Keeping The Spark Alive In A Relationship With Courtney Butler
Jordan D’Nelle 0:01
Welcome to Vaginas Vulvas and Vibrators with Jordan D’Nelle this is a safe place to learn about women’s health and sexual wellness. I’m your host Jordan D’nelle, Physician Assistant, women’s sexual educator and intimacy coach. On today’s episode, we have a special guest joining us to talk about how to keep the spark alive in your long term relationships and what to do when sometimes it can get a little rough. I am really excited for today’s episode, hope you enjoy.
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Joining me today is Courtney Butler. Her and her husband run a Facebook group that is all about how to cultivate a team positive relationship. And it is filled with lots of couples, lots of singles wanting to have a relationship. There is open dialogue about many different things that affect relationships. And I asked her to join me on the podcast to talk about how her and her husband of 18 years have kept their sex life alive. And I am really excited for her to share some of the tricks and secrets that they have used over the years. Courtney, do you maybe want to go ahead and tell me a little bit more about your Facebook group?
Courtney Butler 2:45
Yes, so the Facebook group is a really comfy cozy place, you can speak to that, where people get to be themselves and talk about relationships. So my husband and I created the group so that we could have a place where we could just have open dialogue about relationships, marriages dating the whole gamut. And it’s turns into quite the little family. So we have a few new people joining every month. But it seems like people just fall right in and we all kind of get connected. So it’s turned into a really beautiful thing. And it’s building the ultimate thing.
Jordan D’Nelle 3:16
Absolutely. And that’s really what relationships are teams. Are you and your husband, high school sweethearts?
Courtney Butler 3:23
We are not. So we actually didn’t go to the same high school and didn’t really know each other halfway. I think the first time we met. Yeah, we were both. I was not graduated he was. But it wasn’t in a romantic way. We met through my cousin him and my cousin went to high school together. And so we just like met at her going away her graduation party. And it was like, Hey, how are you? Like very informal. And then we met again a few years later, and that’s when we started dating.
Jordan D’Nelle 3:54
I love that. I’ve been following your guys’s journey and your son and everything on Facebook. So that’s so exciting. Well, I am really excited to have you here to talk a little bit more about long term relationships in particular. And one of the things that really comes up is how do you keep the spice alive when you have been together for a period of time?
Courtney Butler 4:18
That’s an interesting concept. So I think it’s about recreation and communication. Initially, everything is like very lustful and lovey, Debbie and you found your soul, maybe you’re going to love each other forever, right? So it should be almost they should be. But for most people, it’s easy in the beginning, just because you’re excited and you know you’re in this period of less than happiness. And then as you move through your journey, I think you have to get really creative with how you keep things spicy and keep things exciting. And you can only do that really through communication. You have to constantly be asking, Are you happy? What do you want to see happen differently you have to be really honest with yourself, Am I happy? Do I need to communicate that I may be missing? So I think it’s a constant journey of talking about it?
Jordan D’Nelle 5:07
Absolutely. What type of communication do you encourage? Or do you have any like really good communication tips.
Courtney Butler 5:16
So everybody has their own communication style, I will say that one of the most important things is to know how your partner communicate. I know for me, I like to talk about things like immediately everybody’s not into that my husband has to learn that how to deal with me with that, because he’d rather have a little space before having a conversation. versus when something happens, I want to like resolve it almost immediately, or I want to talk about what I didn’t get from it, right? So it’s having that initial conversation. So first day, how do you want to communicate? You know, so when we’re talking about the area of like intimacy and things like that, how do you want to communicate? Do you want to talk about it? In the act? Do you want to kind of tell me what you like and don’t like or what you’d like to see happen and then create it there. So first, you have to establish the boundaries around communication, I think. And then after that, you respect those boundaries, and you have a really honest conversation. But one of the things I know is important, I can only speak to women, I’m sure men struggle with this too, a little bit. But being honest with yourself, right? and being willing to say, here’s what I really want, here’s what I need, and not being afraid to tell your partner those things, so that you’re just really open and honest. And that person can either agree to reciprocate or not.
Jordan D’Nelle 6:30
Has your relationship with your husband, have you guys always communicated like this? Did you start the relationship off like this? Or is this something that you had to learn and develop?
Courtney Butler 6:40
I think for us, it was kind of natural. But I’m a talker, I’m an over communicator, probably. So no, it’s not always been like, perfect. But we’ve always had a lot of open communication. He talks a lot, I talk a lot. So I think we both always just wanted to say how we felt. I think if there was any struggle, it was probably like saying too much or not given enough room for a person to even meet you halfway before you say what your next need is. So we didn’t have to learn that. But in terms of saying what we needed, how we feel, I think that comes pretty natural for both of us.
Jordan D’Nelle 7:16
I love that that’s something for me that I’ve had to work a lot on is my communication because I love to talk, but I cannot communicate my needs for shit. So that’s definitely something that I’ve worked on. How do you cultivate good sex in a long term relationship?
Courtney Butler 7:33
First, you got to find what good is right? What’s good for you with what you think is good, you might think of this that’s another I hate to keep saying it. But like truly everything starts with communication, right? So what is the text to you, right? So defining that for yourself and then having him define that for himself so you guys can talk about it and see if you’re on the same page as what you think is good. I think another thing that has worked for us is just being verbal about what you don’t even if it comes up in the bedroom like okay, I don’t like that or I would like it more like this. Those all help people have that you notice that my readers sometimes obviously think Pepin fit room and you can tell that a person likes it so you can say okay, this is good, right? And this works for both of us. But sometimes you don’t know sometimes there was a silence right so i think in order to keep good sex, you have to always be in communication around what is good to you. And you might want to change some things I mean, I’ve been married for 18 years so some of the things you think are good in the beginning right you might have grown out of and it’s like I’m not really into that anymore or that doesn’t really please me the way it used to or whatever and so you have to be willing to have those conversations to
Jordan D’Nelle 8:44
what would you do if like you found out that you and your partner are not interested in the same type of sex or you didn’t feel that both of you are on the same page when it came to defining good sex for each other
Courtney Butler 8:59
so that actually has come up before we don’t you know, I’m not gonna say no partners or some people may be like in perfect alignment when it comes to sex we haven’t always been in so are in perfect alignment in terms of like how often we should be happy that he has more of a sexual appetite than I do so sometimes he wants to do it more often than I do position wise I’m like pretty open to like the simple things I think he probably would want to push the envelope in some areas that maybe I’m not comfortable in you know like you know, like want to try it okay try a one um, that I don’t really like it right? If I liked it, maybe you want to do it more often, right? So things like that I’m sure that we’re not in complete alignment. And at that point, it just come down to respect and honesty is this something that’s a deal breaker for you because for me, this is a deal breaker and I don’t want to explore this or at least not right now and patience. Because the longer you’re with a person and they may change what they want to explore. They may come into the relationship and say I’m only willing to do these things. And then better later, it’s like, oh, let’s try this now, right? Or you can have an open person and then down the road, they’re not as open. So things change. And I think you just have to have a level of patience with the other person. I know he’s probably the patient one, I don’t want to generalize and say Amen, but if somebody has to be patient has probably been more than women. Or at least be accepting that the person is not going to do everything you want to explore sexually. But even that’s a conversation. Why do you want to do that? How important is it to me? What if I don’t want to do it? Then what does that mean for you? So just walking through those things, but we’re absolutely not always perfectly aligned. And that’s okay.
Unknown Speaker 10:42
Yeah, and I love it just really all comes down to communication, communication, communication, at the end of the day, what are is like some tips and tricks for setting up your future relationships for like the single people for success and to have, you know, the type of sex that you want, and to have the type of relationship that you want?
Unknown Speaker 11:08
One of the main things is being honest about the type of relationship that you want, right? And being honest about the type of relationship that you have. I think we live in a society now where a lot of things are very cookie cutter. And so we all tend to have the same answers to the same questions, right? What do you want two kids a picket fence and a dog is what it pretty much comes down to right. And I want to travel the world and being wanderlust and I want somebody to go on date nights. And the thing that everybody says that are standard, but I think you really have to do some soul searching to determine what is it that you really want? Do you want to be in the same house? Do you want to be married? Do you want to cohabitate? Do you still want children? Do you not want any more children? Do you want to live his traditional lifestyle? Do you want to be in separate households? Like these are all things? I think that, like I said, there’s a traditional standard answer that’s embedded in all of us that we want to give. But oftentimes, people are not taking the time to really sit within themselves and say, What do I really want in a relationship, and not let that scare them, right, and then accept it and be willing to share that with somebody else, so that they can really get what they’re looking for. So I always say step one is complete honesty. And even once you get into relationship, the things that you want will change. And so constantly having that conversation with the person you’re in relationship with, hey, I changed. I wanted this for 10 years. And now for the next five years, I think I wanted to look like this, whatever this may be. So having those constant conversations will help you, you know, conversations with yourself, and then conversations with the person that you find to be your spouse, I think that’s extremely helpful. That’s what I do. Because I have to constantly figure out who I am, especially since I’ve been in a relationship with the same person since I was 20 years old, 19 years old. You know, over time, that’s what has worked. For me, it’s like getting in those quiet moments of like when something isn’t working anymore, or I want to change the dynamic in a relationship, I first have to accept that within myself. Because sometimes when you notice change, or kind of like, shit, I don’t even know if I like this yet, or if I’ve accepted this yet, and then you have to get comfortable with it, and then go talk to your partner, like, Hey, here’s what I’d like the next step to look like. So that’s so important when you’re getting started at whatever age and then in terms of creating good sex, it’s all about what’s good to you. It’s again, not being influenced by like other people, not what not what your girlfriend told you is good, nothing, there’s nothing wrong with your girlfriend telling you like, Hey, you got to try this, like, you know, try it, because we do that with a girl. But learn your body, figure out what works for you. And then communicate that that’s so important, because nobody else can tell you the sexes to you, or what you like, until you’ve tried it and you get a partner that’s willing to go on that journey.
Jordan D’Nelle 13:59
Yeah, and that’s something that I preach so much is learning yourself and learning your body. Because if you don’t know what you like, nobody else can fulfill that.
Courtney Butler 14:09
How do you know I mean, that’s the whole thing about exploration, right? I wish that we had these conversations, and I won’t even be I will tell the story as if I’m completely there. Because I’m not as a mom, I have two daughters. It’s a difficult conversation to have. But it’s so it would be so impactful if we had that conversation right with our girls to say, hey, before you get to that point where even thinking about sex is important that start that process of self exploration, right? I remember my cousin had a book called why touching feels good. And we went through this, but we were teenagers. And at the time, it felt like who buys this, right? And we would laugh because just because my aunt bought it. But in retrospect, that’s great, right? Because that’s how you learn your body. Not even that you’re preparing to have sex but you’re teaching yourself self pleasure and you’re learning About your body. And then when you are ready for that period in your life, you can communicate what works for you, you can teach a person how to be with you sexually.
Jordan D’Nelle 15:09
Yeah, there’s so many things that I see on social media. And one of the areas that I would love to get into is adolescent sexual health and teaching girls about their body. But we find that children who learn about it early on, they usually have safer sex, they don’t start having sex as early. And I forget the other component of that I just saw on social media today. But it’s it’s important to have those conversations at home and so many families, they aren’t having those conversations, because it is hard, it is awkward. How do you start that conversation?
Courtney Butler 15:46
Especially when it’s your child, right? Because you want to tell them never touch themselves and never have sex ever in life, right? Because it’s just uncomfortable to think about your kids being in a sexual relationship. But as they get older, they need that. And it’s important, I wish that I had that. And I had an amazing mom had an amazing mom. But that just wasn’t part of our relationship to talk about that. So I think it’s important thing. Yeah,
Jordan D’Nelle 16:11
and I totally relate my mom, we talked about sex, but we didn’t talk about pleasure. We didn’t talk about how I should be enjoying sex. And it took me eight years of having sex before ever having an orgasm with a partner. And I mean, that’s just not that’s not really okay for it to take that long. Like, it would have been really helpful for me to learn about that at home, and have a better understanding before being out there.
Courtney Butler 16:40
In the wild. You have conversations that you don’t know, I remember that being able to have an orgasm and feeling like, what’s wrong with me, right? And then learning later and even going through that conversation with my husband about I’m just not a bad you know, I cannot I haven’t visioned on the climax. And that’s so common for so many women to be clitoral climax, or that’s not a conference. I mean, where are we having that conversation at? Certainly not in school, right? And your mom’s not in a rush to sit you down and tell like, Hey, have you? Even when you’re grown, you’re not really talking to your mom about an orgasm. At least I wasn’t. Some people may have but those are just things that are sexually ambiguous. We don’t know we’re like, something wrong with me. I don’t know. I kind of don’t want to say anything you hear your friends talking about. Maybe you have a sexual conversation with your friends that at first you’re embarrassed, especially if you’re in your 20s. Right, you’re like I don’t say that that didn’t happen to me. But there’s other ways like certainly I had very enjoyable things. But it’s different because I’m a different type of climate. So then someone says differently. So it goes back to that communication, right? Like I have to be I have to have this kind of stimulation or I’m not a happy camper.
Jordan D’Nelle 17:52
And you’re right 80% of women need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve orgasm in so it is so important to know what you need. And for some reason, like even men aren’t taught that most women need clitoral stimulation. And I think that it would be so beneficial for them to understand how foreplay is important. What we need and like if we could teach the men like that would be so helpful to
Courtney Butler 18:20
work, especially when first we understand it. You know, I think I got lucky because once I fully understood it, I was able to then communicate with him. He’s like, no way. sounds wrong. No, we can fix this. I’m like, it’s not broken. It’s like a thing that really has to happen. And so, I mean, we were younger, so we, you know, kind of explored and figured it out together.
Jordan D’Nelle 18:41
That’s awesome. Now you brought this up earlier that your husband is got a higher sex drive than you How often should quote, you be having sex in a relationship.
Courtney Butler 18:56
As often as you want to fire people all they used to be having sex four times a week, three times, like, how do you hold yourself accountable to a number that you maybe don’t want to hit? Right. So as often as you want to? I think it should be a natural thing. I mean, or whatever works for you. If you’re in just casual sex do that, too. doesn’t really work for me. I tried it before, like, hey, just so that we’re both that as well. Let’s get on this every other day schedule. And then I felt like a slave to it. I didn’t like it. It didn’t make me feel good. Because it would be like, if I had a long day and it was my own day for sex. I will come into bed almost like oh shit. You know what I mean? Because it’s like it’s my own day and I’ve just had the longest day of my life, but skin work into kids and other things and then I felt obligated. And I felt bad to say no because then it’s like we’ll see you like you said every other day right? So that’s an you know, had to come back and communicate that that wasn’t working out. I don’t like this arrangement because it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel like it’s organic. And then let’s see we’ve tried the picking a place so to not always be in the bedroom. And of course, you know, at one point we had young kids. So you have to figure out the dynamic of doing things around younger kids, when the kids get older, it’s a whole nother set of issues of why you have to figure out that. Right? So it just became like, let’s just do it when we do it. You know what I mean? Let’s not make it a whole schedule thing, or let’s not put parameters on it, or anything, let’s just what we want to have sex. Yes, that, right. But to your point about him having a higher sex drive, there are certainly times when I’m sure he wants to that I don’t, I mean, I’ll be completely honest, there’s times where I have done it and didn’t want to, and I’m okay with that, too. Because it’s like, I’m not gonna hide it from you. It’s not really I don’t really want to right now, but I’m gonna do the best I can to be completely in this. And then, of course, once it starts, then it’s enjoyable. So you’re fine. But there are times from the outset was like, I’m tired, and I just don’t want to, but you do it. I don’t know that there’s so many times that can’t remember that he’s ever met one. But I’m sure for men, if that has some shows that maybe, maybe there’s been a time but generally, once you touch a guy, like, Alright, it’s good, that they’re dynamic. I think we are on the same page more than we’re not, but I’m very aware that she would probably be more than open to it and more likely he’d be okay with every day.
Jordan D’Nelle 21:19
How do you handle like the different desires? Like does that impact your relationship?
Courtney Butler 21:27
For the most part, no, there have been times where so like now we’re in recently we’ve been in I haven’t actually even told anybody this, but we’ve been in like a really transitional space, because I recently found out that I had fibroids. And so never before had that minute conversation. I’ve always been a person who had a four day menstrual, it usually was very light. So like ministration has never really been an issue in our relationship. Because I mean, it’s four days, right? And that’s been probably since I was 16 years old. I’ve always had like one heavy day and then three light days a little bit of spotting it over. And all of a sudden I went as I was working out one day and almost passed out and had to go to the doctor and discovered that my arm was completely depleted. I was like, severely anemic and needed to have emergency arm infusions. And so I went to see the hematologist and he’s like we’re losing blood somewhere. And we need to figure out what you know, it’s funny that you say that because in the last three months, I’ve had a change in my menstrual cycle, but I don’t know that that could be that it could be this bad that I’m needing like an emergency Aaron infusion, and he’s like, no, it could be like, I don’t think so like how much blood would I lose and he’s like, okay, you’re fair and and all these different things. And as we’re looking at everything, everything read on the bloodwork, everything’s completely depleted. So there’s no air storage, and my hemoglobin is messed up. It’s just and he’s like, you know, Aaron, bring bread, your red book, so bring oxygen into your body. And so right now you’re not getting adequate oxygen, which is why every time you attempt to do something that is strenuous, your body is starving for oxygen and so you can absolutely not work out especially not live wake like you’re like you have to stop. And so I was like devastated because I had been like on this extreme fitness journey and he’s like, and you also he asked me how much red meat I was eating and as part of that I was doing a lot of protein and vegetables but not a lot of red meat. And he’s like you could stand to get as much red meat as possible at this time. Took me completely off and so already from a sexual standpoint, just from a mental standpoint, I’m like mentally depleted because I’m feeling like oh my god, it did happen. And so it stopped my workouts change the way that I had to eat that three infusions. And in the process of that went to see the guidance, because I’m like my hematologists is saying maybe this is an issue. By the time I have left the appointment with her that next month I had a minstrel that last like 22 days. Ironically, the 22 days was 22 days during my anniversary month.
It was like the worst time ever. And for me, I’m feeling like crap because and hating the whole process. So at this point, I’m now on birth control have not been on birth control. Oh my god since I was 16, right? Because I had babies and stuff like that. And then I had an ID I did have an IEP for eight years. And then that was the last time pepper. So I was 2011 and my husband has affected me so I’m like I really don’t even believe in birth control, which is why the vasectomy weren’t because I don’t want any unnatural hormones in my body. So I didn’t like that. I’m taking this birth control and it is swelling me up. I feel like I’m gaining a pound a day and it’s still not stopping the bleeding because the estrogen is not high. So then we have changed the birth control. Go on a higher level. Have estrogen which made me more swollen and made my breast feel like I’m pregnant every month, just horrible. So I’m like, Okay, we got to figure something out. So we’ve been on this journey to figure it out. The first thing we found out was through the transvaginal ultrasound that there were some fibroids. And so one of them was like the size of a line, like five by five centimeters or something. And she’s like, let’s go on to higher doses of estrogen because the hematologist needs to stop the bleeding completely, so that we can try to get you some Arum storage so that you can breathe better on like, Okay, so that’s what we did. So now we’re at this place, I think next week, I go and get them measured, again, to see if the fibroid is growing. But the thing that’s been stopping the bleeding has been this high dosage of estrogen in the birth control now, but it’s changed thing, sexually a lot, right? Because now he has to deal with like you’re believing alive for 22 days, right? Your anniversary month, which was in June. And then also, they don’t feel the thing. You’re like, I had these hormones in my body. I can actually feel the thyroid when we have sex. And so the blessing for me has been that on this journey, he’s been so patient, and so like, communicative like hey, I really, are you okay to have sex? You fell? Okay, let me Let’s try it. And if that hurts, you let me know. So we just kind of talk through it. And it hasn’t gotten to a point where it’s painful, it can just be uncomfortable, depending on the position, because it depends on how the fibroid is sitting, right? Or now I know there’s three of them. I don’t know if the other two have grown, but I can feel it now. So I’m feeling like maybe it grew. And the birth control is handling the blood so that we are able to be sexually active before that month. I mean, we travel, we had a great month, we still were connected, I’m sure that it was not easy for him. But just being able to say this isn’t easy for me, what can we try and being able to be there for each other that made me feel really good, because that was a tough period. And so I say all that to say sex is not a perfect thing. And for us, as women, we never know what may happen with our bodies that may impair our ability to be completely sexually present. And so that’s why it’s so important to again, communicate everything right? And to have patience, because things happen that we can’t foresee. And if we still want to have sex, who doesn’t want to have that, that that is your partner level, but you also don’t want to be in pain. And if you know anything about fibroids, you absolutely do not want to have sex while you’re bleeding from a fibroid, because that’s not the that’s not a period. Like that’s a different kind of situation. That is very, yeah, yeah,
Jordan D’Nelle 27:38
fibroids are a whole different monster. That’s so awesome, though, that he’s so supportive and definitely reassuring to me that at some point, when I find a husband that there are men out there who are supportive, who are understanding who are patient, who will just be by your side, when things don’t necessarily go exactly as planned and can roll with the punches. So that’s, I love that. Thank you for sharing that story. You have to be able to do that I
Courtney Butler 28:10
can’t imagine feeling unsupported on top of being so like in the dark about exactly what’s happening with your body to like you’re trying to figure out everything for yourself and what the next steps are. And it’s all very confusing, especially when it comes out of nowhere. So you need for your partner to be willing to have those conversations and just have some compassion, a little bit, a little bit of empathy for you and be willing to work with you. But at the same time, I have to be flexible, too. I don’t I make a conscious decision to not like blame things on the library. Like, we still need that effect. I get that. So I try to be as open as possible to making sure that we still get his needs fulfilled and my needs fulfilled to me. Yeah, that’s
Jordan D’Nelle 28:50
so important. Well, this has been a wonderful conversation, and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. What is one thing that you would want the listeners to take away from today’s conversation?
Courtney Butler 29:04
I would say create your own relationship. You know, be honest with yourself about what you want. Be honest with yourself about your happiness. When you’re not happy. You don’t need somebody else to tell you a lot of people are in very unhappy relationships and pretending that they’re happy getting communication like trying to figure out how to be happy to get you know going on your own journey. Don’t make somebody else’s relationship journey. Yours, create magic within the two with just the two of you and kind of leave everything else out of it.
Jordan D’Nelle 29:34
I love that it’s so important to create your reality of what you want. Where can the listeners find you at?
Courtney Butler 29:43
So I’m on Facebook that I am Courtney Butler and on Instagram I am currently Butler and then the Facebook group. So Gabi Ultimate Team is the Facebook group. So that’s the best place so that’s where we have fun right here in the group. A lot of fun and we talk about all kinds of crazy stuff in there. So that’s probably the best place. But I’m on Instagram and Facebook.
Jordan D’Nelle 30:08
I will be sure to put the link for the group in the podcast description. That way everybody can go over there. Check it out. There’s lots of good means in there. There’s lots of just really good conversations and good conversation starters. So I think that it is helpful for people who are in relationships, people who are single, and it’s just helpful for everybody to be in that.
Courtney Butler 30:30
That’s what we thank you for that.
Jordan D’Nelle 30:32
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for thanks for chatting with me.
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