May 11, 2023 2:00 pm

What's really going on when it comes to the relationship between sex and emotion? How do they influence each other? If you've ever been curious about these questions – you're in luck!

In this episode, Dr. Glenn and Phyllis Hill will help you explore the intricate connection between sex and emotion. They will also share practical strategies to help you express your emotions during intimate moments.

Episode Video

About Dr. Glenn and Phyllis Hill

Dr Glenn & Phyllis Hill developed a tool to help conquer conflict in relationships in just 4 minutes. After experiencing 30 years of a painful marriage, Dr Glenn went back to school to become a marriage & family therapist & clinical sexologist. He spent many years researching emotions and studying how the brain fires when we experience them.

Then developed the Connection Codes. They have witnessed couples who had signed divorce papers reunite, they have seen incomes double, health diagnosis reversed, and sexless marriages experience joy in sex. All through using their system.

The Brain is the Largest Sexual Organ

Photographer: Robina Weermeijer | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Anne: Why is the brain the largest sexual organ? So let's kind of dive into that and what does emotion have to do with sex?

Dr. Glenn: Well, because the brain is the largest sex organ, emotion fires in the brain.

There are five neural regions that house emotions. Emotions occur throughout the body, but the brain is the central command center for emotions. The emotions fire in the limbic system, which is a little bit complex, but it's just where they're located.

The limbic system engages before the cortexes do, the cortexes are what control the executive function of the brain.

Those controls what happens for our bodies sexually, which certainly includes the penis and the vagina, but many other aspects as well. So, if emotions are not processed properly, the cortexes are not operating.

Intricate Connection of Emotion and Sex

Photographer: Tengyart | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Anne: We know what emotion is and you had mentioned the eight core emotions. The eight core emotions: anger, hurt, sadness, loneliness, guilt, shame, fear, and joy. We all know what that feels like. How does emotion got to tie in with sex?

Dr. Glenn: You think about if whatever the core emotion is, and the eight core emotions, all other emotions or other levels are hybrids of those.

So, if a guy is feeling a tremendous amount of fear, it's going to be tough for him to engage sexually in that moment. It's going to be very difficult for him to get an erection because he's feeling so much fear. He's flooded with fear.

The same would be true with pain. If whatever he's already ready to be involved sexually, he stubs his toe. Well literally he can lose his erection in two seconds because he banged his toe on the edge of the bed. Now he's not focused on sexual activity, sexual involvement, sexual connection. He is aware that his toe hurts like crazy because he just banged it on bed. They get that pain is actually an emotional experience. Now he's not going to be able to be involved sexually at any great level.

The same is true for a female. If she feels threatened by him, if she feels fear with him, it's very difficult for her to engage sexually.

Elevating Emotion to Enhance Sexual Response

emotion and sexual response

Dr. Anne: So, we know that hey, if you feel sad, or if you feel fear, feel threatened, that will dampen it. That makes sense. So, on the contrary, how can you elevate that emotion to enhance your sexual response?

Dr. Phyllis: Well, part of it, for so many of us, we don't even really understand emotion. We don't understand, I know for me, I thought I could opt out.

Importance of Emotional Awareness

So, I function for, 50 years just opting out of emotion. Even when I showed up, my body would show up. But there was such a big part missing because I did not have the emotional awareness. That affected me and us for many, many years.

So, for me to understand that "no, no, we all have a part of our brain that houses emotion." I became very curious, and had to tune in. It was not easy. Because I really did spend most of my life thinking "No, I don't, I opt out of all those." And so, I had to learn, it's like going back to first grade and having to go, "Okay, I need to slow myself down. I'm a very task-oriented person. So, I needed to slow myself down and go, what is happening for me."

The Core Emotion Wheel

We developed a lot of tools, one of them is called the core emotion wheel. It's a daily exercise that you do to tune in to your emotion. Then, the best result is when you can share it with someone else.

So, for us, we were sharing it in our marriage with each other. And we were doing this exercise for just two minutes per person, where you ask yourself what is happening. You use this wheel that we created, where you look at, okay, anger, what did I feel anger about today?

Emotion and Sexual Encounter

Now you want to have this sexual encounter. It just kind of goes down that road, where our emotion really blocks us from being completely free sexually with each other. Which obviously also affects just being able to have and keep an erection when there's not that.

So, often in time, it's the damage is kind of like we put it under trauma. It's okay, I can't change the history of our story. But I can learn how to identify it, and how to listen and tune in to what's happening with me.

Then I can communicate that to my partner, and say, "I'm feeling a lot of loneliness about what happened when the children were young, and I was raising them while you are always at work." It's still affecting me today because I'm aware of it. But it's me tuning in to what's happening for me, so I can communicate that to my partner.

Verbalizing Your Emotion

Dr. Anne: How do you verbalize it in a way that it does to your partner in a neutral constructive way?

Dr. Glenn: That's one of the things we cover in our masterclass where we just go through all this start to finish. Which is extensive, we did years and years of research in this to try to figure out how this can be successful.

So practically speaking for me if something happens where, whatever it is, but I feel hurt by something Phyllis said, I will just say to her "Babe, I felt so hurt with what you said."

So, we call it the three phrases you will respond with “Oh, wait, what happened with hurt? What did I miss?” And she's framing it as she missed something now. I'm not blaming her. It's not necessarily her fault. Did she contribute to it? Maybe? I don't know. It doesn't matter. But what we do know is I felt some pain, I felt some hurt in it. And I'll just tell her with one or two sentences that well, when you said that thing to our friend, I just felt pain. I felt hurt in it.

The Three Phrases

Three phrases are what we call the "ooh", which there are several dozen versions of the "ooh". It's just something audible, something like "Oh hmm, okay, yeah." It's just something verbal, that is audible that she can that she would convey to me.

The second phrase is “what's happening?” We really emphasize this. And there's three tenses what happens, what happened, or what's happening.

Then the third phrase is to just say “I missed it”, “I missed something there” or “What did I miss?” Because then that's inviting me into my own experience. And if she says to me, well, that doesn't make sense that you felt hurt. You need to explain yourself better.

Emotion and ED

Dr. Anne: How would she approach him [a guy with ED] in a nurturing and neutral way?

Dr. Phyllis: Well, it kind of goes back just to the simple having the core emotion wheel being able to hear each other in that space.

Then the three the three phrases like she will tell “You’re being heard. I want to hear you.” Then she becomes part of the team. She's not attacking, she's not accusing, she simply says, “I think I'm missing something with you, what's happening to you?”

So, to have that ability to just be an audible listener. We too often want to fix somebody, we want to solve it. We want to defend ourselves, instead of just making this open space. Because I want to make sure he knows I'm hearing him. Where if I stare at him blankly, and I don't say anything. I'm biting my tongue because I want to say something so much.

And then when I say I think I've missed it. It's like an open invitation to open the door and let me hear what's happening to you.

The Price of Courtesy

Dr. Glenn: So, the price of courtesy? Well, I just did ask for her to say something to him, like, “What's the matter with you? What's wrong with you? You're not acting right.” Well, that's an attack. I mean, his brain is going to get flooded with fear, because she looks like a wolf in his brain. I'm not blaming her, I'm just talking about what's happening to him.

Whereas if she's able to just use the three phrases and go and say “I think I'm missing something with you what else is happening? Catch me up because I feel like I've missed something with you.” That's an incredible, safe invitation that he is exponentially greater odds of responding to.

Dr. Phyllis: When you when you commit to doing that, we often encourage our couples 30 days. Just do it for 30 days, every day, you will see such a difference from day one to day 30. For yourself, and for your partner and for your relationship.

Also, for anybody that has kids, they're the easiest people to do it with. They get to the core emotion so quickly, they don't get confused. They know exactly what their anger was, what their fear was, what their joy was.

Connect With Dr. Glenn and Phyllis Hill

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Additional Resources

Ready to unlock the power of emotional awareness and strengthen the intimacy in your relationship? Sign up now to receive a FREE Core Emotion Wheel and an exclusive 20% discount on Dr. Glenn and Phyllis Hill's Masterclass.

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