Ep. 6: Alisha Worthington: Unpacking the Suitcases of Sexual Intimacy

Ken Krogue: Hello everybody. This is Thom Harrison and Ken Krogue with the EternalCore podcast. We also have a vidcast going on. We’ve got Alisha Worthington with us today. It took us a while to get her on the set with us. She knows Thom from way back. You guys have worked together in the past.

Alisha Worthington: A long time.

Ken Krogue: Tell us about that.

Thom Harrison: Yeah, well, we’ve had the great opportunity of working together with many clients and many different situations. We also authored a book together, Real Intimacy. And that’s been out, wow, nine years now. Eight years? Nine years?

Alisha Worthington: I think so, yeah.

Thom Harrison: So I worked really closely with Alisha and her sister, Kristen Hodson on that book.

Ken Krogue: We’ve heard about her too.

Thom Harrison: It was really fun. Kristen’s out of the country still, isn’t she?

Alisha Worthington: Yes.

Thom Harrison: So I’m just so thrilled to have her here, because I love this lady. She’s great, and she has great skill. I think we’re in for a real treat today.

Alisha Worthington: Or you’re in for a ride, we’ll see.

Ken Krogue: Well, we are excited to have you, Alisha Worthington. Tell us a bit about what got you into this practice that you’re currently on? You’ve got some pretty good impact out there, making a big difference. I hear about you from many different directions, but tell us how you got into it.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah. I think it just started… I started working, talking with couples and individuals, and I kept hearing things about communication or we can’t talk about it. But then, it just seemed like all roads kept leading to sex. But then there’s this, and it was having this huge impact on people’s lives, individually and as a couple. And then, we kind of noticed that we were having these conversations and went, “We need to do something about this. Instead of just talking to one couple or one individual at a time, let’s take it bigger.” We also noticed that nobody else was really doing this. It was this kind of taboo thing or just people were a little bit afraid and we just…

Ken Krogue: And you guys were pretty early in publishing.

Thom Harrison: Yeah. We wanted to make it real. And that’s why we called it, Real Intimacy, because we thought a lot of the books out there were just kind of soft-soaping the deal. And, you know, would almost get to the conversation, but then would stop there. So it just left people, “Well, what do I do with this?” And we thought, “Well, let’s just be honest and real and talk about the whole thing. And talk about where people were going.” Then, I think it was kind of shocking, but I think it was also embraced.

Alisha Worthington: Very much so. I had so many people say, “Thank you. I just wanted actual information. And I didn’t want to have to go to the Internet and put in Google whatever.” And get all sorts of information that they didn’t need or want. But nobody was giving them just factual, here’s how it works. Here’s how you can talk about it. These are the things about it. Now, do with it what you will. We’re not the experts over your sexuality, your life. We just, here’s the information.

Thom Harrison: I warned them both. I said, “If you do this, your life will change.” And it’s changed.

Ken Krogue: Was he right?

Alisha Worthington: Oh, we just… My sister and I have this conversation often. And we would like to go back in time to that moment where Thom said, “Are you sure you want to do this? Because this is going to take your lives to a place that you don’t realize where it’s going to go.” And we never could have predicted. I would not have predicted that I would be sitting here on a stage talking about sex as openly as I am. Working with couples and individuals, doing presentations, writing more, I never would have predicted this.

Thom Harrison: I remember in the 80s, I came to Brigham Young University. And I gave one of their education week talks on sexual intimacy. After it was over, there was lunch. So I use the restroom, and then I came in and was sitting at a round table with other presenters. There were two women behind me, and they were talking. They had been to my session, and they were saying, “Oh, I’m sure he is not religious” you know. “He certainly wouldn’t be talking about sex the way he was.” And, “He probably is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints.” I just found it fascinating. So, I turned my chair around, put my arm around both of them and said, “I am a member of the church.” and “I am religious.” And they turned all kinds of red. It’s amazing what people think, you know, when you’re willing to openly talk about intimacy and sex.

Alisha Worthington: Oh, for sure. Before one of my presentations, right before I’m supposed to go on, and I was… The title of it was similar. It was talking about God and sex together; you know God and intimacy together. And this individual came up to me, and he said, “You’re not really going to talk about this topic, are you?” “As a matter of fact, I am.” And he said, “Well, there are just some things that are just too sacred and too…we don’t talk about this.” And I said, “Well, how many children do you have?” “I have seven.” “Hmm. Wonder what your wife would like to talk about.” You know? But it’s just this idea. And especially I think, as a woman, talking openly about sex, I’ve had a lot of very interesting interactions with, “I’m not sure how to handle talking or listening to a woman talk about sex.” But I’ve also had a lot of people say, “Yay, we would also like to know about sex from a woman’s point of view.”

Ken Krogue: What are usually some of the main topics, issues, that prompt a couple to give you a call? What are some of the things, the entry point where they say, “It’s time we probably work some things out.”

Alisha Worthington: I love the couples who have been married two to three years. And that they’re already seeing like, “We don’t know how to talk about this.” They come in early. And a lot of times it’s basic education and undoing just some patterns that have been established a little bit. I work with… The majority of couples I see have been married between 17 and 22 years. Their kids have grown or are old enough that they’re no longer in survival mode. And they’re starting to recognize that their kids are going to leave, and it’s just going to be the two of them again. And it’s, “This is really not working, and if we don’t do something, we’re in trouble.” And so they’ll come in, but it’s this idea of, “We shouldn’t have to come in for this. We should have… We should know how to do this.”

Ken Krogue: Just work it out ourselves. Figure it out.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah. And, “We’ve been married all this time,” you know, “This is embarrassing.” And I try to normalize that for them and say, “Tell me about how much sex education you got before you got married. What did you know?”

Thom Harrison: Well, a lot of these young people, they’ve been told, “If you just go forward, you can work this out.” Or you know, “If you just wait.” And then, “It just comes naturally.” Then they realize they know absolutely nothing about sex. They know nothing about their own bodies. They don’t even know what sexual parts are called. They know absolutely nothing about their partner’s body. You know, they think they do. And they think, if they do this, if they touch the clitoris, if they insert fingers into the vagina, then everything’s going to be fine. And then the wife says, “That’s uncomfortable, I don’t like that.” Then the guy is blown away because he thinks, “Well that’s what my friend told me I was supposed to do.”

Thom Harrison: Immediately, they start out on the wrong foot. Immediately, they think, “All this that I thought was going to be okay, isn’t okay. This isn’t working.” If they then move into blame, “Well, it must be your fault, because my friends told me if I did this, you were going to like it. So this must be your problem.” And what they do is they shut it down, and a lot of couples never go further. So they have this on and off again sexual experience, and neither one of them are really having a good experience with it. So it moves into a decade, 15 years. Or, at seven years, they’re out and having affairs or they’re doing other things, because they say, “My sexual life with you stinks.”

Thom Harrison: So, you know, those were many of the clients I saw. They didn’t know anything. And when they came in, it was amazing. Just giving them good information, good physiology. Letting them know, giving the wife an opportunity to talk about what does work, how her body functions, and helping them to explore with one another. It’s amazing what just good information does to help a couple.

Alisha Worthington: Right, yeah, and to help them understand this further. I learned this in a really specific way, when I was trying to breastfeed my first baby. You know, I held her there and it was like, “Okay, go.” Like, “This is supposed to happen.” And what I didn’t know is that she had to learn. I had to learn. It was painful. It was hard. I learned that just because my body had the capacity to breastfeed, it didn’t mean I knew how. That’s what I will often tell couples. Just because your body has the capacity to have sex, it still doesn’t mean you know how. And there is just nothing that you haven’t had to learn along the way. This is just simply a skill you’re learning with a partner, which is a little more challenging, which requires more emotional strength, but brings intimacy. Which is why it’s so beautiful that it can happen in adulthood. Because hopefully, we’re in a place where we can start to experience intimacy on all those levels. But it takes understanding that about one another. Like, “We’re just learning this skill together.”

Thom Harrison: Just because it worked with this partner or with this circumstance, doesn’t mean it’s going to work with this woman.

Alisha Worthington: Or for the next 10 years.

Thom Harrison: Yeah, yeah. It might’ve worked initially, but it’s not working anymore. It’s something like a job or like anything else. You have to continually learn over time. Our bodies change, you know.

Alisha Worthington: Someone has a baby, someone has a medical issue, somebody is really stressed and loses a job, and that impacts how they feel. I mean, aging happens. This isn’t something…I tell couples, “You don’t just get to a place and then coast for the rest of your married life.”

Thom Harrison: Or a woman who’s gone through postpartum, or a woman who then looks at her body and says, “This isn’t the body I had when we got married, and I don’t like it. So that means you don’t either. So I don’t want you touching me there, because I think it’s ugly.” And then totally stopping a husband’s appropriate affection, because he doesn’t feel the same way about her body that she does.

Ken Krogue: Interesting.

Thom Harrison: Or the men and women teach each other to dislike their bodies. I mean I know women who have taught their husband, “Don’t touch my thighs.” And he’s saying, “I like your thighs.” Or, “Don’t you dare touch my buttocks,” you know, “under no circumstance, because it’s twice as big as it was when we first got married.” Or, “I’m going to tell you, you cannot like that about me.” And men will do the same thing. So we pick up on these subtle or not so subtle cues. It totally disrupts the whole sexual relationship. Sorry, I’m just joining back into our old structure.

Alisha Worthington: Can you tell that we get really, really passionate about this topic?

Ken Krogue: Now, we’ve been interviewing, we’ve had some great episodes already. You know, without really meaning to, I guess one of the main themes of this initial launch conference at the end of March… We’ve got Tim Ballard; we’ve got Clay Olsen, and the concepts of addiction. You know, we’ve met with Alema Harrington and Dan Gray. And I’m sure that that’s a challenge on the intimacy side, is if one of the partners is having problems with forms of addiction, pornography, obviously. But, maybe talk a little bit, what do you do when there’s one of the partners having a real struggle with something significant?

Alisha Worthington: That is so important, because it’s impacting so many people, and couples especially. What the challenge that I have seen is a couple will go through maybe a 12-step program. One of them will, or both, but then what? Because, if you’re an alcoholic, you just don’t go to the bar, right? You don’t go to the liquor store. But, if you’re really involved in pornography… so you’re supposed to have sex? You know, how do we restore this between us? And that’s where I try and work with a lot of couples. Because there’s such fear around, “What if we step back into this, and then what is this going to create? Is he going to see me like an object? Am I supposed to act like a porn star? I don’t want to. So, now I don’t want to have sex with him because of this.” And then he’s saying, “I want to engage, but I’m so afraid of my own thoughts.” Or like, “I can’t even go there.” So it’s really tough to begin to restore this for couples. So that’s the piece that I work with.

Ken Krogue: How common is that?

Alisha Worthington: It’s really common. I don’t know that I work with a couple, or that hasn’t impacted the couple, either before they were married and one or both of them has brought it in to their relationship, or it has begun after. Or, there’s been an affair and they’ve learned like, “I don’t want to be done with my marriage. I love my family, but I don’t know how to work this out.”

Thom Harrison: Right. And when a man or a woman is involved in pornography, there’s this guaranteed outcome. And you know, with a partner, with a woman, there’s no guaranteed outcome. You have to move with it. You have to look at all the circumstances, all of the variables that are involved in the moment. Is she pregnant? Is she tired? And you know, has she been around kids all day? You have to deal with a real human being. And a lot of individuals, especially with pornography addiction or pornography use, they go, “It’s just too much of a hassle. I will go to this guaranteed structure.” And “I can get turned on, and then I can masturbate, and then I’ll have an ejaculation, and it’s over. I didn’t have to deal with another human being.” You know, “I don’t have to brush my teeth. I don’t have to get cleaned up.” So people can get in the habit of dealing with non-relationship sex. And non-relationship sex is profoundly different than relationship sex.

Ken Krogue: Well there’s some new research, I understand, showing that that’s even becoming a bigger challenge with some of the younger generations, from what I hear of it.

Thom Harrison: Yeah, we’re seeing a significant diminishment in the X generation of even wanting to have sex or desiring it. People are having sex much later. And even when they have a partner, they’re having intimacy far less than they used to—than any other time it’s ever been studied.

Alisha Worthington: Well, and just to add one more thing to that. One of the challenges that I feel like I see then with the female partner is this shutting down of their sexuality. Almost like they become the gatekeeper and the monitor. You know, what are you engaging in? What are you… So it’s all about the male partner. And there’s no development or no feeling of, “I can step into my own sexuality. I can own it. I can experience pleasure, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a porn star.” You know? And so kind of this stunting, if you will, of female sexuality development. So that’s also been a challenge too, but so really beautiful to work with. As I watch women step into that and own it, its really powerful.

Thom Harrison: Yeah. I would think gatekeeper and police officer would not move us to intimacy very much.

Ken Krogue: And there’s more openness now. There’s more discussion. And I’m sure you know, your book and some of the things. But you’re moving now into sort of a new project. (Wrong slide there.) It is Intima. And I understand, in fact, we’re partnering with that software platform. But tell us a bit about it. I mean you’re a part owner in it. I mean that’s pretty exciting.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah.

Ken Krogue: But you’re trying to have an impact in a much larger way with technology, facilitating getting couples together with therapists.

Alisha Worthington: I think the idea was, again, “We want to come to couples therapy but we have four small children or we have a brand new baby.” Or, “I live out in Tooele.” or, you know, “This is not easy for me.” So Carrie and Josh had this vision of let’s take it. We have technology, and there are many people who are suffering, who need a place to go other than pornhub to get their sex education. So they created Intima. And it’s this… They wanted to make it more accessible, more affordable. But to anybody who was rural, or just basically anybody out there, just make it more convenient.

Ken Krogue: Tell us a little the details about it. I mean it’s a software app that works on your phone. Tell us about it.

Alisha Worthington: So it’s sort of designed like Uber. Basically, you could get on, and if you wanted to talk to somebody right away, you could see which coaches are available. It’s a coaching site. It’s not therapy. So, there’s a distinction in that. So if you are someone who has severe trauma, you need to go to therapy. This is more sex education, basic communication skills, things like that. But that’s really what a lot of people are looking for and need. So you can just get on. You can say, “I’ll pick you,” and join a session and start a session.

Ken Krogue: So it has a group of coaches online. It doesn’t even have to be nearby, anywhere in the world pretty much. But you can find someone that you’d like to get some help from as a couple or individuals.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah. And you can have a 15-minute, a 45-minute. And, if you find a coach you like, then you can continue to make appointments with that coach specifically.

Thom Harrison: So your entire therapeutic experience can be just all online.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah.

Thom Harrison: How do you vet these coaches or these therapists?

Alisha Worthington: That’s a great question. So, people have to send in their resumes. And they’ve got to have an advanced degree in either social work or psychology or mental health. Marriage and family counseling, yes, we’ll include that. And then, preferably, further sex education training. So either through, it’s called the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, they can have that certification.

Thom Harrison: So it sounds like they are well vetted.

Alisha Worthington: They are well vetted. Yeah. And we want… People will self select because the thing about Intima too is it’s a values based platform. So if you want to go into like advanced BDSM, we’re probably not going to find coaches here. But, we’re happy to refer you to somebody who could help you with that. Not that you can’t have values in BDSM.

Thom Harrison: So I don’t think these people know what BDSM is. Could you help them?

Alisha Worthington: Whips and chains. So again, I don’t want to say that it’s not values based. I’m just saying that there are certain parameters that you’ll find on Intima that you may not find elsewhere. But that’s okay, there are other places out there. We feel like we’re creating, filling a niche for those who are looking for what we wanted to do with our book—just credible, factual information, answer questions. It follows the Plissit model.

Thom Harrison: Also, bring their spirituality into it too. And allow them to ask some questions and give answers to some of that spiritual structure too.

Alisha Worthington: Exactly.

Thom Harrison: Yeah.

Ken Krogue: So as you’re working with couples who are having challenges, I’ve heard, you know, there’s money challenges, there’s sexual challenges. Where does it usually rank in the impact that it’s having on their marriage?

Alisha Worthington: What’s the saying? If sex is working, it ranks 10% of the relationship. But, if it’s not working, it ranks 90%. So it really has… I mean you didn’t get married to become roommates or co-parents. That’s not why you married this person. You married this person because somewhere in the back of your mind you’re like, “We’re lovers.” You know, “This is a different relationship that you and I have. I can have co-neighborly relationships with lots of people, you know. But, this is a different aspect.” So it’s kind of reclaiming that, “Why did you get married again, remember?” So they remember. Then there’s kind of this grief and loss around, “This was not what I thought.” And kind of trying to get back to that.

Thom Harrison: That’s often one of the first concepts that people trash when it’s not working. You know, that, “Okay, I had this projected reality that we were going to be lovers, but it didn’t work so well. So what I’ll do is I’ll market through or I’m going to put it on the back burner.” And they don’t know that you have to work at that and you have to learn how to do that. I loved your example of breastfeeding. It’s something you have to learn how to do. And it’s not just you; it’s a mutual process. It’s, “I’ve got the equipment. I can do this, but you have to learn how to latch on. You have to learn that what ever you use, I’m going to make a little bit more than that. So I hope the next time you nurse, you’re going to be taking about that much, or I’m going to be in trouble and I’m going to be hurting.” That all these physiological mechanisms have to be learned, and it’s a learning curve. You know, I think that’s why we get to be married for 50 years, because each new stage offers more learning and can create more intimacy.

Ken Krogue: Let’s talk about learning for a minute. And, by the way, Alisha Worthington, she’s joining us here on EternalCore. She’ll be one of our speakers at the conference March 29th and 30th. Thom and Alisha have written a book together. Well let’s talk about… Let’s say a couple is just starting to think, “Well maybe we need some guidance, need some help.” What are some of typically the things that are starting to arise in their relationship, where it might be good to talk to someone who has some of the background that you have?

Alisha Worthington: So I often see couples where they have years of what is called duty sex. So from right out of the gate maybe things didn’t go well. They didn’t know what they were doing, but they’ve seen movies. They know what it’s supposed to look like. And then it doesn’t happen that way. Then, they don’t have the language to say, “How was that for you? That didn’t quite do it for me.” They didn’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. They care a lot about each other. And they were told that it was going to be just mind-blowing and magic, and then it’s not. And they don’t quite know how to manage that disappointment. So then what I see a lot is the female partner, the wife, is generally like, “Okay, I’ll give you sex once a week or maybe once a month, or really how often you want. But, I’m really not going to participate. I’m just going to sort of be here. Go ahead, do your thing.”

Alisha Worthington: And after however long of this, a lot of times their very caring husbands are like, “I can’t do this anymore. I feel like I’m using my wife, and I don’t like how that makes me feel.” So then, they start to withdraw. Then she’s like, “What do you mean? I’m willing to have sex with you.” And he’s saying, “Yeah, but I want you to be here, be present with me.” And she hasn’t been present for so long and has really not cultivated her own sexuality. She’s kind of forgotten what this is like and how to have our body feel good. And what do you…. I’ll ask women, “What does turn you on?” And I get blank stares like, “I don’t know.” So I probably see that pattern a lot. Where they care deeply about one another, and they’re just kind of unwilling to continue this pattern of sexuality. They just don’t know how to get out of it. And sometimes, we’ve set couples up for failure because of this “Don’t talk about this outside of your relationship.” Well, all right. If you’ve never had any other sexual partners, so it’s just you and your spouse. And you have only had sex with each other, and you’re not supposed to talk about it outside of that relationship…

Ken Krogue: What do you do?

Alisha Worthington: What do you do?

Thom Harrison: And, if you look at the research, most men and women rate bringing pleasure to their spouse as the highest level of sexuality. If they say, “What is the greatest thing you’ve ever experienced?” It’s I believe that I bring pleasure. And that that creates the greatest feeling about my sexual relationship. I think that is so crucial, because so many individuals, they just drop that. And they just think, “This is our sexual experience.” And they think, “Well, I can’t do that. I can’t bring pleasure. I don’t know how to be a lover. So I fail in that component.” They hold onto that label, and it’s false. They’ve just never learned how. They don’t have the right information. They have all the right equipment, but they don’t have the right information to allow that to happen.

Alisha Worthington: Right. And it can sometimes be so simple as you know. Again, we don’t have a lot of sex education before we get married. So it is sometimes it’s like, “Did you know that you have a clitoris?” “No. I don’t even know what that is.” You know, “Did you know she has one?” “No. I know there’s stuff down there, but I don’t know how to interact with it.” And, “I’ve never touched it myself. I don’t know how to touch her. All she does is tell me, ‘I don’t like that.'” So it’s this continuous and then less engaging. It gets further and further apart.

Thom Harrison: Or the man moves to the eraser phenomenon that thinks, “If I just kind of”…. You know, they don’t realize what does feel good. And some women can’t stand direct clitoral touching. But, if there’s touching around, or above, or during the act of coitus, then it’s highly stimulating. And that information really adds significantly to their understanding and their pleasure. And then it moves into the relationship.

Alisha Worthington: And then, it can be fun. That’s what I try and help couples remember. Like, “Guess what? Do you remember that the idea of this was going to be fun?” It doesn’t have to be so heavy, weighty like all the time.

Thom Harrison: It was spontaneous, you know?

Alisha Worthington: So if you’re feeling awkward now about this, talking to each other in this new way, that’s okay. Awkwardness is also like nervous giggling, and it’s fun, and it’s curious. So let’s have that. Let’s own your awkwardness. It’s totally fine. Even if you’ve been married 20 years, who cares? You’re starting this new journey together.

Thom Harrison: And to be able to drop the old, say, “That used to work for us, that doesn’t work anymore. What can we find out that does?” You know, it’s like playing basketball. I used to do that in high school, so I still do it when I’m 55? No, a 55-year-old needs to learn how to play basketball differently, or he’s going to have multiple knee surgeries. You have to come to it at the age that you are and realize that your physiology has changed. But that doesn’t mean sex is over. It doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy real intimacy.

Ken Krogue: I’m going to put a couple of situations out there, milestones in a couple’s life together. They’re about to get married. What would you recommend?

Alisha Worthington: Oh my gosh, they’re my favorite. I do have parents that are sending me their engaged kids. And I tell them like, “This is going to take two hours. Bring a notebook, and get ready to write, because I am just going to give you so much information.” But I think if I could just have them get one takeaway, it would be: this is a skill. Just like the breastfeeding thing. There is no reason that you know how to do this with each other right out of the gate. In fact, and let it develop. There is no reason that says… Nothing that says you have to have sex your honeymoon night. I always tell the guy like, “I know that sounds disappointing. But, if you will let your sexual relationship develop.” So you’re married, that means the gates were open. It doesn’t mean you have to jump. Because, we sometimes skip steps. We are kissing and then we jump right to sex. Just let it develop; take a shower together, see each other naked. You’ve never seen a naked guy before. Check him out, without it being sexual. Just look at it and take your time. So those are the two biggest things are: sex is a skill that you will work on for the rest of your life and there is no race. You’re going to develop this together. It’s going to be like if your goal was to start making creme brulee, but you’ve never cooked before. So you have to learn how to boil water first. That’s okay.

Thom Harrison: And, what happens when I touch his penis? What happens when I touch her breasts, and what happens? You know, ask those questions instead of just thinking this magical thing is going to happen. And, I have to have intercourse tonight, or I’m not a successful honeymoon guy.  Allow the process to happen.

Ken Krogue: So another scenario. One person has had a lot of experience; the other one has had none. What do you do there?

Alisha Worthington: I sit with that person and really try and help them understand skill level. Again, it would be like, all right, let’s go play with Ricky Rubio from the Jazz, and I’ve never played basketball. You know, I’m not going to play at his level, probably ever. But that’s kind of the idea of, again, it’s not about who’s better, or I should, or there’s been more experience. There’s more skill level and understanding. But, the key point is, even if you’ve had all this experience, you haven’t had sex with this person. So do not bring your assumptions. You need to get curious around this sexual experience, this partner’s sexuality, and act like you’re starting over again because you are.

Ken Krogue: So, wife comes home and announces, “I’m pregnant.” That’s a scenario that things change really fast, right there. Do we need any guidance there?

Alisha Worthington: Yeah. I work with postpartum couples and help them integrate baby into their life. But the understanding again of, “I just want to do away with the six week OB appointment,” It’s sort of like this, “Okay, you’re ready to jump back into sex even though you’re exhausted. And you might be breastfeeding, and you’re leaking fluids. You should have the energy to do this.” As opposed to, “So, your cervix is healed. Okay, great.” I counsel couples, “If you will just get through the first nine months of this baby’s life, hold each other’s hands, kiss and make out. If there happens to be some energy to have sex, okay. But recognize that this is not forever. That you will get more sleep. And if you will not pressure each other, and be on the same team, sex is going to come back. And it won’t come back with resentment.”

Thom Harrison: When I went to graduate school, postpartum was seen as this horrible thing that happens to some women. And now, it’s seen as just the last trimester of pregnancy. You know, you have the baby and then you have this… You have to at least go this period of time. And if you’re breastfeeding, that you have to move through. I love that she says, “The next nine months.” We went nine months having the baby. Now, when you have to go nine months postpartum before things even start looking of, “How is my wife going to be now that she’s had a child? What adjustments do we have to make?”

Thom Harrison: I think most people, they think, “Postpartum, oh no.” But no, everyone has to go through a postpartum structure. And for some, it’s awful. For some, it almost looks like psychosis. Somebody would go into postpartum psychosis, and you think your wife’s going crazy. But, you know, it’s all those hormonal structures and the lack of sleep and all that coming around. And most people don’t understand that. Boy, that has a huge impact on sexual intimacy.

Ken Krogue: Two more questions. Divorce. Wow. You know, 15 years with the same person. Now, my whole life’s changed.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah.

Ken Krogue: What do you tell that person or that new couple?

Alisha Worthington: So are they ending their relationship or….

Ken Krogue: Let’s say they end it, and they just met someone new. They’ve set a date. They’re are getting married or they’ve just been married or not, you know?

Alisha Worthington: Right. So it’s kind of about unpacking the suitcases again. Let’s talk about your sexual biography. What is in here? Let’s take it all out. Let’s look at it. Let’s look at it together. The idea of still you’re going to create something new with this person, but you’re also bringing perhaps trauma in. Perhaps, you know, maybe one person has been married and one person hasn’t. Or previous divorce and maybe there are step kids. So I often talk a lot about how stress level impacts sexual desire, especially for a woman. Because, female sexuality is all context dependent. Am I safe? Is this a good time to have sex? So, if stress levels are high, we’re blending a family. We have a bunch of kids running around. That’s not super conducive for like, “I just want to have sex with you all the time.” So understanding where you’re at in life, so that there can be a realistic expectation of what this is gonna look like.

Thom Harrison: The rule of thumb that I used to say to my patients, clients (whatever you want to call them) is 18 months you have to wait after the divorce. Because your brain needs to adjust. You’ve been married to this person for a significant period of time, and your brain has adjusted to her. It takes a while to say, “She is no longer a part of grocery shopping. She’s no longer part of making the bed. She’s no longer part of my sexuality. She’s no longer a part of my communication.” All that has changed, and if we do not wait that time, then we project onto this new person.

Ken Krogue: Oh, I see.

Thom Harrison: All of those things that we used to have.

Ken Krogue: A lot of patterns and structures that aren’t that other person.

Thom Harrison: Yeah, and we project that on, the good, the bad, and the ugly all onto this new person. And that is a zoo, you know. It’s just not wise. So I say, “Give yourself at least a year and a half, minimally, to be able to allow that neuro-cognitive structure to change, and be able to allow this new person in without all that contamination of the old relationship.” Does that make sense?

Ken Krogue: That makes sense, Yeah. Kids are gone, you know, we’re being together now. We haven’t had… We don’t have that same common need to go see the school play or to go to the football game together and watch the kids. Now, it’s just us. You hit that a little bit earlier, but give us a few bullet points of some of the things you would say to that couple.

Alisha Worthington: Work, work, work. I would say, just like anything else it’s, “Okay. Really? You want to stay with this person? So what are you gonna… And how much has this person changed? And how much have you changed? When was the last time you asked them their favorite color? You might be making an assumption from 20 years ago.”

Ken Krogue: So maybe even a new courting period of time?

Alisha Worthington: Absolutely.

Ken Krogue: Go back. Start again.

Thom Harrison: And what if he’s had prostate cancer and now can’t have an erection. Does that mean that their intimacy is over? No. No. It’s a new adjustment structure, you know. What if she’s had her ovaries removed? What if they’re going through this huge hormonal imbalance together? What if this slim bodied person now is gaining weight because of this hormonal change? There are constant adjustments.

Ken Krogue: That’s what I blame it on is hormones now.

Alisha Worthington: Yeah, like sex does not have to be over either. Just because you’re 60, 70, 80, whatever. It doesn’t. There’s great furniture out there to help bodies who it hurts them to lay a certain way. Well, there’s furniture for that. But it’s finding out and just getting educated. And going, “All right, we have new bodies. Let’s learn together about this new sexuality.”

Thom Harrison: I remember clearly, Spencer W. Kimball, who was an early prophet in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And he spoke to a bunch of returned missionaries. I remember he was the first apostle, prophet type individual I’d ever heard. He was in his eighties and he said, “Camilla and I still enjoy intimacy together.” And I thought, “Did he just say that?” Because, I assumed that when you’re in your seventies or eighties, you know, you’re way past that. Maybe 20 years ago, but I love the fact that that was still very important for him. To still, in his eighties, have sexual intimacy with his sweet wife Camilla. And he was willing to talk about that. It impacted me profoundly.

Ken Krogue: Well being able to talk about it is really important. And as you mentioned, it’s a major, major part of a couple’s relationship. Thank you for joining us.

Alisha Worthington: Thanks for having me.

Ken Krogue: We’re excited. We’re going to have Alisha speaking at our conference. And we’ve got the great book, Real Intimacy that was written together by Alicia and Thom and your sister?

Thom Harrison: Kristen Hodson.

Ken Krogue: And, remember Intima. We’ll be partnering with Intima, the software app, as part of the community that we’re forming here at EternalCore. We will see you March 29th.

Alisha Worthington: I will be there.

Ken Krogue: We haven’t yet scheduled out exact speaking dates. Go to eternalcore.org, make sure you grab a seat. Thank you Alicia, for spending time with us today.

Thom Harrison: Thank you so much

Alisha Worthington: Thank you, this was so fun.

Thom Harrison: Wonderful to be with you.

Alisha Worthington: You too.

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