When working to improve sexual intimacy, I always recommend looking into the future and setting a goal of what you would like to accomplish. What is important to you? Where do you want to be? What do you hope to change? And when you are on that journey, it is important to take stock of where you are and how far you’ve come.
Sometimes on the way to achieving our goals, it can feel like we aren’t making much progress and we’re never going to reach the point we are striving for. We can feel stagnant and convinced we aren’t moving any closer to our goals. But by taking a moment to assess and reflect when we’re in this place – a place I call the Messy Middle – we can appreciate the progress we have made so far and the value in doing this work.
In this episode, I’m showing you how to know if you are middling and some steps you can take to start appreciating the messy middle. I’m sharing the importance of taking a moment for gratitude for what’s improving and changing over time, and the problem with not taking time to celebrate your wins on this journey.
You are listening to The Midlife Sex Coach for Women™ Podcast episode 94.
Welcome to The Midlife Sex Coach for Women™ Podcast, the only show that combines a fun personality, medical knowledge, sexual counseling, and life coaching together. To create unique sex coaching that helps busy women awaken their libidos, address intimacy issues, and learn how to express their sexuality for the rest of their days. Here is your host, certified life coach and sexual counselor, Dr. Sonia Wright.
Hello, hello, hello, Diamonds. How are you all doing? I hope you’re doing well. This week I am hanging out in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a beautiful place, really lovely during the summer. And the other night I took a walk down to the Union Terrace area, it was one evening after my Own Your Sexuality Now class. Oh, my goodness, that class is so good. I have to just spend a moment and shout out to my intimate Diamonds, they are so fabulous. We’re having a great time. I love them all. It’s just an amazing, amazing group of women.
So, I was definitely feeling in a place of gratitude after the call, just amazed at all the work that the women are doing. And then also coupled with being in Madison, Wisconsin, it was really a beautiful evening. It was a nice breeze, a lovely sunset, there is some nice outdoor music playing and there is an outdoor concert so music was playing in the background. And I was just sitting by the lake and it made me realize how lucky I am and what an amazing life I lead, really an amazing life.
And as we wrap up the month of June, the month in which we celebrate and Pride and Juneteenth. And as we’re looking forward to July 4th I’m reminiscing on the fact as a Black queer woman about all the freedoms and opportunities that there have been in my life over the years and in my life today. Yeah, life in America is not perfect by any means and we are struggling with a number of issues right now especially around equality in America. But I also want to take a moment for gratitude in the middle of it all, gratitude for all the change that I have seen in my life.
When I emigrated to this country in the early 70s I witnessed firsthand the turmoil that this country was in during a time of bussing and desegregating the schools. And I realized that sometimes it’s important to pause and appreciate all that has improved while we’re still continuing to do the work today towards equality. And I find that it’s the same thing when we’re working on issues around sexual intimacy, when we’re in the messy middle it’s important to take stock of what has gone well, what our baseline was and what’s improving and changing over time.
We may be in the messy middle which I call the middling, I call, we’re middling, it’s kind of like, I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, we’re just middling right now.” But there is time to pause, and assess, and appreciate in the middle of the middling. So, when we’re working to improve our sexual intimacy I always suggest looking into the future and setting a goal of what you would like to accomplish. And we’ve talked about this before. What is important to you? Do you want to increase the quality of the sexual intimacy in your life? Do you want more pleasure?
Do you want to have a deeper connection with yourself and/or your partner? Do you want to get rid of old antiquated ideas that are no longer serving you? Where do you want to be in the next 6 to 12 months? That’s what I consider looking and figuring out who your super self or future self will be. And spending time looking in the future and deciding where you want to go to, what goal do you want to set. And then I take a minute to see where we were when we started this process. So, I take a minute to look back on the other side.
So, I’m looking forward, I’m seeing what the future is that I want to go towards but I’m also spending time looking back to see where I came from and what I’ve already accomplished. So, when we’re taking a minute to look back to see where we started in this process I think of it as it’s time to be the sex detective. What made you want to start this process? What made you want to change your sexual intimacy, your sexuality in your life? Were you on the verge of a sexless relationship, sexless and 10 times a year?
Were you participating in to-do list sex, and you weren’t really there, your mind was off thinking about your list and your body was there but not really your mind, you weren’t engaged, you weren’t enjoying yourself, you were just waiting for it to be over? Was it the case that you had never really explored what sex and sexual intimacy should be like for you? Was it missing the pleasure? Maybe you felt your libido was dying. Whatever the reason look and see what was going on in your life at the starting point. Spend a little bit of time looking there.
And you’ll realize you’re not necessarily at your goal but at the same time you’re not at the starting place. Something has occurred, even just by listening to this podcast something has occurred. Something inside of you has stirred up and something has said, I want something different. I want to move forward. I want to change something. And maybe you’ve already started taking some actions and changing things. So, take some time to look and see where you’re at.
And then you may have thought that it would be a relatively straightforward shot from point A, your starting point to point B, your finishing point. Maybe you thought a little bit of communication here, a little bit of masturbation there, maybe adding in a new toy. Wham bam, thank you ma’am, you’re at your goal. You’re there, you’re at the super self. Well, lo and behold, that was not as easy as you expected it was going to be. And you have not been moving perfectly forward. Maybe you’re actually avoiding working on the issue.
Maybe you’re realizing communication is not easy, you can’t bring yourself to ask for what you want. Maybe your partner is crabby and not very cooperative. Let me tell you that’s all perfect and right on time. You are in the messy middle. You are actually middling, congratulations, let me just celebrate with you where you’re at and also recognize that you’re exactly where you should be at this point in time. So, I usually, when I’m in the middle of the middling time and maybe I’m starting to get a little frustrated or a lot, let’s get real here.
And maybe part of me wants to quit at this point in time, so I usually go through this set of steps and I’m going to go through these steps with you. So, the first thing I do is what we’ve been doing, assess where you are right now. What have you accomplished since you started because often we lose track and we don’t spend time assessing what we’ve actually accomplished? And we say to ourselves, nothing has changed, nothing has improved, why am I doing this? Maybe I should just stop right now.
But when we actually look at where we started and where we are right now, something has changed. So, spend some time writing it down, write down everything that’s changed, even if it’s just your thought process has changed, even if it’s just your awareness that something needs to change has changed, if that makes sense. But something has changed since you started this work and celebrate that. Write it down and give yourself a pat on the back.
Second thing, maybe this is the first thing, recognize that nothing has gone wrong, you’re exactly where you should be. You are right on track, there is no such thing as a straight line from point A to point B even if we would like it to be that way. It was never meant to be a smooth ride, you just thought it was going to be. Well, welcome to reality babes, it’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong and you still get to work on this.
The next thing is to spend some time identifying what your obstacles are. Maybe it is that there’s communication issues, maybe it is that you’re having difficulty asking for what you want. Maybe it is that you’re having difficulty articulating your needs. Maybe you are not certain what those needs are. That’s okay. Spend some time figuring out what it is. Maybe the schedule that you thought you had set up for intimacy is not exactly working because you’re tired. Maybe you find that there’s some reason that you’re still avoiding your partner.
All of that is okay, we’re just going to assess, and look, and see what the obstacles are at this point. And the obstacles might have changed over time when you did the assessment from the beginning to now, you’ll recognize that there were obstacles in the past and you overcame those obstacles. And in the same way you’re going to overcome these new obstacles that are here right now. But the first step is to recognize what those obstacles are. So, recognizing the obstacles and sitting with them for a while is going to make all the difference. What does sitting with it mean?
Write down the obstacles and then try not to get yourself frustrated and upset but just kind of look objectively at these obstacles and be like, okay, I didn’t realize that. Alright. And as you look at these obstacles you’ll start to formulate ways to deal with the obstacles and that’s the important part of it. But if you get frustrated and upset you’re not going to be focused on figuring out the solution to the obstacles. You’re just going to be sitting in the obstacle, if that makes sense. So, try to look at it objectively.
And then try to say, “Okay, this is the obstacle. What is a potential solution for this obstacle?” Then take some time to look at your emotions that come up. Probably there’s going to be some negative, what we call ‘negative emotions’ come up. They’re not necessarily negative, they’re just helpful. And you’re like, “Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Sonia.” What, these emotions are your friends? They actually are. The what we consider ‘negative emotions’ are the ones that are much more helpful.
We prefer to be in a place where we’re experiencing the good emotions, the joy, the happiness, the gratitude. Those are the fun emotions. But sometimes we’re in the place of the other emotions, the anger, the resentment, the discomfort of those emotions, the frustration. Those are the emotions that point to the things that we need to work on and our ability to tolerate the feeling of discomfort around these emotions is directly proportional to how far we will be able to advance in this situation.
And those emotions are going to point you in the right direction as to what needs your attention. So be sensitive and be aware of those ‘negative emotions’, recognize they’re actually your friend and they’re going to guide you. If you’re frustrated over something then kind of use the emotion as a breadcrumb which will point you, what are you frustrated over? What is the issue that needs to be dealt with? So, these actually ‘negative emotions’ are really your friends and they are the ones that are going to help you.
You know that I talk about this constantly but it’s the communication that makes all the difference. Sexual intimacy is built on intimacy overall, general intimacy which is built on communication. The communication has to be there. And so, spend a lot of your time in communication, whatever it is, spend the time talking about things. And then if you’re working with – and this communication can be with yourself because sometimes you need to have honest conversations with yourself like, “Hey, Sonia, what’s going on here? I see not much has changed.” Alright, let’s work on this.
And sometimes you need that communication with your partner if you’re working together on this. And then with the communication I always approach it as a team. I’m always like, “Hey, what can we do together as a team to work on this?” Because then your partner doesn’t feel like they’re being accused or they’re being pointed at like they are the problem. The issue is the problem, you two together or two or more, I’m always about two or more, work together. And you work on the issue, not on each other, if that makes sense.
Recognize the communication can often be the hardest part of it all. Our society does not set us up to talk about sexual intimacy. Society expects it to just work right, most of the time it doesn’t work perfectly but society wants you to think that it’s easy and you should just fall into having sex and sexual intimacy without having to discuss it. And so much of it is about discussions. And recognize at the beginning, the discussions can be uncomfortable and that is okay. It’s okay for the discussions to be uncomfortable.
And recognize that it’s going to be more than one discussion. Recognize that it’s going to be a discussion that you have again and again in a different way. You might tweak it a little bit from the last time. But it’s never a one and done discussion. So, make sure that you recognize that you will be having more conversations, so don’t worry about that. Give yourself some breaks when you need it.
If you need some downtime and you don’t feel like working on it, then don’t work on it because then you’re just going to be frustrated and more likely to maybe say something you don’t necessarily want to say, or give up, or whatever. So, if you feel that you’re getting frustrated, give yourself a break. Have some downtime. Just focus on the fun side of life and then come back to it when you’re ready.
One thing that I like that may work for you, may not work for you, is when there’s something that I’m working on, I often get a ring, or a bracelet, or something, that is kind of like a touchpoint that I can physically touch but my mind can also touch and remind me of what I’m working on, something that’s important for me. So sometimes I will go to Amazon and grab a ring or a bracelet and engrave something on it. And I think you’ve seen that in the past. I’ve shown you bracelets that I’ve made in the past. And then I have it and I’m actually looking at it.
Right now, I tend to like Enso rings, E-N-S-O. I don’t get any money from this. But they’re these silicone rings that you could engrave and they have nice patterns and things like that. They’re usually less than $50. But I like to get one of those rings to remind me of something that I’m working on, like a goal that I have or a challenge. I kind of think of it as a promise ring and I put the ring on and I have it on. And every time I look at my hand I see that ring and it reminds of what is important to me right now and what I’m working on.
So, you might want to get a ring and engrave it with a word or a phrase, or you and your partner/partners may want to get a ring to signify what’s happening right now and what you two or more are committed to working on. So that might be something that might help you remember as to what the focus is. And whatever you do, decide to take time to appreciate all that you have accomplished. And as I’m saying this, I’m reminding myself because I have this tendency not to remember and appreciate all the things that I have accomplished.
I keep going towards goals but if you keep going towards goals without taking time for your wins, without taking time to evaluate and appreciate what you’ve accomplished, sometimes you’re just pushing, and pushing, and pushing yourself and you’re not seeing the true overall reason and value for doing this work. So, make sure to take some time and gratitude to appreciate it. And when you’re ready get back at it again, get back at it and take the next step, work on the next obstacle, formulate the next plan that you want to.
And remember again, nothing has gone wrong. You’re exactly where you should be and you’re just middling, nothing has gone wrong with this. Okay, okay Diamonds, that’s all I have for you today. So, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to be here on this podcast with you, happy Pride, happy Juneteenth, happy middling and see you in a couple of weeks. I’m actually going to be taking a needed vacation with my family. So, lots of love, Dr. Sonia is out.
Hey Diamonds, do you want to reignite the passion that’s gone missing from your life? Do you want to want to want it again? You know I’m on a mission to end the emotional pain and isolation that women experience associated with sexual difficulties. And many of you also know that I was once in that place where I was experiencing little to no sexual intimacy in my life. And I kept thinking that there was something that was wrong with me, that I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t attractive enough. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough to fix this problem.
And I was worried all the time that my relationship was too far gone because of this lack of intimacy. Well, you know what? I was right about one thing. The relationship didn’t last. But even though the relationship didn’t last I committed to doing the work that I needed to do to own my sexuality. And now I have this amazing sex life and it’s everything that I wanted it to be. And I’m also committed to helping my Diamonds by teaching them the same strategies that I figured out in order to revitalize the intimacy in their life.
So, if you want to stop feeling broken, if you want to stop feeling shame and guilt about sexuality, if you want to feel more comfortable with your sexuality and tap into that pleasure then I’m here for you Diamonds. First of all, know that there’s nothing that’s gone wrong with you. You’re not broken. And you know what? You can solve your intimacy issues. You can let go of that shame and guilt, and you can tap into that passionate person that’s just waiting to come out.
Let’s get on a strategy call together. And let’s discuss how we can work together and how I can help you. And know that a strategy call, it’s like a 100% a safe place, there’s no judgment. We’ll talk about your intimacy situation which is what’s going on right now. We’re also going to talk about your intimacy goals, what you would like your intimacy to look like in the future. And then we’ll talk about how we could possibly work together to come up with a personalized strategy plan for you so you can get the results that you need.
So, Diamonds, I’m here for you. Don’t wait another minute, book that consultation call with me today. And I can’t wait to talk to you. You can get that consultation call by going to soniawrightmd.as.me and the link is also in the show notes. Okay, have a great day. I can’t wait to talk to you. Take care.