Jeff Fine

How is it that sex can be so pleasurable and yet so complicated and anxiety provoking?

Why do couples in loving long term relationships often find it difficult to resolve issues in their sexual relationships? What are “sexual scripts” and how can they get in the way of having a more satisfying sex life?

In this episode of the TotalSelf Considered, Jeff Fine interviews Mike Moran, Licensed Psychotherapist & Sex Therapist, Certified Emotionally Focused (EFT) Couples Therapist & Supervisor, Inner Bonding Facilitator and Creative Arts Therapist. Jeff and Mike unpack models of sexual response and sexual scripts, and discuss the interconnection of our sexual and relational cycles while providing examples based on real-life cases. They also address other key issues such as whether there really is such a thing as being sexually incompatible with your partner, and how partners can learn to safely stretch their boundaries while being respectful of each other and themselves.  

Summary of Episode

  • Emotional closeness and sexual closeness
  • Why couples in monogamous relationships might have more difficulty in there sexual relationships than partners who are casually dating 
  • Emotional/relational – sensual/sexual cycles and how they are different but closely linked
  • Big difference between playing it safe and feeling safe 
  • Models of sexual response
  • Seeing one’s domestic partner through the erotic lens
  • 1st model of sex: excitement (arousal) – plateau – orgasm – resolution
  • Evolution of the early model of sex: importance of desire and willingness
  • Negative cycles triggered by a partner initiating sex and getting rejected
  • Emotional connection and how it plays differently into sex for different people
  • Desire first or arousal first
  • Negative cycles triggered by lack of feeling safe and lack of open communication
  • Sexual scripts: how does our erotic energy come alive
  • Factors that influence sexual scripts – gender expectations, cultural norms
  • Feedback loop that builds erotic energy
  • An example of a couple dealing with disconnection very differently from each other
  • Does sexual incompatibility really exist? 
  • Difficulty for partners to tolerate seeing the ways in which they are different
  • Sex as a power exchange
  • The importance of getting curious and taking risks
  • Personal boundaries 
  • Fetishes and relational cycles
  • Increasing acceptance and expanding scripts
  • Playfulness – key to getting out of our heads and cultivating erotic energy 
  • Truth about our brains being the biggest sex organ
  • How therapist help people re-remember the receded, no longer used aspects of themselves


“If this person’s so important to you that it would be a real loss if things were not to work out – when that’s the case, sometimes it’s very difficult to come forward and risk letting our partner into our more vulnerable feelings.” – Mike

“There’s the relational cycle and there’s the sexual cycle, and they’re different systems, different cycles but they’re inextricably linked.” – Mike

“It could be counterintuitive to think we’re in such a loving relationship, why would we be having this confusion, this anxiety… but there’s a lot to it when people are letting their armour down to be able to engage with each other at that intimate level, sexually” – Jeff

“When we’re helping couples, we want to help them realize that they’re playing it safe, and what are the blocks to them feeling safe.” – Jeff


Jeff Fine’s website:

Jeff Fine’s Total Self blog and podcast:

Mike Moran’s website:


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