We were so excited to have Kate and Eric on the Love Hope Adventure podcast this week. Kate and Eric can be found at the Evolved Marriage Podcast where they talk about sex in marriage. In this episode, we talk about how you can have sex that actually makes you and your spouse less intimate with each other. Kate and Eric share how they changed the kind of sex they were having by focusing on healing their marriage.
Welcome to the love of adventure podcast where we talked about the marriage relationship, intimacy, and marriage and how you can go deeper with your spouse. And today we’re so excited. We have guests on. We have Eric and Kate from the Evolve marriage. Is it a podcast and blog? Tell us a little bit more about that? Yeah, so we have evolved. podcast, we really just have a brand where we help couples take action and evolve their marriages. In a way, that’s fun, because we don’t believe that growth has to be a drag all the time. So yeah, you can check out our blog as well, marriage podcast, but our brand has evolved. marriage.com.
That’s our website. Yeah, everything we do. Yeah. On welfare.com. And we’re on Instagram and all that fun stuff. We just try to connect as much with our audience.
Very cool. Well, guys, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been married? Do you have kids? Where do you live? That kind of stuff? For sure. Yeah. Thanks for asking. So we’ve been together. We’ve been in relation for 18 years, kid. I was in high school. I was in college. And we’ve been married for nine years longer than we’ve been apart.
Yeah, it’ll be nine years actually in six days. But yeah, we’ve been together longer than we haven’t been together. Yeah. So we’re excited. Celebrate an anniversary. And we have two young kids. We have a seven-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. Our daughter is the CEO of our house, which is great.
And yeah, you know, I’m trying to do the math. Is it Valentine’s Day? The anniversary? or days after? Today? February. We’re really close. I don’t know.
Yeah. But yeah, our story, you know, we got together when we were young, I think we both grew up in homes, where it was all about checking the boxes for life, right? You go to school, you get a job, you get the dog, you know, an apartment, you buy a house, you have kids. And so I think Kate and I were both kinds of on this fast track plan for life.
And I think when we had kids, things kind of change. We started to struggle, our connection started to struggle, I think we lost a bit of ourselves, I dove much deeper into work, I found a lot of my value and in achieving at work. I was also a restaurant history.
So you know, I would find a lot of solace at the bottom of the bottle, I had a lot of troubles and alcoholism, which was really impacting our marriage. And I think Kate was, you know, for a long time probably felt like a single mother in our relationship, you know, taking care of kids at home, really with just a husband, who was just overworked, just really fighting.
Well, as we look back, I think I was really struggling with my identity of being a father and a value I could offer. So there was a lot of disconnection. And probably about I guess, four years ago, now, we were ready to call it quits. A lot of people in our lives, you know, including our parents, you know, they had nothing but love for us, but they were encouraging us, it’s probably best to get separated to call this you know, you guys have tried it, but it’s not working.
And I remember there was a moment where we decided, hey, let’s give this one last go. And let’s really see where this takes us. So we got a lot of support, we got coaches, we got therapy, we got our personal therapy. And ever since then we’ve been on this journey. And I think probably about two and a half years ago, we realized that a lot of the things that we had struggled with and that we were improving upon in our marriage, a lot of other couples were facing.
So we really wanted to get our message out there and help other couples realize that, you know, great marriages, you know, they’re totally worth it, but that sometimes it can feel a bit messy. And no matter where you’re at, there’s always an opportunity to create more connections and to go deeper.
Yeah, and Eric just got a certification and coaching. So now men help them, you know, become great with their intimacy and in the relationship and just become, you know, the best versions of themselves as husbands. And I’m a full-time elementary school student, so I teach Grade One. I’ve been doing it for years.
So my niche is definitely around kids and family and those things but I definitely took a lot. I learned a lot from our journey and I love sharing that as well with other couples. Yeah, I think we’re that.
I think we realize we’re still learning all the time. You know, I think this is what sometimes couples talk to us and be like, Oh my god, you guys have so figured it out and we kind of joke we’re like well regard it looks that way. Because sometimes I close doors.
I really can still feel a bit messy. Yeah. 100% Right. And so that’s really the message we try to tell people: we try to be open and authentic like we don’t have it all figured out. You know, we love to use lions like new levels, new devils in the terms of like, we’re always going to face challenges. Wow. And that’s actually what we choose to live. You know, sometimes when we feel overwhelmed and we feel like we’re struggling, we remind ourselves
Like, this is the life we chose to live, this is what we want to do. Because we couldn’t just have it easy, we could have chosen just to kind of go out and do it alone. But instead, we decided to stay together and continue to grow.
And we get to do that every day together. It’s better. I love it, loving it. And you know, marriage is a challenge. It’s not easy. And the thing that I, I don’t remember where I first heard it, but I heard somebody say, you know, divorce is hard. And marriage is hard.
So just like the pick, pick your heart, pick which one, you know, like y’all could have chosen that and y’all could have gone your separate ways that would not have ended things just would have changed it. And so pick your heart. Which one of the difficult challenge
Do you want to try and tackle? You know, what’s interesting about what you’re saying, and I love this is, you know, my mom and dad, I love them. And they’re an amazing couple and have like, invested in us a lot and everything.
But one thing I’ll say and they’re in their 70s is that they still fight about many of the same things that they’ve been fighting about since I was a kid. But they are such an amazing couple. And I think the hope that that gave to me is that it normalizes that you will never like to be smooth sailing with your spouse.
And that if you don’t like to continually put in the work, and I’m not talking about like some sort of maintenance here I’m talking about you got to like really be doing it like you’re going to the gym.
If you don’t do that, then it takes nothing for the relationship to start getting messed up is kinda like, you know, when you’re in your 40s, and you’ve been eating healthy for a year, and then one week, you’re like, I’m gonna binge on this and you put on 10 pounds. That’s pretty much what it’s like. Yeah, absolutely.
So I love that you guys have overcome a lot of that. So like in your, in your marriage. What do you think was sort of the reason that you guys like had that breaking point? Like, what day? Did you wake up and go? No, we can do this better?
Don’t take it. Go. Go ahead. I’m thinking about it. Yeah, so I think for I’ve got like, there’s a lot out a moment, I think there were a couple of things. You know, I think one of the biggest factors for us was our kids.
And, you know, I came from a home where my parents were divorced, kids, parents are still together in the media for a long time. But again, right, like there’s some conflict and relationships. So for us, we really started to think about, you know, I hate to say this way, but this idea of breaking the cycle in terms of like, how do we model a healthy marriage for our kids.
And maybe it’s something that’s bigger than us. And it’s about legacy, and it’s about generations, right? Where the choices we’re making today in our marriage, and the foundation we set will actually probably impact our great-grandkids, right, it’s gonna impact the way that our kids are with their spouses that then they model for there. And so that’s one way that we start to think about it.
It’s up to us whether or not we want to model this for our kids and create this environment. Yeah, I just like the way I was showing up and showing my daughter that, you know, it’s okay to be treated by your husband this way. And it’s okay to be walked all over. And it’s okay to not express yourself like this is what I was modeling for my daughter.
And I wasn’t proud of that. But at the same time, you know, we were modeling to our son that this is a way to speak to your wife. And this is a way to speak to people in general. And, and that wasn’t okay with us either. It wasn’t sitting right.
So it’s definitely like, yeah, I would say our kids were like the big, big driving factor there. Yeah. And I think another thing that really stuck for me, and I don’t know, but one of the biggest realizations for me, which I think made me kind of stick around and really work at this together was that a lot of the issues that I was facing, you know, within myself, a lot of my core conflicts that I was going through, are things I would have to face anyways.
Right? Like, I would have liked a lot of what was happening as Kate was just reflecting a lot of some of my deep pain, right? She was doing things and was triggering within me some things. And so we could either work together and help each other heal and help each other kind of go through this.
And I remember somebody told me this line where it was, maybe you’re exactly where you have to be right now.
Right? Maybe you and Kate met for a reason. And it was to heal a lot of the things that you had experienced as a kid, and that this is the person for you.
And that really started to put things into the light like, you know what, I’m gonna have to face this anyways. Right? I could jump into another relationship. I could have a great 510 years, but then again, probably gonna be the exact same place. Yeah, the exact same problems are gonna show up, the exact same insecurities are going to show up and then we’re gonna start having the exact same arguments with another person.
So there’s definitely yeah, that was definitely another driving factor. And I think that’s kind of a big thing of like, you know, I chose I think we both chose to have the courage to face this and say, hey, you know what, we can both do things differently.
And yes, it might be uncomfortable, but the reality is, keeping our family together and modeling this for our kids and working through this, you know, I love that old line, like the only way around is through, you know, is more important than avoiding this and running away from it. And so I think that was a big reason why we decided to really go down this path.
And like always, you know, after you start to take a few steps, and you start to walk a few miles, you realize like, huh, this is actually kind of getting easier. Do you know what I mean? It’s like the snowball effect where you’re like, okay, cool. Everything’s getting there.
Exactly, exactly. So we started to see small wins in our life, we started to create space. And we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I remember that moment distinctly of like, we had a conversation on the couch.
And for the first time, I like to open up about my insecurities, and how much our past had hurt us. And I was very honest about it. And it was like, the first time ever, that I ever opened up that much about it. And after that day, after sitting with him and telling him, you know, how much I was hurt by the things that he’s done, and how much I’m still holding on to it, and how I’m having trouble forgiving him for it.
And I was finally able to start forgiving him and start moving forward and start opening up to this relationship and the possibility of this being forever. So yeah, that was a huge moment for us.
And I think since then, we’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re like, okay, you know, there is hope for this, there is hope for us. We’re not doomed, you know that with the word divorce was finally off the table. And we were able to finally continue to start dreaming about our future instead of fearing divorce.
Man, that is so tough, because then there are a lot of couples who get in that position where they just want to blame it on the other person and never really evaluate where they are internally personally wrecking their marriages.
Well, and I love that you guys were like, Okay, well, look, we both have this thing. And you know, one encouragement is that it’s really important that we give our kids and each other the freedom to tell other people how they can treat us and how to respond to us.
It doesn’t mean the other person is bad or wrong. But it does mean that for me to be healthy, I need you to treat me in certain ways. And if you want to treat other people that way, that’s your business with them. But with me, this is how we do it.
So that’s probably very empowering to your kids even to see, like, hey, we tend to do this. And I remember my parents just giving me a lot of permission. Like they talked to me a lot about sex while I was a teenager before I got married and everything.
And they told me they said you tell your husband, if he’s hurting you, you tell your husband if he’s like doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable. And I think giving yourself that permission and your kids that permission is the way to break that generational curse.
You’re not perpetuating it by making them think they just have to be okay with what their significant other does, and couples that don’t make those healthy boundaries, they don’t end up lasting because, you know, they don’t have the boundaries for it.
So let me ask you guys, how did all of this stuff affect your sex life? During that time? Were you guys like, okay, we’re not having sex, because things are a wreck, we are going to have sex even though things are a wreck.
Like, what was your take on that? Honestly, we were still having sex, even though things were a wreck, but it was the most disconnecting sex looking back now at our sex life.
You know, we would pat each other on the back and say, you know, oh, man, we’re having a lot of sex. Like we, you know, we’d say, you know, when we have sex, like, three, four times a week, like, we’re like, on top of the sex game, like we’re doing good.
But when we really look back at it, and at that moment, when we would look at sex, it was very disconnecting. For me having sex was about checking a box was about shutting Erica up, and giving him what he needed as a man because that’s how I was raised to, not raise my parents, but raised by my friends in society.
You know, like growing up as a teenager, I learned that the girl was there to please her man, and the girl would have sex to please her man. And her job insights, her role in sex was to be the sexiest porn star she could be. And so my job at Saks before in our marriage was to please Eric and have sex for him.
Yeah, and I think a big part of what was happening to and why it was so dysfunctional, as we were having sex for different reasons. And neither of us had the reason for doing it to be more connected.
And so Kate was I think he was utilizing sex in order to really kind of temper my anger a lot. You know, what she realized was like, Well, if I just give her sex every now and then it keeps them calm, and it keeps him good and he can just go back to work and essentially shut up.
Right, exactly right. Especially when we have kids like she’s saying, which is a kind of this checkbox mentality. Okay, here I’ll give you what you watch to be quiet. And I think for me, I was really looking towards taking the edge off right and usually sexuality as, hey, this is a way that I can just release, which is great, you know, I go to work.
And then at night, I just turn over and we kind of Saxon K provides this for me. And so I think what was happening is, the reason was so dysfunctional is because we didn’t really understand, like, how sex could really create a better relationship.
And instead, it was really being used as this tool, you know, certainly, sexual intercourse was being used as this tool to just solve a problem for us. Right, okay to try to prevent your husband from getting angry. And probably the same reason as me taking the edge off and just stopping being angry. Right? Yeah.
And it was giving us masking a problem, rather than actually addressing a problem that I was looking at. Yeah, I was just about to say, giving us this false validation of like, I’m a good wife, you’re a good husband because we have sex, you know, good check.
Boxes and right, like things, happy couples have sex, we’re a happy couple, we’re having sex. So check. Like, we don’t have any problems we have sex like. So it was very disconnecting.
And it was very, you know, we always talk about how our sex evolved with time, how we went from having sex that way, where we had, you know, sex, many times a week, because, you know, we, we put it on the calendar, we scheduled we make sure we’d had sex, you know, often, but then realizing like, it wasn’t connecting. So what can we do to make it more connected?
And then we evolved our sex from there, and then it evolved again, you know, let me ask something because you’ve used a word, kind of interestingly, like, what I thought you were going to say was, it was you were having frequent sex, but there was no connection happening.
But what you said was, it was so disconnecting, which sounds like it was it not only wasn’t bringing you closer but was also it pushing you apart? is it in there, it was pushing us apart? Because I would, I would stop having sex, like not having sex. Eric would have an orgasm. And then I would sometimes have an orgasm. And then I’d like to walk away from sex feeling like used feeling like so unfulfilled? Like I was very trained.
I get out of this. Yeah, it was very transactional. So then there was the sense of resentment growing inside of me like, I’m doing this for him. And I’m continuously doing this for him. What the heck is he doing for me? Great sex connects a couple.
mediocre or not great sexes. Man. There’s no connection. You’re saying it was actually harming the really like it was disconnecting it was pushing apart and causing more than less. Yeah. And it was, and the sex itself was good. It felt good. At that moment, we felt good.
But immediately after we felt disgusted, we felt like wow, yeah. Yeah. Like, why do I do that? You know, and this is one thing I always tell couples is that you should do the best you can to limit negative sexual interaction.
Yeah, so don’t just have sex for the sake of having sex. Because everyone says you’re supposed to if you walk away feeling used dirty, whatever, like you’re describing, quit it. Just stop. Yeah, I think that that actually just ends up causing you to damage the marriage and relationship more, because now you feel your body is being used. Nevermind, you’re not in a great relationship.
Now you’re just like an object? And I don’t know. But like, when you guys look back, though, do you think to yourself, we should have had less sex? Or do you think there was any part of it that was helpful for the marriage?
You know, I don’t know. I guess from my perspective, we don’t necessarily look back and think we should have done anything differently. I think I don’t know if we would be where we’re at. Like, it’s even the same thing.
Like when we get in conflict, or when things happen that could be seen as negative, we always look back and think about, okay, what was the reason that happened? Right, I don’t think we really would have come to this place of sexual evolution of Kate really feeling empowered to say, this is what I want.
And I’m actually going to focus on my pleasure, and I need to provide for myself during our sexuality. And I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of some bad tendencies. If we didn’t go down this rabbit hole of, you know, how do we check a box? How do we have efficient sacks? You know, one of the things that we always say, which we love is you have the life you’re willing to put up with.
And sometimes it has to get so bad, that it’s like, okay, this is it like it’s over. And so sometimes you look at those moments, like, I wish I wouldn’t have done that. But I think for us, it’s like, that’s often the start of the solution is to go down this rabbit hole and realize, like, you know, what, enough’s enough. Like I’ve had enough of this.
I think that’s where Kate and I were both worried about our relationship. Or just like, I’m done having sex with you and feeling more disconnected. Like, you know, when Kate talks about feeling disconnected. Our sexuality was an affirmation of an unhealthy relationship. So what we realized is as we were having sex together, it was just an Oh, right. Here’s another reminder of how disconnected we are.
Even when our bodies are touching, even when there’s penetration, we still feel disconnected. There’s no connection. Wow. Right. And I think that’s where the disconnection came, it was this affirmation of this deep core fear, but the belief that our marriage of this is over like this is over is nothing left. And I think that really woke us up to say.
Well, if we want to create something out of it, we have to do something different. And this is when we talk to a lot of coaching clients, you know, people are constantly stuck. And that’s where we were, I think he would just hit a point, like, you know, what’s the worst that’s gonna happen? I can’t get any worse than it is now.
So why don’t I just try to be open and honest, try to be honest. You know, even though you’re talking about Kelly, this idea of like, No more bad sex. Oftentimes, when we say that people like, Yeah, I’m gonna tell my wife and I’m like,
No, that’s up to you to hold that boundary up for yourself and say, Hey, this is causing me pain, actually. And this position is, I don’t like it, and I need more lube or like, whatever. Okay, so we’re just talking about, you know, no more bad sex.
And I think you were like, starting to explain to us what you try to counsel people because you were saying, so you counsel men on their sexuality? Is that right, Eric? That’s right. For them, no more bad sex.
So what are the issues that you see with the men that come to you and the sexual situations they’re dealing with? Well, I think for us a big part of what changed our sex life. And when I often counsel men, you need to really own your own sexuality, right.
So one of the big things that was happening in my marriage, even as we were evolving, was that I was so concerned about Kate’s pleasure during sex. So the way that we kind of say it is, you know, it’s like Kate was having sex, but really, all the onus was on her, she wasn’t having sex with a person, right?
Another individual human being that was enjoying it, was having sex for somebody that was trying to cater to her needs. And I think a lot of men do this often. And for me, yeah, I would say that’s going down the rabbit hole of bad sex in terms of, it’s my responsibility to own my own sexuality during sex.
And it’s Kate’s responsibility to hold on to herself and own her own sexuality. And so that all can only come with being open and honest about what feels good, what doesn’t feel good. And not only speaking about it, if that’s the case but really doing something about it, doing something different. So what we say all the time, some of the best sex we have now is when I am focused on my own pleasure.
And Kate is focused on her own pleasure, knowing because we trust each other now, that if something’s not going well, for either of us, we speak up. Right? We’re not going to continue like, Oh, this is not, I’m not really enjoying this at all.
But Eric seems to be liking it. So I’ll just continue to do this. Like no, 100%? No, yeah. And that trust factor? It takes away the need to check in all the time. Is he liking this? Are you liking this? Is this good for you?
Did you have good sex? Was that good for you? It takes that away because you trust that during the action while it’s happening. If it’s not feeling good for him, he’ll either say something, change positions, take me in his arms and flip me around. Whatever need be, but it’s not he’s not going to continue doing something that doesn’t bring in pleasure.
If it’s not, and then and then we don’t have to wonder, was that good? Are you enjoying that? Good? You know, I think it helps you probably like, I don’t know, if you’re so worried about pleasing the other person, I think it is harder to feel the sexual pleasure yourself. Because now you go into like caretaking mode, it’s very hard to take care of yourself while taking care of someone else. Yeah. Right.
Yeah, I think a lot about this kind of prehab on this is, when I was in those moments, what I compare it to is there’s a lot of boy energy, right? When I’m checking in with Kate, I want her to have pleasure. A lot of that comes from, am I good? Like, am I doing well? Am I a good husband? Am I pleasing you? Are you?
And what I say to men all the time, it’s my responsibility to self validate myself. I don’t I don’t necessarily need at that moment for Kate to say you’re good in order for me to feel good. Mm-hmm. I need to own that. And what that does is, you know, then Kate, at the moment is like, oh my god, I gotta tell him all the time that I’m feeling good.
This is good. I, you know, we say all the time, like even some couples, it’s like, yeah, the woman has to orgasm in order for the man to feel valued, right? Yes or no, or that idea of like, having to show up like a porn star, you know, having to make all of the noise and all of the movements and all of the porn star stuff. It’s like, that takes away from my own pleasure because I’m still concentrating on putting on this show for Eric to show him like, I’m enjoying this. And it’s like, it’s no,
I enjoy it. They don’t have to scream to let you know. I had a reader write in and tell me that her husband just didn’t want her to use lubrication. And this is an older person, maybe in her 60s. And she’s just like, yeah, he just really doesn’t want me to use lube, and that kind of kills it for him. And I’m like, Okay, I’m sorry, but stop having sex if he won’t use lube because it’s obviously hurting you, and people in their 20s use lube. It’s not about his ability to bring you sexual arousal.
And so anytime a man feels threatened by that it causes the woman to have a negative bad sexual experience. Mm-hmm. That’s right. And it really becomes about, you know, what we sell time comes about becomes about ego. Right? And not because I was there as well, exactly what you’re talking about, right?
Like, Well, does Kate using lube means that I’m not pleasuring her, stimulating her in the right way? Does that mean something about me? Instead of just saying, like, Kate is gonna do whatever feels good to her. If that means wrapping herself up in tinfoil while we do it, great. You know, like, whatever works for you. It’s amazing.
But I do think that this is what happens a lot, right? Like, in sexuality. Oftentimes, when we were having bad sex, it was focused on, you know, inflating my own ego as a man. And that was very dysfunctional in our sex life.
So I think oftentimes, now I coach men to move away from that, own their own sexual pleasure, and allow your wife the freedom to own her sexual pleasure, and then come together to create the best sexual experience you can have. So do you think that might be one of the biggest struggles that couples have sex with? Like, what is your top like? This is what couples lead to bad sex? Like, what are some of those top sayings?
Don’t take this one. I think I think she wants to know what your men are saying, Oh, well, either way, just like what you guys see in your interactions with couples as being like the core problem with their sex, what’s leading to that, I think is the miscommunication.
I think it’s misunderstanding what your partner truly wants out of sex. I think it’s this also an idea of, you know, this idea of, I need to make my partner orgasm every single time, we need to have sex and one of us or both of us need to finish.
And I think teaching couples to remove that expectation, removing the idea of needing to orgasm every time you have sex, but creating other opportunities to have sex. So you know, sex can look so different than just penetration.
I think what you’re talking about just kind of jump in, as you know, I think is talking about is this idea of our sexual beliefs, right, that come from a family of origin that comes from how we were raised and what sex meant to us, depending on our religious backgrounds, all that stuff, we carry a lot of that into our marriages.
And so oftentimes, yeah, when I start interacting with couples, you know, when we talk to couples, a lot of it is about deconstructing some of these sexual beliefs. And getting really clear, just because you’re married, it doesn’t mean that your spouse has to provide sex. Right, one of the biggest challenges that we get from couples is the idea that sex is something that your spouse gives to you.
And what we always say is, sex is something that we create together. Right? And that doesn’t mean intercourse. That doesn’t mean it has to be in the bedroom. Can I create sexual energy all the time, you know, we live like, we don’t have to be in the same room to create sexual energy. It can be when text messages can be a little post it’s around, right?
It can be even cake and create our own sexual energy, by the way, she dresses during the day. Right. So I think oftentimes, it’s about deconstructing some of these beliefs, which are a barrier because there’s an expectation of how sex should look. And if you don’t fall into this rigid mold, our sex life is bad.
Right? And so for us, it’s all about freedom. Pleasure connection is at the top of your list. How can we freely move towards that, no matter what it looks like for either of us? Yeah. And I try to teach the people who are reading my blog instead of having sex for your spouse to have sex with them?
Yeah, yes. Like, that’s one thing that we do together. And I think one thing that I have people write in to me, I swear, so many men and women both right into me, and the men really want the wives to have the same sexual experience that they have. I think a that’s, that’s toxic because a wife has a much different sexual experience than a man she just does biologically. We feel orgasms differently.
We have more of them, they’re back to back, you know, whatever. And the other thing is, is that wives will often write to me and basically tell me how to get my husband to understand that I don’t need to have an orgasm every time. Like I’m just happy with the closest I swear, their husbands don’t get it.
They’re like no, but you’re not orgasm vaguely. And like for them, that would be a letdown of his sexual experience. And they don’t have any ability to reframe that. So what do you tell a couple who is in those positions where either the one spouse says my spouse wants me to have this kind of experience and they’re not like, what do you tell them?
I think our biggest line is a priority. That is outercourse, instead of intercourse. So how can you connect outside the bedroom? How can you connect outside of the, you know, societal definition of sex?