Kelly Englemann: Welcome to the All Things Sexual Wellness Podcast, hosted by Enhanced Wellness Living, where we’re gonna teach you everything you need to know about all things sexual wellness. Hi, I’m Kelly Engelmann, host of All Things Sexual Wellness podcast. I’m a family nurse practitioner. Board certified in anti-aging and regenerative medicine, and also certified as a sexual health practitioner through A4M.
My co-host is Amanda Carter and we practice in Ridgeland, Mississippi at Enhanced Wellness Living. I’m so blessed to have Amanda. She has brought life to our sexual health program for both men and women. So we’re gonna dig into some content, but first I have a little bit of disclaimer. This podcast, we are not here to treat any health condition.
This podcast is for information only. So if you’re having some struggles and want help, please reach out to the clinic. You can reach out to us on our website, www.enhancedwellnessliving.com, or you can give us a call (601) 364-1132, or you can reach out to your current healthcare provider.
The other disclaimer is that this is adult content. If you have littles sitting around listening to this podcast, you may wanna grab your earbuds or your headphones. We do want you to listen, but we just wanna be responsible about how this content gets out. So grab those earbuds. Let’s dig in. This is gonna be awesome.
Today, we are interviewing Roane Hunter. He is a counselor, a certified sex addiction therapist, and an author. And he brings with him today just a wealth of knowledge, but inspiration. He’s lived his life out loud for the last 33 years. Before that, he struggled himself with sexual addiction, and we get into that deep and wide today in this podcast.
I just feel like his bravery is unmatched and his willingness to be vulnerable and share with us. We’re gonna get into that, but we’re also gonna get into some struggles that the everyday man. Let’s face it, there’s pornography everywhere. We’re gonna talk about that. We’re gonna talk about how that affects our sexual relationships.
We’re gonna talk about skills to talk to each other about how we’re feeling and how we’re functioning and how that enhances intimacy within the relationship. So, guys, get ready. This is gonna be a podcast to listen to and maybe even listen to again. So welcome guys to the All Things Sexual Wellness podcast.
We are so blessed today to have Roane Hunter join. Roane is not only a sex therapist and counselor, but also an author and an expert in this area he brings to us today not only his clinical experience, but also experiential learning through his life. So, Roane, tell us your story. I know our listeners want to hear like, what have you been through? What led you down this path of treating sexual addiction?
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah. Well, thanks Kelly. Just so glad to be here. Appreciate you having me on. Yeah, my story, you know, kind of how I got to kinda working in this arena. Just kind of backdoored my way in through my own work. I always tell people if you’re gonna go see a therapist, the first thing you need to ask ’em is like, how much work have you done? And if they read it in a book, you just probably need to ease back out the door. I spent a lot of time on that
couch working through a lot of my stuff and I certainly haven’t arrived still work at it. Right. I still have to be intentional, but I grew up in a little small town in Mississippi. There’s really that that’s really all Mississippi is right. And I lived out in the country. We farm. And it was a wonderful place. I had two older brothers and it was great. Great place for a boy to, to grow up hunted, fished, and, you know, horses and cows and tractors. And my brothers were four and five years older. And what a, what a great place for a boy to grow up. However, tragedy entered, we would call it trauma in psychobabble terms. But the first great tragedy, my parents divorced when I was eight years old, and it was around that same time that I discovered pornography. My mother’s attitude was, boys will be boys. We had porn on the bedside table. Some younger listeners may not know what magazines are. See things that have paper and ink and print.
Kelly Englemann: You can hold them.
Roane Hunter: It’s like really, really weird. Thank goodness we did not have high speed internet because the magazines were bad enough. I started looking at that and the thing certainly that I know today and work with so much is, you know, that trauma that that happened that was going on during that period, that obviously divorce is not a one day event.
There was a lot of chaos in the home that led up to that. But just growing up in that environment, there’s just going to be lots of anxiety and fear. And so when I discovered porn, it was like even at that young age, which is terrible it was an escape mechanism. And that just became the way of comfort and then started dating in high school. And met Eva, my wife. We’ve been married now 40 years, but we started dating in high school. Sex was a part of our relationship. And, you know, the porn thing was there. And then we got married going into our senior year in college. And in my head I thought that, you know, well that’s gonna fix it. And, and that’s pretty common. That’s what most men think, right? That somehow I’m gonna get married and then this won’t be an issue. Well, that’s the furthest thing from the truth because so much of kind of the addictive nature of it is that using it for a distress reduction behavior, and I don’t know about you, but in my experience marriage can actually create a lot of distress. Right?
Kelly Englemann: It can create distress. I think I’ve heard you talk about when, you know, you realized you had an issue with porn and you got help. You had the six month of a cloud of
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah.
Kelly Englemann: Being like free. Yes. And I think marriage is the same way. We have that first six months where everything is just absolutely incredible.
Roane Hunter: oh yeah. Right. Yeah. It’s even, I always say it’s one reason we don’t do premarital counseling anymore because, you know, the infatuation stage of relationship really is a, there’s a, a chemical brain fog.
Kelly Englemann: Yeah. It’s oxytocin, right?
Roane Hunter: It does. Oh, he’s wonderful. She’s great. And then you get married in reality hits cause the brain fog wears off and then you have to face real stuff. And, you know, growing up I, you know, the God influence in my life, the, there wasn’t much of that. I always say I grew up in the Easter Christian denomination. It’s a, it’s, I think it’s the biggest one out there. We went to church at Easter, maybe. And so I didn’t have this kind of influence of like, porn’s bad, don’t do that. It was just like air and water. And in my experience with so many men that is the, you know, the typical man’s experience. It’s like everybody’s looking at porn. Dad did it now grandfather did it. Buddies are doing it. And so porn’s just kinda like this thing that’s just kind of part of man world. And I don’t think women are fully aware of that. And maybe more so today just because of the prevalence with internet and smartphones. But certainly it was not that way. And so and I came to Jesus came to Christ when I was 20 years old sophomore at in college. And you know, that was a huge shift because I always say it’s a big deal when a 20 year old frat boy gives up drinking, cussing and smoking cause I wanted to be a good Baptist. Cause that’s what you have to do, right? If you don’t do those three things, you’re good. However, you know, and even I started, we got involved, we were very involved in church and always have been. But the thing about, you know, those things went away, but I became a specialist and kind of all of my addictive behaviors got focused in the area of, you know, the pornography and then it escalated and it was all hidden and all secret.
Eva had no idea, graduated from college, first job, and it escalates. It always does. That’s the nature of how any addiction works, right? And so mine, you know, I’m, I’m fighting it. I’m, we’re in church. I’m trying to do the right thing and not do this, but it was just too big because of the long-term, you know, process of conditioning my brain and body over a long period of time. And it was just overpowering. And so it escalated to strip joints and massage parlors, and then ultimately prostitutes. And I sincerely, it was like, you know, I, I’ve had, I’ve told my story many times in different settings and have done it where there’s like questions and answers. And I did a pastor’s conference one time and had a pastor that lets said, well, you obviously, you weren’t a Christian if you were doing that. There were a few things I wanted to say but-
Kelly Englemann: How did you respond to that?
Roane Hunter: I said, well, sir, you and I might have a difference of opinion because I sincerely love the Lord. I wanted to do the right things, but I just couldn’t because of the conditioned response, you know, the behavioral conditioning that occurred over so many years. I always tell people you cannot pray your way out of something that you have behaved your way into. And so, you know, when I came to Christ, it was very real. And then but I, I just. I kept doing those things and just dying on the inside and nobody knew and I couldn’t talk to anyone because of the shame.
Right. And shame is one of the drivers in any addiction and shame was a huge factor. And so Eva had no idea. And then one day we’re standing in the kitchen. We weren’t really arguing. And she was like, you seem down, what’s wrong with you? And the words came out of my mouth, you know, I have a problem with pornography.
And I literally, literally remember kind of turning around going, who said that? Cause there was no way I was ever gonna tell her. I, you know, in my head I was gonna figure out the key and fix this. But God knew what needed to happen and it had to get exposed, it had to be confessed it had to come out into the light.
And so that was the beginning of my journey in my recovery from this and. I, you know, I always, I’ve been at this for I’m 33 years in my recovery and I have not arrived. I’m still in recovery and I always will be. Certainly, it’s not anything like it used to be, but I know that if I don’t do the things I need to do, I’m certainly vulnerable and prone to go back to that and I don’t want to go back.
So we just always say recovery is just simply living the life that God intended us to live from the beginning. And, you know, the things that I do, I love what I do and you know, these, I do men’s groups and, you know, those are the types that some essential things. If a guy’s gonna deal with this in a real way, and those are the things that I just, you know, practice and I will until the day I die, I guess.
Kelly Englemann: Right. Yeah. Well, I, I just thank you so much for being here and sharing your story in such a raw and real way. Mm-hmm. , because I think it’s, At some level, most every man’s struggle it is, whether they admit it or not, there’s the pull there and the struggle there. And, you know, we want, my, my heart and passion for this podcast truly is to be able to develop conversation around sexual health, how it affects our overall health and stress management, how we manage our body’s burden of stress is a big part of that.
And so, in your story, that’s what I heard. Oh yeah. You had a major stressor at a time when you were introduced to something that gave you stress relief. Absolutely. And then later that became your bondage. Oh yeah. You know, you lived in bondage for how many years, telling yourself every day, yeah, I don’t wanna be doing this.
This is not… feeling right with my spirit. Yeah. And going back to it and going back to it and going back to it. So I feel like that’s, you know, that’s not unique. Some of us just had better tools of dealing with things like that.
Roane Hunter: Yeah.
Kelly Englemann: In our lives. Right?
Roane Hunter: Yeah. I mean, you know there, there’re things that are just more acceptable mm-hmm.
that are, you know, harmful in the way they’re harmful. Right. And this is such a common. Practice for men because we figure masturbation out early on. Right. And so, you know, I always say if you watch a little boy coming outta that stage of, you know, diapers and and, and he, he pulls that diaper off and he is running around the house, he’s probably going to grab his penis.
Right? And I’ve, you know, heard stories, you know, parents shaming a little boy for that. Boy, that is the last thing you need to do. Cause that’s just a natural, you know, it, it’s just comfort. It feels good. There’s nothing sexual whatsoever to that, right? But we do figure out that, wow, that feels good really early on.
And then get exposed to pornography way too early, which I don’t believe we should ever be exposed to it because of the destructive nature of it. But it just does a number on us. And because of what’s going on in the brain, it is so easy to get hooked into it. Especially today with this high-speed internet porn.
You know, they’ve done brain scans like, you know, nowadays the things that we’re learning about the brain and the tools that we have available, you know, the spec scans, you can kind of see how the brain fires up. And even in our training you look at a brain scan of a brain on porn and a brain on cocaine. And you cannot tell the difference. You can’t tell the difference.
Kelly Englemann: Yeah. I wanted to get into that brain chemistry. Oh yeah. Because there’s such a feedback loop to that. It is in the way of stress response, and then we can develop our brains and our stress response in a way that it just craves that.
Roane Hunter: Oh, yeah.
Kelly Englemann: You know, and so, you know, dopamine’s a big part of
Roane Hunter: that. Oh, it, it’s the driver. And now, You know, today we call the high speed internet porn. We call it crack cocaine. I’ve never done cocaine. I’ve never done crack. I’ve known people that have and they will tell you, you know, don’t, don’t ever, don’t ever do crack because it can, it’s so addictive. And, and the high speed internet porn has that same effect on the brain. And the reason for that is, is the novelty and the variety, and then the pleasure centered to the nucleus accumbens and what happens there in that loop. And it’s actually, it’s called the Coolidge Effect that has to do with the unending unlimited variety of something new. That is pumping that dopamine and that’s kind of what happens along the way.
Kelly Englemann: You’re so basically our brain gets used to that dopamine theat and it needs more stimulation Yeah. To create the same effect.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah.
Amanda: And that is one question that I had for you, Ron. Is there a particular discernible point that you had where you noticed that the typical, the magazines or anything weren’t the same for you anymore? That you needed more, you needed to push that barrier?
Roane Hunter: Yeah. I don’t know if I could say it. There was a recognizable point but I think it’s just like a, a bigger high right. Or a, you know, more of an escape or, yeah. I, I don’t think I was conscious enough aware enough to like, okay, I need to do this.
Right. It just devolved into that, which is, that’s what I see most often with the men that I’ve worked with over the years. It, it’s just kind of the natural evolution of the way this works, because it’s just like with any drug, there’s a tolerance that’s built up, and then it, it’s just not gonna have the same effect in whether it’s alcohol or drugs or porn or whatever it is. It’s like y you’re going for the bigger high, the, you’ve gotta find something that works better. Yeah.
Kelly Englemann: So one of the things in our clinic, when I started. Tiptoeing into male sexual health, and I’ve been treating female sexual health since 1997. Mm mm And it took me until 2018 to be willing to treat male sexual health.
But as my patient population got older, the things that I was hearing from my females is that, you know, they were going through menopause. Mm-hmm. , and they were gaining a little weight. They weren’t as comfortable with their body. Their body wasn’t as responsive as it used to be. Their husband wasn’t pursuing them the same way. They used to pursue them and. , you know, they were just feeling like things were falling apart. And I thought, okay, well the reason he’s not pursuing you is because he’s losing function.
Roane Hunter: Mm. Mm-hmm.
Kelly Englemann: And if we can improve his function, then that’s gonna improve her. So really honestly, I got into male sexual health to help the female.
Roane Hunter: Yeah, sure.
Kelly Englemann: So I thought, if I can get you guys on the same page, then things are gonna work better. The family’s gonna stay intact better. Mm-hmm. , there’s just gonna be a better cohesiveness. And so that’s how I got into this. And then once I got into this, we started seeing men coming in that couldn’t perform without porn. Right?
Amanda: Absolutely. And that
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah.
Amanda: Is one thing that you have spoke to as well with it being so readily available, it’s at your fingertips. Literally you can turn on your telephone right now. Your computer right now, any and everything that you are looking for is right there. Yep.
Kelly Englemann: Well, not only that, Amanda , you know, I have started looking into some financial information, right? And to the right of my screen are all of these popups. On hookups, oh, and porn. And I’m thinking these men that work in this industry that are on these sites every day, because they have to be on them from work, how do they protect themselves? Are there filters you can put on your computer? That keeps that stuff from not coming up, because to your point, it’s right there.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah. It you know, so often a guy’s trying to, you know, he’s in the fight and but, but yet it’s kind of these unwanted, you know, ads, mm-hmm. , it just, it, and it’s almost like everywhere you turn and certainly filters available. Accountability software is another, you know, we recommend that all the time.
Just, you know, there’s a number of filters. Cyber sitter, triple X Church, they have filters and accountability software. Covenant Eyes is another one. And you can Google that and, you know, we have a list that you know, we give clients to just like, cause it’s essential because it’s just too easily accessible. We always say it’s kind of the AAA engine. It, it, it’s anonymous, it’s affordable cause it’s free and it’s accessible. And it’s the accessibility today that is just so frightening. And, you know, kids get these phones and parents don’t put filters on ’em. I mean, I, I literally want to like beat parents with a stick. Like, what are you thinking? It would be like giving your kids, you know, he turned 16 and you just hand him car keys and you’ve never gotten him in the car to drive. It’s that destructive.
Kelly Englemann: Well, listen, I have true confession as a parent. I’m just gonna say it when the iPods came out, you know, all of my kids were preteens.
Yeah. And teenagers. I had no idea the iPod could get on the internet. Oh yeah. I just thought it was for music. Yeah. So I bought them the top of the line iPods. Yeah. You know, mother of the Year. And then six months later realized that they have full access to the internet- internet when they’re on wifi.
Ugh. Right. Yeah. And I felt horrible. I mean, so I think as parents sometimes we don’t even know. Right. Like, we’re not just so naive and unaware of what they do have access to now. Now everybody’s had an iPhone for a period of time. So I think we all kind of know now, but you know, back in the day when my kids were coming up, we just didn’t know.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah.
Kelly Englemann: What they had access to or I didn’t.
Roane Hunter: Well, and it’s almost like today they come out of the womb knowing how to work this stuff. They do. Right. They’re absolutely. It’s amazing. look at my little three year old granddaughter and she knows how to swipe on that iPhone to, you know. Right. Watch Baby Shark. It’s great.
Kelly Englemann: So, Roane, you mentioned that you didn’t think that porn. That people needed to see porn at all. Like it just didn’t need to exist. Mm-hmm. . Right. And so for the sexually curious person, how do they get educated? Is there like, is there a preferable way? We don’t live in the Garden of Eden anymore. I wish we did. Right. But we just don’t. Is there a preferable way to have sexual development in a way. Like how does that need to happen?
Roane Hunter: Yeah, certainly. You know, the, the best avenue is parents and most of the time what we find parents don’t like talking to their children about sex because of their own sexual shame.
Yes. And it’s one of the things that we work with parents all the time or is couples, is, is getting them comfortable whether there’s porn or infidelity issues or beyond, forget those. Most couples just struggle in just even talking, having a conversation about sex. Even in church, you know, you’ll hear the pastoral say, sex or something and everybody giggles, like little adolescent teenagers.
And it’s just really sad because like, as. We should be able to have conversations as certainly a married couple that are just normal, natural and not shaming. And but you know, most couples have their, even if they’ve been married 25 years, they have their little sexual dance. This really kinda like an adolescent teenage dance.
They’ve never matured beyond that. In that part of the relationship. Somebody throws the hint out the signal that, you know, is the signal and then it’s not received, and then is rejection. And so there’s so much around that and it causes so much conflict based on just the inability to communicate based on their own shame and issues that they never, they’ve never worked through or talked about.
Amanda: I see that so many times, even in the sexual treatments that I do. The female will come in, husband has no idea that she’s even there, that she’s even having any issues. Same thing with the male has never spoken to it about it with their partner. Even physicians, I have many people who have come in said, Hey, I’ve expressed these concerns to my doctor and he gave me the little blue pill.
And that’s where the conversation has ended. Yes. So even as medical professionals, we have often dropped the ball on having those open conversations, kind of putting that, pushing it to the side and not speaking freely about sexual re- relations.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah. And, and then, you know, as, I mean, parents have kinda abdicated this stuff to the schools or to something and you know, that is a nightmare right now. It is so dangerous. It’s so dangerous. Yeah, it really is. Cause the information there is, it is just, you know, it is way off and backwards.
Kelly Englemann: When I wanted to really put together some sexual health content for the community, one of the things that held me back was all of the information out there today, there is just. You know, oceans of information about be what, whatever you wanna be sexually being, right? Oh yeah. And I’m like, how do you, how do you reign this back in, in a healthy way and talk about it in a healthy way and open up conversations in families to be empowered, because you’re right, we’ve all. Or been guilty of in the past, just letting the school do the teaching Yeah.
As far as health and education and, you know, they’re gonna get that in, in their health class, so I don’t have to have that conversation. Yeah. As long as they know how everything works, yeah. We’re fine. Right?
Amanda: Mm-hmm. The information is out there, we’re just not directing it through the correct avenues. Oh yeah. You know, we need to be having these conversations in our homes, in our medical offices, in our families, and even in churches. Oh yeah. As well. Yes. For sharing instead of the internet. Yes. Videos and getting the information through that way.
Roane Hunter: Mm-hmm. Oh yeah. Most people, you know, learn about sex today through peers and porn. The, the two p’s and it’s not the parent p. Cause parents just do a pretty- a poor job of talking to their kids about it and making it just a natural conversation and, you know, know your kids are not gonna want to talk about it, but it’s kind of an obligation as a parent to go there. They probably don’t want to eat their broccoli either.
Right. that’s so true. True. Yeah. But most parents will just kinda shy away from us. Like, oh, he, he got embarrassed, or she didn’t really want me to talk to her about that.
Kelly Englemann: And that conversation. Just like your vegetables is not a one and done. No, it’s not. You know, our, our taste buds change every 14 days.
Yeah. We have to introduce the food to a child 30 times. Yeah. Before they may even try like it. Exactly. So how do we have that sexual conversation, you know, over time? Yeah. You know, massaging that conversation in, in a healthy way Yeah. Is gonna be important. Oftentimes as parents, I think we think it’s one and done.
Oh yeah. You know, we had that talk.
Roane Hunter: It’s like um, we talked about that already. The birds and the bees talk. I, I just, I, I laugh at that. I just, it’s ludicrous. Because it, it really is, it’s an ongoing conversation, or it should be because I mean, our kids and all of us today is just, we live in such a sexually broken culture that’s so far off from what is healthy sexuality, and they’re just getting a, you know, daily dose of it just about everywhere.
They’re, they turn from the music, from the movies, TV shows TikTok I mean all the crazy stuff Absolutely. That they are exposed to that is just so off.
Kelly Englemann: So let’s talk about the foundation of an unhealthy relationship. Yeah. I’ve been privy to some of your work. Branch and I have been in to see you and Eva.
You know, we were caught in, you know, some cycles in our marriage that were just unhealthy. You know, luckily we didn’t have porn issues to deal with and we didn’t have infidelity and, you know, we weren’t gonna divorce each other. Yeah. But we certainly weren’t moving in the direction of the, the marriage that I wanted to have or the marriage that he wanted to have.
And it was just because we were caught in cycles. Just unhealthy ways of communicating and unhealthy ways of treating each other. And so one of the things that we talked about was judgment, silence. What was the third thing? Yeah, secrets. Secrets, yeah. Secrets. Silence and judgment. I wanted to get into that.
Cause I feel like that’s the foundation to unhealthy, you know? And if we can understand the foundation to unhealthy, we can build healthy. Yes. Right. And I feel like I do. I grew up in the family of secret silence and judgment. Oh yeah. But that was where I grew up. Yeah, me too. And so, you know how many people, that’s where they grew up. And that’s the generation, you know, oftentimes that we come from. It’s just you don’t talk about things.
Roane Hunter: Yeah.
Amanda: Right, right. You just sleep, sweep it under the rug. It doesn’t exist. We can just move
Kelly Englemann: on. Yeah. And then we make up in our minds all the things that we fill in the gaps because we need to understand, I mean, that’s human nature to be don’t understand, understand, to be curious.
Yeah. So we fill in the gaps of things that probably were not even true in the first place. And then we feel judged. So we don’t talk about Right. And we don’t express, and that means we don’t work through. So talk a little bit about, about those concepts.
Roane Hunter: Yeah. It’s, you know, always like, you know, it’s interesting. I think, you know, God gives us the Bible and the stories in the Bible in the Old Testament, I mean, it really is just the story of family dysfunction, right? The, the, our, the patriarchs of our faith. When you look at the family system, they were mostly a train wreck when it comes to relationships and the way all this stuff played out.
And it’s like, God kind of shows us how this stuff plays out. and you know, the, the passage that talks about the sins of the fathers being passed on to the third, fourth, fifth, forever, generations until somebody decides to change it. It, when you kind of do a deep dive, that word sin there, it, it really is talking about the dysfunctional relational behaviors that are passed on and passed on and passed on, and those are the things that take us all out today. Nothing has new and nothing has changed. Still plays out.
Kelly Englemann: Humans are still humans, right? Yes. We still play those things out. Technologies change how we do it may . Change a little bit. Yeah.
Roane Hunter: That’s right. We text it now. Yeah. Right. . That’s right. But I think, you know, that just, you know, the secret silence and judgment that actually I think came from Brene Brown originally. The three things that kill intimacy, that kill relationship, and always remind people when we talk about intimacy, when I even say that has nothing to do with sex.
And, you know, that, that’s another misnomer. Even the term intimacy originally was a spiritual term attributed to God. And somewhere around the 1400s it got hijacked, then became a euphemism for sex. But the Latin root word simply means knowing and being known. I know God, He knows me obviously, but that was the original meaning of the word and it got hijacked and even made its way into Bible translations.
And so when you start looking at all of these things that we believe in, what we’ve learned, Boy, we’ve, we’ve got a lot to kinda unlearn and relearn. I’d say that’s what Jesus was talking about when he said, you’ve gotta be born again. All that stuff that you thought worked doesn’t work. You gotta learn like a little child and, you know, figure it out, right? Follow Him. And the secrets, silence, and judgment I call those the three beaver dams on the river of intimacy. And it’s so interesting because and we see this like when the secret comes out, whatever it is around the infidelity, whatever form that takes, when that comes out, when discovery happens, it, it’s pretty amazing how the couple actually starts talking and communicating and talking about things deeper than what they’ve been talking about.
Things go deep pretty quick when this stuff happens. And it’s interesting, even though they’re in crisis mode. They’ll actually report that they feel closer, more connected than they have in a long time or in forever. And you’ll hear those kinds of things. So it bears out the fact that the secret keeping is one of the thing that inhibits, it’s like a governor on your level of intimacy in the relationship. It’s gonna, there’s no way, as our good friend Eli Machen says, you, you can’t be in the bushes and at the show up place at the same time. And so if you’re hiding over in the bushes with secrets you’re not showing up in relationship, it’s gonna kill it. And so secret keeping just has no place. And, and then the other one is the silence. And I think that one is probably the curse of most men. We just want to go silent. You know, I don’t want to, you know, face the dragon. I wanna make her mad. And so we’ll just kinda stuff it, repress it, not talk about it. . Whereas, you know, wives y’all may be different, but Eva, you know, when something is bothering her, she’s not very silent.
Kelly Englemann: That’s what she says. I cannot see her that way. She seems so and mild, but she says that. Yeah, I’ve heard her say that. Yes. Look, I I can, I can let it out.
Roane Hunter: Yo- yeah. And in in marriage relationship, typically wives don’t, they’re not silent, but us men will go silent and that certainly creates a lot of there’s anger when we’re not like talking about. Hey, what you said honey, that was hurtful. Like, you know, those are the types of things we have to do in order to have a good relat. But when we start stuffing that, it’s gonna turn into resentment and it’s gonna go to anger. I always say, you know, resentment, when resentment and anger get married, they have a baby and his name is contempt. And when contempt shows up in the relationship, that’s insidious.
Kelly Englemann: You know, I, I read somewhere that that’s the number one relationship killer. Mm. It’s contempt. If you can see contempt in a relationship,
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah.
Kelly Englemann: Then it die. Danger. You’re, you’re, you’re in danger zone.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah. Oh, it’s, yeah. And typically-
Kelly Englemann: when, and you think about, you hear people talk to each other, couples talk to each other. I mean, you can, once you know that you kind of, I’m an observer, so I pick that out and I’m like, Ugh. Yeah. Not headed in a good direction. We’ve gotta fix that.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah. Yeah. And so the silence is just, you know, we’ve got to begin to come to the show, up place as we call it, inviting the other to talk about where I’m at, what’s going on, and being able to talk through things, have hard conversations without getting taken out.
You know it’s kind of the idea of a. You know, I think our goal in life, the desired outcome is to be a whole, well boundaried person. That’s what Jesus was. And, and you know, whole, well boundaried people are able to keep their agreements. They are emotionally regulated and they have relational skills.
I think that’s what a whole person is. And so when we don’t have the ability to do that, you know, we’ll just kinda shut down, withdraw, and go silent. And again typically women can do that too, but men in, in married relationships will do that most often.
Kelly Englemann: So while we’re talking about this, you know, you and Eva wrote a book together. Mm-hmm. , sex, God and Chaos. I highly recommend that book. You guys get the book, read it. But in that book, you guys talk about a way of communicating. on a daily basis.
Roane Hunter: Yeah.
Kelly Englemann: So that you set a rhythm to that communication to kind of break the pattern of silence. Oh yeah. So that FANOSS. Can you talk a little bit about that? Cause I think that would be a really good takeaway skillset for people to start really digging into as a couple.
Roane Hunter: Yeah. It, it’s just a very intentional, simple little exercise. It’s an acronym, FANOSS. F A N O S S. There’s two S’s, and F is for feelings. A is affirmation, inner needs. O is ownership. The first S is spirituality and second one is sobriety. And it’s like, I’m not asking the other person, like, how are you feeling? I’m just, as we say, coming to the show up place and I’m inviting Eva, I’m inviting the other to show up. It’s an invitation and it’s like, Hey, here I am and here’s what’s going on with me. And so, you know, if as we go through it, it’s just, I share, Hey, today I feel whatever. And you know, always with men always say, there’s really only four core emotions. I mean, we can do this, right? It’s, it’s mad, sad, glad, afraid. That’s it. You know, you don’t have to go beyond that. I mean, there’s more descriptive words, but those are the four core emotions. And so it’s like, today, I feel glad. Alright, great. And then Eva, her response to that would be, thanks for sharing, or thanks for letting me know. That’s the only response. Cause part of what we’re learning in this exercise is boundaries. Because if I were to say today, I feel glad. And she looked at me and she said, well, why can you do that? We’ve got all these things we gotta do, da da da da. Well, I’m gonna start kind of going on the defensive backing up. I’m like, oh, I don’t really wanna talk to you because you feel judged. I really thought Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I really thought I was in a good place. How? How? I didn’t know this, you know? Thanks for letting me know. I’m, yeah. I’m kind of crazy . But that’s what we do. Yeah. And that’s where we go. But if she just says, thanks for sharing, thanks for letting me know. I might even, you know, go a little deeper with that feeling and say, yeah, I feel glad because of this, this, and this. You don’t have to in the way we lay it out.
But some couples do it. It elicits more conversation, which is, that’s what I think we all want. It’s what wives they know it’s what they need. Men don’t know it’s what we need cause we haven’t been told, we haven’t seen anybody do it. But men want it too, right? At least don’t know. And they have no value for it. And then the next one is affirmation. It’s just, I’m going to give Eva an af, I’m going to affirm her in some way. It could be her character quality, it could be something that she did for me. But I’m just gonna give her an affirmation. She’s gonna say, thanks for sharing. And then she’s gonna do the same for me. And then the next are needs. And we just, there’s basically three forms of needs. An emotional need, a physical need, or a practical need. An emotional need could. And we always say, we’re gonna keep sex out of FANOSS so we’re not gonna ask for that. And here’s the thing, sex is not a need. Okay? This is for the men. Men, sex is not a need, it is a desire.
Kelly Englemann: I’m so glad you said that, cause we could live without sex. Right. You know, there are people that actually do that.
Roane Hunter: Throughout recorded history, I, I haven’t come across it, have never seen it. Nowhere ever has a man died because of lack of orgasm has not happened yet. But because of the sex craze culture and what we’re taught, men begin to believe, I need this. And nope, it’s not a need, it’s a desire. And it’s more non-sexual touch, which is important. One of the things that happens often in a relationship, I tell men this all the time, you know, every time your wife comes over and just kind of rubs your arm, that doesn’t mean she wants to have sex.
She’s actually being affectionate. And if you go to sex in your head every time that happens, guess what will happen? She’ll quit coming over and rubbing your arm and she’ll quit touching you because every time she does that, you’re, you start pushing for sex. and it’s non-sexual touch, which is a very important part of every relationship.
And so, you know, it may be that hey, let’s sit on the couch and watch a movie and I wanna put my arm around you. Some form of non-sexual physical touch. An emotional need is, is simply like, Hey, I just need to hear that you love me. I need to hear that you like doing life together. And then practical need is like, Hey, can you stop by the store and pick up milk. Right, right. And you know, you can just pick one of those needs. You don’t have to do all three. And this is the only one where we deviate in the thanks for sharing. Cause if Eva said, “Hey, I need to hear that you love me”. And I just looked at her and said, thanks for sharing that, probably you-
Kelly Englemann: probably would not go over well.
Roane Hunter: Yeah. So there’s a little, that’s the only place where we actually, if you’ve got that to give and, and you know, sometimes it may be you don’t have it to give and you may say, you know, I just, I’m not there right now. And that’s okay. It doesn’t always have to go the way that the other wants it to.
Kelly Englemann: That’s part of boundaries, right?
Roane Hunter: It is. Absolutely.
Kelly Englemann: And respecting those boundaries.
Roane Hunter: Yeah. Yeah, no doubt. And and so that’s the needs part. And then ownership is just, it’s something that I’ve done that I need to own in the relationship. We call this, we’ve gotta keep the slate clean. Cause you know, in any relationship where there’s a rip, there’s gotta be a repair.
If I’ve done something, which I’m prone to do about every other hour, I’ve got to go do repair work. I’ve gotta make amends. I’ve got to own that. And so, and you know, oftentimes in ownership thank goodness today, even us like. You know, I don’t, I can’t think of anything I need to own. Usually yeah, we can both come up with something.
And it may be that, you know, an argument that we had, it may be how I had spoken to her or, you know said something sh I was short. I may wanna circle back to that and say, you know when we when we had that argument, I’ve already owned this, but I just. Go back. I just wanna say, I, that’s not the man I want to be.
I don’t want to talk to you that way. Or it could be something current. And, and, but it’s just ownership is so important. And then Eva would simply say, thanks for sharing. And then she would do her ownership. And then in, you know, spirituality is just simply, how have I experienced God in the last 24 hours?
And that could be in a thousand different ways, right? Mm-hmm. , we get. Black and white with this, it’s like, well, I didn’t have my quiet time, or, you know, I have my quiet time. Well, no, we can experience God in a sunset. A walk in the woods, a conversation with a friend. Music. What, how have you experienced God?
Where has God shown up in your life? And so you shared that. And then Eva would say, thanks for sharing. And then she would share her spirituality on, on that day. And then the last one is sobriety. And, you know, Peter writes in Second Peter, first Peters one of the, one of those. He talks about you know, you know, be sober-minded in all things.
And boy, we can be unsober in a lot of different ways. You know, even I, I still check in around my sexual addiction. I’ve been in recovery 33 years, but I am always gonna be intentional and we don’t wanna sweep it under the rug. I don’t want to do that. That’s one of the things we see so often with any of this, where maybe it’s been an affair and, you know, they kind of gutted their way through that.
And then we’re never gonna talk about that again. Well, that’s not good, right? Because we need to be talking about, first, we need to figure out how did we get there? What led that person to go do that? What were the dynamics? How did this happen? And then we need to be aware of that. We need to be talking about that probably forever.
Because it just doesn’t go away. Those temptations, those things that we all face are gonna be there. And so I still check in with Eva around that. And Eva checks in and her kind of codependency of making me her drug of choice, looking for all of her safety in me instead of looking to God.
Cause that’s what she did for a long time. And you can lose yourself in that. And so Eva talks about where she is and her sobriety of just like, you know, not trying to manage me or worrying about what I’m doing. And so that’s, and, and we will often check in just like even, I mean, we both have a tendency to work too much and for life to get out of balance. Right? So we talk about some, you know, we, we may check those in, but we always, you know, I’m always gonna be checking in around the, the sexual brokenness part for sure.
Amanda: So it sounds like you guys have a really good, great communication base built. Do you have any tips for people who are just starting on this journey who maybe don’t have that foundation of a good communication as of yet?
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah. I would. I would just say baby steps, , because you know, the tendency in all of this for all of us is, is always to revert back to the old pattern of the way that we related. And like we’ve got to begin to find ways to where we can do it and make it safe for one another. And just like this little FANOSS exercise, it is a boundary building exercise along with you know, when couples go through this, they will say, and I mean you can do that in 10 minutes or less.
I really feel connected. So it’s finding ways to keep it safe and be very guarded. Even, you know, we teach couples when they’re doing FANOSS, if conflict erupt. Call a time out because we want this to be a positive experience, not a dreaded one. And if you start having conflict, when you’re trying to do a connecting exercise, you’re probably not gonna want to do it.
Yeah. Even I used to have a, it was a, in our house in, we lived in Atlanta for 20 years and the, the house off the our bedroom had a little sitting area and a fireplace, and there was a love seat. and I used to call that thing the hate seat because that’s where we would sit and have our talks and Oh, I hated having our talks.
Right? Right. Because it’s like I’m trying to figure out how to communicate and do this intimacy thing and I, you know, got to where I hated that word. And so I just, yeah. I call it the hate seat because that’s what happens if we don’t create a space in, in a structure to where we are learning how to do this in better ways.
Amanda: And I hear you say a lot of, I feel statements. Is that really a good way kind of, of opening communication? It, it kind of, It doesn’t put the blame on the other person. Oh, yeah. But expresses how you feel.
Roane Hunter: Oh, totally. One of the best little phrases and when Eva started doing this, oh, it was, I mean, it really is a, it was a big shift because especially in case, you know, with betrayal and, you know, the partner has got a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear, and it’s like anything that they like, you know, where were you at?
You know I tried to call you, you didn’t answer, you know, you said you’re at work. Those kind of things. And when Eva started doing this, this one phrase, you know, the story in my head, Right. It kept it on her side of the fence because if she came with, you know, where were you? I, you know, I tried to call your office.
You weren’t in the office. Like, I, I mean, immediate defensive, I mean, cause I don’t know, I was at, in my boss’s office or whatever. I, I wasn’t doing anything. But when it comes, you know, with that tone and kind of that mindset, it’s like I, I, I, I would sit there and go, oh, I must have been done, done. I did something cause I walk around with, you know, so much shame and guilt.
And when that gets fra, you know, when it’s approached that way. But when she began to shift and say, Hey, you know, I tried to call, you know, you weren’t in your office. You know, the story in my head is this. Wow. Because now she’s talking about what’s going on with her rather than, Some feeling like it’s some accusation.
Kelly Englemann: And, and then you can have empathy with her. Oh, and I can, and respond in a way that says, yeah, listen this. And also reassurance instead of defensive
Roane Hunter: Oh, yeah.
Kelly Englemann: Angry.
Roane Hunter: And all that. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s just a, that’s just a simple but great, great tool to learn.
Amanda: I think it’s easy to see why we might have some intimacy issues. And it’s hard to even talk about sexual relations or sexual function if we day to day are having troubles talking about, you know, basic concepts and all-
Kelly Englemann: Yeah. I’ll say we were not born with these skills. No. And our family of origin oftentimes sets the tone. Yeah. And if we don’t realize how much power we have to set the tone within our homes and families mm-hmm. , then we just continue that whole cycle. Oh yeah. So I do really appreciate the work that you and Eva do in our community with LifeWorks. Tell us a little bit about what you guys have going on now. I know there’s now multiple therapists.
Roane Hunter: Oh yeah.
Kelly Englemann: Multiple locations. Multiple retreat opportunities for men. And I’ll say this personally, is that when my husband and I were going through challenges in our marriage, one of the things that allowed me to give him grace was because he was seeking in the right direction. He was seeking God, he was in a group of men Yep. That were pouring into him. And so I could back off and say, there’s nothing I can say in the moment that’s gonna make this better. He’s smart, he’s seeking in the right direction, he’s gonna figure it out. So that gave me a lot of comfort. And knowing I didn’t have to be the police. Yeah. Amen. I didn’t have to be, you know, the authority. And so, you know, you’ve said before, you know, we heal in community. I believe that fully. Yeah. And so tell us about the community that you guys have.
Roane Hunter: Oh, yeah. You, you know, Kelly, what comes to mind as you say that, you know, Proverbs 31, you know, the, the, the biblical picture of the Godly woman. Yes. And it’s great passage, you know, and I always ask people, where was the husband in that passage? Right.? If you, cause nobody knows where the husband was cause it’s about the Godly woman. But there’s one reference to the husband and it says that he sits at the gates with the elders of the land.
He’s sitting with wise men, men that are moving in the same direction, men that get life, that get all of this stuff because obviously that woman, she was loved well cause she had a, she- it was, she had, it was, she had it going on. But you know, for a woman to be able to function at that level, she’s probably got a man that’s loving her well.
And so it, I just think it’s interesting that that passage illustrates the importance of how men need other men. And we do. And you, we always say, we’ve got more resources right here than you’ve got problems because of all the things that are available. Even I, we do couples intensives. We do those in group settings.
Typically it’s limited to six or eight couples. If we have you know our other therapists working with us it’ll be 12, but we’re still gonna split up into two groups of six. And those are just powerful opportunities because we use a lot of what we call experiential therapy where you’re actually engaging the brain and the body instead of just sitting on a couch cognitively talking. Even research shows that’s not very effective.
Kelly Englemann: I was gonna say, you know, one of the things in healing the brain Oh yeah. It has to be in motion. Yes. You know, so I love that. I didn’t know you guys did that.
Roane Hunter: That’s awesome. Oh, yeah. And then we also do what we call one-to-one intensives where a couple, they may not want to go and be with a, in a group setting, and so they will do either a two-day or just three day intensive you know, like nine to five three full days, one-to-one with this couple. And it’s the same work that we do in the intensives where it’s a group setting. But it is it, it’s just, it’s powerful because of the nature of it and the experiential therapy, it’s much more impactful.
Plus you get out of the kind of the, you know, fire drill of the week or the fight of the week or whatever that you have to process for your hour in therapy, and you don’t actually do any real work, right? And so it’s, it’s one of the best avenues for any couple to do something like that, because it’s nine months, a year, maybe of a year’s worth of therapy in, you know, three days.
And so, we have those. Eva does she does retreats, intensives with partners and partners. That’s just our term for those partners of sexual betrayal. And I do men’s intensives. And we do men’s, I do men’s coaching weekends, which is different than men’s intensive. The intensives are clinical.
And like these coaching weekends that we do are just, it’s just more of kind of a men’s coaching weekend. I’m not there acting as a therapist. There’s no counseling going on. It’s just men coming together learning how to do life in a better way and actually experiencing deep community maybe for the first time in their life.
And so I do, out of that, I do these men’s adventure trips. We go out west every year for a week in some mountain setting in August to get out of Mississippi, cause it’s really hot here in August. Right. And and then I also do other men’s coaching trips like fly fishing and Montana and fly fishing for bonefish in The Bahamas.
Yeah. Yeah. Terrible, terrible things.
Kelly Englemann: Terrible places to, to be.
Roane Hunter: Why would any man want to go through that? Right. How awesome is that? Yeah. And so, you know, and even our other therapists do intensives and retreats as well as well. So yeah, there’s just, there’s just a whole lot available. That’s awesome.
Kelly Englemann: Yeah. So give us some tips for men that are struggling. With pornography addiction or, or maybe they don’t, not even considering it. I know you don’t like the word addiction either. Yeah. Not even considering it an addiction, but just the pattern of behavior surrounding pornography and say it is affecting them in a sexual way. So they they’re losing sexual function Yeah. Or not able to function because of what are the steps that you guys walk them through as far as, you know, kind of walking out of that?
Roane Hunter: Yeah. You know, I, my, I always say I’ve got you know, two certifications and sex addiction work. And I also, I are one. However, I just, the term is just almost, I don’t wanna say it to misnomer however people hear that term, or even porn addiction. . And I just, I’m hard pressed to call it that something. In my case it was just certainly classic addictive sexual behavior. But most often with men, what I see with porn is more of a, it’s, it’s more of a pattern where they may use porn and then they may not look at it for a month.
They may not look at it for two months, three months six months, a year, two years. And I see this cycle where it’s like, it’s still there and it’s, it’s a pattern and it’s kind of something that they will go back to. But it’s not like they’re waking up at, you know, seven in the morning and jumping on the computer addicted to porn, right.
And looking at porn till midnight. It’s just more sporadic, but it’s a pattern. So if it’s a pattern and it’s something you don’t want to do, then it’s a problem. And, you know, the first thing I tell guys is like, number one, you just, you gotta get honest with yourself, like, Houston, we have a problem.
And this thing is affecting you a lot more than you even realize way before it gets into the, you know, the, the, you know, the clinical term that we use now is PIED, which is the porn induced erectile dysfunction. And we’re seeing that just more and more, especially in the younger population cause they got exposed to the internet. You know, the internet came along in 2000 around then, and, you know, say the, you know, young guys, now we’re in 2022, he’s been looking at porn since he was 10 years old and now he’s 30 and he’s getting married. Well, he’s seen hundreds of thousands of images. over a long period of time.
And so the real thing does not, is not going to have the arousal effect that goes on in the brain. And so he cannot even get an erection. And it is the saddest thing because maybe his new little wife, she had no idea that he was even looking at porn, but yet it’s so deep in his life he cannot perform.
Amanda: I’ve seen that in practice. Yeah. As well. And a lot of people just don’t know what to do about it. Yeah. Is there anything in particular that they can do, steps they can take to break that habit.
Roane Hunter: Yeah. The number one thing is you’ve gotta get, you’ve gotta achieve, you’ve gotta get to sobriety. So you’ve gotta stop, you know, kind of feeding the beast and what even research shows.
It’s interesting in the older population with men, you know, cause you know, like for me it was primarily, it was like it was magazines back in the day. And you know what it shows, it’s usually somewhere in the neighborhood of about eight to nine months where if he gets sober and is not looking at porn performance, you know, function will begin to happen. And then in the younger population, because of the high speed internet and the brain effect, it shows about 12 to 14 months.
Kelly Englemann: Wow.
Roane Hunter: It’s interesting.
Kelly Englemann: So it’s a rehab process, rehabbing the brain’s responsiveness to that stimulation.
Roane Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. And it can, you know, you, you, you certainly can get it back, right, for sure.
Kelly Englemann: And that’s what they need to hear. Yeah. You can get that function back. Yeah. It’s just retraining the brain to do that.
Roane Hunter: But you’ve gotta stop, you gotta get off of the drug. Yes. Yeah. And you know, I believe that the I don’t know of a better way. I always tell guys I’m looking for it. I haven’t found it.
I’ve been in recovery 33 years. If I find it, I’ll actually be doing infomercials and I’ll be flying around in a jet because I would make a lot of money, but I haven’t found it. And the thing that I know that works and that I keep doing is I keep showing up and connected with the men that I do life with.
Not just some accountability group, but it’s men that, I mean, we know each other. It really is intimacy. Again, not sex, but an intimate relationship. And I tell men all the time, you’re. You’re never gonna be able to have an intimate relationship with your wife unless you begin to practice an intimate relationship with other men. Because we don’t want to practice with our wives, cause y’all scare us to death. Right. Oh my God.
Kelly Englemann: We kind of noticed that, haven’t we Amanda?
Roane Hunter: Women Yeah. Women don’t know how much, you know, you scare us.
Kelly Englemann: I, we, we had no idea.
Roane Hunter: No, no idea. Yeah. But it’s like, to get honest about this stuff. Mm. Man, you know, no man wants to do that. It’s like even, you know, help is a four letter word. And then vulnerability. You know, it’s very vulnerable to begin to share on this level because I might get judgment, you know, I might get shame I might get anger and boy, you know, that taps into my, all my fears of rejection, my fears of abandonment that we all have.
And so we’ll just avoid it and try to make it on our own. , but the best way to practice intimacy is like beginning to find men that understand this stuff. And I’m not talking about going out in the woods and crying or some kind of, you know, mamby pamby type stuff. But it’s just having conversations on a deeper level and going deep about your fear, your anxiety, the reality of what’s really going on in your life, and so that to me is where we’ve gotta begin to practice. I’ve gotta begin to open up and then I can go home and I can get on the field, right? Because you know, the men in my life, you know, they’re gonna encourage me, they’re gonna support me. They’re not gonna be mad at me If I share some of my crazy thoughts and say some of the crazy things I say, they’re, they’re gonna laugh and go, yeah, me too.
But my wife doesn’t always respond that way. And so, but if I’m practicing doing that and I’m beginning to practice emotional regulation, that if somehow something I say she doesn’t like, or it’s upsetting to her, or she takes it the wrong way, I’m able to kind of respond rather than react. I can be responsable responsible instead of reactive, which is just reenacting probably my old messages, my own old trauma that she’s tapping into. Right. Like, you’re not enough. And I gotta defend that.
Kelly Englemann: Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Yeah, good stuff. Such richness here today. Thank you so much, Ron, for joining us and I can’t say enough about how blessed we are to have you guys in our community, you know, in arm’s reach of our patient population. It’s been a tremendous resource for us to be able to say, listen, we know that number one you can call. And number two, we have someone in our community that can help you heal. And so it’s, it’s just a blessing to our practice, for sure.
Roane Hunter: Mm-hmm. Well, thank you guys. Certainly enjoyed our time together as always.
Amanda: Oh, thank you.
Kelly Englemann: Thanks guys, for listening. I hope this information really sparked some interesting curiosity in you. If you liked what you heard, please follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Again, you can reach out to us at Enhanced Wellness Living enhancedwellnessliving.com, and then of course you can give us a call, (601) 364-1132.