Lets Talk About Sex With Kathleen Baxter LMFT
We talk with Kathleen Baxter, a marriage and family therapist, about something that has always been taboo to talk about in public. Sex! In this episode we talk about sex after marriage, consent, shame during sex, and how to communicate your thoughts and feeling with your spouse during sex in a comfortable manner. We also explore how to effectively communicate with your kids about sex without feeling weird and shameful while talking about it.
Some snippets from the Episode
“I don’t think this stuff gets talked about enough in healthy ways, and so any time I can, I love to talk about it.” Kathleen
Madison: “A lot of women that I talk to are just not comfortable talking about sex at all even when we are married. How do we get comfortable talking about sex?”
K: “You have to push through the uncomfortable stage. This is uncomfortable for many women because talking about it was not modeled in their homes growing up. No one saw conversations about sexuality, or intimacy or touch in healthy ways. Pretty much what people learned it you just don’t talk about it. That is sadly the blue print most people are working off of. We have to push past the feeling that it is wrong to talk about it and make it an ongoing conversation with our spouses and with our kids.
“We grow up not being allowed to talk or even think about sex then we get married and it just switched to ‘GO FOR IT! Its AWESOME!” Brittani
M: But, when we get married we just don’t know what we are doing. And with religious upbringing it can make you feel shame even when it is ‘ok” to have sex
B: “I cried on my wedding night. I was mortified that my husband was going to see my body because I was told that it was so wrong my whole life. “
K: This thinking happens across the board in religious and conservative upbringings. Sex, arousal , pleasure, things that we are wired at a basic level in our brain to feel. We become programed to feel shame whenever we experience those emotions.
"Arousal is a spinal reflex, not a choice." -Kathleen
K: Its something that our body does like sneezing or coughing. So here we are feeling shame for feeling something that our bodies are designed to do
"When is the right time to have a conversation about sex?" -Madison
K: There isn’t a bad time. Maybe edit it when kids are around but it is healthy for kids to know that their parents are having sex and that it is normal for people in a relationship. Lets make talking to our kids about sex an ongoing conversation that evolves as they grow and their understanding changes
"How do we deal with embarrassment around our sexual likes or dislikes." Brittani
K: Part of this just comes with practice. There are 2 thing I want to address. The embarrassment and how to bring it up with your partner
We as women get worried about the feelings of their sexual partner and are worried about their ego and not making them feel embarrassed. This hurts women because it objectifies women and makes it our jobs to make sex pleasurable for men.
I would say your spouse can handle it and to practice communicating and it is ok to ask them why it feels personal when you don’t like something. Keep in mind, they might be feeling shame too.
Maybe bring it up again outside the original context to say that wasn’t me being critical. I appreciate what you are doing and I love you and I want to you to know what feels good to me. Sex is going to be better for both of us if we know what each of us likes. Remember that what you like can vary from day to day and it changes throughout a lifespan, So you have to be able to have these conversations because no one is have the same sex they are having on day 5 of marriage that they are having on day 405.
It is completely normal to want something sexually or think something sounds nice. Kathleen
K: It might just be a different position or touch, trying music, lighting , candles. It could be anything across the board even something a little kinky. What's the worst that could happen if you bring the fantasy to light? You partner isn’t into it. Which opens conversations about boundaries or other option you can both like.
I have a colleague who is working on a list of sexual acts and he is already up to 1000. Kathleen
K: If you can’t find something you both like, you have not been creative enough yet. Its ok if your partner doesn’t like something to you don’t like something. Keep exploring until you find something you both enjoy
Consent in Marriage, we talk about it a lot for dating but it matters so much in marriage. Kathleen
K: Some people believe that because your married you are consenting to sex forever under any circumstance. People too often white knuckle over fear of embarrassing themselves or their partner.
M: How can I recognize an unhealthy sexual relationship with a partner
sex is designed to be pleasurable. If its not then that is something that needs to be address.
if there is really severe patterns around initiating sex or rejection. If one person is always dong one and one person is always doing the other that is a sign that something is out of whack
Marital rape happens and it is NOT ok. Your partner is not entitled to sex because you are married. You can say not and any time.
Women are designed to have just as much pleasure as men. Kathleen
K: They typically are just more out of touch with their genitals. Men touch their genitals every day. I have worked with women who have never touched their own genitals. When going to the bathroom there is toilet paper between your hand and vagina. So, women have a very different relationship with their genitals than men do in our culture. So, get comfortable with your own body so you know what feels good to you. Then you can communicate with your partner about what feels good. People who masturbate have more orgasms during sex because they understand their bodies better.
M: I realized at one point I was married and didn’t even know I own anatomy
K: We need to change how we talk to our children about their bodies. Especially girls. Boys can see theirs but its harder to understand their anatomy as a women.
What if we could teach our kids hey this is your vulva. Isn’t it cool! Look what it can do. You can explore it on your own if you want to. And use the right words and teach our kids what it is called so they are not getting acquainted with a part f their body in their 20s and 30s
B: It should be normal to talk about sex and our bodies
You have to take what you learn and you have to go home and talk to your kids differently about sex. Kathleen
K: You don’t get to learn and change the way you think and talk about sex without passing it on to the next generation. We need to hand them better tools and less shame about sex. We need them to be liberated from that shame and to feel comfortable in their bodies and to know how to talk about it.
B: How do we talk to our kids about sex, pleasure and their bodies?
K: This needs to be an ongoing conversation. It should not be having “the talk” one one time. It should be talked about over and over while they are growing up. Adapt it to their maturity and understanding. Even starting young, the way we model consent when it comes to physical affection. Talk about their bodies and make it not a big deal. These conversations should not be scary.
We need to break the fear that sexuality is not normal or is deviant. Talking about sex is not going to make them become sexual deviants no more than talking about ice cream is going to make them over eat. Kids who get good information from their parents about sex have less sexually risky behaviors latter in life. When you give your kids good information about sex they are smart and make smarter decisions about sex.
You can’t ruin your children by talking about sex in healthy ways Kathleen
K: Children do not have our years of emotional baggage and shame surrounding the topic of sex
So when they ask us questions it is coming from a judgment innocent place and they don’t feel uncomfortable or shame unless we tell them they are supposed to feel that way. It is in us to change the feeling around the subject for our kids.
Leave us a comment and tell us what you think about this episode. Do you think sex and our bodies should be an ongoing conversation with our kids?