You can find Alexandra on the web at:
[Jon Dabach] 00:00
Today on the relationship Revival Show, I’m joined by Dr. Alexandra Stockwell, known as the intimacy Dr. Alexandra Stockwell is a relationship and intimacy Coach and an intimate marriage expert who specializes in coaching ambitious, successful couples to build beautiful, long lasting passionate relationships. She’s the best-selling author of uncompromising intimacy, host of the intimate marriage podcast and creator of the aligned and hot Marriage program. for over 20 years she has shown men and women how to bring pleasure and purpose into all aspects of life, from the daily grind of running a household to intimate communication and ecstatic experiences in the bedroom, all while maintaining professional success.
[Jon Dabach] 00:44
A wife of 27 years and a mother of four Dr. Alexandra believes the key to passion, fulfillment, intimacy and success isn’t compromise. It’s being unwilling to compromise because when both people feel free to be themselves, the relationship becomes juicy, nourishing and deeply satisfying. Dr. Alexander has been featured in the Huffington Post Rolling Stone USA Today cosmopolitan Business Insider Thrive Global Mind Body green, Fox News, New York City, and disrupt you’re listening to the relationship revival podcast with Jon Dabach, also known as Mr. Spirituality.
[Jon Dabach] 01:18
That’s me. I’m your host giving you insights and guidance from over 10 years in the field of this amazing journey we call romance on this show, I go over everything you need to know about how to get into a relationship, how to get the most out of a relationship, and sometimes even how to gracefully end a relationship without pulling your hair out and going crazy. And occasionally, I’m even joined by new and old friends who are also relationship experts to bring you guidance and wisdom with new perspectives.
[Jon Dabach] 01:49
Thanks for stopping by Alexandra Stockwell. Thank you so much for being on the show. And you have an interesting background. You are a doctor, you’re an MD, and you transitioned into this intimacy space. Talk to me about how that happened, why that happened. And you you have what I call like a perma grin. So obviously it’s working out and you’re happy. So tell me Yeah, tell me about the journey.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 02:17
Anyone who’s coaching couples on intimacy, who feel sour, dour and otherwise not grinning, be suspicious. That’s the first thing. Second of all, you know, I think of that Steve Jobs quote about how you can only connect the dots in hindsight.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 02:36
So it all makes so much sense now, but it really was not a linear path. And it wasn’t clear where it was going. But basically, in my mid-30s, after having worked really hard to achieve all of the goals that I had set, I was married to a wonderful man at the time, we had three of our four children, I had my own small, holistic medical practice, north of Boston, I liked the house, we were living in, like all of the goals that I had had, I had worked hard and met them. But I didn’t feel satisfied.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 03:14
And I didn’t see living that way for another 4050 years, I wasn’t burnt out. That’s such a big phenomenon among physicians now. But this was in the early 2000s. And it was more at the level of whisper. And the thing that occurred to me is that everything I’d done as far back as I could remember, it was a means to an end, even going on vacation was a means to an end in order to make memories and have a happy experience and have energy to keep working. And so this actually became very important to me.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 03:51
And I took a sabbatical, where I just gave myself permission to do things because I felt like it. And that was not an easy transition. It’s easy to say. But for someone who is driven and oriented to making sure that things are attended to personally and professionally, to just have some time and think okay, what do I actually feel like doing? And I guess what I’ll say about that is it was the beginning of learning to honor my desires and take seriously the role of desire in making life feel good and be good. So how long did that sabbatical? I arranged for a year. And then I never went back. So I suppose I’m still on it. Yeah.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 04:43
And you know, there were other things that happened during this time as well. Maybe I’ll mention one which is that my parents were divorced when I was nine years old. And my oldest child is a girl and she turned nine during this time and she was just such A radiant feminine being magnetic, charming, self-expressed. And I looked at her on her ninth birthday both so happy, so happy that she felt so good in her own skin. And also kind of freaked out because I realized, Oh, I used to be that way.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 05:26
And I haven’t been since I was about nine years old. And if I don’t figure out how to reconnect with my own sensuality vibrance vitality soon, then she’s going to dial down hers, because it’s just not possible to sustain that kind of vibrancy and radiance and comfort with herself, if she’s in a house another nine years with a mother, who isn’t comfortable, and, like really glad to be a woman in all kinds of ways.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 06:07
And so all these things converged. And I went on a journey to learn how to have more fun, but I don’t mean it in a superficial way at all. This was serious work to figure out how to have more fun and how to be more present and how to be gratified by the experiences I was having, rather than just see what needed to be adjusted. And one thing led to another and I really did tap into this, I took a drawing class, I sat by the river, I did all kinds of things that really like woke up parts of me that had been dormant a long time and I got to where the last frontier was sensuality and sexuality. And I wanted that for me and my marriage.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 06:56
And so I did this very in depth training. That happened to double as a coach training. And at the time, I didn’t even know what a coach was, I took my MD seriously, I wasn’t looking for any casual training. But this was really in depth and transformational and I checked out the teaching lab the first week it happened. And I was like, Oh, this is where I actually want to be. And I’ve been coaching on relationships ever since?
[Jon Dabach] 07:27
Hmm. How long did it take you to get to that? You know, how long into your sabbatical? Did you kind of uncover that you wanted to explore sexuality and sensuality?
[Alexandra Stockwell] 07:38
Well, let’s see. I’m thinking back to that. Because the really relevant thing to say here is that my husband and I met our first week of medical school.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 07:49
And so the first 10 years of our marriage, we were hardworking medical students, residents, and my first child at the end of my third year of medical school, my second year, second child just before my internship, so the first 10 years, we never had time together, like we had good sex that was, I would call it functional, like it was happy. But it was nothing that the poet’s talk about.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 08:14
And so I had just assumed and so had he that when we had more time, we’d have more luxurious, erotic experiences and just feel more physical and spiritual communion through our sexuality. And then we got to where we had evenings and weekends off.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 08:36
And for a little while, there were no children and diapers. And yet, our sex hadn’t really flourished in the way that we thought and that was when I learned very clearly, that is not just more time that we needed. So probably, I don’t know maybe it was a year or two into the sabbatical. It was an emerging awareness it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened. And I didn’t really have
[Jon Dabach] 09:07
but it wasn’t overnight I think that’s the kind of message I’m seeing like it took some time to kind of bump absolutely and I
[Alexandra Stockwell] 09:13
Needed to reconnect with myself my body my desires my rightness before I really was ready to swim in those complex though gratifying waters.
[Jon Dabach] 09:37
Very, very cool. So what did you in your not just in your training, but now you’ve been doing this for a while? What is you know, the most common reason people come to you is that is it because there’s no passion in the sex that sex has stopped altogether that one partner wants it more or differently than the other, what’s kind of the common theme that you’re seeing people who find you.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 10:04
Some people seek me out because passion has dwindled or was never there. And others, it’s because they want to learn to have more emotional connection, let go of resentments and feel more connected, more self-expressed. But really, I have some couples and individuals who work with me who’ve done a lot of work and are just really happy for how refreshing my messages, but the majority of my couples actually, they’ve never worked with anyone before and haven’t thought about it until they hear my message around compromise.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 10:45
So I want to share that because that’s really the context for people seeking me out. Because, yeah, in the Western world, far and away, the most common relationship advice that’s given is that you need to compromise. If you want a happy marriage, you need to be going to compromise is the name of the game. And that is just completely wrong.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 11:07
If you want a bland, pleasant companion chef, well, then compromise will definitely help you get that. But if you want a passionate, juicy, really nourishing, vulnerable, emotionally connected, intimate relationship, then uncompromising intimacy is how to get there. That’s the name of my book, the name of my method is uncompromising intimacy. But before saying anything else, I want to define how I use the word uncompromising, it does not mean that you always get your own way.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 11:48
But where compromise is when you don’t share your desires, your challenges, even like the truth of who you are, in some way or another, when you don’t share that so that your partner is more comfortable. That is what compromises. So in uncompromising intimacy, I guide people to learn how to express who they are, be more self-expressed and share desires, things that you can learn to share in a way that your partner can hear it, even if it’s uncomfortable, it can be shared in a way that actually brings you closer together.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 12:31
Because I am all about not leaving a part of us at the door, when we go inside to be with our spouse, bring all of you, and when all of you is present in the day to day, then you have the possibility for all of you to also be present and passionate in the bedroom. But if you are compromising all day, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, not this not that, that I want, just so everyone’s comfortable, it’s simpler this way, when you get to the bedroom, there is no switch to flip to suddenly be fully present and very alive. When you’ve been numbing yourself and compromising all day long.
[Jon Dabach] 13:20
If you find that someone is stuck in that space, where they’ve been subservient to the relationship, they’re used to numbing themselves, how do you kick them out of it? Is there like? Is it just like making them aware that they’re doing it? Or is there like some tools and techniques that you I really love
[Alexandra Stockwell] 13:40
The way you ask that question, there’s no kicking somebody out of compromise, because then it’s just, they’re just doing it for you, you know, so it really is an invitation, and a kind of mindful awareness. So sometimes it depends on the context. But I’ve certainly told many different women to just notice how often you say, I’m sorry, that is going to show a place where you’re just like, shutting down rather than saying, hey, you know, this is how I feel. Oh, I’m sorry. That’s, that’s a form of compromise.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 14:20
But really, the answer to your question, I have six different qualities that are the antidote to compromise. And the first one is very easy to implement and available to anyone and that is to cultivate curiosity. If you think of what it feels like to be in love to fall in love, you’re just filled with questions. Where does that scar come from? And what were your favorite books to read in high school?
[Alexandra Stockwell] 14:51
And if you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing like? We just are so curious about the other person and then the relationship It becomes familiar, stable, solid, all of that is fantastic. I never want to diminish that. But we don’t need to sacrifice the curiosity.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 15:12
So sometimes, the first step in being more self-expressed and sharing who you really are is just starting with cultivating questions, asking. I mean, sure, you can ask about sexual fantasies, but it can also be more whimsical. Like, if you could have dinner with any celebrity alive or dead. Who would it be?
[Alexandra Stockwell] 15:35
And what would you ask them? Or what was the most challenging part of your week? Last week? Like it, it can, it can be with any flavor, but it’s an invitation to your spouse to open up more and share things that you won’t know unless you ask and then ideally, your partner asks you to and if not, just go ahead and share. Anyway, I’ve had many couples do this, and they feel more intimate, just as a result of asking a few questions, feel more present, connected and intimate.
[Jon Dabach] 16:15
Yeah, sure, I have an expression in my practice that I feel like is totally aligned with you, or aligned with you, which is, you know, the the sex dies, friendship dies. And, and that friendship is all about that emotional connection, that feeling of comfort, that feeling of excitement to see each other. I think that’s, that’s so true. And it’s funny, it’s like, how do you, you know, if you if you asked me, what, before we started, how do you improve the intimacy? And she’s gonna say, well ask them about, you know, the secret is to ask someone who they’re the person that they want to have dinner to the most with? It’s like, where’s the connection?
[Jon Dabach] 16:51
But to anyone who’s worked with couples? It’s like, that is the question. That is the essence of the question, you know, the, the, I want to know, every nook and cranny of your physical space and your mental space and your emotional space, I want to be all over it.
[Jon Dabach] 17:07
And I think that’s great kind of training people and showing them how to kind of re explore that, especially if they’ve been married, or together for 10 or 20 years, and they’ve kind of lost track of what that looks.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 17:17
Yeah. And I really enjoy that when I listened to a number of your episodes preparing for this conversation. I think we have a lot of similarities and say things in different ways. So yes, for you, like when the sex dies, the friendship dies, my way of expressing that is everything, which in a long lasting relationship, everything which isn’t sex functions as foreplay. Which is,
[Jon Dabach] 17:46
That’s a lot. That’s why
[Alexandra Stockwell] 17:50
It’s the exact same as it is. Because really, every interaction, either a little or a lot brings you closer together, or creates more disconnection. And so yeah, absolutely. Focusing on the emotional connection, the friendship, first. It’s, it’s essential. And one of the things that I find so interesting, really, is that that’s not true with a one night stand like you can have an amazing sexual experience without even knowing your partner’s name.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 18:24
But when you have a life together, when you have a long lasting relationship, you don’t get to do that. You have got to like, another way to say this is that intimacy. It’s not just something that happens during an allotted time. Intimacy is a way of being with one another. Not necessarily all day, every day, because I’m a fan of being pretty functional in your career. And not necessarily, you know, yes, you’re distracted by your relationship. But when you’re with one another, every conversation can have more intimacy.
[Jon Dabach] 19:04
Yeah, absolutely. Is your the way you teach couples? Do you teach them together? Or is it something that someone can do on their own? What is the your I know you have a signature kind of self-study program? What does that look?
[Alexandra Stockwell] 19:20
Yeah, well, I call it an independent study course. But yes, it is self-study the aligned and hot marriage, and it’s for couples, but absolutely, it can be done by an individual. It can actually be done by a single person. I don’t promote it that way.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 19:36
But it’s highly valuable because all these tools you can practice before you’re even with a partner, but if you’re with a partner, and he or she isn’t into it, I’ve actually had multiple people go through the program themselves, and just do the activities with their partner, sometimes telling the partner that’s happening and sometimes not like they’ll just start asking questions and don’t feel like something’s fun. Tenuous but I do think that
[Jon Dabach] 20:04
by the way, I’m like as a as when I want to test things that my wife’s a therapist, and when I want to test things out, as like fun questions, I won’t tell her, I’ll just she just thinks I’m super inquisitive to dinner one night. When she tells me like enough already I go. Okay, so that one.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 20:23
I think that’s awesome. Because working on a relationship can sometimes feel formulaic and heavy. And so there’s something about it being just more playful and not so many rules to follow. But when both people do it together, there is something synergistic that can happen.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 20:43
Because it means like, let’s say you ask the question, and she isn’t so into it. She will appreciate your effort in a way that doesn’t happen if she’s not also going through the curriculum. So I suppose it just depends on the context what the next right step is. So if you can do it together, great.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 21:07
And if you go through the curriculum yourself, then you will get so much benefit and probably down the line, you can do it together. So that’s really how things are designed. For the Independent Study aligning hot Marriage program, I have the land and hot marriage live coaching program, which is specifically for couples and includes live coaching with them. And then in my private coaching, it’s highly customized.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 21:35
So I work with couples, I work with individuals. And when I work with couples, often there are sessions with just one of them, as well, because there’s something wonderful about witnessing what your partner is working on. And there also are things that I find someone can be more free, especially when it’s resentments about a partner, we can move through that more genuinely and more efficiently when it’s one on one.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 22:02
But I do that typically, in the context of working with both of them together.
[Jon Dabach] 22:11
How long is the program designed to take
[Alexandra Stockwell] 22:14
The line and hop Marriage program curriculum? Yeah, there are eight modules. So typically, I think of it as an eight week program, but if a couple is going through it on their own, for each couple, it’s going to be different, but there’s going to be one module where they need to sit on it a little bit longer. Like they need to Yeah,
[Jon Dabach] 22:37
I find that too. I find whenever there’s like a book you assigned to a couple or course or I have my own kind of tools that I assign people to do it people drag a little bit, it’s and it’s okay, and like they need things to sink in. And even if you design it for 10 weeks, just to be kind to yourself and patient and know that like you’re going to be married for the rest of your life. So give it the time it deserves.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 23:01
And the subsequent tools are going to benefit if someone has really made the curriculum before their own. And it’s rich, and it’s worthwhile. And this is definitely a situation where it’s about the journey, not the destination. Like it’s not about finishing the course it’s about having a more fantastic relationship, more emotional connection, more passion. And in fact, a lot of my clients are very good students.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 23:31
So if they start one of the sections in the curriculum, they want to finish it. I’m like, No, if, if in the middle of the video, you have this aha moment, and you turn towards one another and you start making out. Don’t stop to finish the video. Go ahead and enjoy yourselves. That video isn’t going anywhere. And it’s served its purpose for the evening.
[Jon Dabach] 23:56
Right. Right. That’s the beauty of being able to press play it to in the morning on your cell phone. Yes,
[Alexandra Stockwell] 24:01
Yes, yes, exactly. And I really did design the line in hot Marriage program. So it can be a date night activity, because a lot of couples that I work with, they’re busy if they have young children or whatever the situation is, and so it’s not meant to be punitive. It’s meant to be inspiring with quick wins and fun activity. So it really serves as a very meaningful date night if someone wants to use it that way.
[Jon Dabach] 24:31
Yeah, I can see that for sure. What would you define since you’re calling of the aligned hon marriage? What would you define as a hot miracle? I
[Alexandra Stockwell] 24:40
Really liked that question. I thought you’re going to ask me how I would define an aligned marriage but let’s go with hot
[Alexandra Stockwell] 24:50
Awesome, awesome. I would define a hot marriage as one where both people feel really alive with access, an expression of erotic energy, and the kind of connection where if they want to have sex great if they want to have non sexual physical touch great. It’s really about a vibe that is related to sex. But it’s not fundamentally determined by sex.
[Jon Dabach] 25:32
I had I have had clients, and I have my own answer, and I won’t share it. Because it’s I feel like it’s so personal to the way you interact. But how would you? It’s a question that’s come up them kind of seeing like, how would you answer it in a in a private coaching session where the man says, I want sex three times a week? And I don’t think she’s ever going to get there. And like, for me, I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy if I don’t get it three times a week. Oh, yeah,
[Alexandra Stockwell] 26:00
That’s fine. I’m
[Jon Dabach] 26:01
Trying, obviously. And, and the woman says, you know, like, I’m more comfortable once every two weeks. Where do
[Alexandra Stockwell] 26:08
You go for that? Exactly, is what said, then? First of all, there’s no particular number of times a week, which is normal or not normal. It’s what you desire. That’s right. Point number one. Yeah, first thing to get a point number two, which is really, the, the door that opens a lot more is that if a man or a woman is having sex, quote, infrequently, or wants to have sex infrequently compared to their partner, then assuming there’s no physiological thing, and they’re not like working too many hours a week, and so they’re exhausted, like without any of those kinds of factors, it means that the sex she’s having is not actually the sex she wants to be having.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 27:04
And so I think that there are many in particular women who think they are not that sexual or think their normal libido is whatever it is. And maybe that is when I say think that way, I’m not implying I know better than they do. They know, however, when, like, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, in your practice, do but I’ve certainly seen often enough where a woman is like, oh, once every two weeks is enough for me.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 27:35
And then if she has an affair, or she gets divorced, and has a new lover, it’s like, oh, my gosh, every day, sometimes twice a day. And that woman is not unique. And as far as I’m concerned, there doesn’t need to be an affair or divorce in order to access that juiciness. For the man who wants sex three times a week, the main place he needs to put his attention is how to become the lover that is irresistible to her.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 28:08
She doesn’t need to be having sex three times a week as a duty or as a favor, that gets old super quick, but three times a week, that is totally available. If you really learn how to be a wonderful lover, so that she’s dripping for more literally and figuratively, like if, if sex isn’t happening, and there’s, you know, you don’t have a child in the hospital or like there’s so many considerations where that’s just not where the energy goes.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 28:40
But if you don’t have one of those external factors at play, and you want more sex, then your job is to figure out how the sex you’re having can be more nourishing, more gratifying, and more delicious. And also, if a woman wants to want more sex than she’s having, not that she wants more sex, but she wants to want it more. She can do a lot to discover what is going to make sex more enjoyable.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 29:15
Like I’m not just sticking it on the partner. I actually think in this case on the husband, I actually think the key to really great sex is both people taking responsibility. So I don’t believe that you know, a woman is a damsel in distress waiting for a prince charming lover. No, not at all.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 29:33
She can discover what feels good, like an ask for it. It can be very vulnerable if you haven’t, to learn how to make requests so that they’re not complaints. It’s not critical. It’s like you can co create some pretty extraordinary experiences, but you both have to be willing to speak in a way that’s going to be kind and Explore because it’s not going to be perfect every time even if you discover on your own what feels good.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 30:06
There’s a whole level of communication to say it, say your request without judgment. But what I guess the implication that I have, and I’m guessing you agree, is that having a fantastic relationship is a learnable skill. And that is true when it comes to communication, when it comes to feeling emotionally cherished.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 30:31
And that is certainly true. When it comes to sexuality that there are learnable skills. And the main problem is that most people don’t ever have any worthwhile education. Which is why you and I have the callings we have.
[Jon Dabach] 30:47
Yeah, I think that’s a great message, the, the message that you have to create a space where people want to explore themselves and feel safe to explore themselves.
[Jon Dabach] 31:01
Because I do see that quite often. I do see in partners where they don’t even know what they want, necessarily, or how to get themselves more turned on. And maybe there’s shame, you know, that revolves around sex that they have to work through, or sometimes they don’t feel comfortable talking to their partner about it. And, you know, learning how to create that seems like a great first step right? On your journey to a spice absolutely
[Alexandra Stockwell] 31:26
a hot marriage, indeed, because there are certainly husbands who are caring, comfortable, and very willing, who will say to their wife? Well, what do you like?
[Alexandra Stockwell] 31:40
And she doesn’t know the answer. So it takes both people wanting to discover this, and I guess the thing that I really want to drive home, for any woman in this situation, who’s listening, it’s not about having more sex for your spouse, or keeping your spouse happy, or, you know, having it be transactional, they put the kids to bed and vacuum the house and you have sex three times a week, I’m not advocating that at all.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 32:10
I’m saying, if your spouse wants more sex, then consider what kind of sex would you want to be having more of, and if you can’t think of any, and you’ve never had any that you’d want to be having more. That’s a perfectly okay starting place. But if you’re willing to take it from someone, take it from me that there is so much more sex that you can have that has a flavor that’s really wonderful for you. And you have a whole world to discover that if you’re willing to go on that journey. You’re going to be really glad you did. And so will your husband, but I’m not saying that should be the motivation.
[Jon Dabach] 32:57
Right, right. Wow, lots to lots to unpack there. Thank you so much for being here. If people want to get the signature program you have they can go to aligned hot marriage.com.
[Alexandra Stockwell] 33:13
Right. Yes. And also just to my website in general, which is Alexandra stockwell.com. You can find the link to align and high marriage there and also, feel free to reach out to discuss anything find my podcast, the intimate marriage podcast, my book, uncompromising intimacy, but certainly, the Align and hot marriage is calling to you if you want more alignment, which we didn’t talk about, and more heat.
[Jon Dabach] 33:43
If you’re interested in learning how to get the absolute most out of your romantic relationships then you’re in luck because I have put together a free workshop or masterclass if you will, about three secrets that people in happy relationships have discovered. You can view the workshop and mister spirituality.com/three secrets again, it’s completely free. Just go there and watch it. It’ll help you on your journey.
[Jon Dabach] 34:09
Give you some wisdom. Some things to think about. The website again is mrspirituality.com/threesecrets. That’s spirituality.com/the Number three, the word secrets. It’s all yours. Enjoy.