It's noT You, It's The Patriarchy.
In this week's podcast episode I'm talking with Sex Therapist Joanne Bagshaw, PhD,LCPC about low desire, feminism, and women's sexuality.
Listen to discover how the patriarchal culture hurts our relationships, and how to bring back your desire even in times of COVID.
(Complete transcript below)
In this episode you'll discover
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD, LCPC is an award-winning professor of psychology and women’s studies at Montgomery College. She is also an AASECT-certified sex therapist with a private practice in Maryland, and she is the author of "The Feminist Handbook: Practical Tools to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy“ and writes the popular feminist blog, “The Third Wave,” for Psychology Today. Before respecializing as a sex and relationship therapist, Joanne was a trauma therapist, working primarily with rape and sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and adults who were abused as children. Joanne brings her nearly two decades of experience as a therapist to help clients transform their relationships and lead happier and healthier lives. From a desire to expand her impact, Joanne founded Flourish Media & Education, where she provides digital programming to help women resist sexism and flourish.
Find out more about Joanne and connect with here HERE.
Join in the discussion on this episode and more in my free Facebook Group, Find Your Feminine Fire HERE.
Amanda Testa (00:01):
Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a Sex Love and Relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex love and relationships and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome. Hello everyone. And welcome. Thank you so much for being here today. And I am looking forward to today's podcast because if you ever suffer from low libido or desire discrepancy among other things, I'm going to be talking with Dr. Joanne Bagshaw and she is an award-winning professor of psychology, and she's also a sex therapist with a private practice in Maryland and the author of "The Feminist Handbook: Practical Tools to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy“ And she writes a popular feminist blog called the Third Wave for Psychology Today. And I am so thrilled to be talking with you today because I know you also have a deep, you know, background in working with trauma and, you know, just such great expertise. So I'm really looking forward to you sharing some of your wisdom today. So thank you thrilled to be here. Thank you. And as we dive in, I'd love, if you might just share a little bit about kind of your journey and what led you to be so passionate about this work?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (01:16):
Well, it has been a journey. So I think where I started was certainly as a, as a trauma therapist. And I actually, even though I've been a therapist for decades now did not want to be a therapist. So I, in my naivete and college thought that all tha therapists did was just sit and listen to people, talk about their problems, and that sounded excruciatingly boring and dull. And why would anyone want to do that? And, but then I was in graduate school and this was my master's degree. And I went to John Jay college of criminal justice and my master's is in forensic psychology. So I thought that I would go into forensics and do evaluations or something, but I took a course called memory trauma and dissociation. At the same time I was working part-time for domestic violence agency and rape crisis center. And my work there was training volunteers who would go to hospital emergency rooms and meet intimate partner violence victims and rape and sexual assault victims and counsel them and advocate for them in the hospital.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (02:22):
So I also did my externship there. And when I learned about trauma therapy and applied it with working with rape victims, rape survivors at, at the agency, I worked for, it really clicked how much work was going on behind the scenes, in the mind of a therapist, particularly a trauma therapist and sequencing, sessions and calming down nervous systems and sttuning with clients and what to ask, how to ask, you know, how to help heal and resolve trauma with someone through your relationship with them in the therapy room. And it was fascinating. So I did that work for probably about 15 years before I transitioned over to sex and relationship therapy, but I still am a trauma informed therapist because trauma is you pick it up in our society, right? So it's so common and it's at the root of many of the issues that we struggle with. So I really do believe that all therapists should be trauma informed. So it's not like I don't do trauma work anymore. I just don't do it exclusively.
Amanda Testa (03:25):
And I think that you just hit the nail on the head because there is so much just a bit of ubiquitous in our society. So yeah, and I'm, you know, and I love too how your so passionate about dismantling the patriarchy and really kind of supporting feminism and kind of the broader scope of what that looks like in real life. And so I'd love if you would share a little bit now, I know it's very exciting because it's coming up on the one year anniversary of your book. So, but yeah, so, and I'm curious to know how you're, you know, what kind of really led you to write the book? What was the motivation behind that?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (04:02):
Sure. So in my clinical experience, and in my lived experience as a woman, I have heard women question themselves. So question, what is wrong with them in a way that I've never heard men do. And it shows up in all women, different classes and races, different developmental stages in our lives, from how our bodies look and getting sucked into diet culture, And what's wrong with me that I can't diet and keep weight off and look a certain way. Even when science tells us that diets don't work, the billion dollar diet industry tells us something else, gaslights us and blames us. So we can't keep the weight off. So there's that aspect, women who are new mothers who say I'm exhausted all the time, what's wrong with me? Why can't I just get it together and work and take care of the house and take care of the baby?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (05:00):
Why can't I do all these things to women being gaslit in relationships or in our culture and blaming themselves for it. And even today as a sex therapist and talk about low desire, our concept of how the, the cycle of sexual desire works is based on what's normative for most heterosexual men and not women. So women come in and say, what's wrong with me. I used to really crave sex and I don't anymore. And my husband of 15 years is, you know, upset and it's causing a lot of conflict. So what's wrong with me. And so I wrote this book as sort of an answer to that question. And the answer is, it's not you, it's the patriarchy for many things. So, you know, and I took it some pushback sometimes. What about personal responsibility, et cetera, et cetera. And my answer to that is, you know, when we're as women or really any marginalized person, when we're putting our energy into fixing something that's not broken and trying to, trying to meld ourselves into a racist, white supremacist culture, you know, we're not spending energy on the things that maybe we could change that could help, like perhaps restructuring our lives in better ways by setting that more boundaries, right, by expecting more and higher quality relationships, particularly for heterosexual women in their heterosexual marriages, you know, demanding, demanding more equality at home, those sorts of things.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (06:48):
So the question isn't, it's not as if the patriarchy is responsible for everything it's responsible for a lot. And in particular, our questioning ourselves and our high rates of diagnoses of PTSD, anxiety, eating disorders and depression.
Amanda Testa (07:05):
I mean, I think that is, I love when you said trying to fix something that's not broken. And that to me, just to hit so deeply because, you know, we are, there's such in our culture, especially here in the U S you know, that drive to look a certain way, or there's only one way things can be, and then you have to be able to do it all and manage all the things. And like you said, you know, the instances of eating disorders and the instances of, you know, constantly feeling not enough. And, you know, even for men, you know, like the depression in men and suicide rates in men, like there's the patriarchy really doesn't serve anyone. And I think that I just really want to reiterate that part of like really knowing it's not you, it's our culture.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (07:48):
Yeah. And that's exactly right.
Amanda Testa (07:50):
Yeah. And so, and I'm wondering too, you know, you mentioned gaslighting, I think that's such a huge thing, but just to clarify a little more, because maybe people are out there listening and like, I've heard this term, but what exactly does it mean? Because I really, you know, want to dive in a little bit more about how our culture gaslights us.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (08:07):
So gaslighting is embedded in our culture, and that's why it happens so frequently. But what is it? I don't think the examples of how it shows up in the culture, but basically it's a way that someone or a system can distort your reality into taking on their reality. Right? So you're being manipulated to believe something that is false. And I want to normalize it in a sense in that it is so common because I often hear people say, why does this keep happening to me? And it's not, you know, again, it's not used to patriarchy, but also it's so deeply embedded in our culture. When we say things like love, will hear he'll racism, or we refer to enslaved peoples as immigrants in textbooks, things like that, where we don't acknowledge genocide of American Indians, et cetera. So, you know, in those ways you can see how systems have power to alter the reality of the people that they're feeding.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (09:08):
Right? So it's no surprise that those dynamics too, would also show up in relationships. And they do, particularly when there is a power imbalance in some way, not exclusively. Because the other part I want to say is sometimes people, people Gaslight as a way to avoid conflict. So it's not the intention. Isn't always nefarious. It isn't always to be harmful and abusive. And so knowing that it's helpful, you know, if you understand that someone is saying might say, I didn't say what you just heard, heard me say, right? Well, I didn't say that, you know, that they, they, their intention might not be to confuse and distort your reality, but to avoid a conflict, but, you know, but that's not the impact. The impact is on, you know, when you've been gaslit is anxiety and depression and self blame and confusion, and this realness of what is even real anymore.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (10:05):
And there are some vulnerability factors for being gaslit certainly a power and balance because without the power of balance, you know, you, somebody wouldn't have the power over you to influence you in that way. So that's why it can also show up at your workplace, right? We've all had some experience of a coworker or a boss who was gaslighting, but other things like empathy. So empathy is a wonderful quality to have. Of course, we all want to have lots of empathy, but for those of us who have what I would say almost too much empathy or not enough boundaries around their empathy will take on the reality of another person. Right? And so you, because you see a situation through their perspective, and that makes you vulnerable to being gaslit by someone who might take advantage of your empathy. So, you know, my recommendation is to replace empathy, with caring, concern, right? That's a different level, right? We're so where you can, you can be interested in what somebody else is struggling with and say, wow, that sounds really hard, but you don't have to take anything on, you don't have to take on their feelings for them. Right. So that's a boundary.
Amanda Testa (11:24):
I love that. That feels huge. You know, even just when you said that my nervous, system's like, Oh yeah, there's a way out because, you know, yeah. Especially like, even in our household, there's been some intense, you know, things happening and I can find myself just feeling like, Oh, and so I really have to be careful noticing when that's happening, but I love that caring, concern, that kind of reframe.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (11:49):
Absolutely that there's a way out, because empathy is feeling what someone else's feeling from their perspective. Right? And so we need empathy in relationships for them to thrive, but not so much that you've given up your own feelings. And now you can only see the scenario through another person and you can see that dynamic real clearly in a relationship where there's someone who's narcissistic or somewhere on that spectrum. Right. Cause it is a spectrum or abusive, or has an addiction where you feel so much care-taking and empathy for them that you really just set aside your own self for them. And now you're sucked into a whole other world and you have to get yourself out of it.
Amanda Testa (12:33):
Right. And I think too, even I noticed just because of this, like the culture that we live in, you know, even in a lot of relationships, heterosexual relationships, where, for example, I have like a lot of women clients who are like, well, you know, my husband does all this and I feel like he's so tired and I need to take on more and just like, kind of that people pleasing part too. Right. It shows up so much like that. Could you speak to that a little bit?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (12:55):
Sure. I think of people pleasing also as a trauma response. And so it's a behavior that you learned to do to moderate someone else's nervous system, right? So your, your trying to lower someone else's stress, but again, like what about you? What about your nervous system? And I, I'm glad you brought up a heterosexual couple thing in particular, because the way that gaslighting shows up in a large number of heterosexual couples is around emotional domestic labor, right? So we're seeing particularly with COVID right now, the impact on women impact on women who are mothers who are having to leave the workflow workforce. Like thousands of women are, have to leave their job because they're, we're already doing three times the amount of work at home and taking care of a house, taking care of the kids and all the emotional labor. And now they're monitoring virtual learning and you can't do it.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (13:52):
So when researchers interview heterosexual, men, men will respond and say, I absolutely support my wife in working and having a thriving, successful career, but in practicality, in real life, when she says, Hey honey, I have a meeting and can't get the kids after school. Can you get them? He will not rearrange his schedule to do so generally, you know, we're talking in generalities. So the idea of saying, yeah, I absolutely support my wife and working, having a thriving career, but I'm not actually going to accommodate her schedule in any way and help in that way. It's gaslighting and it's maddening.
Amanda Testa (14:35):
Yes. I hear that a lot. So I, you know, I can relate to that with my clients as well. And one of the things you mentioned that I would love to loop back around to, you know, especially with COVID and all the additional responsibilities that many, you know, women are faced with and just in general, the stress that has on relationships, because I know we were going to talk about low sex drive in general, but I think with the pandemic and with being quarantined, I'm hearing from a lot of people, like we just it's like that desire is just not there. And I would love if you could speak to that a little bit.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (15:04):
Sure. So let's talk about the way that desire functions and, you know, we've been, we've been conditioned to believe that desire and our sexual response cycle is linear, right? So meaning it starts with desire, leads to arousal, then orgasm then resolution, which is like baseline and then repeat. And that's the way it goes. And that's, what's normal and healthy for everyone. Well, it is normal and healthy for the majority of heterosexual men, but this is not the way that, you know, women's sexual response cycle works for the majority of women. So for most women, the sexual response cycle is circular. So that means that desire can show up at, at any time. And for many women, it shows up after we are aroused. So that means that after you have been exposed to a sexual cue, you've been flirting, your partner touches you in a certain way.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (16:01):
You've read erotica, you know, whatever it is that works for you. But once you start to get aroused, now you have a craving for sex, but other things that influence desire, also the quality of our relationships, our stress level. So when the quality of our relationships is great, that, you know, keeps us more open for getting, going with sex and, and building up desire. But when there are conflicts, particularly if they're unresolved or ongoing or chronic, that puts the brakes on desire. So, you know, it's, what's important for women to understand, you know, when they call and they might be like, yeah, I know, you know, the pandemic, whatever. I just, I don't really feel very sexual. What's wrong with me. It's really nothing. Let's look at all of the ways that you're being impacted by what's going on around you. And it's pretty typical response. I know I've said normal a couple of times as a sex therapist. I don't like to say normal in terms of sex, but I do mean statistically normal, but that's a typical response for your sex drive your desire to be impacted by your relationship, by cultural stress, by political stress, by your hormones, changing, you know, lots of things, you know, body image struggles, all of those things.
Amanda Testa (17:20):
And I think a big part of the, you know, the work around connecting to your desire, or even just nourishing that part of yourself is no, you have to have that first baseline of nervous system regulation. So with all the stress and everything else, of course your body is going to have zero desire to go there. If it doesn't feel like it is safe enough, it doesn't feel like there's, you know, there's enough ability, capacity to be there. So,
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (17:47):
And stress and are incompatible with arousal. So, you know, so, and that's also one of the, you know, most sex therapists do this, but you know, the, the most effective sort of like homework for couples is to plan intimacy dates because when you're working full time and you have kids and you've been living together and long-term relationships finding time to have regular sex is not so easy. And so when you have to plan it and couples will, you know, at first many get turned off by that idea, like, cause it's still buying into this, et cetera, good, healthy sex idea is spontaneous, right? And that's, that's not accurate because if you back up and you look at when you were dating, when you said sex was spontaneous and you didn't have to plan it, you were planning it because somebody likely got birth control, people, you know, the two of you were grooming or shaving or buying perfume or outfits, you know, all the things that we do to prepare for dates, which is preparing for sex, right?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (18:53):
So it wasn't spontaneous. It was planned. So, so planning sex helps set up the stage that if, you know, Saturday afternoon is your time. And by the way, for most women at night before bed is not a great time, but Saturday afternoon might be because you can have a chance to, to relax your nervous system to take the time that you need. And that's another thing that I tell couples and most women and men don't know is that on average for many women, it takes 20 to 40 minutes of quote unquote foreplay for peak arousal. And I say, quote, unquote, foreplay, because all sex play is sex, right? So you know, I want to move away from the idea that penetrative intercourse is the Holy grail of sex, because that's not the case. So, but you know, so if you plan time and you accommodate that you need time for arousal, the more than likely you're going to have a really good sexual experience. So planning time to relax your nervous system, planning time for arousal, and you don't have to spend literally 45 minutes doing quote-unquote foreplay because it starts before the bedroom, right? If you know, Saturday afternoon, is your intimacy date. You, you know, you're thinking about it during the week. So that is a sexual cue. You can touch your partner, you know, looking forward to Saturday, you know, whatever you guys, you know, couples do that works for them. But you know, you're bringing it up in conversation that all counts as time spent towards increasing your arousal.
Amanda Testa (20:33):
And I think, you know, I, I think, like you say, there's so many people that have a lot of pushback around it, but it is so true. You kind of sometimes need to be able to have that carved out because when you have a busy life, when you have kids, when you have all the things, if you don't have it as a priority, it will not happen. And maybe for a little bit of time, that feels okay. But then months, years go by and all of a sudden you're like I have a roommate or whatever it is. Right. So, but one of the things you mentioned that I think is so clear on that too, is, you know, having that regular time of connection and yes, if any kind of sexual activity happens great. But if not, that's okay too, because there are those times where maybe your partner does something to really you off right before you're supposed to have your scheduled date. But I think showing up and just even bringing that, like bringing whatever's there and being together is such a great way to build that trust with one another, to build that capacity of feeling safe in their presence. So your body is more willing and able to even relax and open and be, be desiring, right? Like you said that.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (21:31):
Absolutely. Yeah. And that's why I call it an intimacy date and not a sex date because all sex has to be, you know, coming from enthusiastic consent and I have to have sex Saturday afternoon and let's allow for life. So somebody is going to be sick. Somebody hurt their back, you know, like all the things that could happen. It doesn't mean that you can't be intimate during that time. And having an open, honest dialogue about something that's bothering you is intimacy, but it does help. You know, when you have that, when you have what I call this maintenance sex date set up. So if your baseline bottom is is one time, you know, having sex once a week and you set that up and you have that going regularly, that intimacy date it's so much easier to have spontaneous sex because you're already having your existing sex life is continuous, right? So, but when you don't plan sex, you don't plan intimacy. And like you said, it's a month goes by it's two months. And for sure, I get couples that call and say, it's been six months, it's been a year and we don't know what to do because now you, you can't just start by having sex. Again, you have to rebuild your romance, starting with intimacy dates, not necessarily with sex, starting with holding hands, go for a walk, start talking about what's been bothering you. Things like that.
Amanda Testa (22:54):
I mean, I think that's so huge because the wooing aspect is so fun that oftentimes in long-term relationships that can be, you know, kind of put to the wayside. But I always joke, like at brushing your teeth goes a long way. Even just taking some efforts to show your partner, that you do care and you, you know, are excited to connect in whatever way that looks like.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (23:16):
Yeah. You know, we have the image from movies and TV that, you know, when you meet your life partner that, you know, having sex, all that just is so easy and you never have to work at it. But the reality is relationships are hard and we have to work at them and working at them includes planning sex. So, you know, if we could just reeducate everyone that if you want a long-term relationship, be prepared to work and you know, you will reap the rewards of that work. But if you just think relationships are set it and forget it and you know, everything will be great. Yeah. You're going to be struggling at some point for sure.
Amanda Testa (23:56):
And one of the things I just want to loop back to you just to get your perspective on, because I know oftentimes this is a specific example for many women in heterosexual relationships, I'll hear that. Well already have so much to do. Like I have to be in charge of everything. And now I've got to do the sex date too. And it's just like one more thing for me to do. So I'd love for you to share some insight around that or, or some support for women who feel that way.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (24:18):
That's a really, really good question because that comes up a lot. And that is sort of the, the center of the issue for women who come in with low desire is that they've built a lifestyle around avoiding pleasure. Yeah. Like getting stuff done. You, you are not on this earth just to get stuff done. This is your life. You are entitled to pleasure you're in. And if you're, you know, and certainly if you're having mediocre sex, you're not going to be incentivized to, to have sex, but then let's talk about what you need. And so that you can communicate that to your partner. But also I teach women to, to restructure their lives, to look for pleasure, to be pleasure seekers. So, and I mean everyday pleasure because you know, everyone is like, yeah, well, pleasure would be going to Europe. I mean, I would love to go to Italy right now, but we're in a pandemic, right.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (25:19):
So we can't do that. So, and those things are great, but you have to be able to find the small ways that you can, that you can incorporate in your everyday life, like really enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. If you're a tea drinker, really enjoying drinking, a nice glass of wine, savoring, a delicious meal, going for a walk and feeling the sunlight on your skin, you know, so, and, and for everyone, pleasure is going to be different, but it's essential for your self care because it helps you regulate your nervous system. Again, we were not put on this earth just to get things done, right? So we have this wonderful body and wonderful nervous system that will allow us to feel joy and pleasure if we let it in. So for the women who are like, I don't have time for that. Like I want to say, okay, like, how is the sex in your relationship and are your orgasming? You know, and if not, let's talk about that and what you need. Some of it really is about reeducation around arousal patterns and asking for what you need. And also let's talk about, you know, your lifestyle and where are you getting pleasure? Because if you're living with someone who is like, I'll give you pleasure every Saturday, you know, like, why aren't you taking that up? You know, you, deserve it.
Amanda Testa (26:39):
I think that is so key. Like pleasure is something I preach all the time because it it's so something we have to de condition ourselves around, right. That we aren't able to enjoy life, that we have to martar ourselves or that we need to be taking care of everyone else and it's selfish or whatever guilt comes up for, you know, letting your kid watch a show and taking a nap or whatever it could be. Right.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (27:02):
Absolutely. And this is totally gender role conditioning because as women, you know, we're taught to be the caretakers of the world to put everyone else first to think about, I've gotta fold my kids laundry, you know, I gotta, you know, do something for someone else and we are the last people to be taken care of. But again, that's not why we're here and what, whatever reason you're here in this world, in your belief, I'm certain, it's not just to fold the laundry.
Amanda Testa (27:31):
So true. So true. So anyways, but I was just saying that, I think it's so fun when you can give yourself that permission to not call the laundry or skip vacuuming and go play with your kid, or, you know, not clean up the kitchen and maybe spend some time connecting with your partner. Right. It's a fun way. You know, like you say, create more pleasure and have more fun and sometimes letting go in realizing, guess what? The world did not collapse because I did not put away the dishes.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (28:00):
That's right, exactly. The world is not going to collapse over the dishes, however, your relationship to yourself, and even potentially your marriage might, if you're not really taking care of your needs and letting your needs be a center of your life.
Amanda Testa (28:16):
So true. And I think that also comes into, you know, bringing back that desire is when you do start catering to your own needs and desires and even tuning into what those are, it kind of just brings that part of you more alive. So would you speak to that a little bit more?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (28:32):
So, yes. So pleasure is a life giver, right? And it is energizing. It not only calms your nervous system, but reinvigorates it. So the more that you seek out and experience pleasure, the more that you seek out and experience pleasure. And then before, you know, it, you know, you've changed your lifestyle.
Amanda Testa (28:54):
And I'm curious too, you know, one of the other things we, you know, I think this loops back around to you as well is, you know, that kind of quote unquote theory of mismatched libidos, or, you know, the difference in desire. And I mean, I think these things are also connected because, you know, if you aren't enjoying pleasure of you're in that constant to do, and maybe you're taking on most of the responsibility and then the partner is not, so maybe they do have more capacity. And so I would love if you could speak to that a little bit too, if you don't mind.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (29:22):
Yeah. I think that's, that's a real issue. And I do want to say that there, there are couples that have mismatched desire. That's not necessarily this dynamic, right. That that really can, it does happen. But you know, what I do see a lot of is, is what you just explained. So, you know, if, if she is doing everything right, and, and also men can have, can come in with low desire, and I've certainly worked with lesbian couples with low desire. I have not had clinical experience working with gay men with that experience, but, you know, so, so men can have low desire when they also have relationship conflicts. Like they do also need to feel safe and comfortable in their relationship. So they may not feel incentivized for sex or that maybe, you know, avoiding sex for some of those same reasons. But I like what you said, where it's, she's doing everything and he is doing much less, he has the capacity to, to have sex where she's falling asleep.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (30:28):
So I do hear that a lot. You know, we're at night, he's like, well, you know, I'm in bed and I'm ready, but she just falls asleep. She just collapses into sleep. And it's like, well, yeah, she's exhausted. So what do you need to do to help her be less exhausted? And you know, some of that is also on her and giving up control over things, you know, I have to do this. It has to be a certain way. And it has to be the ad done at that time. And I can't give anything to anybody else. So, you know, there's definitely a give and take there.
Amanda Testa (30:59):
I think that's so key. And being able to, like you said, let go of how it has to look and just let yourself be supported. I think being able to receive that as a big, a big part of it.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (31:11):
Absolutely. And I do want to acknowledge that there are men in the world who pretend to be inept,, they can't do the laundry, they can't manage to fold towels. You know, like, like, come on guys, you can do it. Yeah. You can do it. And I see through you, so knock it off. So, you know, that exists, but, but, you know, relationships are more complicated than that. There's usually some give and take and some dynamic that's going on where both parties need to readjust the way that their pattern that they've created.
Amanda Testa (31:43):
I think the other thing too, around that, that you mentioned is, you know, it is, I also see a lot of instances where it is maybe in heterosexual relationships, the male that has less desire. And I know that can be really hard for women, but I also think, you know, this is where a lot of things come up that maybe, haven't been addressed, like perhaps past traumas and things like that, that can come to the surface. And in relationships obviously is where a lot of these things rear their heads again. Right. And so I think kind of redefining, like you said too, like what sex looks like and having it be not just like, it looks on TV or in porn, right. It's definitely not like that.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (32:17):
Yeah. It's definitely not like that. And it's better for couples to have choices in how to have sex, if you can, if sex is only one way, you know what you know, and it's, that's usually we're talking about straight couples that is penetrative intercourse. If that's the only way that you can have sex, you know, what happens when somebody has an injury, you're not going to have sex for months because you know that you can't physically do it the way that you're used to. So, or it's ill, you know, I've seen that happen. One, one, couple, you know, some, they both had chronic injuries and they couldn't have sex the way they were having. So they just stopped and then they didn't know how to restart. And really all they needed to do was just try a different position and to, to, to be more flexible. So having flexible definitions of what sex is, it's only going to enhance your sex life because of all the possibilities.
Amanda Testa (33:15):
And the thing, the thing about that too, that's so helpful. That's when it's beautiful to have a professional, to help you understand what other options there are, because there are so many bonding behaviors and other intimacy acts of intimacy that you can use to, you know, create that connection.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (33:30):
Right. And that's where a sex therapist comes in.
Amanda Testa (33:34):
So yeah. And I'd love if you would share, you know, if there, I know we've, I could feel like I could just keep talking to you for hours. Cause I love these conversations, but you know, I'd love to know too, if there's any specifically tips that you could advise people, maybe there's someone listening, thinking, okay, this sounds like this is really all resonating with me. So what would maybe be some things I could do to move towards more pleasure or to move towards getting support or whatever it may be.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (34:01):
So, you know, number one, I, I recommend talking to a female audience that you start setting boundaries and again, boundaries are not like just running around saying no to everyone. Sometimes that is what it needs to be, but it's more along the lines of how do you want your life to be and let's structure it so that, you know, you're being taken care of. So setting boundaries, being clear and specific about asking for help, say, I need you to get the kids every Wednesday and Thursday after school period, that's it be really clear and specific? I do find in general, many women do not ask specifically and clearly and directly for what they want. Their male partners actually really appreciate being told whether it's about sex or it's fast to be clear, don't let them figure it out and to be a pleasure seeker, just like every single day, look for ways to, to feel pleasure in your body.
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (35:01):
And, and yes, that includes sex, but you know, you know, sex, isn't just, just for you and your partner, it's also for you, right? So find ways to feel good in your body. And just starting with those three things are actually really huge. I don't want to say like, Oh, you can just easily go off and do it because, you know, structuring your life around pleasure is kind of a good thing. So, you know, try to take on little pieces at a time that you can win at, right. That, you know, you can change this specific thing. So you feel good and then you add something else.
Amanda Testa (35:35):
Thank you so much for that. And I'd also love it. Maybe if there was a question that you really wish that I would asked that I didn't, or maybe any last words you'd like to leave the listeners with today,
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (35:46):
I would, I, my motto is it's not you, it's the patriarchy. And whenever you start saying to yourself in your mind, what is wrong with me? I want you to remember, but Joanne Bagshaw said, it's not me, It's the patriarchy because chances are, it really is. And then once you stop questioning, what's wrong with you put that aside and then look at the situation from a realistic point of view and you can make changes.
Amanda Testa (36:16):
I love that. And where can everyone find out where to get your book and learn more about you?
Joanne Bagshaw, PhD (36:22):
Sure. So you can find me on my website, joannebagshaw.com And there are links to where you can get my book. Of course it's on Amazon, but I always recommend independent bookstores. I also have a course on gaslighting if people are interested and I have a course coming out called Ignite, which is on low desire for women. So if you'd like to get on the wait list for that, please do.
Amanda Testa (36:47):
Beautiful. Thank you so much. And I will make sure to, for everyone listening to put all this information in the show notes where you can find out more and thank you so much again for being here today. I've loved this conversation. Thank you for having me so much fun. Yay. And thank you all for tuning in. We will see you next week. Thank you so much for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa. And if you have felt a calling while listening to this podcast to take this work to a deeper level, this is your golden invitation. I invite you to reach out. You can contact me at www.amandatesta.com/activate/, And we can have a heart to heart to discuss more about how this work can transform your life. You can also join us on Facebook . Find your feminine fire group. And if you've enjoyed this podcast, please share with your friends, go to iTunes and give me a five star rating and a raving review. So I can connect with other amazing listeners like yourself. Thank you so much for being a part of the community.