Example of telling your partner that you don’t want to have sex tonight in a loving way…
Cathy: We are talking about how you can talk to your partner about not wanting to have sex, and do it in the most loving way possible. The thing is if you have sex with someone that you don’t want to, resentment builds up even if you really love them. It can get in the way for future connection.
Reid: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You want life to… You are always trying to make life a get to, not a have to.
Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.
Reid: Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com
Cathy: And we just did a video showing how … I like doing the different genders, because I think that our society has different pressures they put on people. Not that I think people are really different depending on their genitals, but I like to see it role-modeled both ways.
Reid: Mm-hmm. (affirmative)
Cathy: So we did one where I was telling Reid that I didn’t want to have sex with him.
Reid: And you got to see my amazing acting abilities.
Reid: And now I will transform myself so that I will not want to have sex with Cathy Vartuli.
Cathy: (laughing) But you’ve already told them, you used me as an example for biting, and not wanting to show up for sex, so you might think that’s not a surprise at this point.
Reid: That’s what you asked me to role-model.
Cathy: No, I know.
Reid: And you’re complaining now. Oh my … I’m just trying to do the right thing. I can’t get anything right. All right, well you’re on.
Cathy: Okay. Hey Honey, are you ready for date night?
Reid: (inhales sharply)
Cathy: I’ve been looking forward to this.
Reid: I need to talk to you. What I want to have happen tonight, is for you not to be angry at me and for you to feel like I’m never going not tell you stuff. And then what I want to have happen is for you and I to still feel connected and intimate and enjoy our evening. And what I have to tell you is that, I’ve been trying to get myself in the mood for tonight, but for whatever reason, work and what-not, they’re not excuses, but I’m not really in the mood for like a sexy date night. Can we be playful and then figure out some sort of other thing to do? And I’m really sorry.
Cathy: Yeah, let’s talk about it. Let’s figure something out.
Reid: Okay. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you. I know that you were looking forward to this.
Cathy: Yeah, well-
Reid: I mean we got the bouncy house and everything, and I’m really sorry.
Cathy: And we have that gallon of oil.
Reid: I know. I know. Believe me, I was really trying, because bouncy houses … They’re not cheap.
Cathy: Let’s figure something out. I really appreciate you speaking up. I don’t want to have anything between us. It wouldn’t actually be fun to have sex with you if you were not in the mood.
Cathy: Well, we don’t know. Do you want me to give you a Viagra and just see?
Reid: No. Just knock me out and tie me up.
Cathy: Yeah, exactly.
Reid: In the bouncy house. I’ll wake up in the bouncy house.
Cathy: Just wake up in the morning.
Reid: All right, so basically I was using the difficult conversation formula, which you can find ReidAboutSex.com/difficultconvo, and there’s a little article there and you can even get a worksheet … Sign up and get access to a worksheet you can download, so you can actually practice writing out your difficult conversation formulas as a means of getting it into your brain and into your body. And basically, what I was doing was telling Cathy what I was afraid of, what I’d like to have happen, and then the thing that I actually needed to tell her, which is that I changed my mind.
Cathy: Could we just go along quickly how you’d hold space if I was really disappointed?
Cathy: Okay. Are you ready for date night?
Reid: Insert difficult conversation formula. I’m super sorry, so what would you like to try to create-
Cathy: I cancelled a lot of plans for this. You really wanted to do this. What’s going on?
Reid: I’m not sure what’s going on. I think it’s just stress and my body’s not into it. What’s going on right now, is I suspected you might be disappointed, and now you’re disappointed.
Cathy: Yeah. I got waxed today. I cancelled my dinner date with my friends, and here I am… Couldn’t you just try?
Reid: That’s a great suggestion, and … It would me me kind of forcing myself to try to do something and I’ve been trying to take better care of myself and not do things I don’t want to do.
Cathy: Fine. I’m just going to go take some time. I might see if my friends can still meet for dinner.
Reid: Okay. That’s totally cool. And I really apologize for not being in the mood and for creating some disappointment for you.
Cathy: It’s hard to do this. You’re a better actor than I am.
Reid: But what’s interesting here, right, is sometimes just being present with people… And you can take responsibility for you. You don’t have to take responsibility for their disappointment, but you can witness that they’re disappointed. If you want to get super savvy, you can geek out on the languages of apology, and try to figure out ahead of time, not in this situation, what your partner, or friend, or whomever in your life, because this stuff works outside of the bedroom too, try to figure out what they actually need to feel like you are truly sorry.
Cathy: For me, I love restitution. So it might be like, I’m really sorry I did mess up your plans. Can I make it up? Let’s plan for next week. I’m going to make sure I get enough sleep. I’m going to do what I… Not a commitment that I’m absolutely, but …
Reid: And the tricky part is for some people, in those moments, when they’ve changed their mind, making a promise for a similar behavior in the future when they’re already not in the mood right then can feel really tricky. So restitution as a language of apology can be really tricky, but if you both establish that and have the conversation that, yeah, I would love to restore what I needed to change my mind on, but you realize that I’m changing my mind in this moment, so making a promise for the future, that’s really heavy, and actually does not feel good for my body, so can we just acknowledge … Honey, I know that restitution is your apology language and I just can’t, based on where-
Cathy: Can you at least take me to a nice dinner? I was supposed to go out for dinner.
Reid: You wanted to call your friends first, so what is it? Which is it now?
Cathy: I just want you to feel bad.
Reid: Oh. Then I totally feel bad. I feel horrible. Why don’t you call your friends? See? But now we’re dealing. But if I got triggered and then was, how dare you get disappointed .. Be a grownup and handle your disappointment. I’m trying to take care of my body and my sexuality. Yeah, and this whole thing of, men are supposed to be ready for sex-
Cathy: All the time.
Reid: At any moment, when you want, and I’m not allowed to not be in the mood. So you could have a huge argument about it, but that’s not actually going to help the relationship. So the job whenever your partner or your friend or whatever, is disappointed is for you to not get angry that they’re disappointed, and that will be something you can pull off on a good day, and on a bad day, you’re just going to get angry. When the shit hits the fan, whoever can unplug the fan first … You’re helping
Cathy: And could we come back and do one video on cool-down styles? Because I think that’s really useful.
Reid: Comments below.