Our sexuality can be something we put on the back burner when life gets busy. It can also be something we forget is actually for us as loss moms.
Join us today for a discussion on how to bring the fun back into intimacy. Because when sex is better, everything is better.
You can find Amanda at https://amandalouder.com/
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Music provided by ZingDog / Pond5
Photo provided by Amanda Louder
I am excited to have Amanda louder on the podcast today. Amanda is a certified sex and marriage coach, and she’s gonna help us today talk about. Reentering and rediscovering our own sexuality. Um, Amanda, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Yeah, so I am a certified sex and marriage coach, like you said.
Um, I love helping women really discover their sexuality, embrace their sexuality, and learn to love their sex life. Um, I work with mostly women who are faith-based, um, from conservative Christian backgrounds, and so we bring a lot of that into it, but I love. Um, just helping them figure out that sex can be for them and not just for their husband.
A lot of times as women, we kind of make it just a thing on our to-do list or a check mark to show that we’re a good wife. We’re doing it more out of duty and obligation rather than realizing how beneficial it can be for us as a woman, an individual. And I love helping women figure that out. Um, on the personal side, I’ve been married to my husband Kevin for nine years.
It’s a second marriage for both of us and together we have five kids that range in age from 13 to 21. And we live in Salt Lake City. And when I’m not coaching, I love to go and watch my kids play sports and we do a lot of camping and fishing for salmon up in the local area lakes. Yes, Amanda and I have been able to be friends as we are both, you know, certified as life coaches and I’ve loved, um, learning from her.
She’s really open and honest. And so, um, and you also have a podcast. Tell us what it’s called. Yeah, so my podcast is all about sex, and again, it’s focused on women really learning how to embrace their sexuality and love their sex life. It’s called Sex for Saints because it’s all from a faith-based background.
I bring a lot of, um, the traditional Christian values into it. I’m really bold and direct, but I’m not vulgar or crass. I’m mostly talking to, you know, Married, he heterosexual women in monogamous relationships. That’s kind of where my focus is, although I get listeners of all different types. So it’s kind of a fun thing, but it’s really a great podcast that just covers everything.
Sex. Yes. All right. And Amanda, um, has also experienced a miscarriage and I. Always have my guest tell a little bit about their baby’s life because I think we talk so much about their death and their loss and maybe what happened after. But Amanda, if you don’t mind sharing just a little bit about, um, the time when you had that, um, little life with you, maybe a memory that you have about the pregnancy or a lesson that they taught you.
Yeah, so I, um, I’d actually been trying to get pregnant for quite a while and, um, my other, my two older kids, it was really easy for me to get pregnant. And, um, this third one was taking a lot longer than I was used to. And then I finally got pregnant and of course I was so excited about that. Um, I tend to, Get, um, really big, really fast.
So I was only about six weeks along and people were, al could already tell that I was pregnant. So I was, I mean, definitely kind of trying to hide it at least through that first trimester, but it’s kind of impossible with my body. And so people were already asking me, you know, about it and, um, I was at church.
And, um, started cramping and bleeding and came home and knew that what was happening. And at that point, like I hadn’t even told, I told my husband of course, but I hadn’t even told my family, my mom, who I tell everything to. And so I had to call my mom and tell her that I was pregnant, but I was also miscarrying and I was.
I was really sad. I mean, I’d been, you know, trying to have this baby for a long time. But at the same time I realized that, you know, if it wasn’t right, if it wasn’t the right time, if there was something wrong with the baby, then this was probably the best possible outcome. And so while you know, of course, the sadness was there, I was also grateful that my body knew what to do to take care of things that weren’t quite right.
And. Luckily I was able to get pregnant again, um, with my third child fairly quickly. And, you know, we were able to, but we always have that child in our memory that, you know, he or she, wherever, you know, they are, they were with us for a very short time, but really grateful for that experience and. The empathy that it taught me about, um, for other women who have gone through miscarriage and baby loss and, um, and how I can, you know, comfort them in those times.
Yeah, I love that. I think I. That empathy is such a gift, like when we go through something, even though it’s different for everyone. Yeah. I think it’s just like a next level. Um, when you go through something. Yeah. Everyone’s experience is so different and all of the emotions that anyone feels are valid no matter what they are.
But it, there is kind of a camaraderie, which I’m sure you see with, uh, your audience and your clients of those who have experienced it in some way. Yeah. Awesome. Well thank you for sharing that. Um, so let’s get into our topic now. I did a podcast I think almost a year ago with Jennifer Finlays and Fife, and we were kind of talking about sex after loss, as in kind of more shortly after loss or, you know, easing back into intimacy.
Yeah, after a loss or a pregnancy and like all of that. But today I really wanna talk about kinda rediscovering your sexuality because you want to, because maybe you feel like it’s time, um, for whatever reason. I think I was kind of brainstorming before, you know, this interview and thinking, you know, what are some of the reasons that we kind of check out of our own sexuality?
Like I said, I know pregnancy and breastfeeding and different cycles that that can be something that kind of changes things. Also, just life and being busy. I also said this whole, working from home, I know I heard a lot of people, and you probably did too, of like, we are together all the time. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s been a lot.
And so our sexuality might have been on the back burner with all this togetherness. Um, or it could have been on the front burner, Amy. It’s true. Okay. It could be, it could have been with all that together time, you just, you know, stick the kids in front of a show for a little bit and off you go. Yeah. Yes.
And yeah. And then I just had, the only thing I had down was, you know, we do kind of get into habits and become a little more like roommates, but what do you kind of see as reasons why women in particular just kind of. Lose that sense of their own sexuality. Yeah. So for a lot of women, um, you know, it’s really something cultural based.
Um, growing up they were told that sex was bad or not, you know, not good. A lot of, a lot of my clients saved themselves for marriage and so they’ve learned to suppress those so they don’t give into them. And then it’s hard to turn it back on. Um, you know, then there’s the, the whole things that you’ve talked about, like where, you know, we’re, we are pregnant or breastfeeding, um, we have little kids that are constantly pulling on us.
We feel touched out. And just as women, we have so much on our plates, we, our mental load is so high and sex very much begins in the brain. And so when our brain is. So focused on all of these other things going on. It’s not spending the time that you need in order to be thinking and focusing and prioritizing this really important part of your life.
I always say that there’s three reasons for sex. I. The first is procreation, which I think, you know, your audience is pretty familiar with. Um, the second is bonding, husband and wife. And I, the reason I say husband and wife is because a lot of times we talk about sex as something for men, and so it bonds the husband to the wife where, you know, We think that men need the sex for that emotional connection where women need the emotional connection beforehand.
But really it’s a bonding between both and, um, if looked at in the right way. And then the third is just fun and recreation and pleasure. Like it should be a good thing in this life and a great part of your, uh, marital relationship. And so I think, you know, we need to look at all three of those reasons. I love all of that, and I was just thinking as you were talking about another reason that might come up for people as they’re wanting, like if you have.
You’re realizing, hey, like maybe we have gotten into a little bit of this roommate. We haven’t prioritized the sexual relationship. Another roadblock could be body image, especially when we are talking about like these. Cycles in pregnancy and hormones and mm-hmm. A lot of stuff, a lot of times, especially with loss, right?
You get disconnected from your body or you have a lot of thoughts about your body. Yeah. So how do you see that affecting women? Embracing their sexuality, and then what can we do about it? So the biggest thing with body image is women either, again, disconnect from their body like you’re talking about, and then they aren’t in tune with the signals that their body is giving them.
Um, when, you know when the body is in arousal and, or, you know, they’re suppressing that arousal, they’re not in tune with that. They’re, um, also less capable of pleasure when you’re disconnected from your body and you really have a relationship with your body and that relationship comes from the way that you think about your body, the way that you talk about your body, the way that you take care of your body.
And a lot of times we. Get into this mindset that, you know, our body is broken. You know, especially if we’ve had a loss or something. And that by thinking about your body that way, that disconnects you. We also have, you know, we’re being bombarded with images from media and businesses culture of that we’re supposed to look a certain way, and I don’t know about you, but.
I don’t look the same as I did when I was 18. Pre-baby, you know? Yeah. Now I’m like, post-baby midlife body. My body does not look the same as it used to, and when we think that it should look the same, that also disconnects us from our body and really truly loving our body and appreciating it for what it does do for us.
And all of that disconnects us from our husbands. It disconnects us from pleasure. It dis disconnects us from our sexuality. And so we have to really look at, you know, how we are thinking about our body, how we are talking about our body. You know, what, what we, how are we taking care of our body? And then, Actually during the act of sex, when we are disconnected from our body again, we’re not gonna feel more as much pleasure, but a lot of times we’re in more of an observer role of ourselves during sex, where we’re like, oh, is my stomach tucked in?
Do my boobs look perky? Like, is my body positioned the right way? Then we start to go into maybe what our husbands are think. Thinking like, you know, does he think I look fat? Does, is he attractive? Is he attracted to me? Is he thinking that I don’t have the same body I did when I was, when we first got married?
Like, and all of that disconnects us from our sexuality and truly enjoying the sexual experience. I love and we both, we love talking about mindset, but I love that you have so many practical tips. So, for example, your husband touches your stomach. Yeah, and you have thoughts about your stomach, like what do you do?
How do you redirect away from maybe your first reaction, which is. Oh my gosh. He’s touching, you know, this part of my body that I don’t love, or I’m not, you know, there yet with, um, what do you do? Well, I don’t recommend waiting until you’re in the middle of it to start working on those thoughts. I really think that you need to start outside of the bedroom working on those thoughts about yourself.
Um, you know, some recommendations I have is to, you know, Either before you get in the shower or out of a, out of when you get out of the shower, standing in front of the mirror naked. And just observing yourself. And this isn’t like, you know, criticizing yourself. This is just observing what your brain does when you look at yourself in front of the mirror.
And those are the thoughts that you need to start working on and then start to talk more lovingly to yourself. And that doesn’t mean that you’re gonna love every part of you. I mean, there’s always things that we wanna work on and make better or that we’re not okay with, but really, Trying to love yourself overall and your body as it is.
I mean, a lot of times we put conditions on it. Like, well, I can love my body when I weigh this, or when I’m this size, or when I, you know, have a six pack or whatever. Yeah. But really starting to just like love your body as it is now, and it’s through that love that things will actually change. But even if you could just pick out like one thing that you like about your body and you know, maybe.
Maybe it’s kind of superficial at first, and that’s totally fine. I mean, like, you know, looking in the mirror like, well, you know, I’m not loving my stomach today, but I do have really nice eyes and just really starting to change that dynamic outside of the bedroom. And then when you’re going into the bedroom, a lot of times when, when we’re in bed and you know, making love to our spouse, And like they touch us on our stomach.
You know, our brain immediately wants to go there. But I really try to help women get out of their brain and into their body. So, you know, so much of pleasure comes from tho that body and embracing that bodily experience. And so we have to get out of our brain that’s kind of de trying to derail us and move back into our body where we can experience the pleasure.
And so there’s a few different ways to do this. Um, I usually teach clients three different techniques. Um, one is square breathing, which just means that you like, breathe in for four, you hold for four, you breathe out for four, and you hold for four. And you do that over and over. That helps connect you to your breath and helps connect you back to your body, and it also calms the nervous system.
The second exercise is to go through the five senses. So again, this gets you out of your brain and into your body and really connecting to what you are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling. And I don’t mean like, you know, seeing the. You know, dust on the ceiling fan or that the wall needs painted.
I’m talking about like you’re seeing your partner right in front of you and really what matters. And so really focusing on the five senses to get back into the body. And then the last one is to do kegel exercises. If you are not, if you don’t, if you have any trouble with vaginismus or two tight muscles, don’t do this.
But if you don’t have that problem, doing Kegel exercises can actually help heighten the pleasure. It can strengthen those muscles so that you have stronger orgasms. And when you do a Kegel, you can’t really be thinking about too many other things at the same time. So you’re getting back into that body and you’re really focusing all of the energy right, where it needs to be in that vulva and vagina region.
And that’s, you know, what’s gonna make sex better. So doing those three exercises, and you can do them before sex and. During sex multiple times if you need to, to just keep bringing things back to your body and to your partner and where you’re connecting instead of being the observer and being in your head.
Awesome. Thank you. Those are really helpful. Going along with that, bringing it back to you, you mentioned how we are. We kind of pick up this idea that sex is for men. Yeah. Um, so how does that show up for people? And again, what can we do to turn it back to ourselves? Like what are the, what are the benefits?
Focusing on our own experience with sexuality? Well, a lot of times, I mean, culture tells us that sex is for men. Men think about sex all the time. Um, it’s something that we do to keep them happy. It’s something they, um, want and need all the time. And we don’t really talk about like men desire and women are supposed to be desirable, but we, by that we are then we’re not owning our own desires.
And really tapping into what we want, like our sexuality was given to us as a gift to us. Individually, and it doesn’t just become legitimized when we’re married or have someone to have sex with. It really is like for our own personal benefit. And so when we can start to see it, like how does this benefit me?
It connects me to myself. I, my body was created to enjoy this, to have pleasure. It’s such a good thing to help. Um, You know, de-stress, calm the nervous system. It has so many health benefits. There’s so many things that make it so good for you, and when you can get out of the, the mindset that it’s for your husband or for men, and it’s not your duty or your job as a wife, but it really is about you having a full human experience.
Feeling all that pleasure, but also bonding you to your spouse. It can be so rewarding. And I always say like, when the sex gets better, everything gets better. Just everything is better in life when you have a really he healthy sense of self, a healthy relationship, and a healthy sex life. Yeah, and I think making that shift, Like you’re saying, if, if sex is just another thing on your to-do list that you have to do for somebody else, I mean, that can be such.
A mental like block you’re putting up in your relationship of like, of course you don’t wanna do it. It’s like one more thing I have to do to make somebody else happy. Duty kills desire. Yes, it kills desire. And you know, that’s, that’s really where our brain gets going is. You know, creating that desire within ourself with the way that we think.
That’s why sex begins in the brain. Like so many times, we’re waiting for our body to give us the signal that we want sex, but for women, it very much is about thinking in the right way to create that desire within yourself, and then your body will follow. I think that’s so important and so helpful too.
’cause yeah, we do kind of just, I mean that’s another message we get too is like that it, that it’s the other way around that if we’re not just turned on or whatever. Yeah. Like hormonally women, I. Usually have more arousal first around ovulation. Not all women, not every month. But like that’s typical is your body has more of that around ovulation.
Just as you know, it’s biology, right? To help, you know, help you to be fertile and you know, make a baby and. Make the population, I’m like totally messing up my words here. You’re good. No. You know what I mean? It’s fine. So, but like really that, I mean, that’s biological, but, so that’s really usually the only time when a lot of women feel anything and they’re like, where did it all go?
Where did my desire go? Like we used to just, you know, wanna be all over each other, and that’s just, Gone. But the reason that you had so much desire before is because you were creating it very naturally with the way that you were thinking about him and about your, about your relationship. And when we, when our brain is so busy focused on, you know, work and the house and the kids, and.
The to-do list, all of that it, you’re not creating those same thoughts that we’re creating all that desire for you. So it’s really something that you have to do on purpose and with intention. Yeah, I think it’s important to notice that what you said is, you know, a lot of times we wanna go back and we’re like, why isn’t it like when we’re dating, why isn’t it like when we were newlyweds and just mm-hmm.
Understanding. Mm-hmm. It doesn’t have to be like that. And that kind of thinking and that kind of mindset of wishing it was the way it was before can really put a roadblock again in front of that part of our relationship. But I like what you’re saying. You know, you still have a ton of power over. How you feel about intimacy today.
Yeah. And you can just, you know, work on it and it’s okay that it might take a little bit more work than it did when you were. Young and Twitter painted and all of that. Yes, it is. It most, for most people it does take a lot more work and some, some couples, you know, some women can do, do that more naturally and others need more help in learning how to do that.
It’s a skill to be learned and so, you know, don’t, there’s nothing wrong with you if you need to learn this skill. Yeah. Just because other women. Are able to do it more naturally. Some women need to learn and practice in order to build that skill. Yes. And I think it could be a fun kind of work. You know, it can be not a terrible kind of work.
It’s my favorite kind of work. Yes. And I know, like I said, I love talking about the mindset, but I also love the way you teach practical tools. So, What are some things that we can do if, I mean, some people listening might be thinking, uh, like, this isn’t something I really wanna do or have time for, but maybe they’re, they’ve been listening and thinking that could actually be fun.
Or maybe they’re at a point where they’re saying, yeah, like my sexual relationship really needs some work, so, What are some tips that you have for people that want to rediscover that sexuality, want to improve their own pleasure and enjoyment of this part of their life? Well, I think one of the biggest things is that we have to connect with ourselves.
We have to connect with ourselves before we can connect with our spouse. And again, as women, we are spending so much time. You know, doing things for other people that a lot of times we don’t take that time for ourselves. And so I always recommend that women take a little bit of time for themselves each day, if they can, to reconnect to them as an individual.
And if you can get your spouse on board with this even better, because I, I promise you, the more you connect with yourself, yourself, then the sex is gonna be a lot easier. So, If you need to tell your husband that like, Hey, I need to go, you know, just take a bath or go for a run, or go to this yoga class, or, you know, lock myself in a room and read a book for a little while so that I can connect with me, and then I’m going to be more available to connect with you.
I think that’s really, really helpful. And then, um, the next thing is, Like I said, a lot of times that desire is missing and we have to create it and be 10 intentional with it. So a lot of times I have my clients, you know, set triggers for themselves throughout their day to just start thinking about sex now.
And it doesn’t have to be, you know, all. You know, dirty or whatever you want it to be. I mean, it can just be like, just different touchpoints with your spouse. Like, how’s your day? I love you. You know, thanks so much for doing this for me. Like different touchpoints, like a text throughout the day. Um, even like, I had one client who, you know, she had babies and she was like changing diapers all the time and she was like, Every time I change a diaper, I’m gonna think about sex.
And so that made it so that like throughout her day she was constantly thinking about it like, and thinking about it in a way that served her and served her marriage, you know, like what she wanted him to do to her that night. What was going to feel good? Thinking about the last encounter that she really enjoyed, like all these different things that you can start thinking about during the day.
One mom, you know, was like, every time I go to the pantry to get my kid a snack, I’m gonna think about sex. Like, just funny things like that. At, but trigger points throughout the day. I have some clients who actually set alarms on their phone. So I, because I’m a coach, I’m coaching women all day and I have a little break in between each of my sessions and in that little break between my sessions, I always text my husband.
That’s my trigger point where we’re constantly, I. Communicating throughout our day together just to have those touchpoints so that, you know, we feel more connected. And so at the end of the day when, um, you know, when he gets home, we already have had all of this connection and so it just builds on that.
So. And what would you recommend for someone who’s like, I don’t know, it just seems so foreign to, to start. Yeah. Doing something like that or texting, like flirty texts or, you know, it doesn’t even need to be flirty. It just needs to be like, Hey, I was thinking about you, or I love you, or I hope you’re having a good day or something.
You know, just something to connect rather than like, Billy has soccer practice after school, can you take him? You know, like it needs to just be more connecting and really focusing on that. But you know, if you’re finding that this is hard for you, I would really recommend like maybe listening to my podcast.
Um, so many people find it helpful to just start thinking about sex on a regular basis, in a different way, in a really positive way that helps them get more in touch with themselves. And then, of course, you know, if you need more help, then you can come see me for coaching or Amy. And, um, we can help you really get, um, on a better path.
Amanda’s podcast has lots of tips and, um, there’s a lot of things out there that you can, books you can read and, and things you can do that I think are really helpful. Again, just even deciding like, Hey, I want to rediscover my sexuality. I want to redefine it where I am rather than, you know, where it was 10 years ago or whatever.
And moving forward. And I think one last question that I have, I. Is what if someone listening wants to do this? They’re saying, you know, this is important to me, but maybe they’re worried that their spouse, it does happen sometimes that, you know, maybe your spouse isn’t on board or has, he has a lower desire than mm-hmm.
Um, the wife has. What advice do you have for people in a, that are dealing with that? Well, I mean, it’s. Your sexuality is very individual. It’s different for each of us, and you know, you are going to be working with a spouse, so you have to work together to figure out what works for the two of you, but really taking ownership over yourself is the most important thing.
And developing this by yourself, and then you can decide where you wanna go from there and how much you wanna bring your spouse into it. I really, I mean, the more you can do together, I think it’s great, but you know, if your spouse isn’t on board, sometimes we see that as a personal rejection, which it really doesn’t need to be.
It’s not that you know, he’s not attracted to you or he doesn’t love you, is just he doesn’t want sex right now and that’s okay. We all have different desires. So I think about it like a lot like hunger. You know, we’re not all hungry at the same time. I’m like rarely hungry at the same time my spouse is.
So it makes sense that, you know, we’re not gonna want sex at the same time, or, you know, he eats way more than I do and that’s totally fine. Um, I don’t shame him or get upset at him because he wants to eat more than I do and he doesn’t get upset with me because I eat less than he does. Like it just, If we look about, look at sex kind of that same way, it takes a lot of the shame and the stigma out of it, the rejection out of it.
Like it’s really about how can we make for the, make this work for the two of us. I mean, sometimes, you know, my husband wants to eat and I’m not hungry, but I’m happy to sit with him and talk with him while he eats, and sex can be much the same way. I love that. That’s a great analogy and way to look at it because Yeah, it does.
There is that, Fear of rejection even when, you know, you’re in a committed relationship, unfortunately. Mm-hmm. That’s just part of being a human. So understanding that that’s part of our brain, you know, and when it’s a, an important relationship, sometimes that’s more heightened. Yeah. Um, so just stepping back a little bit and.
Focusing on you and what you want and what’s important. And I think, you know, it can really change things if it’s been, you know, if you’ve been in one of those seasons where this relationship has been a little bit harder. Yep. Definitely get some help if you need it to reach out to one of us. Well, thank you so much, Amanda, for being here.
Is there any like last little message and encouragement for someone who is thinking, Hey, this actually sounds really fun and I, I want to rediscover my own sexuality. It’s just like a little message of hope that you’d give to them as we wrap up. I would say if you are feeling that right now, lean into that, that is a desire of yours that you can start to put more energy behind and really make it grow.
There’s. There are things inside of us that, you know, sometimes we don’t listen to and then they don’t grow. But when you have that inkling, really puts some energy into it and let it grow and flourish, and I promise it will make your life and your marriage so much sweeter. I love that. I would just add to anyone who’s feeling like.
They’re not sure, not if this is okay to do, like to focus on your own sexuality with everything you’ve got going on and everything that you’ve been through, I just wanna remind you that you’re allowed to have joy and joy in all parts of your life, and it’s okay. To do this for yourself and you deserve it.
So thank you again, Amanda, for being here. Where can people find you? Yeah, they can find me. My website is amanda louder.com, and on there I have links to my podcast, which is called Sex for Saints. I have, um, you can see all about coaching with me. I have a couple courses, one for women and one for, um, engaged couples.
I also hold retreats. And so I have another retreat coming up in October in Bear Lake, Utah. Um, that’s gonna be amazing and still has a few spots left. So if those are of any interest to you, then you can go find me at my website or you can, um, look me up on social media. You can find me both on Facebook and Instagram at Amanda Louder coaching.
Yes, and I’ll definitely put in a plug for her retreats. So much fun and just such a beautiful thing to be with. Yeah, just a group of people who are going through this journey of rediscovering their sexuality at the same time, and it isn’t as awkward as you might think. It’s actually a lot of fun. So yes, Amy came to my last one, so yes, she can attest that they are actually so much fun.
Yes. Awesome. All right. Thank you and you can follow me at Amy dot Smooth Stones Coaching over on Instagram. I’m there and you can dmm me anytime. Do you have a life coach? A life coach who understands what life after a baby loss is really like? If you don’t, I’d be honored if you’d consider me your life coach.
I have spots opening up for fall. Email me. email@example.com and let’s get started.