Episode 69: Reid Mihalko, Sex and Relationship Educator: Embrace Life (and your Neighbor)!

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Reid Mihalko is one interesting man. Wow, I am so glad I got to interview such a dynamic and energetic Sex and Relationship coach in person! From moment one Reid's open hearted hello signals his approach to life - EMBRACE IT! Which also applies to his business - Cuddle Parties!

The creator of one of the fastest growing trends today, Cuddle Parties are sweeping the nation as people let down their guards and open to the power of a good old fashioned snuggle. A non-sexual approach to having people get to know one another, these parties are teaching people a lot more than how to hug.

Reid says people (especially women) learn to :
- communicate yes and NO
- the fine art of negotiation
- maintaining boundaries with love

And what is the one empowering idea Reid wants to leave women with?
"If it's a maybe - say no."

Tune in for the full story with this lively and informative interview with the nation's up and coming authority on Sex and Relationships, Reid Mihalko!

We talk about the fine art of negotiation - how to negotiate with men in relationships we are already in and how to negotiate with someone you are just meeting for the first time. Reid defines negotiation as co-creating the intention for the relationship that both partners bring to the table. He tells women to please take the lead in going for what you want - leave him notes, do what it takes so he can win - give him a road map! And don't be in relationship to heal men - move on!

Really, don't miss his insight on what is happening between men and women today and why we struggle to understand each other ~ especially how to communicate our wants, needs and desires to men: It's ok to be direct!

Transcript

Announcer:  This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com.  This program is intended for mature audiences only.

[music]

Alissa Kriteman:  Welcome to “Just for Women: Dating, Relationships & Sex.”  I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman.  This show is dedicated to providing today’s modern women with useful information they need to make empowered, conscious choices.

Today on the show, we’re talking about how to be a better lover, how to communicate and Cuddle Parties.  We’re going to address the state of sexuality in America today and how these Cuddle Parties are making headway into the main stream, interestingly enough, teaching people the basic skills of social intimacy.

Our guest today is Reid Mihalko, sex education and inventor of the Cuddle Party.  And, I just wanted to say that I’m dedicating February to talking to men month.  So, ladies, we’re going to get the straight skinny from all these amazing male experts in the areas of dating, relationships and sex.

Reid, welcome to “Just for Women.”

Reid Mihalko:  Thanks for having me.

Alissa Kriteman:  Let me tell you a little bit about Reid.  He is a sex and relationship educator.  He’s gorgeous.  He’s this Australian hunk with these flaming blue eyes. [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  It’s Austrian, not Australian; that’s a big difference.

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs] He’s Austrian.

Reid Mihalko:  G’day, ladies.

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs] Well, it’s the eyes, I’m totally distracted.  So, we’re doing this in person, which I love.  So…Austria.

Reid Mihalko:  We’re basically just going to flirt the whole time and I’ll try to give you all some really good information about how to talk to men and how to make your love lives better.

Alissa Kriteman:  Awesome, thank you.  It must be that martial art background that you have because you’re so tall and good looking and so grounded.  So, for a woman, it’s this really disarming blend and mix of awesome qualities.  So, thanks. [laughs]

Reid Mihalko: You’re welcome.  And for those of you who are like, okay, who is this guy, you can go to my website which is ReidAboutSex.com and it’s R-E-I-D, which is how you spell my name and then you can find out if we’re full of BS or not, if I’m actually that disarmingly handsome.

Alissa Kriteman: [laughs] Now everyone’s rushing to their computer to check you out.  It’s true, it’s true.

So, Reid, I think my listeners really are interested in how to communicate better with men and understanding that power in being grounded in our bodies and seeing what might be in the way of us having the deeply intimate relationships that we want to have, not only with ourselves, but definitely with men.  And so, I appreciate you being on the show as a man who is sort of bridging the gap between what it is to be a powerful man out there in the world and embodying this kind of calmness about you that’s really approachable.  So, thank you for being on the show today to talk about these things and how sexuality is changing in America and what we need to know as women.

Reid Mihalko: Hmm, yeah, I mean, thanks for having me on the show; thanks for creating a show like this.

I mean, the skinny on the whole thing is that so much has changed in our culture around relationships and gender dynamics and what does it mean to be a man, what does it mean to be a woman.  Excuse me.  And, what’s – what’s so difficult nowadays for those of you who are listening who are kind of struggling with this like, “Gosh, like I just want to find a guy who’ll be a guy and also be sensitive at the same time.”

And, you know, either you have kind of going on out there is you either get these guys who are way too sensitive, EMO, you know, I just want to stare into your eyes, or you end up having to choose from these alpha males who just don’t see you at all and, yeah, they have this great masculine ability but they’re either clumsy and complete A-holes around it. And so like, what are you really – it’s that difficulty of trying to find somebody who’s a balance.

Alissa Kriteman:  Exactly.  And so, what do you recommend for women?  And that’s what I was acknowledging in you.  It’s like, wow, here’s this really tall, hunky, good looking guy who’s really in his body, who’s very present and, at the same time, there’s this whole space around you.  It’s like, what is that?  How – what are you doing, like what are you embodying?  What kind of training do you have?  Because, you’re really kind of rare, I must say.  You know, like you said, there’s (A) the alpha kind of macho dude who’s gonna dominate, say, the situation or the guys who really, you know, and I think it’s a challenge for men, so tell us what’s going on.

Reid Mihalko:  Well, to answer your question, what am I doing, this is all Jedi mind tricks.

Alissa Kriteman:  You should see his eyes, yeah, he’s definitely doing, hmm; I think he was trained by Yoda.

[laughter]

Reid Mihalko:  Woman, you must.  So, I mean, to answer your question, the big thing that’s happening in our culture is that, you know, for the guys who are like 40 and under and it’s also happening with men that are over 40 years old, but these last couple of generations coming up through the ranks, like we’ve been kind of, had it beaten into us that we’re supposed to be sensitive that we’re supposed to care about, you know, am I paying for the check or are we going Dutch?  Like how to I do that?  And, you know, we’re kind of – we’re still awkward, like where most men are pretty much awkward 7th graders, like we’re all stuck in 7th grade.  And women mature faster than men.

So, if we’re all in 7th grade, you – you’re all operating at like 10th grade level and we’re clumsy and we’re not being given role modeling for how to be sensitive and be take charge or, you know, quote/unquote, “masculine.”  And, what’s interesting is, in society today, there are a lot more women out there who are kind of – have done the work on themselves, who are powerful, who are like, “Yeah, you know, what, society sucks and everybody stares at my boobs and I’m supposed to be, you know, uber-skinny.  But, you know what?  I like my body now and I like who I am and the world can kiss my butt.”

That kind of powerful femininity – women have gotten comfortable with that and have jumped ahead a lot faster than the masculine side of culture.  So we’re kind of lagging behind and what’s happening, in my opinion from having, you know, all these conversations with men and women, you know, for the last 15 years, what I think is happening is that the women are kind of like, I did the work, I’m ready, show up.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah, where’s my man.

Reid Mihalko:  And the guys are like, “Umm, what do you mean by show up?  Like, do you mean, show up show up or what?”  And the women are like, can we swear on this show?

Alissa Kriteman:  Sure.

Reid Mihalko:  Oh, the women are like, “Dude, fucking get a clue.”  And the guys are like, “Oh, my God, I made her angry.”  And they’re like, “Fuck.”  Because in that moment, you don’t want them to be sensitive, you want them to just take it and be like, “Come here, baby.”  And then you need him to be sensitive in another moment.  But most men don’t – can’t understand the subtle cues that women are giving off to be able to navigate that.  And that’s where it becomes problematic because most men don’t have their black belts in understanding women.

And women, I mean, from a guy’s point of view, you’re fucking hard to understand.

[laughter]

Alissa Kriteman:  We like it that way.

Reid Mihalko:  Oh, yeah, great, well guess what you get from that?

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs] No this is good, this is good because I can totally get being a very, you know, sort of impetuous woman myself and definitely empowered, but this is why we’re talking about this because you’re saying men are confused.  They don’t understand the subtle cues, so what can we as empowered women understand that.

So, now, we’re starting to understand that.  You know, we’re hearing this over and over again, it’s like men need information.  Men need communication.  Yeah?  So what would you say, how can we be less subtle, more direct and have the relationships we want?  It sounds like communication’s a key.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.  So, one of the ways I’m trying to do the work that I’m doing and creating the workshops and the lectures and the talks and the things that I do, is trying to find the lowest common denominator that bridges men-speak and women-speak.

And, it’s basically, you know, direct communication and just saying what you want and being really clear about it which sounds like it kind of sucks the romance out of it, like, the mystery and the mystique.  But really, this clear communication is how you lay the foundation for your relationships or any interactions.  And then, from there, you can build in the romance and the mystique, once you start to get to know each other.

So, the way that kind of would work in the, quote/unquote, “real world,” is that there’s a guy at a bar or at the gym or at a cocktail party or at a barbeque, whatever, grocery store, where you’re like, wow, he’s kind of cute; I’m feeling some sort of attraction to him, whatever that is.  You know, it’s his good looks or just a feeling you have about him, you know, it could be that part of, you know, the month when you’re in your cycle and you just want to rut and here’s the guy.  You’re like, “Oh, my God, this is the guy.”

Well, you know, you have permission now to a certain degree in culture, to go up to him and be like, “Hey,” you know, “I’m so-and-so, what’s your name?”  And you can just let people – let guys know what’s up.  You know, “I’m attracted to you.  There’s something about you.  I want to have a five minute conversation with you to see who you are and what your life’s about.  Do you have five minutes?”

Now, the interesting part is that most men aren’t used to women being that direct.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  So they might be like, “Uh, what’s going on?”  Because, remember, we’re in 7th grade; when a pretty girl comes and talks to us, we get nervous.  You’ve just got to ride it out and be patient.  Now, this is the same advice I give to men.  You know, because I’m trying to teach men how to be more direct but not in that kind of masculine asshole kind of way.  But, you know, walking up to somebody and not being like, “Hey, can I buy you a drink?”  But walking up to somebody and being like, “Hey, I think you’re interesting for some reason.  Can I have a conversation with you?”  You know, you can – so, it’s about being more direct and being like, I’m interested in you rather than, “Can I buy you a drink so I have permission to talk to you and prove to you that I’m interesting too.”

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.  This is interesting because it sounds like, I can hear women listening to just go up to a guy, say hello, and see what happens.  And, it’s so sort of stands in the face of this whole like, drop the hankie, a man’s not interested unless he approaches you.  I mean, these are some other things that we’ve heard and, again, things are changing.  It’s a modern time.

You’re saying and supporting us as women to actually go up and just look him right in the eyes and say, “Hi, I’m Alissa.  Looked over here and just thought I’d come over and talk to you.”  And that’s okay, the guy might have a 7th grade reaction, but get through it.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah, exactly.  And then, so Cuddle Party is a great example of a – it’s a workshop that’s also a social event that’s all about communicating.  It’s about, you know, asking for what you want, it’s about saying no and not feeling guilty.  And, it’s about just learning how to be a better communicator and it happens to focus around touch and affection.

And what’s really great about that is we also live in a society where it’s very easy to not be getting any touch or cuddling or nurturing kind of affection in our world.  Men and women are working 40, 50, 60 hours a week and going home to a roommate who stays in their room all the time.

Or, you know, we live in cities where we’re away from our family and our nieces and nephews and our godchildren, so like we don’t have necessarily all of us, I’m not speaking for, you know, everyone, but you know, not everyone has a home to go home to on the weekends where you’ve got kids crawling on you and cousins, you know, picking on you and jostling your hair.  So, all that social kind of affection and cuddling has now been relegated having to, you know, you can only do it in a relationship.

And Cuddle Party ends up being this really great experience for men and women where they can go and start learning better communication skills and creating more nurturing touch.  And, you know, the big secret around Cuddle Party for the women who are listening is, we get two to three more men who want to come to Cuddle Parties than women and that’s been happening for five years now because Cuddle Party will turn five at the end of February.  And they’re awesome guys.

So, if you want to meet men and expand your social networks and if you want to get better at saying no and not feeling guilty and learning how to be a more direct communicator and asking for what you want, please, go to CuddleParty.com, find a Cuddle Party that’s in your town or in a city near you, and go to one.  Because for every woman that goes to one, we can let in another guy rather than having this huge wait list of sweet men who just want to be cuddly.

Alissa Kriteman:  Alright, let’s talk about this because I’m sort of hearing Cuddle Party and I feel like we need a little bit more context, cause it sounds like, does this turn into a big orgy, like, what’s going on?  Is it just cuddling, could it just be cuddling and communication, touching?  It’s just – it’s like, what?

Reid Mihalko:  It’s too good to be true.  Women are sitting there, “Do they serve bonbons as well?  Oh, my God.”  [laughter]  Yeah, I mean it’s just cuddling.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  I mean it’s, and this was the thing when we first started Cuddle Party, we had to train America to actually believe that a bunch of adults can get together and be affectionate without it exploding into sex.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  And where that comes from and this also affects the dating scene.  You know, once we start turning into it like little sexual creatures by culture standards, we’re all sexual like since the day we were born.  But once we start turning into adolescents and start getting hair in places we didn’t have it, then culture just slams the door down and says, “Don’t touch each other, you can’t control yourselves.”

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And then nobody came back to remind us after the hormone rage, you know, of adolescence passes and that we now have prefront – a frontal cortex with some impulse control, no one tells of as adults that, “Oh, excuse me, you guys can control yourselves now.  Go have fun.”

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  So, a lot of us as adults are operating under this, you know, presumption that we can’t control ourselves.  So, if I can’t control myself, I’m not – I don’t want to put you in danger.  Or, the other way of looking at it is, no one else can control themselves, I can’t be safe.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  So, that’s why Cuddle Party sounded like such a crazy idea and people just kept asking if it was an orgy.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  Because the thought was, adults cannot control themselves.  If you start cuddling, it has to turn into sex.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  And that’s not the case.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  And there are a lot of really, really well-meaning men out there who, sure, you know, we’re men, we all want sex, but we don’t want it all the time.  There are a lot of guys out there who just want to be affectionate and snuggle.  It’s true.  And, if you haven’t found one or if you’re dating a guy who’s not getting better at, my personal advice is you might want to reconsider the relationship.  If you have kids and stuff like that, like don’t make a rash decision – “I listened to this guy on the radio and he said, you know, if you’re not affectionate, so, I’m leaving you.”  Don’t do that.  But like…

Alissa Kriteman:  But how would you introduce cuddling into a relationship where there might not be?

Reid Mihalko:  It’s again, it’s about direct communication; it’s about knowing what your needs are and communicating them.  And being like, “Honey, I need more touch and affection.”

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And it doesn’t necessarily have to look a certain way, but can we build this more into our relationship.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  You know, when you’re watching television, if you have, you know, those lounge chairs that are side-by-side, get a loveseat.

Alissa Kriteman:  Hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  So that you’re both sitting next to each other, you know.  In a restaurant, rather than sitting across from the table, you know, both sit on the same side so that you’re bumping up against each other.  You know, that kind of touch and affection, those little changes, start to – they’re contagious and they can turn into more if your cognizant of how to do that.

Alissa Kriteman:  Okay.  So are there exercises that you do inside of the context of a Cuddle Party that people could learn and maybe bring into their home life?  Say, a woman goes, she knows she’s not getting the touch she needs in her marriage and she like, “I’m going to check out this Cuddle Party.”  What do you do there?  What is the structure?

Reid Mihalko:  Well, it’s a 3½ hour event, the first hour is the more workshop part where we go over the rules of cuddling because we need rules to feel safe.  We have a bunch of icebreaking exercises and communication practicing exercises where, you know, you practice saying no and rejecting people.  An then, how do you rewire rejection so that it’s actually not a bad thing.  But it’s a kind of thing you want in your life in that you want to be playing or interacting with people who are yes.  So anyone who’s a maybe or who’s a no, you actually don’t want to be playing with them because it’s not as fun.

So, when you ask people for things and then they say no, it actually comes from this place of you get to thank them for taking care of themselves.  Because, ultimately, you don’t want to be hanging out with somebody who’s not a yes.

Alissa Kriteman:  It actually sounds like a way to learn boundaries, healthy boundaries for yourself.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.  And without healthy boundaries, if you’re always kind of selling yourself short emotionally, like it screws up your check, you know, your checking account for your life and, all of a sudden, you’re overdrawn and you’re angry.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah, it’s interesting, you know, a lot of the experts I’ve had on the show talk about, you know, this new dawn of women’s empowerment and how it looks different, than maybe it has in the past, that women are going more inside, internal, and checking in with their needs like you said.  And so, I’m getting that Cuddle Parties could really be a piece of women practicing saying no, being a full yes, knowing what her needs are and her boundaries are and bringing that back into their life.

But, even if a woman never went to a Cuddle Party, just the fact that they exist and that there are people gathering for the sole purpose of learning – learning what it is to be in the space of other people and touching other people and having a structured example of how you can just be affectionate if you’re not getting that.  And, like you said, our society has been built, since the Industrial Revolution, to have these little nuclear families where they community is kind of gone.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah, yeah, and this is where it becomes really important, cause, by understanding how to figure out your boundaries, because most people grew up in families where it wasn’t like your mom and dad sat you down when you were 11 and it’s like, “Okay, honey, now this is how you figure out what your boundaries are and this is how you figure out what your likes and dislikes are.”

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs] Exactly.

Reid Mihalko:  Like my parents did that – didn’t do that.  My mom and dad were horrible communicators in their marriage.  They were awesome parents, but they were – they were just not great at expressing what their needs were and how to create collaboratively how to get those needs met.  It trickled down through their marriage and affected their parenting eventually.  And it’s one of the reasons I became a sex and relationship educator was I became very fixated on how do I – how do I love my kids the way that my mom and dad did but not do what they did in their marriage.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And that set me on this journey of trying to figure this stuff out and talking to hundreds of thousands of people about their relationships, about sex, you know, reading books.  And now I’m lucky enough, because of the success I’ve had in the workshops that I do and the work that I do, to now be rubbing elbows with my heroes in sex and relationships and now I’m, you know, starting to bring everything that I’m learning out into the public.

And one of those areas is talking to women about how do you be upfront and direct and not lose that feminine quality of yours and, more importantly, how do you not settle for less?

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And how do you look at life with the perspective of, if you’re going to be really tough about what you, you know, not settling for less, how to not get sucked into this viewpoint of you’re never going to get what you want because what you get – what you want is so specific that it doesn’t exist.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm, yeah, and really having the courage to ask for that.  So, Reid, great stuff.  We’re going to take a break to support our sponsors.

This is Alissa Kriteman.  I’m with Reid Mihalko and we’re talking all about how to be empowered, how to know what your boundaries are.  These awesome opportunities that these Cuddle Parties are to start to practice saying no, being a full yes.  And so we’re going to take a break.

And, listeners, I’d love for you to listen to these ads, they’re created by my sponsors for my show and they help me bring these great experts like Reid Mihalko to you.  So, please listen in and we’ll be right back.

[music]

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[music]

Alissa Kriteman:  We’re back.  I’m Alissa Kriteman.  We’re talking with Reid Mihalko, sex educator and relationship master.  Are you a master of relationships?  [laughter]

Reid Mihalko:  [affecting oriental accent] Oh, relationship something I’m very good at, no problem.

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs]  He’s so fun.  So, before the break, we were talking about the dawn of this new era of women being able to – I really liked what you said about being direct without losing our femininity because I talk to so many women about this and we, literally, were raised in this generation of women being resentful and aggressive, not knowing what their needs are, not even knowing that we could ask for what we want.  And you’re saying, not only can you ask for what you want, you can have what you want, even if it’s super specific.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.  And this is the thing is like, as men, we need you, we implore you, I speak for all of mankind with a big, capital, “N” or “M” not “N”, that would be weird.

Alissa Kriteman:  Nankind.

Reid Mihalko:  I speak for all of “nankind.”

[laughter]

Alissa Kriteman:  Like Narnia.

Reid Mihalko:  Like Narnia, yes, exactly, come into the closet.  Wait, that sounds bad too.

[laughter]

Reid Mihalko:  Damn.

[laughter]

Reid Mihalko:  Whatever that thing is.  Is it a dresser, is it an armoire?  It’s just weird.  And lions?

Alissa Kriteman:  It’s a portal.

Reid Mihalko:  It’s a portal, well, okay, now can we put it in [makes sound].  Oh, God, there’s a really bad Narnia porn in there somewhere.  Oh, good, stop it.  Okay.

So, back to our topic.  We, all of mankind, I speak for in imploring women, not only can you have what you want and speak up for what you want but we, as men, need you to speak up.  Because we can’t guess.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  Like we just can’t.  And, even if we could guess, you know, with quotes around it, “what women really want,” we’re not going to nail what exactly you want.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  Because what you want is going to be unique.  It might have a little bit of what that, you know, what all women want, you know, in it, but I want to know what it is that you want and what you need.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  And where this begins to work really well in relationship dynamics or even like just getting to know you first date dynamics, it doesn’t matter if it’s the woman or the man who says it first, but whoever starts talking is the one who’s setting the tone.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And I coach everybody when I work with people one on one, or in couples or even in my lectures and stuff like that, I coach people to set the tone.  Just set the tone.  If you’re the first person who, you know, who gets to speak, set the tone.  What’s the tone of the relationship you want?  Direct communication, being upfront and honest or do you want the tone of your relationship to be that you’re both trying to read each other’s minds?

Alissa Kriteman: Um, hmm, right.  Not only that, I could see in literal tonality, I’ve heard that men react to aggressive tones, like, literally, the tone of a woman’s voice.  You’re talking about something a little bit different like almost like setting the container.  Like, what is the context of this relationship going to be?  Are we going to explore?  Are we going to be adventurous?  Are we going to tell each other what we want and not come down on each other if we make mistakes?  But, literally, the way you ask it too, do you talk about that too?

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah and it, I mean, the way you ask it ends up being the next like, the 201 class.  That you’re even asking…

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.  Is important.

Reid Mihalko.  And nobody’s even doing that.  Like how many people are sitting down on a first date and being like, “Okay, so listen.  You know, I’m however many years old, I want to have children within the next three years and I’m looking to date somebody who’s got their shit handled, who’s ready to have kids within three years.  Who’s intimate, who likes cuddling.  Who’s got a job and, you know, is also not from, you know, a really crazy, nutty family, like, I want somebody with a strong, grounded family.  Are you that person?”

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  Like – and then, this is the important part.  You listen to what they say and not just what they’re telling you, but how they’re telling you.  Because, what you’re looking for is a guy who looks you in the eye and is like, “Oh, well, actually, I’ve thought a lot about this and I’m not really ready to have kids yet.  Three years might be a little bit soon but I definitely do want to have kids.  And, you know, my family’s a little bit crazy, but they’re manageable.  And we really only need to visit them like twice a year on the major holidays.  So, you know, and, you know, I love cuddling and this and that.  And, what I’m looking for in a relationship is A, B, C and D.  What do you think about that?”

That’s a way better conversation to kick off a first date with than, “Well, what are your favorite movies?”

Alissa Kriteman:  Totally.  It’s straight to the point and this is what I think is happening.  Like the age of the modern woman and modern dating, it’s – what you’re saying is, there’s direct access.  And, someone like you, who’s speaking on this, who’s done a ton of research, has all this experience, is saying be direct.

Reid Mihalko:  And, I’m not saying it’s easy.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  What I’m saying is it stacks the deck in your favor to be dating somebody who’s actually compatible with you.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  You know?  So the first date is really about figuring out if there should be a second date.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  The goal isn’t the second date.  The goal isn’t  I have to make this first date go so well that we get to have a second date.  You’re, basically, and I know this doesn’t sound romantic at all, but like you’re kind of having a job interview.

Alissa Kriteman:  Hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  You know, are you the right person for the job?  What are your skill sets, you know?  Do you like this kind of work.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  I mean, really, don’t date a guy who doesn’t like being in relationships.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.  It’s interesting though, I’ve definitely heard men complain about women who come to the date, literally, with this list.  And, if the guy’s not the list, they move on.  And so, you’re actually saying that’s probably a good thing.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  And if they don’t like that you have a list, you shouldn’t be dating them anyway.

Alissa Kriteman:  Okay, good.  So, it’s not like, you know – see this is good.  This is like the empowered version of what’s going on out there.  Because, whoever that guy is that doesn’t want a woman who really knows what she wants, it would just be chaos anyway.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.  And this is where it becomes – it’s some – it’s hard to talk about this and because it used to be like, you know, you had mentioned the Industrial Revolution in the first segment, you know, back then, marriage was a business contract.  And, relationships, nowadays, are more confusing because they’re a business contract and they’re about romance and love.  And so you’ve got to – it’s – you need to learn how to navigate both at the same time.

Being in love with somebody first and then trying to make each other into good business partners, is a lot harder than finding good business partners to fall in love with.

Alissa Kriteman:  Hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And it’s a radical difference on how you approach things.  Now, back in the Industrial Revolution, it wasn’t about love; it was about the business contract of kids, possession, property, that kind of stuff.  Right?  And love was more something that you were lucky if you had love and you fell in love on the side, kind of a thing.

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  You know?  But nowadays, the beauty of it is, you get to have your cake and eat it too.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  But you need to get the right ingredients to bake the fricking cake in the first place and that’s where I hear people complaining.  They’re like, “I want a cake.”  You know? And, I’m like, “Well, have you figured out what kind of cake you want?”  “A cake.”  And, I’m like, well, you know, so then you’re at the mercy of whatever cake you get served.

Alissa Kriteman:  Well, let’s talk about that.  You know, you said that – about this business negotiation and, yeah, I mean, I hear that and I’m like, “Eww, that’s not romantic at all.”  But, I think it’s a little bit practical and that might be part of the confusion about what relationship is and really having a relationship work and thrive is that there is a part of it that is business-like.  And so, a part of business is negotiation.  And I don’t think that that’s necessarily a skill that a lot of women learn.  So, what can you say about negotiation in intimate relationship?

Reid Mihalko:  Well, the first thing is – so there are two – there are two distinctions here.  There’s negotiating in a relationship where you’ve been in the relationship already and now you’re starting to wake up in it and you’re trying to become better communicators in a relationship that’s already existing.  And then there’s the, you’re not in a relationship yet and you’re going to go find somebody who’s a good communicator to be in a relationship, like that’s one of your requirements, is somebody who’s like, you know, a good communicator to begin with.

And you – the approach, at a certain point, becomes the same for both, but how you get to that same place is a little bit different.  But, ultimately, what your – what you’re looking at is negotiation from a cultural standpoint in this day and age, is all about compromise.

Alissa Kriteman:  Hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  It’s really kind of like nobody gets what they want or the person with the most power gets what they want and the other person has to settle.  And what I’m talking about is negotiation being how you two co-create what works for the both of you.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  So that it’s a win-win situation for everybody.  And that win-win situation is so fricking cliché, but it’s cliché because people keep using it wrong because nobody knows how to create a win-win situation.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  And that’s where, you know, with some of the workshops and stuff that I’m doing, it’s about how do you learn to even notice that it’s a win-win situation, which has a lot to do with coming from abundance, about how you look at what the collaborative intention for the relationship is.  If you don’t know what your intention is for your relationship and you’re dating somebody who doesn’t know what their intention for the relationship is, it’s very hard to have a co-created one, like an intention for the, you know, there’s Brad’s, you know, intention, there’s Angelina’s intention and then there’s the Brangelina intention.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah, like, your relationship actually has a heart and a soul and a personality and that each person is putting something in and contributing and how that’s actually going.  It’s – so, it’s almost, like I definitely think I’ve had all of these romantic notions about what relationship is and talking to all of you experts, it kind of busts that, but it grounds – it grounds me more and I think it grounds women more in the practicality of what it is to say what you want and go for what you want and negotiate what you want.  But even starting with knowing what you want and the idea that it’s okay.

And we talked about the whole business and what relationships were like as the Industrial Revolution and post all of that and women, I think, just took the backseat and they were going to be the moms and they couldn’t go to work and do all of that stuff and…

Reid Mihalko:  Which for some women worked really well.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  Like cause, you know, granted, my dad was a great father, he shouldn’t have been a homemaker, so it worked out kind of nice because my mom was an awesome homemaker and that kind of worked for them.  And their breakdown was not being able to communicate the nuances of what their actual needs were personally with each other.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah, would you say that women could take the lead nowadays, like, are you encouraging that?  Like, that women actually take the lead with what they want.

Reid Mihalko:  Hmm.

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  Listeners what do you think I’m going to say?

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah, because they think…

[laughter]

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.  Take the lead.  We beg you, all of mankind.  [laughter]  But it’s – that’s the thing, it’s like, you know…

Alissa Kriteman:  It’s interesting though to hear it from a man.

Reid Mihalko:  Well, but, ultimately, whoever takes the lead first should take the lead.

Alissa Kriteman:  He’s up on his haunches ladies, he’s very passionate right now.  He’s [laughs] definitely excited about what we’re talking about.  [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  Okay, so now I’m really excited. [laughter]  This is what is the key, like whoever takes the lead first, everybody starts winning.  The only, you know, with quotes around it, I’m making air quotes, they’re quiet, that’s the sound of an air quote, there’s no loser.  The only thing that ends up looking like, you know, somebody loses is if you guys to come to the clarity that you shouldn’t be in a relationship.

And the metrics with which we measure success in relationships in this culture is duration.  So, if you have a first date and you realize at that end of that first date that you’re not a good match, you’re not a good fit, and you don’t have a second date, then all your friends are like, “Aw, man, what happened?”

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs] That’s true.

Reid Mihalko:  And you should be like, “I fucking figured out that he’s the wrong person for me in a relationship.”  Like so, you win, but the rest of culture is like, “What’s wrong?”  You known?  Or, you get married and a year later, you get divorced because the two of you figure out you make each other miserable.  That’s a win in my book.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  Way better to get divorced a year into it than 15 years later.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  Or to be staying in it for the kids.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  Like that’s a horrible life of quiet desperation.  You don’t have to do that.  So, why not go all the way here and date people that are a good fit for you.  You know, go on that second date because you guys are like, alright, you know, this might – we’ve got the basic ingredients here.  Let’s see – now, let’s see if like each other.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  You know, and I’m not saying go on a first date with people who you don’t like, but like, okay, we’ve got the basic foundation, you know, set here, now let’s get to know each other as human beings and let’s talk more about what we want and how I can help you get your needs met, how you can help me get my needs met.  And then like, and that’s where, I think, this approach – once you start getting into how do you – because me, as a man, if I’m talking to you and I’m like, “How can I help you get your needs met?”  That’s romantic.

Alissa Kriteman:  Exactly.

Reid Mihalko:  Even though it’s pragmatic, you know

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:.  And then there’s a whole romance workshop I teach.  But, you know, romance is not – romance is a whole bunch of other stuff that you get to like sprinkle on the cake.  Like, it’s like the frosting; it’s not the cake.  The cake is a bunch of other stuff.

Alissa Kriteman:  [laughs] We’re going to take a break to eat some cake.  [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  Can I pee?  I really have to pee.  [laughter]

Alissa Kriteman:  We’re going to take a break to let Reid go to the bathroom.  This is really fun.  Reid, thank you.  It’s so fun to be in person with you here and feel your energy and see your passion about really empowering women to take the lead and know what we want and be forthright about it.  That it’s actually going to make a huge difference in all of our relationships in dating as well as our marriages and whatever we want to negotiate.

Reid Mihalko:  And, women, tell your guy friends, that they need to take the lead too.  Like I’m advocating that both sexes take the lead  And when you start dating people who are taking the lead as well, then it really starts to hum.

Alissa Kriteman:  Got it.  Instead of both people thinking I can’t get my needs met here, I’m just going to complain, go into old habits that I learned from my parents and never really empowered themselves.  So, thanks for making that point.

So, we’re going to take a break.  This is Alissa Kriteman, I’m with Reid Mihalko, talking about amazing ways to reconnect with yourself and have relationships that actually thrive.

So, we’ll be right back and, again, check out these ads, these are sponsors for my show, kicking down some great deals for you.  So, if you can support them, I’d really appreciate it.  And we’ll see you right back.

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Alissa Kriteman:  Welcome back to “Just for Women: Dating, Relationships & Sex.”  I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman.  We are having a lively discussion with Reid Mihalko, sex and relationship educator, and it’s such a joy.  I’m having such a good time talking to him all about being empowered as a woman to know what you want, go for what you want, take the lead sometimes, follow sometimes.

Now, before we go, I want to talk about safety because I think that is definitely a key to being empowered in all realms, but definitely with our sensuality.  And, I know for myself learning from these experts, I didn’t realize how important it is to know what it is that I need in order to feel safe in open interrelationships.

So, Reid, what do you have to say about women empowering themselves to create safety in relationship, in sexuality, in intimate scenarios.

Reid Mihalko:  Um, hmm.  Well, there’s a Cuddle Party rule, Rule No. 5, which is, if you’re maybe, say no.  And that would be the, you know, we’re talking about, we only have eight more minutes and we have to give them some stuff they can take home with them.

Alissa Kriteman:  I didn’t say that.  [laughs]

Reid Mihalko:  But, it’s true.  Like if I was going to give you one thing, it would be, if you’re a maybe, say no.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  It just makes life easier and I know that because of my conversations with women, it’s often this kind of, you know, women aren’t supposed to say no and I’m supposed to be the provider or the giver.  And, you know, and a lot of women thrive in being of service to whomever, you know, whether it’s their kids or their family or their love.  But, if you are a maybe, saying no becomes a really great life rule and starts to create safety because, if you’re on the fence, if you’re hesitating, and you can say no, it gives you the space to figure out what you need to have in that scenario for you to then become a yes.

Alissa Kriteman:  Hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  And you can change your mind.  Whereas, if you just say maybe or maybe later, the person’s usually kind of hovering around waiting for you to make up your mind and that creates pressure and then you feel like you have to rush and you don’t have freedom to really open up.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  So, when you’re a maybe, say no, and then drop that whole thing of you’re going to say maybe later, because you don’t want to hurt a person’s feelings.

Alissa Kriteman:  Um, hmm.

Reid Mihalko:  We can handle it.

Alissa Kriteman:  That’s a key piece.

Reid Mihalko:  Like men and women can handle getting a no.  They may not be happy about it but your job is not to make people happy.  Your job is to make yourself happy.  And then share that happiness with other people, especially the men in your life.

Alissa Kriteman:  Well, see, that’s an interesting point that you make there because we are raised in our culture to nurture and make other people happy.  And I keep hearing this time and again and I’m glad you’re echoing it as well, that we have to take care of ourselves first.  And this is why it’s exciting to hear it from a man.  Women, of course, we’re going to support each other and we’re going to support each other in loving ourselves and honoring ourselves.  But, it’s almost a little disorienting to hear it from you saying, no, you have to take care of yourself, you have to know what you want and then you have to tell me what you want because, as a man, I want to provide that for you.

Reid Mihalko:  Um, hmm.

Alissa Kriteman:  And so, I can see where it would be a little confusing.  Yeah, we want to be the nurturers but you’re saying no, take care of yourself first.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah.  And we want to – and  men, for the most part, want to be the knights in shining armor.  But like if I don’t know what you need, then I’m left at trying to figure it out.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  Which means I’m either getting my cues from, you know, my parents, my other friends’ relationships.  And, ladies, how many of the men you date do you think that their friends are just as or even bigger losers, you know, who don’t know what they’re doing in relationships.  So, they’re getting their cues from their friends because most men are just trying to do the right thing.  Or, we’re getting our cues from sitcoms, you know.  So, really like tell me what you want because that’s more of a turn on to me as a man.  Because now, I actually know something that you like and I might be able to provide that for you.  It doesn’t mean I’m going to be good at it and there’s some ways that you can communicate with men so you can make sure they know what you’re asking for.

Cause, you now, if you’re telling them about your girlfriend who’s – went on a date and they bought, you know, he bought her yellow roses, he’s not going to understand that you don’t like yellow roses and that you really like red roses.  If that’s what you’re trying to tell him, you have to write a little Post-It note that says, “I like red roses.  Buy me flowers once in a while.”  And you need to stick that somewhere where he’s going to see it all the time.

You telling him about your upset friend and the yellow roses, he’s not going to get it.  Now, your girlfriends will totally get it, and be like, “Oh, my God, he bought her yellow roses?  I can’t believe that.”

Alissa Kriteman:  Because it means friendship or something.

Reid Mihalko:  We don’t get that.  [laughter]  We’re colorblind in that way.  You know?  So, we need you to tell us directly and the benefit of that is, as, you know, if you’re gracious with us and let us get better at providing exactly what you want, then you start to get to have what you want, which means that you’re not – that’s how you can nurture yourself.

It’s not about you buying yourself flowers all the time; it’s about telling the men in your life what you want, what you like so that they can start to get it.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.  It’s interesting.  I was just thinking about a conversation I had recently about my relationship and it’s like you’ve got to keep your finger on the pulse of your relationship, you know, like whatever the relationship is.  But mostly, in intimate relationship, and I think that I hadn’t been relating to my relationship as this living, thriving entity where I can say, “Hey, this is what I want.  Here’s the Post-It note.  Here’s a little reminder.”  Like, and knowing how men operate in that way and really doing things that are going to have – I know you said the win-win thing, but really, it’s like, however, whatever context, you know, whether it is a business scenario, you want it to win.  Whether it is an intimate relationship, you want it to win.  And, I love that you’re echoing that guys really need, literally, a roadmap.

Reid Mihalko:  We’re dying for it.  Like and, especially, the well-meaning guys, I mean, there are guys out there who have more baggage than they can carry.  I don’t suggest you date them.  You’re not – if you’re trying to heal your boyfriend, will you please just end the relationship now?  Like really.  They should, you know, let them pay money to have somebody heal them.  You shouldn’t be healing them.

Alissa Kriteman:  Right.

Reid Mihalko:  Or they should be paying you.  Really.  Like you’re then you’re a nurse or therapist.  Drop him.  Go, you know, date somebody who’s done the work and who can be present with you.  And don’t try to heal everybody.  And start asking for what you want.

If you’re a maybe, say no.  And even if it just comes out as  a little peep, like “no,” you know, it’s practice, it’s a muscle.  With exercise you can then, you know, start to get really good at it and then be able to, you know, intuit, “Wow, do I want to do that or do I want to do this? Hmm, you know what, I’m a maybe.  I’m a no.”  And when you can say no clearly, men can hear that.  And, if he doesn’t hear it the first or second time, drop him.  Your job is not to, you know, train him on how to hear you say no.  He should know, he should be able to pick it up once or twice pretty quickly and get good at it or he’s not the person you should be in a relationship with.

And that’s my little thing, like if you’re in a domestic situation that’s violent, will you please go get some help?  Like get out of that relationship and that includes, you know, verbal abuse too.  Like men – date men who can hear you when you say no and can respect and honor that or get out.

Alissa Kriteman:  I feel like that’s a whole other show, you know.  It’s just like cracking open that whole situation.  And I think this definitely bleeds into that, you know, women being empowered in situations like a Cuddle Party where negotiation, yes, no, creating safety, how to negotiate what you really want.

Yeah, if you’re in some kind of a situation where it’s intense like that, where you’ve never had that, maybe, you know, your parents never had that, you never learned it.  And so, that’s what I appreciate about the work that you’re doing.  It’s putting in the role models you said that are missing in our society and culture about how to negotiate what is going on in your life, especially intimate situations.  And I think domestic violence is definitely an extreme but, again, you’re speaking right to it.

Reid Mihalko:  Yeah, and I’m just, again, I didn’t mean to get all heavy with the domestic violence thing.  Like it’s the same thing of like, you known, you ask your boyfriend or somebody that you’re dating that you would like to, you know, go for a walk or whatever it is, you know, and they’re not hearing you and you guys can’t adjust that so that, you know, he can hear you and you can hear him, you’re not supposed to be dating that person.  Like that’s – it’s really subtle but it’s abusive.  You’re going to get into a relationship with somebody who doesn’t hear you.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.

Reid Mihalko:  You know, and, if you’re in a relationship and you’re like, “Oh, my God, he doesn’t hear me and I’m listening to this podcast and I’m like, oh, gosh, what am I doing?”  There are workshops for this kind of stuff.  You know, you can to ReidAboutSex.com and/or email me from the website and I’ll point you in the directions of other workshops where you and your lover can start to learn how to communicate better.  Like, it’s not impossible.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.  Reid Mihalko, thank you so much for being on “Just for Women.”  You’re such a joy and a pleasure.  I appreciate your passion for what you’re doing and for being the bridge for men and women to be more right with themselves, know what their needs are, be grounded in who they are, in what they want, being direct, creating safety for themselves and other people.  Get out of a relationship if it’s not working, definitely get support if you’re finding yourself in a domestic violence situation

I think that’s the amazing thing about the internet and having a show like this and this opportunity is that it’s so much more widely available.  And if you don’t know if you’re in a critical relationship that you have to get out of, yeah, seek it out, listen to more shows, listen to more podcasts.  Go to some of the agencies and people that are available to help you find that and figure it out.

So, thank you so much for being on the show today, for creating Cuddle Parties, an opportunity for people to connect in a non-sexual way and to really learn the skills of what it takes to have more intimacy and relationships that thrive.  So, thank you so much.

Reid Mihalko:  You’re welcome.  Thanks for having me.

Alissa Kriteman:  Yeah.  So, that’s the end of this show.  Thank you so much, listeners, for tuning in.  And remember, for text and transcripts of this show and other shows in the Personal Life Media Network, just visit our website, PersonalLifeMedia.com.

For a copy of my book, “Alissa’s Four Cornerstones to Living Your Dreams,” just go to my website, SacredSpot.org, and click on the book cover icon.

I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman always expanding your choices here on “Just for Women: Dating, Relationships & Sex.”  Join us next week on “Just for Women,” for more juicy news you can use.

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