We Wear Masks: Unpacking Relationships & Sex – With Dr. Jessica McCleese
We interact with people everyday, multiple times a day, even via what can be disconnected interaction through social media.
Sometimes we interact out of choice, sometimes out of forced situations and sometimes both.
From childhood we experience this within the dynamics of our families and family friends, whether we choose to or not. The ideas of introvert vs extrovert, shy vs vocal, or comfortable vs awkward start to develop through labels simply based on your demeanor, less the authenticity of the relationship.
And here we are. Wearing a mask that was delivered to us, not designed by us let alone our creator and our truest authentic selves.
Vulnerable relationships with true transparency and face-to-face interaction, are the starting point for the unveiling points for our masks. But it takes time…it takes trust…it takes intentionality.
And ultimately it takes Jesus…here I am envisioning Jim Carrey in the mask…ripping the grip of the mask that hosts a transformative nature and tossing it to the side to embrace the truth of our identity.
Dr. McClease, is a licensed psychologist and sex therapist with her private practice, Fully Well. Yes, I said Sex Therapy. You have to listen to learn more about the deets on this one…just know, the masks aren’t welcomed in the bedroom.
Connect with her here:
Tamra: We interact with people every day, multiple times a day, even via what can be disconnected interaction through social media. Sometimes we interact out of choice sometimes out of forced situations and occasionally both. From childhood, we experienced this within the dynamics of our families and family friends, whether we choose it or not the ideas of introvert versus extrovert shy or spoken or comfortable versus awkward start to develop through labels simply based on our demeanor, less the authenticity of relationships. And so here we are wearing a mask that was delivered to us, not designed by us, let alone our creator and our truest authentic selves. Vulnerable relationships with true transparency and face to face interaction are the starting point for the unveiling points of our mask but it takes time, it takes trust, and it surely takes intentionality. Ultimately, it takes Jesus.
Here I am envisioning Jim Carey in the mask ripping the grip of the mask that posts a transformative nature and tossing it to the side to embrace the truth of our identity. But how often are you picking up the mask? It’s exhausting, it leaves you vacant, it leaves you unknowing of your true identity. Dr. McCleese is a licensed psychologist and sex therapist with her private practice fully well. Yes, I did say sex therapy. You have to listen to learn more about the deeds on this one. Just know the mask also aren’t welcome to bedroom.
I’m so excited to introduce you.
Dr. McClesse: Hey.
Tamra: I feel like I just did this on the radio but…
Dr. McClesse: We did just do this.
Tamra: This is such a different audience. I think I didn’t even listen to Current FM much before understanding what genre of music.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah.
Tamra: It’s really awesome in the sense that 90.7, she shared with me, which is what K-Love, everybody generally listens to, it’s on top 40 repeat over and over.
Dr. McClesse: Oh, I see.
Tamra: Current FM pools from even different decades into like brand new releases and she does the shuffling, which is really cool.
Dr. McClesse: Well, that’s why you hear the same music all the time on K-Love, nothing against K-Love, I happen to have it on my radio as well.
Tamra: Exactly, preset.
Dr. McClesse: It is. So, I have made three that I switched between that one of the gospel stations, I don’t even know what it is, I switch it and I listened to it much of the time until I just go to Chat.
Tamra: Yeah, awesome, I love Chat. [crosstalk 03:49] Next one.
Dr. McClesse: Right.
Tamra: But yeah, so we just were on Current FM haring about what you do, what we’re doing together later this fall, but the point of the podcast, wasn’t really about any of that. It’s for you to come on and share your heart and share the knowledge and that wealth of knowledge that you’ve brought into my own life and to many people that I know. And you’ve just been such a light to me, such a guidance point and anytime, by the way, she’s my therapist in case I need to tell you that you’ll figure it out obviously, but anytime I come to sit on your couch, at first I remember being so guarded and so unsure and it was really just my own lack of self-awareness at the time. But now it’s a place that Gary and I both just sit and like, and we’re just so thankful to be there. Half the time we’re just conversating out of friendship, but even still you teach so well and you teach with such a heart of gold that comes from knowledge of your own experiences and it’s so evident. So, I’m grateful.
Dr. McClesse: Thank you.
Tamra: So grateful.
Dr. McClesse: I try to create a warm environment.
Tamra: You do.
Dr. McClesse: In general, actually just in my life That’s who I try to be. And maybe to my own fault sometimes, but…
Tamra: So, it’s true.
Dr. McClesse: I try to have a nice, warm, welcoming environment for everybody really when I’m around.
Tamra: Yeah, you really do. It’s interesting. I know we’ve talked a lot about Enneagram, I was talking today at work about Myers Briggs, but I took a color test done that one.
Dr. McClesse: Oh yeah, I’ve done that one.
Tamra: That one was really interesting and really great for people that you work alongside. And so I’m blue and I don’t even remember all of the things of what that encompasses, but we got to guess, which I know you say you shouldn’t probably do that and you could tell some people took offense to some of the guesses.
Dr. McClesse: See, that’s why you don’t guess.
Tamra: Even in the color. So, it was fun, but everyone was like blue when it was my turn, they knew spot on.
Dr. McClesse: Well, I don’t know the color test enough. I’ve taken it, I don’t even remember when that was. It’s probably been a year or longer, maybe more than that, but I took it and I don’t even remember what colors are actually available to be chosen from, I don’t remember what color I was, but I also can never remember my Myers-Briggs type, which is crazy. Enneagram I got down. It’s only one number it’s so much easier to remember.
Tamra: That’s true.
Dr. McClesse: I don’t remember all the other stuff and people will tell me, well, you can probably figure it outright, you can guess. What I know is anytime I take a test with extrovert, introvert I’m straight right in the middle, every time.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah…
Dr. McClesse: I used to be more on the introvert side and I think just with owning a business, you have to be more extroverted, so I’ve learned that side, but on a test, I’m always like smack down in the middle.
Tamra: Yeah. That’s probably interesting to be. I mean, I can see the qualities of an introvert for studying psychology and why that, that would be the case, but then being in front of people and though it’s really their space to be vulnerable, you’re also super vulnerable and like receiving and then giving insight to that. And it was introvert like something you claimed yourself as young?
Dr. McClesse: No, I say that because I was called shy all the time as a child, and I think it’s pretty hard to see what someone’s actual personality is when there’s that shyness. So, it’s a very, very shy as a child. I actually, I have this memory, so my dad was a pastor is a pastor still and we would do these contest or contest probably isn’t the right word, we’re giving the motivation to read the Bible all the way through and if so at the end, you stood in front of the church and you received this little plaque, so I did it. I read my Bible through as a child, I’m sure I didn’t lie about it. So, I probably did read it through as a child but then when I was called to the front, I wouldn’t go, I was in tears, begging my mom, not to have to go, cause I never wanted everybody to see me, but I wanted to complete the task, which is kind of funny. So, I had a lot of shyness as a kid and my parents actually say it was when I got the Holy Spirit, that it wasn’t shy anymore.
Tamra: Hey, that awesome.
Dr. McClesse: And then my parents knew me all that time, so I guess they know, [crosstalk 07:58].
Tamra: Wow. So, it’s just like a flip of the switch is what they say.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, absolutely.
Tamra: That’s awesome.
Dr. McClesse: They said I became like a little evangelist and was riding my bike up and down the street.
Tamra: How old was that?
Dr. McClesse: I was very small, I don’t know. I say get the Holy Ghost, what I mean is became a Christian.
Tamra: Oh, yeah.
Dr. McClesse: Because I know there are theological differences in how people say that, so I mean…
Tamra: Yes, yes.
Dr. McClesse: I became a Christian, I get: saved and my mom said I rode my bike up and down the street yelling I’m a Christian, I’m a Christian [cross-talk 08:27 ] and I guess that’s when I became an extrovert.
Tamra: That’s really cool.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. But I do kind of go back and forth, I think probably depending on how tired I am stress, busy work week…
Tamra: [Crosstalk 08:44]
Dr. McClesse: New people, for sure.
Tamra: Yeah. That’s something I’m really wary about as a mom, to label my children because Waverley is absolutely on a scale of an introvert and extrovert in comparison to her older brother an introvert, and Cooper is absolutely an extrovert. But if you get Waverley by herself, she is just a ball of energy, she doesn’t stop talking. I don’t know where she gets it from, and she’s not shy at all. But when she was really little, especially introducing her to somebody new, we would easily just say, oh, she’s just a little shy, she’ll take a couple of minutes to warm up, saying those things and I don’t even remember who specifically said something to me at some point, might even have been you because we’ve known each other for so long at this point and she was a baby at that time saying, be wary of how you label your children because they will take ownership in that label and then they’ll claim it as who they are because they don’t know any different.
They haven’t done this soul, self-exploration journey that we’ve done as we’ve gotten older. And so, I’ve been really cognizant of being like, nope, she’s actually not shy, because people say, oh, she’s just shy. I’m like, nope, she’s not shy Coop… she’s just taking a minute to take it all in and see what’s going on, she’ll come out.
Dr. McClesse: Cautious maybe, cautious is better than shy.
Tamra: Yeah, cautious.
Dr. McClesse: I think shy has the fear and anxiety wrapped up into it where something like cautious is more of an awareness of your own environment…
Dr. McClesse: And just making sure you’re not doing something hazard. So, then she’s really smart, you know? Because she’s cautious.
Tamra: Right. So, and then it changes the whole perspective in one word. We were just at a family reunion this past weekend for my grandpa’s 90th birthday, which is amazing, and at the end she, we have so many family members, and so she came across one of my cousins who’s older than us and he’s got a nose ring and tattoos and like from the outside looking in, you can be like, oh, he’s a little bit intimidating, a little bit scary, not, he’s such a sweetheart, but he’s like, hey, and immediately, you know, as a family member, we’re like, oh, give uncle Donnie a hug. And she just pointed her feet like nope. And so, Gary, I like saw him sort of nudge her forward and I was like, it’s okay, it’s your cousin, you guys are family. And she just looked at me like, no, it’s okay, don’t worry about it. And I’m like how about like a high five or something?
Dr. McClesse: She’s like, I’m not having it.
Tamra: Yeah, not having it. So, we get in the car and as we’re driving down the road, I tell Gary, I’m like, babe, just to be aware, and it’s something that I obviously did in the exact same moment, but in reflection, we need to be cognizant of her personal space and the fact that because of her cautiousness, that’s a good sign that she’s taking that in and she’s saying, I don’t feel comfortable and like not forcing a hug and not doing that. And I know you’ve suggested a couple of books, even for me and Cooper and Waverley to read about being able to say no and being conscious of your body so something I learned from that book.
Dr. McClesse: I’m a big fan of not pushing kids into hugging when they don’t want to. I don’t like it because I think it teaches people at a young age that you don’t get to say yes or no so, I don’t like that idea, I think it’s dangerous. But I’ve found I can do the same thing too with my nieces or my nephews and it’s easy to get into that mindset. We are like, no, it’s family. Go ahead. Go give a hug and then later, think about, oh yeah, that’s actually a message. I don’t want to give kids.
Dr. McClesse: So, yeah. Day by day we’re all learning and learning, but I do think it’s very good to help kids know that they don’t have to have touch if they don’t want it.
Tamra: Yeah, absolutely, and same as adults. I mean, some people really don’t like… I don’t want to be hugged, some people aren’t like that and I love hugs, I’ll take an embrace at any point but even there the times we were like, oh, that was a little awkward. That probably shouldn’t have happened right there in that way.
Dr. McClesse: For sure.
Tamra: So, just being aware of that.
Dr. McClesse: That’s a church thing, right? Where everybody hugs even if you don’t want to.
Tamra: It’s so true.
Dr. McClesse: I know it’s so awkward.
Tamra: It is so true though, I did, I will say when I went to Parkway and people did that, you know, the welcoming committee at every single church, well, these mommas were just like, you felt like you were in your grandma’s arms. I mean, I was a mess when I first went to church, we went to church in a saved space. Talk about like the Holy spirit transformation, I just felt like I had completely opened myself to women being one of those things, I’d love to talk further about that connection and that femininity component that altered within me. But when they embraced me, I was just like, oh, and I just felt melted in their arms but yet in other church environments I’ve been very like, I don’t know the authenticity behind it, which makes it harder where I felt like they were just like, come here, baby, I’ll hold you.
Dr. McClesse: And authenticity is so important because if it feels gross otherwise.
Tamra: Yes, absolutely. Yeah, that’s true. I’m taking notes because I always like to reflect later, and we were talking about so many things. So tell me about that kind of like flip for myself and help others understand, because I feel like so often as girls, especially, that middle school, high school, even college for me claiming myself as like a guy’s girl and what does that mean? And it could mean a multitude of things, especially from the history of trauma or anything of how they were raised but recognizing the importance of owning and coming into relation with your sisters.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. That’s funny because I didn’t get a lot of practice as a child with that, I had all brothers, so mom and dad, all brothers, mom, and dad both worked a lot so they weren’t home as much. I remember some mother, daughter times with my mom, but for the most part, it was me and my brothers. And they often would make sure I knew that I wasn’t part of their boys clubs, kids will be kids, but I really longed for that relationship with my brothers and I think I longed for it with guys just in general. And so, it has taken really, I would say a lifetime to like I’m 80 or something, it’s taken so far my lifetime.
Tamra: She has dentures and you can’t see them but…
Dr. McClesse: I think I’ve aged gracefully. So, it takes some time to facilitate those female relationships. And I think there’s a number of reasons for that happening because a lot of times girls can be a little catty and it’s sad. I wish that that weren’t the case, but I find that we can be that way and I would expect because we’re just so highly emotional and so, everything is emotionally charged and everything is relationally in charge.
Dr. McClesse: And so, it takes very little to feel like somebody is anti-me right now or somebody ugly toward me right now. I don’t think we need to do that to each other, it’s just communication mishaps, misunderstandings, sometimes on the other side jealousy and things like that but it’s really hard to form those female relationships I believe. Which to me is a tragedy because I actually believe scripturally, we should really be devoting ourselves to those relationships. We don’t see women having lots of relationships with men, we see the woman with her husband and we see the woman with girlfriends and with the older women that they’re learning from and the younger women that they’re teaching. So, we’re definitely supposed to have this community among women. I wish I had the answer of how to make that easier, I don’t have that.
Tamra: Come on, sorry. [Crosstalk 16:16] I don’t know that I’ll help there at the conferences either.
Dr. McClesse: But I think it’s really the time that we spend together and the constantly trying to hear one another out and listen for that heart that’s speaking, not just the words that are coming out and ask the clarifying questions, all the things I would teach people in counseling anyways. We learn how do we ask those questions of one another and kind of let the guard down. I would say that’s probably the harder part is that vulnerability.
Tamra: Yeah. I think that’s a huge portion of it and I had mentioned a bit of the self-awareness, self-identity piece and being able to be comfortable enough in who I am and I’m still growing in that, but I remember feeling like, okay, this is who I am, take it or leave it. And having that switch of being like, okay, they’re either going to accept me or they’re not, but it’s so exhausting to try and be accepted in the person that I was not. If that makes sense, trying to put on a front to be liked or to fit into a certain social section, and so this is me. And then when you are able to say, this is me, you kind of gravitate towards people and they gravitate towards you because they see that there’s nothing hidden here. And I think that’s where the catty, that’s where the jealousy, that’s where, oh, she’s perfect was something I was claimed over so much when I was growing up. And I think eventually it became something that I titled over myself.
Not because I didn’t think I was perfect, but because I had heard it so much that I then put my own self like, I’m on this pedestal for everyone else I have to stay there, and putting that pressure on myself. And so just finally being like, nope, I can’t stay there, I don’t have the expectation for myself to be there anymore, I want to be there, it’s exhausting. And how can I be on the same level playing field with all of my friends and sisters? And that was the time where my hands were open, just like in a relationship with the Lord we try and clinch onto things.
Dr. McClesse: Right. And that’s so good because we wear those masks. I think society teaches us to do that and presenting a certain face to others or presenting a certain appearance to others. But taking off that mask, people will want that so desperately, I called it vulnerability, your calling taking the mask off I think its kind of the same thing though.
Dr. McClesse: That just being real with people are hungry for that, especially in today’s world. Because actually, it’s funny we’re on social media, but so many people are using social media now actually in lieu of relationship and so instead of facilitating relationship, they’re doing social media, I mean, I’m going to listen to this podcast later, I listen to podcasts all the time. I do social media as well so I don’t think that it’s something that we need to shy away from but we still need to somehow find a way for actual, real face to face relationship to going out to lunch with her girlfriends, having coffee dates, like actually spending time together not just via text or social media. Because we actually, we lose quite a bit with that kind of a screen connection.
Tamra: So much.
Dr. McClesse: It’s just not the same. There’s actually… so, we release chemicals, even just being in close relationship with one another and that’s part of what creates that bonding, but you can’t do that over a screen so you really just lose a part of the relationship.
Tamra: So true. And then when you think about bringing that into the sector of relationships with the opposite sex and eventually hopefully leading to marriages, online dating and app dating and people can have full-on relationships. And what’s the show where they’re fake, it’s like catfish or something?
Dr. McClesse: Oh, that would probably be the name.
Tamra: Right. It’s caught you and they’re not even real, you see them and you’re like, oh, I’m sorry, I’m a 13-year-old male and I was deciding myself as a 27-year-old female and it’s horrible. But to think the importance of coming to face to face with people is in so many realms, it’s definitely become my love language. I want quality time, I want eye contact, it’s so important for me.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, it’s actually even more important for women to have that eye contact. So, as girlfriends, girls really need to do this with one another because it’s actually, that’s how we bond. So, man to woman, men and men are side to side communicators, women are eye to eye, so it gets a little bit more difficult with men and wife because their strengths have changed a little and they have to compromise and fit into that new norm for a male, female relationship, but girlfriends really do well to have that eye to eye contact.
That’s interesting because I know you’re probably analyzing. Because Gary always talks about how he just wants my eyes and it’s so much harder for me when it comes to my spouse to give him that time because I feel like in my home I’m thinking of a thousand other things. The kids are there, and he literally will like a puppy dog in the sweetest sense, not in a bad way at all. I love him dearly; he will follow me around the house eager for me. I am picking up clothes, I’m doing laundry, I’m like cleaning the dishes and he’s just asking me questions and answering questions and then finally he’ll be like, I’ll catch eyes with him and he’s like, hey, Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. How long have you been following me? Waiting for my eye contact. And so, I am really good at it with women because I’m intentional with the bubble of time that I put around it.
Dr. McClesse: See, there you go. So, you have a cutoff.
Tamra: I do.
Dr. McClesse: Makes it a little easier.
Tamra: I totally know. And so, that is like such a value point. And when we don’t get like our date nights or our time, that’s like no babies and likely out of the home, because for me at the house, I just feel like I need to be, I don’t know, busy. I don’t know why that is. I’m [inaudible 22:12] when we’re in bed, but that’s a whole other space that you’re supposed to keep sacred. So, I need to be better with my spouse in that.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, it’s hard, very task-oriented so it makes it difficult. And anytime we talk about gender differences, those are generalities. So, it’s not always a hundred percent across the board, these are, these are most men are this way, most women are this way so that’s something to remember too. So, I’m not analyzing.
Tamra: I always say that my other girlfriend who’s a therapist, she’s like, I’m not analyzing you I swear I’m just being your friend right now.
Dr. McClesse: Just having a conversation.
Tamra: Okay, sure. I leave that to your work couch, right?
Dr. McClesse: That’s right.
Tamra: I didn’t want to get too cozy for a reason. So I want to know, I know we kind of started in the backward spin of what you do now and I’d love to hear more about how that started and what helped led you to the pursuit of helping people. You’ve helped a lot of different types of people, but I know marriage is one of the things that you…
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, I definitely do more of marriage than anything. You know, I don’t know if that was accidental or if God led me that direction. I am not sure what I know is I started grad school and I know that was a God thing. So, I way back when I, gosh, when did I graduate? I graduated in 2012, six years before that is when I had run into an old professor who asked me what I was doing. I’m like, well, I’m a payroll person, that’s what I do. And he was like, no, you shouldn’t be, should be going on to grad school and you have what it takes. And so, I basically just listened to him. I’m like, well, okay, I guess I’ll do it then and I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be.
Probably good I didn’t know because I might not have done it. But it happened just at an ideal time in my life where I knew that changes needed to happen and I knew that I couldn’t stay in the routine and in the place that I was in so I knew it was good to change. So, I started going to Regent, that’s where I got my Doctor of Clinical Psychology. And while I was there, they kind of consider it vita building.
Dr. McClesse: So, it’s a good idea to build your vita, build your resume, get lots of experience in different areas. And so there are tons of research groups and if you saw my vita, it’s kind of funny, because I have, I don’t know, 20 different research groups that I was a part of in very small capacity. But the one that I did most of was a research group, specifically working with couples. And it was looking at, does Christian counseling benefit people more than traditional counseling without the Christian…
Dr. McClesse: Aspects. Yeah, the actual research shows that it’s not really a difference if the people are Christians and they seem to do better with that Christian integrative approach.
Dr. McClesse: If they’re not, they do fine with the other approach.
Dr. McClesse: So, yeah, it’s kind of interesting. Now those aren’t long-term studies, so that’s short term 10 weeks, would we find out.
Dr. McClesse: So, a whole lot that could be said about that, but…
Tamra: Of course, I follow you.
Dr. McClesse: Right. But I did that for four years, I guess. I was involved in doing more and more of the marriage and more the couples therapy type stuff, at the same time, I was seeing clients early on in my second year who were having sexually related intimacy concerns and so, that led to the sex therapy piece as well. So, I did those in conjunction with one another, but the sex therapy piece I did in Atlanta, that was not at Regent.
Dr. McClesse: They don’t do that at Regent so, it’s a separate certification. But all of that came to pass I think because of the research area I got interested in. Now there’s background stuff in my own life and in marriages in my family that led me down that track too. I wouldn’t say it’s just Regent and I got interested in a research group.
Dr. McClesse: But that’s the one I really kind of dove into face first, I guess. I really enjoyed it.
Tamra: That’s real [inaudible 25:52].
Dr. McClesse: Yeah [crosstalk 25:53]
Tamra: And so, you’ve been practicing for how many years now?
Dr. McClesse: Oh, let’s see. If you count under supervision, that would have been since 2009. So, about a decade.
Dr. McClesse: I know, it’s crazy.
Tamra: That’s crazy. You still don’t look for all of that.
Dr. McClesse: Thank you.
Tamra: It’s so lovely.
Dr. McClesse: I just turned 40.
Tamra: Woo-hoo. Happy birthday.
Dr. McClesse: Thank you. That well, that was a couple of months.
Tamra: Oh gosh. That was March. [Inaudible 26:15] that’s bad. I’m sure I wished you a happy birthday then.
Dr. McClesse: Time really flies. So, a few months ago.
Tamra: That’s awesome, I’ll still say a happy birth year.
Dr. McClesse: Thank you again.
Tamra: Big 40. So, when did you meet your husband? Were you married while pursuing, learning about…?
Dr. McClesse: Yes.
Dr. McClesse: We, met in, this is funny, we always have a hard time remembering exactly when we met, when we started dating, we disagree a little bit on that.
Tamra: Yeah, sure.
Dr. McClesse: But we know it was sometime before my birthday before I turned 30. So, we started dating, I want to say during the first year [crosstalk 26:52] Regent. So, we met pretty quickly while I was there, started dating, and then got married at the end of my second year. But I know we were only dating for like a year and some odd months.
Tamra: Wow, that’s… you knew.
Dr. McClesse: So, we got married quickly. Well, everybody said it was quickly to us it didn’t feel all that quick, but we spent a lot of time together. Our first date was like the hardest interview you’d ever been too. I’m serious.
Tamra: For you or from him?
Dr. McClesse: No, from him. He asked a lot of questions. So, for you guys that are watching my husband and I are in a biracial marriage and so, there were a lot of questions about that, what that would mean for my family and if this was going to be acceptable. So…
Tamra: Wow. On a first date?
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, I first was…
Tamra: I love that.
Dr. McClesse: Pretty amazing actually.
Dr. McClesse: I mean, we spent a ton of time together, the first date, but it was all… It went really well. It wasn’t that weird butterflies in the stomach, oh, we’re so attracted to one another really well, like it was this actual emotional and intellectual connection.
Tamra: Yeah, I was going to say that’s so deep.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. We basically… I think we both kind of came to the table of, look, we’re not going to play games, we’re not going to mess around here. So, I need to know, are are you worth my time?
Tamra: Yeah, totally.
Dr. McClesse: And that worked well.
Tamra: You know, it’s interesting, and I feel like more people, especially as I’ve gotten older and my friends have obviously aged alongside me, some who are single, seeing the way that they date is so much different than how we dated when we were in college and high school, and that is something that I’ve had friends do. They’re like, I am not in this for just hanging out, I really want to know, and I want to pursue this person in such a different way. And I feel like I didn’t have the opportunity to do that until I was already married, which I then got the opportunity to do because I feel like I’m in constant pursuit of Gary now, but I wasn’t, when we first got together, it was just that it was all about the butterflies. It was all about the feelings and the emotions and he’s hot and we look good together and we have a lot of fun and similar interests.
And there were obviously depths to it we went were together for four years before we got married, so that was a very different duration of time. But I really feel like the flip of the script for us was when we realized this might not last for me specifically. And how are we going to make it work for the longevity of our lives? Because eventually feelings run out, eventually emotions change and that dwindles and so, how do you reignite that ember when you feel like you already know everything there is to know yet. I learned something new about him every single day now because my mind and my heart opened to what’s there.
Dr. McClesse: Right.
Dr. McClesse: Well, and the more you know yourself, the more you have to share with your spouse as well. So, if your awareness, which I think all of us should do constantly gaining that awareness, maybe even becoming more like Christ and learning from learning the Lord, all of those things create these new dynamics that you can then share with one another. So, you will spend the rest of your life getting to know one another and that’s not because you’re married so you spend the rest of your life getting to know each other, that’s legit true. You will spend the rest of your life growing together and learning more about yourself hopefully and then learning more about one another. I mean, it’s a journey we’re on together, which is really fun. It’s a cool thing to do, it’s not a one-stop-shop, right, when you start dating and decide to get married, you don’t know what you’re getting into, which is probably good.
Tamra: No, you don’t.
Dr. McClesse: I don’t think we’re supposed to know.
Tamra: Yeah, true again, just like your grad school experience, if you know, then are you going to do it? Are you going to pursue it in the same way with the same, like, this is what we do, this is the next step? And nobody can even really speak into that. So, I had the opportunity to…what is it called? With my first wedding, I was going to say, ordain but that’s not it.
Dr. McClesse: Oh yeah, facilitate. Not facilitate.
Tamra: Officiate, I couldn’t even think of the word, I’m like ordain, that’s not it. Officiate my cousin’s wedding a couple of weeks ago and to…
Dr. McClesse: And congrats on that, that’s awesome.
Tamra: Such a special thing, I’m so honored to have done it and hope to do it again because it was just to be on that side of this ceremony versus in the pew or even the bride, felt really just so different, it was definitely an existential experience. But to be able to share with them only having been married at that point for seven years, 11 together, like how can I speak into this? And it was really just a God-ordained time for him to be able to share what he’s done through my own marriage versus my giving any insight. Because just like we could read a thousand marital books, it’s not going to be the same for you and your spouse.
Dr. McClesse: Right.
Tamra: They’re just all different. Every storyline is different. And I think you’ve said it before and you’ll say it best even here, but you talk about like how our relations or our upbringings are then brought together. Explain that again.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. So, you have your story that you’ve already been creating from childhood and people speak into your life and they help you create that story sometimes for the good sometimes for the bad and each of you is doing that. So, you and Gary both did that as you were growing up and then you meet one another and you start rewriting a brand-new story together, each of you with your background. So, there are these pieces, it’s almost like if you’re reading a book that was maybe a trilogy. And so, you’re reading one story and then, as you teach each other more, you’re finding the background of each of the characters in this main story and you just continue to grow. And so, as we learn more about each other’s past and it’s interesting because when you’re married for long enough, you kind of think, well, yeah, I’ve shared my past with my spouse, I mean they know everything there is to know.
Dr. McClesse: But the more you get to know yourself, you can have aha moments where you’re like, wow, gosh, that actually reminds me of a situation with my dad, that reminds me of a situation with my brother or whatever it may be and so you can sit in that place and then bring new awareness to your spouse saying, ah, I get why we had that argument the other day. You’re right, you said nothing wrong, but this is why I got hurt, it reminded me of this instance and you have this new chance to kind of grow but through all of that, you’re building your own story. We don’t know how it’s going to end, I mean, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next week, month, year, decade of your life and so there’ll be a continuing building of your story. I think it’s really beautiful to watch couples that have been married 50 or 60 years and maybe they’re in their seventies or eighties and they’re talking about life together and how to maintain that loving bond and sometimes their advice is silly and cute and sometimes it’s just this really simple message of just make sure you love each other. And that’s really what it’s all about writing that story. It’s about loving each other really well over and over again.
Tamra: Well I know that you have helped us learn to love each other more and I feel like that’s a weird thing, it’s like there’s a triangle, but really the triangle is with the Lord because you help steward that relationship even as a married couple, even though we were in the church as well, but you have you’re Better Than the Honeymoon Facebook group. That is so awesome, there’s like 200 people and there isn’t a lot of people in there?
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, you know, I don’t know how many.
Tamra: Yeah. There’s a lot of people in there.
Dr. McClesse: I think more than that.
Tamra: Way more than that. Yeah.
Dr. McClesse: Who knows.
Tamra: Regardless every time that I get to chime into there because of course there are a thousand Facebook groups, just like a thousand research groups, whenever I chime in there, I’m always so grateful. I’ve pointed so many people to that resource.
Dr. McClesse: Aww, thank you.
Tamra: Because it’s a free opportunity for people to really learn more about you, but then learn more about their spouse. And when you ask very deep questions to a group of a lot, you see people be truly vulnerable and it’s a beautiful thing to watch strangers sometimes the person because I’ve put friends into that group that I know could use it and it’s been really helpful. So, I definitely want to point people to that. What is your heart behind like that experience? Because I know you’re doing kind of a bunch of different fun things right now.
Dr. McClesse: I’m doing several things, that’s true.
Dr. McClesse: Trying to put focus where it needs to be, which is really hard for me, but I’m trying. So, the Better Than the Honeymoon group, what’s funny is people, a lot of times think that has to do with sex and that’s what they’re expecting it to be. That wasn’t really what I was going for when you said that.
Tamra: Yeah, I’d even thought of that.
Dr. McClesse: But I can see where people would come up with that. And that would be kind of the idea but it’s much more holistic than that. So, better than the honeymoon when we get married, it’s kind of funny, I actually just talked to some friends of mine, they’ve been married 30 years. They just celebrate the 30th and they were, they were renewing their wedding vows and so they were saying it was just this beautiful experience because they were able to renew those vows and now they know what they mean. So, like before, when you’re standing up there and we talked about it together, how funny it is because when you get married, like you hear all these people’s advice and the things they say and some of it’s really negative and you’re looking at your person and saying, not us though because we’re in love. This won’t be our lives; we’re going to be good. We don’t fight, we get along. And it’s true and it should be true.
Tamra: Yeah, when your [crosstalk 36:47] right.
Dr. McClesse: But then something happens over the years and we can have a tendency to grow apart. We frustrate one, another iron sharpens iron, so there’s a refining process that’s going on, it’s from the Lord and we just have a hard time sometimes in relationship with others. You’re not really doing relationship actually if there’s not some friction there once in a while.
Tamra: Right, that’s good.
Dr. McClesse: So, have to learn how to get through that. So, Better Than the Honeymoon is learning that that moment, that first week of bliss that comes where you’re like the 10 of your one to 10 scale, that first week is good, but it’s not at all what the standard should be for your marriage. It’s just a picture, it’s a snapshot of the many years that you’ll have together. So, the Better Than the Honeymoon speaks to that, this is the continuing to grow, the continuing to build a life together that you really love, and continuing to build on your relationship that far extends that honeymoon period. Even as therapists, we call it that we call it the honeymoon period, last about 18 months, typically anywhere from six to 18 months where people, all of your hormones are kind of going nuts and you’re releasing all these endorphins and so, you feel really connected and close and eventually those down.
And they have to, I always joke with people, they have to die down or neither one of you are ever working again and you don’t have a life, you can’t pay your bills so, they need to die and you need to go on living a regular life. but still being a part of one another. And so, after those hormones die down, we have to learn a lot more about commitment and the making about more of the connection because we know we need, not necessarily because we’re feeling it at the moment, but always facilitating that closeness. So, you may not have the butterflies anymore, but you have something so much greater because what you have is real and it stands the test of time and it’s a much deeper commitment.
Tamra: That’s really good. And then there is the piece that everybody’s wondering about because you did mention sex and you’re a sex therapist…
Dr. McClesse: I am.
Tamra: So, I do want to get into the nitty-gritty of that too. And honestly, Gary and I haven’t had the opportunity to like fully just dive just into that because wow, has our life been something in the last three years? But I was actually thinking about, this is really weird in the shower the other day when I was thinking about our time together for the podcast. And I was like, man, next time, and I want you to hold this as a social contract right here, next time we sit across from you I really want to just like shut out all of the other things because all the other things will still exist, but it is at the end of the day, just Gary and I, when we turn off the lights when the sound machine comes on and the kids are asleep. And so, we need to focus in on that more, and I know that it’s a fault of my own and I’ll carry that myself and Gary can carry it however he does, but I know that I allow life to affect that part of our relationship and yet it’s so important.
And you talk about the differences between man and women and, and what they need versus what we need and how we give, and you told me a visual example once that I’ll never forget. You said like when it comes to sex, guys have a big red button when it’s time for sex, it’s just like, here’s the red button, but for women, there’s a teeny tiny red button and there are all these different wires leading to that button and you have to figure out which one to get to in order to for the guy to say, is this the way today? No, don’t touch me. Okay, should I be silly and joke around and be playful? No stop. Okay, am I supposed to give her a lot of foreplay? What is it? And the poor guys, they have all this reading to do because of our emotions, but tell us about like, and I don’t even know where you start in that, but…
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, okay. That’s a lot, that’s true.
Tamra: It is.
Dr. McClesse: So, I’ll give kind of a general overview of what sex therapy even is, because I know people wonder about that sometimes actually have an article on my blog, am I able to advertise that?
Tamra: Yeah, please.
Dr. McClesse: Okay. So, befullywell.com and you can actually look for a blog there called What Really Happens In A Sex Therapist Office and that’s really helpful, there’s also actually an entire tab just for sex therapy that you can go to and see really what it is, what it’s all about. So, I do want to point out it is talk therapy and sometimes people don’t know.
Tamra: Come on.
Dr. McClesse: I have had some extremely odd requests through email when I get those, I’m like hey, check out this article, tell me if you have any questions.
Tamra: Oh gosh, I can only imagine.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. So, it is talk therapy. There’s a lot of psychoeducation that goes on in place, and the only reason it’s called psychoeducation instead of education is because it embraces the psychological aspects as well. So, we talk a lot about human behavior and just how men and women are different again, with those it is that those things are just generalities and so sometimes we’ll find crossover there. So, we do a lot of education, sometimes there are referrals for more serious issues that might need other care. For instance, I’ve worked with lots of women that have pelvic pain problems, and that requires a referral to someone typically who I use as a pelvic floor therapist that I love here. And so, I use her often, get great reviews for her and so, that requires kind of a team effort.
There are numerous other things that maybe that way to infertility can be one so, they’re probably going to be seeing a doctor as well, talking to me more about the emotional connection during those times and so, sex therapy is actually this huge, huge, broad range. Anything from couples saying, we just, for some reason can’t connect, even though we want to, we never make time for sex, but we want to, and it’s somehow not happening for us. So, it can be something as simple as that all the way up to things like gender identity, all the way up to things like pornography addiction or affairs, infertility is definitely one, I think I already mentioned that though, desire differences between couples can be one and then I said the pelvic pain, that’s one that can be a problem for people too. I’ve had a few men come in for erectile dysfunction and if it’s medical, you know you got to take care of the medical piece as well.
Dr. McClesse: But some men find that actually, it’s more emotional based, trauma based.
Dr. McClesse: Trauma would be its separate piece also talking about sexual trauma healing and recovery from that, especially inside of the relationship. So, it’s a really broad topic.
Tamra: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. And so, what I do is I do Christian sex therapy, which is different from sex therapy in general because I do use the word of God as my base and my foundation. So, everything’s going to be going back to those types of teachings and to use more of a biblical construct. I have had people come to see me that want nothing to do with the Bible and that’s fine, I also work with them. But I really do deep down in the core of who I am believed that we actually have to have that integration with what Christ says is best because he’s the one that created sex, he’s the one that created our bodies and so, we really need to heed God’s word in that area of our lives, or we’re probably not going to enjoy our sex lives the way we’re supposed to.
Tamra: So good. Can you give us like even scriptural, not necessarily referenced, because I’m horrible at that, so I would never put you on the spot, but what does God say about our sex lives?
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. Well, first of all, we got to remember that our sex lives are God’s they’re not our own. I actually have a colleague that will say to the man, your penis is not your own it belongs to God, women your vagina is not your own it belongs to God. But the idea behind that is we’re always supposed to submit our bodies to Christ. And so, that includes the way we pursue one another and the way we talk to one another, the things we ask of one another. So, I have kind of an entire theology of sex that I talk about that has to do more with mutually beneficial behaviors. So, if one spouse wants something that the other spouse says, actually that really shames me, that spouse isn’t allowed to say, well, it’s my marital due, it’s my marital right is not. Actually, your marital right is to give yourself to your spouse and allow them completely and fully. So, that’s your marital right.
Tamra: Yeah, that’s good.
Dr. McClesse: So, the whole idea behind sex is really learning how to do sex in a way that honors God. So, is this something that you could pray about? Is this something that you can go to God and say, hey, I would like to have this in my relationship with my spouse because if it’s something you would try to hide from God, guess what these things aren’t hidden, he knows what’s going on.
Dr. McClesse: So, we just want to do that according to his word and make sure we’re loving each other. A lot of times people want a whole list of do’s and don’ts, but it’s really not as simple as all that because yeah, I mean, we’ve already talked trauma. If you have trauma in your background, there may be things that would be perfectly fine for one couple that isn’t for another couple so it’s really dependent on the couple, but it’s also dependent on the word of God.
Tamra: Yeah, I love that.
Dr. McClesse: And so, everything that we think we might want to do, we have to look at, is this something that I would be ashamed to stand before God and say that I’ve done? If so, that should be a red flag for you. So, anything we do should be honoring and loving one another. I mean, that’s whole of scripture, right?
Tamra: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. McClesse: We’re supposed to love others. And Jesus himself said they’re going to know who you are by the way that you love that’s how they’re going to know you’re different. Jesus was different because of the way he loved, besides being fully God, he showed people he was different by his love. And we’ve had to do that in the marriage bed as well.
Tamra: Well, I think, I always talk about like the mind, body, and soul piece, and that’s kind of where Fit In Faith was born, is that the body it’s not just like within the bed. It’s what are you doing with your body by yourself? And so, and I’m not speaking to masturbation, I’m speaking of like, how do you fuel yourself and how are you eating? What are you drinking? What are you doing from a consumption standpoint? Are you working out? Are you moving? Are you sitting? I was at the school, working today and I had to be in a chair from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM other than for bathroom breaks because we had a sit-in lunch and at some points, I just stood up. I’m like, I’m just going to stand here. I’m in the room, I’m listening but I cannot sit here. And, afterward, I told my husband about it and he’s like, babe, that’s like 90% of the population that’s what they do. And I’m like, that’s horrible.
Dr. McClesse: I know.
Tamra: And I cannot confine myself to that. I need a standing desk or one of those yoga balls to jump on. But it is, it’s so important for us to be cognizant because if you’re not treating yourself individually well, your body, well just speaking of the body, how do you think you’re going to feel when you come into that sexual intimacy with another person who now sees all of you and you’re expecting to perform or expecting to be loved or expecting to be confident in that when you’re not even confident by yourself in the mirror. That’s a hard thing, but it’s so important.
Dr. McClesse: It’s so huge. That’s actually a part of what we do in sex therapy anyways, is look at some of that because if you’re not taking care of yourself, physically, you’re going to have a harder time in the bedroom, it’s just true. I know bodybuilders, I guess I can call them that weight trainers that’ll say definitely when they and their spouse are healthy, they’re going to have better sex. Well, it’s true because your self-confidence goes up but even beyond that, just having more energy is important because all of us are so busy during the day. And if you don’t have energy at the end of the night, you’re probably not going to want to have sex or it’s going to be very quick and not really all that intimate.
Tamra: Connective, yeah.
Dr. McClesse: And so, that is important. How we treat ourselves absolutely has an impact on our sex lives.
Tamra: And it’s interesting because people even when I was on vacation last week, I entered into 50 burpees for 30-days challenge.
Dr. McClesse: Yes.
Tamra: And I haven’t done them today, I’m thinking about it as we’re saying this. And so, I’m on vacation and some people take a vacation to a different extreme like, oh, I’m on vacation, I’m going to relax this week. Well, I’m on vacation I have free time to work out whenever I want. Are you kidding me? This is awesome. So, we would be walking on the beach and like let’s bust out some burpees.
Dr. McClesse: How fun.
Tamra: And the other people with me probably wouldn’t have used that word. They’re like, you’re crazy, what is wrong with? And at the end of the trip, one of my girlfriends who I love dearly, she said, I admire your energy I wish I was more like that. And I truly believe it’s like, as Gary would utilize the reference, like a snowball, like you start small and you’re not expected to do 50 burpees for 30 days in a row. But when you work out to a certain extent and you do build on it, that snowball becomes so big to the point that you’re like, I want to do this. It’s got a roll. I can’t not roll, I can’t not flow, I can’t not work out, I can’t not because I know the endorphin high that I get, that then trickles into my relationships, into my passion projects, into my kids. It’s just I think it’s so important. There’s so much to it.
Dr. McClesse: It is. You’re doing 50 burpees a day for 30 days.
Tamra: Yeah girl.
Dr. McClesse: In my head, I heard 50 burpees in the span of 30 days. I’m like, that’s like, less than one burpee a day, less than two burpees a day.
Tamra: No, 50 a day.
Dr. McClesse: That’s hardcore.
Tamra: And when I skip, I owe 100.
Dr. McClesse: Wow. [crosstalk 49:26]
Tamra: And I’m telling you, I’m on like 17, day 17 I think, and I can tell a difference.
Dr. McClesse: Wow.
Tamra: I’ve seen these transformation pictures, and I’m doing it with a big group in the area VB Burpee Babes, hashtag wherever you are, Gary’s… There are some men, some of the husbands are a part of it. But I feel so motivated because she’s has a spreadsheet. She’s like where’s so, and so she didn’t show up today and I’m like, aw, dang it, it’s 10:30 at night. So, last night I was after my core meeting, 10, 11 at night and I was like, I am a hundred burpees because I didn’t do yesterday.
Dr. McClesse: Oh, my goodness.
Tamra: And then the sound of 150 burpees tomorrow…
Dr. McClesse: Oh yeah, no way.
Tamra: Sounds horrible. So, I busted them out, I felt great about it.
Dr. McClesse: Wow, way to go.
Tamra: So, challenge people to just go that extra step. They don’t have to do that necessarily, but even like my mom said, she challenged herself to walk four miles a day for a week. And she just goes out in nature, she’s going to the beach that’s working out, that’s moving your body, that’s getting your heart rate up, that’s freeing your mind. It’s so good, there are so many elements of working out. You don’t have to be hardcore like that.
Dr. McClesse: Right. Well, it just to do something too because having some movement, any movement is good for you. What’s interesting is even our bodies need that movement. All of our internal systems need that movement to stay healthy, but our bones need that as well. If we’re not moving around enough, we can get things like degenerative disc disease. I actually have issues with that because I have a job where I sit most of the time. And so yeah, I have to move often and…
Tamra: You can stand when we were there next.
Dr. McClesse: March around, yeah.
Tamra: Okay. Drop and give me 10. We’re trying to discuss right. 50 burpees. It wouldn’t bother me. I understand. I couldn’t imagine sitting all the time.
Dr. McClesse: I move around as much as I can, but I do work out so that helps too.
Tamra: It does. Totally.
Dr. McClesse: I see a chiropractor that helps too. I love going to the chiropractor.
Tamra: I know it was the best.
Dr. McClesse: It is awesome.
Tamra: When I got a sleep number, I did not have to go to the chiropractor.
Dr. McClesse: Really.
Tamra: I am telling you it has been transformational for my back problems.
Dr. McClesse: Very cool.
Tamra: I am sleeping at like a five-degree incline and they recommend it. They technically recommended as a snoring setting, which my husband needed, and I was like, well, I’ll try it. But it like releases the pressure off of your lower back.
Dr. McClesse: Interesting.
Tamra: Literally. I went to the chiropractor since I was in seventh grade.
Dr. McClesse: Wow.
Tamra: All the way until the last October when we got a sleep number.
Dr. McClesse: Wow. That’s crazy.
Tamra: It’s an investment for sure but absolutely the best investment I’ve ever made. I’ll make it back up in chiropractor bills. Sorry. Dr. P, I love you.
Dr. McClesse: Your sleep is so important to like, I mean, sleep is incredibly important.
Tamra: It’s a part of your libido too.
Dr. McClesse: Well. That’s true too, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I recommend getting sleep. I listened to a podcast today, The Broken Brain, and they were talking about sleep and I’m going to get a book 21 Ways to Better Sleep or maybe it’s Sleeping Better and then there are 21 techniques.
Dr. McClesse: I’m going to grab that book and start implementing some of those skills to make sure I’m sleeping well; we need to do that.
Tamra: And I think women have an extremely hard time and I hear like, as you age, as your melatonin levels go down, so it’s even harder. But you know, we go to sleep and like the comedian, there’s a Christian comedian who talks about the guys who have like the nothing box in their head and like…
Dr. McClesse: Mark Gungor.
Tamra: Yeah, you know. So, we go to bed and like, my brain is moving a million miles a minute about my day, about what’s to come the next day and I look over and Gary is snoring, I’m like, how do you do that?
Dr. McClesse: Brain scans show that too. So, brain scans showed that a man at rest has his brain actually has very little activity and women at rest, ours is firing up yeah, it’s ridiculous. So, I don’t know how you can call that at rest but that is what they say when we’re relaxed and at rest, our brain just kind of goes nuts.
Dr. McClesse: It’s hard to calm it down. That’s true. I’ve been taking magnesium [crosstalk 53:16]
Tamra: Is that helping?
Dr. McClesse: That it is… well, I’ve only been doing it for about a week so I think I need a little bit longer period of time to know if it’s helping, but it also helps with joint pain, muscle soreness [crosstalk 53:25] and this morning I didn’t drink it last night and this morning I had knee pain so I’m like you know, maybe I should be doing…
Tamra: I think there’s something to it. Gary always tells me [inaudible 53:33] in magnesium and I just don’t, I’m like so weird about taking supplements, but I’m good at essential oils.
Dr. Well do an Epsom salt bath soap instead like…
Tamra: That’s what I could do.
Dr. Tamra: Yeah, soak for 30 minutes.
Tamra: That sounds lovely.
Dr. McClesse: And I just heard actually…
Tamra: Don’t do that ever.
Dr. McClesse: There you go, it’s prescribed now. So, you can soak for 30 minutes and if you put a little bit of hydrogen peroxide, your body’s supposed to uptake the magnesium better, but that’s all Epsom salt is, it’s magnesium
Tamra: Yeah, sure, which I do love Epsom salt baths, but I just started taking progesterone and clary sage essential oils and I mean, it’s only been like you said, yours is a week mine like four days, but…
Dr. McClesse: Yeah, it takes a little time.
Tamra: I’m telling myself that it’s doing wonders and it’s doing wonders.
Dr. McClesse: I’m telling you sometimes the placebo effect is all you need right?
Tamra: It’s just mindset. I spent the money it’s going to work; it’s going to work.
Dr. McClesse: There you go.
Tamra: I love it. So, I’m excited as you were talking, and I know we’re wrapping up here because we have date night opportunities over here…
Dr. McClesse: Woo-ho, yeah.
Tamra: I need to get you to. I have this in front of us and you’re not going to see it if you’re listening to the podcast but I want to share about the retreat coming up and how there are women coming that are single. And so, not speaking to them necessarily around the sex therapy concept, but the concept of owning our individuality and femininity and that component of sex, like man versus woman, I am, I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to title it, but I think it’s going to be something like, I don’t know, sex, talk, something fun, something fun. We’ll have mocktails and hangout cookies from Crumble, who’s a vegan…
Dr. McClesse: Nice.
Tamra: Gluten-free cookie company locally that you could order from, amazing. So, it’ll be a treat for the women in and of itself just to spend that girl time together, but I’d love to hear kind of what your heart is around coming to us.
Dr. McClesse: Yeah. Well, it’s really important for everybody to aim for sexual wholeness and you don’t actually have to be having sex to have sexual wholeness because that looks different if you’re single or if you’re married. But we’re all sexually whole, God created us as whole entire beings so he has completed that work and he’s still completing our work in a spiritual sense, but he’s created us as whole beings when we have trauma and brokenness and sinfulness and other things that come into our lives, then we have to work a little to repair those things and God does that work with us. We have to have some awareness of what needs to be done so we can seek that from him. But that’s more where the focus will be. I’ve kind of had some thoughts already or where I might be taking this. But the idea really is that God is our all in all and when we really have that close relationship with him, these other things fall into place. If you want me to talk specifically about sex, I can totally do that too. We can do like a whole Q and A thing.
Tamra: Yeah, I think there will be people who will be intrigued by that because I think what, just what you said, sex therapy, people have all these thoughts of like, what does that mean? How does that work?
Dr. McClesse: Oh, I know. Especially as a Christian, do Christians do that? We do.
Tamra: Do they have as much fun? It must be so boring. They can only do missionary. What does that mean?
Dr. McClesse: Right. The Christian thing.
Tamra: Yes right. And so, I do think that there’s so much validity in that and it gives women a space to be free knowing that one, that they don’t have to carry their shame into the bedroom and that was a huge thing for me, like how do I remove myself from what I feel myself when I’m with the person that I want to be with intimately? And so, there’s just so many levels to that and owning who I am as a woman who God sees me as a woman and my purpose as a woman. And then how can I honor my husband by our sexual intimacy but people think honoring your husband was like, you have to provide, but it’s not like that when you’re honoring each other mutually, there’s such a given take that there’s this symbiotic experience that then makes feel completely whole. So, I’m just excited, I’m really excited about this segment is specifically for the girls, because I don’t think that you have access to openly talking about that ever.
Dr. McClesse: Right? No, that’s definitely true. A lot of women don’t have the ability to ever have those talks or if they do, they’re focused more on, don’t engage in sin instead of talking about things that would be helpful for relationships. And that’s really too bad because I mean, we know that teaching… I think that teaching is good I mean, people still need it, believe me, I know people still need that.
Tamra: Yes, you do.
Dr. McClesse: But even beyond that, there’s just so much more that needs to be there. And I think if we focus on all the things we can’t do or shouldn’t do or must not do, then we miss out on all the freedom that we actually have and that’s an important piece that the ladies need.
Tamra: Yeah, well that, I mean, literally just that sentence alone is the explanation of religion versus relationship with the Lord. Right?
Dr. McClesse: Exactly.
Tamra: Because that is what religion is, that is what people see the Old Testament as. And we have this new covenant, we have this new opportunity to experience a relationship with the Lord, just like we have the new opportunity to experience relationships in our marriages if we can release ourselves from the, you must not, and you must do.
Dr. McClesse: Right.
Tamra: You know? So, I appreciate that. It’s definitely been something that’s been very eye-opening for me in my marriage.
Dr. McClesse: Aww, good.
Tamra: And I know for many others, so thankful and grateful. And she’s going on date night, so I’m not holding you up, but I know you have to get back on here to share more because I just know the wealth of knowledge that you bring to the table every single time and I’m excited. So, come out to the retreat on October six, but before then, jump on Better Than the Honeymoon, Jump on befullywell.com to see all of the resources that she provides you and call her up If you need a sex therapist or a marriage counselor or any of the above, she does way more than that.
Dr. McClesse: Better Than the Honeymoon is a Facebook group, not a website.
Tamra: Yes. Correct. So, jump on Facebook in order to get access to that. Do you have to request access to that one specifically?
Dr. McClesse: You do, you request access. Grant that though, I look at the pages first to make sure that it seems like it’d be a good fit…
Tamra: That makes sense.
Dr. McClesse: Because I do talk about some pretty difficult subject matter. So, I try to protect my group that’s in there and make sure there’s not people coming in that I know are going muddy the waters so to speak.
Tamra: That makes very much good sense. Yeah. I don’t know if I want my siblings in there or anything. [inaudible 59:19]. I don’t know if you can prevent that. [crosstalk 59:23] I haven’t thought of that.
Dr. McClesse: I was thinking more like for instance, I had someone come in that then was trying to promote what Christians call pornography.
Dr. McClesse: I’m saying that in quotes and saying that it can be okay. That person was taken out of the group, but I try to really watch for that. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m not doing any kind of making sure that you reach some standard to be able to come in.
Tamra: Yeah, of course.
Dr. McClesse: It’s really just to make sure that the group has protected.
Tamra: I love that. That’s awesome. Well, thank you very much for being here. I’m so excited about our continued growth in our relationship friendship and I value you.
Dr. McClesse: Oh, thank you. I value you.
Tamra: All right guys.
Dr. McClesse: Thank you so much.