Hey, dear listeners, today's guest is Elizabeth Berkley, Lauren, who you know, of course, from the original Saved by the Bell, the cult classic Showgirls and now the new saved by the bell on Peacock. Elizabeth has that ability to make you feel like you're the center of the world. And I hope you get the same feeling from listening to her. After talking with Elizabeth, I'm joined again by psychotherapist, author and clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles, Dr.
Alex Caractacus. In contrast to my random suggestions, Dr. Alex has some really great advice. As always, thank you so much for listening and sharing your stories with us. If you want to get in touch, please reach out with a link on our website at unqualified dotcom. OK, here is Elizabeth.
Ladies and gentlemen, you were listening to Unqualified with your host unifiers. Hi, Elizabeth. Oh, my gosh, how are you? I'm great. I'm so happy to be talking to you. You as well. I have been a fan for a long, long time. You know, when ladies in our industry finally get to connect. Tell me if you feel this way. I think in our minds that there's like a shortage of things. So whether it's opportunity or, let's say in college or high school, like the guy or whatever friend group, there's this lack mentality that we kind of grow up with.
There was a whole pack of us that would audition against each other and there was more of a competitive spirit or more of not a desperation, but like deep desire and ambition. And in our industry, one can make a big change. One job can do that. So, you know, you fall under the spell of this thing that can make or break you. And so therefore, yeah, you may not be bonding as much with, let's say, the handful of girls that you go up against.
Yeah, I mean, I always hoped that I was sending out a good energy, but it's competitive and it's a tough business. Right? I think also motherhood changes you. Our little guys are one month apart, by the way. Really? Yeah. Two little boys. Sky. Yeah. July 20th, 2012. Oh my gosh. Are you guys August. August 17th.
Almost a month. But yeah, you grow up and you realize like the people you're meant to love will find you. You'll find them. The jobs that are meant to find you, you'll find them too. I mean, we all have had job heartbreaks, right? Yes. That you thought was the one. But yeah, I mean, we get what we're supposed to get. And I think there's more of a home within just as we grow.
It's just our brains deteriorating.
Is that what it creates the call? I don't know. For me, probably.
Why do I not to say that there's so much calm at this moment in general, but just in terms of like fighting for the job or the gig, and then it becomes like a thing of also wanting to create your own things to and not be at the behest of that machine to make a decision whether you're worthy completely.
I think I had a point in my career where it felt like if I don't attempt to create my own work, I'm not going to work. Right. That was around maybe twenty seven. It felt like kind of a teen boom was over a bit. Right. And I was very much solidified in the world of comedy, which confused me. Why did they confuse you? I was never a funny child and Scary Movie was my first audition in L.A..
Yeah. And I got it, which was insane. But I was a really quiet, serious child with a very active imagination. But I love comedy, but I sure can't get out of it.
That's a problem you want to have. No. Yeah. Oh yeah. Or we create a drama together and just show them how it's done. I love it. I love it. But there's something about the type of comedy that really I think sets you apart. It's not shtick. You're so smart that you're in on it. Does that make sense things you're in on the comedy, even though you're obviously present to whatever scene or character you're playing, but you're not judging the character.
You are living and breathing it. But it's something I've noticed in the brand of comedy that you just shine in and not show them at you. But I'm just saying it's something that a lot of people can't do. It's just something I've been really impressed by. Elizabeth, thank you.
That's a really thoughtful and kind compliment. I always say that I am the person who's willing to just make a complete ass out of themselves.
But that's refreshing and also to be self-deprecating. I am that in my life and I like to bring that to work. But some roles are not written that way. But that spirit is something I want to be around. People like that humor is at the core that's healing, right? Totally. Yeah. Yeah.
OK, you said you're very protective of Saved by the bell, so I wanted to explore that idea. So what inspires such loyalty? I have my own theories, of course.
Well, for all of us, like the core six of us, let's say eighty nine ninety is when we got the show, we were all fifteen years old. So we were children when we were doing it. And there was something about that moment in our culture. Obviously, there was no social media and doing a show like that that was already first of all, the tone was so earnest, but there was an innocence like we were doing high school together.
We were doing the show together. And bigger than all of that, all of our dreams were coming true together at the same time. And so the show, even if it hadn't continued as anything in pop culture and if it hadn't had this legacy and generation after generation loving it, even if it had just been those episodes and done, those people, that circumstance, that moment in time would still have that impact on me personally. But I would have carried through in my life and my admiration for my cast mates.
We are still in touch. I know you had Mark Paul on, which was so much fun to hear some of the things and his perspective on, you know, the crushes that were going on. And that was interesting because was the first time he had come out to really talk about that with you.
Oh, really? Yes. All right. And I remember I texted, I was like, hello, did we want to talk about that first? It was so cute, though, because, like, there was, again, such an innocence that, you know, I remember him saying on your show like something like the. Those were the girls that were around me, and I said, oh, excuse me, like there was a problem with that.
I don't think a lot of guys would have had an issue with that. Yeah, no kidding. But they're really like siblings to me. You know, we really went through that rite of passage together in so many different ways. And so that's one reason why it has meant a lot. And then just no matter what job we've all done and we're really for a group that started so young, especially the core four of us have just never stopped working, have always had each other's backs.
And even if there'd be, you know, a few years where you don't really see each other talk, I'm not saying we're best best friends in every moment through our twenties and thirties and now in our forties. But when it has mattered, we've been there. We know each other's spouses. We know each other's children. We've been through highs and lows of life beyond childhood. So I care about these people and I care about what we created together and then on a whole other level, what it has meant to people I can't ignore.
And that's why I feel protective. Like, yes, it was a fun, silly little show that was on a Saturday morning. But something about it has stayed and has meant something to people. There have been people have come up to me with tears in their eyes saying I was a latchkey kid and I would come home from school and you guys were my only friends. Childhood is an interesting time for people. It's like even if they're going through a hard time, the pockets that were still innocent stay with you and you want to cling to it or you want to reflect on it later when I mean, we all get knocked around a little bit.
Life is beautiful and amazing, but nobody goes unscathed. So I feel like there's something about that time. And this show was an escape for people. It was about goodness and connection and whatever it meant to different people, it has meant a lot. And so I was protective of that legacy for them to come completely.
And the new show is so fun. Thank you. I would be so thrilled to revisit something that's so beloved that you helped build. Yeah.
You know, when we finished, we graduated high school, so we're really the age we're playing. So let's say if at nineteen we all were really ready for something new. So at that time to keep going with it, I think we all would have felt a little held back up to speak about myself personally because Tiffany moved on to nine to know right away. I moved on to Showgirls. After that, we all had different goals and a different vision.
So I think we needed this distance from it for it to be fun again, because it would have felt like being stuck if it was too soon. And I don't think people would have loved it. I don't think we would have wanted to revisit it until we had really like explored a million other things in our own lives, creatively, artistically and all of that. But also it made sense now before in pop culture, it wouldn't have been ready.
And I can only say this, looking back, I think you're on any show for X amount of time. You want to shake it up and do something different, especially if people have seen you one way. And I think for us, especially because we were feeling more grown up, we were all ready to take on something new. And I mean, mine was pretty bold. It was not neutral coming out of there to take that on. But I knew that I wanted to do movies after that and I wanted to do something really interesting.
Can I ask you some questions about it? Would that be all right? Absolutely. Let's do it. So I was doing my YouTube research on you. Yes.
What does that look like? Is it just you plug in my name and see what pops? Yeah, OK. Yeah, I saw a clip, but I couldn't figure out where it was from. You are celebrating in front of a large group of people, the twentieth anniversary of Showgirls and what you said was amazing. You basically kind of summed up your journey with it a bit. Yeah. In that I don't want to speak for you, but do you remember what I'm talking about?
Yeah, no, definitely. It was five years ago and it was actually the day that gay marriage became legal. And so my team had gotten an invite for me, as I had through the years, to either make a speech or do an intro for Showgirls. You know, since then, since ninety five, the film has found such a strong place in pop culture is like a cult classic.
You know, it's so good. Elizabeth, thank you. It's so good. I really watched it. No. Yeah. Because it is so specifically delicious. Good.
OK, it was over the top and I was directed in a very broad way, as was everyone. Our director was Paul Verhoeven, who had done Basic Instinct and Robocop and all these big movies. But it was definitely an over the top version of what Vegas is like. That was his vision and we fulfilled that. But it was met with such controversy when it first came out, which I don't think now it would have the same kind of effect.
But through the years it found this great love, especially through the gay community. They just embraced it, celebrated it. And it's like an anthem. It's this amazing thing to me that something that was so cool at the time could have ended up being so beloved, like you just never know in life. That's really the fact, Elizabeth.
But that's really because of you. I really believe that your journey with that movie has permeated culture without a sort of knowing it, without us being totally aware of your specific journey with that movie, because people love you. And so it's almost like that is a very important part of how beloved it is. Does that make sense?
Yeah, I wish we could have talked back then. Listen, we all go through our things, right? This was very, very public at the time and really cruel, especially as a young woman. You would appreciate this as an actress. I mean, I'm not a victim. I don't want to paint that at all. I don't live in my past. And circle back to your great question and I'll come back to this about what that evening was.
It was an incredible night. It was actually at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, by the way, which is so random and crazy. They do these screenings of kind of cult films. Oh, my God, I wish I had been there. And it was insane.
There were like five thousand people. And again, that night was celebrating the day that gay marriage became legal. And they had asked me to come and speak. And we had declined not because I didn't want to, but I always thought that if I was going to speak about it or do something special, it was going to be something that I created that I could control and just come up with something really creative to which I still might do something really cool at the right time in our world and all of that, because it's now truly the anniversary.
Twenty five years. But I decided to go that night to really say thank you because the community has made it what it is and has given it life. It could have just died on a video shelf many years ago if it was as shitty as people said at the time, it has something to it. So I just was like, OK, you know what? This is a moment. And I called my hair and makeup people. Of course, I'm not going there without all that right.
And just said, let's do this. And I sat down and wrote something from my heart and it was just palpable. You could feel it. And it wasn't even about the movie. It was about what was happening that was so incredible. But I was grateful to just say thank you and acknowledge the night and the magic of it. But yeah, no, I wish that would have been such a special time when it did come out first to be able to talk with an actress, like to be able to have sat with you and said, oh my God, can I just tell you what I'm going through?
This is crazy. What would you do? Like we all had something like that happen now. I would have been able to speak. I mean, I had really close actor friends that I could talk to, but it was something that I had to just kind of figure out and tolerate and deal with and navigate myself, frankly. And when you're extra vulnerable around something, it's not the safest to commiserate, especially again, going back to that first point we made at that age, I was twenty one when it came out.
And that's the last thing you want to do, is totally at that time is to feel that vulnerable. I just wanted to figure out how to overcome it and keep my confidence at the time, which I did figure out, but not easy.
When you look back on the shooting of the movie, can you distance yourself from the after effects? Like, do you remember that part fondly?
It's an interesting thing how you feel about something with perspective. I think it's important to kind of figure out how to be discerning about an experience without it being colored by whatever the result is. Exactly right. So through the years, it was a big thing. It was a lot and a lot of doors were shot at the time in the business for me. And I mean, I had to get a new agent and new representation. And because I didn't have a whole body of work from saved by the bell to that, you know, I had to prove that I have the chops because I'd been studying and doing theater forever.
I was equity at nine and got my SAG card at nine doing modeling and commercials and taking seventeen dance lessons a week. Growing up like it was what I lived in, I breathed in. It was my life. So I never was someone that got handed things I worked for and I didn't have family connections. I came from Farmington Hills, Michigan, so I was far from all this as you can imagine. I mean, you came from Seattle, right?
So you get what I mean, it's.
Yeah, you hustle, it's hard, you hustle, you have a dream. And it's about the work. And so for me, it was about just let me get back to the work I got back in my acting class. My salvation has always been my work and my creativity. So I was like, I'm not going to allow these years. As crazy as that sounds, someone twenty one saying, yea, but my life span training, I'm not going to allow this singular moment.
I somehow had the wisdom to know, like, yeah, this isn't about giving up, this is about being resilient and figuring out how to overcome and really like prove that I've got the guts and kind of re-educate in the industry what I'm capable of. Because at the time I got that, I was getting close on a million movies, you know, and it's about to break close. I'm this close. I'm this close. And then you got the one.
Yeah. So for me, that was the one that broke. And I figured with that pedigree that I'd be safe and good. But the making of it was a bit like an amazing dream because I mean, I got to do production numbers and dance.
And I know, like, every scene, there's shit happening. It was not boring. That sounds like a basic thing to say, but I imagine. Shooting it, yes, there was so much about it, it was like, this is it, this is what I've dreamed of back in dance class when I would envision that the people in my class were also my chorus. I'm finally doing this in a movie like you have to hold that vision for yourself.
If you don't, no one will in anything. We have to see it first, especially in our business. You have to see it for yourself because otherwise it won't come to you. So, yes, most of the making of it was what I had dreamed of as a young woman, as I was finding my own voice and my own power and knowing how to utilize that. There was such a big thing in our business, especially like teens, early 20s for sure.
And women in our culture just you're taught to be the good girl and taught to be easy to work with and good to work with and not make a wave. And I mean, that's still in our culture, but it's gotten so much better and will continue to be. And so I think only knowing what I know, I would have stood up for myself or spoken up for myself in some ways in terms of how I was being directed and wanting to understand that more, because it went against some of my instinct and frankly went against the very reason I was cast was the work I did at screen test.
And then the direction of that shifted for the tone of the movie. So it was different than what I thought it was going to be. But I thought, you know what, he must know better. This director just did Basic Instinct. Sharon Stone became the biggest star in the world. This is my first movie I'm going to trust. And so I think that's the big thing that you can only learn with time.
I know I do implicitly trust. And it's a hard thing to gauge. I mean, for me, in my case, I wouldn't know not to because I've never directed. You mean currently, though, because you're so seasoned.
I know a little bit more now, but I was thinking that if you really loved that experience of making showgirls, if that's like finding out that the love of your life has a wife, like, I would imagine that would amplify the harshness in terms of emotional pain.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, look, whenever you do a project as an artist, I think you can't help but have a hope or expectation of what it could be or do. And especially with that one, there was such a charge on it, and especially because of the team behind it and the studio, it was MGM and Joe Eszterhas who was so highly controversial. He was the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood at the time. You know, there was so much on it that you couldn't help but have a hope or expectation of what would mean.
Sure. Oh, my God. Right. So if anything falls short of that, at the time, it was like I had my head handed to me on a national level and my heart wanted to know why I couldn't understand it because I did everything right. I followed direction and I gave all of myself like, I don't do things halfway. I don't love half. I don't work half. If I choose to give of myself something, someone has all of me.
So I think that was the thing that was hardest is to not feel that I was safe in that in the giving that feels close to a breakup, that feeling of like just because the team behind it, like I traveled the world with the movie by myself after it came out. What do you mean? They bailed on the world tour, but I went alone. Oh, my God. I made a choice to see that through as a professional.
And I also thought it's good for people because I didn't at the time have the body of work for them to really know me. I wanted them to meet me. I was still living at home with my parents. I was a good Midwestern girl. I signed on for a movie and nobody, like, duped me. I'm not a victim here at all. Like, I knew what the role entailed and I knew all of what was involved. But it was just kind of shocking, like, oh, when things don't go right.
I didn't realize people just fell like that was not something that ever happened in my life. So it was more about not even a movie succeeding or failing. It was like really a life lesson of how to take care of yourself and navigate.
I think that was what was so beautiful about watching the speech at the Hollywood cemetery. And it made me realize that, of course, it's belove now because you are an integral part of the story, that there is an outside layer of tragedy involving the movie People Love You. And so I think that your heartbreak was felt perhaps. I don't know. Do you think I'm wrong? No, no, no. I don't think at the time. Maybe not at the time we weren't ready.
Yeah, but maybe gradually or maybe people saw in themselves, like what I've heard feedback of, like we've all had to fight for something and we've all had to like pick ourselves back up and get on with it. Yeah. And figure out how to find our worth in the face of something or someone. I feel like more of the resiliency that we all have to have in life was something that I think especially the gay community has shared with me.
Like that's something that they could really feel that was palpable to them through the real part of the journey. And so I appreciate that to me, like there's no option. It's like look at our children. How at a young age they're learning themes of resiliency, flexibility, pivoting. So I'm not connecting right now to that movie. I'm connecting just the theme of. Finding one's resiliency in whatever situation, whatever life throws our way right now, it's a collective one so we can bond with fellow mom's friends.
The story of Showgirls, though, is kind of the greatest trajectory. Yeah. Of a movie ever. I mean, I haven't seen a young actress have to go through that rejection and all of that that we all go through. It's a rite of passage. I haven't quite seen something like that. Brutal for me. It's part of, I think, why I created ask Elizabeth. I don't know if you know about that work. I do.
Yeah. Will you tell our listeners a little bit about it, too? Yeah, definitely. In 2006, I created a workshop, an interactive workshop that I facilitate in middle schools and high schools. And I work with the entire female student body on their football field, in their cafeteria, in the auditorium. I'm not standing at a podium telling them how to run their lives, but I think because of what happened so young, I wanted to be of service to provide a safe space for girls to know they're not alone in the emotional life of a teen girl.
And the age range I work with is 11 to 17, but it's peer to peer. I'm facilitating kind of talk show style where there's roving mikes expression pass the mic is something that, you know, I've been doing for 14 years with these girls. I've worked with over 100000 girls in person, and we have a New York Times best selling book as well, where I took their most ask questions and wove it together with their stories, wisdom, advice and then experts.
That was exciting, too, as a way to give girls a tangible place offline, but like more intimate in book form. I think that's amazing. This has been a mission. It's a mission in my life. I think people serve where maybe they've been hurt. And that calling no doubt came and was born out of that. I didn't realize that in twenty six what was driving that. But for sure, that's why I was so on a mission with this.
It's called Ask Elizabeth. We'll put the information up on our website for our listeners to thank you.
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But, Elizabeth, I'm still hung up that you had to go on the press tour alone, would you have met me, like in Paris or Germany? Yeah, we could have had fun. Oh, my God.
Yeah, but that must have been a fucking lonely time.
It was crazy. It was crazy. So we.
Did anyone go with you like family or friends? My parents met me in a couple of countries, like my mom went to Taiwan, my dad then medicine, Germany and New Zealand. And then I did a lot of them alone just with the unit publicist from the studio.
I mean, their lonely ventures anyway. Yes. No, you're on a rock band tour, but usually you get to bring a hair and make a person that you're close with. Hopefully. Right. Right. We didn't even have that, but it brought out a fire in me and it was like, I'll show you. I'll prove it. It's just part of my nature. So I think that fire is the thing that made me not bale because I don't believe I just looked at how can I use it?
What's the opportunity here, as you say, that I was about to ask you if you consider yourself a competitive person. But I think that that's an incorrect question because I don't think the two are very comparable necessarily. Yeah. I was going to ask you oddly, if you played sports in high school.
No. And I got teased often for doing pirouettes on the tennis court at our school or volleyball or whatever sport we were doing. I just wanted to dance, like to me, ballet tap, jazz tap and like bossy style jazz are my thing. And then, of course, pole dancing became a new skill.
Yeah, I need some lessons. Well, I'll brush off the dust. So, no, I never did competitive sports dancing. I was extremely competitive. I'll say we have these conventions come to town and they would bring professional choreographers to do these like weekend long intensives. I was not going to be in the back of the line in the ballroom that usually was like at a Hyatt or something like that in these smaller towns that they would tour through. I made sure I was front row.
I wanted to be here already and like out of the womb. My parents are not in the industry, no one in my family. But they knew that I had this dream and that I was willing to work hard. And just like my brother, he's a doctor and he worked hard for it. We both just kind of have that work ethic. And I don't know if that's a Midwest thing or what do they do.
A national casting call for Saved by the Bell. Did you audition in Michigan?
No, I had commuted for three years. When I was nine, I wrote a letter to Norman Lear and told him he should make me a star.
That's incredible. I think I was watching The Jeffersons or something. One of many of his shows at that time. I wrote the letter and my mom was like, Oh, OK. But instead of laughing, my parents took it seriously. So my mom found the address, mailed it. We got a letter back from Mark Hirshfield, who was head of casting his assistant at the time, who now is a huge casting director and said, you know, this is nine years old.
And he was like, we don't need to find talent outside of Michigan, but if you should ever find yourself in California, please give us a call. So we came out there when I was twelve for family vacation and we called Marc Hershfield and he remembered this letter that's mind blowing. I came in with a boombox like a boom box, pressed play sang Rainbow Connection, and he set me up with my agent I was with from like 12 to 18.
So I commuted from 12 to 15. And finally, when my brother went off to college, my parents knew it was inevitable I was moving out here anyway. So we all made the leap together. But for three years I commuted back and forth for training, auditions, guest spots. I started gradually building.
Did you originally audition for Kelly? I did. Well, I think Jennie Garth was also up for it. I think it was down to the three of us. And then Brandon Tartikoff, who was amazing. He was the head of NBC. He said they couldn't decide, but he was like, we have to have her. And so Jesse was born. That's how that happened.
How would you describe Jessie Spano, the oggi like circa nineteen ninety Jessie or still. Yeah.
And at the time did you feel like you really loved her.
OK, so total PTSD around wearing Zukerberg pants. What teenage girl would ever want to wear those. Would you probably not know. It was the worst actually starting with those it really was bad. So the outfits I was really upset about, I'm just telling you, this is so funny because my costume designer from back then Lisbeth's just deemed me the other day with a screenshot in the worst like Brown, just disgusting. And she deemed me with it and she said, I'm so sorry.
And I said, I have PTSD around these pants. You were fifteen. Yeah. And your body is developing and you want to wear baggy like. No, and I'm a dancer. No, don't put me in those. So anyway, I'm just being silly. But the truth. So what I loved about Jesse was that she was outspoken. She was in retrospect, ahead of her time, she stood up for people. She was an advocate for the planet, for people, for animals.
Her friends and I was raised with really strong women. My mom obviously being the main influence and. My grandmothers, I mean, I had amazing women around me, so I loved playing her, it was very natural to who I was and it was just the outfits. The poofy hair was a reflection of the times. I don't know what to say about that, but that was a diffuser with a can of shaper hair spray every Friday night because you know how multicam is.
So Monday through Thursday, we rehearsed Friday night. We had a studio audience which we loved. It was like live theater, which has been a big part of my life for so many years. Through these years, I've done a bunch of Broadway and London theater as well. You know Eddie Izzard? Yes. Has he? And I starred in the Lenny Bruce story in The West End. Elizabeth, I didn't know that. Yeah. So Peter Hall directed that.
Oh, that's incredible. But the craziest Broadway experience I've ever had and I have not really shared the story, but this is so much fun with you. I, I saw a show that blew my mind. It was Hurlyburly with Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale, Parker Posey, Wally Shawn. I saw it in January and was blown away. It was my husband and my anniversary. That's what we went to see. And I had been doing some Broadway previously, so I was kind of in that community, but I didn't know any of these cast members.
So I went and we left and I was dying. I was like, oh my God, the show is so incredible. And I'm heartbroken. Like, have you ever felt that feeling of like, I don't know what to do because I have to play that part, but someone's in the role. So that's it, right? It won't happen. So cut to a few months later, we were at the Tribeca Film Festival. My mentor of mine had passed and there was a documentary about him, Roy London.
So I was there with Garry Shandling and a bunch of incredible actors who had studied with him. We did a panel. This is now May I got a call that they were replacing the actress in the show Hurlyburly and could I stay and re-route and knock it on the plane and quickly prepare three scenes to do for the director? Three girls were coming out of my God. And he said, if you get this, you have three days to prepare and go on.
So are you willing I mean, I was dying inside like three days to learn the lines, learn the blocking, meet the cast and go on that Friday night. Anyway, I went to the audition, got it, started learning the lines, got off book, learned all the blocking because I had to do it exactly where they had already set the lighting for. And then I met them and went on that Friday night. And while I'm telling you, I feel like vomiting right now, but in the moment, have you ever had something where you just you have to realise there was no time to get in my head and think it was like, it's here, go.
And so, like that was one of those moments in life. Yes, it's about work, but it was one of those where it's just trusting yourself, trusting that the work is there all the years and years of doing this.
It's a feeling that's very much akin to jumping off like a 10 meter diving board or something totally 100 percent.
You're not getting pushed. You have to make that choice. Yes. Yes. But there's also no ladder to get back down. No, that's because you had it removed. Oh, yeah.
The night I went on when I was in the wings and I'm hearing my cue like, it's coming. It's coming. There's no take two. There's no like, wait, I'm not sure. I just remember that no one really pushed me out. But it was almost this imaginary sensation that someone gave me a nudge. Yeah. Yeah. And it was an incredible cast. I mean, those actors are amazing. And so we ended up having a great rest of the run.
But it was one of those that years and years of working on your craft, whatever it may be, I don't care what anyone does. They have their own business entrepreneur, medical school. I'm not comparing acting to saving lives, obviously, but just that trust in yourself to go. This is it. And thank God I haven't been slacking because I'm being called to step up right now. And we do we get called in, called to do these things in life over and over in different ways.
It's one of the most thrilling things in life. I think when you land it, when the voice in your head that knows how you want to deliver the line is communicating well with your vocal cords in your mouth.
Yeah. And then it actually comes out. Yeah. Yes. Oh, you're so right. It's so satisfying. So fulfilling. And I think that's what keeps us in this crazy business. Those moments are so deeply fulfilling. Yes. That we're in it for the next round of it. Totally. It's sick and great. I would love for you to teach me how to tap dance. Are you going to hold this? I have tap shoes. What?
From what? Tell me. My future mother in law gave me tap shoes because she's been taking it up and I took it as a kid. Yeah. And I loved it. I love that. But you'll be amazed with how uncoordinated I am.
Did she get new ones with heels or flats or. I have flat as a kid I had a little heel, which I found a little bit easier.
Yeah, OK. Like that pitch. You like being a little. Yeah. Are you a heel girl. No. OK, but just when you dance you like being a little elevated.
I love it when you say when I dance as if I dance frequently. OK, what was your living arrangement like when you first lived on your own?
Well, I have to tell you, when I moved out, I was sad I. Have incredible parents, and they in our living arrangement, they're like I said, I was still living at home when I was doing Showgirls. I kind of had a bedroom on the bottom floor. So I felt like I had a lot of freedom. I wasn't in a hurry to get out of the house. I didn't have that drive. I felt like I had my independence and my autonomy.
But then it was time, you know, it was just time a good guy friend of mine had a great apartment and he was moving into a house. And I always said to him, if you leave this and you want to rent it like I'm in. And that's what happened. So it was a two bedroom apartment and I loved it in L.A.. Where? In L.A.? Yeah, it was, I guess, Beverly Hills area. It was near Doheny and it had a booth.
Do you guys have a booth?
Kind of. Or is it a couch. The couch is the built-In couch. OK, ok. So it was a built in kind of couch with like a round table and I loved it. Friends came over and it was a great place and it was closer because we had lived further out and I was driving every day in Calabasas. So I was in town and not driving around with everything in my trunk, like during the days of auditioning and doing all that.
Thomas guide. Oh, stop. Can you imagine? I had to pull over with worst sense of direction. Thank God for what we can do now.
I'm grateful for the Thomas guide. I'm resentful towards a younger generation who didn't have to, like, go. But because you get such a sense of the city in a way that you don't with.
Yeah, I just got lost all the time. I take good direction. I have no sense of direction. So, yeah, that was my first experience living on my own.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to live in Paris for a while. I've lived in London when I did the play with Eddie for almost a year, totally on my own. And that was incredible. And then my husband is a fashion designer. So we do spend a lot of time in Paris for him when he's showing or doing business, and I just love it so much. Yeah, I would love to live there for a little bit.
What talent or ability would you most like to have? Oh, I would love to be fluent in French or another language. I mean, the things that I've chosen, I love so deep dance, singing, acting. I'm lucky and grateful to get to do those things. But yeah, I would love to learn another language for sure.
Me too. Yeah. Oh. How did you meet your husband?
We met through a very, very dear girlfriend of mine and she kept saying to me, when I'm around him, I just feel like he's the male you like. You guys have got to meet at some point. But I was gone for nine months and when I came back, sure enough, we were in a dance class. It was called Movement for Actors, and he was acting at the time. And when I came back, we met in the mirror doing ribcage isolation's like literally it was so cheesy and amazing.
And from that night on, that was it. I swear that was it. And we've been together twenty years. That's incredible. Elisabeth's crazy. Twenty years ago. But yes. Congratulations.
That is beautiful. That's really beautiful.
Thank you. Thank you. He's good to the bone. That's the kind of man you need. Yeah. For sure. And he's really, really talented and we're definitely inspired by each other's creativity and have each other's backs in that we want the best for each other. Yeah, I'm grateful for that.
I love that. OK, what is a trait you dislike in others.
Um, well there are a few. I mean dishonesty. I have no tolerance for that cruelty of any kind. Those would be the biggest.
What's a trait you dislike in yourself? I can be too hard on myself sometimes. I'm working on being more compassionate and gentle. I'm a LEO while I'm soft. In some ways I can be hard on myself, that kind of perfectionistic stuff. I've worked on it for a lot of years. And when you ask me about Jesse, it's a funny thing. Like she had that and it was interesting revisiting a role that I played as a teen with certain issues and themes and now revisiting as a woman.
Tracy Wakefield, who's our show runner that you would love. She did 30 Rock.
Yeah, I'm a huge fan of hers. Yeah, OK. Yeah, really. I've never collaborated with a woman in this way. And Tracy specifically is incredible. One of the things we have to fill in was, OK, what has been her journey like? Here's what she was as an adolescent. Even if you're not going to see it in an episode, we have to build it in so we know what is she accomplished? No. One, because she had a singular vision for herself.
Jessie But then who is she now? Besides the fact that her personal life is a bit of a mess when we see her, she has a mom. She's returned to school as the guidance counselor, which was so in alignment with my Ask Elizabeth world. Yeah, but really to kind of fill in, what did she work on or what did she not get to yet? Because as humans we still have some of those themes that reoccur and repeat until we get it.
Anyway, it was interesting to kind of figure that out for her character. Again, even if it's not a script or story point, it's embedded in the DNA of this character that people knew so well. You know, as a producer on the show as well, when we were saying about being I was protective for all our original characters, but then also really excited about this new group.
I love that because I work the same way I. Really like to know, just like you said, even if it's not referenced, it's important for me to know exactly what my character has been up to.
Yeah, because it informs your behavior completely, your level of confidence, your stature. And Jessie is accomplished. Yes. She has a Ph.D. She's a New York Times best selling author, four parenting books. And she has done TED talks and and been involved in politics. But I mean, it's comedy after all. And so I think it's fun how Tracy set her up to while she's accomplished those things. She is a helicopter parent. She is trying to navigate this terrible relationship.
Cheyenne Jackson plays Jessie's husband, Renee. I don't want to give anything away, but there's great chemistry still with Slater. We'll leave it at that.
Oh, good. All right. All right. I love it. You can see some stuff still there.
Yeah. Can I add one more little thing? This is about the new kids on our show. I like to share this because I just want to say how special they are because our show is all about the core of the kids at school. They're all, for the most part, newcomers. And I just want to do acknowledge like being a part of the casting process. This was the first time as a producer for me. So being involved from that angle every single session.
First of all, I learned a lot. One of the things I'm really blown away by while our kids are like 19 to late 20s. So they're at a different phase of life than we were when we did our show. But being a part of every single step of casting was important to me. And that dynamic at the core is why people fell in love with our show, like the connections and this dynamic between them is so special. I was sitting at the H.R. meeting before we began the show.
This is a new thing in our industry. And I remember just kind of sitting there and I was telling you earlier that I had to find my voice and to stand up for oneself. And the scenarios the woman listed on the air were so ridiculous to this new group that that could ever happen. Like they thought it was so absurd that anyone would ever have to deal with that or tolerate these things. And I was so inspired by the fact that this gets to be a new narrative in our business, in a new journey where some of the things that we had to overcome and deal with and navigate that seemed normal to them is like inconceivable.
So on up front of both their talent, but then also like, this is such an exciting time. It's like a game changer, but also a game changer for anyone that came up before. Now it's just thrilling to see what we get to do as women. Yeah.
When you said that you learned a lot, will you elaborate a little bit on that? One of the biggest things that actually was incredible. I've been in situations where I've been Kaspar's and done chemistry reads where different actors come in in that capacity. But this was different, where just one after the next, you just seeing everyone for these six main roles we have. By the way, Michael Higgins on the show, too, who's a genius. He's great.
But what was so clear and such a gift as an actor to see is that no matter how prepared or skilled or charismatic or beautiful, at the end of the day, sometimes that person who had all those checkmarks was not right. And I wanted to call every actor who came in who did an excellent job but just wasn't right for that part or wasn't suddenly right once we had the four other people to see who would kind of mix with that great chemistry, I strangely was feeling for me years of like, you know, let's say beating myself up or second guessing or all those things we do when we don't get it.
And no one ever tells you, like for anyone listening to this, you can go in audition, you can be brilliant. And you just hear other going a different way and maybe you don't know what that other way is until the person is on the screen.
You're right. It's unlike sports or like if you run track or something, it's like you have no way to gauge your audition process precisely because if you win the race like it's clear you won because of your speed, there's no other criteria.
That's something that was so clear to me. And it just kind of held like 20 years of any times. I was so hard on myself or questioning myself or second guessed, even when they just come in and say hello and you obviously hope at hello that they're as good as the hello. And in our case, luckily, everyone is so skilled and so great and professional. And it was something really unique to see how the dynamics come together. We have such an incredible, diverse cast and it's something that I hope to not put a spotlight on in the future as being something so special or unique.
It should just be. I mean, our show deals with that race privilege, kids coming from a different school, being bused to this kind of school in the Palisades, kids whose socioeconomic backgrounds are different and they're dealing with that head on. It's comedy, but still getting to really deal with thoughtful things right now in the culture. Yeah, I feel lucky to be on a show that deals with these themes.
And I bet those kids are really fortunate to have you as a producer and as a mentor.
Well, I'm there if they need me. And at the same time, I don't want to. Anything, either because there's a difference, like we were babies, we were 15, right? So if you're in your 20s, you might not want to hear. I do remember, like when I did First Wives Club with Goldie Hawn, I wanted to know everything from her like I was in a moment, like I just wanted to be a sponge because I was reflecting, like, what was my job at their age?
What was one of the jobs that I was able to look to someone older and more seasoned. And so I got to have that woman. I got to ask her a million questions. She and Diane Keaton and Bette Midler, they were it for me. That's amazing, these three comedic geniuses. But if they have a question, I'm there and it's not like I'm getting to learn from them, too. It's a give and take with these kids.
So it's fun.
That's so cool, Elizabeth. OK, do you have a greatest regret? I don't. I really don't.
I don't either yet. Yeah. OK, knock on wood. I mean, you think that that's because you've chosen to not look at things that way, because I think that that's a choice. Regret.
I often think about how I'm really flaky, how while I think about the people I love a lot, they might not consider me the most thoughtful person. I can be very generous in moments, but I can be neglectful about that stuff.
So I don't know as I was thinking about greatest regret, it's like but generous pertaining to giving something or giving of yourself both. OK, but it's not consistent. Like I don't think any of my friends would describe me as like the person who would pick them up the airport. I think I'm pretty good with emotional support when you can get me.
But do you think any part of that is the life that you've led, like going from, let's say, movie to movie or the grind of a long running series or like it doesn't really set oneself up to be able to be as available? Right.
I think to like when I talk on the phone, I'll talk to somebody for two hours. Yeah. And then I won't call them for months or even maybe I won't really respond to their texts. Or a classic thing is like I'll get a text from somebody I haven't heard from from a long time and I won't read it because I know that I want to actually call them. And a text doesn't feel appropriate enough. Right. So then months later, I truly have three hundred and thirty seven unread text messages.
Elizabeth No, really do.
So I'm not texting you. Then we have to figure out a different means of communication. No, but you know what? But also with good friends. Like I bet, though, if someone said to you, I need you. Yes. You're going to pick it up. Yeah. OK, so you're good friends. Probably just know and accept it. Right?
I've established a pattern for years now, so if they're still willing to be in my life then. Yeah, I bet.
And not knowing you that well but just feeling you like at the end of the day if someone said before the sun sets today, I need to talk to you because X and X is going on, you're going to figure it out. Yeah, I hope so. So if the day to day, whatever maintenance of things is not your thing, then people have to understand that who love you. And I think at this point of life, too, as moms, you only have so much time, right?
There's your work life, your love, your child. So there's like the pie chart of where your time and energy goes that gets less and less of who are you going to nurture and what are you going to nurture for me, I don't need that many friends. I know a lot of people, but like, who am I really? It's one hand, right?
Yeah, I think so. Has a stranger ever changed your life? Mm.
That's a great question. It's funny, I don't know if it changed my life, but it was like a magical moment. It was in New York probably twenty five years ago and I have not thought of this in so many years, so it makes me almost want to cry. I was on the Upper East Side and there was a very, very old woman. And I know you're not supposed to go home with strangers, but this woman, she was in her 80s.
She seemed disoriented and she told me where she lived. And I took her back there and she made me scrambled eggs. And we talked about her life and we called her family. And I haven't thought of it in that amount of years. But that woman, I can't explain quite how she changed my life. But it was a moment in exchange and it was magical and it obviously felt safe. I would not do that now. There was just something about her and I got to talk to her family and they thanked me for getting her home.
And I don't even know what her name is. That's an amazing story, Elizabeth. Yeah, she made me scrambled eggs on this beautiful, like mismatched dishes. I'm just picturing the kitchen right now. She was really precious. Obviously. I think every exchange can change us. And that was one that I'm not sure how to articulate how she did, but it did.
All right. When or where are you happiest or most content? I don't care where we are with my husband or my son, period.
I love that. I feel the same way. How can you not? I love that. All right. Do you have a favorite joke? I don't. I don't. This is always a crapshoot at all. Ass like stand ups. They're like, no, no, I really don't. But I do have friends who have these running jokes that like for years they continue to tell at dinner parties. I do not. I've gotten really good, though, at during this time when it's time for lunch, time on Zoo for my son, I have a book of knock knock jokes that I got on Amazon and I put it with the lunch so he can read it to the buddy who he's having lunch with on Zoom.
So jokes have become a part of our daily, but I can't remember the last one that he read. There's just sweet and silly and kind of add a little burst of something. Right now I'm looking for the burst to bring to the table because right now we've got to bring some of that.
I know I act like a juvenile around my son, and he has been a little bit bratty to me lately because I'm like his only play partner right now.
No, but they've had their little autonomy at school. Right. And now. Yeah, they're home with us. Yeah. That's so funny.
But it's awesome. I wouldn't trade it for the world in that. No. The time together. Yeah. It's been amazing. Someday I'll have the words to sum up the last eight months for me, but it has been a time of a lot of reflection. Definitely a lot of people are in survival mode, but at the same time, in that fight or flight, I'm so curious to see how we're all already changed and how we then come out on the other side as well.
One hundred percent. What would your younger self not believe about your life today?
These are so good. Oh, my God. I think that it's better than I thought it would be.
What a beautiful answer. I was also told my younger self, like, relax, it's going to unfold and be better than you think it's going to be. Yes.
You're one hundred percent, right? Yeah. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party right now?
The Dream Dinner Party is all the love ones that I can't see right now. That would be such a joy.
That's a beautiful answer. In one word, how would you like to be remembered?
Do you know what it is for? You know, this is hard. This one's hard. I know I was thinking about this because I asked this question to a lot of people. I wonder if there's something around the idea of conviction for me. But of course, kind, loving. Yeah, I love the idea. If I didn't have to describe myself, if somebody else described me as remarkable phrase, I love that I love, but it's a little arrogant.
No, I think the person right there would say that right now. Yeah, I think so.
I don't know just what the word love the I love. I want them to remember me as love.
Yeah, I would agree with that. I think you are loving and you're lovely. Thank you. I very much mean it. Elizabeth. Thank you. Elizabeth. Yeah.
What's the meaning of life. You're killing me here. I know. I know. There's so good. And the meaning of life is to give love, be love and offer hope.
That's the best answer I've heard. Elizabeth, thank you so much. Thank you. I so appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Hey, everyone, I'm excited to welcome back Dr. Alex Caractacus, who is an author, psychotherapist and the clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex here in Los Angeles. You can learn more about Dr. Alex and our other experts at unqualified dotcom.
Hi again, Dr. Alex, it's great to see you. I know it's really nice to see you again. All right, let's call Emily. Hello. Hi, Emily. Hi, how are you? I, I'm great. How are you? I'm good, Emily.
I'm here with Dr. Alex Caractacus. She is a psychotherapist, a leader in the field of integrative sex therapy and the clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles. And I say words and make faces for a living.
So that's my that's my qualification. Emily, what do you tell us? What's going on?
OK, so I've been with my partner for a little over a year and a half and we've been living together for about six months of that time. And overall, we have a great relationship. I think the best relationship that both of us have been in, we have a similar sense of humor and we have overall good communication and we have the same interests, but also kind of have our independence when covid isn't happening. So it's great. But when we first got together, we were having sex like two or three times a week.
And I'm fairly sexual person. So, you know, I like to have sex often. And so it seemed like, OK, we're on the same page. Basically, it started to kind of dwindle a little bit. And I first was worried like, oh, is he interested in someone else? Did they not find me attractive? And so I confronted them about it. And at first he was kind of defensive. But eventually he was like, well, I take Viagra because I have like performance anxiety.
So basically it's like you can get an erection. But then he apparently has trouble maintaining it because he thinks things and his mind wanders. Kind of a worrier. I had never like up until that point experience any of that. But he explained like, oh, well, when we were first married and we would have dates, he would just take it like, oh, we're going to see each other. So you have sex. And of course, like as a relationship progresses, you don't have sex like as much.
But I guess I was kind of worried. I was definitely like, oh, that's it. Like, that's not a big deal. It's fine. But it didn't really change. It was like, so are you going to, like, take the pill? Like, we would see each other and we wouldn't have sex. And I don't know, I was just kind of like, is that really it? Or is it something else? And I feel like I was gone.
He was basically like, you should just you can just like, tell me, like, if you want to act like, hey, will you take a pill? And I just feel like that kind of event of like spontaneous and romantic and like I kind of just don't like feeling like I have to ask for that. So I don't know. I'm just kind of like this awkward phase.
Emily, I've been in a couple of relationships where I wanted to have sex more than my partner did, and it was hard for me and confusing because were adjusted in our society through all the messaging that we get that men are supposed to be the aggressor.
And I'm sure Dr. Alex has a lot of thoughts on this. But I do want you to know that you're not alone.
I don't know what it's like to be in these situations. I'm like, oh, this is like heading towards some, like, sex. And then it doesn't happen. And I'm like, oh, you know what I mean? Like, you kind of like, set it up in your head like, oh, you know, maybe we're going to do it tonight or, you know, and it's like you're feeling yourself. Yeah. You're on the same wavelength here.
And I guess not. And I don't really like the act. And he's very giving with oral sex, you know, and which is great. But also at the same time, it's like when he goes, he'll go down on me and then I'm like, OK, well, you know, you have an erection, so do you want to go for it? And it's like, no, I'm good. I think so. Part of that, too, is difficult because I like to be also the one that's like giving, you know, like turns me on to have him get off.
And so if it's that way for him as well, then it's like we got to meet in the middle, you know, it's tough.
Talk to Alex. What are your thoughts here? Hi, Emily.
Hi. So nice to meet you. Yeah, nice to meet you too. How old are you and your partner are? We're both thirty five.
OK, so it sounds like he definitely has performance anxiety and he struggles with erectile dysfunction and that's something that he can look into that he can get some help from when he really starts to look at his anxiety and why it's in his head about sex all the time. And it's interesting that you have this idea of spontaneity, which I think a lot of people have, which is partially true and partially absurd. So why is it so horrible to decide that you guys want to have sex a couple of times a week and.
To say to him, what if at noon today, Thursday, you were with him and you were having a good time or you kissed him and you said, you know, I'd really love to have sex with you tonight or fuck you tonight or make love with you whatever kind of language you use, would you mind taking a pill around six o'clock or whenever he needs to take it and make that part of your foreplay instead of judging it or making it feel awkward for you?
I know the thing is, is like I did that obviously like once I quit, but he was like, no, I don't like I'm not really I don't really want to tonight. And so then I know that made it even more. I was like, OK, well, I don't it's like the rejection, you know, I'm like, OK, well I guess I won't do that again.
Well then when will he want to have sex if he doesn't want to do it tonight? I think this is a question for him. Like, how will I know when it's OK to ask you? How will I know when you want to have sex since you don't want to take a pill every night, but only when we're going to be sexual? Help me understand how to talk to you about this.
Yeah, Emily, let's say if the amount of sex you're having right now continued once every two or three weeks, maybe I'm not quite sure how often you have.
I mean, we it's like once a week. I mean, it seems to be when shift going on in the world, which is what all the time he's like more distracted, which makes sense. I'm not feeling as horny as I have before either. It's generally like once a week or sometimes once every like a couple of weeks. I feel like every like three weeks. I don't know if I can handle that because again, like he will, it's like I still get I get off.
He's more than willing to go down on me. But it's me like wanting to have more of that intimacy. It's like not the same when he's farther away, you know, he's down there instead of it's not as intimate as like him penetrating me or having him close to me. I just don't like having to make it. This thing ask were built differently. And it comes down to just like the sex drive is just not the same.
Well, surely he's had this experience in other relationships that. Oh, yeah.
And he's talked about that. Yeah. And he said that it's been an issue and I'm like there I just feel like maybe there's something else going on that he doesn't even maybe know about or doesn't want to talk about. Does he finish? Yeah. There is time where you can tell that he's maybe overthinking it and then the reaction will go away. But it's like if you just give it a little bit, wait a little while and then it's fine.
Dr Alex, I'm so like out of my element here, but do you have a lot of patients or clients where the male partner doesn't like to finish in a vagina?
Not a lot, but yes, I've certainly seen that women who just cannot ejaculate when they're inside a female, that's like physically they just.
Yeah, they just can't go because they've got yeah. They've got all kinds of aversions and feelings about that. But that doesn't sound like what's going on here. I mean, he's young.
Yeah. He well he also doesn't he likes to pull out and then ejaculate, which is kind of like to go. That's OK. That's fine. OK, I like it. Yeah. So I have no like I don't care where he it, it's, it's, you know, it's, he does finish every time. It's never like it doesn't come to completion if you will.
Well the problem is his anxious connection, his anxious attachment style if you will, that when you're having sex. What's going on between the two of you? Are you making eye contact?
Yeah. Yeah, that's why I'm said that's why I was like. So it was confusing to me at first because I was like, this is it's good sex. Mm hmm.
So he's able to stay connected to you? Yes. Yes. Like, he's looking at me, kissing me. You know, it's not and, you know, it's like by Afghan, like, turn around, turn around or whatever, you know? I mean, he's very open, like he's very responsive, like to my body and what's going on. But I feel like he's still can be in his own head. Right.
So he's not really present with you. That's my point. Yeah. And I'm saying maybe I thought all the time, but it's. Yeah. That's on his end that he told me, because I didn't even notice it. I'll be like, oh, OK, what? I didn't realize he wasn't present.
So what does he know about his anxiety? Has he talked to you about that?
Yeah, he I mean, he definitely has anxieties and he has depression and he takes medication for it.
Oh, that might be a thing to write cause.
Yeah, well, that's what I was like. Oh well that's obvious. That's probably part of it because those medications can certainly do that. But he's never said it's because of the medication. He said it's because he overthinks it like he has a fear that he won't be able to continue to maintain the erection. But then I'm like, if that's I mean, I told him, like, at least try I'm not going to be upset if it doesn't say hard and I'm OK with it.
You got to at least try not trying at all is worse than starting something and not being able to finish or what, you know. Right.
And it's just like for you, you're not going to be angry or upset if he loses his erection, that you're really not willing to kind of go with the flow of whatever is going on.
Yeah, it's not like the act like it has to be like we both need to finish and we both, you know, I want that intimacy. It's like a feeling of being wanted and desired. Yeah.
So it sounds like he's in his own way and there's not a whole lot you can do to get him out of his own way other than give voice to what you want and what you need. And he has to work this out somehow.
It just seems like it's so hard to it's hard for me to make him understand, like this isn't really normal. Like, you don't have to feel this way. And he's gone to a therapist before. And I don't know if this was a big topic that he was working through. I don't necessarily know exactly what it was, but I'm just like sometimes that part of me is like, is there like a deep trauma that I don't know about? Or again, like maybe he doesn't even really fully understand.
You know, it's manifesting itself in this situation.
I imagine, Emily, that you wouldn't want to be having the same amount of sex five years from now.
Know, like I said, it's like I'm not even a as I used to be with everything else. We're all kind of go for it, not feeling it so much.
But I wonder if, Emily, you might go back to saying this is what I need and this is what I like. And I wonder if there's a way to kind of put it back in his court. Dr. Alex?
Yeah, that's an interesting idea. Is leaving it to him, Emily, and saying, look, why don't you just take the pill three times a week and surprise me? Let me know what you know. I won't know what day of the week you've taken it. And so I don't want to pressure on you, but this is what I'd like. I'd love this. And so you do it when you feel like it's right for you and then no idea, right?
Yeah. Because I'm always game right.
You know, I believe that's right.
Yeah, I'm down. I'm down. So, yeah, that's a good idea. So that way he doesn't feel like oh I have to do it like tonight, I have to do it. You know. She's expecting a Yeah. You won't even know. That's a great idea. Yeah. I'll be like Oh hi. Yeah.
Emily I wonder if you can ask him if there's other things you guys can do that is also stimulating for him that he hasn't explored yet.
Right. I think that's great.
Doctor, what would you say? Just like wonderful. Well, what I would say is sex toys. You know, when someone has difficulty with erectile issues, anxiety and being in your head is one thing. But often times people can have pelvic floor issues where their pelvic floor is too tight or not tight enough and maybe anal stimulation would be super arousing to him. So if you considered some sex toys and to experiment with things that help him feel more aroused, less anxious, you know, this has to do with trusting you also and the quality of your conversations around sex.
But there is a book I really want to recommend that you have him. Yes, it's called Cooking with Erectile Dysfunction. And you can find it on Amazon. And it's a terrific book. It's a little bit of a workbook that will have him looking at his anxiety related to sex and then things exercises the two of you can do together.
OK, that's great. So what are his sexual fantasies? What turns him on?
Well, you know, it's funny that you talking about like that. You I'll play it because I'm trying to get in there and he's like, well, like we take that. I think that kind of makes them.
Take a bath like every day, like I get home. It's kind of like a ritual now or I'm just like, let's have a drink. And he it's cute because he's like, I have never liked Bath before you because, like I mean, now I get like this off and you in the bathtub. So I try to do that because I feel like that's kind of kind of getting going a little, you know, like the bath.
So yeah. So to really talk about that and ask about it, you know, a lot of guys, hetero guys are homophobic about their rectums. They think if they like anal play, they must be gay. It's like the most ridiculous equation, one of the most ridiculous ones on the planet, because the prostate is incredibly arousing when stimulated. So that whole region is highly arousing for most if people can get out of their heads about their ideas about it and what it means.
Dr. Allen. Yeah. Get in there. But I don't think you should be invading his rectum without his permission.
I am not going to slip it in India or anything, but no, I, I have tried. I'm like, let me try to put a finger in there. And he was like, I don't like it, I don't like but I don't know, I think we should explore it because maybe we just need more lube or something like.
Yeah, lube is super important. Yeah. These are great suggestions. Thank you.
There's a company that makes a couple of vibrators called We Vibe and part of the vibrator is in the rectum and this can also be vaginally. So the couple is using it at the same time. So you can look at their products also. Maybe you can look at those together.
So we know if I have like a dildo and vibrators again, I don't even know. I haven't yet. I don't know why I've never suggested that he use it on me. Do you think that's OK?
Oh, sure. Sure, yeah. Again, I want it's nice to have him kissing me, of course, like he's like really good at oral sex again. It's like I still miss that kind of intimacy of him being near me, like kissing me. So I guess maybe I could suggest that he use like the vibrator or the dildo and then I can get the best of both worlds and the pressure is off of him.
I think it's great news that he loves being sexual with you. I love a good foreplay, but I also want to be filled.
Yeah, but like, you just I don't know, it's just like that desire. Like, I was like, crushed at first. I thought that we were just this was like could not be the most like more perfect relationship. We were just having like the right amount of sex that I wanted. And and then it was like, oh, OK. I mean, honestly, I was a little angry at first. Like, I feel like I was a little bit like my blood and how this is going to, you know, how how.
Yeah, I mean, I was worried about this when I first heard your story. I was like, oh, did she move in with the wrong guy?
Exactly. Then I will admit, like, at first I didn't understand because you you do have this preconceived notion that, like, men are just these horny, like sex crazed people walking around know, and they can't help but want to, like, fuck all the time. But that's just not I know it took me a little bit to be like, why I like you.
So you don't want to with me all the time. Like, it was definitely disheartening. Right.
And that's his individual therapy work, by the way, to the. What is that paranoia? Why is he in his head? What kind of situation did he grow up in that he's got this much anxiety? So there's a perfectionism there sometimes or is there guilt?
Well, that's what I was wondering, like the guilt thing, because he's mentioned like there's a meme out there that like after men masturbate, it's like they were going to take a picture of, like, a sad clown or something. And it's like women after women masturbate like like Nicole Kidman, like Tom Cruise divorce picture where, you know, you're like feeling so great. And I like that feel after you, like, you know, like I didn't realize that.
Well, that sounds that sounds like a shame, but where does that come from? Well, that would be some sort of family of origin issue. And it doesn't mean that the person was sexually abused. They may have grown up in a shame based household where sex was shamed or they had a very perfectionistic parent, or you had to be perfect about everything. I mean, it could be any number of dynamics that took place in the family that would have a kid being that anxious and that translating into adulthood also.
And he suffers from depression. So he's got some mental health struggles that he really should be addressing in therapy because again. Viagra was developed originally for old men who wasn't made for young men. 35 year old man is a vital male sexually. So something is going on on his right. Actually, the medication he takes for depression is going to impact his sexual drive because they just do they have side effects.
So I'm going to be honest, like when you're in a relationship, you like little something like medicine cabinet. And so I was like, oh, you take Viagra. And my first function was like, OK, because he hasn't you on antidepressants like that makes total sense. And so when he was telling me that this is this is the reason why I take Vioxx or because and I thought I was going to be because I can't say whatever because of the medication that I'm on.
And he didn't say that. It was just not the answer that I was expecting. You know, I thought about what you were going to say.
It could very well be a combination. You know, maybe the maybe the medication is exacerbating some issues that maybe he had. But I wouldn't ask. I mean, like some of those medications are pretty powerful. I'm surprised that he's he's not taking that into account as well.
Well, that's why I brought it up. Like also you're on antidepressants, so don't put this all on yourself. It's like you physically like it's obviously affecting it.
Emily, you wrote in your email and you've told us that you have brought it up. It's not like you haven't been communicating these concerns to your partner, but I wonder how you can communicate in a more effective way. I guess that wouldn't upset him or lead to places of defensiveness in our earlier conversations. Emily, Dr. Alex talks about how women are like in their sexual prime in like thirty five to 40.
Right. The prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
And maybe he should feel like I want to have sex all the time, like horny. That's right.
And so it's hurtful when you feel like I'm like, oh man, I thought we were going to be like bone and all that, you know, because that's what we were doing it first.
You know, he's a wonderful man. It's like I don't want to make him feel ashamed that or there's something wrong with him. But I also want him to, like, take responsibility. Yeah.
If you add that a little bit of that information in it makes it about your needs as opposed to his inadequacy. And I think telling him how happy sex with him makes you feel.
I did say that, you know, even if we don't have I would love it if you would just at least tell me why you look so good today like you have when you're like, you know, you look beautiful, like I still need these kind of, like, words of affirmation. Sure. I'm not physically getting it.
Like, please don't tell me that you do want me. You do desire me. Maybe you can't always like physically do that. But and he has been trying to do that. Like, I can tell he's like conscious like. Oh yeah, I shouldn't say that to her, you know. But yeah.
I mean I think that you should with gentleness say these things if it's like, honey, really this is what I need and I really want to work on this together when I feel like when I said in the past, like, oh, I need like I need that.
I think he maybe has taken it and I need to come. And so it's like I'm like I'm happy to go down on you. I love going down on you. But that's not like what that is to me. Every time, like it's like I feel like get off. But it's the intimacy that I need, like the desire, feminine desires you that they physically need to be with you, whatever, you know. Right.
But if your partner has a mood disorder, if he's got anxiety and depression, he's working against that and his body's not responding. And that's something I think you have to be in reality about, because honestly, when I read this, you know what you sent off. So I thought, wow, you haven't been in this relationship that long and you want to be careful about, you know, bending over backwards constantly to try to accommodate and fix and make this work out until you start to feel like you're swimming upstream in a way.
So you've got to make some hard decisions here about is this really the right relationship for you? He's got to face this. He's got to do a lot of work to make this change. There's only so much you can do. You know, you can be the sexiest, most beautiful woman you can strip from every night and do cartwheels. But if he's not doing the work to meet you, then you're going to get. Exhausted by this, right, Dr.
Alex, what was the name of the book, again, it's called Coping with Erectile Dysfunction.
So, Dr. Alex, is this something that you, I guess, part of my call to get reassurance that this is something this is something that you hear about often, or am I just I just want to feel like I'm alone?
No, no, I don't think it's unusual. I mean, there are plenty of couples where the guy struggles with either premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. And these are mostly anxiety disorders when they're not organic, when the person doesn't actually have something physically wrong with them. And typically, when you see this in guys in their 20s and 30s, it's anxiety. When you see it in a guy who's 50 or 60, it's 50 or 60 is physically incapable.
And so that's what Viagra was designed for, was for older men, for performance. But this is a different matter now.
Yeah. It's like not this quick fix pill that you can just give to people who have mentally.
Well, it's a he's got mood issues, it sounds like. So he really should be doing his own work around this. He should be trying to crack this code, not you. Certainly you can help if he says, look, I need you to put your hand this way or use this pressure or this rhythm. Yeah, you can certainly do all of that. But you can't be the one who's primarily trying to figure this out.
We get it going. I can't. Exactly. That's the thing I like when it happens. It's great. Of course it's great. It's like what you don't get get into it and it'll rary down your self-esteem.
If you are the one who's primarily carrying the energy for change here.
That's totally what happened to me. Yeah.
Is it. Oh yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, and I was in those relationships. I was in my late teens and twenties and so I was already like, you know, consumed with insecurity in general.
But it made me feel that I wasn't attractive, all those things, all those things, and I wanted to be proactive and like I think Dr. Alex said, you can only sort of do so much before. I think your partner needs to examine some things as well. I wonder, though, if it may be a first step is should Emily read this book?
No, no, no, because that's more of the same. That's more of her trying to jump start his engine. She can say to him, look, I had this conversation or I found out about this book. Would you be interested in getting it and reading it? And they can read it together, but he needs to buy it. He needs to make the overture to get it. She can't be the one who's coming home like Santa Claus for things like sex toys, lingerie.
Coping with erectile dysfunction. Yeah, yeah. That's what I mean. He has to make the moves to help himself.
But Emily, you can explain to him your needs and the just reiterating the idea of, like, I really want to work on this and let's do this like.
Yeah, for sure.
Yeah. I guess some of the things that I. Unlike Dr. Alex, you're talking about like, is this something that's going to be like that you can deal with long term? And, you know, I mean, I guess that's a fear in any relationship. But like it's like red flag. Red flag. But I guess I am having trouble. Of course, it's like something that I'm interested in trying to work on. And I don't know.
I mean, it's fixed, but everything else is like, so great. I don't want to lose a relationship that's great.
And pretty much every other aspect of like, OK, well, I think you have an opportunity here to help him and to say to him, look, I'm crazy about you. I think we have a great relationship. You've had this problem for a long time. And if I leave if we break up, you're going to have it with the next woman and the next woman. So you have an opportunity here, you know, to work on this with me because I'm totally open to it.
I don't judge you. I just get that you struggle. It breaks my heart that you struggle. I want to help, but I can't be the person who fixes this for you. But I sure can stand side by side with you. So let's do this and we can have fun.
That's right. You can find one right along the way. Problem. Yeah. I got you this book.
Look, if he says yes, OK, if he accepts the invitation, then buy the book. But don't buy it without talking to him first. Oh, OK.
That makes sense. And, you know, you can say to him, I think it's important that you find a good sex therapist that can help you.
I have friends. I've had friends that live in the same boat where whatever partner is is like, no, I'm good with sex valves shut off. But, you know, he she whatever is is so great everywhere else that I just I deal with it and I'm like, I don't know if I can do that. Like, I just don't know if I can do that. But I get it. I get what they're saying. But I also am like but you know, like I need to get off with that person.
So like I'm good at it, I'm really good at it, but I just want to have that person give me you know, I went to my doctor.
Alex brought up the idea of the connection during sex. And I think to that that could be something that maybe you could express to him as well. Like, I love it when you go down on me, but I also really like part of my orgasm is like making out with you and kissing you and like in you know, and it's like having him getting off on being with me.
Yeah. And see how he responds and kind of proceed from there. I think that would be my suggestion. So you're not circling around with the same tone that you guys have had when addressing this in the past. So you guys don't go to a place of frustration. Defensiveness?
You know, a little excitement around it might make him feel a little less pressure until he can figure out how he wants to proceed with taking care of this. Because I think Dr. Alex is right that this is not you. This is him. And it was interesting that he's had these issues before in the past. But I think initially a little bit of like, baby, let's fucking conquer this attitude.
I'm on the sideline, but, you know, on the field. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I think then, like, I hate the idea that conversations about sex at least become so leaden dower, right.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well that's why I use the word invitation. Like this is an opportunity for us to figure this out together. Yeah. To have fun doing it. So it's not so dour and depressing and horrible. It's not horrible. It's just what his body is doing. So let's get acquainted. Yeah. Let's find out more about why this body does what it does.
I think I'm going to be like like I want to build a life with you, like I want it to continue. But I we got to be on the same page.
Emily, as unqualified as I am, I would avoid maybe talking about the past like we used to have sex only because I am guilty of that.
I'm guilty of feeling like we used to do it this many times. And it's hard, you know what I mean?
It just won't be productive, right? It's blaming and shaming. And, you know, we were talking earlier before you got on the call that, you know, long term relationships and sex kind of waxes and wanes. You know, sometimes it's great for a long period of time. Sometimes there's a dry spell. It just changes all the time. So this is kind of a getting to know. You process that you're still in with him. And this is an opportunity to go deeper, to know each other more intimately, to get more real, which is super vulnerable and scary.
It's probably going to make his anxiety go up. I know, I know that's another thing, too. It's like I don't want to add more insult to injury.
Well, but there's nothing you can do about that. You can't erase yourself. You have to be honest about what's going on with you.
Yeah, you're right. Of course you're right. You're not going home. I know. She's amazing.
Emily, please note that you've been open and and talking about this stuff will have a big impact on a lot of our listeners, because you are not alone. I mean, I've been there. A gazillion people have been there.
And so it's it means a lot. You shared with us. So thank you so much.
You know, thank you for helping me. You're both great. I love the show. Thanks, Emily.
I bet we're going to have a lot of feedback about your call. So please keep in touch if you feel like it. I would love that.
I would love to. Yeah, I would like to do that. I'm interested in hearing what people have to say about it, too. So thanks, Emily.
All right. Well, take care. Thank you, Doctor. Thank you. Bye.
Thank you, Dr. Alex.
Thank you so much. You're welcome. It's lovely to see you. Lovely to see you, too. Bye.