Today I talk with Irene Fehr, a sex and intimacy coach based in the US. After experiencing falling out of intimacy with her ex-husband, she vowed to learn what causes the drop in sexual connection over time and learned to help others—specifically those in long-term relationships—to not only keep the fire of desire burning but also to rekindle what many believe is irretrievable intimacy.
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[00:00:00] Clement: [00:00:00] Hello there. Welcome to another episode of unleashed love. My name is ClÃ©ment Yeung and I’m your host. And today I’m going to be talking to Irene fare. She is a sex and intimacy coach working with couples to overcome some of the psychological hurdles that have stopped them from keeping the passion ignited.
[00:00:18] So if you’ve had problems like that in the past, if you’re having problems like that right now, or if you’re worried, you’re going to have problems like that near future than maybe this episode is for you. And I want to make an apology in advance. We had some connection problems which led to pretty poor quality video, but it’s really just for this episode.
[00:00:36]I think we’ve fixed them now. So please bear with us. As we adjust into our new location, we moved into a, as you might know a different country and we’re going to be here for some time. Again, if you like this and you think it was valuable, please do leave a rating and review in the apple podcast platform.
[00:00:54] Every single one we get helps us reach a wider audience. Okay. So I’m not going to take any more of your time. Let’s jump right in and I’ll see you on the next one.
[00:01:02]So we are talking essentially about your coaching, right? And your experience with coaching on sex matters of sex, sexual relationships in existing partnerships, maybe also in non marriages people who are, just having problems in general with their sexual lives.
[00:01:23] Is that right?
[00:01:25]Irene Fehr: [00:01:25] So my area of expertise and my practice is about mostly committed couples, primarily married, but there are some who are in life partnerships and it’s about. Really what happens to sex in long-term relationships, how it’s different when we’re dating, how it’s different in the beginning of the relationship and what changes when time goes by and also life takes over so to speak.
[00:01:54]So it’s making love and sex work and a long-term relationship. It’s the dynamics of a long-term relationship that result in sexless marriages or sexist relationships. And then of course, how to bring that back, how to bring that passion, that eroticism, that excitement back and my other equally important area of expertise is women’s libido.
[00:02:19] So the people that come to me are usually couples where the woman lost her desire for sex, where she’s really struggling. And so there’s also the understanding of what happens to women’s libido in a long-term relationship. And how those patterns and dynamics affect her.
[00:02:39] Clement: [00:02:39] And I have to ask, were you fortunate enough to experience this yourself?
[00:02:44] That’s a joke by the way. Yes.
[00:02:48] Irene Fehr: [00:02:48] Yeah. It’s yes, fortunate and unfortunate. My own sexless marriage was that the gift that started this career that I’ve had now for over 10 years and my second career, I used to do marketing in a corporate environment and yeah, so it was my own experience.
[00:03:05] I lost my libido. Sex was painful. And I ended up in a sexless marriage and pretty much faced all the challenges that people that I work with face today.
[00:03:18] Clement: [00:03:18] Yeah. It’s I haven’t been married. But I’ve had five-year relationships more than once. And in both of those, keeping up the sexual endeavors being energized and attracted to each other sexually was becoming quite difficult more in one than in the other.
[00:03:42] But both times was it was difficult to keep that going. And I suppose that there’s going to be a lot of things you can do to improve your, like attraction to each other, sexual attraction and energy and things that you have to maintain over time. But I have this suspicion that we do end up just not being sexually attracted to each other.
[00:04:07] Eventually. Is that something that you believe also, or do you think that this is really down to like how much you wanted, how much you’re willing to try.
[00:04:15]Irene Fehr: [00:04:15] I actually, I see sex happen in three kinds of ways, and this is what I call my three types of sex framework. And what happens in the beginning of the relationship is how we think of sex generally.
[00:04:32] And this is what I call friction sex. So friction sex is when it’s driven by the hormones of sexual attraction, it’s driven by that excitement, that newness we are, we can’t keep our hands off each other. We’re texting each other, calling each other, spending time with each other. And so there is that heat in the PA in the relationship it’s passionate, we are again wanting to be with each other.
[00:04:57] And that’s what basically sex looks like, how we think of it. How we see it in movies, how we see it in books. And most people experienced this in the beginning, so it’s real right. It’s what we all have gone through.
[00:05:10] Clement: [00:05:10] I got it. I got to say as well, like in terms of porn and the industry, it’s hugely damaged, not damaged.
[00:05:17] I I, the point I’m trying to make is this friction sex you’re talking about it literally is the point is a manifestation of that. It’s just all visceral. It’s all, you would use it hardcore over the top pure aesthetic. And I see so many people suffering from porn, addictions and it’s what do you think about that just before we go on and talk about other stuff what do you think about the whole porn epidemic right now and what is it doing to couples?
[00:05:43]Irene Fehr: [00:05:43] Oh, that’s a huge, it’s an important question and a huge question. What porn is doing is that it’s fuelling The it’s feeding men in a certain way, because a lot of course, people who consume porn are men. And it’s fueling their hunger to be in a situation where they see a woman being very sexually excited, whether it’s fake or not, or it’s ridiculous when you actually watch it.
[00:06:12] That’s another story. But the reason why so many men are drawn to porn is that they love to see us a woman sexually excited, and they are fantasizing that it’s them, that she is super excited about. And so it’s feeding this part of them. And for a lot of men who are not in relationships or who have a hard time, for example, dating or getting out there or meeting women or men who are in a relationship where their life is sexless, where their relationship is Textless again, it’s feeding this part of them that wants to experience it.
[00:06:51] But, and this is a huge, but what were watching is full of violence, misogyny. It’s really misrepresenting what actually real women experience when their bodies are touched, how they experience orgasm, how they experience pleasure. It’s misrepresenting, how actually sex feels good for women, how actually sex feels good for couples.
[00:07:19] So they’re getting the hit, but they’re also watching something that. Is like I said, misrepresenting and feeding wrong messages. And then of course that gets brought into the bedroom and that starts to show up as expectations: well I want you to look that way. I want you to act that way, or I want to have that from you, but it doesn’t show any real life ways to be able to ask your partner for what you want to be able to elicit excitement from them, not just have them fake it or act it out the way actresses do in porn, but to actually create that kind of circumstance. And so many young people are getting their sex ed from porn, bringing that into their relationships and are having a very hard time actually creating anything even pleasurable in their relationships.
[00:08:11] Because again, porn is not sex ed. It’s not representative of how things really are. So it’s this awful dynamic of kind of this addiction piece, because it is so addictive to watch it. And it’s also damaging actual real relationships.
[00:08:29] Clement: [00:08:29] Yeah. I think you said it perfectly it, it is an epidemic.
[00:08:32] There’s an, there’s a few epidemics right now that I’m particularly focused on there’s the mental health epidemic that’s happening. There’s the, what happens in the home epidemic, the domestic epidemic, there’s the the porn epidemic. And these were just so damaging to relationships for me, which is why I like to talk about them because if only these kids or not even just kids.
[00:08:54]I’m saying that the new generations, the younger generations are growing up. Not really getting it, like when I grew up, I didn’t have access to that much porn. If you wanted to watch porn, you’d have to wait for 10 minutes for it to actually load on the page. So it was just, it was like, do I have enough time today to even, look at this but now it’s instantly available.
[00:09:13] You got your phone with you. You can go anywhere. You want, you can see it anytime you want. And it’s just on another level. This is stuff we couldn’t even see this stuff, decade ago, two decades ago. So I think it’s really, we were rewiring people. And yeah definitely it’s gonna impact long-term sex, but you, so you were saying friction sex was like the first stage of our relationship our sexual life in a relationship.
[00:09:39] Irene Fehr: [00:09:39] Yes. And I also want to add one more thing about porn because I’m absolutely not against porn. Porn is a wonderful thing to to use, to stimulate yourself, to stimulate your partner, to, to watch together. It’s just so sad that good porn is not out there, or there is good porn, but it’s something that you have to pay for.
[00:10:02] So all the young people who are searching for porn on the internet these days, they don’t actually see the girls. Are you talking about
[00:10:09] Clement: [00:10:09] the more passionate, more realistic porn, which is, not mainstream hardcore, it’s more like a, like a, it’s more like a real life representation of this is what love looks like between two people is what intimacy looks like
[00:10:24] Irene Fehr: [00:10:24] exactly.
[00:10:24] Or even orotic movies, but that are done. Like you said, reflecting how real people are and showing scenes of intimacy, not just the kind of hardcore banging and like all the stuff that you see on the free sites. And that’s the sad part is that that’s what the young people see that’s, what’s being so utilized and porn again is not bad in and of itself, but the good stuff you have to pay for.
[00:10:54] So it’s not really easily seen. Sure.
[00:10:57] Clement: [00:10:57] Now I’m a member of various groups on Facebook and the relationship groups. So people post about their relationships problems. They have most of the time and a large percentage of the problems are stemming from a lack of intimacy, a lack of sex, a lack of love life.
[00:11:19] And many times what the problem seems to be, or has evolved to be because it didn’t start this way perhaps is that one of the partners is watching porn by themselves frequently while they’re in the relationship sometimes in secret, because for some people I would imagine most people, that’s not something acceptable.
[00:11:40]And it, I’m just bringing this up because we’re on the topic we’re talking about it. So it really does and do you find that a lot with the people you talk to, like there may be perhaps going elsewhere to fulfill their needs and would you classify that as cheating even? Is that, if it’s like something I do in secret, is that how does that affect relationships?
[00:11:59]Irene Fehr: [00:11:59] Oh, that’s another huge topic. That’s also so super important, whether it’s cheating or not. It’s not up to me to decide, but it is up to the couple to decide in terms of what kind of relationship do they want. Do they want a relationship where there is emotional intimacy where they are really giving each other their best selves and where they are transparent with each other.
[00:12:27] They don’t, and that is really up to them to decide. Now I can say from an expert perspective, that lack of transparency in lying always damages the relationship. But transparency and honesty are not always values that people have. That’s not something that they want in a relationship. They may say they want honesty, but oftentimes they want to close their eyes to things they don’t want to see.
[00:12:56] So all of this really depends on the couple of how they want to live their lives right now from being in my practice. And my, I live according to my values and my values are transparency and honesty. And like I said, bringing your best self to your partner, bringing your best self to the relationship.
[00:13:13] And if you’re doing something that you don’t want your partner to, even if it’s fulfilling your needs, it’s really about coming clean and saying, these are the needs that I have and negotiating and having a conversation about that with your partner and. Letting them also decide what they need to do from their side.
[00:13:36] Once they have all the information, because some of the deepest relationship wounds come from not knowing everything that they need to know, they don’t have the full picture. And so they’re acting they’re making choices from a perspective that they think they have all the information, but then they get blindsided.
[00:13:57] They get knocked off by learning all this information that probably would have changed the way they show up in the relationship or the kind of decisions they make. That’s where so much of the trauma and the hurt happens. So with porn, if one person is watching porn and is keeping it a secret, I was absolutely going to damage the relationship.
[00:14:20] It’s going to damage trust. It’s going to damage intimacy.
[00:14:25] Clement: [00:14:25] I agreed. The responses that I get from the, like the replies that I leave on these threads, the question would be something like my partner is addicted to porn. It’s is this normal? My typical response to this kind of question is neither of you should be watching porn by yourselves because just like you mentioned, it’s going to lead down a difficult path.
[00:14:53] You’re going to have problems and people will reply to my response with a lot of aggression, because obviously this is something they identify with. Obviously this is something that they’re doing and they’re trying to justify perhaps what their, what their actions are. So I think there’s a heavy, there’s a very heavy sense of individual freedom in relationships.
[00:15:17] And although that sounds great because I am all for freedom in relationships. I feel like it’s definitely damaging when it comes to trying to build a future with someone because your individual freedoms, even though they’re important, they are taken aback, they should be taking a back seat in a relationship.
[00:15:36]They you’re compromising with someone here. You’re trying to figure things out together, not by yourself. So we’ll call it selfish, call it whatever you want. There’s varying degrees of the labels you can use, but I do feel like on a certain level, it is selfish to want to have things your way, because you believe it’s right.
[00:15:54] Kind of neglecting the overall union there.
[00:15:58] Irene Fehr: [00:15:58] Yeah. And you mentioned the word, figuring this out together. And the together piece is really important because porn. Can be a start of a very important conversation that couples need to have, which is broadly speaking about sex couples do not have enough conversations about sex.
[00:16:17] They don’t talk about it mindfully. They just do it. They just go into it and then do it hit a roadblock, hit a dead end and think that there’s something wrong with them. Whereas sex is an area, just like everything else in your relationship that you need to be talking about, need to understand your needs and how you even, how you see sex, what’s important to you about it, what it means to you.
[00:16:42] And mostly because people have no idea what sex means to them or that sex is not just something that you do. I think it’s, I think of sex as two in two ways. One is there’s the biological imperative. There’s the horniness. There is the, the wanting to release that sexual tension. There’s a biological desire for sex to have a baby.
[00:17:09] And there is sex for intimacy and sex for intimacy is a whole different beast. It’s not driven by hormones. It’s not driven by the desire for sexual tension release. It’s driven by wanting to be with each other to, to desire your partner, to be desired, to express your creativity, your physicality, to connect heart, to heart by connecting genitals to genitals.
[00:17:44] And so this piece, most people don’t realize. Even understand that it exists. And so they go by the rules of the biological, biologically motivated sex to try to create this second type and they completely missed the boat. So actually I want to go back to the differentiation between friction sex and the other types of sex, because it very much speaks to this.
[00:18:11]And this is why it’s so hard. People don’t really realize that there are different kinds and they require different things. So can I start over a little bit with a friction sex? Okay. So friction sex again, happens in the beginning. It’s that? It’s that passion that can’t take your hands off each other stage.
[00:18:33]But it has limits because all of them, it is driven by these hormones of sexual attraction. And literally it’s our biological imperative to find a partner and have a baby. It can last a couple of months. It can last even a couple of years. It’s a to use early by drugs and alcohol because they just they allow you to do let go of everything else and focused on the pleasure.
[00:19:01] And again, that’s exciting, but what happens is that infection, sex, because it is all about friction. It’s all about just that physical passion. There is no room for emotional intimacy because usually emotional intimacy will ruin the moment. I don’t want you to tell me how I feel because I’m not, I might lose my erection or, I don’t want to talk about things because I’m on the way to orgasm.
[00:19:30] So in friction sex, again, there’s very little room for that. And we think of it as it’s going to kill the moment. So I think of friction. Sex is good. Whether sex, as long as things are going well, we’ve, we’re feel good. We’re good. We don’t want any of that other stuff. And what happens also during friction sex, as women usually lose out because women’s sexuality and our experience with our bodies require some conversations and talking about what we need, because there is no cookie cutter approach to a woman.
[00:20:08] Every woman is different. She has her own pace and her own needs. And so women usually. Withhold the information that men need to please them, whether it’s out of fear or just not wanting to ruin the moment or just not even having enough space or time, because things can be moving so quickly in that passionate moment.
[00:20:33] So what happens is couples will see diminishing returns over time from friction sex. After a couple of times, it’s going to be a little less passionate, a little less exciting. You’re going to be doing the same thing over and over. So it’s going to be a little, again, little less exciting kind of we’ve been here, done that, and over time it’ll just get less and less passionate.
[00:20:58] And again, couples here. It, unless it’s helped by alcohol and drugs, couples will start to see these diminishing returns and they’ll start to think, oh, we’re losing our attraction to. Oh, there’s something wrong with us, but that’s a really wrong interpretation of what’s happening. Everything all or all that’s happening is actually the hormones are waning.
[00:21:24] That excitement is dying out and you’re hitting the end of what friction sex can provide. Unless you bring in the emotional connection, unless you bring in conversations about sex and what you want and what your needs are and what your boundaries are, you’re going to watch sex die. So that’s one place where sex dies and couples again, think we’re just not meant for each other or we’re not attracted to each other.
[00:21:55] And they part ways,
[00:21:56] Clement: [00:21:56] I feel like this, in my past five-year relationships, for example, I feel like it’s at this point of the friction sex ending or starting the end, it’s like a start to get really where I started. I don’t anymore now, but I started to get very concerned and pressured to figure it out quickly, oh my God, it’s gonna, it’s gonna go away. It’s gonna, and obviously when you do that and when you feel that way, nothing works because this kind of energy is not about speed. It’s not about like it’s not right energy. It’s a relaxed, calm energy. It’s a very knowledgeable energy.
[00:22:31] So I would rush with my partner to try toys, try new positions, try light. But I think I was obviously looking in a very superficial place because you can’t fix this and correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like you can’t fix this problem by focusing on a new vibrator or the Kama Sutra.
[00:22:51]This is not the problem we’re talking about here.
[00:22:54] Irene Fehr: [00:22:54] No, absolutely. I love here. You’re pointing to this because this is exactly true. This is what couples will do. Look at new toys, new positions, but it’s still a looking at the external motivator or external solution to an internal problem, which is that you’re not actually connecting.
[00:23:12] You’re not actually talking about things. You’re just trying to fix things. So you can go back to where you were in the beginning, but that stage in the beginning, right at the beginning, it’s such a unique stage and it’s not meant to last, those hormones are not meant to stay so high. Otherwise we would be bouncing off walls.
[00:23:33] So it would be too exhausting. It would be unsustainable. So yes, you need a different kind of approach that has nothing to do with toys and positions, and that has everything to do with slowing down and really understanding each other. And. Finding con finding that passion through the connection, not through toys, not through positions, not through these accoutrements.
[00:23:57] And I’ll talk more about this because this is very much what the third type of sex that I’ve identified is about. But there’s a second type two that also dies like the first one, but it’s a different kind. So let’s say you do bring in emotional connection into your relationship and you start to fall in love.
[00:24:20] And in addition to, to lust and excitement, you now have this limerence stage. So you feel so met by each other. You feel connected you are planning maybe your future together, and this is such an exciting stage and sex here can go to a whole different level. A lot more passionate, a lot more connected.
[00:24:42]You’re really, you’re making love to each other and it can feel amazing warm kind of comforting like a warm blanket, but there’s something that happens in the stage when love enters the picture. And when there is love when there is emotional connection and when there is in a way at dependency, like if you love someone, you become dependent on them in a certain way.
[00:25:11] To have love reciprocated to have that emotional connection, right? You get attached in a beautiful, most positive way, but we have to acknowledge that there’s attachment that happens in a bonding. And so what that does is that it starts to kick in our attachment patterns. The w the things that we were, the way that we learned, how to interact with people who love us from our upbringing, attachment patterns, start when we are born and because attachment styles.
[00:25:47] Absolutely. Exactly. That’s exactly it. And so we learn to attach to our caretakers because they provide love and nurturance and they take care of our needs. So all the patterns that we developed with our parents and our caretakers in are in very early years, days, even we start to bring that into the relationship and.
[00:26:11] We started to have fears about losing love. And we started to show up differently when it comes to asking for what we want and and sharing our needs. And so here’s sex, that’s starting to feel amazing, but what happens is both people start to realize that they have fear about doing things to not rock the boat.
[00:26:38] And so both let’s say men, a man, and a woman, they pull back because they don’t want to upset the balance or they start acting out when things don’t go their way or actually. And so this is this whole part which which I call validation, sex warrants up its own show. But I’m going to summarize that in this stage, what happens is that sex becomes a battleground of these attachment styles because sex is no longer just sex here.
[00:27:12] It’s also about validation. It’s the signals. Am I attractive to you? Do you desire me? Am I important to you? If you say yes and have sex with me, then I feel important. If you say no, then it kicks in my attachment wounds and my worthiness and all the things that I believe about how do I get what I need and want and hear couples start to get very stuck, because this is again, so much more than sex.
[00:27:42] It’s emotional. It’s about love and it’s about me. And they start to get into these push pull patterns, or there’s a a pusher or a pursuer. And then there’s a drawer who withdrawing and protecting themselves. And this can get either very very private. I want to say this very, not violent but it could be, there could be a lot of fights, right?
[00:28:07] A lot of gridlock, a lot of couples going, like having fights over this and can’t get out of this gridlock or they become roommates. They want to avoid this area altogether. And they just part ways and live completely platonically. Sex is so fraught with anxiety for them that they just want to avoid it altogether.
[00:28:31] So they’re either fighting or they are roommates we’re fine. No problem. But it’s a superficial way to deal with this problem. Again, a problem of not actually knowing how to say what’s actually happening for you, it’s being vulnerable on a different level of really saying, I, I need to know that I’m important to you.
[00:28:55] I need to know that you are that you care about me. So they use sex for that, which is you’re using the wrong thing for the wrong the wrong requirement. So here sex dies. Also, whether it’s just fraught with fighting and conflict and then just becomes friction Sipes, because they’re just like, okay, let’s get it over with at least, we’ll get our orgasm or it dies out altogether and they become roommates, but either way it reaches a dead end.
[00:29:25] It reaches the end of its life. And. This may look really awful. Once you’re, when you’re in it, it looks like it’s the end of the relationship, but it’s actually a beginning of a new stage. So these two types of sex, like I said, they’re driven by hormones, sex, lust, procreation love, and we can’t rely on hormones to create passion and intimacy.
[00:29:50] We have to do it intentionally. We have to learn how to be erotic and sexual with each other, without relying on these external things and the third type of sex, I call connection sex. It’s all about learning. Like I said, how to cultivate that eroticism, how to show up for each other, vulnerably, how to be able to talk about needs and desires and to be able to create practices, touch practices erotic practices that help you be sexual with each other.
[00:30:27] That create that sexual fire. So tantra is an example of sexual practices, even Kama, Sutra. It could be an example of that it’s, but it, I want to emphasize the word practices showing up, practicing, being with each other in a certain way. That’s, what’s going to cultivate the passion, not just doing things differently.
[00:30:50] Clement: [00:30:50] What do you think drives someone’s resistance to doing this kind of practice? Because I there’s times where I felt, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same for many people, because otherwise this wouldn’t be so difficult, but there’s times where I’ve felt stupid for practicing something, or I felt like it’s a ridiculous thing to do.
[00:31:13] Like why would I do this shit? Want to be with me regardless, or, maybe that’s what it is. Is there some kind of entitlement issue going on there in the background or like a cultural kind of misunderstanding of why should I be the one to put the effort in? I don’t understand what stopping people from actually really committing to this and even starting it.
[00:31:35]Irene Fehr: [00:31:35] Thank you first for admitting that you went through that yourself. And you speak to something that so many people go through. The entitlement piece can be explained a couple of ways. And the resistance one is that this is a really vulnerable area to talk about, like showing that you don’t know something or showing your interest in something that maybe your partner won’t reciprocate all of that as super vulnerable.
[00:31:59] So that’s one way to think about it. Why so many people don’t want to do this? This is scary. It’s it’s vulnerable. It’s you go you have to reveal yourself, but then there’s this other piece about attachment styles and entitlements. So what you’re speaking to sounds a lot like anxious attachment style has a lot of these beliefs that my partners should know what I want.
[00:32:28] And we bring that into there into our sexual relationships. And this is this is where understanding your attachment patterns and attachment types can help you or anyone, myself included. It helps to understand why are we getting stuck in these patterns? Why are we doing the same thing over and over?
[00:32:53] Like you just described, like I keep getting these situations. There’s a reason and understanding your attachment styles can help that because these are so practiced in us. They’re I wouldn’t say that they’re wired biologically, but they’re practiced because that’s how we grew up having our needs.
[00:33:12] Clement: [00:33:12] Yes, it’s fascinating. There is three types of intimate sex, I guess sex is intimate, my definition. But so there’s three types and that last type that you just mentioned is the. The goal, perhaps that’s where we want to be. I guess there’s fun in all types of sex, right? There’s some pleasure and joy and value to be found in all types, but you’re saying as time goes on and as we become less and less interested in, let’s say those other more superficial types of sex, it becomes how do we make this more of a, kind of a deeper connection, a deeper understanding?
[00:33:53] You said connection sex is the last type, right? Yes. Okay. Yeah. There you go. My whole thing is about relationships. So connection seems to be a recurring theme in relationships just to put it mildly in a, that is a very challenging subject. How would you say the success rate is like for couples who go through the.
[00:34:22] Challenges. And I think everyone, every couple of probably goes through that challenge, but what’s the prognosis like for a couple that comes to you and they want help. Are we talking like 50% here? Do you know, is that something you follow up with or?
[00:34:35]Irene Fehr: [00:34:35] Absolutely. I take couples through a very deep transformational journey and the couples that stay with me through the whole journey, they come out having created connection sex, and I think of connection.
[00:34:51] Sex also is not just a type of sex. It’s actually the way you do life and the way you do life, which is mindfully and intentionally being intentional about your needs. Be intentional about speaking your desires, being intentional about spending time with each other and knowing how to actually ask for the thing that you need.
[00:35:16] Yeah. What that does, what that creates is a whole different way to interact with each other and a whole different way to be with each other. That then actually brings the benefits, all the other types of sex. Like you said, there is so much fun and friction sex. I wouldn’t want to get rid of that. And I wouldn’t want to get rid of the benefits of the love making that kind of sex that you have when you’re really connected and you feel loved.
[00:35:46] And it’s just this kind of, again, warm blanket feeling. That’s amazing too, but what happens in connection sex, as you learn how to have sex? Depending on the context, it’s no longer good whether sex it’s sex, whatever is happening in your life and naturally creating it, spontaneously creating it of whatever situation that you’re in.
[00:36:10] Let’s say, if you are going through hard time, like with COVID that we’ve all been facing recently, knowing how to connect despite the pressures and the challenges of the situation. When you have a baby, a newborn baby, or you have also several children and you have the pressures of parenthood, knowing how to connect in that context, knowing how to connect when you are not feeling particularly courageous to show up.
[00:36:45] Or you don’t really like your partner in that moment. How do you actually show up and still be with them? How do you stay connected despite the I don’t really like you right now. I don’t want to talk to you moment.
[00:36:57] Clement: [00:36:57] That’s asking way too much of some people when they hear that they’re like, nah, no.
[00:37:05] It’s but you’re, the teacher only appears when the student’s ready. This is not something that people will look for until they’re in a certain part. W part of life where at least, I think on a minimum level, they’re open to the possibility of change. They’re open to investigating, going through the.
[00:37:26] Change cycle that is required to get into a new way of thinking, feeling and acting. That’s emotional intelligence right there, because this is an emotional subject. So if you don’t have emotional intelligence and you don’t recognize the need for emotional intelligence, I believe personally, this is a, no, this is a dead end until you get it till you get
[00:37:45] Irene Fehr: [00:37:45] there.
[00:37:46] Yep. And this is very much for people who are also willing to look at themselves because you are 50% of your relationship. Yeah. Wow. And yeah. And so
[00:38:00] Clement: [00:38:00] narcissists coming in there or not, I would imagine,
[00:38:04] Irene Fehr: [00:38:04] no they get turned off by this part of the required the requirement to have to look at themselves.
[00:38:10]But it, yeah, it’s we have to take responsibility for what we bring into the relationship. And even though creating a deeply connected. Really ecstatic relationship, extraordinary relationship does absolutely take two people. It takes one person to start by looking at yourself. Yeah. Yeah. And so again, one person can kickstart the process by looking at themselves, but really both people have to do it and both people have to understand how they co-create, what their ha what is happening.
[00:38:49]For example, I have so many situations where people come to me and they’re like my partner does this. And my partner does that. And I don’t like that. And I want them to change well, when we unpack the situation, what usually happens is that there. Not asking for what they need, they’re just complaining.
[00:39:10] Or they are actually tolerating something that they don’t want. So it’s I don’t like how my husband has said has sex. He’s he is too fast and he just finishes in five minutes and it doesn’t work for me. What has your continue having sex with him? Oh, I didn’t know. I could stop.
[00:39:30]And so we have to look at what are we contributing? What is it that we’re doing? And a lot of the times, without the external help of a coach, we don’t see that. We don’t see that we have actually choices in our relationship, in every corner of it, we can make different decisions and we can influence that.
[00:39:52]So much of the work that I do is very deep work around this. What is it that you want and how are you showing up in the relationship and in my couples work, which is my practice at the core, I work with a couple together. Of course, we’re doing a couples coaching, but then I also work with individuals to help them bring their best selves into the couple.
[00:40:14] And this is really important. And it’s different from so many therapists and other poaches, because I believe that we do need of course, to work with a couple because sex is a couples issue. Sex is not happy unless you’re having sex with a common toast partner. Both people are in there and both people are in there, 50% of the whole.
[00:40:38]But you also need the space to do individual work. Like you said, to be willing to look at yourself and to have a safe space for them. Yeah.
[00:40:46] Clement: [00:40:46] Yeah, definitely. I think maybe that catches people by surprise, but like how else could it happen? How else would that even possibly go ahead. You’ve got to look at yourself too.
[00:40:55] Mostly, I would say at your seat, th the way that I look at these kinds of challenges is it’s a circle of influence thing. It’s if I can only focus on if I can only affect the things that I have influence over, there’s absolutely no point in me focusing on the things outside of my circle of influence.
[00:41:12] And yeah, I think people need to be reminded or brought that brought to their attention. Can we talk a little bit about the difference between men and women when it comes to keeping up their sexual libido and what, you said you specialize in women’s Liberty and women, the female side of this whole challenge, how do they differ?
[00:41:34] And and maybe we can discuss oh, what do women go through and how are they dealing with it?
[00:41:41] Irene Fehr: [00:41:41] Great question. Again, something that warrants a whole different episode, because they have so much to share about this topic, but I’ll try to summarize the big difference between men and women is how they experienced sexual desire.
[00:41:57] And most men experienced sexual desire and in what’s called spontaneous way. There is some kind of stimulus. It could be a thought about his partner or even a billboard with a model and underwear. And he can basically have a very quick response sexual response to that, which would be in the form of, oh, I want sex.
[00:42:25] And then within seconds, literally like within 20 seconds to two, couple of minutes, he can be hard and he can be available for sex for penetration sex for being touched for any kind of sex, but he will be hard. And so that is very quick. There’s a very quick progression, stimulus, sexual desire, arousal.
[00:42:47] They happen quickly. They happen. Boom boom. And this is this is what we think of as really sexual desire oh, thinking about sex. Like during the day, thinking about sex, having thoughts of your partner, having thoughts of sex, wanting sex, and also wanting, or having sexual fantasies,
[00:43:07]women, sexual desire is different. It’s, what’s called responsive sexual desire, and it plays out very differently. Sexual desire is responsive to a lot of things that proceeded and all those things include her feeling good inside her body. Feeling like she’s relaxed. She is not weighed down by responsibilities.
[00:43:35] She feels sexy. It, the reason why it’s so important for women to look good, to have our hair look good, makeup clothes is that it makes us feel sexy and feeling sexy is the beginnings of this journey towards the sexual desire. So we’re responding to feeling sexy when we feel like sexy.
[00:43:56] We’re a little bit more confident than we are a little bit more flirtatious and that feels good. That feels sexier. And then there’s a buildup. What’s also part of this buildup is having connection with our partners, getting a text from our partners. Hey, I’m thinking about you. Wow. The kiss you gave me this morning when I was leaving, I can still, I feel you on my lips, those kinds of texts, help her think.
[00:44:24] Wow. He’s thinking about. Wow. And that again, has her feel good? Has her feel sexy then there is also the playful touch and connection. So getting a hug or a kiss when she comes home without obligation. So a kiss, that’s all about the kiss, not as being buttered up for sex, but as a kiss, a passionate kiss or getting flowers again, it’s like the fit.
[00:44:52] The thinking that the man is doing about her that gets her all really turned on. And as this progresses, and I’m like thinking of this as a spiral going up and up as there’s more things happening, the woman is starting to feel really good, relaxed again, a little bit like, turned on like this feels good.
[00:45:12] I feel sexy. And the more this progress is at the end of this, she starts to think I want to get sexual with him. Not sex have sex yet, but I want to get sexual with him. So this is the moment where she was like, yeah, I want to take my clothes off. I want to start to kiss a little bit deeper or have more skin to skin contact and as that’s happening and it’s really pleasurable and it’s not yet about touching breasts or penetrating or even playing with the pussy, but this is still like kissing, making out, touching stroking at the end of this.
[00:45:55] There’s a moment where they’re like, oh, I want more. Now I want the nipple play. Now I want to be touched. And then at the end of that, there’s now I want sex. So there’s this whole journey that
[00:46:10] Clement: [00:46:10] it sounds let’s go for the pussy.
[00:46:11]Irene Fehr: [00:46:11] Many women complain. My guy comes up to me in the kitchen and he pinches my nipples. That’s the way he’s flirting. And that’s 10 miles down the line from where she is, or yeah. They get into bed and he starts fingering. And it’s
[00:46:26] Clement: [00:46:26] and I just wanna, I just want to ask you something, just to clarify for anyone who is literally listening and watching, when you bypass any steps of this process, when a man or a woman, if we’re talking about gay relationship, but in essence, when you’re talking about a woman and her sexual responsiveness, what happens when we bypass any of these steps?
[00:46:49] Because I’m assuming that this is tried and tested evolutionary development here. So
[00:46:56] Irene Fehr: [00:46:56] yeah, nothing good happens when you bypass those steps. So specifically she will perform. So she’s not going to be feeling it. She’s not going to actually be building her arousal. She’s not going to be really enjoying it.
[00:47:14] It’s not going to feel good in her body. So she’ll perform, she will alone. She will twist her body. She will show up in a way that looks sexual. Like she’s enjoying it. And some of it may help the enjoyment, but she’s not actually enjoying it. And the more this happens, this performance, this showing up, the more tiring sex is going to get for her.
[00:47:40] And the more tiring and exhaustive or exhausting sex is going to get for her, the less she’s actually genuinely gonna want it. And so this is going to contribute to her libido her overall desire in the long-term. Why go through this? If I have to work so hard,
[00:48:00] Clement: [00:48:00] Does hitting most, if not all. Cause I would, I feel like you could get a woman too.
[00:48:10] I know you can get a woman to intense pleasure without hitting all of those things you mentioned. It’s not essential, but there are some fundamental ones that I have to be there. But would you say that when you do hit those necessary parts of that puzzle, that experience will somehow reinforce the next one is that what’s going to keep her coming back for more because I want to make sure I understand you like this is how you keep it going in a relationship.
[00:48:47] Irene Fehr: [00:48:47] Yes. And that key piece is connection. What does that actually, what does that actually look like? It’s being really present to where she is. The saying, reading the room, it’s about learning to read the room, read her body, read where she is, and you want to meet her where she is.
[00:49:07] You don’t want to be too slow. And then she’s just wait, where are you? And you don’t want to be too fast either because she’s going to feel like you’re dragging her. So you want to really meet her and learn what is actually happening for her. What is happening in her body? It’s also in terms of polarity being the man, being in her, in the man, being in his masculine and leading her, but also again, being very attuned to where she is.
[00:49:38] It’s also about. Acting from desire. So many specifically men but also like for example, in gay relationships and lesbian relationships, you have one partner who is eager to please, and pleasing is wonderful, except it’s not erotic. We serving each other is nice, but it’s not a robotic nature.
[00:50:01] Eroticism is really wanting to be there for yourself, wanting to touch your partner because it feels incredible on your skin and on your fingers, licking them, sucking them because you can’t get enough of their taste wanting to told them because their body makes yours get so turned on. That’s eroticism doing something for your own pleasure.
[00:50:29] For your own for your time, I want to
[00:50:31] Clement: [00:50:31] feel that in your, you want to feel that your partner wants that. They’re not just, they’re trying to manipulate you. They’re actually, it’s coming from a very primal place. It’s a real feeling. It’s a
[00:50:42] Irene Fehr: [00:50:42] desire. Yeah, exactly. So as long as that connection is there, whether it’s the desire or the presence or the tune mint or the masculine energy, then it doesn’t matter what, like the whatever buttons you press, what matters is what’s happening between the two of you in that connection piece.
[00:51:04] And again, coming back to the work that I do, this is what I teach couples. And this is not primal, even though the desire piece is primal. We don’t know how to actually be sexual with each other. We don’t know how to access this energy. We might on occasions here or there, but we can’t really. Reliably reproduce that.
[00:51:25] And that’s what I teach my couples.
[00:51:27]Clement: [00:51:27] Just going off my own upbringing, I was raised with traditional Christian values. So my whole outlook on sex for the majority of my life to this point has been one of. I don’t like to, or I didn’t rather now I don’t have a problem, as you can tell, we’re talking about it for hours now, but I didn’t historically want to talk about sex.
[00:51:58] Cause I felt quite ashamed. And I think that gets programmed into people at an early age in the west. And when they practice very religious Christian or Catholic values, especially very specially Catholic values. So yeah, it’s such a challenge. And listening to this, I would imagine there’s a few people who are going to get overwhelmed and they’re going to feel like, how am I going to be able to do this first?
[00:52:22] I’ve got to be sensitive, but I’ve got to be a man, but I’ve got to take it slow, but I’ve got a really sure that I want her, but I’ve got to read the room, but I’ve got to, you know what I mean? Like I’ve gotta listen to my emotions too. And there’s so many things that you need to pay attention to.
[00:52:37] And I just want to say. I think it comes with practice. Doesn’t it just comes with practice. You just got to keep practicing and get good at it and get good at managing your own emotions and be open-minded and just be patient with yourself. And I get that. Some couples don’t have that freedom. They don’t have that.
[00:52:56]They don’t have the privilege of being able to take their time necessarily with this kind of thing. But maybe that’s where communication comes in and setting expectations as Hey, look, I’m here for you. I’m here for us. This might not be the fastest recovery, but we’re going to get there.
[00:53:11] That’s what the coach says. We’re going to get there. Eventually. We just got to keep showing up, got to keep
[00:53:15] Irene Fehr: [00:53:15] doing it. Yep. Absolutely. Keeps showing up is key and also slowing it down. Everything that you described. That’s what I do with couples over a year to two year period. And of course it’s so much when you just put it all into one sentence in terms of what’s required.
[00:53:32]Taking it slow doing it. One thing at a time and also getting support intimate sex is not like I said, something that’s biologically wired in us. It takes a whole different level of skills and getting support from a coach is something that’s so important here. And here’s two reasons why, because this is a new realm.
[00:53:57] So you’re learning a new language, new, everything, new you’re learning how to speak differently, think differently, and you’re going to get stuck. And why so many couples give up on this completely is that they get stuck and they don’t know what to do. And this is where a coach is going to be like, great.
[00:54:19] You’re stuck. Let’s celebrate it. You tried something and now let’s go here or let’s go in this direction or try this, In a way there’s so much information out there, including your podcasts, so many amazing podcasts and books about so much information or excuse me about so many insights, so many different ways of solving these challenges.
[00:54:40] But the thing is that it’s like walking into a library and seeing a thousand books on your topic, but where do you start? And so a coach helps you say, start with this book at this time, read only page 15 to 17, try this exercise and then stop and then switch to doing something else because the rest of that book is going to be meaningless for you right now.
[00:55:06] Yeah. And so getting that kind of targeted advice is very important because then if they fail, they know exactly what to do next. And again, couples on their own. They won’t, they don’t know they get stuck and it feels like a dead end and they give up. That is a huge reason to get to hire someone if you are in in that privileged position to be able to do that.
[00:55:30] And and then the second piece of just really quickly is failure. I joke that you have to get good at this F word first, before you go on to the other F word. So get good at failure before fucking, because you have to learn how to make mistakes. Cause that’s part of learning a new language.
[00:55:50] You have to try get out there, do things and then learn from them. And then that’s what really is support provides you with a safe space to fail.
[00:55:59]Clement: [00:55:59] I suppose if you’re in a relationship and you’re looking for help with this, you’ve already failed many times and you’ve been accepted regardless. I think there’s so much pressure on men and women similarly, to perform immediately.
[00:56:13] And we do that anyway on an instinctive level. It’s not like it’s a social thing only. This is a very primal, is he good at pleasuring me? Is he confident? Is he masculine? Is he or, and vice versa for the opposite sex too. Yeah. Yeah, I think I think there is a lot of pressure. Let’s figure out how do people start where you’ve got an online course, to bring them into the hole, you two, somehow welcomed them and to this whole topic and get them familiarized with what’s important and how to start. So what does that look like?
[00:56:50] Irene Fehr: [00:56:50] So I have a couple of free things on my website, actually. So many more, so much more than a couple.
[00:56:55] So I have hundreds of blog posts and articles that I’ve written all over that talk about the three types of sex, what happens in a longterm relationship, and they’re all accessible from the website. And I also have a free course. That’s called how to want sex again. And that’s specifically written for women, but I get so many men signing up for it as well because men want to learn what’s happening to their partners as well.
[00:57:23] And that free course is it’s a three video course where I lay out what happens to women. Actually, what four myths that we think are true that actually kill women’s libido in a longterm relationship and what is really required to have her feel. Alive and excited and wanting sex in a long-term relationship right over time.
[00:57:47] So those are the free resources that I have on my website. And I also have an online course for women that is basically an extension of this free course. That’s called feed your libido, and that’s the five step blueprint to reconnecting to yourself and your partner. And so I take women through women and their partners, most of the courses for women, but module five, a whole module is for the woman to do with her partner.
[00:58:15] And that’s really about feeding, feeding her libido, understanding all these elements and then practicing, doing specific practices to help you feature libido. And then of course there’s a couples coaching that I offer. So there’s more information on my website.
[00:58:31] Clement: [00:58:31] Impressive. Very impressive, very excellent conversation, really full of information, full of practical advice as well.
[00:58:38]I think I learned a lot from this and it’s been some time since I even had any issues with this area of my life. So for me to learn a lot about it, it just makes me feel more confident in the future, moving into new relationships new situations that I have more now that I can work with, I can call upon.
[00:58:57] So I know people have found a lot of value in this. Thanks so much for coming on. How do people find you on social media?
[00:59:03]Irene Fehr: [00:59:03] I’m not as active on social media, but my website is the best place and w and my website is my first and last name. Irene fare.com.
[00:59:11] Clement: [00:59:11] Okay. Gotcha. I would say that you’re not missing out on social media because it’s a terrible thing in many ways, but it’s also very helpful.
[00:59:20]And maybe we’ll find you on there at some point, but thanks again for coming on. Really appreciate Irene.
[00:59:26] Irene Fehr: [00:59:26] Thank you so much. And thank you for these wonderful questions. I’ve loved this company. Thank
[00:59:31] Clement: [00:59:31] you. .