This is what I realized (while I was in the temple).
I want to share it with you:
I deeply believe that our deepest purpose is to learn who we are and become more. That is Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
How do we become more? There are so many ways. The way I’ve figured out is through life coaching. Life coaching helps us see what we are thinking and believing, so that we can remove any belief that is preventing us from growing.
What happens when we do this? We become more confident. We love ourselves more. We experience genuine joy.
That is the purpose.
The clients I work with understand their identity more, see their value better, gain confidence and are able to set and reach goals.
I love seeing their results!
If this sounds like something you want, email me or sign up for a free consult call. I will show you what is getting in your way and help you make a plan to address it.
And if you want to watch a video of me explaining my why, find me on Facebook at Denita Bremer Coaching. I have a free group there as well if you want to ask for free coaching.
I talked about pressure to have sex here, but I wanted to add to that a bit tonight.
I often hear women saying something to this effect:
“My husband has higher desire. I never feel like having sex. I have young kids and not a lot of time. I always feel so much pressure from my husband. If I am wearing make-up or dress nicely or even just kiss passionately, he will want sex, so I avoid those things. And then when I do agree to have sex, he seems to push me to do things that I don’t want to do and it makes me not want to have sex anymore.”*
If this describes your feelings about sex, I want you to think about this: why don’t you just say no? You don’t want to have sex, but you also don’t want to say no to sex.
Saying no to sex makes you feel guity.
Not saying no makes you feel pressure.
Your brain doesn’t like either of these options, but in this scenario, your brain would prefer the pressure to the guilt (because that is what you are feeling).
Feeling pressure keeps you from feeling guilt. Feeling guilt keeps you from feeling pressure.
I also want to teach you that pressure comes from your THOUGHTS.
IT DOESN’T COME FROM YOUR HUSBAND.
If a stranger came up to you and asked for sex, you wouldn’t feel any guilt for saying no. And if you didn’t actually say no, you wouldn’t feel any pressure. Maybe disgust or fear or any other number of feelings, but pressure likely wouldn’t be one of them. This is because you wouldn’t care what a stranger is thinking or feeling.
Pressure comes from your thoughts about what your husband is thinking or feeling.
Of course, our husbands’ opinions matter to us in so many ways.
But whether or not we “should” have sex doesn’t have to be one of them.
What if your husband could your grab your butt…
or you could kiss him passionately…
or you could wear whatever the heck you want…
and you wouldn’t feel pressure or guilt?
It’s not your job to manage your husband’s emotions.
I promise when you stop trying to make him feel a certain way and expecting him to make you feel a certain way, you will start focusing on what you really desire and the pressure will go away. Your relationship will grow to the next level.
This is not selfish because in the end, your husband will also benefit from this shift.
Last thing. Of course he always wants to have sex with you! You are amazing! He thinks you’re hot! You are smart and the mother of his children! Why wouldn’t he want to have sex with you?? You got it goin’ on!
*I am referring to a loving, non-abusive relationship.
When I was 5 years old, I walked to a convenience store with my parents. My nose was counter height and I remember standing there at the counter eyeing some little foil-wrapped chocolate footballs. They were probably five cents back in the mid-80’s. I picked one up to “look at it” and then dropped it into my pocket.
I totally stole a candy from a convenience store.
On the walk home, I felt so guilty about it that I threw the candy into some bushes.
I never told anyone about that for years, but it burned a hole into my memory.
Fast forward to today: The whole family was heading out to dinner, but my husband needed to leave directly from the restaurant to catch a flight, so he was driving separately. I pull out of the garage and out of habit, hit the button to close the garage door. Before I could reverse the garage door, my husband started backing out of the garage and the top of his car got scratched. It could have been much worse if the garage door had been damaged, but luckily it is fine.
I slide the window down and yell “Sorry! Habit!” and was on my way. My son said, “If I did that, Dad would be SOOOO mad.” I responded with, “Oh, Dad is really mad at me, but he can manage his own emotions.”
Over a 5 cent candy as a child I feel guilty for years. A possible hundreds of dollars worth of damage and no guilt today. Sure, I feel sorry, but guilty is not the descriptor I would use.
Even just two years ago, I probably would have cried over a mistake like this.
So why the change?
The answer is: I have learned how to manage my emotions and let others do the same.
(Let’s be realistic. Your average Joe does not manage their emotions. They react, resist or avoid their emotions. So when I say I let them manage their emotions, I mean I let them have their emotions and don’t feel responsible for them.)
I know that in most situations, guilt is not helpful.
Guilt is only useful in moral right and wrong. (So technically, my stealing at age 5 is an appropriate situation for guilt.)
Accidentally closing the garage door out of habit is not a moral wrong. I can try to make it right, and maybe I will get a paint kit for the scratches, but that’s about it. There’s no repenting needed. I apologized and that’s about all I can do. It was a simple mistake.
I say all this, because guilt is a hot topic with sex.
But whether or not you have sex, or how often, is also not a moral right or wrong.
God never said “Thou shalt have sex with thy husband three times a week.”
Guilt will not be useful, and may even be harmful.
Remember, guilt means “I have done something wrong.” Sometimes it leads to shame, which is “I am something wrong.”
Why do you feel guilty when you don’t have sex, or don’t want to have sex?
It comes from a thought. Probably something along the lines of “I should have sex.”
Then, how do you act when you feel guilty?
You probably do some form of hiding– don’t talk openly about it, fall asleep, withdraw into your mind, etc. (Guilt likes to hide.)
And then the impact of those actions is that your husband continues to want sex with you and you continue to find evidence that you should have sex. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that gets you nowhere.
Guilt is a negative emotion that our brains really want to avoid. So when you associate guilt with sex, your brain wants to avoid sex at all costs.
Here’s the other thing: your brain prefers the guilt to the resentment that comes when you do have sex, but you don’t want to. So recognize that guilt is the “better” option, but it is still optional.
When you gain confidence in yourself, a natural by-product will be less guilt. But you can choose to just not feel guilt now too.
What if it’s not true that you should have sex?
What if it’s ok if your husband is upset about it?
What if owning your emotional responsibility will eventually lead you to feeling closer to your husband? (With hotter sex?)
These are skills you can absolutely learn. And the great news is that they apply to every situation with any emotion, not just in the bedroom. Or in the garage as the case may be.
I have time this week for some consult calls if you are interested in learning more. Feel free to email me or hop on my calendar.
If you have any history of sexual abuse or trauma of any kind, a likely experience regarding sex in your marriage is getting triggered.
I have a simple but powerful exercise to address this.
Journal out what happened to you. Try to remember as much detail as possible. This will most likely be an emotional experience. Pay attention to these emotions. Take note of what you are feeling and why.
If you are afraid of being triggered, recognize that what you are really afraid of is feeling how you felt while the trauma was happening or immediately afterward.
Let me use an example:
You might be afraid to be triggered because it makes you feel out of control.
When you feel out of control, you want to shut down.
When you shut down, you get the result of feeling like you will always be afraid of trigger and feeling out of control.
Notice that in this example, you are afraid of feeling out of control, but you already ARE out of control.
What if you could just feel out of control?
You don’t need to be afraid of a feeling.
A feeling is just a vibration in your body.
You are human and therefore an expert in emotions. You feel emotions every day.
Releasing yourself from fearing the feeling takes off one layer of emotion and gets you closer to how you actually want to feel.
Welcome the feeling.
Name it when it happens.
Describe it in your body.
It will come and go in waves, and eventually it may never come back.
So many women feel like they just don’t have time for sex.
I would like to share my time-management practice; it’s the best way I have found to manage your time— and I have tried many things!
Time management is really mind management. Everyone has the same amount of time; seconds keep ticking no matter what we are doing. It’s how we manage ourselves in time that really makes a difference. (Which is why life coaching around time can be so powerful.)
I like to plan out my calendar one week at at time. It seems the most manageable without getting too far in the weeds or too far in the sky.
List out every. little. thing. you want to do or you have to do.
Delegate or drop every task that you don’t really have to or want to do. (You don’t have to clean toilets. I promise. They will still work even if they are dirty.)
Prioritize the remaining tasks from most important to least important.
Write in the tasks on your calendar that have times associated with them: appointments with other people, etc.
Schedule down time, play time and time to yourself. It’s ok to schedule blocks of time for you to do “whatever you want.” Make sure to do this first. If you don’t, it will never happen. Make sure to schedule your bedtime and wake up times. Don’t forget to plan in sex!
Schedule the rest of your tasks starting with highest priority and working your way down until you have no unscheduled time. Be careful with transitions. They always take longer than you think they will.
If you are trying to get something done and you have kids, assume it will take 1.5-2 times longer than if you could dedicated all your focus on it. I build in flexibility by limiting myself to one task per half hour block. Even if the task will take 5 minutes, I only schedule one task. Then when something comes up later, I inevitably have “extra” time.
Follow your calendar no matter what, except for true emergencies. When someone asks you out to lunch, tell them “I’d love to but I already have something scheduled then! How about next Wednesday?”
If something comes up that you weren’t expecting, ask yourself if you would have chosen it or what is on your calendar if you were planning ahead. It’s ok to change your plans, just make sure you aren’t doing it to appease your primitive brain.
Following your schedule once it is set is the key. You are going to have drama: “I don’t feeeeeel like doing this right now.” But recognize that when you planned your calendar, you were using your pre-frontal cortex, the part of your brain that makes rational decisions and plans ahead. When you don’t feel like doing something, you are using your primitive brain that doesn’t ever want to do anything because it is more concerned with conserving energy. This is not how we up level our lives. It will feel uncomfortable in the short term, but you will be so proud of yourself in the long-term.
I am telling you, I have been able to get so much more done using this method. And I am a very organized and dedicated person. But I still have a primitive brain. The very first time I committed to trying this for a week, I got to the end of the week and had gotten everything done and worked ahead, so I had “extra” time.
There is a little bit of trial and error and learning what works best for you. My recommendation is to try this for at least 3 weeks and see how it works for you.
I would be so curious if you tried it and how it went!
Figure out what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. Do you just want to get some things off your chest? Do you want him to understand something? Do you want a specific result?
Get yourself to a place where you are full of love. Love for yourself and for your husband. Don’t have anger or resentment or any other negative emotion brewing. Process those emotions and come from a clean place.
Focus on the facts. It is too easy to get emotionally charged when the conversation is dominated by opinions. Strip it down to facts that everyone in the world would agree with.
Set aside a time where you both can focus and not be distracted. At least as much as possible.
Recognize the awkwardness or difficulty of the conversation right from the start. You can use these words, “I need to say something that might not be easy for you to hear, and it isn’t easy for me to say.”
Start with the facts.
Move into how things are impacting you. “I feel” statements are great at diffusing any possible blame.
Tell what you want out of the conversation, and give him a change to respond. Recognize that he may not respond the way you want him to. That’s ok. Whatever he says is coming from his feeling in the moment, which is coming from his thoughts in the moment. It has nothing to do with you.
Be truly curious about how the conversation is feeling to him. Great questions to ask are, “Why?” and “How does that feel to you?” or “What do you think?”
If need be, set a time to follow up.
A few extra tips:
If you don’t feel safe to speak openly with your husband, do the work first to figure out why. Life coaching is great for this, just sayin’!
Start the conversation at a time when you aren’t having sex.
If you can’t get yourself to open up, figure out why- get yourself to a life coach!
She couldn’t even see a future where sex wasn’t a problem for her.
She wasn’t sure she believed it was possible to change her sex life.
Her past was riddled with so much sexual dysfunction that she is starting to believe this is just her lot in life- to be a woman with a terrible sex life.
Maybe she’s right.
Maybe she will never have a good sex life.
Maybe she will never orgasm.
Maybe she will never feel close to her husband.
But maybe she’s wrong.
Has anyone in the world ever gone from feeling like sex was a lost cause to, at some point later, feeling like sex is wonderful and pleasurable? Ever??
Is she a special case?
I want to offer that if it’s possible for one person it’s possible for anyone.
And here’s the thing:
Worse case scenario, your sex life stays the same. You have a good life, but it’s just this one little area that doesn’t get figured out. You’ve been doing it for this long, it’ll be fine to keep going like this.
Best case scenario, you figure it out! You and your husband experience pleasure and joy together. You become bonded in a way you never thought possible. You connect to yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. You actually look forward to sex. You realize that sex is for you as much as it is for him.
You feel whole.
You know what the real worst-case scenario is?
Not trying to make it better.
A possibility that never gets realized.
So what if you try and it doesn’t work?
The time and energy going toward your goal is not wasted.
It is useful.
It tells you who you are.
It shows you what you can do.
Getting rid of the belief that you will NEVER figure out sex is the first step to going for that possibility.
If you believe you will never figure it out, then you will feel discouraged and will give up and you will never figure it out.
After a dream last night: this is what I wish the husbands knew about their wives and sex:
Most of my clients start out by saying that they don’t necessarily want to want sex more for themselves, but for you. They could just say I am not having sex anymore and you will just have to deal with it. But they don’t. They are willing to take time out of their busy schedules and pay money so they can work on themselves so that you are more satisfied.
They have a lot of shame around sex. Whether they have endured sexual abuse or made a mistake in their youth or were just told sex is dirty and bad, they are often ashamed. Shame wants to hide, so it’s difficult for them to speak up and tell you or anyone else. So if your wife seems distant or quiet just know that it is her human brain trying to keep her safe from the possibly “dangerous” shame.
Sometimes sex is painful. But she does’t tell you because she thinks she should just stick it out. Encourage her to see her doctor.
And here is the big one: Your wife desperately wants sex to be a positive, enjoyable experience. But she hasn’t yet figured out how to make it pleasurable. She probably hasn’t explored her own body enough to know what feels good. She doesn’t know if she actually has ever had an orgasm. She doesn’t want to masturbate, but she also doesn’t know how to bring this up with you. Not because she doesn’t feel safe, it’s just… awkward. If there hasn’t been a precedent set for talking about sex, she doesn’t know how to start one now.
And lastly, your wife’s feelings about sex and intimacy have nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with what she has been taught and not taught, her fears and her desires, her assumptions and wanting to be enough for you. Just because she wants to try something new or different doesn’t mean you are any less of a man. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean something is wrong in your marriage or that anyone has failed. It only means she wants to become the next version of herself who is confident and joyful in her own body.
I had someone reach out to me and tell me about their sexual experiences and how they are struggling. One thing stood out to me, because I can relate.
“I’ve never had a good example of what a healthy sexual relationship looks like. I don’t know what it feels like…”
I too, never had an example of a healthy sexual relationship.
My parents were teenagers when they got together. I was the result of an unplanned pregnancy that my dad hoped would help my mom love him more if they kept the baby. My mom turned 17 ONE MONTH before I was born.
Now, I am sure plenty of people have been able to have kids in their teens and turn it into a good experience. But my parents were not such an example.
They were never married because my mom never wanted to make that commitment.
My parents fought non-stop. Their relationship was hot and cold. There were times they were very affectionate, but other times they hated each other, or so it seemed.
My sister believes she has heard my dad rape my mom. My opinion is that rape is a strong word. I think my mom was often just a reluctant participant, but did ultimately give her consent.
Their relationship was co-dependent at best.
Other couples I was close to also didn’t have the best of relationships. My aunt and uncle definitely had an abusive relationship that I witnessed on many occasions. That same uncle sexually abused me and my sisters. My grandparents were married over 50 years but they were cold to each other and slept in separate rooms or beds as long as I knew them.
Basically, I also did not have any good role models.
Beyond examples of loving marriages, sex is often not something we see modeled anyway. (And when you do, you wish you hadn’t seen it!)
All this to say: you don’t need an example of a healthy sexual relationship to be able to create one of your own.
In a way, NOT having an example opens you up to all the possibilities and lets you design the sex life you want.
What if there is no right or wrong, only what you want and don’t want? Only what feels good and what doesn’t?
It may take you a while to get there. If you come from a dysfunctional family like I do, it takes work to unravel the messages and beliefs you were handed about sex, marriage, relationship, men, love, etc.
You may even find yourself fighting against a good relationship because it conflicts with your self-image. I know I tried to get my husband to leave many times because I felt like he was too good for me. I was comparing myself to so many broken women that I couldn’t see the me he saw. I leaned on his belief in me for so many years until I could believe it myself.
And deciding what kind of relationship you do want may take some trial and error. It’s not all going to be rainbows and daisies. There will be hard days.
The first step is recognizing what you already believe and think about your relationship. I recommend journaling them all out. There is something about writing that is cathartic and gives you distance from your thoughts. If writing is not your style, though, try using the voice memo app on your phone.
The second step is testing each of those beliefs. Are they true? Do they get you the result you want? When you think them, how do they make you FEEL?
The third step is dreaming about what might be possible. If you find yourself having a hard time even going there, ask yourself what are you protecting yourself from? If you are capable of a healthy, sexual relationship, but your brain is not offering that option to you– then why? What are you afraid of?
For many of us it is this: if I try for a healthy relationship and fail, then there is something wrong with me. We just fail ahead of time by not giving ourselves the chance to go there.
Sometimes highlighting what you really don’t like about your relationship will tell you what you do want. So what bugs you the most about your husband? What is the opposite of that?
For me, I hate that my husband can be condescending. He owns it and tries to be careful not to come across that way. But when he is condescending I just feel so stupid. I want to feel like my opinion is valued and valid.
See? Do that for everything you dislike in your relationship and you will have a good starting point for the relationship you want.
Of course, you can do this on your own. I will continue to provide value here on the blog to help you. But it will take a lot more trial and error and time. But if you want results faster, I invite you to sign up for a free consultation call with me. I can show you where your blind spots are. I can guide you to what you really want and why. Time is the most valuable asset you have; why waste another day feeling like you can’t see the way out?