Relaxed Sex: Deepening Connection And Intimacy With Sarah Rose Bright (S3E8)

PTBE Sarah Rose Bright | Relaxed Sex

We can get so caught up living in a fast-paced world that we end up carrying these tensions into the bedroom, making us forget the pleasures of truly connecting that come from slowing down. Clare Sente and Rachel Watson interview intimacy and sex coach Sarah Rose Bright about relaxed sex, what it is and what it isn’t. They learn that not having a goal of orgasm and instead focusing on expanding our range of pleasure can be the antidote for our goal-oriented lifestyle and a perfect way to create or deepen intimacy. Join Sarah as she advocates for a shift in perspective, encouraging women and couples to adopt a mindset of curiosity and intentional exploration in their sexual experiences. This insightful discussion serves as a guide for fostering deeper intimacy, offering valuable insights for those seeking a more mindful and fulfilling approach to their relationships.

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Relaxed Sex: Deepening Connection And Intimacy With Sarah Rose Bright

We have got Sarah Rose Bright with us, and we are excited about it. Sarah is an intimacy and sex coach and host of The Love, Sex, and Intimacy Podcast. She helps women and couples to enjoy sex and pleasure and create or deepen intimate relationships that are passionate, healthy, and happy. We are thrilled to have you here, Sarah. Thank you so much for coming.

Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s a delight to be here.

We have so much that we want to ask you about, but I know that Clare is desperate to get going because she tried to talk over me. Clare, ask your first question. I know you’re dying to do it.

A little of a backup. I was listening to an Epic Sex for Powerful Women’s Summit. It had a list of twenty lovely ladies talking about epic sex for powerful women. The first one that my eyes were drawn to, and I had never met before, was Sarah Rose Bright because the topic was relaxed lovemaking for deeper intimacy. I am about slowing down and spending time with your lover without the goal of orgasm and increasing pleasure.

I had to listen to it, and I was mesmerized. I wrote her an email, and I said, “I’m your new fan. I would love to have you on our show.” That’s where this all came from. I loved that interview. There are a few questions that I would like to repeat because they’re wonderful for our readers to understand what relaxed lovemaking is. The first question is when someone is reading that, what does relaxed lovemaking be like because you can envision a few things? Sarah, tell us what you mean by that.

I’d like to back up and start with what relaxed lovemaking isn’t because I feel that helps people to enter into what relaxed lovemaking is. If you look at sex in the movies, it’s hot and heated. It’s ripping each other’s clothes off. There’s penetration sometimes in seconds, let alone minutes. It’s heading toward the goals of orgasms and ejaculations. I would call that goal-based sex, where the focus is on getting towards the goals. When the focus is on the goals, there’s pressure for it to be a certain way.

For the male body, the feeling they must have an erection for both parties. They must have ejaculations and orgasms. The pleasure is on one track. It’s like putting the same coordinates in the sat nav every time, and you’re ending up at the same place. There’s nothing wrong with that type of sex. It can be wonderful. That’s the only type of sex we have. That’s when couples come to me and say, “Sex has become boring, mechanical, habitual, and doing the same thing every time.”

What happens in that goal-based sex is there’s pressure. It’s like sex being successful means that there have to be orgasms and penetration. Ideally, orgasms at the same time. If that doesn’t happen, somehow, we failed. Whoever’s involved, there is pressure. What happens in that type of sex is there’s a lot of tension in the body. There’s a tension that builds up. The typical clenching of the buttocks and the hands, and that tension often stays in the body and builds.

I could talk to you for an hour about the behaviors that come with goal-based sex, shallow breathing, and all of these things. Relaxation is the key to a whole different type of sex and lovemaking. It’s not that we’re going to always stay in relaxation because if something feels wonderful, you might clench your body with excitement or feel good. Instead of staying in that gripped clenched state, the body relaxes again.

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The focus in relaxed lovemaking is on enjoying the journey. It’s about savoring everything and expanding the range of pleasure we experience. It’s like hot sex is where we want to get to, and everything else isn’t as good. There’s a hierarchy. Rather than seeing it as a hierarchy, turn it on its side and see it as a spectrum.

It’s like the piano keys. We’ve got the low, the medium, and the high. We’ve got the cool, the warm, and the hot. We’re much more hanging out in the warmer and the cooler zones. It’s like Harry Potter when they do spells, and you open up different dimensions. That starts to slow down, savor, and hang out in these cooler and warmer zones. Subtle pleasure becomes more available because, in hot sex, we’re often looking for the big pleasures. It’s like the bigger, the better. That leads to this feeling of not being satisfied, “I need to try a new position and a new sex toy that is looking outwards.” There’s nothing wrong with that.

With relaxed lovemaking, it’s a dropping in and down. It’s feeling more in the body. It’s about presence and curiosity of, like, “Where is this going to go now?” It may or may not include penetration. It’s more intimate and heart-opening. The nervous systems relax. The breathing is deeper. That’s a flavor. I call it relaxed lovemaking because I feel relaxation is the gateway to presence, intimacy, sensation, and feeling more. It opens up a whole new world of pleasure.

Clare and I shall go home and let Sarah keep talking because we have her do this.

Doesn’t it relax your body, and you’re like, “Yes, I resonate with that?” I’ve listened to this quite a few times. What do you feel when you hear that, Rachel?

There are a couple of things that come up for me, and it’s funny to acknowledge them. Goal-based sex is so ingrained that I can imagine having that conversation with my partner and going like, “What’s the point? How do we know when we’re finished?” There’s all these cues that are built in. My thought about it is that it’s great for people who have loads of time, people who don’t have children at home, and people who relax. Lovemaking is making my brain go, “We’d need five hours.” I would love you to dispel that myth if that is a myth, Sarah.

On that great point you made about finishing, we’ve got these inbuilt cubes and this inbuilt training. We head towards the goal, but it’s also a mirror of the lives we live, achievement, getting things done, productivity, pressure, and busyness. It’s a reflection of our sex lives. In terms of finishing, it’s like when we’re eating a beautiful meal, we don’t go, “I’m finished when I bet every single thing on the table.” That’s the goal. If we’re tuned in, we finish when we feel like we’ve had enough.

In a heterosexual partnership, if the finishing looks like the man has to have an ejaculation orgasm and the woman an orgasm, it may be that the man doesn’t ejaculate sometimes. It may be that you don’t finish with penetration. You might have some penetration, and you might do something else. I say to all the men that I work with, “Have an experiment of what it’s like to not ejaculate and see what happens.” Some men are scared that they’re going to end up with blue balls. I say, “Go and do a scientific experiment and see how it feels.” For many men, there’s a pressure to ejaculate. That can result in men struggling to ejaculate because they feel pressured.

It’s an unlearning and an undoingness. It takes time. Nobody is ever going to go from goal-based sex to relaxed lovemaking. It’s about a dance moving between the two so that you create more space. You might drop into relaxation, you find yourself heading for the goal, and then you drop back into more relaxation. It’s opening the space out for what’s possible. It is strange when you have this question all the time about finishing. It’s like an experiment. See what feels good. If one partner isn’t ready to finish but one partner is, there’s lots that you can do to finish in different ways if you would love an orgasm or an ejaculation. It’s opening up what’s possible.

In terms of time, what is important is the quality of intimacy rather than the amount of intimacy. We have that we either have no sex or sex and there’s nothing in between. What happens is, particularly in heterosexual dynamics, people would like a cuddle. They’re scared that their partner might be aroused and want sex. It can get into this game where intimacy stops. What I love to do with people is to expand what’s possible for the intimacy that we experience together. If we’ve only got half an hour or fifteen minutes even, it may be that we don’t have penetrative sex. It doesn’t always have to include our intimacy.

I’m working with a couple at the moment, and they have no intimacy whatsoever. They have three kids, dogs, and cats. Sometimes, their intimacy looks like they’ve changed their bedroom into a sensual little sanctuary away from the rest of the house because before, it was functional. That looks like going in the bedroom together, snuggling up in bed, and watching for an hour while they’re having a lovely snuggle.

That’s one thing. They’re not doing it with the kids. Sometimes it might be having naked cuddles together where you’re lying in bed, having a kiss, a chat, and some lovely touch. It might be some massage or intimacy games. If you think about that intimate connection, it keeps it simmering between the two of you. It’s expanding that range of what’s possible.

My daughter is grown up now, but I’ve been a mom. Sometimes, people feel, “I haven’t got the energy for sex.” Relaxed lovemaking might be having the genitals touching and naked and enjoying the sensations and close to each other’s body. It might be some penetration in 30 minutes. You can have a relaxed making quickie. That’s what I would say is opening out what’s possible.

There’s an undoing of the conditioning of the expectations of how we think things should look. It can feel strange. I get some people saying, “Don’t get this,” but their partner wants to do it, and it takes a number of sessions for them to go, “I’ve slowed down, and that feels different. I’m enjoying it in a way I never expected.” We’re conditioned, but it is about opening up the portal for what’s possible and what we can explore in different amounts of time.

That is similar to Episode 7, where Rachel was talking about being with her husband and the same thing they were doing, but they slowed the pace down. It was such a difference in how you felt that Stephen was present with you as opposed to how you felt when it was fast that he could have been disconnected or less connected. Do you have certain exercises where they do the same thing but they slow down in what they do to get present?

I would also encourage that if you have a self-pleasure practice, explore it there. If you explore slowing down, relaxing the body, focusing on the breath, focusing on being present, and noticing how that is for you, it’s a different experience when you’re doing it yourself than with a partner. It’s great to practice it on your own because when you are on your own, you might notice even more different things. You’re like, “I clenched my buttocks when I’m doing that,” or I hold my breath. You can play with where like I see these as dials on a radio channel that you can play with the different receivers and dial into different frequencies.

Practice and explore and find out what works. It might be having the type of sex you’re having. What I find with this is simplicity. It might be that you are having sex. All you focus on is what it is like to slow down and see what happens, or all your focus is on is what it’s like to relax the body today and see what happens. If you relax the body, you’ll find you naturally slow down. I would never expect people to try everything we’ve discussed in one go because it would be overwhelming. It’s more experimenting with these different things and seeing how it feels. It’s all an experiment. This might not be your thing, but it’s exploring and seeing if it does work for you.

I’m about to do a complete 180 because moments ago, I was like, “I don’t think I have time for all this relaxed lovemaking.” Clare was coaching my husband and me for a while, and we were talking about intimacy. That word is such an important word because we think of sex and heterosexual penetration. That’s what that word means to many people. We have a flipped dynamic. I am the one with the higher sex drive, and he is the lower. I thought I was craving more sex and more penis in my vagina. What I was craving was more intimacy.

We started going for walks together. That longing was felt in these daily walks. We held hands, and I didn’t talk as much. I let him speak to me, and I felt connected to him that suddenly, I was like, “It wasn’t sex I was grieving. It was intimacy.” I love that we’re not talking about five-hour massage marathons. We’re talking about moments of connection and togetherness whenever you can get them, whether it’s 5 or 15 minutes, and how much that counts towards that intimacy accounts for how full up of intimacy we are.

When I was working with couples around different levels of desire, I was asking, “Why do you want sex? What does that give you?” They’ll often say things like closeness. I was like, “How do you get the closeness elsewhere?” You say like walking. I invite couples where, instead of giving each other a peck on the cheek when you leave each other, you can have 30 seconds for a lovely kiss or a yummy hug where oxytocin comes online. It’s these micro-moments that we can do or spend time having a conscious snuggle. These micro-moments feed us on a deep level. We look at intimacy as sex, and it’s not. It’s a whole big thing. Thank you so much for bringing that in. That’s a beautiful story.

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We can send the kids to their grandparents and have the five-hour marathon. That’s once every two months.

Sarah, do more women or more men crave this intimacy that isn’t always connected with penetration? Is it half, half? I worked with quite a few men years ago. I was surprised, but maybe it was because they were the ones who were craving a longer time being with their partner, and they would say, “Yes, my partner wants to get it done.” They’re like, “Get in me and get it done.” They were the ones that were craving more time to languish with their partner. I don’t know if that’s a small percentage. I saw more of them because that was their issue in their marriage, and they were trying to figure out how to change that. In your work with couples, do you have to lean one way or another on who wants more of this intimacy you’re talking about?

PTBE Sarah Rose Bright | Relaxed Sex
Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers by Peggy Kleinplatz

It’s both. I don’t know if you know the work of Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz. She’s written an amazing book called Magnificent Sex: Lessons From Extraordinary Lovers. It’s a wonderful book. She went and did a huge piece of research on looking at sex in long-term relationships. People who had maybe even been having sex for 40 to 50 years still said it was amazing. She looked at what were the qualities that made great lovemaking sex in the long term. We often talk about men wanting this and women wanting that. There can be some truth to all of that.

She also found that what people wanted across the board, and it doesn’t matter what their gender presentation was, they want closeness and connection. What I find is it doesn’t matter whether the woman or the man has initiated the conversation. What they want is more intimacy. They are both happy to have that because the sex often becomes polarized. It’s either all or nothing, especially when it becomes difficult in a relationship. Both parties want attention, desire, connection, and closeness. It’s more about our human nature for that.

That’s something that can be difficult to articulate that desire for that. Being able to do that in a relationship of saying it’s easy to live in our heads and analyze what’s happening, but that singing in the body and being able to say, “I want to be close to you. I want quality time with you. I want to feel seen,” it’s intimacy. I keep saying the word because that’s what makes me feel. What a beautiful thing to come. I have a theory that is slightly inappropriate when we’re talking about sex, but I’m going to go with it anyway. We are all little children who want to be told, “What a good girl, what a good job, I’m proud of you, and I love you.” We’re little children who want to be reassured, loved, and held.

When you bring that into a grownup and sexual relationship, that’s still what we want. Can you love me? Can you see me? Can you tell me I’m doing a good job? I love that it’s not gendered. This is the point I’m trying to make in a roundabout way. That need is not gendered. That need is not based on a heterosexual, homosexual, or whatever relationship. It’s a human need. I love that you’re helping people with this and talking to us about this. It makes my heart happy.

I’ve worked with many couples where they’ve found it difficult to say, “I love you to hold me.” Touch can be healing, comforting, or all sorts of different things that the human needs for touch. That gets lost in long-term relationships. Couples when they work with me, there may be some expectations that I’m going to be encouraging them to do. They think they should be wanting a king. When it gets down to it, they want to be held or touched more softly a lot of the time. That’s the foundational piece that we all need to look at, getting in place those simple things that can be powerful.

In our culture, sex is looking out for the next big thing. This intimacy piece in the foundations is where there’s so much richness. It’s like a soul or body food. It’s such a wonderful piece. Another exercise I do a lot with couples is an exercise called The Things I Love About You. You’re sharing all the things you love about your partner. It’s a wonderful thing.

Imagine doing that on the car journey with the kids in the back. Let’s share what we love about each other. Let’s start with Clare. What do we all love about Clare? Doing this on a more regular basis because they say the things you appreciate. When you put money in the bank, interest grows. It’s like finding the languages to share our love. I had a couple at a workshop. We did this thing I love about You exercise. They’ve been together for many years. They were like, “We’ve never told each other the details of the things that we love about each other.” It blew their mind.

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Encouraging is another form of intimacy. That intimacy in words as well as touch. It’s bringing more of that intimacy and connection online. It builds our strength and resilience in our relationships and in ourselves. It feeds that inner child that wants that attention and to be seen and noticed. It’s good on many levels.

We know that it’s good for us. We agree it feels good in our body. How have you seen some of the most successful couples make time for it? What have they done to make this a priority so that it’s not a good idea they heard on a blog? Are there any couples that come to mind for you or strategies that you feel help work?

One of the top three challenges for couples is finding time in their busy lives that are often overwhelmed by kids. It’s a trial and error process to find out what works for your coupledom because sometimes couples try things, and it doesn’t work. They’re like, “This doesn’t work for us.” They give up. When we start to explore things, we bring new ideas that do work.

It’s committing to planning for this. For a lot of couples, if it doesn’t work for you spontaneously, it’s about planning it. If you don’t plan your holiday, you don’t go on holiday. If you don’t plan to see your friends, you might not see your friends. When you were dating, you were planning it. It looks like it was all free and easy, but you planned it. You’ve got yourself ready. You washed your hair, had a shower, and got the house clean. It’s about putting that time and effort in.

I would be going for quality, not quantity. That’s so much more important. It’s about having agreements in place. It is a priority to make time. If you have a Venn diagram with overlapping circles and you’ve got family time, kids, parents, or relatives, you want time for yourself and time as your couple. When you’ve got young children, that time for the family often dominates. Holding in mind that you transition out of the role of parents back to Jane and Frank or to lovers, there’s that conscious transition out of your mom and dad roles and that looks different for different people. For some people, that might be time together. For some people, that might be time alone.

People think that if it doesn’t happen spontaneously, there’s something up with them, and if it’s not effortless and easy. I remember one couple. The man was shaking because he thought that because sex wasn’t easy for them, it wasn’t happening naturally and effortlessly. He thought that there was something up with them and this was the end of their relationship. I was like, “No, it isn’t natural and easy in long-term relationships all the time.” It takes work. The relief was wow.

It’s about finding the times that work for you. We might say, “On Wednesday, we cook food. On Thursday night, we have leftovers. We don’t have to eat on Thursday. I’ll put the kids to bed.” If you’ve got kids, you get the house tidy or whatever you need to switch off and look at where people are. Are you in a night hour or early birds? It might be finding a time that works for you both. Sometimes, when people have older kids or no kids, weekends are better. The mornings can be better because they’re more relaxed.

It’s finding that time. It may be that you commit to an hour. Sometimes, it’s committing to a container of time. If you are exhausted and you’re like, “I’ve got the whole evening with my partner. When’s it going to end?” That can create some stress. Whereas if it’s like, “We’re going to have an hour together. That’s our time.” That might feel doable. You might end up having two hours or 30 minutes together.

It’s a practice trial and error negotiation. For some couples, I find it works best where they take turns to lead on it. It’s not down to one couple. This week, I’ll drive to the time we meet. Some couples have regular-like Monday nights. Some couple’s lives don’t allow that. Know it’s going to ebb and flow. I was working with a couple. They’re having a terrible time putting their daughter to bed. She won’t go to bed and sleep. It’s a battle every night. They’re exhausted by the time it’s done. It’s like, “This is happening. We may not have the intimacy that we would like to be having.”

The research shows that couples that navigate and talk about it rather than become the elephant in the room are like, “This is difficult. I want to be having intimacy, but I’m white. Let’s have a snuggle and watch Tally. At least we’re snuggled up together and having some contact. Let’s talk about this again in two weeks, or let’s try again and see if we can have a night away. We take the kids to grandparents so we can have a night for ourselves.” The communication and the getting it back on track. Taking the pressure off for it to be perfect and constant because that isn’t going to happen for most people.

I love what you said about taking turns to lead it. That’s something that we’ve been talking about a little bit, even leading our intimacy both, but it not falling on the one and being another source of, like, it’s always me that has to do this. I love when you can say things like that out loud. Part of the intimacy is that conversation where you say I love planning it.

I would also love not to have to plan it. If babysitters have to be arranged or things dinner has to be cooked, can we take turns? I would love to do it sometimes. I’m happy to do it 50% of the time, but I would appreciate you doing it. The conversations are part of the intimacy. I am able to share what I need, ask for something, and say, “What do you need? What do you want to ask me for and be able to do that?” It is such a gift. I love that.

Seeing it as a treat, not a chore, because some people are like, “I do this thing.” How do you make it wonderful? For people reading, they might not know what one. That’s common in all genders, especially the women that I work with. If you don’t know what you want or what makes it a treat, this is a great thing to learn.

I’m working with a couple. What state is your bedroom in? If it’s full of kids’ toys, boxes, and filing cabinets, how do you make it into a sanctuary for you both? This woman felt that she would like it to be more central when we talked about it. She got some nice lighting. She changed the lighting. She got some lovely colored cushions. They put some relaxing music on, and she got a nice playlist together. She said, “I could not believe what a game changer that is for me.” Going into that room, something happens. It’s like a demarcation between domestic life and domestic drudgery into a portal that you know about your space for you as a couple. I get curious about how that might look.

That’s similar to how many women will talk about how they have better sex or more sex when they go on vacation because they’re more relaxed. They’re in a different atmosphere where they don’t see that laundry on the floor or worry about the kids coming through the door. That makes sense. We talked about how to build a sex room because we took that from the Netflix series of how to put some things that make it inviting. You step over the portal to this place that is inviting for you to have intimacy. We change it. It’s not about this is where we have sex, but it’s our couple bubble. It’s our place that the kids can’t come when we decide it’s this time or whatever that it’s for us.

I would love to have you talk about this. Was that sex this slow, intimate lovemaking thing? Do you have a journey? I want someone who’s reading, if there is someone who hasn’t enjoyed sex or has maybe had painful sex like this already sounds good, to have this idea of we’re going to have intimacy without penetration. Is there something that you can give a woman some hopeful advice about if she isn’t starting with someone who has had a great experience with a partner, is feeling sexy, or has a high sex drive? Is this something that could also be a game-changer for her?

I didn’t get into this job because I was good at it. I got into this job because it was a source of unhappiness and challenge for me. I hated my body. I was terrified of sex. I didn’t know what to ask for. I froze when I communicated. Several years ago, I started on a journey to explore this. It was the most terrifying thing I ever did.

It was terrifying. I say that to people reading because I’ve had women contact me, saying, “I’ve been following you for several years now. It’s only now that I’ve got the courage to reach out because the fear can be, ‘What if I’m the one that’s got this wrong? What if I’m the one that’s broken or struggling with it?’” I promise anybody who is reading that is not true.

We’re struggling with it for different reasons. A big one is no one has had any good education around this part of our lives. Many people, when they reach out after even one conversation, they’re like, “I feel much better. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know that I’m okay. I can see a route forward.” I went and explored all sexual things in my 30s and pink and tantra. I’ve been on a huge journey. I had a whole phase where I couldn’t have sex without drinking. That was a big thing moving from sex without alcohol to sober sex. I have been on a real journey with it.

PTBE Sarah Rose Bright | Relaxed Sex
Slow Sex by Diana Richarson

One time, I was having sex with a partner I had with for a few years. He stopped in the middle of it, and the sensations I felt were utterly incredible. I was like, “What is this? I want more of this.” In sex, we’re doing it all the time. There’s constant activity. Through explorations, I found the idea of slow sex or relaxed lovemaking. One of my favorite people on this is my teacher, Diana Richardson, who wrote a brilliant book called Slow Sex. She says that the publishers wanted to call it Slow Sex. She didn’t because of how slow is slow. Slow is a moving feast. What might feel slow to one is not to another. What feels slow now isn’t to another.

It has been a journey. I’m menopausal now. Having had some unexpected pain from menopausal changes and slow sex helped me relax in lovemaking. I saw that disappear. Had I found this in my twenties, I don’t know. It suits me more when I’m older. I also work with younger people who do find it. They love it and it works. I don’t think it is for menopause and beyond. I’m still on a journey with it. My partner and I are still exploring it and finding what works. We still have practice time because we are changing. We are different people all the time.

In terms of people reading and trying it, there can be many layers to why we’re not enjoying sex. It can be past experiences, what happened in our childhood, how we’ve been educated, or lack of education. It can be how we feel about ourselves, our bodies, self-esteem, and safety. There are a million different layers. It is a journey to explore this aspect of ourselves.

Depending on your partner, part of it is exploring it for yourself. Anyone reading who’s not in a relationship or with a lover, there’s so much of this that you can explore for yourself and get to know your own body. How do you like to touch yourself? What type of touch do you like? Where do you like touch? You are getting curious about all of that.

See it as a practice. We don’t have a culture of practice when it comes to sex. If you go and see a band at the O2 arena in London, they’ve put hours of practice to show up at the concert. We are expected to show up in the bedroom and produce this concept without any practice. You might say to a partner, “I’ve read about this thing called relaxed lovemaking. I’d love to try it. What do you think?” It’s having that mindset of lifelong learning. Sometimes, we can be a bit closed-minded when it comes to sex. It’s like, “This is what we do. This works for me. Why would I change? If I change, is it because enjoying it or get into a dance of criticism quickly, even if that’s not the intention?”

It might be saying to a partner, “I love the sex we have, and I’d love to try this. What do you think? Let’s try something else. I’ve heard slowing down can make a difference in how we experience sex. Would you be up for trying it?” Having those conversations can help. By doing it and slowing down with your partner, not even having a conversation, and saying, “Can we go a bit slower as things start to speed up?” Suddenly, it might be a glimpse opens up, and like, “That felt nice.” There are lots of ways to explore it and introduce it.

That was one of the questions I was going to ask. How does one partner suggest to the other partner that they do this? I’ve noticed that you’ve used the word curious a few times. Clare and I love that word. Curiosity is a great thing to bring to the bedroom. Being curious about things is wonderful. I love that it doesn’t have to be like this serious sit-down conversation where one partner suggests and the other partner potentially feels attacked or criticized in retreats. It can be playful, and it can be about curiosity because who wouldn’t say a wholehearted yes if the person that they’re in bed with goes, “Do you want to try this fun thing?” Most of us are going to say yes to that. You’re like, “Let’s try this new fun game.”

Many people get serious about sex as adults, and they get serious about life. I’ve suggested to couples, “Go to Alton Towers for the day and scream on a rollercoaster. Go and do salsa classes and do things that bring more fun back in.” When it comes to this question, we often talk about finances, how we do the finances, or how we might parent the kids but we don’t talk about sex.

In my couples group, I gave them a question, “What’s your vision for your sex life and your intimate life for 2024?” One couple who’d been together for many years said, “We never ask that question.” We have that question about health, career, or where we’re living. Once a year, having this question of like, “How is our intimate sex life? What would we like to do more of? What would we like to do that we used to do and we’re not doing? What would we like to learn? Our intimacy feels distant at the moment. How do we get it back?” You are normalizing these conversations and these explorations.

I’ll have curiosity in my head when I’m dead because it’s slightly my favorite word. Who’s my partner at this moment? We are a unique being in every single moment. We’ll never be that person. If we bring that curiosity to, how do I want to be touched? How does my partner want to be touched? What type of intimacy would you like? What do you need from me? Bringing this constant curiosity brings freshness. It helps to stave off things getting habitual and boring when we bring curiosity all the time.

PTBE Sarah Rose Bright | Relaxed Sex
It really helps to stave off things getting habitual and boring when we bring curiosity all the time.

Things get heavy when it’s about curiosity and play. One of our favorite stories is when we talked about Steven, and I was trying something new. I tied him up, and it was awful. He and I hated it. It was rubbish. It still led to greater intimacy because we tried this new thing, and we laughed about it when neither of us enjoyed it. It’s back to that goal thing. What is the goal here? Is it for us to go to Pound Town and have five orgasms? That’s not the goal. The goal is to be more into it but laugh and be silly because sex is silly. Silly noises happen. We need to laugh about it.

If you go out for dinner together, you might go out and you have an amazing meal. You might go out and have an awful meal and be like, “I’m never going back there again.” You might have a mediocre meal, or you might enjoy this bit but not that bit. It’s the same sometimes with sex. It’s this pressure that should be good, enjoyable, and amazing all the time, which is this unconscious thing that people believe puts pressure on. Whereas if you are in that, what can we explore? Let’s see how it goes, mindset? You can turn it into a giggle and not make it mean anything because it didn’t work for you that night. It might not ever. It might be in the future. You can laugh about it and still think you’ve had a great evening together and not the evening you planned.

When I hear you say that, you have a couple’s actual class that’s going to be coming up. When readers read this episode, which will be released in February of 2024, you will have an event. Is it on Valentine’s Day with you and your partner for couples? Could you tell us about that?

We’re doing a Valentine’s evening on the Saturday after the 14th of February 2024. It’s the seventeenth. It’s 7:00 until 9:30 UK time. It’s on my website. When working with couples, we do a twelve-week couples program. The couples say that time is the hardest thing, and committing to the program means they’re showing up for each other for two hours a week. Having these little events is a space to turn up together as a couple. We pose questions for the couples like, “What’s your vision for 2024?” These are juicy questions that get couples thinking and talking in ways they maybe don’t always talk. These are questions that evoke curiosity and possibility.

We do some questions and movement practice because often people are sat down all day. They’re run ragged. We do stretching and different practices to come more into the presence and feeling of the body. We share exercises, and it’s all done. It’s in the privacy of your own home. The cameras and microphones wall off for the exercises. They’re all gentle exercises. It’s a little treat for an evening. You might go out for dinner and have time together. You can come to a couple’s workshop and have an evening together.

We’ll provide the link to that because there are few of these types of opportunities for a couple. This is a wonderful one. I have a couple I work with, and I’ve worked with them for a few years now. I feel like this would be a perfect thing to send them to you because it forces them to have this weekly date and create some new opportunities. I’m excited that the timing is perfect for us to release this episode and then have some people look at your website. You have my dream thing. I would love to have a partner who likes to talk about sex as much as I do and wants to help other couples. You’ve been doing this together.

You have a partner like that, not a sexual one.

I don’t mean to say that, but we do live across the pond. I can’t cuddle up with you and do a workshop in one place as easily. I’m envious of the fact that you have this partner with whom you can create this vision together. It seems dynamic to have both of you looking in the same direction with these same goals to help couples be more intimate.

I feel blessed.

We’re hoping what happens is this show stays out in the world for a long time. It’s not 2024 when you’re reading this, wonderful readers. Maybe you’re reading this from the future. Hello to the future. We’ll put a link to Sarah Rose Bright. You can still find her and what she’s doing. I wondered about the little time that we had left because we could listen to you all day. If I were to hand you a soap box and you got to go off on a rant about something that you are passionate about or annoys you or a myth you want to dispel.

I’m in the process of writing an article about why I don’t work with sex toys. It’s not because I feel they’re inherently wrong, but my rant is that our bodies are phenomenally amazing and incredible. We spend all this time trying to get out with the new experience, high, and entertainment. I’ve already touched on this, but my rant is coming back to our bodies. Our bodies are fantastic continents of incredible pleasure that we can have and get masters at knowing our bodies.

Our bodies are fantastic continents of incredible pleasure that we can have. Share on X

There’s a famous quote. She says something about our bodies creating music of ecstasy but seeing them as a musical instrument. We play one string over and over again. We can play multiple symphonies when we get to learn how to touch, how to be touched, and what our bodies love. Genitals are amazing, and we touch them often in one way. There are a million different ways we can touch, create, and generate pleasure.

My rant is for our bodies not to forget them because there’s so much available here, like multiverses of pleasure. That’s where the deep intimacy, deep connection, and all the possibilities are. It’s like this deepening in rather than this up and out. That’s where we open our hearts and connect in a whole different way.

In our last episode, we were talking about that deepening. Instead of that up and out through the head, we had intended that in season three, it was going to be the season we talked about sexless, and the universe is not having it be that way.

It is not. I was feeling guilty when we started to go back into it, but I do believe the universe is saying, “We’ve gone out. It’s time to come back to what is important because there isn’t enough information available.” I am happy that we’ll have a link to your podcast because you have a whole range of things that you can let listeners know about. Is there anything else, Rachel, that you would like to ask Sarah before we close this down?

No, I love the soapbox moment. That was perfect. For me, it’s to end on. I was watching you, Clare, nod along. We are on Zoom recording this. I get to see everybody’s faces, which is lovely. It’s beautiful for us, and this whole conversation around relaxed sex. We’re not going to be goal-oriented with this show. I feel satisfied and good. I’m happy to end.

Thank you always, dear readers, for following us through our seasons. We appreciate you, and we will connect again on the next episode. You can find us on Instagram @Permission_Podcast. If you have any suggestions for episodes or have a question, you can always reach out to us through an email at EnchantingPodcast@gmail.com. Thank you, Sarah, for joining us. I am delighted that we got this opportunity, and I will be following your podcast.

Thank you for your great questions. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you both.

I love you, Rachel.

Love you, Clare.

We’re happy you’re with us, Sarah. Have a wonderful day. 

Thank you so much.


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About Sarah Rose Bright

PTBE Sarah Rose Bright | Relaxed Sex

Sarah Rose Bright is an intimacy and sex coach, and host of The Love, Sex, and Intimacy Podcast. She helps women and couples to truly enjoy sex, pleasure, and create or deepen intimate relationships that are passionate, healthy, and happy.

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