Previa Alliance Podcast

Interview with Taylor Cordell (Part 2)

June 24, 2024 Previa Alliance Team Season 1 Episode 114
Interview with Taylor Cordell (Part 2)
Previa Alliance Podcast
More Info
Previa Alliance Podcast
Interview with Taylor Cordell (Part 2)
Jun 24, 2024 Season 1 Episode 114
Previa Alliance Team

Join us for the second-part of our episode with our esteemed guest, sex therapist Taylor Cordell, as we highlight the importance of open communication and mutual support between partners, acknowledging how differently men and women cope with these challenges.

Taylor dives deep into the emotional rollercoaster couples often experience when trying to conceive or recovering from birth or loss, emphasizing the importance of maintaining non-sexual intimacy like cuddling and meaningful conversations. She then provides valuable insights on how to keep the emotional and physical connection strong.

Connect with Taylor!
https://thryvetherapy.com/
@the.mom.and.sex.therapist • Instagram photos and videos

Follow Previa Alliance!
Previa Alliance (@previaalliance_) • Instagram photos and videos
Keep the questions coming by sending them to info@previaalliance.com or DM us on Instagram!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us for the second-part of our episode with our esteemed guest, sex therapist Taylor Cordell, as we highlight the importance of open communication and mutual support between partners, acknowledging how differently men and women cope with these challenges.

Taylor dives deep into the emotional rollercoaster couples often experience when trying to conceive or recovering from birth or loss, emphasizing the importance of maintaining non-sexual intimacy like cuddling and meaningful conversations. She then provides valuable insights on how to keep the emotional and physical connection strong.

Connect with Taylor!
https://thryvetherapy.com/
@the.mom.and.sex.therapist • Instagram photos and videos

Follow Previa Alliance!
Previa Alliance (@previaalliance_) • Instagram photos and videos
Keep the questions coming by sending them to info@previaalliance.com or DM us on Instagram!

Speaker 1:

hey guys, welcome back to pretty lions podcast. This is sarah and I have our favorite sex therapist plus. I love her because she's a boy mom and she totally relates to my life.

Speaker 1:

Tay Taylor Cordell is back with us and we're going to be talking all things sex, so trigger warning there's littles around. Please do not be blasting this, or if we're going to be explaining things we are not ready to do yet. So this is definitely earbuds or when it's just adult time conversation. So welcome, taylor. Thank you so happy to be here. We just do not want to be jumping into the birds and the bees right yet with people if they are not ready for it.

Speaker 1:

But we know our audience is super. They're engaged and they're in this topic because it's taboo, right? We've talked before. There's something about once you are trying to become a mom, mom have kids in your sex life. Where it gets complicated, it's hard.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's why I have a job right, because it's even with I mean, motherhood aside and pregnancy and trying to get pregnant aside it's not easy and there's so many people feel like, well, sex should just be natural, it should just be easy. It shouldn't, and it's not. So it's a hard thing right, especially when there's two people that have different desires, different life things. Some are moms, some are dads, some are. You know, you've got your homeowners and then you've got business people that are working, and it's just, it's never, it's not easy.

Speaker 1:

It's not so today what we really want to touch on and it's been a common theme and I think, and I've experienced it. So you think naturally you may just get pregnant and when it doesn't happen, you know and you're just like you know it's this, maybe the movies, maybe it's lack of education, whatever we'll call it. But we just think, okay, we're going to have sex and get pregnant and you think it's going to be fun. It's like, oh, we're going to get to go on a little getaway and we'll know we made the baby in the city. Well, it works for some people that way, but on a majority of people it does not. So when we're talking about infertility and sex, really want to dive in because it can quickly turn, you know, resentment like a job. All the fun of it can kind of be sucked away.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I want to touch on this. I also want to touch on the relationship side of things. When it gets to when, and if it gets to that point of you know, infertility, of really working to conceive, and maybe it's been six months and you're probably dealing with the mom or the you know the the woman is probably dealing with it differently than the man because you are, you're experiencing two different things within the same thing, if that makes sense. So, starting with the sex, when you're trying to conceive, usually when you first start out, it's fun, it's exciting, right. You're like you know, we're trying to make a baby. This is an unprotected sex. Woohoo, you know, let's get into it. And you're probably doing it often. And it might not feel like a chore at the beginning because you look and it's like I'm ovulating, let's go, and there's so much excitement there and it's still that fun, playful phase. But then, if we get into that phase of, okay, it's been a couple months and nothing's happened, and now I'm starting to get disappointed or worried, is my partner feeling that way? I don't know, but now it is really a chore. Maybe the ovulation sticks come in, maybe, you know, you start thinking about do I ask my doctor, do I need to? And the woman, of course, usually is thinking all of these, is there something wrong with me? Do I need to, you know, get my levels checked? Why am I not ovulating? Or, if I am ovulating, why isn't it sticking? And it can turn into like a downward spiral mentally, and that's when it can be less fun.

Speaker 2:

The biggest thing that is so important is to communicate with your partner Because, like I said, he is probably handling it a whole lot different than you are and he might be thinking that's fine, you know, whatever, who cares if we don't get pregnant for a year, we're having fun, let's, let's make it easy, let's make it light. But in reality, women have a lot harder time doing that. If they're the ones getting the negative tests, they're the ones having to track ovulation. That is what is usually on their mind from sunup to sundown. So, communicating that a lot of this is how I'm feeling, and even if you're not feeling that way, that's okay.

Speaker 2:

I'm not trying to convince you to feel this way, but I'm feeling really sad or I'm feeling, you know, really down about this. Like, what do we do? Should we seek out a counselor just to talk through it so we can understand each other better, because I have seen a lot of relationships that if infertility it's hard on the relationship, not only the sexual relationship, but infertility can be really hard on the relationship, especially if both are not communicating about what they're experiencing and they can really grieve what they thought. You know trying to conceive would look like in separate ways and that can help you, that can make you grow apart and we don't want that right.

Speaker 2:

This hard time, you want to feel like a team. You want to feel like, okay, what do we do to make this dream happen for us? So communication I said it on the last podcast but communication is key in, you know, speaking with your partner, and it doesn't have to be a let's go to therapy because there's something wrong with us. It can be a let's go to therapy because let's just make sure we are understanding each other during this difficult time, because it is difficult.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, it was. I remember specifically we our first pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage, was we were actually in Paris and we were on our anniversary trip and got pregnant. I would, we were not trying, and so it's so. Then, when we lost her and then started to get pregnant again, which pregnant, trying to get pregnant after loss is a whole other deep layers of trauma and grief and like it's almost like you're trying to like, I felt like I just needed to be pregnant to like overcome the miscarriage. It was just this, it was a whole thing. I should have been in therapy, for which I wasn't at the time, and so you're so right. So then I had what I thought could be magical. It happened.

Speaker 1:

So when it did not, and it came so robotic to me of the ovulation sticks which I had control issues anyways, but it was like you know, to pee on an ovulation stick every day and sometimes twice a day, and you're staring at this little line and you're like it's go time and you got your app, or you're taking your temperature go time and you got your app, or you're taking your temperature, and it's like it's really hard because you know that you have to get the deed done in this time frame and it's like I don't have time to like you almost are just like I don't have time to make it magical every time.

Speaker 1:

Like right, it really is like a job. And I remember we had some fights during that time because he was like I feel like I'm being amused, I'm like, well, you kind of are you know, but like this is a joint thing. But I did feel like I had all the work on me of the tracking and when and I couldn't just like wait for a magical date night where it was just perfectly aligned with my ovulation Right, where it feels more natural, more spontaneous.

Speaker 2:

Yeah so, and something that I will push hard for is if it comes to that time for you where you do have to make it, where it does feel like a chore right, where you are tracking and it is like, hey, I kind of need your sperm tonight, sorry, I always recommend, if you need to do that, do that right and hopefully be on the same page about like this is what it is, but then have those moments of intimacy.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't have to be intercourse but intimacy. That is separate from that. So maybe the rest of the month again doesn't have to be intercourse, but maybe we're showering together, maybe we're, you know, taking baths together or we're cuddling naked or we're having good make-out sessions where you can still feel connected, those will overshadow some of that time of like, hey, get in the bed, take your pants off, let's, you know, wham bam. Thank you, ma'am. So really feeling like okay, and talking about it too, of let's make sure that we're still connecting romantically and intimately around this time that maybe it feels a little more medical or robotical, like you said, where it doesn't feel as like fun and lighthearted and heavy of like you've got to do it now. I've been. You know I'm at my peak. Ovulation has happened tonight. Get in the mood, try to make it to where you guys can still have intimacy around that time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, cause I've heard, and I've heard several just talking to different people about the subject they're like, and then I've heard the spouse say yeah, and then she ignores me the rest of the month, right, or she's so consumed of every little physical symptom thinking this could be the month which we've all been there. It's just this horrible trick that's played on our minds and bodies, right? It's like getting your period can similarly make you think you're pregnant, with the pains, and so, to your point, there or in the beginning of the month, you know she's just had her period and she's just like, kind of like, hey, I just, you know, in our hormonal levels where we feel ourselves, and then you know, we're.

Speaker 1:

PMSing, all that it's like. It's a very limited period of time, honestly, during the month, where we feel our best anyways, and often with times of ovulation I don't me, and I know I'm not alone in this our moods can change. Like my husband always said, you became mean when you ovulated, which is opposite of what I needed to be in that time. So I just think it's so much more complicated and people don't talk about it and you do struggle as a couple.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I like what you said about you, maybe were mean when you were ovulating. Of course, we're not all created in a vacuum, right? So we pregnancy is not created in a vacuum, all of that. So if it comes to that and you and maybe your partner hopefully, can share with you in a nice way, like, hey, you know, this isn't sexy to me If you're mean to me and then you want me to, just, you know, whip it out and try to get you pregnant, that's not doing it for me. Also, if you can, I know women are usually tracking a lot right Throughout their cycle.

Speaker 2:

But tracking your mood is important too, because if you realize, yeah, I am in a bad mood around ovulation, maybe I am not the nicest, okay, maybe I need to. At least I'm aware now I can try to, you know, fix it. Or right after, if you do get your period, you're probably down, you're probably upset. Go to your partner. You can still have intimacy if you just, you know, cuddle and cry, or I want to, I would want you to still turn to your partner, not only when you are wanting to, not only when you're ovulating, right, because we don't want them to feel used I know they in that in those moments they kind of are, which is okay, but we want y'all to still feel really connected throughout the months, throughout the entire month. So that way, if that is, yeah, I'm sad I started my period, so I'm also probably in a bad mood because I am disappointed and irritable. That's okay, allow that. But then turn to your partner and share that with them, cuddle with them, hug them, kiss them, because you guys are a team in this. It isn't, you're not alone.

Speaker 2:

And a lot of times it can feel really lonely because you are experiencing something totally different than your partner, and so it can feel lonely. Reach out to a therapist. There are so many Facebook groups now of women who are trying to conceive. Reach out to one of those Facebook groups. But also just going to him and just sharing this is what I'm going through. This is what I'm experiencing. I'm really really sad right now. Sharing this is what I'm going through. This is what I'm experiencing. I'm really, really sad right now. Let me just give me a hug. Let me hug you so you can still feel like we're in this together, win, lose pregnant, not pregnant. We're in this together. And when you look back on that time, because a lot of people look back with like, oh, that was such a terrible time. Yes, it might've been, but at least you can look back and say like we handled it together really well as a team.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I love that. And then so let's take it the next steps. So let's say, it's been six months, it's been a year, right Now it's time for more medical interventions. We've went to the doctor and you start down the IUI, you start down IVF route, right, and with some of those.

Speaker 1:

You can't have sex at certain times, right, there is limitations. And then it's expensive, it's emotional, it's draining, it's trying, right, and it's this feeling of, okay, my body, which it's not true, but you feel this way that my body failed or I'm needing this and it's out of my control. And then you throw in your sex life because you two are trying to gather all your efforts and resources for this. Now, next step of level, and then you go home at night and it's kind of like I hate to say what the point, but it's kind of like you're just and it's kind of like I hate to say what the point but it's kind of like you're just, you just get exhausted from it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, after those six months, 12 months of we're having sex to have a baby, it kind of gets in your brain of, well, we only had sex to try to have a baby the last 12 months. So what's the point now? Why do we do that now? And, like you said, with IVF, those shots are brutal on the woman and she does feel alone because the partner is not doing the same things that she is doing and experiencing the same pains and things that she's experiencing. So it is mentally exhausting and the last thing usually someone going through IVF wants is to be intimate. Usually someone going through IVF once is to be intimate. The challenge there is you need to take care of yourself and if intercourse is not something that you are in the mood to have, that's okay.

Speaker 2:

I would want to make sure that your partner knows that you're sharing with your partner what it is that you're experiencing mentally throughout this time, but that you're also listening to them and what they are experiencing, what they are going through, because it can also feel they could also feel lonely during this situation because they know I'm not going through what she's going through so I can't say anything. I wouldn't want that to be. I wouldn't. I would want both to be able to share what is it that you're experiencing? Because it is two different things. That doesn't make any worse or better or, you know, non-valid or anything like that, but hearing from your partner what they're experiencing, what their needs might be in that moment, and a lot of times for both people it's just closeness, so that can be cuddling in bed, that can be really good conversations of hey, this is what I'm going through. Listen, you don't have to offer me advice. I don't want advice from you, I just want you to listen to me. And those moments of closeness go a really long way because, especially if you're not talking with your partner, you might be feeling like all he wants from me is sex, when that might not be the case. That might be a. I want closeness, I want you, I want to know what you're going through and how I can help you, and I also want to share what I'm going through. So I would say look at those moments of how can we still be close without having intercourse or without feeling like you know, we have to put on this whole show and be sexy together and because you're not in the mood, and that's okay. You don't have to be in the mood, but your partner also needs to know that. So it always boils down to communication. I wouldn't want you to think or assume oh, he should know what I'm going through. He shouldn't. He doesn't know, he doesn't understand and he should not feel like you should read his mind. So it goes both ways right Of a lot of communication during this time, when I always recommend, if couples are experiencing infertility, see a couple's therapist, whether they specialize in that or not.

Speaker 2:

That can help. The therapist is the third party the outside that can see. Okay, we need you both to understand each other. We need you both to just share openly and in a safe space what you're going through and what you need from your partner in this moment. So it can really help navigate these challenges If you are experiencing this, just to help the mental side of things, the relational side of things on top of the sexual side of things. But I would want you all to feel whole and not just like, oh, this is just sex or oh, this is. You know, we only care about having a baby. No, we want the relationship to be intact throughout this difficult process as well.

Speaker 1:

That's so true, and you know, I just don't think those conversations are had Like you said.

Speaker 1:

I mean people are uncomfortable in general talking about sex and you guys, if you're tuning into this one, you haven't heard our other episode. Go back to part one, because we really talk about how it's ingrained from how we grew up, our culture where we live, of what expectations of sex are. You know how we talk about it, how we express our needs, and conversations that we should have had very early on were not. So now you're putting more external factors and it gets really messy. And we hear this, we see this a lot, we've all been victim to it to some extent of I've never said that to him or I've never been asked that, I've never even thought about what I would prefer, right.

Speaker 1:

So I think, too, what happens is slippery slope is you know you get pregnant and that's a whole other issue there and then, like the time of like it can quickly pass. I've heard and it's not uncommon for people to say you know, I haven't, we haven't had sex in months. I've heard some people say it hasn't been years and it's like I don't know what happened. We got pregnant and it's never been the same. So and you think, well, that'll never happen to me, but it can, because days go quickly by with our life and our children and work, and then it only it becomes. Then I think people get more in their head about it and it's a mental block.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, especially during pregnancy, because a lot of times the woman's uncomfortable and she's like do not touch me, I've got a baby kicking inside of me. Maybe I'm, you know, cramping my feet hurt again, that's okay. I do see it a lot where it is hard to kind of get back into you know your sexual self while being pregnant and also postpartum. But during that pregnancy the whole thing and I actually had this conversation with one of my couples last night is you're the, the type of sex and the phase that you're in trying to get pregnant is different than while you're pregnant, is different than directly postpartum, is different than six months postpartum. So it's all different and it's going to narrow down the way you handle that as a couple is going to narrow down to communication. If you feel like, yeah, I'm pregnant and I don't want to be touched, my husband might feel neglected. Okay, Not really on the top of your mind while you're growing a human, sure, but having that conversation of what is making you feel neglected, what is making you feel this way, yeah, I don't want to be touched and that's not going to change. So respect that. But how can I? Maybe will cuddling be, you know, good, we'll. Maybe we'll take a shower together, maybe we'll have a little bit of sexy time without to, where you're both kind of meeting in the middle.

Speaker 2:

But I wouldn't want you guys to rule out all intimacy during pregnancy, because intimacy is important to your relationship. Again, there are different kinds of intimacy. There's physical intimacy, sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy. I would want you to be able to have that conversation and separate those three intimacies because they're connected but they're not directly connected. So what does emotional intimacy look like while you're pregnant, having that conversation?

Speaker 2:

How can we make sure that we're still getting this during this time of you know, her body is changing and she's not feeling good physically. She's not feeling good mentally, it happens. But then also the physical. How can we have physical intimacy from, you know, in the first trimester, which is going to be different than the second trimester, which is going to be different from the third trimester? So how can we still have physical intimacy in all of these phases? What can that look like? How can we change it up? Again, it's temporary, so it's something I tell everyone. It will look different and it might not be your favorite, you know, might not look the ideal way, but it's temporary, you will get it back. It might take work to get it back, but you can get your you know your sex life and your sexuality back to the way it was. Things might look different, things might feel different, but if communication is at the base of this and you both know and you're comfortable communicating about it, you can make it through that.

Speaker 1:

Totally, I love that. And then you know, one of our listeners had posed this and they had just experienced loss, which I've had two miscarriages and the loss after. And it does because your body sex after loss it's. And I was thinking about this because when we were talking about this I was thinking, you know, I remember having post-loss and you know the process if you pass or if you have to have a DNC for surgical removal. Either way, it takes a while for your body to resume and there's these two kind of camps that sometimes come into play.

Speaker 1:

I hear people say we want to try again immediately. They kind of jump back in which requires sex immediately, or there's something that's like I can't this. You know, my body is off limits for a little bit. And again, I think this is a not talked about subject of, say, you do want to, but your body you're so grieving, I mean, your body plays this cruel trick until your HEG levels go down, really mimicking pregnancy, and so she's walking around thinking I'm feeling like this, I'm not. Now, I need, you know, now I have to have sex. For what do I want to do? So to speak to like couples in that kind of that's a really hard, hard spot.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, really hard, because DNC or passing, it is traumatic, I mean there's no other way to put it. It's it's traumatic, mentally traumatic I mean there's no other way to put it. It's it's traumatic mentally, physically. So I wouldn't want the expectation to be hey, we're going to bounce back and we're going to try again. You will get there. Right, it might take a month or two for your body to start feeling like itself again. You will get there. That's the goal. Let's not rush it. Let's make sure that you are good mentally and physically before jumping back into it. And I know that's easier said than done, especially if you've had multiple miscarriages and you're like, hey, like I have to jump. You know time is ticking. I understand, I totally get that, but it is.

Speaker 2:

It does come to a point of you won't enjoy that next pregnancy if you are still grieving or if you are still feeling like just not good physically or even mentally, because it can take away from that process of trying to conceive again. So what I would say is, if you're going through this and you kind of feel like my body is off limits, allow it to be off limits. That's okay. Listen to what you need, share that with your partner. I'm not feeling great mentally, I don't. It can feel traumatic. After you've gone through this, you know trauma event to get thrown right back into it and worry what if it happens again? What if this happens again? I'm not ready, I can't handle that twice. So make sure that you feel really good mentally and that your relationship feels good. You feel that support from your partner, that, okay, I feel a little better, that I can do this again, that if I was to get pregnant I could enjoy the experience, I could be excited about it. And, of course, you're always going to grieve that miscarriage. They are not easy. They're, they're a part of your past. It is trauma.

Speaker 2:

The goal is not to say, oh, I'm going to forget about it and never think about it again. That's not the goal. But the goal is to be able to think about it in a healthy way and to think about it and feel like, okay, I'm okay with what happened, but now I'm ready to move forward. Yeah, and a lot of times. That is with therapy, that is with talking with your partner to, you know, to the end of the world about it. But I would want, I really want, women to be very cognizant and aware of where their mental health is before jumping right back into it, because it's not allowing yourself that permission to rest and to you know, let your body return to what it was, let your mind return to what it was. Let your mind return to what it was. Seek the help that you need.

Speaker 1:

I think couples therapy is so important during that and I wish we would have had it because, to what you were saying earlier, I raved and I processed the miscarriage completely different than my husband. I took it harder. It was like my body, I, you know, the baby to me and I and we see this in early pregnancy too if, like, it's become so much more real and her body's adjusting and she, you know it doesn't look, it's hard for him, Cause he's like, well, you look the same, you know it's kind of they don't see the bump. The same way, with this loss, it impacts the woman so different and they are going to. Everybody mourns differently and I really think that's a huge opportunity for you. Like you said that third party, so someone could come in and say do you hear what she's saying? Do you hear what he's saying? Like, and weave that because it can feel like you just don't get me, you don't understand, or it didn't mean as much to you as it meant to me, when that's not the case.

Speaker 2:

Right yeah to you, as it meant to me. When that's not the case, right yeah, and I think it's. It's so important because any part of motherhood when you are trying to conceive, it can feel lonely because you're the only one in your relationship going through this exact experience. Pregnancy can feel lonely, having, you know, traumatic birth or even miscarriage can feel lonely.

Speaker 2:

Motherhood can feel lonely, but it's also right, beautiful, but yes, it's something where that loneliness sometimes doesn't go away. And so, making sure you have that solid support system including your partner, but also friends, family therapists, whatever it is that you can lean on, because the whole process isn't rainbows and butterflies, even if you have no problem conceiving, even if you don't have a miscarriage, but really nailing a solid support system. And that's something when I have, like new pregnant women come in, we talk about support system. If you don't have family close to you, that's okay, it doesn't have to be family. Who can you lean on during this time, whether it's good or bad, right, having that solid support system is really going to help get you through some of these more difficult experiences.

Speaker 1:

Totally Now. And you hit on this and I've had two pretty traumatic births and I had to go through EMDR therapy, especially for my first two. And, to be honest, I've said this to people. I said I never understood trauma and how it's stored in the body before I experienced it. And so there is a high rate of moms that their birth, when they report to us, is traumatic. We ask them about their birth in previa and they report it was traumatic to me.

Speaker 1:

And when people are like, well, what, what does that mean? That could mean a multitude of things. That is something that is outside of their control, against their will. It happened. It could be they wanted vaginal birth, it was C-section, that the C-section was really scary mom and baby's life, that there was a way a provider or a person spoke to them, made them feel Some women saying it was like no one cared to ask for my permission, what they did to my body and things they seen, heard, et cetera. So that is very much a conversation that now we're having. So this traumatic event, too, happened.

Speaker 1:

And one of our previous therapists she says you know, trauma is what is to you, it is your trauma, right? No one can say, hey, taylor, that's not traumatic, you know. Or Sarah, that's, you know, get over it. Trauma is real to you. So then you add in sex post something that's been very traumatic to your body and it can trigger you, and especially, you know, the act of giving birth. It's dealing with our reproductive organs. It's dealing with all those areas, right, even breastfeeding, if it goes really wrong, and you're just like I don't want my boobs ever touched again, like I correlate that. So let's touch on these moms who's had this traumatic experience and maybe they're going for the first time. Well, I've never thought. Maybe that's the reason why now I don't want to be intimate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so common. And this is even common for people who don't experience trauma with birth, labor, delivery, all of those things. A lot of times you feel like, oh my gosh, the doctor cleared me at six weeks and there's no way, there's no way that I could be intimate. So it's hard in general, which is, I mean, so common. But when it comes to these traumatic events, I would honor I love that you got EMDR therapy, seeking help and outside support. That can be individually, especially because you probably needed a little more than your partner did, but then also couples therapy, so you both understand what each other went through, so you both understand how to be there for each other.

Speaker 2:

I would say sex is kind of as the therapist, sex is on the back burner, right, we want to make sure you're good, we want to make sure that you feel okay mentally and physically. Sex is on the back burner. Sex can wait. It will come back With work and with help. You can get that back fine, but you're not going to get it back If you don't handle and deal and work through that trauma.

Speaker 2:

So the last thing I would want you to do is say, well, my husband's ready for sex. There's no way I am. I'm just going to put the blindfold on, I'll check out and I'll just be there for it. That is the last thing I would want you to do. That's the last thing you should do. And the last thing that your again communication, sharing with your partner.

Speaker 2:

I went through a very traumatic experience. I'm not there mentally to have sex right now. Let's go to counseling, let's talk about it. It's not you because it's not your partner Usually. Let's talk about it. I want you to understand. You know everything that I went through. And then, once we start working through this trauma, once I start feeling better about this trauma, once I start to feel you know like, okay, maybe I'm kind of turning a corner, a lot of times that desire will come back on its own and if it doesn't, you turn to the sex therapist and we work through that. But the last thing you should do, the last thing that you know for your relationship and for your own mental health, is just to try to ignore it and push it aside just because your partner wants it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

You might feel like I do want to get to that point. I do want to have sex, I do want to be intimate, but right now there's no way. Okay, that's fine. Forcing yourself Isn't going to get you there, though. You've got to go through some of those traumatic events, whether that be with someone who specializes in EMDR, with someone that specializes in the perinatal mental health, whatever it is. But working through that is the very first step to getting your sex life back. So it might not feel like you know you are working on your sex life, but you are. Indirectly, you are. That is what you have to do first is working through those traumatic events with someone are.

Speaker 1:

That is what you have to do first is working through those traumatic events with someone and I can't tell you how many women I have heard say you know, I just drink a glass of wine, I close my eyes, but then, if you dig deeper and you're getting, it's tied to something that they have experienced and it's always, you know, the man may forget, but the body keeps score. That was told to me a long time ago and I remember that and it's these triggers that come up on us and our bodies, truly just bring us back to those moments and it could even go back to past. You know physical sexual abuse that they had experienced, you know, prior to a marriage or God forbid that relationship, right, and it's super triggering and these are all heavy things and you're like well, this is. I thought this was a sex episode, well, but the key is that there's so much tied to sex and why or why not, and what the experience. We really want it to be Right and it really goes back to our mental health.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yep, your mental health and this is why I I say it all the time as a sex therapist is usually, if you're not in a good place in your relationship, if you're extra stressed, if you're extra anxious, usually the first thing to go is sex. And a lot of times, as a sex therapist, I have couples come in. I will talk with them about their relationship and once their relationship starts improving, their desire naturally also increases because your fondness for your partner starts to grow again. And, yes, after pregnancy and even a traumatic birth, your partner might have been super supportive and you might be super fond of them, and that's the goal. That's great, super fond of them, and that that's the goal. That's great.

Speaker 2:

But you also have something on your mind. Your mental health is not where it could be, and I don't want to use I'm purposely using the word could, not should, because there is no should be postpartum. It's not where it could be and that's why working through these traumatic events is going to help you feel better in the long run, which a lot of times that will increase the sex drive, and if it doesn't, because maybe it has been years and you're like well, I've been fine this many years without it. Talk to a sex therapist. I see it a lot. It's not uncommon. So many people will be like, oh my gosh, you haven't had sex in two years. That's not that uncommon, especially when there has been pregnancies and miscarriages and traumatic births. Two years is not that uncommon.

Speaker 2:

The goal then would be if you're not ready for that kind of intimacy, what kind of intimacy can you have? What kind of intimacy are you comfortable with? Because, again, this is temporary, looking at it as a temporary time, a temporary phase in your life. Are you comfortable cuddling naked with your partner and knowing that that's all, that's the only place it's going to go, he's not going to try to have intercourse, he's not going to try for more? If you know that, can you cuddle naked with your partner? Or is it okay if you cuddle your partner and your partner caresses you or you caress them in maybe a sensual way, but that's where it is?

Speaker 2:

So that's where those conversations come up, cause a lot of people will hear well, sex means intercourse. Well, no, I in sex therapy, that's not what sex means. You can say sex is cuddling naked and maybe touching each other a little bit and that's it. And if that is what sex means to you postpartum. Great, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. So I would really say, to really start to have that conversation of maybe I'm not ready for this type of intimacy, but what other types of intimacy can we have while we're working through this trauma? Or while we're, you know, while I'm super pregnant and uncomfortable, or while I'm, you know, recovering from a C-section or recovering from tearing and I'm not ready to have intercourse again. What other kind of intimate experiences can we have together?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I love that On average. What do you hear when people are like hey, taylor, I haven't had sex in blank years months. What, what's common timeframes that you hear? So our listeners are like okay that's me you know. Say, phil, give us the range that's come to you.

Speaker 2:

I hear a lot of one year to. I've even heard as long as five, six years. I've heard longer. But when it's a year or two years it's like okay, what's been going on in that time? Like we can, we can get back to that and I I've actually seen it quite often of couples who haven't had sex in two years and after we work through some of the things that are coming up from them, the mental blocks, they're back to having sex, even if it's, you know, once every other month. They're like this is better than you know, once every two, three years. So we start to kind of build on that. What are the new expectations? But especially during the pregnancy time, if that has been traumatic trying to conceive, ivf, iui, traumatic pregnancies, because there are things that can go wrong traumatic births two years it's not a lot.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, no, I mean there. I mean there's some pregnancies that they're like you cannot have intercourse right For the right at that. So when you think of it, you know, and there, and the whole point is, do you think it's such a mental block? So say, it's been two years, right. Do you think there's such a mental block for that first time after it's been so long?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the nerves. I don't know you sexually anymore. So what? How is this going to be? Is it going to be weird? Is it going to be awkward? Is it going to feel natural? You don't know that anxiety is there, that anxiety can also cause performance concerns on both parts. So, yes, the mental block plays a huge role. The goal again. I wouldn't want you to say, nope, I'm going to go into this and feel great If you can, cool. If not, you will get that back right. You did it once with your partner. You can do it again. It might feel awkward. Maybe talk about it before of like, yeah, we haven't done this in a long time. So you know, these are the expectations. We're going to go into it lighthearted fun If either of us can't get aroused or we're feeling you know performance anxiety.

Speaker 1:

That's fine. At least we get it out of the way that first time. The biggest issue.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, and if you're really nurturing that intimate side of your relationship throughout this time, it can feel a little more natural. So it's something I talk about a lot of separating that a lot of people will tell me well, we only really touch while we're having sex. Okay, but if we separate those two, we all can still have a sensual relationship. Y'all can still have intimacy without the sexual intimacy. If that part of it is really bulked up and built up, it feels a little more natural. Sometimes it feels a lot more natural.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes you might feel like, okay, well, still feels a little awkward, but I still know him or her physically, so I'm a little more, there's a little more comfort there. So I always recommend we got to bulk up all three of those parts of intimacy and not only look at intimacy as one thing and as sex. So it can be awkward, but if you already kind of feel like you know your partner physically and y'all have good intimate experiences, it might make it feel a little more natural engaging in sexual intimacy again or it wasn't like we were or you know, maybe it is.

Speaker 1:

They're still having regular sex now. Maybe it's even that too, but they're like hey, taylor, it's not like when we were first together and it doesn't feel that way as an exciting like, and it's like it's just. They're like well, what's happened to us?

Speaker 2:

I will say it probably isn't going to be like it was pre, especially pre-kids, right, pre-kids you could kind of do it more spontaneously. You have the time. You didn't have the maybe stress or anxiety or lack of sleep that you, you know that you do now. So I would say, okay, that's okay, because throughout phases of your life, your sex life, your sex desires, your sex interests are going to change. So what, what was in?

Speaker 2:

If they were in a therapy session, I would say tell me about that last experience, what was good about it? I want to know what you enjoyed about it, what was, what were the positives about it. And then I would also want to know, when you're coming in here for a reason, what are some of the things that maybe you didn't love so much? And how can we reframe and make a whole new sex life that works for both of you? That might not be the wild crazy, you know, in your early twenties where you're like, yeah, things are great and responsibilities are few and far between. How can we make it work for you in this phase of life now?

Speaker 2:

Because, again, I tell people all the time where they're like, well, we've got newborns and we've got toddlers that don't sleep through the night and, yeah, it's hard, and that the way your sex life is going to look thin is going to look different than when your children are sleeping through the night, when they are, you know, locked in their room because they're teenagers and they don't want anything to do with you. When they leave the home, like everything is going, every phase your sex life could look different. The goal is to be able to talk about it and say, okay, we're in a new phase of life. How can we make our sex life mutually satisfying, and what do we need to change to make it work for us now? So, yeah, it probably won't be the same from before, that's okay. I want you to view it as in the lens of that's okay. We can make it what we want it to be.

Speaker 1:

And I said that too. So I was talking to someone and they were talking about it was it was more mental health focused. I just don't know if I'm ever going to be her again. And I said I don't know how you could be, because now she's grown so much. You have this new person in your life, this baby, like so you know, and I'm like it's not a bad thing to who you are now and I think it's the same way and it's just again.

Speaker 1:

No one's talking about their sex lives and you may go to a girl's dinner night and make a few comments or hear a few comments, but like it's not normal everyday conversation. When I call you and say, hey, taylor, let me talk to you about X, y and Z and you being transparent and be like me too, this is what happened in this and this is what we did. So again, it's like really just opening up and finding professionals like you which tell our listeners how to find Taylor. And then, if they're not in your state, how do you find a good sex therapist that's going to fit you and your spouse together?

Speaker 2:

So you can find me. I am on Instagram. I'm at the mom and sex therapist Cause I work a lot with moms sex therapy. That's where I'm on on Instagram. My website is thrive therapycom. That's T H R Y V? E. If you're in Texas you can see me virtually or if you're in the Houston area you can see me in my office.

Speaker 2:

As far as finding a sex therapist so the credentials you go to psychologytodaycom. Beautiful, it's a great. It's like Google for therapists. Type in your zip code. You find therapists around you. You can type in your state. They've got full profiles.

Speaker 2:

If you're looking for someone who specializes in sex, you can look for the credentials. Cst that's certified sex therapist, so you can look for that in your area. There's also like a sect. That's a a, s, e C? T.

Speaker 2:

They are kind of the. They're not the board, because sex therapy isn't like a license, but they're kind of the like founding, if you will, sexologist sex therapy training. They offer trainings for sex therapists for people who are just interested in learning more. They also have ASEC approved therapists. You can go there and find some of their therapists, but there are schools everywhere that do offer this certification, so you don't have to be an ASEC approved sex therapist, but that's a. They have their own directory, so that's another place to go.

Speaker 2:

But looking for those credentials CST certified sex therapist but reading, reading, you know about them and what they do. Watching videos you know I give a lot of on my Instagram, a lot of free like content and tips and things like that, which is a lot of fun. So and I will be coming out with the course soon We'll talk about that maybe another time, but we'll. You know, it's for pregnant women, it's for postpartum, and then I'll do some for couples as well. So, yes, a lot of resources out there. Psychology today, if you're not in Texas, and if you are in Texas, you know where to find me. So Totally.

Speaker 1:

And then I think it's always interesting, we try to talk about this with our premium moms, that first therapy appointment. Everybody gets a little weird about it and we talk about it very openly. Like you know you may, you're not going to make the world's progress Right In one session, right? So give them little tips and tricks. So they found them a sex therapist. Right, they're not in Texas, they can't see you. So they're like okay, I found one, we're going to go Give them some quick tips of how you would want a client to prepare to come see you Make the most of it Right.

Speaker 2:

First session is usually first. Maybe two, even three sessions are all history, taking really the history of the problem. Starting with, I always start with you know what brings you to counseling. You usually tell I had a traumatic, you know birthing experience. Okay, tell me about it. Tell me about your pregnancy, tell me about your childhood. We, we dive really deep those first few sessions. So be really prepared on you know what you feel like you are coming in for, what you are experiencing in the moment, giving examples, because that really helps the therapist really understand what it is that you're experiencing.

Speaker 2:

Kind of touching a bit, refreshing your memory on you know what was especially in sex therapy. I ask a lot about previous sexual partners, not even just your current partner, because I want to know how those partners sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, a lot of times they do affect your current sex life. So kind of refreshing your brain on what was sex like when I was in college, or was I having sex in college, or what messages about sex was I receiving growing up. That plays a huge part in your sex life as an adult. So, remembering some of those asking the therapist any questions, if you do feel nervous you can ask the therapist whatever you want. You know how does this process go. What should I expect? All of that?

Speaker 2:

It does feel nerve wracking that first session, but I always tell people it's almost more nerve wracking for the therapist than it is for you, because we don't know you and we're getting a lot of information at once. You're, you can kind of feel at ease, coming and saying I will be talking the whole time about myself and no one knows you better than you. So, being open, as open as you can be, if there are things you're not ready to talk about, that's okay. You can share that with the therapist. We are not going to force you to talk about something that maybe you're not ready to share yet. But if you do the research on the therapist and you feel comfortable that, okay, I've heard the way she talks, I've heard what she works with, I feel confident that I will, like her or him, go into it with an open mind, share what you feel is important, remembering some of these details. If you need to take notes or bullet points, do it. We are not going to judge you If you come in with a notepad, if you want to take notes while the therapist is talking to it. That is okay.

Speaker 2:

A lot of people kind of feel like it has to be really, you know formal and I need to dress up and you know I can't cry and you know I need to wear nothing. You don't, you can come in and your workout clothes, you can. Especially I see moms who will bring their babies in and if they need to nurse, you can nurse. It's not so formal. It can be really relaxing too. So kind of laying that groundwork a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Well, taylor, we are so thankful for you and your Instagram is how we found you and we're like you do give the great tips, so our listeners will link it all and you'll see us on Instagram with Taylor the episode week and we'll make sure you know how to find her. But, thank you, because this is a hard, taboo topic and you make it so real and so easy and it's not alone and you, you're really just bringing us, you know, into a better relationship with not only ourselves but our partners.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so just very thankful for you, Taylor, and you know we will. We'll have you back. You're always welcome, but listeners definitely show notes and anything we touched on we will link it there and where you're at. This is like this is resonating. If you're not in Texas, we will show you psychology today how to find and we'll make sure we type it out the credentials, because you're like I'm in carpool line, Sarah, I'm doing dishes, I'm running around. I did not write that down, we got you but Taylor thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, I'm so excited to be here. We'll see you soon.

Speaker 1:

All right, okay, guys, we'll see you next week.

Speaker 3:

Thanks, Maternal mental health is as important as physical health. The preview alliance podcast was created for and by moms dealing with postpartum depression and all its variables, like anxiety, anger and even apathy. Hosted by ceo founder sarah parkers and licensed clinical social worker whitney gay, each episode focus on specific issues relevant to pregnancy and postpartum. Join us and hear how other moms have overcome mental health challenges, as well as access tips and suggestions on dealing with your own challenges as moms. You can also browse our podcast library and listen to previous episodes at any time. Please know you're not alone on this journey. We're here to help.

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Rebuilding Intimacy After Trauma
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