'm here, I love you, and it's okay to be scared and worry, you know, like that it's scary for you. And that you would feel like you'd be abandoning yourself to reach you like, because it's such a vulnerable thing, but you're at risk of being rejected. Right. And that's what I you know, I think part of what it was in spoken, I'd like us to I know, like it'll be triggering. But to go back to where we actually have scheduled intimacy dates, right? Like, we actually have times that we show up to be really intimate with each other so that both of us show up. Like so the this being structured and scheduled. I'm going to show up even though it's scary for me, and you get to just show up even though you're scared of being ridges in a place that we create, we create together that we both get to show up vulnerably regardless of the other times, we might have to navigate this time that we have on the schedule an actual place in time that we can do this or you do have to- we really out of time?
Therapist: I have a session at two, I’m sorry to stop so quickly.
Figs: No, no. Yeah.
Teale: Thank you.
Figs: Yeah. Well, thank you.
Therapist: Thanks for being so vulnerable.
Figs: Thank you.
Teale: Thank you.
Figs: I love you, thanks for bringing it up.
Teale: Yeah, I love you.
Figs: Let's try and put it on the schedule now.
Teale: Okay, I think I'm actually like touching like a childhood trauma place right now just in feeling really small, [crying] so it's not about- it's just about being like like chosen and not on my own.
Figs: I hope you hear sweetie, I choose you completely. I dont know if you hear that, like this is happening inside like the sex conversation is happening inside a container of I want to be with you forever it never enters my mind to not be. You’re complelty chosen, just sex is an emotionally complicated part of it as nothing to do with you being chosen by me.
Teale: I know, I just feel like small, and I dont know how to reach anymore, and I am scared to try it.
Figs: It’s okay sweetie, well, well, we don’t have to. We can do where we just show up together. Both of us vulnerable.
Teale: I want to [laughing].
Figs: Yeah, well. Yeah. And I want to work on it, I want to show up and like you know, and be available and like keep us to doing it and for it to get easier.
Teale: I want you to be the leader I don't know how to anymore.
Figs: Okay sweetie, I will.
Teale: [Crying] Just showing up, we don’t have to have sex, just showing up together.
Figs: Okay. Well, let's make a time right now where we could do that.
[Teale take a deep breath]
Teale: Thanks for tuning in so much, I think you are so wonderful.
Figs: Thanks sweetie, I think you're wonderful.
[Session Ends 00:55:06]
Figs: So thank you for listening and watching our therapy session where we'd love to hear any thoughts or what brought up for you be gentle with as though it was kind of vulnerable thing to share it was actually vulnerable even just to watch it back I got to be honest. How was it watching for you?
Teale: It was good, you know, I'm feeling proud of us Figs I think it takes courage for us to share, you know about sex and intimacy. And there's a lot of shame in our culture kind of made my wee heart proud. And I had a lot of hesitation going into it some fears coming up, you know, what's it like to you know, I'm going to be the woman bringing up sex and intimacy with two men, you know, Figs, and our therapist, and they were welcoming and you know, it, there were some big internal hurdles for me just being on the end of kind of pursuing for sex in our relationship between Figs and I, that I think there's some shame, again, cultural piece here, around women, you know, a woman wanting to have sex and a man being a little bit more reluctant sometimes. And of course, the story is much more complicated than that. But just if I can put that in my brain and all of that's what I'm going to share it is it's kind of vulnerable for me to share now publicly. And I think that my courage was, you know, really matched by your just openness with your past Figs, and, and just sharing more about your perspective and your experience and your hurts and your fears. And like, it really helped me just love you and feel ultimately, this is the thing I'm really taking away from it is I feel so chosen and so loved and you love me so much. And you can be so afraid to lose me because you don't think you do something in the way that I want. And that's really deeply validating for me. So I came out feeling stronger and more resilient as a couple. And so for that, I'm like, “F” Yeah!
Figs: Yeah, it was a really powerful therapy session. Thank you for acknowledging me and I look, I think you're so brave. And I think he, you mentioned this in the session that you and I have talked about this before about processing sex and intimacy, and about, you know, me mentioning, like, I'd like us to be very open and open with other people, because this is kind of the whole way that we help people as long as you're vulnerable human being, please accept it, please surrender to it, your partner is to, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. And yes, we have a right to privacy. And of course, we want to keep some things private, but, like God, I just so proud of you, where you were reluctant before to model look, I do have these vulnerable feelings, we do have this vulnerable, difficult process in our relationship. And even though we both turn away from it in our own ways, right, we both protest it being so vulnerable and painful, we're willing to move towards it like we did in this session, and come out feeling closer to each other. Right? The other thing that I just want to make sure for the listeners and viewers just to highlight so much of why this conversation that we had, and the therapy session was successful for us to feel closer to each other is again down to the framing how I frame who I am, myself, how you frame who you are, how I frame who you are, and vice versa, and who we are together. We're vulnerable human beings our vulnerability makes sense, it makes sense that you would hurt when it looks like I don't want you, it makes sense that I would hurt primarily because I feel like I know I'm a disappointment, and that I will contract and that you could look, you know, in your way you protest disappointed, and we would get stuck. I know it's messy to get to that place, you know, as we talk about it, right? Because it's really scary. But what makes it work is we can get to this place where look, neither of us are wrong. It's just a really hard, vulnerable place. And then when we meet each other there, all of a sudden this issue that felt like it had so little air to breathe. Like it's in such a tight space. It's so dangerous, all of a sudden, there's more space around it, and I can feel safer. And you can feel like it's okay to be scared and talk about it. So that was really powerful. The last thing I'll say look that, you know, after the session ended, the video was still playing on the mic still on. And I just think it's really important and again, I just admire your courage so much on this. This sex intimacy touches such a deep vulnerable place I can feel so ashamed of myself for being contracted around it. And I know you, as you described, in the very end, when the session was over, right, it brings up such a deep, deep primary place of not feeling chosen, I could see the pain you were in. And again, your willingness to share it, I just think it's so beautiful, good job.
Teale: And you just like were right there with me, like, I think that's the thing. That was just so developmental for me.
Figs: Exactly. And that's the beauty about going into the middle of this conversation it's so hard framing in this way. We actually in the session, and at the end of the session, we had an opportunity for you to actually feel chosen right now. And for me to actually be enough in a given moment, a time we stuck with the process, and we feel closer, and yes, now we added furry, furry Tuesdays [Teale laughing], nuns and priests Wednesdays. Listen, so thank you for listening and this will not be the last episode I say now, while I feel not as attracted about it, I'm sure I'll be scared again. I'll contract again as that's what we do. And you'll feel right not chosen again. Right? But we're going to keep showing up and we will keep trying to be brave and include you and let you see how we go through the process to make sure we can stay connected, which is what we both- I certainly long for.
Teale: Mhmm me too, I love it.
Figs: Thank you guys. We'll see you and women and everybody.
Teale: Thank you all, we love you keep fighting the good fight.
Figs: Yeah, thank you, bye.