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Sex with Dr. Jess


August 31, 2023

Top Relationship Tips From Happier Couples: 8 Secrets To Success

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Happy couples from across the globe share their best advice for richer relationships. From the relational to the emotional to the sexual, the happiest couples – of all ages weigh in on what makes their relationships thrive.

This episode is brought to you by Desire Cruises – a unique experience for adventurous couples! Join us as we cruise to the Greek Isles in August and the South of France next Spring 2024.

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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.

Top Relationship Tips From Happier Couples: 8 Secrets To Success

Episode 332

[00:00:00] You’re listening to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast, sex and relationship advice. You can use tonight.

[00:00:13] Brandon Ware: Welcome to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast. And today we are about to head out on the desire cruise.

[00:00:21] Jess O’Reilly: That’s right. We’re hitting the Greek isles. We’re hitting Turkey. You’re going to make a cruise sound.

[00:00:26] Brandon Ware: No, I’m, I’m so much more mature than that.

[00:00:28] Brandon Ware: Don’t you know me better?

[00:00:29] Jess O’Reilly: I can see you. Yeah. Yeah. Why does your boat sound like a donkey?

[00:00:34] Brandon Ware: I don’t know. It just does.

[00:00:35] Jess O’Reilly: If I heard that sound, I’m not getting on the boat.

[00:00:37] Brandon Ware: Yeah. Okay.

[00:00:37] Jess O’Reilly: So, pretty excited. This is, I don’t know. Is this our sixth Desire Cruise?

[00:00:41] Brandon Ware: I believe that it is.

[00:00:42] Jess O’Reilly: We’ve been on pretty much all of them except the ones over New Year’s because that’s our week off.

[00:00:47] Jess O’Reilly: And every time we’re on board, I’m collecting information. Not necessarily… data, but people’s insights and experiences because it’s just such a broad range of guests here. So there are around 700 people on board. There are 44 countries represented. I don’t have the breakdown of this specific cruise, but from the last one, a few months ago, from that, I know that there were of the 700, around 300 Americans, 50 Canadians, 57 Mexicans.

[00:01:16] Jess O’Reilly: Handful from India, 16 Brazilians, another handful of Colombians, around a hundred from Europe. When I kind of look, okay, that’s the UK. They’ve exited. I did.

[00:01:29] Brandon Ware: I also did the German though, or maybe it was Austrian.

[00:01:31] Jess O’Reilly: Actually UK is a big contingent. I don’t know why I didn’t write them down, but there’s a good number from the UK.

[00:01:36] Jess O’Reilly: Folks from New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, a nice contingent from. Central and South America. So I met Chileans, Costa Ricans, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, a handful from Lebanon. I met a couple from Korea. And so, and there’s, there’s kind of a broad age range, right there. I think there might be a couple who are quite young in their twenties, but just like a handful of, let’s be [00:02:00] honest, women.

[00:02:00] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah. I don’t think there’s any guys in their twenties, then a handful in their thirties, many in their forties. And then a bunch in their fifties and beyond. And so for me, there’s just so much learning here because people hail from all over the world. They come on this cruise for so many different reasons.

[00:02:16] Jess O’Reilly: You know, I’ve spoken about this before that yes, it’s clothing optional in certain areas. Yes, it’s erotic themed. Yes, there are very interactive workshops and there’s even a playroom should you decide to partake as a couple. And that doesn’t mean that everybody’s in an open or consensually non monogamous relationship.

[00:02:36] Jess O’Reilly: It doesn’t mean that everyone’s swingers. I would say it’s in the 50 50 range, but I think there are more people who are joining us who aren’t in the quote unquote lifestyle.

[00:02:46] Brandon Ware: I think that there’s an expectation that you walk in and people are swinging naked from a chandelier.

[00:02:51] Jess O’Reilly: And in fact, I am the only one swinging naked from the chandelier.

[00:02:54] Jess O’Reilly: Only because none of them can climb like I can. My greatest strength is I’m part monkey. That’s your super skill? I can pick up anything with my toes.

[00:03:04] Brandon Ware: Just as long as you don’t touch them. That’s all. That’s fine.

[00:03:06] Jess O’Reilly: Don’t touch my toes. Yeah. Okay. All right. So we’ve been chatting with couples over the years and I always keep track.

[00:03:12] Jess O’Reilly: You probably see, I post on Instagram sometimes, and I wanted to go through some of the top lessons and tips along with action items from the couples that we meet along the way. And I have a very deep Excel spreadsheet, actually, it’s a Google worksheet of all of these tips. So we’re just going to go through eight of them today that kind of stood out for me and maybe are a bit relevant to us why, why I’m drawn to them.

[00:03:36] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I mean, I think all of these tips that we, that you’ve collected over the years, all this information is super valuable. And I, I find that we do pull, pull from it at times, different times, different scenarios, and just pulling the information.

[00:03:46] Jess O’Reilly: For sure. I definitely pull more from the people I meet and the people I hear from than I ever do from just studies or research.

[00:03:53] Jess O’Reilly: So yeah, there’s, there’s definitely something there. And the other day I was at a football game, football, and one of the, one [00:04:00] of the guys there asked, you know, what is the key to a happy relationship? And of course, when you’re put on the spot, you want to answer. And there are things that come to my mind to kind of top the list for happy relationships.

[00:04:11] Jess O’Reilly: But it’s just, it’s like a recipe. You need so many different parts, right? You can’t just have strong communication. You can’t just have, you know, a hot sex life. You can’t just have forgiveness and fun. You have to have so many moving pieces. And of course, love, love at the core of, of all of it. So these are specific tips and I’m going to try and pull out what I see as the actions we can all take to actually put these into practice.

[00:04:35] Jess O’Reilly: So here we go. Number one. And I remember. The guy who said this to me, and I may have even brought this up in the past, but I remember where I was sitting. I remember the red wine I was drinking when this guest shared the fact that they really overhauled their lives to live intentionally, not habitually.

[00:04:53] Brandon Ware: Hmm. What if you love? Habitual exercises.

[00:04:57] Jess O’Reilly: Well, I think the point is not to do things out of habit alone, for sure. Create habits if they’re useful to you, but really identify what matters to you and make more time and space to prioritize those things. And you and I are at this pivotal point, I think in our lives, going through some really major transitions having to do with.

[00:05:17] Jess O’Reilly: The biggest part of our life, right? Where we live and how we live. And I can’t say too much more because I truthfully need to talk to my parents about a few things before I go announcing to everyone else before we make these changes. But these changes that we’re looking to make, or that we’re kind of halfway through making by accident, maybe not as intentional as we could have been, but now we’re getting intentional.

[00:05:35] Jess O’Reilly: They are rooted. In this lesson to live intentionally, not habitually, I, you know, I think we were going through the motions for a while there and not that we weren’t loving life and having a great time, but we had a life changing conversation with a friend of ours. And I’m sure we’ve talked about this as well, Jackson in a park in July of 2020.

[00:05:54] Jess O’Reilly: And it changed the, I think the trajectory of our lives and it’s changed. All of our [00:06:00] relationships around us, even if it hasn’t actually, I can’t say it hasn’t changed ours because it has changed ours. I think for the better. And I think we’re being a lot more intentional now.

[00:06:08] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I don’t think at the time I would have assumed that, or I would have thought that I was being intentional with my, my thought processes, but there was a couple of things that I remember.

[00:06:15] Brandon Ware: Number one, that the conversation was, it forced me to be reflective. And then number two, for me, I had. Time to think about these things. And I think that that was something that really resonated where it was like, okay, I had this great conversation that got me excited and introspective. And then I had time after to really reflect on it, which under normal circumstances, I don’t like, I feel like I don’t have time.

[00:06:38] Jess O’Reilly: Well, I think that’s one of the lessons we can all draw out of the pandemic is that we all said that, Oh, we had time to do this and that for better or for worse. And when it was for the better, I always ask couples, well, what’s the lesson you take away from that? And they’re like, Oh, after the pandemic, we need to continue to make time.

[00:06:53] Jess O’Reilly: And so I know there’s, you know, very data in terms of whether or not relationships were richer or more challenging during the pandemic in terms of intimate. Family relationships and partner relationships. But what I heard from my clientele, because my clientele pretty much 95% of them own or run businesses.

[00:07:10] Jess O’Reilly: You’ve got one partner who is often either away at work or on the road. It was the first time they were at home together for long periods of time without distractions and without excuses. And overall, and it’s not a hundred percent across the board, but actually I think it was in the 70th percentile range.

[00:07:27] Jess O’Reilly: Cause I was lucky. I was doing zoom events so we could ask people anonymously how they were feeling in their relationships. And around 70% were reporting that they felt stronger than ever. And when we dug into the why it really was around, well, we’re making more time, not only time for each other, but time for ourselves, time to be alone and also time to just observe one another and, and appreciate.

[00:07:47] Jess O’Reilly: everything that the partner does to keep that household, that family, that relationship running. So to go back to living intentionally as opposed to habitually, I think we need to make time for that for sure. But I [00:08:00] also think it’s sometimes easier said than done for those of us who may be inclined, for example, for me to do what our families want us to do, or our parents want us to do, or what our sociocultural roles dictate to some degree.

[00:08:12] Jess O’Reilly: And. I’m sure, you know, if you don’t know me, you’re probably thinking, well, you’re a sexologist, so you can’t possibly be following the traditional path, but that’s not true in the way I live with my family. And so I really, I often don’t even know what I want. I often just do what is going to make other people happy or upset them the least, and it’s something I’m working on.

[00:08:31] Jess O’Reilly: With my amazing therapist, shout out to Carla, to really even identify what it is I want. So how do you even get intentional if you’ve never made, I guess, the habit, the effort, or had the permission to ask yourself what you want? How can I be intentional if I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do?

[00:08:45] Jess O’Reilly: So what I take away from this message from this This guy who shared it, which really belongs in a t shirt, I think, is that it can be really helpful to sit down and break down your day, your month, your year, and ask yourself, what do I want to be doing? And what’s on my list that I don’t want to be doing?

[00:09:00] Jess O’Reilly: And you just did this with me the other day, we were talking about our day and you’re like, do you want to be doing any of these things? And my answer was no to so many of those things. And now some of those things you can’t change, right? You have some commitments you have to follow through on. You can’t just, most people can’t just quit their jobs or, you know, leave their kids at home alone.

[00:09:16] Jess O’Reilly: But what I did was go through that list and say, okay, so what can I change? What’s holding me back from changing these things too, right? Like for me, it’s. My struggle to say no, it’s the fear of disappointing. It’s the fear of anybody, even a stranger in a far off land being upset at me. So I went through and I’ve needed to solicit help to live intentionally.

[00:09:34] Jess O’Reilly: Like some I’ve had you helping me out. I will hand stuff off to staff where I know they’ll be able to say no more effectively than I will. So what can you change to be more intentional? If you look at your day, your month. And your year and what can’t you change, right? There’s some things we can’t change.

[00:09:49] Jess O’Reilly: So how can we respond to maybe reduce what we see as a burden or as a stress? And we didn’t, we just went through our day, but I think it would be kind of cool for us to look ahead at the next month or [00:10:00] even just till the end of the year for us. I know everybody’s schedules are a little bit different, but I would love to look through and say, you know, what do I really want to do?

[00:10:06] Jess O’Reilly: Cause I’m already thinking of something. In October, where we have to kind of rearrange our schedules a little bit. And it’s not around what I want. So we need to sit down and talk about that.

[00:10:16] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I mean, like you said, there are things that you’re not going to be able to change, but focus on things that I can change in my life.

[00:10:21] Brandon Ware: And then when I start thinking about those, it’s like, yeah, just being comfortable, also disappointing others, saying no, like setting, I’m not going to, you know, a personal boundary where it’s like. I’m choosing not to do this and disappointing somebody for not doing it. But Hey, that speaks to what you said about living in with, with intention.

[00:10:40] Brandon Ware: So

[00:10:40] Jess O’Reilly: that’s hard for people pleasers.

[00:10:42] Brandon Ware: Yeah, that’s really hard. I’m, you know, right now thinking about it is makes it like it can be difficult.

[00:10:47] Jess O’Reilly: It’s also hard. I think when you have habits. That you depend on or these habits kind of reduce anxiety around hot thought issues. I know that’s a much bigger topic to get into.

[00:10:57] Jess O’Reilly: And of course, like where you are in life and the different privileges you have really affect what you can and can’t change because we have different levels of responsibility. But I love that live intentionally, not habitually. Thank you for that one. Next, we have a light one, an easy one, and this. This is something that comes up with so many couples, happy couples.

[00:11:15] Jess O’Reilly: I mean, these couples are making the time to spend a week together in an environment that is exciting. That can be titillating. They can be uncomfortable. That is all new. That can be scary. You know, I want to say the word titillate again. Oh, you like to, yes, yes, there might be. I did. I thank you. Thank you for that.

[00:11:31] Jess O’Reilly: There you go. But what they say is play, prioritize fun and. Laugh and create harmless secrets. So harmless secrets was one that kept coming up. Uh, and this comes from a couple who shared their, they didn’t actually share their album, but they shared the existence of an album called boobs around the world.

[00:11:50] Jess O’Reilly: And it’s a photo album on his phone. And he takes pics of her flashing him on their travels in kind of like dangerous places where you’re not [00:12:00] flashing other people, although it’s just a breast. Brandon has breasts, I have breasts, she has breasts. And then they kind of go back them back to those photos to recall fond and saucy memories when they’re back home in their daily routine, because when you make the time and you have the privilege to go on vacation, of course, it’s easy to like enjoy each other’s company or easier, not always easy and have more sex and be more excited.

[00:12:20] Jess O’Reilly: And then you go back home to your routine. And it’s like, you never even skipped a beat.

[00:12:25] Brandon Ware: And they were also saying that they were doing them in places where it was risky, but they weren’t doing it, um, you know, without in like a public environment, it was like they were doing it in the restaurant of a Michelin starred, uh, sorry, in the bathroom of a Michelin starred restaurant or something like that.

[00:12:38] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah. And like down a lane, a secret lane way. So they’re having fun with it. And it’s something secretive and that, that makes sense to me. So I, I remember reading research. I don’t have the actual study, but on the fact that inside jokes can help you to feel connected to a partner or a friend, and I think, you know, we have a lot of those and I’ve noticed, you want to know, I was thinking about how we laugh together so much.

[00:12:58] Jess O’Reilly: Um, you’ve been doing your little T Rex that makes me laugh. Also known as the B Rex. The B Rex. Yeah. I mean, we’re such losers. Or if we had kids, they’d hate us, but I also noticed we’ve been laughing more. Like joking around a little bit more in other places, like in bed a little bit.

[00:13:12] Brandon Ware: Oh, have we? I didn’t even know.

[00:13:14] Brandon Ware: I mean, I’m super funny. So, you know, it’s hard for me to know when I’m not being funny because I’m always funny.

[00:13:21] Jess O’Reilly: So I just think that’s an important reminder to. And Brandon speaking, no, just kidding, to really think about how can we inject more play and how can we lighten the mood? Because I know in our, in our circumstance, like we have so much to have fun with so much to be thankful for.

[00:13:36] Jess O’Reilly: And sometimes it’s just so easy to get caught up in, in burden and in things that are heavy. So if you’re feeling like you’re caught under something heavy, what can you do to lift yourself out? And what can you do to lift, uh, you know, a loved one out, a partner out as well. And, um, yeah, so have fun, play and have those like secret saucy things.

[00:13:53] Jess O’Reilly: Do we have anything secret and saucy? We have literally no secrets left. We share [00:14:00] way too much.

[00:14:00] Brandon Ware: I mean, I think that we’re always kind of challenging and testing each other with. You know, saucy, you’re going to build on that saucy ideas, fantasies, things like that. But I don’t think that we necessarily have any activities that we…

[00:14:14] Jess O’Reilly: I’m going to make a butts around the world album on this, on this cruise. Butts in Greece. Okay. Number three, I really appreciated this piece of advice. And this was to plan regularly for your relationship. So you can’t control everything. But take some time to ask your partner what they want out of the next year or two.

[00:14:32] Jess O’Reilly: A year or two sounds really far right now for me. I think time has changed. But, um, they said do what you can to support them and make it happen. And actually I think this goes really hand in hand with living intentionally. Right. As opposed to habitually. And I love this cause I have an easy exercise because this is how I open some of my couple’s workshops with a relationship inventory and a preliminary relationship plan.

[00:14:55] Jess O’Reilly: The inventory, basically, you know, it’s a worksheet that asks what your partner is doing well in this relationship, like what you appreciate about them, what you’re doing well together and what your strengths are as a couple. So I like to kind of start with that foundation of we’ve got this good stuff going.

[00:15:10] Jess O’Reilly: And then the preliminary plan, which oftentimes we revisit at the end of the two day session so that we can, you know, make adjustments or make additions, the preliminary relationship plan asks, what do you want to keep doing that you’re already doing? And how do we make sure we keep that going? What do you want more of in your relationship?

[00:15:28] Jess O’Reilly: What can you do to get more of this thing? And what can you ask of your partner? So actually you and I could go through and give this one a try on a, on a future podcast, but I like the idea of planning and it doesn’t have to be my way. It doesn’t have to be looking at a year or two, but even just to ask, like, what do you want for this week?

[00:15:46] Jess O’Reilly: What do you want to get out of this week? And especially, you know, for many of us, and I know everyone’s on different schedules if you have kids, but for many of us, it’s kind of that last week of summer. Before everything turns and the, you know, the wild schedules [00:16:00] return. So I love that one to plan. Number four, get naked when you can.

[00:16:03] Jess O’Reilly: And they say it feels so good to just be in your skin. No judgment, no labels, no pressure. All of these beginnings are verbatim. And of course this makes sense. We have all these benefits of nudity when they study nudism, you know, being more present, feeling better in your body, having more positive body image, fostering more genuine.

[00:16:24] Jess O’Reilly: Connections, uh, sensuality in your skin. And I don’t mean that in a sexual or erotic way, just being more connected to your body. And so…

[00:16:31] Brandon Ware: Have you noticed that I’ve been walking around naked a little more frequently? You have! have. I’m just hanging out.

[00:16:36] Jess O’Reilly: I thought that was for me.

[00:16:40] Brandon Ware: That’s for me.

[00:16:41] Jess O’Reilly: I thought it was because we’re finally empty nesters, honestly.

[00:16:43] Brandon Ware: Yeah, that’s a part of it for sure. But I will say it does feel good. Breeze between my knees, yo.

[00:16:48] Jess O’Reilly: You like that?

[00:16:49] Brandon Ware: Oh yeah. Feels so good.

[00:16:50] Jess O’Reilly: So that’s the challenge. Walk around naked for five minutes. Sit and work naked, cook naked, try a naked activity.

[00:16:57] Brandon Ware: Oils, you know, burning.

[00:16:59] Jess O’Reilly: You, you don’t cook.

[00:17:00] Brandon Ware: I’m just saying.

[00:17:01] Jess O’Reilly: Okay.

[00:17:01] Brandon Ware: I wouldn’t want that to happen.

[00:17:03] Jess O’Reilly: No, true, true, true. You can make a salad or your specialty. You could pour a bowl of cereal, make it.

[00:17:09] Brandon Ware: I could, I will take on that challenge. I’ll live intentionally.

[00:17:13] Jess O’Reilly: Number five, put the same effort you put into planning vacations. Outfits, kids schedules, and football pools into your relationships.

[00:17:23] Jess O’Reilly: Plan, make time, be flexible, make changes, celebrate everything because life is short. That’s a quote as well. Heck yeah, I love this. Uh, my most popular program is my marriage as a business program. And I think I have a podcast on the topic, but I think it might just be in like a corporate drive, but I’ll see if I can release it as well, or even just record a version of it.

[00:17:44] Jess O’Reilly: But the gist is basically. Use your planning, leadership, collaborative, team building, strategic skills you’ve learned from work and apply them to your relationship. Not the exact same way. Okay. With nuance, because it’s a different type of. Organism than a [00:18:00] business. But you know, think about all the things we do in business.

[00:18:02] Jess O’Reilly: Like don’t just invest in the startup phase of a relationship, AKA the wedding. Make some sort of a plan, which we just spoke about. Be formal about the way you collaborate and check in. Give feedback, give praise, be flexible. I just posted about this on Instagram, adapt to the circumstances. If you do not do those things in business, you’re done.

[00:18:23] Brandon Ware: I was waiting for be flexible to be one of your points. And if it wasn’t I was going to say that’s for me, something that I think we’ve discussed before, but like the importance of being flexible, at least in our relationship, I find it very, very helpful. I think I used to be very rigid in certain aspects.

[00:18:39] Brandon Ware: And then I started questioning, why am I being so rigid? Like, what is it about this routine or this thing that I must do? And when I couldn’t come up with a logical answer, I was like. Then I should maybe be more receptive to the idea and being more receptive to the idea has opened up so many new opportunities, so much more fun.

[00:18:58] Brandon Ware: Um, it’s just, it, it’s a, for me, it’s a nicer way to live.

[00:19:01] Jess O’Reilly: You know, it’s interesting because routine has come up a couple of times in this conversation. And you’re somebody who enjoys routine. And I’m someone who actually, I feel allergic to routine and neither of those is right or wrong. We have to figure out what works for each of us.

[00:19:14] Jess O’Reilly: And then if you’re going to live together, you hopefully find pleasure. In the other person’s needs or even idiosyncrasies, I think you probably have to deal with in my case, but I think that it’s always about finding that balance where there isn’t the judgment. And I will admit at times when you were leaning into routine or asking for more routine because I was interrupting it, I admit, like I would be irritated and maybe judgmental.

[00:19:39] Jess O’Reilly: And I had to kind of stop myself and be, and remember that, listen. The way my brain is wired is different than the way your brain is wired. Very, and I mean that literally, that’s just not, I got this special brain going on over here. And if you did things the way I did them, it would be a disaster and vice versa.

[00:19:56] Jess O’Reilly: Like I would not be able to do the things you do. And I’m sure you [00:20:00] wouldn’t want to do the things I do. So yeah, that flexibility is, is so, so important. So I love the idea of, you know what, if you have the energy to put into vacations, into what you wear, into your kids, you know, taking them to football or soccer, if you have time to work on a sports pool, if you, you can make time for the relationship and you can put the effort in and yeah, I’ll see if I can release that marriage as a business.

[00:20:21] Jess O’Reilly: Podcast. I can’t remember if it was supposed to be just private or not, but I love it. I, and I, the challenge here, cause I want to kind of give you an action item for each of these tips is to think about something that you’re really good at at work that maybe you don’t. Utilize or tap into or excel at in the relationship.

[00:20:38] Jess O’Reilly: I’m thinking of mine. I mean, I know some of mine like immediately, like for example, the patients that I extend to people I work with, I don’t necessarily always extend to you, like we ran into an issue the other day where you had to sort of call me out and I find this really helpful because again, my, most of the clients I’m working with are running businesses.

[00:21:00] Jess O’Reilly: That they’re like, Oh yeah, I can definitely apply that because it’s, it’s a model that you’re used to in an environment that you already thrive. So if you feel like you’re thriving in business, but not thriving in the home, if you can take a skill set or an approach or a system that works in a comfortable space, you can bring it into a space that feels perhaps at this time more challenging.

[00:21:18] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I mean, I agree. Uh, don’t ask me what skills I’m bringing in, but I’ll think about it.

[00:21:23] Jess O’Reilly: Okay. Yeah. And for everyone, yeah. Think about something you’re really good at outside their relationship and how your relationship might benefit from cultivating that. Or bringing it in there. Okay, this is a recent one from a couple we just spoke to, because we did some pre cruise programming.

[00:21:35] Jess O’Reilly: And he says, Every single time you feel conflict or an argument coming on, stop and ask yourself, Is it worth it? Ask yourself if pushing back against this person is really necessary, or can you just let it go or laugh it off? And then he adds, When I look at my wife, I just melt. So it’s no surprise conflicts are fewer and far between.

[00:21:56] Jess O’Reilly: And even when we argue, we’re able to laugh together. So. I love [00:22:00] this. I’m thinking I should get a sticky note and just write, is it worth it? At certain times when I know I’m more testy.

[00:22:07] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I mean, it’s also hard to constantly be thinking like, is it worth it? Is it worth it? But I think it’s more of a, a bigger picture idea, right?

[00:22:16] Brandon Ware: Where, listen, you’re still, we’re still going to have arguments. We’re still going to get into heated conversations. But for me, it’s during that conversation. When I’m really starting to dig in or when I’m really getting, um, irritated or whatever, that’s when I need to start questioning, is it worth it? Or can I just ease up a little bit?

[00:22:33] Brandon Ware: Right. And that, that to me ties in with that. Is it really worth it? Because I think in a year, a month, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, is this conversation that I’m so hung up on. Is it going to be worth it?

[00:22:45] Jess O’Reilly: Oh yeah. I guess it’s like my 99 rule. Will I care about this when I’m 99 or can I just let this stupid issue go?

[00:22:50] Brandon Ware: Yeah. And it doesn’t mean that I need to capitulate to whatever it is you’re saying, but it’s like, do I need to hold on to whatever it is I’m so hung up on? Here and maybe be a little bit more, um, understanding of what you’re going through, or maybe listen a little bit more carefully to how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking and try to understand.

[00:23:10] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, I think, um, I get hung up on principle. Yeah, I would say that you principle of the matter. And I could just let it go.

[00:23:19] Brandon Ware: Yeah. But again, it’s, this goes back to what I was saying. It’s like, okay, yeah, you could always do this or do that. But it’s just like, is this really worth what we’re, what we’re investing into it?

[00:23:28] Jess O’Reilly: Well, therapists will sometimes give you like a code word to when you’re in the middle of a conflict,

[00:23:33] Brandon Ware: Oklahoma.

[00:23:35] Jess O’Reilly: What’s Oklahoma from?

[00:23:36] Brandon Ware: Ted Lasso, man.

[00:23:37] Jess O’Reilly: What is it? What does he say?

[00:23:38] Brandon Ware: You have to give the. Nothing but the honest truth, whatever it is you’re feeling,

[00:23:42] Jess O’Reilly: right?

[00:23:43] Brandon Ware: So if somebody says Oklahoma and they call you out on it’s like well Do you really want to go to like do you want to go out for dinner tonight?

[00:23:48] Brandon Ware: And you’re like yes, and then the other person goes Oklahoma and you’re like no I don’t want to go I want to sit in bed and eat pizza and like lounge around to do nothing,

[00:23:56] Jess O’Reilly: Oklahoma

[00:23:57] Brandon Ware: But what’s the question?

[00:23:59] Jess O’Reilly: I don’t know. How are you feeling [00:24:00] right now? Oklahoma.

[00:24:01] Brandon Ware: A little anxious. Oh. Yeah. I don’t know why.

[00:24:04] Brandon Ware: Maybe it’s because people are listening to this intimate conversation that we’re having, sharing what we’re thinking and feeling.

[00:24:10] Jess O’Reilly: I wonder too, if it’s because we’re physically uncomfortable, it’s like 63% humidity in here.

[00:24:16] Brandon Ware: Yeah. It’s, it’s legitimately 40 degrees.

[00:24:19] Jess O’Reilly: I’m wet.

[00:24:20] Brandon Ware: Like it’s, it’s, it’s very warm. Yes.

[00:24:22] Jess O’Reilly: Oh, 40 degrees by the way. That’s

[00:24:24] Brandon Ware: Celsius. Celsius, so yeah. So times two plus 30, so you know it’s a hundred and something.

[00:24:28] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, it’s a hundred something.

[00:24:28] Brandon Ware: A hundred like eight.

[00:24:29] Jess O’Reilly: Okay. We can talk about that after. Okay, let’s get through these last few and then you and I can chat.

[00:24:34] Brandon Ware: Do you want me to bre it?

[00:24:35] Jess O’Reilly: No, no.

[00:24:37] Brandon Ware: Really take a photo of this.

[00:24:38] Jess O’Reilly: Brendan likes to put his hands on his chest like a T-Rex man against his nipples. Like he’s a T-Rex and his hands are so big they do look like a T-Rex.

[00:24:46] Brandon Ware: And then try to do things when you do that, like try to have a glass of water. I don’t know why , because it’s hilarious. It’s hilarious.

[00:24:52] Brandon Ware: Stop. It’s hilarious.

[00:24:54] Jess O’Reilly: Until you spill the water.

[00:24:55] Brandon Ware: It’s super funny.

[00:24:56] Jess O’Reilly: Okay. Number seven. I appreciate this. This piece of advice. Don’t wait till you’re older. And this person says, live now. Don’t wait. Travel, play, get the kids a sitter because decades will fly by. And I wish we had really started living years ago.

[00:25:09] Jess O’Reilly: And this was a conversation actually around the lifestyle. So they had joined the lifestyle a lot later than they might have if they had taken the time and given themselves permission and not worried so much about what. Other people think, but I think this advice applies more broadly. So I was thinking, what is something that you’re waiting to do that you could do right now, or at least start right now, not in business, like in life, in relationships, turn on the air conditioning.

[00:25:36] Jess O’Reilly: No, that’s going to wreck our sound. No, really. Is there anything you think you’re waiting to do in life? I know we just took like a big plunge.

[00:25:45] Brandon Ware: It’s a big question. I feel like I need a few minutes to think about it, but, um. I wanted, before I answer this question, just also recognize that this, you know, living now and traveling and doing all these things also is something that certain people can do, right?

[00:25:59] Brandon Ware: And not everybody [00:26:00] can, but I think there’s, there’s even little things that you can be doing, like going for a hike, going for like just doing something. I think it’s just the idea of living now because, you know, tomorrow a month from now isn’t promised.

[00:26:10] Jess O’Reilly: Right. And I think so many of us are caught up in.

[00:26:13] Jess O’Reilly: You know, I think tying our identity and our self worth to productivity. So if we don’t do something, so if you don’t work on the house, if you don’t clean something, if you don’t build something, if you’re not making money, if you’re not building your business, if you’re not doing something for me, if you’re not running errands for my dad, you’re not worthy.

[00:26:29] Jess O’Reilly: Whereas you could also just sit and enjoy or do something. You like, like when I, when I think about what’s something you want to do that you’re holding off doing, I, my first thought goes to business. And that really reminds me that I got to refocus. So do I, and there is something that I want. That I haven’t asked for.

[00:26:48] Jess O’Reilly: Okay. Shoot, Oklahoma. I’m not saying it now. I’ll give you your Oklahoma after, but I’m not super comfortable, but I’ll, I’ll share it with you later today.

[00:26:56] Brandon Ware: I just thought of something. And for me, it’s just taking a break. It’s stopping. Like if you ask me what I really want, I want to stop for three days, a week.

[00:27:06] Brandon Ware: And you know, not answer emails, not answer phone calls, not do anything.

[00:27:10] Jess O’Reilly: Have you, when’s the last time you went? 48 hours without answering emails,

[00:27:14] Brandon Ware: 48 hours. I can’t remember the last time 2006 probably when we got married. Yeah, I can’t, can’t, I don’t think there’s been a day and I’m not, it’s not a complaint.

[00:27:22] Brandon Ware: It’s just a statement of fact. I think since we got married, there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t answered an email or returned a phone call and that’s just the nature of my business. But it also,

[00:27:31] Jess O’Reilly: and the marriage thing was because we were away and there were no smart, were there smartphones in 2006?

[00:27:36] Brandon Ware: Yeah, there were, I don’t know, actually, I think there might’ve been cell phones and beepers. I don’t think there were smart, like smart phones.

[00:27:43] Jess O’Reilly: No. Cause I remember renting a cell phone when we got to the airport. So yeah, it was just a, Matt had nothing to do with the wedding. It’s just that you were off that week.

[00:27:51] Jess O’Reilly: I just couldn’t get ahold of me. And you haven’t ever done that since then. And then the world has changed so that you’re connected and people expect things of you, but be honest. [00:28:00] Could you take 48 hours off?

[00:28:01] Brandon Ware: It, it, thinking about it makes me anxious. Would it be okay if you did though? Absolutely. It would, nothing would be wrong.

[00:28:08] Brandon Ware: Could you take a week off? I could, makes me more anxious.

[00:28:11] Jess O’Reilly: Are you okay? You’re getting sweatier.

[00:28:13] Brandon Ware: I’m getting sweatier than I already am.

[00:28:13] Jess O’Reilly: 60 something percent humidity, a hundred degrees. And I’m telling you to take time off. Well, that’s something I think to explore, especially because in light of that advice, don’t wait until you’re older because I just feel like time flies.

[00:28:27] Jess O’Reilly: Oh wow. So much. So, we’re gonna be, I don’t even know what to say, like, 90, 100, all those years. Okay. So yeah, for everyone to maybe just think about something you’re waiting to do that you could start right now, and how can you chip away at it, even if it’s not. For Brandon, for example, a week off might not seem reasonable, but maybe you try 24 hours and you try 48 and see how it goes.

[00:28:50] Jess O’Reilly: Okay. We’ll talk about that after. I don’t know if you want my support on that or not. No, I don’t know. I might harass you. Okay. The last one for today, I have a longer list, but I’m going to stop at eight. And maybe we can do a part two. And this is an interesting one. This one is share in sexual initiation.

[00:29:05] Jess O’Reilly: Don’t leave seduction to one partner alone because the desire to feel desired is universal. And it’s true. Couples who have more satisfying relationships, both in and out of the bedroom, ensure that expressions of love and affection and sexual desire flow in both directions. And so I know I don’t initiate sex.

[00:29:25] Jess O’Reilly: As much as you do,

[00:29:26] Brandon Ware: you want me to do a little B rex sexy dance?

[00:29:29] Jess O’Reilly: Do you want, yeah, you and I can talk about this privately, but if you are one of those people like me who probably knows that you don’t initiate mutt, um, think about whether you can try it, push through the fear of rejection. Be imperfect, be sloppy, be messy.

[00:29:43] Jess O’Reilly: You don’t have to be a master seducer to

[00:29:46] Brandon Ware: have fun with it. Laugh like you said earlier.

[00:29:49] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah. And, and talk about it. Maybe your partner doesn’t mind that you don’t initiate as much, but generally we know that sharing in any sort of vid or expression for love and connection, [00:30:00] not just sexual is important in relationships.

[00:30:02] Brandon Ware: I agree.

[00:30:02] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, and it can’t fall on one partner to even, even when we think about initiation more broadly, it can’t fall on one partner to initiate important conversations. It can’t, it’s not great when it falls on one partner to initiate emotional connection, to initiate spending time together, right? You don’t want to feel like you’re chasing after someone.

[00:30:21] Brandon Ware: Well, I feel. You know, as you’re saying all these things, I’m reflecting on all the points throughout our relationship when I didn’t do these things. And then there just came a point where I was like, okay, I’m going to start taking responsibility and I still haven’t taken responsibility for all of them, but certain aspects of our lives, I’m, I’m going to do this.

[00:30:34] Brandon Ware: I’m going to step up. I’m going to book some, yeah, I would know what sex I do, but there were also periods of time in this relationship where I didn’t initiate as much. And you initiated more. I don’t remember that. I do remember it. And I just, there were ebbs and flows. And again, it speaks to all of these pieces of advice that we’re given today, like applying them to you, to your relationship.

[00:30:54] Brandon Ware: It’s like being flexible, having fun, you know, living with intention, like all of these things. I can start them right now. That’s the wonderful thing. I don’t need to wait until tomorrow. I can go home tonight and I can initiate sex with you. I can plan a meal. I can plan a date, a vacation. I can make a schedule.

[00:31:13] Brandon Ware: All of these things are at my fingertips.

[00:31:15] Jess O’Reilly: Right. You can bring levity. You can sit down and kind of,

[00:31:17] Brandon Ware: I mean, I can’t bring any more levity. I’m so funny.

[00:31:22] Jess O’Reilly: So, okay. We’re going to leave you with those. Eight tips and eight action items. So hopefully you will think about, you know, the next day, the next month, the next year, what do you really want?

[00:31:32] Jess O’Reilly: What do you not want? And what changes can you make? Can you inject some play and fun into your relationship and levity? Can you make a little bit of a plan for the relationship, you know, what you’re doing well, what you want more of and what you can do about it. Can you get naked? Can you put the effort in and use your skills from other realms, perhaps business or another realm in the relationship?

[00:31:56] Jess O’Reilly: Can you ask yourself if conflict is worth it when you feel it [00:32:00] arising? And can you use cues? Like for me, I was actually just thinking, I’m going to put a sticky note. on my, uh, in the, in the, this is embarrassing and it shouldn’t be, but in the drawer where my tampons are, where my stuff is, because that’s the time when I tend to be most snappy and kind of lean into conflict.

[00:32:15] Jess O’Reilly: So I think I need that little reminder to myself. I definitely don’t need you to leave me that, but I’m going to put a little sticky note. And then finally, can you. Think about something you’ve been waiting to do that you could start now. And can you think about how you can initiate more love, more affection, or just share in that initiation with your partner?

[00:32:32] Jess O’Reilly: Not every single one of these will necessarily be relevant to you, but if you can just pick one, I think, uh, I think it’s worth it a little bit of effort and hopefully, um, some really significant outcome. All right. Well, we are setting sail very soon. So we are pre recording because we won’t have the access to everything we need on the ship, but we’re going to have a great one in Greece and Turkey, and I hope you have a great one wherever you’re at.

[00:32:57] Jess O’Reilly: You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, improve your sex life, improve your life.