020: Irene Fehr - Teaching couples to listen to themselves and have great sex
Sex & Intimacy Coach Irene Fehr helps committed couples all over the world create a nourishing and passionate sex life is as big as their love for each other. Her own confusing life experiences around sex and intimacy, from sexless marriage to divorce, took her down the path of exploring what sex and intimacy mean to her, then bringing this work to her clients to help them thrive in theirs. She weaves understanding of sex and intimacy with Co-Active coaching, Gottman Attachment Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) techniques, and Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution work to offer an approach that helps couples build a nourishing and sustaining sex life. Based in Colorado, Irene works with clients worldwide via online conferencing platforms. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on her website at www.irenefehr.com
In this episode we talk about:
Irene shares her personal story around a sexless marriage that inevitably led her to serve others looking for fulfillment, connection, and good, long-term sex in their relationships
a great story about a couple she met at a pivotal time in her journey who she thought were newlyweds and ended up having a big surprise in-store for her
the ancient tribal behavior that we still implement today which haunts so many relationships and should have evolved along with us
she shares a story about almost dying in Peru because she didn’t listen to herself and her own intuition which caused her to not speak up and take action during what became a dangerous situation
the three types of sex that couples have, how they differ, and how two of them are bound to fizzle out eventually, no matter the relationship
Irene shares a fantastic analogy of how to think about the way that women get aroused versus the way that men do, as well as how we each look at situations in life
she shares some tips on how couples can begin the conversation around their relationship and their sex life, and she even provides a FREE worksheet on how to talk to your partner
Social media: @ignitedwoman
Talking to Your Partner Worksheet:
How to talk to your partner about hiring a Sex Coach:
How to Create Extraordinary Love & Sex in a Monogamous Long-term Relationship
JUNE 19, 2019, 7-9pm DENVER, COLORADO
Modern Nomad, 2936 Larimer, Denver, CO 80205
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Gabe Ratliff: 00:00:00 Here's the little secret too. If you honor this, if you honor a woman's path of arousal and turn on and truly how much time it takes, if she could have it all her way, if she could really take her time and and build up that arousal, women will stay at that peak arousal for a long time. They'll be more like microwaves when we honor what it takes for a woman's body to be truly turned on. She's going to be the initiator and the aggressor and the one that's gonna like throw the man on the on the bed and climb on top of him. It's truly about listening and honoring to what she needs. And then you can, you can access amazing magic and this is something that's really important for men to know and more importantly this is so important for women to know.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:01:00 Welcome to The Vitalic Project podcast where you'll learn how to find your own voice in a world filled. I'm Gabe Ratliff. I'll be your host as I sit down with fellow artists, creators and entrepreneurs to learn more about their work and how they serve others. So that you can tap into your creative purpose and live a life that's drawn, not traced. All right. I'm stoked. Let's get to it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:01:29 Hey guys, thank you so much for joining me on another episode of The Vitalic Project. I'm very excited to introduce this new guest to you. Sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr. She helps committed couples all over the world create a nourishing and passionate sex life as big as their love for each other. Her own confusing life experiences around sex and intimacy from sexless marriage to divorce took her down the path of exploring what sex and intimacy mean to her. Then bringing this work to her clients to help them thrive in theirs. She weaves understanding of sex and intimacy with Co-active coaching, Gottman Attachment Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) techniques and Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution work to offer an approach that helps couples build a nourishing and sustaining sex life based in Colorado. Irene works with clients worldwide via online conferencing platforms and you can find her (@ignitedwoman) on Facebook, Twitter, youtube, and on her website at irenefehr.com and that's I r e n e F e h r dot com.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:02:34 I met Irene recently at a talk that she was giving around the things that she's learned in her work, but how we could take those and approach that through the lens of being a business owner and how we interact with our clients. And I was just so impacted by what she had to say and the stories that she shared and the way that she interacts with her clients and what's come out of this work that she's done, that I just, I had to have her on the show. So we made it happen and I'm very excited to introduce Irene, fair to you and the work that she's doing because it affects us all. So I hope you enjoy on the episode, Irene shares her personal story around a sexless marriage that inevitably led her to serve others looking for fulfillment, connection, and good long-term sex in their relationships.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:03:30 She shares a great story around a couple. She met at a pivotal time in her journey who she thought were newlyweds and ended up having a big surprise in store for her. She talks about the ancient tribal behavior that we still implement today which haunts so many relationships and should have evolved along with us. She shares this story about almost dying in Peru because she didn't listen to herself and her own intuitions and it caused her to not speak up and take action during what became a pretty dangerous situation. She talks about the three types of sex that couples have, how they differ and how two of them are bound to fizzle out eventually, no matter their relationship. She shares a fantastic analogy of how to think about the way that women get aroused versus the way that men do as well as how we each look at situations in life.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:04:18 It's, I love it. I was so blown away by this very simple but very clear analogy for us to think about how each other are aroused and how we can interact with each other in that way by just having this kind of a visual. It's fascinating. And finally she shares some tips on how couples can begin the conversation around their relationship and their sex life. And she even provides a free worksheet on how to talk to your partner about your relationship and about the prospects of potentially initiating a conversation with a sex and intimacy coach. And I'm going to put that link in the show notes along with a bunch of other links to her website and some other information she has on her website around talking to your partner outside of the worksheet. So really great conversation, tons of value in here for so many of us.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:05:10 It doesn't matter if you're straight, if your in a same sex relationship, if you're a single woman or if you are a longtime couple newlyweds. This is a really interesting and relevant conversation for so many of us and I really enjoyed the arc that we were able to cover in this very packed 90 minute conversation. So sit back, take some notes and enjoy this conversation with Irene Fehr. And one last thing. If you're enjoying the show, please feel free to share this with friends, family, or someone that you know that you think could get something out of this episode or one of the other ones that you've listened to. I'd really appreciate it. There's so many people out there that need this type of inspiration or, or can get something out of these episodes. So I'd really appreciate it. All right, let's get to it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:06:15 Irene Fehr. Thank you so much for being on this episode of The Vitalitic Project. I so appreciate you being here.
Irene Fehr: 00:06:21 Thanks so much for having me.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:06:23 So I thought we'd start out with, for some of those out there that don't know -- what is sex coaching?
Irene Fehr: 00:06:29 I get this question a lot and I love answering it. So a lot of people don't really know coaching at all. Aside from having a sports coach, like a football coach or something like that. And coaching in general is a profession similar to therapy. Um, it's like we different where we help clients achieve what it is that they want to do in their lives and there's different branches of coaching. There is business coaching, there is life coaching in general. There is relationship coaching and then there's sex coaching. So specifically what I help couples do, committed couples, his decree, a sex life that reflects the love that they have for each other and that sustains and grows with them over the decades of their life together. I helped them with the relationship piece, with the intimacy piece, with the sex piece and helping them do what it is that they want to do, have what it is that they want to have with confidence and not having anything stop them.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:07:26 One of the things I also wanted to kind of differentiate for people is how sex coaching is different from sex therapy.
Irene Fehr: 00:07:33 Sex therapy and coaching are generally different and this is how I see it. First of all, therapy was based on the mythology model and there's something wrong with us and we need to use therapy to fix ourselves, to be normal, to be healthy. And that's needed in some areas of our lives with mental illness, specifically with very, very serious mental illness. But overall therapy is a very, is this pathological approach to that. It looks at what happened, what rock, and we look at how to fix it. And coaching is very different. Coaching is a forward looking, what is the vision that you want to create in the world? What is the vision that you want to create in your relationship, in your life? And then we work backwards to determine what needs to happen and what's in the way. So let's say you want to create a passionate relationship, but you were shy around asking for what you want.
Irene Fehr: 00:08:31 Well, I would coach a person or a couple teaching them how to ask for what they want and breaking down some of the blocks that they may have about be asking for exactly what they want. Someone that is conditioning. Some of it is again, shyness. Some of it is not knowing how to do it, so it's very forward looking and it's about teaching them how to do it differently rather than looking and how does six something that I feel like it's broken and in coaching we really, in the kind of coaching that I do, I'll say that I see my clients as naturally creative, resourceful and whole, that they have the answers for the questions that they have in life. They didn't have the answers for what they need in life and it's about really digging deep and unlocking that and then empowering the clients too, do what it is that they know is right for them.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:09:23 In the questionnaire, you had this comment, I just really loved that you said, "the extent to which we can feel free with our partners is the extent to which we can change the world and break cycles of violence, shame and trauma out there. It starts with our own bedrooms". Could you speak to that?
Irene Fehr: 00:09:40 Yes. How we are with ourselves and how we are with people around us that's influenced by so many things including trauma, including our histories and our upbringings. A lot of our upbringing for, for most of us, we, even if we didn't grow up and traumatize environments, we didn't necessarily feel like we were seeing for who we are. It didn't feel like we were respected. A lot of this is truly how we used to bring up children. This is a way that upbringing was looked at, that child rearing was looked at, children are inferior versions of adults. And in that, in that kind of way of upbringing, and this went on for centuries and centuries and um, before really the last 50 years when we started to see children as little human beings who deserve respect, who have feelings, who have lives on their own. So when you grow up not respected and not being free to be yourself, whatever that means, be as loud as you, you want to be or as creative or as mathematical and in the, into your books or whatever flavor of who you are.
Irene Fehr: 00:11:01 It looks like we start to feel shame about ourselves. You start to shut down and we relate to other people from that shame. The fear and the shutdown, we often want to compensate for that. We can't relate freely to each other and so that compensation we often inflict hurt on other people and that starts a cycle or perpetuates a cycle of drama and holding ourselves back and shaming each other about who we are. And so when I think about relationships, healthy relationships where you feel free and confident to be yourself, you get to break that cycle. You get to, like I said, to the extent that you feel free is that the extent to which you're going to treat other people as free human beings, the extent of which you're going to treat them respectfully and we can create a whole different world, free of shame and trauma with our own relationships, starting with our own relationships and around sex and intimacy, starting in our bedrooms of how we relate to our partners and how we relate to ourselves and see ourselves and respect ourselves as well.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:12:13 Yeah, I wanted to ask, looking at that a contextually, where's the best place to begin your story with how you got here?
Irene Fehr: 00:12:22 Well my story, I relate to what I said in my story because my story in terms of how I ended up being a sex coach today started with my own sexless marriage very much started with the shame and the fear and the isolation that I felt in it. Not knowing what was happening, not knowing how to deal with it, not knowing if I was normal, if we were normal, if this was okay and how that influenced the following couple of years after my marriage ended and then how I woke up realizing that none of that was okay, that isolation was not okay and shifting that. So for me this, the, that was the beginning. Understanding and seeing that there is a different way of doing things there isn't there it a different way that we can live.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:13:16 Yeah. Can you, can you elaborate on that? Cause I'm really interested to see sort of how you went from, you know, be being in that space and recognizing where you were and how you found your way to becoming a sex and intimacy coach. Cause I feel like that is such a fascinating, right cause cause you've been doing it now for was eight years. Is that right? I just feel like I similarly, it was on a path working in corporate and you know, kind of doing, you know, everything was status quo. I'm married as well. I understand that, you know, you just, you get in this, you know, you get in this timeline yeah. Of your chronology, right. Of Your life of, you know, you go from step a to B to c and you know, you're moving through doing your thing and then you have something that's that impactful to then shift gears and transit to transition into something completely different that is not your usual career move. You know, this is a really powerful way to go. So, uh, can you speak to, to, to whatever degree you feel comfortable, can you kind of speak to like what, what that looked like and how you found your way to this and then decided to take that leap and to, to, to making this a career, to serve others in this way?
Irene Fehr: 00:14:31 Well there's two tracks in my life. Not that influenced does this leap that I made and the first one was around specifically career. Um, I went to graduate school and Undergrad to study philosophy, and absolutely loved it, but didn't see a career in that and see, um, how to use that? And I ended up working in the corporate world for some New York City and then in the San Francisco Bay area. And even though it was really good at my job, I did not feel satisfied and to not feel full. And I had a dream in the back of my mind of working with nonprofits, working somehow serving people, but it was always like a step ahead of me or something sometime in the future for aggressively, I felt worse and worse than my career. Less and less satisfied, more and more depressed. Feeling like I wasn't really used well used in that job. Um, that there was something more than I wanted to give to the world. And again, it was something around giving, working with people, giving back to people, to society. The second track that was happening parallel to that was after, uh, in graduate school I met a man who soon became my husband and we had a beautiful kind of fairy tale beginning like, like the way many relationships start.
Irene Fehr: 00:15:54 We were in love. You are a beautiful couple together. We had a lot of fun and things in common. We were just a great match and in a way I thought, well that's all it takes is that connection. It's that, that wonderful beginning, that's what it takes to start building a life together and in the beginning or sexist, passionate and it was fun and we're having a lot of it and that was really enjoying it. And as our relationship got more serious when we moved in together and things started to shift and our sex life, um, we were doing basically the same thing over and over and it started to get a little bit redundant, a little bit boring. Then my body started to shift and respond to that. I started to lose lubrication, sex, uh, painful. During penetration, I started to worry about what's going on with my body.
Irene Fehr: 00:16:47 I started to feel ashamed. Why is my body responding relatively quickly? I lost all interest in sex and I went to doctors and talk to them about this and said, well, just use loop and see what happens. Other, and this is a typical response from doctors even today from women is just use loop. That's the solution basically for everything. And then other doctors shrug their shoulders and said, well, it's normal to lose your libido in a long-term relationship. Most women do that or it's normal to have to, to have pain during sex. Or I also couldn't orgasm by myself and with my husband. And so they said, well, some women just don't orgasm. And I listened to them and I believe them in large part because I had no one else to talk to about this. As everything was unraveling, I felt so ashamed to talk to my husband about it.
Irene Fehr: 00:17:46 And so we stayed silent and can pull, you know, separated from each other and couldn't really talk about this. And I had no one to talk to and no friends and friends of mine were talking about this. Doctors were giving this as bice therapist is gave me books. While here's a book to read about orgasm, that would be so overwhelming for me. And I went through this process of really shutting down, of going into this shame place. There's something wrong with me. I'm not sexual enough in that seminar in enough. I'm not a good, good partner to my husband. I'm not a good life. So there's a lot of that role, the pressures from the roles that we take on in a relationship. And parallel to that was also that I wasn't talking to my husband, so we were both really pulling away from each other.
Irene Fehr: 00:18:37 And ultimately our marriage ended, not necessarily because of the sex part, because we can talk to each other about the most vulnerable things that we were feeling and experiencing. And we were so alone, even though, you know, we slept in the same bed and we kissed each other good morning and good night. We were so alone. And that was very hard on a relationship, on marriage. After the end of the marriage, I continue to believe that there's something wrong with me and I continued to take on these, these ideas that, you know, I'm, I'm just not good enough. I'm not, I'm broken. My body is broken. Over the following four years, I slept in a pretty deep depression and now I know why. At the time I didn't. But with going into this shame and shutting myself down, I also was shutting down my own life force mount an excitement for living.
Irene Fehr: 00:19:32 It felt like my life was reduced to the this black and white film. I disconnected from my own energy, my own alignness. When I disconnected from my sexuality. Finally, my body had had enough and I had a year of terrible, terrible incidents just having to be nonstop. It was just like I almost died in Peru. My dog got bitten. I lost money making stupid decisions. I lost friends. Hi. Uh, my job was just at the worst in the worst place and I in a way hit rock bottom. And with Bernay Brown calls, I had a spiritual awakening slash excuse me. What Brenae Brown calls headed? Having a nervous breakdown slash spiritual awakening and that's exactly what I had. It looked like I was going into a nervous breakdown, but on the other side is I woke up to realizing, wait a second, all of this is Raisie all these beliefs and all this stuff that I made up about feeling broken and not enough, and our relationship like our love not being not enough and all of that.
Irene Fehr: 00:20:45 It was just so often it was just wrong and I realized that there's different ways of living and different ways of having relationships and part was I met a couple that exhibited love and connection that I thought they were newlyweds and they were married, had been married for nine years time and it kind of had me see that weight more as possible and I want that. I want to create that. And I went on a journey to first fix myself because I was still thinking along the lines of, Hey, I fixed myself and my sex and my sexuality, but I quickly realized that there was nothing to fix that I just had a lot of learning to do. A lot of learning that our society keeps hidden, doesn't want us to learn, is embarrassed about us learning in Mikey's, learning about my own female body, my how it works, how would my relationship to pleasure is all that.
Irene Fehr: 00:21:41 And it was so empowering and it was so eyeopening. And like I said, very quickly I realized there's nothing wrong with me and this is true for the women that come to work with me. Nothing wrong with them. Women can't orgasm. We just haven't yet landed on the way to do that. Couples who are struggling in making sex work in a long-term relationship, they just, they don't know the way there that there's nothing wrong with them, there's nothing broken. But we need to make paths to these things available just like we have paths to learning how to be a good doctor available. Well, there's paths to having a good relationship. And so I started learning all of that and I started to feel so empowered and I wanted to let all the women know what's available, like scream it off the rooftops. I started also to experiment with relationships and how do you make this work in a long-term relationship because ultimately that's where it all started for me.
Irene Fehr: 00:22:42 And it's what I want as well for myself. I want a long term committed monogamous relationship where there's love and there's passion where there's caring and commitment and there's eroticism and risks and excitement. And so I started doing all the research and on myself and with um, the foremost experts in the field. And I started coaching couples and you know, in the last eight years I've worked with hundreds of couples and you know, they've told me over and over how this changed their life. That the different perspectives that I bring around sex and intimacy around using sex in to learn about ourselves and continuously building our curiosity, change their lives and the lives of their children, the lives of their students or patients or people that they work with. That to me was, was what I mentioned earlier, how what we do in our bedrooms changes how we relate in our lives.
Irene Fehr: 00:23:45 When we're free, when we respect ourselves, when we know ourselves, when we respect our partners, we can do the same, we can approach, we can go into the world with so much kindness and love and compassion and that just creates a ripple effect over and over and over generation generation. Wow. That's awesome. Thank you for sharing that. I love that story. I wanted to step back just a little bit and I was curious, how long did it take for you to kind of recognize that this was, you know, when you were with your husband, when, when it was you were seeing the signs of uh, how long had it been before you really started to recognize that something was wrong and, and, and, and that it was, it was not just a, this is how it is, you know, you would talk about going to speak with doctors and different people and, and that, you know, they were giving you the different responses to how, you know, this is what, this is all it is, this is life.
Irene Fehr: 00:24:47 You're like, no, when did that happen? How far were you into that? That's a great question. And there were two things happening, which is something also that I see with a lot of, a lot of women. So I was seeing signs of little, little yellow flags, signs of trouble pretty quickly in the release into the relationship. And what I'm seeing was I was holding myself back. Like there were, there was things that I wasn't liking in particular I do that I speak up or there were times when sex was a little uncomfortable or painful and I didn't speak up and I didn't ask for what I needed. And a big piece of that is conditioning that happens to a lot of women in particular were taught to not listen to our bodies and that that's true for, for all of us, but in particular women and there is this cultural, there is this cultural thinking that a little pain is okay that comes from seeing sex for also, you know, thousands and thousands of years as something that was done for men.
Irene Fehr: 00:26:01 And so I was noticing these pieces, I was like, ah, ouch, that's not so comfortable. Or Oh, I want something different. And I didn't speak up and I didn't feel that I could ask for what I want. Like it wasn't part of the paradigm of what a woman doesn't say. And again, were released a little yellow flags here and there that I disregard it. And when the trouble started happening. At that time I had no idea that these were connected. They were happening, but again, I learned so much to disregard those things that I just wasn't picking them up and just noise noise in my head, but they were happening and when things got really hard I of course thought it was there's something wrong with me and then it was already too late and it happened pretty, you know, over a matter of six months where I went from losing lubrication to of losing my libido all together.
Irene Fehr: 00:27:05 But there was a buildup to that and again, it wasn't paying attention to, yeah. You touched on a couple of things I'm really interested in elaborating on first is you almost died in Peru. I'd love to hear that story. Actually. It's funny you mentioned that after I mentioned that, not speaking up, so I was traveling in Peru with my mom and we had, we had signed up for a trekking trip too much of Picchu, which we ended up abandoning half day in because neither of us really felt safe, safe with a tour guide and didn't really trust him. So we ended up, we were trucking, we were supposed to track along this physically a very long canyon, and there's a road, I don't know, maybe a thousand feet up from the bottom of the canyon, narrow, narrow road that had both the people walking on it to get to the height, to the trail, and also had trucks on it carrying the backpacks and all that, or a campsite.
Irene Fehr: 00:28:17 So we ended up needing to go to the camp site to retrieve our camping gear and then come back on in the truck on this very narrow road on the side of the Canyon and going over there was fine. Going back. We were there alone with the driver and he decided to pick up some teacher on the drive back and teach as a fermented corn drink that's very popular, uh, in, in Peru, especially among the natives. And our driver was one of the indigenous peoples and very quickly so, so teacher can be very, it can have very, very high alcohol if it's fresh. So literally moments into our drivers drinking his teacher, he started to Yon, rubbed his eyes and fall asleep at the wheel and I kid you not, there was maybe three inches on each side of the wheel on that road. Yeah.
Irene Fehr: 00:29:20 So our drive back was an hour and a half of me sitting in the middle, in the front seat next to the driver, my mom sitting next to me and me trying to speak and have a conversation with a driver to keep him awake for an hour and a half, using completely nonexistent Spanish. So, you know, the words that I, I just, just try to do anything and everything with the words that I knew. So it was like Yamaha, like, like talk to him with excitement to keep him away. And it was terrifying. Looking back, I realized about, I did that for an hour and a half, but it never occurred to me to say, stop. We're gonna walk that whole conditioning of we're just going to put up with what's given. And that's something that I as a woman, you know, had to really reflect and look back and undo the conditioning around that, especially in the case of women.
Irene Fehr: 00:30:39 But I mean that could be deep seated for so many of us depending on what your childhood was like and things like that, you know, feeling like you don't deserve better. I that I connect with that myself. That's where all kinds of things stem from. It's just feeling like I don't deserve it, you know? So that's, that's fascinating. Keep going. Sorry. Thankfully, I think my mom's jaw locked and I had a big bruise on my side because you skipped cap, like elbowing me to be like talk to him one the scariest moments. And, and following that a month later, I also had a very scary moment similar to this of getting stranded in the back country of the Tahoe mountains in California on snowshoes, on a snowshoeing trip, snow shoeing and camping trip. And uh, actually being very much in a similar situation of being stuck because I didn't speak my truth and I did not assert that we need to head back or we need to call for help when we should have and kind of, yeah, just taking it until it was a major emergency.
Irene Fehr: 00:31:58 And then we were search and rescue out at three in the morning after eight hours being stranded at night and snow storm with no tax, no nothing. And so that was part of these, the string of incidents where the universe was starting to shake me by the shoulders and saying, wake up. You know, you, if you don't start to speak up, you don't learn how to take responsibility for your own experience and your own safety, you're going to die. And it took me a good nine months to hear that, to really hear that call. That was so at the end of nine months was when that awakening happened and that's when I started to realize that I'm in debt, I am driving this bus. I get to choose what kind of experiences I have and I get to take responsibility for my own life in a way that I hadn't realized was even possible before.
Irene Fehr: 00:33:00 What was the first action you took? What was the like when you crossed the line in the sand and we're like, I'm making the change. You know, the first thing, I don't remember if this was literally the first thing, but the first thing that comes to mind as the first thing was it wasn't a relationship with a friend where I felt like it was one sided. And I went to my friend and I was very honest tonight, I said that I really enjoy our time together. We're great friends. And I need this to be to go both ways and how can we create that? And it was in a way so revolutionary for me because I, it was such a paradigm shift to think that I can ask for what I want and need in a relationship and I can actually have this kind of conversation again instead of just taking what's given and feeling like I'm a victim of all this, all, all that comes my way.
Irene Fehr: 00:34:02 So I was incredibly empowering. It was incredibly empowering to be able to ask for what I needed. And even though ultimately it was not possible, their answer was that they couldn't do that for me, that they weren't willing to for various reasons. It was just incredibly empowering to know that, oh, I can do that. And again, I can be responsible for my own experience, experiences masking for what I need. I definitely connect with that. You know, it's difficult to, especially with somebody close or that you've had or build relationship for a long time with and you have that awakening, right? And then you and then you take action upon it and then you don't want to meet you in that same way. I've definitely been there. That's awesome. Good for you. One of the things you talked about when we met at your, at your talk recently around the Lens at which you can take these teachings and in that interact with businesses.
Irene Fehr: 00:35:08 Such a great talk. I was actually listening to it again recently and one of the things you talked about is how back in the day, you know, the tribal behavior of how we interact and how women would pleasure the protectors. Could you speak to that cause I thought that was such a fascinating thing to kind of take it back for us of like the like the Lizard brain and you know all of these things that are how, this is something I'm fascinated with about where we are today, where this is a common thing that comes up about our ancestry and how, why we do the things we do and how that came to be. Could you speak to that? I thought it was just fascinating.
Irene Fehr: 00:35:46 I think sex is an intimacy to have lost over time. And what I spoke to in the talk was how the origins of sex were biological for procreation. And there's certain things that happen that make it pleasurable so that we want to procreate. If it was always a painful, unhappy experience, we wouldn't be here. So there's so, but from a biological perspective, sex was for procreation. Sex was also for sexual release, right? That the release of energy that can feel frustrating, that can feel kind of irritating if it's not released in tribes. People had sex for those two reasons and it was more driven by for creation and need to keep our tribe going and in a way to service each other to create that sexual release. And parallel to that, the kind of relating that was happening in our tribes was very much around fitting in. We needed the tried to protect us, to feed us and to take care of us. If we were sick, we cannot, as human beings, as human animals survive on our own, or it's, it's very, it's very unlikely that a person alone in the jungle, in the woods can survive on our own. So we needed the tribe. And so the kind of relating that was happening was all about fitting in so the tribe keeps you and doesn't kick you out.
Irene Fehr: 00:37:36 So then you have relationships based on the biology piece, the fear of being kicked out of the tribe and very much living in this lizard brain of, yeah, we need to protect ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves and protect ourselves. But this is thousands and thousands of years ago. And when we look at relationships today, we want so much more than just procreation. Sexual release and having someone protects you from the elements of life. We want love and we want connection and we want someone to understand us and to accept us for who we are. And we want someone to, that we feel passionate to words and that we feel excited to words and with whom we connect. And that is a very different relationship from that tribal relationship. Yet we assume that we can use the same skills that got us into the tribal relationships to create this higher order relationship.
Irene Fehr: 00:38:51 So I think of this as the relationship on the top of Maslow's hierarchy. This is about self actualization. It's about creating something that's bigger than us and something that inspires us to be better people, to be better at at the relating with each other to create something unique between us. The other relationship is very much at the bottom of just having your shelter and safety met basically. So we require different tools and we required different parts of the brain to create this higher order relationship. We can not just follow or urges or on the flip side of urges is follow our fears. We cannot be the lizards without in our relationships. We need to use our prefrontal cortex. We need to use our higher order faculties of communication, being able to be vulnerable with each other and really share what's going on. So for example, in the tribal relationship, it might get me kicked out of the tribe.
Irene Fehr: 00:39:59 If I said that I didn't like something that my partner was doing, they would just get pissed off and be like, no, go away. But you know, in a higher order romantic relationship, that's key to being able to sustain connection and passion with your partner. You have to be able to say what's really happening. You have to take risks with each other because it's the risks that created the passion. It's the risks that create that sense of newness and excitement and those are emotional risks and those are risks and saying something that might rock the boat a little bit but that honors who you are and that honors your partner because you are entrusting them with the truth so that they can make decisions on their own as well. As I said, this is a very different kind of relationship that requires very different skills and we can end what I see as doing as a society.
Irene Fehr: 00:41:00 We're still applying these old skills of tribal relationships to make this higher order relationship work and we're leaving a lot of couples in the dust, leaving them to figure all this out on their own using really outdated skills. I kind of think of it, if you want to plant a large scale farm, right, you want to make this a large scale production and really give the farm going and you're digging the soil with a spoon, little spoonfuls by spoonful, really wanting to, you know, create this massive large production farm. That's how I see society today, equipping couples to achieve the kind of relationships that all of us won and they're absolutely possible, but let's just get some real equipment here to make this happen. Let's set some real expectations and let's do some real teaching about what it takes. I was wondering if you could talk about epidemics of sexless marriages and relationships and women losing their Libido in long-term relationships.
Irene Fehr: 00:42:08 Well, this is very much related to what I just said, which is that in both of these couples are not equipped to deal with the real challenges of long term relationships. So I start, I'll start with that. That, that it's a given that we're going to, we're going to change and evolve as human beings in a span of years. I recently heard this statistic that we completely changed the whole makeup of our cells, our whole body every 20 days. Yet we have this thinking that we're the same. We're not, we're constantly changing. Our motions are changing, our beliefs, our views are changing, everything's changing. And so is the relationship. So when you go into a relationship, a long term relationship, you have to be equipped with flexibility and knowing how to deal with all the changes that come your way. Changes in the body, menopause, aging, health issues, mental issues that affect us.
Irene Fehr: 00:43:14 Stress from work, children having children, raising children, children having trouble in school, children leaving the house. So there are all these things that are happening constantly in our lives that throw couples in for a loop. And that's certainly true in your sex life too. I, I want to talk really briefly about the three types of sex and how I see them. And this is where couples stop having sex and that often breaks up their neck marriage, but really it's a call to action to design a sex life that actually works for you. And this is where, like I said, most couples start to have sexless marriages, but they don't have to. So the first two types of sex are very much connected to the, the tribal relationships that I mentioned. First type is what I call friction sex. It's about body to body, physical sex.
Irene Fehr: 00:44:09 It's, it can be very exciting and fun, but it's really simply about pleasure, about sexual release, about having a warm body next to you. And it friction sex. There really isn't that much space for emotions or vulnerability because often it kills the mood. I don't want you being sad over there, come on, let's have fun. And that's kind of what friction sexes and oftentimes it's sex that we have when we meet someone knew where that excitement, that sexual energy is really high. It's something that is easily sustainable by drugs and alcohol because it's just, it puts you in that mood. It's fun and it has a Plymouth because ultimately we will want to somehow share what's going on for us or ask for something that's uncomfortable and there's simply not enough space there in friction sets. So without that emotional component of friction, sex dies out naturally.
Irene Fehr: 00:45:08 It loses, it loses its, it's passion and excitement because there's only so many things that we can do. There's only so many holes. There's only so many moves and there's only so many ways you can fold your body into a pretzel to create something new. And there are only so many toys. So friction sex becomes pretty boring pretty quickly. And a lot of couples think that, oh well we lost attraction to each other. And that's not necessarily true. It's just that you reached the limit of friction sets. There's some type of sex that's connected to that piece about tribal relationships where we want to belong. We want to be part of something, um, with our partners or with a tribe. And this is this kind of sex. I call validation sex. So this is usually happening when couples are falling in love and they've won the loved the belonging.
Irene Fehr: 00:46:02 They love when their partner really wants them and desires them and feels like they're the best thing that has happened to them. And sex here can be incredibly passionate, love filled, very can be very tender. It could be very leisure bubble. But invariably what happens with validation, sex is there are times in our relationships when we get pissed off at our partners where we withdraw and we stopped validating them and couple start fearing those moments. They don't want to lose that belonging. They don't want to lose that validation. And they stopped taking risks with each other. So similar to friction sets, they stopped being really truly vulnerable with each other. And what I see across genders, generally speaking, is that women will start to hold back on what they really want. They start to feel like they're too high maintenance. They don't want to ask for too much.
Irene Fehr: 00:47:06 So they stop asking for what they want and sex and they become less and less satisfied, more and more unhappy. And then men for fear of rocking the boat and being too sexual too for forthcoming with our partners will stop initiating. They stop kind of initiating and showing their desire, their women, the women feel like they're not wanted and it, and then the men feel like the women are not satisfied and it creates this vicious cycle. And couples basically lose their passion and resort to friction. Sex, okay, well let's just do it to get it over with. While an orgasm feels nice, I'll show, they'll show my partner that I'm care, but they won't be fully there and they won't be there with their passion. And interestingly, the same dynamic happens in same sex couples that I've worked with. There's usually the more masculine partner on the more feminine partner and the same dynamic happens.
Irene Fehr: 00:48:10 So it's not necessarily just for um, heterosexual cisgendered couples. It happens in all couples where this dynamic happens in couples pull away from the passion. And here couple start doubting their love. Well, maybe we don't love each other enough. Maybe word again, not compatible. And again, just like with friction, sex, there's nothing wrong with them. They've just hit the limit of what validation driven sex can provide without really truly being able to be vulnerable with each other. And when these two types of sex and what happens is that again, the couple's doubt each other and they stop having sex thinking there's something wrong except this as a beautiful place in their relationship were actually, they can now take stock of what happened and they can not create something that's uniquely for them. And that is rooted on vulnerability and connection and being able to take emotional risks with each other.
Irene Fehr: 00:49:17 And when I say vulnerability, I just want to define what it is. I love Renee Brown's definition, which I use as the foundation for my definition, which is to honor what's true for yourself and to tell your truth without taking into account if it's going to create the outcome that you want. And the way I interpreted it is that it as you want to honor your truth, not because it's going to get you the outcome, not because it's a way to manipulate the situation, get what you want, but because of honors you and honors your partner to know what's going on for you and to do it vulnerably and not as a way to again, manipulate your partner or to punish them. This isn't dumping. I'm like, I'm frustrated at you and you suck and that's my truth. No, this is more of, wow, I'm really scared to ask for what I want and when I get scared that way I rather put the responsibility on you and blame you and it's about owning your truth, but then also owning the way you wiggle out of doing something and really owning it.
Irene Fehr: 00:50:27 And it's that kind of communication of that kind of risk taking that creates an extraordinary level of passion and intimacy in a relationship. What I help couples do to make this possible is to create an extraordinary level of safety between them so that they can say something so raw, so honest, so vulnerable, and not fear, retaliation from their partners and that fear that they're going to be kicked out of the tribe and that's where you get to create a different kind of sex. And this is where you get to also learn how to cultivate desire from within in friction, sex, and an invalidation. Sex sexual desire comes from the hormonal and chemical cocktail of newness and excitement and sexual attraction and love. In a long-term relationship. You have to learn how to cultivate your own desire for your partner, not based on those chemicals which die out, thankfully, because they're way too, too stimulating and too powerful too.
Irene Fehr: 00:51:35 We're under the influence on the of them in the beginning. So in in this, this third type of sex I call connection sex, which is really truly based on connection and it's something that you get to create and recreate over time in your relationship. Once you get the tools and the mindset that this is something that just keeps growing with you and keeps getting better and better and it's rooted in connection and intimacy, not something external to you that your own vulnerability and intimacy. So coming back to your question about sexless marriages, it is truly an epidemic that at least half of all marriages, sex is rare or nonexistent, where it happens once a month, once a year, once every decade. And my guesses, many couples are having sex, but it's not necessarily the most pleasurable, the most connected they're having it, but so many people wish there was more and it was better.
Irene Fehr: 00:52:40 And sexless marriages of course, or sexist relationships lead to also ending marriages and divorces. And it is truly an epidemic and it leaves people bitter and shut down and incredibly unsatisfied and feeling like personal failures. So there's that negative ripple effect that happens for generations. And within that there's an epidemic of women losing libido in long term relationships as well. There was a study that recently came out that basically predicted that women will lose their late relationship in a long-term, that women will lose their libido in a long-term relationship because long-term relationships don't work for women. Was the conclusion, and I see it very differently, the first two types of relationships, the first two types of sex do not work for women and arguably they don't work for men. Either they're okay, it gets the job done, but they don't create an extraordinary fulfilling and nourishing relationship.
Irene Fehr: 00:53:44 And women are just more sensitive to that. And so this epidemic of women losing their Libido, okay, it has to do with so much with the kind of sex that couples are having, the kind of tools the society gives us, make sex work. It's simply doesn't work for women. And I think it's faulty reasoning, blame the long term relationship aspect of this. We have to look at what kind of sex or couples having in the long-term relationship and see that's not working for women. Repetition doesn't work for women. No connection, no space too. Express vulnerability and emotions doesn't work for women. It gets boring. And our bodies shutdown. So they're very much linked. And my mission is to end these two epidemics by providing different tools and frameworks to open people's eyes that so much more as possible, normalize the struggles in our relationships or normal. But sex dying in a relationship is normal and it's a good thing. And here are ways to create something that's so powerful that's so extraordinarily fulfilling and nourishing. And that works for men and women both biologically, emotionally and then together as a couple. And this is also true for same sex relationships as well. It's the, the dynamics are the same. And so the tools that I teach are about who you are and what you need and what works for you. Whoever you are, whatever. MMM orientation you identify with.
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Gabe Ratliff: 00:56:00 How do you start to work with couples whether it's same sex or hetero, you know, when, when they're having issues in their relationship and, and are feeling shame around that. Right? Cause I imagine that beginning stage is the absolute toughest part when a, they're acknowledging something is not going well or is wrong. And in there, you know, there's the denial one or both, you know, and then there's the buy in right of, of each partner. Not just buying into that there's something going on, but the buy in to wanting to do something about it, right. That to wanting it, wanting the relationship to last because it is easy. It's the easy way out to be like, uh, this, you know, this sucks. This isn't working out. I mean the divorce rate is still way higher than it, it inevitably should be. But how do you, how do you initiate that first stage with people to get, you know, to get them on the same page and to, to ease that shame that they're feeling that can be so powerful?
Irene Fehr: 00:57:25 It's such an important question and consideration in this, in this work. And I do a lot of that by doing talks like this and I normalizing their experience. Of course, this is hard. Yes, this is hard for everyone. Yes. There's nothing wrong with you. You've hit this place because society has taught you or us all of us how to do this differently. And it's not your fault. It's not because you're broken. There's something wrong. And I see, I work like this on zoo with clients, even from the first call where I get to meet them and I watched them when the unit is in their heads. It's the opposite. I mean, there's something wrong. And I, and I, it's my problem. I, I, I can't make this work. So normalizing it as is the first key to helping them relax into this. And the second piece is to what you mentioned earlier, which is connecting them up to what it is that they want. Connecting them to that future vision and connecting them to not possibility.
Irene Fehr: 00:58:32 You got together for a reason. You love each other, you respect each other, you love what you, you each brain to your relationship. You are better off with each other. Let's look at that and let's see what's possible. What is it that you really want and what's possible and let's build off of that. Like I said, I don't do this approach of let's look what broke and let's fix it cause that's a downer. And, and that goes against our, our psychology because we don't want, we, we were not wired to change ourselves. It goes against the way our psychology is, is wired. But we are wired to look for possibilities and to go after them. We're wired to create something where we are wired with that life energy, that creative energy. And so when you tap into that, people get excited and motivated. It lifts them up.
Irene Fehr: 00:59:35 It lists their mood. It's like, Oh okay, I can get on board. And creating something new. I want that and it's a very different approach and it gets them to also shift out of the shame. You cannot be creative and shameful at the same time. It's like having a door open and closed at the same time. You can't, if you're looking at possibility to creativity, to openness, you can be closed at the same time, so it right away creates a shift, creates a change in their lives. That's very, very powerful. Do you find that, I'm curious about because we're such different creatures, especially in this context, right? Same sex or or Hetero, do you find that men, do you have to approach them in a different way or do you have any, in your process, is there a way that you have found that helps empower them and enable you to break through that initial, you know, work that has to be done?
Irene Fehr: 01:00:42 Yes, very much so. I'm constantly learning and constantly being blown away. How men and women are the more masculine partner in the more feminine partner in a same sex couple of how we see the world differently and what's what's most important to us. So I'm, I'm a student of Alison Armstrong who is this amazing woman and researcher of men. She has dedicated the last 25 years of her life researching men and understanding them. I am just blown away by her astuteness and her, the research that she's done by interviewing men and really understanding that. And I see that in my couples how we literally see through different, you know, different. Um, well if you think about it, so here's the iPhone, right? It's like literally men see this side, women see this side. Even though we're looking at the same iPhone, we're having very different experiences, shiny glass, matte leather.
Irene Fehr: 01:01:51 And we will argue that no, it's the same iPhone, but we're seeing two different sides. And I do have to help my clients see that your partners seeing that differently. And that's okay. We're just looking at reality from two different perspectives. And from those perspectives also come different valleys. For Women. It's really important to be, to our emotions, to feel what we're feeling and to act truths or feelings. For men, it's important to act due to their integrity and to the commitments. So there's this flowing energy to the feminine and there's a more solid energy to the masculine and it affects how we act. And we think that the other party is irrational and crazy and using Alison's words is misbehaving and they're not. They're just acting based on what's true for them and what and how they see the world. And like I said, I need to be constantly translating to, to, um, to my clients of what the other person's seeing and to teach them how to respect that because we need both.
Irene Fehr: 01:03:11 We need all sides. We need to see the world through different lenses of the prism. That's what makes it an interesting and colorful. So there's huge differences and that's just really the tip of the iceberg. In terms of sex specifically, there's huge differences in how sexual desire works in men and women. Women's desire, sexual desire is responsive. Men's is spontaneous. Um, the way our bodies get aroused, men's is spontaneous. Women's takes a long time. Women are more like micro, uh, excuse me. Women are more like ovens. Men are more like microwave. There's different relationship to our bodies. There's different relationships to, to our sexuality to desire and um, yeah. So just if there's so many differences and, and I think finally our society starting to recognize that on some levels were the same. You know, if you prick us, we all bleed. We all experienced pain and we're also very different than we see the world differently and all those ways of seeing the world differently or worthy of respect.
Irene Fehr: 01:04:25 I love that analogy of oven versus the microwave. Wow. That is amazing. That is amazing because it totally makes sense. That totally makes sense. And it's such a great way to kind of visualize when you're in that type of intimate environment, how that can be, that lens can provide such a much more successful outcome. There's you like can, can get, okay, it's got to warm up. That takes a second. You know, you gotta get to temp and then all the things will come together, you know? Whereas guys are like, I'm there, I'm good. 30 seconds, I'm warmed up. Let's do this. Here's a little secret too. If you honor this, if you honor a woman's path of arousal and turn on and truly how much time it takes, if she could have it all her way, if she could really take your time and, and build up that arousal, women will stay at that peak arousal for a long time. They'll be more like microwaves
Irene Fehr: 01:05:41 when we honor what it takes for a woman's body to be truly turned on. She's going to be the initiator and the aggressor and the one that's gonna like throw the man on the, on the bed and climb on top of him. It's truly about listening and honoring to what she needs. And then you can, you can ask us amazing magic. And this is something that's really important for men to know. And more importantly, this is so important for women to know and too really honor our bodies. And to know that no, you're not broken. If you take time, it's the opposite. It's that you have so much to experience of the top top. But yeah, it's a, it's a marathon. It's not a sprint. MMM. And it's worth getting there. That's worth getting to the, so that magical place.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:06:34 Go ahead.
Irene Fehr: 01:06:35 Oh no, that's fine.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:06:38 I was going to ask you also work with women specifically and I was wondering how does that type of coaching differ from the work you're doing with couples? Cause you've, you've set this clear delineation and that those are the two specific types of people you're wanting to work with. So I was wondering if you could speak to how that differs and what your, what your work looks like in that. In that case,
Irene Fehr: 01:07:01 I started working initially with women and at that time I was, so this was eight years ago and at that time I was still in that mindset of that somehow was my fault in my own relationship by it. I wasn't having pleasurable sex. Very quickly I realized that that was not true at all. If you're in a relationship, if you're a woman in a relationship, what happens in that relationship is very much a product of the two of you together and it's 50 50 you contribute and you create, you co-create equally what happens. And so I stopped working with women who were already in relationship and started to only work with women who are single to prepare them for the kind of relationship that they want. Bye. Basically taking them through kind of a reconditioning program, helping them connect to themselves, two their bodies so that when they do enter our relationship, they're entering a connection, sex kind of relationship.
Irene Fehr: 01:08:13 So it's almost like preempting the trouble that might face by going in with all this old conditioning, all of these pressures that we put on ourselves, all this misinformation about women's bodies and sex drive and, and all that. So the programs are different. So like I said, with single women, it's really about helping them connect to themselves, to re to remove that destructive conditioning that we've all grown up with and to help them prepare for a relationship of their dreams. Whereas couples work. Most of the time there is some firefighting in the beginning, putting out the fires, creating that safety and that connection. And then when everything comes down, create, doing some sex education and helping them create a different kind of sex life. And in that there's a lot of overlap. It's just that the structure is different. Once you're already in a couple, you have to address the couples' issues first because that's where most conflict is happening.
Irene Fehr: 01:09:21 Change won't happen if partners feel either pressure from each other or there's conflict or there is some kind of unsafety where they don't feel safe really to be with each other. No change is going to happen. So that's the first thing, which of course is missing if you're working specifically with a single woman and then there's overlap in that followup parts, but they are uniquely different programs because of the context being different. You mentioned earlier about how your coaching, I'm fascinated with this as well, especially in we're using this same format, but how your coaching has been affected by using this virtual element in how you're connecting with them. And I just, I love the idea of the potential with that by, you know, having that intimacy in your, your communication and connection with them and the, you know, what that takes away in just the social pressures that can occur in that same state.
Irene Fehr: 01:10:30 Right. With your, if you're meeting at a, at an office, you have to go, you know, get in your, your suit, you know, whatever that is your quote unquote suit, you know, they have to get in. There's, you know, you get into your, your persona and you have to go to a place and you go and you sit down, you have your chair and you have a couch and everybody's in there, you know, everybody's in the right place and it puts all of these pressures. And so I'm just curious how this, you know, as there, as there been any cons from this or is this been a, is this been a positive shift in a positive way that you show up for your clients and how that you're able to interact with them and create this safe space? It's been all positive really. And I was skeptical in the beginning because I, at first I was doing phone coaching so I couldn't even see people.
Irene Fehr: 01:11:22 And then I, when I started working with couples, I started doing zoom and I again, I'm skeptical we'll how's this going to work? But it does, it does work and for in various ways. So one is what you mentioned, going into an office requires getting into a car, battling traffic on the way, uh, getting, having to get dressed up and all that. And for my clients not having to do that removes extra work that they have to do, especially in both couples who have children who have so much on their plate to be able to do this from home to a, to be, it was a safe time on that craziness with the driving and all that as a big deal. And I would rather have them spend 15 minutes the, that they would spend in traffic or 30 or 45 minutes connecting to each other.
Irene Fehr: 01:12:17 So it enables a lot of flexibility. And it's also, it's this, the zoom connection is, can be an, is quite intimate and personal. It's in a way like this is our world right here between me and the screen. And it has worked really powerfully and it has enabled me to have clients all over the world and clients in Australia and clients in China, in the Philippines, in Spain, in, um, in London and of course all over the US. And it enables people to also work with someone that they really want to work with and not be limited to whoever's there geographically in geographic proximity. And you know, it's really amazing. I recently had a conversation with a friend, we were talking about online dating and how I was saying how I like to meet someone on the phone first to kind of see how the connection works.
Irene Fehr: 01:13:17 And she was puzzled. Well, how do you know if the connection and the chemistry is there? You haven't seen them, you haven't met them. And this has trained me to create connection like this virtually through body language, through hearing the energy. I can hear if someone is holding back, I can hear if people are open, um, by how they speak, how they express themselves. And this has been incredibly powerful and I have never had people, clients say that they missed out on something by doing so. It's a very, very powerful method.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:14:12 Yeah, I'm impressed. I'm excited about because I'm a futurist to some degree, but I also appreciate analog. You know, like I, I love seeing technology be used in these kinds of ways just like we are right now. Right? Like I just feel like this is the power of being able to share your message with so many people in a way that works for this type of efficient and intimate type of connection. Right? Just like how it's working for you and your practice. And I could see that potentially being something that, that someone could maybe before they do it be uncertain about, which is why I wanted to bring it up because I think it's fascinating and I think it has such potential and it's obviously showing. So I just wanted to thank you for speaking to that cause I wanted to to know like what have you seen from that? One of the things I wanted to ask you about was the, you know, what are the outcomes that people can expect when they're working with you?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:14:57 You know, what, what, what are the results that you are promoting to people that are, that are looking for this type of a change? Do biggest you solved it. So for a lot of couples it's having sex after break, not having, it's having more sex and having more fulfilling sex and the sex that you want to have. More so in different couples, different starting places. But that is definitely the biggest result that everyone is looking. And that's truly the first thing is when couples start to have sex, they feel better about themselves, they feel better about the relationship, the humor connected, they breathe a sigh of relief, okay, we're good. And then the results that they can have after that, the sky is the limit. It's truly then we work towards creating more freedom for them so they feel more free to ask for what they want to express themselves to be as loud, as quiet, as wild, as still as they want to be.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:16:08 We did. The other result is deepening intimacy and being able to be, to share yourself with your partner and it's just, it's really wherever your imagination takes you that we grow, that I work with clients to expand their possibilities, expands what's possible and work towards that because they have experienced what that's like in these initial stages of having more sex, having better size building, no desire and yeah, they get to create whatever it is that they want to create in that context. Yeah, the sky's the limit. Your imagination is the limit really. You mentioned earlier, I really liked that story about the couple that you met that had been together for nine years and they acted like newlyweds. Do you have any stories that you can share, maybe a story that you could share that maybe stands out in your mind from one of your, uh, you know, couples or, or a client?
Irene Fehr: 01:17:12 I love this couple of them, so I'm just going to use pseudonyms for their names. And they, they're in their early forties, those entrepreneurs and they had been together for a leaving was a seven or eight years and they had a year old year old child and they were really stuck in their sex life. Um, it was very hard before the child was born. And then it was just incredibly hard with a one year old and all the stress that comes from that. And they were truly on the brink of divorce, on really doubting. Like I don't, they didn't think they could survive. They didn't think that they could sustain not only a sexless relationship, but also the resentment, the hurt, the disappointment from that. They were both coaches. So I had so much fun working with them or so, you know, they, they, they, they had done so much work already, so it was, um, it was really fun.
Irene Fehr: 01:18:15 But here's, here's what I want to share about what happened for them, which was just really, really powerful is they were always strapped for time with the one year old and two businesses. Um, you know, in starting stages that's a lot to handle. And in the beginning we just, they just really struggled to make time for themselves, which of course had this negative cycle. And by the time we finished working together, they added two, three hours to their day. How did this happen? Well, I taught them about specific into intimacy touch and sexual practices that were not sets that had them connect to each other that had been feel close to each other, that had them feel like their partner is there with them and not just like a burden, not, not adding onto their day. They started doing this practices for only 15 minutes a day and started to feel closer together, started to feel more energized, started to fill up from that connection, from that touch, from that place of being seen by their partner and appreciated and loved up.
Irene Fehr: 01:19:33 And that literally added two hours to their day because they were fighting less. They had more energy, they got better at prioritizing what's really important and kicking them out, what wasn't. And yeah, they have more time to be with each other, to be with their child, to enjoy life. And that's the power of looking at sex differently, knowing that you can create a life that works for you. You don't have to default to it, you don't have to just take it, you get to create it, which is really what I teach is how to create what it is that you want. And it was just so powerful to hear that and to celebrate that. And, and I sought seemed that in my own life when I get nourished and fulfilled in my relationship, that the world sorts of stuff out and it was magical ways and like it's so much easier and I just loved, loved working with them and loved seeing those results with them.
Irene Fehr: 01:20:35 Wow. I'm going to start winding it down now. We're getting to that point and thank you so much. So you brought the heat. I mean this is just fantastic. I'm so many things I'm thinking about, I mean the microwave or the oven, I'm still just loving that. One of the things I wanted to ask you about is how do you now you know, doing this work, you know, so intently and this is your career, this is your, your passion and your mission. How do you separate your work and what you have to, cause I know I have several friends that are therapists and I'm curious how, because this is such an important thing to you as a mission for others, but it stemmed from the work that you did for yourself to become whole and to move forward. And how do you separate that? Because you know it's not there.
Irene Fehr: 01:21:22 These are not always easy conversations you have to have. I'm curious, how do you separate that work from your know, your own life and your own sex life? In a way I pretty strong boundaries in terms of work and, and my into schedules and knowing how to set aside time for me and things are important to me in my life and in other ways I don't separate it because I'm constantly growing. I'm constantly learning new things in my own relationship, in how I am in my relationships with other people, nonsexual, not really a romantic relationships and that's constantly cheating into my work. It's like, oh look, I'm seeing it differently. Let me introduce that to my clients. So there's this constant, my brain is constantly on thinking, oh, how can I use that? How can I empower my clients? Because I saw that in my own mind and I'm also constantly learning from my clients too.
Irene Fehr: 01:22:22 Wow, I hadn't thought of that. Your way of seeing it is brilliant. Let me see if I can try that in my own life. So there's this constant loop of learning between them. The other piece which I, I get this comment a lot about how, how do I not take my client's lives into my own and not like get, not have that spillover because there are difficult conversations and he was a big crucial difference in my work. I'm empowering my clients to solve their own problems. And at the end of the day, when we hang up the phone so to speak, and the session ends, I don't take on their problems because I haven't given them tools to empower them to solve them. So it's a very different model where I actually feel proud and happy that they are on their own figuring things out because ultimately that's where the most powerful answers are going to be in whatever they create for themselves based on what's important to them. Having created themselves. Like I build this, we built this for ourselves, not our coach or therapist did it for us. And that creates this natural separation where I stay in touch. Uh, actually quite a lot with my clients. I offer email and texts support anytime between sessions, but it's structured differently. They send me celebrations and they send me seconds, not, um, fires to put out. And that's because of that empowerment model, which is what makes my approach really successful is empowering my clients to solve problems on their own. So they don't need me ultimately or not, not after some time working together, but ultimately they can do it on their own.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:24:15 That's awesome. I love that approach. Right? Because it's, it's really that teaching a person to fish, whether they're supporting themselves as opposed to just doing it for them or just saying, you know, here do this. And then they go do it and they're like, oh, okay. You know, or the opposite. Right. Where you, where you don't empower them in a way where they have to keep coming back to you and they're not really growing. Right. Some people go that route and then miss, that's kind of the, you know, there's, there's a lot of jobs and professions that have been built on that, right. Where it's all about, that's how you keep recurring income is because they have to keep coming back to you. So, but in this case, it's not really an inevitably getting to the core of how you're helping someone in the way that you want to, that you specifically want to.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:25:04 I love it. So I was wondering, do you have any tips for couples that are out there that might have thoughts about wanting to start working with a sex coach like yourself, but don't know how to initiate that conversation with their partner or, or they're like, oh, I'm in this place. Maybe they're listening to this and they're going, oh, I connect with that. I had, I'm having, you know, either a sexless marriage or relationship or pain during sex or, or, or anything like that that we've, we've discussed. Maybe they're having these sort of little gotchas that are, they're starting to, you know, see the the flag and go, hum, maybe that, oh, that's me. You know, what, what kind of tips do you have to kind of help them get initiate this next step?
Irene Fehr: 01:26:04 The first piece is to connect to what is that Aha moment that you're having right now as you're listening to this and think about why is that important to you, that why is going to be very critical in whatever conversation you end up having with your partner. So ultimately it's not about working with a sex coach. That's just a vehicle to get you to the result that you want. So invite you to think about why do you want to do this? What will bring you, what kind of shifts and changes for you individually? So for example, your, it's a woman who's having painful intercourse or you noticing that sex and passion have waned and you noticing effects on your relationship. So why does it matter to fix this, to have the song, what does it matter for you personally and why does it matter for your relationship? What will it provide? And start thinking along those lines and getting your partner to see the thinking, the experience that you're having. Yeah, it matters because I want to really, I want to express my love through sex with you and I.
Irene Fehr: 01:27:05 I don't always feel so free and I want us to find more ease to do that. I want to enjoy this more, this beautiful experience more with you and it matters that I, that my body feels good doing that. If that why that's going to help your partner connect to what you already connected. As you're listening to all of this. And actually I have a worksheet on my website which I'll provide a link to that helps you go through these questions. So start thinking about it and specifically how to talk to your partner about hiring a sex coach. And it taps into the wipeys and a taps into what fears might you have about this. Cause you also want to be honest with your partner. Yeah, this is scary. I have no idea how it's going to be and what it entails and where we're going.
Irene Fehr: 01:27:59 And you probably are scared too, but I know that I think will really benefit from this. We can take our love, our relationship, our passion, our sex, two different more fulfilling place. And I want that for me. And I want that for you. Having that conversation really, um, is a very vulnerable conversation. It can be a very powerful one and I, the worksheet works, works you through the different elements to make it powerful. Nice. Thank you. That's great. Are you listening folks? There'll be a link to the worksheet in the show notes. Keep an eye out for that. So thank you so much. I have, I like to do a little sort of lightning round with some like fun questions, you know, kind of lighten up the mood a little bit depending on where we are. And I always like to do a few of these just to, you know, I feel like it helps tap into who people are and I just enjoy them.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:28:52 The first one I was going to ask is what is the book or books that you've given most as a gift?
Irene Fehr: 01:28:59 I love the book called slow sex by Nicole Daedone and Nicole is one of my teachers and it was a life changing book for me and it really helped me approach sex differently was one of the first books I read and it's certainly one of my most favorite ones that I give away as a gift. Nice. I'll have a link to that too for people. What obsessions do you explore on the evenings and weekends? It's a boring one. I love gigging out on personal growth. If it's a podcast, I'm listening in the car, it's on personal growth. Um, you know, if it's free time, it's a movie. Like I'm in the middle of a documentary on trauma and high school children. Like I love understanding as humans and geeking out on that and learning how to make our lives better. And uh, yeah. That and sex. I had a feeling that might be an obsession. I don't know. We'll see. I figured each other they feed each other. It's like, yeah, the more amazing sex I have an intimacy, the more I want to understand how to Howard, how we do this, how we create the, that I want to experiment with it again. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:30:22 If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say?
Irene Fehr: 01:30:29 Oh, that's a good one. Wow, that's a good question. Yeah. I'm just, I'm seeing the vision that comes to mind is like a huge billboard and you see fireworks and actually like fireworks lighting up up a, um, video billboard. Yeah, no, no words. Just fireworks. Nice. I mean there's something about that energy and that excitement. We, even though I'm not a big fan of fireworks for environmental reasons, but I can, I can go with a billboard.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:31:02 That's great. I've never heard that. Anything like that. That's awesome. I love that. No words. Just energy. What would it, what advice would you give to your younger self for those, you know, the younger souls out there listening to this, what advice would you give to your younger self that may be a little piece of a negative wisdom?
Irene Fehr: 01:31:22 The first thing that comes to mind is telling our younger selves or are the younger generations is that you know, you know what's right for you. The world wants to tell you that no other people know what's right for you. Yeah. I really want to assert that and give people, give young people the confidence that follow what you know is right. Because you know, and it's really interesting, just recently reflecting on my own knowing and from very early age, I send a lot of time dreaming about falling in love and making loans and I thought it was the weirdest thing. Somewhere like late teenage years was like, why do I do that? And looking back now for where I am, where I teach couples, where I facilitate them falling in love and making lunch. Oh. And realized that I knew from a very early age, those two things were really important to me in my own life. And that was something about me being destined to do this work. So no, that you know that there are parts of you that are born with clarity about who you are and what's right for you and try to remove the conditioning and really listened to what's here. Your heart, your body will tell you what you know. The respect that.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:32:49 Hear! Hear! My last couple of questions, the next one I ask, I don't even thought that was amazing. I don't know if you have something else, but I usually ask, you know, are there anything else you'd like to say or last parting words?
Irene Fehr: 01:33:00 What's coming up for me is sex is about fun. Next is a bad connection and lightness and, and, and know these conversations can feel really heavy. I really long and wish for everyone to access the, the fun in this. Yeah, right. There's so much enjoyment to be had. That's my, my longing for the audience who are listening. Well
Gabe Ratliff: 01:33:23 Irene, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate this. It's been a fantastic conversation. I mean just so many great stories and just hearing how your work came to be in the work that you do and how you show up for people. I love it and I'm so honored to have you on the show. Uh, my last little question is just where can people find you on online and the inner webs?
Irene Fehr: 01:33:46 My website is irenefehr.com. I r e n e F e h r.com and I'm on social media under @ignitedwoman handle the Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And you can find me in various cities including Denver, Santa Fe, New Mexico, San Francisco Bay area, and um, Soon New York City where I'll be doing talks and, and kind of moving around having presence in all these cities.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:34:20 Fantastic. Good for you. I love it. Get it.
Irene Fehr: 01:34:23 Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:34:25 Well thank you again, Irene. It's been such a pleasure and just keep up the great work.
Irene Fehr: 01:34:30 Thank you so much for having me and thank you for this amazing, thorough and thoughtful conversation and for your really powerful questions that really had me share more than than just the surface stuff, so I really appreciate it. I love this interview.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:34:48 Well, that's it for this episode. If this is your first time listening, thank you so much for being here. I really hope you enjoy the show. The Vitalic Project comes out bi-weekly and is available every other Thursday for your enjoyment and all links and show notes for this episode can be found at vitalicproject.com. If you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show and leave a rating or review on iTunes. If you'd like to be a guest or know someone that would be a great fit, please go to vitalic project.com/guest if you want to follow us, you can find us online by searching @vitalicproject, and thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep being vitalic!