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Sex with Dr. Jess


September 16, 2021

How To Manage Rejection

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Can you handle rejection? Have you practised this essential life skill? What can you learn from rejection? And how can you check your avoidance behaviours?

Couples and Intimacy Therapist, Brittanni Young, joins us to share her powerful insights on rejection, expectations, avoidance, and more.

Follow Brittanni on her Twitter and Instagram accounts to stay up to date with her work.

To learn more about the Sex Down South Conference held in Atlanta, GA, check out their website for past guests and workshop information. And follow their Twitter and Instagram!

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

How To Manage Rejection

00:00:05 – 00:05:06

You’re listening to the sax with dr jess podcast sacks and relationship advice you can use tonight. Hey hey and welcome. This is jess all my lonesome. Because i am down at sex down south in atlanta. And if you’re not familiar with sex down south it is the sexuality conference to attend. It’s run by my friends. Marlene stewart and the lovely tm. Marie and it is a life changing conference for so many of us in terms of its capacity to build a really special community to make connections to make space to hold space to even galvanize movements and honestly so much more. I was learned so much. Not only in the sessions and keynotes but also just in the conversations in the hallways and the after hours dance parties and i just really highly recommend it for anyone who has any interest in sex. It is is really just a must attend if you’re working in the field or thinking about it and i really believe it’s just as meaningful if you’re not and of course. It costs money to attend conferences. But they do have scholarships available for those in need. And i’m also happy to support with some additional scholarships if you’re someone who has financial barriers and you do want to attend in the future so start by following along to see what sex down south is about and see what they’re doing next. It is on instagram. They are s. d. s. con like sex down south conso. Sds khan and it’s sex down south everywhere else. And yeah i just really wanna thank sex for bringing me back welcoming me back kind of i just feel like they very quickly welcomed me into the fold and a had a lot of my. I hear one thing i think about is my first crying in public strangers. Because i was just honestly so moved i think by the feeling of being cared for and feeling safe and even fitting in which is A little bit hard for me. So i really hope to be coming back every year. Because it’s just. I don’t know such a special place so do check them out. And now we’re gonna talk about a topic that super important topic that they are covering at the conference today. We are talking about rejection. Would it is what it feels like some of the evolutionary holdovers how to handle it how to respond how to even lean into rejection and practice being rejected and really how to learn from it and this is such an important life skill. I’m just. I’m so glad we’re talking about it because i personally. I know i have so much to learn here joining me. Now is britney young couples and intimacy therapist. Is that how you describe yourself. i’d say so. It covers the basis. All right and so. You see primarily couples. Do you also see individuals or triads or anything like that. Yeah all of the above. I have a quite a lot of variety that come in and the reasoning. It varies as well and is it. Mostly around relationships mostly relational i’d say so even if people are coming in for individual. That often has that relational component to it. So it works. Its way in if you could wave a wand and just fix one thing about relationships what would it be on now. That’s an interesting question. Picks one thing about relationships maybe the the expectation component you know that seems to challenge a lot of things in relationships right. Things ought to be this way. Yeah this from you. I need you to do this for me. how hector we get over that. I guess we should start. Where does it come from. Is it from you know. Upbringing is at from pop. culture influence. is it from just socialization attached to gender and age and race and culture and all of those things. Yeah yeah all of that. All of the above. There’s just so many components that factor in and i do think it starts with identifying them. You know it creates such a a bias at times you know. And there’s this energy about identifying implicit bias as well so i think that all of that really factors in and so if you have expectations that your partner isn’t meeting. What do you do. Communicate more first and foremost. But i often tell my clients as well as myself. You know human to communicate with yourself first and then communicate with your partner about what’s happening that way. You’re not really trying to figure it out as you’re attempting to communicate it to a third party right. So i know him not getting something but i may not even know what it is. I need yet. I’m demanding that thing of you and asking you read my mind. Oh yeah a lot of mind reading that happens and a lot of its glamorized To be honest with you this idea of you know what i’m thinking or would like without me having to say it and that equals a romance.

00:05:06 – 00:10:02

That were soulmates. Or something that nature right. When in fact you can become soulmates. If you tell them what you want and also i think there needs to be some flexibility right. I can’t ask my partner to fulfil all of my needs. Oh yeah that’s There’s been a big energy around. That is well. I think when it comes to mainframe. I’ve heard it spoken aloud. Most through esther parral. Who’s president this sometimes conflictual confrontational. That’s the word. I’m looking for idea around there of just put it out there in. I’ve had resistance and apprehension with that with my clients When i crossed that in session where there. Or i don’t wanna have to say it. I’m rolling my eyes. Can you hear me rolling up. Yeah i mean if you say it many times and they’re not understanding you might need to say it in a different way Or they might need to set a boundary. And say actually. I can’t give you that I love you. I care about you. I want you to have that. But there’s something about that. That maybe i can’t give you. How can we work around that. Well there’s so much about what that even means right even with the statement that you just said there. I think people really read into it. And they make their interpretations and especially if there’s a but in right where they only here the last half of what you said and they will take that say okay. We’ll obviously you don’t love me. That’s what that means. That’s how i’m interpreting that if you’re not willing to do what it takes to meet my needs then you don’t love me and you know that doesn’t always an often doesn’t equate they really break that down to say okay well. This person doesn’t think the same way that i do. They don’t define these things in the same way that i do and again what you said hitting on that flexibility portion to also accept that your partner may not think the way that you do or define love and expression of love missing way think about it with sex with physical affection with time spent together and i don’t know if if you come upon this. I’m sure you do because people see you as an expert. They want you to define what what is appropriate for relationship. How much time should we spend together. You know people ask me. How often should we have sex. What should they be doing in this. That or the other respect in the end. Like we don’t know absolutely. And i can tell like. I can see an unnerving when my responses i mean that depends. What is your expectation. What is your normal so to speak. Because i do get a lot of that. Absolutely the what frequency do we need to be having sex. How frequently should we be spending time together. You see. it’s littered with these goods and that’s a clear indication. Okay that’s coming from an expectation which came from where right at one. I guess we need to dive into our expectations. Like why do. I want you to spend so much time with me. Why is that important to me. What is it to me is it. Because i don’t have all the social supports i want. Is it because i’m feeling board. Is it because i’m afraid to have a separate life from you or is it because i just really really love being around you but we have to get a little vulnerable to go beyond you. I just love being around you and wonder because we all can be controlling right. It doesn’t mean we’re polarized into not controlling controlling but at times we can act controlling more demanding or. I know that i can be at times in the moment like unrealistic in my expectations. And i have. I always think okay. So what can i do about this. I just like you said have a conversation with yourself. What can i do to fulfill. this need. That i feel is not being fulfilled. Before i go to my partner and say this is what i want from you I mean i think this segues really well into what we’re going to talk about today. Which is rejections so at sex down south best sex conference ever down at atlanta. You are hosting a workshop on managing rejection and a really wanna talk about this so tell us why. This is such an important topic. I might be colored in my lens as it’s just the thing that keeps coming up you know both personally and professionally and i don’t think people realize because it often feels isolating when you’re in it but there is going to be that dynamic there where you have somebody who’s the higher desire partner in the low desire partner in any given situation. It’s not common where you have both high desire or both low desire at the exact same time you know and really being able to navigate those waters. Most people have no idea. They’re just okay. I just think that. I need to bring you to my level in that. Is the solution so much so right. My partner is broken. can you fix them. Can you diagnose them. And can you fix them. And even beyond sacs rejection. It just feels like this important life skill that has been glossed over.

00:10:02 – 00:15:01

You know in recent years. We’ve heard a lot about vulnerability right expressing vulnerability and showing vulnerability. And i don’t think ten years ago. We were hearing as much of that in the mainstream. I agree and i’m like in five or ten years. Will we hear more about rejection league in every respect whether it’s applying for a job or this is a tiny little thing but saying hello or smiling at someone on the street and having them ignore you not for hitting on purposes Just for friendly. Now you live in the south. You live in atlanta We’re a lot of people smile and say hello. Yeah i live in toronto. Where when i smile and say hello i kinda get. I get pretty upset. Sometimes because people will just look right through you or almost even roll their eyes at you and what am experiencing there Is very visceral. Yeah it’s rejection out. It’s probably not about me right. It is it is actually okay. I’m gonna say this. Maybe people from toronto will disagree but for me. It’s a cultural thing in the city that you ignore each other. In fact people in new york are more likely to like not it. You say hello. Wow yeah turn a special. This is my view. I know somebody’s gonna say no toronto and it’s not everybody right. There are pockets. That are super friendly. So that experience of rejection like it just feels so bad in your body right. Oh he’s a dick or she’s a snob or they’re you know and then you get into your head will. Why aren’t they saying hi to me. Is it because of the way. I look right. Is it something about me that they don’t like and so i guess it’s good practice You know i would say that. I avoid rejection and definitely practice avoidance behaviors. But the number of people. I say hi to who. Don’t say hi to me. I guess. I’m getting it all the time. So when we think about rejection and the fact that i think we’re naturally inclined absolutely to avoid it. How can we get better at managing rejection and to get better at. It is to have that conversation with yourself understand what it means even before going to a mental place understanding. Hey i have this physical response to it. And you really need to respond to a physical response with more physical addressing. That i to calm down your nervous system. It’s excited right now. Then once those those doors are open to reach your your mind your prefrontal cortex get a little nerdy there for you to try and talk to yourself and say okay. What does this mean. What am i taking from the fact that my partner does not want to have sex with me right now in once. You’ve come to that conclusion. Now you’re ready and set to have a grounded conversation with your partner yet. That’s an interesting question. Because this is definitely something i’ve personally run into. So first and foremost you’re talking about addressing the physical whether that means like slowing down breathing taking a beat grounding yourself when your feet on the floor. We recently ran a body scan podcasts. So doing even a mini version of that. And then asking yourself. Why does this bother me so much. What am i taking from it right. So when i think about the fear of being rejected by my partner like my law. Obviously everyone knows. I’m talking about brandon here. I think for me. The fear would be rooted in not love but attraction. I’d be worried you know we’ve been together twenty years. I still feel super attracted to him. He’s very attracted you me. The sex is good. But there’s this fear that like one day it’s just gonna stop like there’s just going to be this like something changed right and i don’t mean something about me. Just something about the connection Between us this fear that will. He’s not as attracted to me or i’m not enough for him or i don’t know i’m not exciting enough. And then that’s layered with. I’m a sexologist. Like i’m supposed to be good at this. I’m supposed to be like wild and supposed to make it fun. And the truth is sometimes on a thursday night when i wanna come onto him. It’s not going to be that much fun. I mean it’s going to feel good but it’s not gonna be like you know i’m not gonna be in thigh high boots and all effort brian then like while i’m really getting into it here. Then get into the guilt of like you know. maybe. I don’t put enough effort into this And so all of these different. I guess tentacles needs to be addressed absolutely and i mean in what ways you open that gate in. Go into that direction. I would say that it’s very challenging for something like this not to touch on your self esteem. There’s so much associated with that and they have found an evolutionary when they look at where this rejection component even comes from and they found something about during hunter-gathering. Right that you. It was a very vital for your survival to be in the group. And if there’s anything that shows indication that you’d be pushed out of the group i mean that’s your life on the line and so it’s just something evolutionary carrying on where we have that sensitivity to make sure that we belong to the group which is one of our most natural desires that we have to be included in belonged in seen by the group. Yeah that makes sense when you explain it as a survival mechanism. I think what you’re doing is just giving us permission to sail yemen.

00:15:01 – 00:20:09

That doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t mean we we can avoid it Right that’s the other thing you know. I think one of the things that i struggle with is maybe that i’ve always avoided things that i’m not good at like a joke about it like a lonely play a sport. If i’m good at it from the beginning. I peak early. I never get better like my first point out on. The field is always my best player. I never and there is. There’s a big avoidance piece right and we do this in relationships right. We use avoidance strategies to avoid rejection. Like we we don’t initiate sex. We don’t open up we don’t show vulnerability. We refuse to engage in conversations. So what the can you think of. Something actionable what can we do. If we know we’re holding ourselves back if we know. We’re enacting these avoidance behaviors. How do we push through it like we can say. Just do it. But is there like choubey. Visualize should we go. Tell our partners the senate. I want to do this. But i’m afraid of rejection. Should we like talk to ourselves. I don’t know where do we again. I say that most of the rejection research. It will give this whole response of will go and get rejected in really desensitize. That sting that you get from that feeling and in some ways that can be done safely and in other ways that can feel rather violating. You know to just go and and and get rejected. Are we going to handle that. So building that confidence that you can handle it to get over the hump. I often lean on the transparency. Lynn’s quite a bit where that can be vulnerable moment that convenient emotionally intimate moment. Where you just say to your partner you know that that feels rather rejecting. What do you mean by that asking questions. Rather than assuming and blaming him navigating those waters alone you can do it with your partner yet that makes sense to me and just even the acknowledgement of like i do fear rejection. I think so many of these negative feelings the reason we can’t work through them and manage them because we don’t name that right right. I don’t want to acknowledge that i’m jealous. I don’t want to acknowledge him insecure. I don’t want to acknowledge that. I’m being rejected right. And i think about them in the workplace people feel rejected all the time and that leads to so much strife. And i’m sure that shows up in your work. Despite the fact that you’re focused on relational elements What can we do outside of the relationship. Because you know i can turn to my partner brandon and say ooh. That’s that feels like rejection. It feels bad. I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong. But i want to talk about this But maybe i can’t do that like with a or with a friend. So what do you do for example in the workplace where you keep trying to do things and maybe you’re you feel you’re coming up short or other people are surpassing you or exceeding. Is there anything we can do. The kind of outside of the intimate relationship absolutely. I think it comes back to having that conversation with yourself and navigating what’s going on mentally for you. Sometimes it takes getting grounded and not just physically round your body but also grounding yourself and what your shrinks are and what your weaknesses are and accepting that as part of you. I really appreciate that. Because we’re often focused. On our strength rightly the very western. Like what do you feel good about. Make a list of the things you’re good at of focus on your confidence but also let’s look at our. Is there another word. Other than weaknesses are gaps are areas for growth. Yeah or maybe it’s just weakness. Like i know some of the things that i suck at. I’ve known it a long time. I’ve worked on it I’m thinking like very much like emotionally in things related to my character. I like things that i struggle with like initiating tough conversations is really hard for me outside of my intimate relationships conflict Anything that feels like. I might be interpreted as criticizing someone else. I avoid those things and so that is it’s both an area for growth and a weakness in that’s usually a it. Has that that notion to it. Were in conditions in certain conditions. This so-called weakness could be shrinked and in other conditions it. Yeah it’s it’s a real weakness but it just depends on the situation or who you’re around. Perception plays a lot in this whole concept as well. Yeah and the types of relationship you’re cultivating so you’re telling me talk to this person. Tell them that this feels like rejection. it feels vulnerable. But that obviously can’t happen in a vacuum right if you don’t have a relationship where you’re talking about your feelings so i’m sure you see this in session when a couple comes to you and you find that you know a rude issue. Is this fear of rejection. And maybe some avoidance behaviors. If they’re not already having meaningful conversations where do you start like what do you say to them. What’s what’s a maybe they can’t go straight to you know. How do you feel in your body when you’re rejected What’s an easier question to start some of these more. I guess emotionally vulnerable conversations. So are you saying a question to direct it from who the perceived projector or the reject d. I guess either either. Okay so i think tuning to each other noticing that is there’s something going on so attuning to yourself what also attuning to your partner so asking a question of.

00:20:09 – 00:25:03

How are you feeling what what’s going on for you right now and allowing the space in creating an emotional safety in order for that to occur so usually right from the start we are checking the degree of the emotional safety for conversations and then working on cultivating that with one another. What could make this space. Feel more emotionally safe for you to even engage in such a topic who. I really liked that question because i hear from so many people who kind of diagnosed their partners like my partner won’t open or my partner isn’t open or they’re not willing often. What i hear about is a lack of openness But the way you put it reminds me and hopefully them that it’s the space were creating together. So if i’m not opening up it actually has to do with the dynamic between the two of us it’s not me being closed Because that’s oftentimes what you hear from the partner who believes they’re more open like my partner has a problem because they’re not open as opposed to in this relationship we haven’t cultivated the space together where we can be more open absolutely and that’s to me that’s kind of the setting the groundwork to make rejection into a potentially positive experience the way you’ve described it right allowing it to be this intimate moment of connection and deepening understanding so that’s that’s really helpful to me out like what can i do to make you feel safer What what do you need. I think also it really involves taking a step back. Because if you’re already saying like well i’m willing to talk about my feelings in you’re not or with sex. I’m willing to explore and be open but you’re closed. Are you must hear that all the time. Well my partners from a really conservative background. And that’s where issues come from but listen people from conservative backgrounds. Do wild and freaky and fun things. All the time. So again it comes back to the space. You’ve cultivated together Right in there. Is that togetherness that. I definitely work on with couples to step out of this space of your the problem. And you’re the problem and oftentimes in the high desire low desire. It’s a the high desire partner saying you’re the problem. Get with the program and the low low desire partner. And i’m more frequently seeing. I’m the problem i mean. What type of safe emotional spaces that creating to even for them to focus on. We’ll what does my sexuality look. Like what would i wanted it to look like. And how do i want to cultivate it. It’s more of let me just get in gear in the sense which isn’t really inviting so to speak right. You feel like you’re broken and you have to be fixed in order to fix the relationship but those other questions. You’ve just brought up a really helpful. What does it mean to me. What makes sex feel good for me. But when there is this hang up on frequency. I think it’s it’s very easy to let quality slide like we’re so focused on how often we’ve done it that i haven’t even really asked my partner. What feels good for them or why. It feels good. Or what are the the emotional relational practical although other spiritual components for them. So that’s something is. Is that something you see a lot in terms of differentials in desire and having conversations about that oh yeah and and even giving giving some sort of psycho education around me helpful because these terms that we so frequently throw out to sex and intimacy passionate. What do they mean it. It could look so different from each one of them and really putting it out there and providing the psycho education even on desire. There’s a spontaneous desire versus a responsive desire and having that piece of information for the couple can be very helpful and spontaneous desire being again. Think about maybe this lamp. That’s next to me and it reminds me of a hot night. I had into hedy in now. I’m now in desire mode and very roused in then the response of desire. Which is more you know. I could use some physical touch to really help with that. Some some physical touch to get me going. And then i can get into a space where my arousal is there. I think that’s a really great place for people to start is to talk about. Responsive versus spontaneous desire and what percentage are you this. Is you know we’ve talked about this. A bit on the podcast and i think maybe it’s a conversation for another day because it’s a big one but do you tend to spontaneously be in the mood or do you tend to get in the mood because you’re responding to some sort of stimulus or arousal and if so what what are those stimuli right and i always think that i’m probably an it’s changed over time right now i’d say i’m kind of seventy percent responsive thirty percent spontaneous and there’s been times when it’s been totally flipped and so i think that’s a great conversation for people to have on a very ongoing basis because it’s always changing absolutely recognizing that things can change. I’ve found so often. That couples Approach or even individuals approach sexes.

00:25:03 – 00:27:37

This i i lost my virginity at such a j.j. and that’s about the growth. I need eggs go through same moves. Things should work the exact way that they have always were right. And sometimes you have to run into a problem to look for solutions and then discover that. There’s this whole new world beyond that one thing and i think you know folks obviously who are listening A lot i know a lot of educators and therapists and just kind of unofficial experts are listening. So i know that they’re definitely beyond that but what i think. So many of the questions and prompts you provided today are really great places for people to start right to think a little bit about rejection because all of us whether it has to do with sex or has do with love or intimacy or connection or work or friendship. We may get to talk about rejection in friendships. Right one one group of friends goes out and maybe invites to people from the group. But not the other two. And i want to go back and kind of. Close it out with where you started. That has to do with expectations right while it’s not right that they did that. It selfish that they did that. It’s inconsiderate that they did that but then it goes back to. Why do you expect to always be invited. Sometimes there are only three seats or three tickets or you only the energy for a smaller or one on one and so we have to check in with those expectations. So yeah. i’m really thankful for all these questions and prompts and hopefully people will use some of these. We’re going to put some of them in the show notes for you for sure and obviously folks need to follow britney young. Be young therapy on. Aegean therapy be young on twitter. But we’ll put all of that in the show notes. Anything coming up you want people to know about or any place you want them to go to follow along. Well you can check out if you wanna learn more about me at. Www dot beyond therapy dot com and that. That’s the way to learn more about my practice. Which is all virtual right now. I’m based in metro atlanta and other than that. I’m just glad that i was able to come on and talk about this topic. I do find it to be very important. And i hope that it’s within more conversation. He i think you’re starting something big here. Maybe talk about rejection will be the next talk like vulnerability we’ll see and hopefully they won’t be faking. It like vulnerability also another former senator. Thank you so much for chatting with me. Thank you thank you for having me on and thank you for joining us be sure to follow britney and sex down south and if you have questions topic suggestions or insights for the podcast please do reach out. We do appreciate hearing from you. At sex with dr jets dot com. You’re listening to the sex with dr jess podcast. Improve your sex life improve your life.