04 May

This Podcast Transcript is from Ultimate Intimacy Podcast Episode 11: Interview with Amanda Louder, with hosts Nick and Amy McKinlay. You can listen to the episode on apple HERE or download the app HERE and listen in the resource section under podcasts.

“I am a certified life coach and I specialize in helping Christian women love theirselves and really embrace their sexuality and love their sex life. I think that when they can do it in this way, that it really enhances not only their self concept but their relationship with their spouse and their relationship with God. So that’s really the focus of what I do in my work outside of that. I have been married to my husband Kevin for almost nine years. It’s a second marriage for both of us, so we have a blended family of five Children that range in age from 12 to 21. We live in Salt Lake City and we just have an amazing marriage and a great sex life and I love to help other people have that as well.” – Amanda Louder

We were just talking before we started, we found that we typically think that body image and self confidence is more geared towards women a lot of the time, but I after running a poll from our followers, and talking to a lot of people, I think it goes both ways. I think there’s a lot of men and women that have body image or confidence problems and it affects relationships in so many different ways.

What is the difference between confidence and self confidence?

“So confidence comes from the things that we do. I’m pretty confident in pouring a glass of water because I’ve done it a million times, I’m not usually going to spill. So I’m pretty confident about that. But self confidence comes from the way that we think about ourselves and what we really put into it, from the way that our thoughts and our beliefs and our feelings and being able to show up as our best self with intention. So yes, we can be confident in a lot of things, but also not have a lot of self confidence. I’m sure you’ve heard of plenty of people who are so good at things that they do and they can go out there and perform and do amazing, but yet they still don’t love themselves, they still don’t think very highly of themselves, that’s because it’s really two separate things. There’s also people who really love themselves, but don’t have a lot of confidence in actually doing things, but I think they kind of go hand in hand, but it really is two separate things.

How does that affect our marriage?

“Self confidence is such an important part of who we are individually, and a lot of times are self confidence, and self identity comes from being married to someone and they are reinforcing what we want to see in ourselves, so that really happens… it starts out when we’re very young. Okay, so I think about a baby, what they are learning about themselves from the people around them, So, like little kids have tons of self confidence because everybody around them is saying how amazing they’re like all their squishy roles and everything are so cute and everything they do is amazing.

So we learn about who we are by watching how other people treat us, but as we mature, it’s really important that we start to look inward and are we really validating ourselves? Are we tapping into our own integrity of who we are and who we want to be… rather than expecting other people, and especially our spouse, to validate us and reassure us of who we are, So as soon as we can do that, that’s when our relationships actually get so much better, is when we’re not expecting that from our spouse and really tapping into who we are as a person and just both of us showing up as our best selves.

– Amanda Louder

I think a lot of women and especially with all the media influence and everything, I don’t think that there is a ton of women that truly love themselves anymore and how sad is that, because I do know that that’s affecting their marriage big time.

When that starts to happen, it affects both people greatly. You know, if one spouse isn’t feeling good about themselves, that kind of puts the pressure on the other spouse, like, what am I doing wrong or why is my wife not feeling confident about herself? And then then it goes that direction and it can really drive a wedge between the couple.

“For sure, but when you’re constantly looking for validation of who you are from your spouse, it’s actually not very attractive, like at first when you’re first dating, you’re both showing up as your best selves, right? You don’t want to show them all the parts of you that maybe aren’t so great. And so this reflected sense of self that you’re getting, it’s all amazing, like they’re reinforcing all of the things thats great about you, but once you get further into the relationship, you know, married life happens, you know, we run into challenges, kids, all that kind of stuff that reflected sense of self isn’t there as much? You start seeing all the negative traits of your partner and the negative traits of yourself, and rather than working through them, that takes a toll and then you want your partner to continue to validate you even if you don’t deserve it, right?

And then if you have a partner that’s constantly wanting, that validation comes out very needy and desperate… not attractive, and you’re right, it totally drives a wedge in between them.” – Amanda Louder

How do we get past our “past”, so our past doesn’t define us?

“Your are past is our past, and it’s the way that we think about our past that really defines us today. So we have to look at what is in our past that we can pull that’s good and what we can want to continue to work on and change. Really the heart of the work that I do with women, is really understanding themselves as they are now, how they think about themselves, what they believe about themselves and really is that what they want and how can we work towards moving into what they really do want and showing up very intentionally in their own life, rather than just being on autopilot and blowing with the wind of whatever their husband says or whatever happens with their kids, but really tapping into who they are as an individual.

Because I think a lot of us, if you think about two again those teenage years, you have goals for yourself, right? You know, like I’m gonna graduate high school, I’m gonna go to college, graduate from college, get married, we’ll buy a house and we’ll have some kids. And then what like, we really don’t think about who we want to be, who we are beyond that when we’re growing up, right? And then we get there and we’re like, who are, who am I? And you know, men are the same way, but they do have most of the time, men have their careers that help define them, but there’s still parts of them to that need that as well. But men and women who have careers, maybe that’s a little bit more defined for them. They have goals. But if you’re a stay at home mom, if you’ve just been raising kids and you lose yourself in that, then you’re like, who am I beyond a mom? Who am I beyond the housekeeper, the show for the maid, right? The person who is supposed to have sex with her husband to keep him happy and really but really tapping into who you want to be as a person and what’s true and authentic to you? What’s right for you in all areas of your life? – Amanda

Well, what can be more amazing role than a mother, you know, raising kids and doing all those amazing things?

“So many times we pigeonhole ourselves into that role and yes, being a mother is amazing. But as women, we are so much more than that, and we really have to figure out who that is. Some women find complete fulfillment in motherhood. Many do not, and then they kick themselves for not getting that fulfillment in motherhood. All of this plays into how they feel about themselves, which ends up playing out in their physical and intimate relationships.” – Amanda

So say you’ve got this mom that’s been mothering for year after year. She doesn’t really know who her identity is. What is your advice to someone that’s just like, what do I do? My kids are getting older now. How do I find who I am?

“Play! Yes, and really, I mean, it’s an experimentation… It’s what are your desires? What do you want? Like really thinking about them if money weren’t an object or if time weren’t an object, if you didn’t have things tying you sort of obligations, right? What would you do? What do you want to do? Where does your heart go? Where does your mind go? And really tapping into that? And then how can I make some of these things a reality given money time, you know, all that obligations, that kind of stuff. But really tapping into your desires because I really feel like your desires are at the heart of who you are and who you were created to be. So we’re really tapping into that in all areas of your life and then you’re able to tap into that in the intimate areas of your life as well.” – Amanda

I think you’re bringing up a great point, part of finding out who you are is learning, I don’t want to say being being selfish, sometimes we’re so unselfish that we don’t allow ourselves to get into hobbies or explore what we really want or interested in other areas. And I think you hit a great point… I think to truly find ourselves, we have to love ourselves and be able to do things for ourselves and have friends, and have hobbies and try different things that we enjoy and through those things we actually can learn to love ourselves more and find out who we really are.

“… And I think you bring up a really key word here and that as a many women have that word in the back of their head, is that if I do things for myself it’s selfish.

But let’s really talk about that, because I think selfish is when you mindlessly do whatever you want for yourself in no regard for anyone else.
That’s what selfish, but when you’re like, I really need to take care of me, so then I have more to give everybody else. It is not selfish.” – Amanda

Well I have a personal experience with that because I was the one that was saying, I’m just going to be a mom. A full time mom. I had four kids, I was in that stage of life where I just gave them every once of my life, like and then at year 15, when my youngest was two, I opened up my graphic design business and I was working every ounce of the day that I wasn’t being a full time mom, so I had two full time jobs. I didn’t have or make any time for myself, I didn’t do anything for myself, I don’t go anywhere, I would hardly hang out with friends because I was working so hard and I wasn’t really getting much exercise besides chasing kids. I got to a point where I felt “I’m kind of going insane inside!” so I took a pickleball, I went and got my nails done and now once in a while I’ll be like, “bye family, I’m going out to dinner with my friends or whatever it is, like, I need this for me.” And I got to a point where I realized this makes me healthier and happy, and I’m a better mother for doing those things, so it’s not selfish at all. I’m taking care of myself and my mental state of mind, so that I can be better person for my spouse and for my children. And I think that it’s sad that I had to get to a point where I was super miserable to realize I’m still important too in this family. But once we get there, then everything else improves, including our intimacy, the romance, every aspect. It’s such an amazing feeling when you find that balance in your life where you are truly happy.

And as a husband, I totally support that. I mean I tell Amy all the time, go out to lunch, go do this, go do this because I know that’s important to her and I know that makes her happier. And obviously that like Amy said, that improves our relationship and I think many men are, most men would probably agree as well that they would totally support their spouse and what they want to do and doing those things as well.

“It’s also, if the wife isn’t doing that for herself, I would encourage husbands to create that space for her to do that. Say, you know, hey, I notice it’s been a while. Why don’t I, plan something fun with the kids this night and you go out with some girlfriends or whatever it is. But really helping her create that space. That is one of the key ingredients. And a woman, a woman being able to become intimate is having that space where she taps back into herself when she’s constantly in caretaker mode, taking care of kids and then she feels like she has to take care of her husband. Sex isn’t good for her.

And so many women won’t take that space for themselves. They don’t feel like they can. So if she’s not, I say husbands, you create that space for her. I’m going to clean up dinner, I’m going to get the kids to bed, you go take a bath, you go to, you know, go for a run, whatever, go take a yoga class, whatever it is you need, you go spend some time for you. I’ll totally take care of things here and then that’s going to translate to a better intimate relationship for sure.” – Amanda
Well and then the wife comes home feeling, just better in whatever way, whatever they did for themselves, more beautiful, whatever it is like absolutely changes everything.

We love our spouse if we just want them to be happy, whatever that is. And I’ve done research in polls talking to men about what do you find sexy, Right? And not one of them has ever said a certain size, a certain weight, certain breast size or anything like that. What’s sexy is a confident wife, whatever that looks like. That’s what, that’s what men really want. They want a wife that loves themselves. That’s what it really comes down to. And women the same way we want a husband who loves himself to.” – Amanda

Confidence is very attractive.

How do we how do we get to that point when there’s so many outside influences in this world telling us opposite?

How do we how do we really find that internal love for ourselves if we’re struggling?

“So we have to put away those outside influences. I mean what is attractive and sexy has completely changed over the course of time? Back in the renaissance area, the bigger the woman, the more attractive she was, because that was, you know, she was fertile, she was rich, she had plenty to eat. She could, you know, there’s all that now. It’s you know, the Victoria’s secret model that without an ounce of fat on her… but what’s normal?

What’s good? What’s right? Just tapping into what is good and right for you. When do you feel you’re best and really looking at how am I talking to myself? What is that inner dialogue? Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind what do I want it to be and really catching yourself and practicing a new and better dialogue?

… And that doesn’t mean you go from “I hate my body” to “I love my body overnight”… your brain won’t do that. It has to be “I hate from I hate my body because…” that’s not a good one. I mean it might be true for a little bit, but let’s move to like “I have a body. I’m really grateful for the body that has done so many things, that’s born these children that are able to walk.” Look at what your body can do rather than just trying to jump to: “I love my body” because that’s never never going to work… try “I have really pretty eyes” or “I have really nice calves” whatever it is, find the things that you do like to focus on and work on changing your thought processes about yourself and then it will get better and better.

So for many, many years I used to beat the crap out of myself. That inner dialogue was so, so negative. My weight was constantly going up and down depending on what was happening. I thought I had to be once I started practicing this self love, I just made a decision that I was never ever going to allow myself to talk like that again… anymore. Does that mean that my brain doesn’t still try? Absolutely not, like it tells me all the time and I’m like, nope, we’re not doing that anymore.

We do not talk like that to ourselves any more. I love my body the way it is. I’m so grateful for the things that it does for me. I’ll see myself in a picture, my brain immediately starts to go negative. I’m like, nope, stop, remember we don’t do that anymore and turn it the other direction. And once I started doing that, things really began to change and I actually want to take care of my body. I want to fuel it. Well I want to exercise because I love myself like you’re never going to hate yourself into what you want it to be.” – Amanda

I think for most couples, unless the husband has a big porn problem or something, I think they love who their wife as is and believe she is perfect the way she is.
The perfect body is their spouse… You know, we see couples of all different sizes and shapes and
everything that have phenomenal sex lives and intimacy and love each other more than anything in the world.

And so, you know, it’s that connection between each other and it really doesn’t, like I said, it really doesn’t matter unless you’re into porn or something… I think most husbands would say their wife is the most beautiful person in the world. – Nick

Well, and I’m raising three daughters now that are about ones in the teenage years and the other right behind and they’re starting to pick at things about themselves, you know? When they start complaining about something about themselves, it breaks my heart. So I’m always telling them, that breaks God’s heart when you complain about stuff because he made you exactly how you are. And sometimes we need that little wake up call. He made me who I am and he made me unique for a reason. We just need that reminder on our mirrors and everywhere!

“And a lot of times we think, well I can’t say nice things about myself because that’s just being arrogant. You didn’t make you… So when you’re kind to yourself, then, you know, you’re not bragging because you didn’t make you, it’s all about Heavenly Father and he’s the one that created, we’re just giving him touts for what’s happening.” – Amanda

Intimacy: emotionally and physical. This becomes a big deal in marriage, the first thing that happens is a woman or a man shuts down and the spouse is like, well, I’m complimenting you, I’m trying to make you feel really good about yourself. Why can’t you believe me? And then everything else starts to get out of balance and can get worse and worse? It starts with emotional intimacy… And then it leads to physical intimacy and when you’re not getting physical intimacy a lot of the time, I think the men shut down and don’t give the emotional and vice versa. It’s a vicious cycle.

How does it affect physical intimacy and what we do about that?

“So there’s different ways that it affects it. I think the biggest thing is we don’t show up authentically as us. And so we kind of tend to become when we’re when we’re preoccupied with our imperfections, you know, then we become an observer of our sexual experience rather than an active participant. We start being preoccupied, worrying about what our spouses thinking about us, making sure our body is positioned exactly correctly. We’re sucking in our tummies were, whatever, we’re not willing to have the lights on. So we are really not willing to be open and vulnerable and really create that intimate experience because intimacy is being fully known and knowing fully right.

And so if we are so preoccupied with all that we’re not present in the moment and we’re not creating a truly intimate experience. I love starting with couples and women that are doing this into: let’s first remove all the brakes. Let’s figure out what the brakes are.. like if if you are too preoccupied with dishes in the sink, go do them before you and your, your husband get intimate, right? Or if you, if you know that thing like hey, if you want to have sex tonight, I would really love it if the dishes were done right, I don’t want transactional sex. Like you know, if you do the dishes, you get sex in return. But like, hey, I know this is one of my brakes, so would be really helpful for me, if that was taken off, then do what I call a thought download before it all happens.

Get out everything that’s going on in your brain, all that negativity or all of your to do lists or whatever it is and just really get it out on paper so that when you’re in that moment with your spouse, you can focus on the moment and then in the moment, I really like to do a grounding practice. If you find your mind wandering, go into a grounding practice where you go through your five senses, what am I seeing? What am I hearing? What am I tasting? What am I smelling? What am I feeling now? Don’t go to the outside things like, oh, that wall really needs to be painted. There’s dust on the ceiling fan, oh, I can hear the kids, whatever, it’s really tuning into what is right there and what is right in front of you.

I am seeing my partner’s eyes and their face. I am tasting the salt on their lips. I’m smelling the perfume or the candle that we have burning. I’m listening to the music, the rustle of the sheets. I’m feeling the skin on the skin or my skin on the sheets, whatever, really staying in that moment, focusing on your partner and the sensations that are right there, Instead of letting your mind wander to all these things now, it’ll wander, it’s fine. But if you start worrying about what’s going on with your body and what’s happening, just bring it right back to, well, it’s actually happening with your five senses.” – Amanda

If a woman thinks that her spouse finds her attractive, her sexual functioning will be higher. However, if she believes, regardless of the truth, the others view her body in a negative light, Her desire will be destroyed, disrupted, as well as her ability to become aroused.

Really just focusing on that self love and what you need to do for yourself to get yourself there.

Advice for any couple dealing with insecurities, or lack of confidence, and it is affecting your physical intimacy.

My first piece of advice would be to shut off the stuff in your life that is making you feel a certain way, quit getting on social media, quit watching certain things, quit trying to comparing yourself, try to put yourself in situations where you’re uplifted, try to listen to your husband more and actually believe the things that he’s saying to you when he compliments you.
We have found that social media was, we were comparing ourselves and saying why our lives not that good or why do I not look that good or, you know, whatever. And I think comparing ourselves as one of the worst things we can do.
So we kind of took that out of our life and it’s been amazing how when we don’t have to deal with other people’s stuff, we can focus more on on each other.

“I think so much of our intimate relationship depends on our own personal development. I think marriage that’s one of the reasons why God created marriage, is because it pressures development in both people, and if you’re not willing to do that, then that’s when marriage is really fall apart, right?

– Amanda

… But as long as both people are willing to take a look at what is not working in the relationship and as not a way to blame themselves or blame their partner, but like how can we grow, how can we become better, Who can I be? How can I show up better in my marriage really pressures your own development, being willing to look at that.

– Amanda

So, I think the first thing is, really start to become aware of what is going on in your brain. The thought process is what’s getting in the way and being willing to look at yourself, not as a way to beat yourself up and criticize, but just becoming aware so that you can give yourself compassion and grace because we’re all human and this is what we all do. But okay, now I know these things about myself now, what do I want to do about it and really work towards that self development. So the process that I go through with clients is that first we work on self development, we work on having a better relationship with yourself with yourself.

That is the key foundational piece for anything that has to do a sex and intimacy. Then we work on the relationship, working on building good relationships skills. Once you have a better sense of self, then, in that relationship, can you hold on to yourself even in conflict, can you hold on to who you are as an individual and what you want and still hold space and feel close to your partner even in the midst of that. And then we work on the sex because once you have a good sense of self, and a good relationship, the sex, good sex is inevitable.

There’s nothing better than Ultimate Intimacy. Good physically and emotionally.

Where can anybody that’s struggling in this area find you or come to you for coaching? Your help?
You can go to my website Amandalouder.com. You can click on the work with me tab, and see the different courses and group coaching that I offer as an on the home page, you can sign up for a free consultation with me where we can talk about what might be a good fit for you and give you a little bit of coaching in there.

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