Sex isn’t just what you think – based on what media or our culture has taught you about.
It expands through all aspects – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Join this week’s podcast guest is intimacy and relationship expert Monica Tanner as she defines sex and how it can help to have a strong and lasting relationship with your partner.
1:19 the origin of finding Monica’s passion for intimacy and sex
3:35 the definition of sex from an intimacy and relationship coach
19:04 how to spark vulnerability and curiosity with someone you’ve been with longer
On the Brighter Side podcast
I'm Megan Brame, this is Anything But Beige. Let's go.
Hi, my name is Monica Tanner and my passion is sex.
You know, for people listening to this, Monica and I have already gone through another, uh, episode about business, and that's on my stop sucking in business podcast. But this one was the origin because I wanted to talk to you about how you think kind of sounds a silly like how you get passionate about sex and how you turn that into something you're so passionate about that it becomes the main driver of I mean, not your life, but your business and create like so for the listeners of this one. Let's talk about the origin of finding your passion for intimacy and relationships.
Well, so, you know, starting at the beginning, my passion for intimacy and relationships really started when you know, when I was a child, I was a part of this really nuclear family. It was a mom and dad, me and my brother. And we had this, like, perfect, perfect life. Until I turned 12. My parents announced one day that they were getting a divorce, and that just kind of, you know, crushed this beautiful utopian life that I was used to and things thought really, really hard and so, as a very precocious 12 year old, I became very, very obsessed and passionate about what makes relationships strong and lasting. I would, you know, observe my friend's parents and anyone I knew who was married, and I wanted to know how they stayed happily married and so then I went to college and studied the same thing, and we've kind of talked about my business journey. But right after college, I got married and started a family of four kids. Later, I went back to graduate school thinking that I really, really, really wanted to council people in marriage. I went to school for marriage and family counseling and decided that that just wasn't the right way to get my message out. I didn't know what the right way was, but I knew it wasn't that and so then I got very involved in the world of click funnels and marketing and learning about messaging and what that was and so I kind of landed on this idea and kind of developed it over time that sex was the key to strong and lasting relationships, that passionate relationships. And when I say sex, I don't mean just intercourse, which is what most people think of when you say sex. I'm talking about emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, and relation. Like all the things like foreplay starts when you wake up, I teach and so it's all of those things that make you feel close and connected and vulnerable with another human being and I do believe that sex is the highest level of human connection. I mean, it is the life giving power. So not only is it power to create physical life, but it also, it is the key to creating creativity and self assurance and all of these beautiful things that create attraction, connection, passion and pleasure, which to me is the whole purpose of life and sharing your life with another human being. So that's how I got really passionate about sex.
Well, and what you were talking about just now is I would love to hear more about the different avenues of sex like the emotional, the physical, the mental like, How do you differentiate that as someone who maybe has blocks about sex?
Well, we talked about this before. There's all kinds of negative messaging around sex. I mean, it's probably one of the most distorted ideas in our culture and society. I mean, there's, you know, you've got it, the messaging that you get as a child, you know where either your family doesn't talk about it or their shame around it and then you grow up and you've got, you know, Hollywood's version of sex, which is super distorted. and then you've got pornography and all that comes with that. And so typically, most of us walk around getting being barraged with negative messaging about sex. But the truth of sex is, is that it is the glue that holds relationships together when you consider in the broader sense of emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. So once you get into a marriage relationship, it's really important to be filling, you know, to try and get those negative ideas out, and then start filling your mind with these healthy, positive messages that that sex is good and it's of God and it is the power we have to create life. But it's also to give us pleasure and to be able to find our passion and to learn about ourselves in another human being. So when you can connect that vulnerably and that completely with another person, it really is the opportunity to figure out who you are, who they are, who you are together on. And it's just this beautiful connecting thing. But, you know, in every relationship you're gonna have a higher desire partner and a lower desire partner and the trick and the key is to balance out the needs and the desires of both members of that partnership. And doing that is in and of itself, connecting and bonding and this beautiful opportunity to, you know, put yourself aside and to focus on somebody else and so I think that we grow and we learn and become through this process of figuring out our own sexual needs and the sexual needs of our partners and being able to put that all together and create this beautiful, passionate life together.
Well, how do you think people best find their sexual preferences? And I know that sounds like an almost dug question, but just going back to our society of like, especially women, where you are quiet and polite and demeanor and you do not please you are a people pleaser. And so how do you recommend women get through this in order to be a better partner and honestly to be better to themselves?
So I think it starts with a lot of self reflection. It's a lot about looking inside and seeing what the sexual messaging that you've taken in all of your life being able to, you know, keep a journal or or some way of really just examining how it is that you think about sex and and the ideas that you have about it. And then it's about really thinking of yourself as a whole person. So when when we think of ourselves our identity as a whole, we've got our physical identity, our social identity, our mental identity are emotional identity, intellectual identity. There's all these pieces of ourselves, and it's really important to understand that our sexual identity is very much a part of who we are as a as a human being. And then when we start to bring in positive messaging and develop that sexual identity, then we can get a little bit more honest with ourselves and clear about what our sexual preferences are and make that a really important part of who we are and what we share with our partners.
That's beautiful and you're so right it starts with just recognizing the negative messaging that we all have and that we've all taken in. I mean, you know, my family. I came from a very I don't know traditional, but my mom had a lot of issues, you know, my mom had a lot of self esteem issues. And I think her place in the world and then, you know, sex was you don't talk about sex. And so it was especially difficult for me to start figuring out and, you know, when I went to college and things like, What is my sexual identity and how do I find it versus going along with it? And, you know, like I was sexually assaulted. And so I know that there's a lot of just stigma of not having my preference. I just have to. So I want to talk about again, going through that in the way of learning to be a better person, but also learning to understand sexual compatibility. So, you know, for listeners who are just getting involved in a relationship or I don't know how they're doing that in Covid it but I'm getting together in this world. How do you recommend people go about figuring out there needs to be enough to say that either this partner is sexually compatible or not sexually compatible, or is somewhere in that spectrum where it's worth it for us to continue? You know, you were talking about like the partnership hierarchies and some people given more so how do you recommend people recognize things like that?
Well, I mean, it's kind of like figuring out what your favorite food is. I mean, some people go a very long time in their lives, not knowing what kind of food they like, because they always kind of default to whoever is there with right. So, you know, if my family is very much into Italian food, and that's kind of what I've been fed all growing up and I think that I love Italian food, right? And then it's kind of like you said, you go to college and you're like, wait, do I only like Italian food? Or they're like so much more there, right there's like Chinese food and Americans like all the different kinds, right? And so it's kind of this process of trial and error, like you have to be willing to kind of try some things out and see what you like, and you might decide that Italian food is good. But man, if Chinese food is an option like that is where it's at, right? So it's just kind of this process of feeling, you know, somewhat confident and comfortable branching out into something new and trying it out and seeing how you feel about it and then there's definitely an element of attraction, like, you know, if you walk past a Chinese restaurant and that smell just like, overwhelms you and you're like, I have to, you know, try this right? And so as humans, we are attracted to other people. And so it's just being willing to, you know, kind of put aside what we've been fed our entire lives and being willing to try something different and see how that feels and how that tastes and all of the sensations that come with a relationship or an attraction or, you know, figuring out another person. And so and so that's really what it's like to develop your sexuality. It's the same, trying to figure out your favorite food. You know, you've grown up in a family, you've probably been fed something very similar, and then you go out into college where there are no rules, really, and there's tons of options and you just go out and you get brave and you figure out what you like and and hopefully you can do that. A Lot of people don't, a lot of people will get into a committed relationship. That's exactly like what they were fed all growing up and then at some point, they're like, Oh, my gosh, like I didn't ever You know, I think of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride all the time where she's always been in a relationship, and then she runs away. You know, she's always running away, and then she figures out. You know what kind of she goes through this process of figuring out how she likes her eggs and, you know, figuring out your sexual preference. This is very similar, you know. Hopefully you find someone who you can, you know, create that safe space to learn and grow in. I mean, that's, you know, kind of how it happened for me, but, you know, some people have to go through a lot of heartache to figure that out. But you know, hopefully at some point in your life, you get enough courage to kind of branch out and figure out what it is that you like.
And then once you figure out that you are super into Chinese food and you meet someone who maybe likes Chinese food, but they're really more into pizza. And you're not a fan of pizza. Like how do you recommend going back to sexual compatibility like, How do you recommend people recognize either that this is not going to be something we can get past? Or this is something that I'll try or like. How do you navigate this in a relationship?
I love this topic and I could literally talk about it for hours, but ultimately, like, I'll try to distill it down. But I think the best way to talk about this is in a concept called the beauty of conflict. So this is where you're always gonna have different preferences as another human being. I mean, you didn't grow up with the same experiences. I mean, no matter who you are in a relationship with, you're going to have different preferences, and it's going to create a little bit of conflict, and I think conflict is fantastic. It's a wonderful thing that drives the passion and fun in spontaneity in your relationship, so conflict is good, and so that's the first block that we have to get past. Is that a lot of people think, Oh, if we're constantly disagreeing and we're always in conflict, like that's bad and there's something wrong with our relationship, But I will argue that it's very, very good and so what happens is you learn tools that I like to teach that will help turn this conflict into creativity. So another concept that I love to talk about is uncompromising intimacy. So I hate that word compromise. I think it's like a dirty, dirty word because nobody wins in a compromise. And if you're always compromising, then you're constantly giving up little pieces of yourself. And so I teach that vulnerability.
Hey, guys, at the end of every month, I'm planning to do a Q and A special answering all of your questions, either about what we just talked about or anything in between. I am happy to hear back from you and help you out if I can. If you could do me a favor and go to the beige house dot com slash ask Megan, you can leave your comment or your question. I'll be able to answer it on the next Q and a episode again. The address is the beige house dot com slash Ask Megan asked. Megan is all one word. Thank you so much I look forward to hearing from you.
Oh gosh, really just forgot the word vulnerability and curiosity. Curiosity, plus vulnerability turn conflict into creativity. So if you could be curious about your partner and you can get vulnerable with your partner than you could take any conflict and turn it into a creative solution that is better than the original. So compromise breaks down individuals. You become less than the original. But turning conflict into creativity is where you take to individuals and you make them even stronger than they started. And so definitely my husband. I love all kinds of food. In fact, when we travel, I'm like, I want whatever food is popular here. Like I am a foodie. My husband will only eat pizza or pasta like that's it. We could be in any foreign country in any land, and he wants pizza and pasta, and we've learned to create this beautiful fun, you know, dynamic, where we'll go to San Francisco, where all I want is crab and shellfish and like whatever, like fresh right out of the ocean, right? And we'll go to a really nice restaurant for me where I can order, you know, the dungeon, ease, crab or whatever. And he will go down the street to in and out and bring his hamburger into the restaurant. It's hilarious. Sometimes they'll bring him a play in a cup like poor his milkshake into like a nice cup. But, I mean, that's our relationship. He is very unadventurous when it comes to food, and I'm like, Give me all the things I will try the black squid like whatever it is, right and so, But we love each other and so it's easy for us to be like Let's go to the place where you can get what you want and we can stop by the place where you can get what you want, right? It's just how we do it and it works well for us. So that's what I teach other couples to do as well.
So I want to talk more about the curiosity and the vulnerability of that and can you just expand a little more about how, like what? The first step in the relationship of. We've been together a while. You know, I feel like something's off. How do you spark that vulnerability and that curiosity with someone?
That's a beautiful question and I love that question because you're always gonna have differences and opinions. You're always gonna have different ways of tackling something or doing something right. And so instead of just immediately being like that's not the right way to do it or that's not what we do, it's It's being really curious like, huh? Like I noticed that you're loading the dishwasher completely differently than I would ever think to do it. Like, where did that come from? And you get instead of attacking you just open up And this is I mean, this is valuable information for any relationship working relationship, anything right instead of just being like that way is not right, because that's not how I do it. It's where did that like like I'm wondering, like, how did you learn how to do that? Or where did that opinion come from? It It's just opening yourself up and then being able to get vulnerable like you know, when I was 12 years old, my nanny taught me how to load the dishwasher this way or whatever the whatever the thing, maybe, or the way you do your finances or the way you want to raise your Children. It's just it's opening up its opening up yourself. learn about your partner and then to get really vulnerable about yourself like maybe you have to explain like it really scares me when you do this with the kids. Because of this experience I had and it's opening. It's opening yourself up so that they can open themselves up and be vulnerable as well. So when you are curious and vulnerable, you allow your partner or whoever you're talking to to open up and be vulnerable as well, instead of just condemning them for being different or not doing it the right way or however that is.
I think that a lot of people in those situations where curiosity is, I guess, like a seedling, you know what I mean? Like they were having a bad time in a relationship. It's not working out or it's gotten old or what have you and I'm thinking specifically of dead bedrooms for lack of a better phrase. You know where there's just there's emotional scarring and there's, you know, physical were, uh, like there's just blocks on ross exactly. And so how do you recommend people take the first step in that kind of situation?
I think it's just using the language of curiosity. I think it's very much just Instead of being quick to be offended, it's just really opening up and being, like, I noticed this about your response in bed or whatever it is and just asking about it, like, you know, I'm curious as to why, you know, when I go to touch you here, you recoil or, you know, you know, it seems like you you you're not interested in this or whatever it is and just being able to just be curious and wonder instead of being totally offended and being like, Well, I guess they don't care about me or I guess, you know, whatever it's like putting aside your own assumptions and being like, Tell me about this. Like, why is this you know, why does this happen like this? Why is your response like this and then being willing to be vulnerable and be like I feel like when I go to touch you here and you recoil like, you know, it kind of hits something inside of me where I think, Oh, my gosh, like, you know, then I feel bad, like maybe she doesn't want me to touch her or or whatever it is it’s inviting them to to share their experience and their their heart with you in a way that's safe and, you know, builds trust instead of, you know, put up walls. It's inviting trust and collaboration, as opposed to putting up walls and in building anger and resentment.
Okay, that's beautiful and I hope that that I hope that relationships there are relationships that could be safe like that. Like my mother and my stepfather were together for 17 years, and I also like they were only together financially. You know, it wasn't there was no intimacy, and there was no I don't think there was love. I think there was like a friendship, but so when I hear about, you know, people being vulnerable and curious and from my own experience. It was just that no one was willing to take that first step in that kind of marriage, you know? And it's so they're people, you know. They're still there, each individual person with passions and loves. And so it's not fair to kind of be in that situation and I love hearing about just okay conversation being the key to that, you know? And when do you, uh, the question that that's in my head is when do you know that it's not going to work? And I guess I don't know what sense I mean that in, but I'll just I'll say that question and I'll let you tackle it,
how you see fit.
That's actually a really hard question. When do you know that it's not going to work? I mean, if there's any type of danger there, then I would say definitely like, you know, respect yourself enough to get out of a dangerous situation but it really does to your thought and point about your mom. It takes a lot of courage, definitely to be the first one to be willing to be vulnerable. I mean, that's a very difficult thing for most people to do. But I think when you're willing to, if you're invested enough to be willing to have the courage, even though it's very scary and it's a huge risk to open yourself up to another person. But I've seen a lot of situations where you have people who have been married for many years who have never taken that risk to be very vulnerable. And you know, they've gone, you know, 20 years thinking that something was a certain way, but never asking about it or never explaining their experience with it. And so if you can have the courage to open up and to be really vulnerable and brave, most times like more times than not, you're going to invite vulnerability from another person, and that just changes all of it. It just changes all of the aspects of a relationship, the dynamics of our relationship. And so another thing that I teach that is very, it only needs one person to change your relationship. So our relationship is a dynamic where it's a system, and so if I behave in a certain way That's predictable, then my partner can, uh, respond in a certain way. That's predictable. But if I work on myself, if I learn different skills like people are always like, well, I'll never get my spouse to know, commit to that or to agree to that or, you know, they'll never wanna work on our relationship right? But you can change or fix like I love using the word fix this we were like, Can you just fix my spouse, right? No. But you can fix your spouse like you actually really can, but not through the way that you think like you're not going to be able to force them into any certain behavior. But if you start changing the way that you show up in the marriage, you start learning tools and change mindsets and do all of these things. You are forcing your partner to change because it changes the dynamic where it's no longer predictable for them, like they can't count on you showing up or behaving in a certain way, and it forces them to change the way they show up and behave as well. And so if there's any level of love and commitment in a relationship, if you start changing the way you show up, it's going to change the dynamic and they're going to change. And so if you start putting in this vulnerability and curiosity and then chances are more times than not, they're going to show up in a more vulnerable you know, uh, surrendered state as well. And you get this beautiful even if it's gone on for years and years and years and years in the same way you change the dynamic and the relationship will change, your partner will change. You can fix them, but it's not like you can take a gun to their head and be like, I need you to change this. It's like yourself and the way that you show up, and then they're forced to change. They have no choice.
I love the gun to the head analogy of just like you have to actually turn the gun on yourself.
I just said that I've never thought about it that way. But it's true. You do have to put yourself in the fire. You have to be willing to take chances and risks and put make yourself vulnerable. And that's what's going to fix or change your spouse.
Well I'm hoping this is a good segue for you've got a summit coming up in a couple of weeks. All about sex.
Yes, let's talk about it. I want to hear what's gonna happen. It's going to be so much fun. I have got some incredible sex therapists and medical professionals and marriage experts who just have really dedicated their lives to educating people on different topics surrounding emotional and physical intimacy and sex. And so I've even got some authors who write about pornography and teaching your kids about pornography and how to teach your kids about sex and the birds and the bees. There's there's something for everyone. It's going to be so much fun. So I'm really, really excited. I mean, just keep your eyes and ears peeled for the epic sex summit because it really is going to be so educational and frankly, mind blowing. I think to most people that that I've gathered, I don't know if I've seen this anywhere else, but I've just gathered all the sex experts in one place and you're going to get to hear from all of them. It's going to be a blast.
It's an online summit, right? Or is it in person?
It's all online yet? Absolutely.
Oh, where can people go on, what are the dates?
You know it's going to be in October, probably first or second week in October. And you just do it if you're following me anywhere on Facebook or Instagram, which is the Montaner one, or if you're on my email list or you can always go to the brighter side of marriage dot com and the details will be there.
So speaking of the brighter side, let's talk about your podcast and how that can make you like how much joy I see in your face when you talk about it?
Oh, I love the podcast. The podcast has been so much fun, but it really has been kind of my journey of development, right? So whenever you whenever you first start anything you have to start at the beginning, and so you're gonna suck, right? And so it's been this opportunity for me to kind of step back and see myself developed into this confident kind of mouthpiece for sexual intimacy. But, you know, at the beginning, I had no clue what I was doing. I was just kind of fumbling and bumbling around and figuring out how to speak about anything, really. And so you know, it's been a little over two years now that we've been doing the podcast, and it's just kind of grown and developed as I've grown and developed. And so right now we're in the middle of a women's sexual health series where I am interviewing some of the same experts that will be on the sex summit. But it's just it's awesome to be able to really dig into their stories and find out how they got started talking about sex and health. And, so it's really fun. The podcast is really fun. It just kind of grows with me. Like as I learned two things, I bring them into the podcast. So it's a really non threatening way to. Learn to get positive messaging about sex from experts who have kind of dedicated their lives to spreading a message. A healthy message about sex, so there's, you know nobody can see you know it's in your ears. You know you can listen. You know, with your kids around. It's just it's It's a really fun way to start kind of learning about healthy sexuality.
Where can they find your podcast?
You can find it on any podcast listening out by searching on the brighter side. But it lives at www.onthebrightersideoflife.com.
Well, and I guess the last thing is there anything we left out that you want everybody to know?
No, just sex is good, and if you want to create anything, if you want to create life, you gotta have sex. If you want to create, you know, passion and you know, creativity and anything you want to create that the power of sex is going to definitely help you in that endeavor. So have sex. Sex is great.
Thank you so much, Monica.
Hey, guys, one thing before you go at the end of every month, I'm planning to do a Q and A special answering all of your questions, either about what we just talked about or anything in between. I am happy to hear back from you and help you out if I can. If you could do me a favor and go to thebeigehouse.com/askmegan, you can leave your comment or your question. I'll be able to answer it on the next Q and a episode again, The address is thebeigehouse.com/AskMegan AskMegan is all one word. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you.
On the next episode. Learn to teach them and reach more of our students because you're losing some of these students that really need that extra attention. And the problem is, a lot of teachers don't even know how to handle working with them properly. That's why they end up bringing in specialists because they want someone who's going to be with them one on one and focus on their needs and how to work with. But it's and integrating them into the classroom is a great idea. But at the same time, they need to be able to find a better balance and how to do that. I don't know if that answers that other question which is, how do we work with that? But all they all kind of seemed to know I went down a rabbit hole because I tend to do that. But it all blended together because if you think about it, look at how we teach people today. We're using a Ladic technology which is a NASA set, not a not a not a deficit, but at the same time use it in a way where the kids are going to benefit the most. That's my suggestion. And don't dismiss these kids who act up, because if they racked up, it's usually because, okay, maybe they're trying to figure out what you said before and they're trying to get answered because they're trying to give you attention to add.