Cofounder of Passion Provokers and Executive Relationship Coach
First, I need to say that Marla and I are not prudes. Being able to express yourself sexually is something that needs to be openly talked about and experimented with inside your coupleship. INSIDE is the key word here. We have worked with thousands of couples, and we have observed carefully how taking sexuality outside of your relationship will affect your coupleships negatively. And we can't sit on the sidelines and not address what a Licensed Professional Counselor stated this morning on the Today Show.
Our conclusion is that the coupleships that go outside of each other for pleasure with other partners, and often we see this as it relates to porn, mostly fail to gain intimacy in critical areas, and they report higher instances of binge drinking, workaholism, shopaholism, or any other “isms” you can think about (we call this transitional addiction which I experienced in my life). Regularly one partner is uncomfortable with any sexuality being experimented with or experienced outside of the coupleship even when they offer it as a solution or state they don’t care, and that discomfort tends to develop into mistrust.
Don’t misunderstand us here. We’ve had issues (mostly in the first 10 years of our almost 28 years of marriage). We recovered from affairs in our own marriage, and we have a 90% plus success rate keeping couples happily together and exclusive with each other. But our marriage most definitely did not have to go through the trauma of extramarital affairs to be amazing and passionate now. We can guarantee you that a Hall Pass will not add spark to your relationship, nor will it save it.
Many of the couples who tell us they have “tried everything,” including adding someone else sexually into the coupleship, tend to have to sort out that event and nearly always find it immensely hurtful. The feeling that is expressed most often is “betrayed.” This is because there is an imbalance of the sexual-emotional loop. Every relationship needs a balance of the sexual and the emotional to have a fulfilling and passionate coupleship. If the emotional cup is healed and filled then sexual intimacy has a lifetime of creativity to be expressed and nurtured. This develops immense amounts of sexual satisfaction well beyond the expectations of most coupleships. And all this without the risk of disease and emotional entanglements.
Those that have worked on recovering their coupleship with our coaching and mentoring have had great success in “being more IN LOVE than ever.” They experience this by doing the thing that was missing in the first place—emotional/heart/feeling connection.
We use our Feeling Wheel 4.0 that has been developed over the past 21 years to guide a simple Check-In method that brings the coupleship to a place of heart and emotional connection that is rarely seen or felt. And this is what the conversation about a Hall Pass could look like when utilizing Check-In: “When you talk about having a Hall Pass to add a spark to our relationship I feel anxious, surprised, and fearful.”
Stop there. The other partner then gets to express their three feelings. The goal is to be heard and understood. (We add the other layers on the Check-In as our clients are ready.) Building layers of intimacy requires communicating from a feeling place about personal things as each person in the coupleship learns to speak the same language around emotions. And this builds the trust that is required for any sexual experimentation (again inside of the relationship).
“When our sex life is infrequent, stale and routine I feel sad, disappointed and hopeless” is a good place for the conversation to start. This way, if your partner brings up the idea of a Hall Pass, or another important conversation, it is empowering for both people to let the conversation unfold. Ask them why and what it is that they are after, and how they see having sex with someone else playing out. Often the fantasy is far better than the reality, and by having the conversation you can introduce the idea of emotional connection that will grow over a lifetime when our tools are applied effectively. This may require reading about how to be emotionally connected, and/or may need to be done and some help from a coach, or in our case coaches (having both of us keeps the fear of being ganged up on to a minimum) that have experience in such issues, and who are able to take your coupleship through a process of intimacy building. We like to call it “leveling up.”
As it turns out, we believe that the tools we offer are actually far less expensive financially and emotionally than having a Hall Pass. And we also know from experience that sex outside of a coupleship holds in it primarily pain, betrayal, heartbreak, and mistrust. Why would you want that?
What tools might you need first before you have the hard sexual conversations? Are you ready to take the steps necessary to use those tools instead of staying inside of your head and in secrecy? Let’s talk soon.