Your erotic desires may be far vaster than can ever be met in your lifetime. What do we do with desires unfulfilled – so that we can be free to pursue more erotic fulfillment? In this paradox there is a rich terrain of both personal and relational exploration – so you can figure out which of your desires might be met more fully and which may never be touched.
Do you have erotic desires buried under layers of sexual shame? Check out our podcast on How To Overcome Sexual Shame
Dig into the work of leading shame researcher Brené Brown here.
Want to get more specific about your relationship agreements? Check out our podcast on Monogamy Agreements
Podcast transcripts are generated with love by humans, and thus may not be 100% accurate. Time stamps are included so you can cross reference or jump to any point in the podcast episode above. Thanks to our supporters on Patreon for helping to make podcast transcripts possible!
Podcast Transcript for Unfulfilled Desires Podcast
Chris Rose: 00:00 Hi, welcome to Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics. I’m Chris.
Charlotte Rose: 00:06 I’m Charlotte.
Chris Rose: 00:07 We are the Pleasure Mechanics, and on this podcast we have explicit yet soulful conversations about every facet of sexuality and pleasure. Come on over to PleasureMechanics.com, where you will find a complete podcast archive. And while you were there, go to PleasureMechanics.com/free and sign up for the Erotic Essentials. It is a treasure trove of strategies and resources for you to get started with tonight. That’s PleasureMechanics.com/free.
Chris Rose: 00:42 On today’s episode, we are going to be continuing last week’s conversation and diving into the pools of desire unfulfilled. What do we do when we start to recognize that we have desires, longings, achings, for pleasures that may never be fulfilled right now or in our lifetimes? What do we do with desires unfulfilled so that we can have a fulfilling sex life? There’s a paradox here, and we will be exploring it.
Chris Rose: 01:15 Before we get started, I would love to thank our new sponsor for this podcast, #LubeLife. Lube is a very important ingredient for just about any sex act. So if you need a new bottle of lube, go on over to lubelife.com and check out their line of all natural organic lubricants. They make water based lubricants, and silicone lubricants, and flavor lubricants, oh my. Go to lubelife.com and use the code 20Mechanics for 20% off your entire order. And we’ll also throw a link in the show notes page. That’s lubelife.com. Use the code 20mechanics. Thanks #LubeLife.
Chris Rose: 02:01 All right. Let’s dive in. Last week we talked all about mapping your pleasure constellations. The idea that we are all unique individuals and we can figure out who we are and what life and love we want to make through looking at our unique pleasure constellations.
Chris Rose: 02:22 And this is pleasure in the broadest sense, so what are the activities and hobbies and work that you love to do. But also sexual pleasures. Who are you as a pleasure being? And really doing the internal work of figuring out what lights you up, what is your pleasure constellation?
Chris Rose: 02:44 And then within this work, there is an acknowledgement that not all pleasures can be fulfilled. Certainly not all at once, but perhaps not even in your lifetime. So what do we do? How do we work with the pleasures that are going unfulfilled?
Chris Rose: 03:04 And our focus here will be on thinking about unfulfilled pleasures through the lens of how to become more fulfilled, how to lessen the struggle and the suffering around desires unfulfilled. Yeah?
Charlotte Rose: 03:21 Yeah. It’s such a charged subject. It’s so emotional. I think it creates so much pain and suffering for a lot of people, having this deep well of desires that you feel frustrated, or sad, or upset about, that you can’t have happen right now.
Charlotte Rose: 03:41 And we really want to just dig into that, because we are interested in you feeling less pain around your sexuality. And this is one piece of it.
Chris Rose: 03:52 Totally. And it’s interesting just to start to think about in the broadest category of pleasures, many of us have unfulfilled pleasures. But we can sit with them and feel a little bit more neutral about the fact that we can’t have everything we want all the time. If you think about travel for example, many of us would love to travel more, and may even have specific places on the globe that we would love to go given the chance. But we don’t tend to suffer a lot around the fact that we will never get to Paris, Laos, and Thailand this year. We have a little bit more perspective that this world is a really big place, and we all have to make choices, and we can’t do it all at once.
Chris Rose: 04:42 When it comes to sex, there is a lot more suffering around our unfulfilled desires. And we need to think about why that is. And through this conversation, just know that if you feel unfulfilled in your sex life in general, you are not alone. Very few people we have ever spoken to self report sexual fulfillment. So while this is always something that we want to center, this idea that we can experience sexual fulfillment and that that is a very real goal for us humans. We want to explore what that would feel like and what that would look like for all of us. We want to acknowledge that most of us are starting from a place of deficit, of feeling a lifetime of unfulfilled sexual desires and needs.
Chris Rose: 05:43 So let’s just start there, and I’ll just acknowledge that the thousands of us listening to this around the world are all together in this place of feeling sexual longing and a sense of unfulfilled wants and desires.
Charlotte Rose: 06:00 But also, I want to-
Chris Rose: 06:04 Uplift us Charlotte, come on.
Charlotte Rose: 06:05 This is a very nuanced conversation because it is possible to have a fulfilling sex life currently, presently while also having unfulfilled desires.
Chris Rose: 06:19 Right. There is this paradox here of how do we acknowledge unfulfilled desires, make friends with them, be realistic and mature about that? While also going after that, which would be more fulfilling, and giving ourselves permission to ask for what we want. And set the bar higher. Part of the reason so many of us are so sexually unfulfilled is because we have not been guided in how to reach sexual fulfillment, and the bar is so low. The cultural bar here is so low, that we just need to all raise it up together and ask for more from each other as humans. And we’re going to look at that. All right?
Chris Rose: 07:07 So let’s first acknowledge that there are many categories of unfulfilled desires that we can identify, and they require different kinds of emotional work. So first, the easiest category is the really outlandish desires, the moonshot desires that we can acknowledge as more of a fantasy. Fantasy being the realm where we’re in the erotic imagination and anything is possible. So there are things that you may love to do if given the chance, but we can honestly say the chance of those actually happening are slim to null. Getting a blowjob in a helicopter would be fun. That would be thrilling, but you’d have to find yourself on a helicopter with a willing partner.
Chris Rose: 07:56 So we can allow ourselves to enjoy these ideas and mine them for clues about what we want more of. If the blowjob on the helicopter feels super thrilling, maybe you’re looking for more excitement and thrills and different context for sex. This is a lot of what we talk about when we talk about fantasy, is allowing them to be fantasy only. But that is still a real part of who you are. Fantasies are real because there are real in your mind, and your mind can create very real pleasure in your body when you explore fantasies. So they are part of who you are. But we don’t need to walk around expecting all of our wildest fantasies will ever come true, right?
Chris Rose: 08:44 So think through your unfulfilled desires and think about what might just be fantasy alone, and that’s okay, and they can be a joyful, pleasurable part of who you in fantasy alone. But then there are desires unfulfilled that are actually quite realistic. Things that you could have more in your life, and for many reasons don’t. And these are the desires I think that the most struggle and suffering comes from. It’s the things that we really do want that are realistic within reach, but somehow we’re not getting, and therein is the frustration.
Charlotte Rose: 09:22 Absolutely. And those are things that we could ask for. We could make requests around, and there’s something in the way of that. So that can be feeling like we’re not worthy. it would be shameful to ask. It would be taking up too much time and space, our partner might not want to. There’s a whole list of reasons and justifications why we might feel like we can’t ask for what we most want.
Chris Rose: 09:49 And Charlotte, and we were just talking recently after we got into a good flow of giving each other more massage. And you admitted that you had been longing for, but not asking for a more touch. Can you take us into that moment of you have a willing partner, you know that I’m not going to freak out in a shame response? So why would someone not ask?
Charlotte Rose: 10:16 Yeah. Life gets in the way where I feel like I needed to finish cleaning the house and I felt like you’d been working so hard, and I didn’t want to ask you to do more work at the end of the day. The concern that it’s too much to ask for, that it is uncomfortable to request more from somebody who is already got so much on their plate. All of those can get in the way from just asking. ‘Cause all of that might be true, but it’s still also is lovely to give to a love us. So I didn’t take up space where I could have, for a variety of reasons.
Chris Rose: 10:54 I just wanted to highlight that, because we talk all the time about willingness to receive and the worthiness to receive, and we live this. But it is still hard for us to ask for what we want sometimes. This is not simple. This is not a simple thing to prioritize your own pleasure over the laundry, the dishes, the work, the caretaking, the millions of other things that are begging for our attention. But when we do, something magic happens. When we prioritize our pleasure and say this is something I really want, I’m going to ask for it. You might just get it, and you might just discover that it is exactly what your partner was wanting too, or that you invited them into a very pleasurable experience. And that that in the long run may be more important the dishes getting done tonight.
Chris Rose: 11:56 So sometimes it’s just about taking a step back and realizing that your pleasure matters, that you’re feeling a little depleted, that you want to be filled up. In one way or the other. And asking out loud for what you want.
Charlotte Rose: 12:14 I will say that the first ask is the hardest. That as you do it more and more, it gets so much easier. And once you open that up, it just feels simpler and simpler. So just know that.
Chris Rose: 12:27 But another reason we don’t ask for what we want is because of the big S. Shame. Shame buries our wants and buries our desires under all of these layers of feeling. If we were to ask for what we actually wanted, we would lose love. We would lose our relationship, we would lose our partner’s respect. The worry, the anxiety about being judged for what we want is one of the primary reasons we never even bring our desires to light, let alone ask for them out loud.
Chris Rose: 13:05 So we really need to look at this category of desires unfulfilled. What are the things that you want, that your body responds to with a big yes, but that have been buried by shame, buried by guilt, buried by fear? What is in that cave within you? Because for so many of us, this is perhaps the deepest well of our desires that we haven’t even peered into. So it can be a really beautiful and tender thing to start recognizing and naming the things that we would want if we felt safe to ask.
Charlotte Rose: 13:47 Yeah, this is huge. And we might be concerned about what it means to ask for these things. What it says about us, who we might be seen as, how we might think of ourselves. So I’m thinking about men who might be interested in prostate or anal touch in some way. Women who might be interested in being spanked or any kind of kinky play of any sort. Does that undo being a good girl? We have so many stories about what wanting or desiring these kinds of sex acts mean about us. And if we give ourselves permission just to explore and wonder privately in the safety of our own mind and being, and notice what we notice. So letting ourselves explore what we might feel shame about is so valuable.
Chris Rose: 14:46 And how to work with that shame is perhaps a bigger conversation than we can go into right now. But I will link in the show notes page to a few podcast episodes that we’ve done all about shame and some other shame resources. But what’s important here is when you recognize those desires that are buried by shame, just start asking yourself, where did I learn that that was wrong? Where did these messages come from? And do I agree that it is wrong? Do I inherently believe what I am feeling here?
Chris Rose: 15:21 But the key here is to be gentle with yourself, and as much as possible to stop judging your desires. Self compassion and self empathy are super important when we are in this category of desires buried by shame.
Charlotte Rose: 15:40 Brené Brown talks about this brilliantly. She says, “If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially. Secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.”
Charlotte Rose: 15:57 I just love that. We can bring some kindness to ourselves, and in doing that we can dissolve the shame that we might feel about certain desires that are unfulfilled. That neutralizes the deep shame.
Chris Rose: 16:12 Yeah, we can do this for ourselves to a certain degree. But I also think it’s important to recognize that shame is a social phenomena. And when we’re talking about sexual pleasures and things we might want to ask for, a big part of this is what is the context in your relationship? How judgmental, how open minded, how free do you feel within your relationship to ask for new things, to stretch your comfort zone? Because if you do your own work and then externalize a desire and it is met with harsh judgment, shaming behavior, and negative repercussions, then it is not safe to ask for what we want.
Chris Rose: 17:00 So this is internal work, but it’s also relational work of creating the conditions in your relationship where it is safe to ask for what you want, to try new things, or to at least talk about them. Because as we recognize these desires unfulfilled, as we excavate this shame, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get these desires fulfilled. Right? There’s going to be this process of the excavation and then looking at these things and being like, “Is this realistic given the context of our relationship?” So we will continue to talk about unfulfilled desires and particularly what to do within unfulfilled desires within your relationship.
Chris Rose: 17:48 But first, I want to take a moment and thank our sponsor for this episode. Lubelife.com is our new sponsor. #LubeLife offers a complete line of sexual lubricants for all of your slipping, sliding, stroking needs. Go to lubelife.com and check it out. They have water based lubricants, silicone based lubricant, and flavored lubes if you are into that thing. And you can use the code 20 mechanics for 20% off all of your orders at lubelife.com, or on amazon.com. And we will put that link in the show notes page preloaded with your discount, because #LubeLife is the best selling lube on Amazon for a reason. It’s a great product at a great value. So go to lubelife.com and use the code 20 mechanics for 20% off your entire order. And we will link that up in the show notes below. Big thanks to #LubeLife for sponsoring this episode and making this podcast possible. We love lube and we love you #LubeLife. Alright, back to desires unfulfilled.
Chris Rose: 19:05 And this brings us to our next bucket of desires unfulfilled, which are desires that we can recognize that would be realistic, but that don’t fit into our relationship right now. This could be something like being queer or bisexual, and having a partner of one gender presentation. And having a whole universe of desires for people of other gender presentations. This could be something like identifying kinky desires and you talk to your partner about it. You have really great conversations, but you realize you’re both really submissive and neither one of you wants to be dominant. What do you do then?
Chris Rose: 19:48 This could be recognizing that you want to be in an open relationship and be poly, your partner feels more monogamous at heart. What then? So there’s so many possibilities here where desires can be acknowledged, excavated from the shame, named out loud, and still don’t get fulfilled. Right?
Chris Rose: 20:14 What do we do with these? And this is a category that Charlotte and I are super familiar with because we’ve done a lot of the work of excavating shame, right? We’ve done a lot of the work about learning how to ask for what we want. And we are queer women in a relationship with each other and both of us have both the experience in our past and the desire within for kinds of sex with kinds of people that we are not. So Charlotte, how do you interact with this category of acknowledging desires within yourself that I as your skilled, loving, wonderful, low judgment lover, I cannot provide for you? What do you do with that?
Charlotte Rose: 21:04 Well, I think it’s so much easier in a way in queer relationships, being that we both have had relationships and loved men and trans people, that we really understand that that is, we are not that. And so there is no way, there is no physical way that you could be three different kinds of people.
Chris Rose: 21:24 As if there’s three.
Charlotte Rose: 21:25 Yeah. But as a general broad categories, that’s just not possible. So I don’t want that from you, because that’s physically impossible. So I feel like I have so much love for what we do and who we are together, while also knowing that I have loved and I could love other people and the kind of sex I could be having with them. But it doesn’t become a personal failing of yours or a disappointment in you or our relationship that we are not doing that and we cannot do that.
Chris Rose: 21:59 I want to stop you there because I think yes, it is easier if we think about, “I desire sex with men, and you are not a man. Therefore I cannot expect that from you.” There’s a lot of space and freedom in naming these things and being like, “My desire is bigger than you.” But what this points to is how we can personalize it. If your partner wants to be spanked and you don’t want to spank them, there’s a way you can make that a failing of your own. What in me is not kinky enough to do this? Or if I was more sexually liberated, I would be able to do this. So it’s really important not to personalize this.
Chris Rose: 22:42 The places where your Venn diagrams of pleasure overlap, that is your place where you get to play and explore. But it is not a personal failing if you cannot show up for your partner in all of the ways they desire. And to recognize the charge there of you want to have sex with other women, therefore that means I’m not good enough, I’m not attractive enough. It can be really easy to internalize these things as not enoughness.
Charlotte Rose: 23:12 Absolutely. What I feel like what makes the most sense is looking at the Venn diagram of where you do overlap in the sex that you have, and the kind of pleasures you enjoy together, and going so deep into that and enjoying it so deeply and fully. Because that’s where sexual fulfillment for the two of you can live and can breathe, even with this whole other world of unfulfilled interests and desires on the outside of those two intersecting circles. And I feel like that image is so helpful.
Chris Rose: 23:45 And to know that that Venn diagram shifts and changes, right? And so it’s not a static thing of this is what I want, this is what you want. And we have these five things where it overlaps. So many factors will expand or contract our desire circles, will change how we overlap. So I know this is getting a little bit metaphor-y he and confusing maybe. But the point here is at any given time within the context of your relationship, there are desires that you can fulfill for one another. There are needs, sexual needs you can fulfill for one another. And there are things you can’t. And just to be mature about that, and to recognize that that is both because our desires are more expansive, hopefully, than we can ever fit into a lifetime. And, and this is the crucial point. Your partner has chosen you. In this moment, your partner has chosen you. You are together creating a life and a sex life, and that’s where you need to focus your attention.
Chris Rose: 24:54 So in recognizing all of these expansive desires and being honest about who we are, there is a way that can then take us out of our relationship and start being an energy bleed. And thinking that if I was different or my partner was different, then I would be more fulfilled. This idea of the grass is always greener on the other side. And that is the place of suffering. If I came to bed with Charlotte every night wanting her to have a cock, I’m going to be in for a lifetime of disappointment. But instead, I come to bed with Charlotte every night knowing that within me yes, there is a desire for sex with people with penises. And so many other kinds of desires. With all of that, from that place, I am choosing partnership with her. And in that is a radical devotion and a radical commitment to seeking fulfillment within the container we are creating for one another.
Charlotte Rose: 26:01 And also making space for all those other pieces of your desire to live, and to breathe, and to be okay. They aren’t something that you need to deny or forget or suppress, or ignore. They may not be things that you’re acting on in this moment, but they can live quietly and coexist … Not so quickly, but they can coexist in your being because that is part of who you are as a sexual being. And to try and cut it off would minimize who you are, and what you have loved and what you love. It is part of your pleasure constellation. You just don’t need to suffer about it. I think that’s the piece we really want you all to know is that you can see those desires and they can live with you and they can be okay. And that is powerful.
Chris Rose: 26:48 And they can be part of just your fantasy. Your personal internal fantasies never named to another human being, and still be integrated in who you are. They can be part of shared fantasy. So say you’re really into cuckolding and want your wife to fuck other men, but she doesn’t want to fuck other men. But through conversation, you discover that talking about it turns both of you on. Right? So you have then found that place in your Venn diagram where you can integrate that desire in a way that feels good for both of you, knowing that that is where it’s going to stay, and then savor and enjoy that. You might find out that your partner is okay with you exploring desires through online forums or through specific kinds of porn you watch once in a while. And this is part of the question about monogamy agreements, right? If you are in a monogamous relationship, what does that mean? What are the specific agreements that means? And I’ll link again to that podcast episode in the show notes. But you and your partner can find ways to welcome, and acknowledge, and celebrate all the parts of who you both are as sexual beings, while also acknowledging where you overlap.
Chris Rose: 28:08 Charlotte and I sometimes will be in a restaurant, and she knows the kinds of guys I’m into and I know the kinds of guys she is into. And there’s a lot of overlap there, but then we have our specific interests. And a beautiful man will walk in, and then we will share this smile knowing that the other person has been sparked a little bit. She knows who I’m into, and so we can share that and enjoy that moment of pleasure together.
Chris Rose: 28:38 Or sometimes, we will send one another things that we know the other person will enjoy, or tease that part of one another out. Right? So this is just an example of when you know who you are as a sexual being in your completion, and knowing that that will always change and expand. It’s not a static thing. But when you know who you are and you start sharing that with your partner, your orotic world together can expand and become more permissive even if the sex acts you do don’t change. Just by acknowledging and giving these things space, instead of silencing, and repressing them, and burying them. And we will say again, the context of the relationship in order to be able to share these things has to be worked on. So you might need to baby step your way into this. And I always encourage you to stay on the side of safety within your relationship rather than just blurt it all out and overwhelm and flood your partner with new information. You will have to titrate this depending on your perceptions of how safe and open minded you both are within the relationship.
Charlotte Rose: 29:53 This is such a nuanced conversation because while we want you to accept a notice and honor your huge realm of desires that may be fulfilled or maybe not, and we want you to enjoy what is in your current present reality, we also don’t want you to feel like this is about settling, right? This is not about settling, but it is about acknowledging and appreciating what you do have while also stretching yourself where you can to ask for more of what you want. So this is all very nuanced.
Chris Rose: 30:27 We don’t shy away from the complicated conversations around here. Yeah. When you say settling, there’s this sense … But I struggle with that word because we all settle in some way. We all say this, this is good enough. This is what I want. But, we then have to interrogate that good enough, right? We settle in the sense of we acknowledge that we all have to make choices. And by living in Philadelphia, I’m not living in San Francisco. By being in bed with you, I’m not being in bed with the other billions of people on the earth. And there is as I said, that radical devotion in that and the idea of paying attention to where you are instead of having that suffering of imagining that someone else will be better. Or that if you were different, if you lost weight, if you got a better job, if you had more money, then you would be better.
Chris Rose: 31:32 So I think there is this thing of stopping the aspirational culture that tells us that we constantly need to be better in order to be fulfilled. And but, and/but, we also want to invite you to constantly be expanding your capacity for pleasure, your ability to stay present with one another, your ability to go deep with one another. Because when we talk about unfulfilled desires and acknowledging them, that doesn’t mean you have to be unfulfilled.
Chris Rose: 32:07 Sexual fulfillment is not about having all of your desires met all of the time. Sexual fulfillment for many of us is much simpler than blow jobs in a helicopter and whatever. Penthouse orgies. Sexual fulfillment for many of us comes from the feeling of being seen, and loved, and cherished, and held, and touched, and safe to explore different sides of our sexuality. It can actually be quite simple to feel sexually fulfilled, and yet that is really far away from many of us. Because as a culture, we’re not even at the point of honoring and celebrating, and having people feel safe in the basic sense of who they are as sexual beings. Many of us can’t even look at our own genitals without a feeling of shame. And that’s profound. These things are real. The shame and the fear, and the guilt around sexuality are so real and that is what is preventing us from feeling sexually fulfilled. Not the lack of penthouse orgies.
Charlotte Rose: 33:20 Sometimes it is not about expanding our pleasures to make them bigger, but to learn how to go deeper within the ones that we have and that are in our life, and that that is a pathway to sexual fulfillment.
Chris Rose: 33:36 Yeah. I was working with this couple over email and they’re working through a lot of trauma, and using our massage course to introduce touch back into their relationship. He wrote to me and he said, “I was giving my wife a hand and arm massage because that’s all she can tolerate right now. And at one point, she looked up, our eyes made contact, and I knew she was grateful for my touch.” He wrote to thank me about that moment. And that moment for them was fulfilling, because given the context of their life circumstances, given the context of what has happened to them, they were able to find a very real moment of intimacy and connection and mutual care, and mutual pleasure. That is what is going to push their relationship forward. That is what is going to fill their wells of feeling loved and cared for, and seen. Right?
Chris Rose: 34:34 So we need to stop talking about sexual fulfillment as this idea of doing all the things all around the world all at once, because that is not how our real lives, sex lives work. But just to acknowledge that sexual fulfillment for you right now might just be the simplest of touch with the kindest of intentions, across a kitchen table. How can you find fulfillment in that moment? Because what it means is I am not alone. I have this lover. They are showing up for me how they can. Let’s focus there. Let’s find fulfillment there.
Chris Rose: 35:13 So how do we leave this on a more uplifting note? I would love to hear from people about what sexual fulfillment, this idea of being sexually fulfilled, what that has felt like in different points of your life or what it might look like for you. Let’s help one another paint the picture of what this feels like and looks like together. Yeah?
Chris Rose: 35:40 So be gentle with yourself around this conversation. As I said, we do not want to shy away from the complicated conversations around sexuality. Next week, we will try to bring you a more explicit, fun conversation, because we do want to strike that balance within your feed. What we feed you on this podcast I want to be a balance between these deeper, more intense conversations about what is real around sexuality, and also give you tools to access more joy, and pleasure, and orgasm, and ecstasy in your body. We want to be there on both ends of your holes. Okay. I’m Chris.
Charlotte Rose: 36:29 I’m Charlotte.
Chris Rose: 36:30 We are the Pleasure Mechanics.
Charlotte Rose: 36:31 Wishing you a lifetime of pleasure.
Chris Rose: 36:34 And hey, I didn’t say it before, but if you love this show and you want to support our work, come on over to patreon.com/pleasuremechanics. Patreon.com/pleasuremechanics, and jump in with a monthly pledge so we can continue to fill your feed and holes.