Dr. Laurie Watson is a podcaster, author and sexologist. She started her podcast, Foreplay Radio, in Feb. of 2016, and she now has 249 episodes and 4.3 million total downloads. In this episode of The Earfluence Podcast, Jason and Cee Cee talk with Dr. Laurie about how she got her start, why she couldn’t enjoy Hamilton the Musical and how podcasting has improved her business, Awakenings counseling.
Jason Gillikin: Welcome to the Earfluence podcast, which is a podcast about podcasting from a podcast production company. I’m Jason Gillikin, CEO of Earfluence, and with me as always is Cee Cee Huffman, social media strategist, content strategists, editor, doer of all things at Earfluence.
What’s going on Cee Cee?
Cee Cee Huffman: Hello, how are you doing today?
Jason Gillikin: Great. Great. What’s going on in your world?
Cee Cee Huffman: Well, I got a pie this week from Slice Pie Company. I ate pretty much half of the pie already. It’s a gluten-free chocolate chess pie, a pie I never thought I was going to be able to eat again.
And it is absolutely so good. We released the Vision of a Champion project that we’ve been working on with UNC soccer coach Anson Dorrance, and so that was really exciting to share that with all of my friends because, as a newly graduated Tar Heel, it was kind of fun to be like, “Look at me working with Anson Dorrance.”
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. And the first episode was Mia Hamm. Mia-freaking-Hamm.
Cee Cee Huffman: Literally. So it’s like, “Hey guys! This is what I’ve been doing post-grad … talking with Anson Dorrance and Mia Hamm.”
Hope that’s OK. Yeah. So, it’s been a good week.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. And upcoming on that show, just legends of the soccer community and coaching community.
Roy Williams will be on in a few weeks. Crystal Dunn. I mean, Jessica McDonald, I mean all these huge names. I’m so excited to share more of these episodes.
Cee Cee Huffman: Yeah, I never really saw myself like, being so involved with a lot of these athletes, but we also have Dr. Debby Stroman’s podcast, “If You Only Knew,” that we’ve been working on, and there’s just a lot of big athletes on there as well.
And I actually sent that to one of my friends the other day because they’re really interested in like, the race and sports conversation, and I forgot that I was the intro and outro voice for it. So I sent it to them and they were like, “Is that you?”
I was like, “Oh my gosh, yes!” It was funny.
Jason Gillikin: Oh, Dr. Debby is, is great.
And we’ve got another doctor on the show today. So we have a guest Dr. Laurie Watson, and Dr. Laurie is a podcasting – I don’t want to say she’s a podcasting legend, she is a podcast success story in this local area, for sure. She has been podcasting since February 10th, 2016. She’s at 249 episodes, and get this, 4.3 million downloads of her podcast.
Her podcast is called Foreplay Radio, she’s got 1,200 ratings, she’s got a book out called “Wanting Sex Again,” she’s got a marriage counseling and sex therapy practice. So excited to bring on Dr. Laurie Watson today to the Earfluence podcast. Dr. Laurie, how are you doing?
Dr. Laurie Watson: Great. Thanks for having me. This is fun.
Jason Gillikin: Yep. Well, Dr. Laurie, I’m sorry that this is going to be far less interesting content than your normal, than your normal podcast. So, just tell us –
Dr. Laurie Watson: Maybe your listeners are sorry, too. Maybe they want to listen about sex.
Jason Gillikin: Right. Yeah. So if you’re looking for that type of podcast, switch on over, you know, maybe hit the pause button on this and come back to it.
Cee Cee Huffman: Yeah,definitely come back.
Jason Gillikin: But go to Foreplay Radio, pretty incredible. Tell us, just in a nutshell, what the podcast is all about, Dr. Laurie.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Sure. We are two psychotherapists. I’m a certified licensed marriage family therapist, and so is my cohost, George Fowler. And I am also a sex therapist. And George is a global leader in couples therapist training. And so, we come together. It’s actually a professional show, but we’re very frank about our conversation with sex. And we talk about – kind of, from a man and a woman’s point of view – all the difficulties, the problems, the joy that happen in a sexual relationship. And, you know, from our clinical perspective and from our own personal lives, our own separate marriages, we are not partnered together, but we are business partners. And so, it’s really a conversation we think most people would love to have, and we try to demo it in a really natural way how people can talk about sex with each other, and what’s important and how it can be an exciting part of our lives in committed relationships.
Jason Gillikin: That’s awesome. Now it, and I’ve listened to some episodes and it was very well done. I mean, you are – it’s very deserving that you’ve got all these downloads and people interested in this because it’s a, it’s a great show. So, you know, I’m curious though, you were, you were very early in, in starting up your podcast.
And one thing that I want to get into on this show is, you know, how, how has this podcast changed your business? Because that’s, that’s what a lot of our clients are looking for is to really have more opportunities to do other things and to grow their personal brands, grow their business brands, get more opportunities for speaking, for consulting for their practice. Just build them up, amplify, what we say, “amplify your expertise,” but backing up a little bit. You were early, it was 2016. How did it all get started? And why did you do it?
Dr. Laurie Watson: That’s a fun question. I was, I published a book, “Wanting Sex Again,” and the Raleigh News and Observer picked it up and published it on Valentine’s Day in 2012, I believe.
And my practice really took off from that point, and then I started to be called and invited into radio shows and television shows, and I was on My Carolina Today for a year as a sexpert and Bob and the Showgram really gave me a great boost. They invited me as a guest there, and their station approached me and said, “Hey, you know, we have this half hour slot that is a little not consistent. It’s a half an hour before the UNC-Chapel Hill football and basketball games, and we wanted to know if we could sell it to you cheap.” I thought, you know, that would be a huge opportunity to be on the radio and do my own thing. And so I said yes, and we recorded and they listened to it, and they said, “Nope, we can’t, it’s a little too sexual.” And, you know, I think to be fair, it probably wasn’t very good at that point. We didn’t know where we were going and what we were doing. And so it might’ve been both things, and they said, you know, “We just, we realize now that people are going to be driving to the game with kids in the car, and this is not going to fly.”
Jason Gillikin: Wait, what, what, what was the pilot episode then that you sent it?
Dr. Laurie Watson: The pilot episode was “This is why we were Foreplay radio,” before the game, right?
Cee Cee Huffman: That’s funny. I love that.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Yeah, it was, it was fantastic. And so, I thought it was going to be fantastic. And so when that didn’t work out, I kind of, in my own disappointments, like, you know, just forget it, I’m going to do my own thing. I’m going to podcast. Because as I taught around the community, I taught at Chapel Hill and at Duke and their medical schools, and even with doctors and patients, and I mean, bunko groups, you name it, I was a speaker. And some of the information that I thought was really just run of the mill, everybody knew this, common stuff, common sense.
They were just floored. They were like, “We don’t know this about sex. We really don’t.” And so, I thought, you know, just as a service, I’m going to put these lectures out there and hope to help a few people and we’ll see what happens. And I don’t know how many people listened to the first day. I did a launch, but I really didn’t know quite as much as I know now about launching and I don’t know, we probably had a hundred people listen. We were like, “hooray!” This is awesome. But I had no real expectations for it gathering momentum. I’m on my third cohost, and I mean, George is probably by far are the most experienced in speaking. He brings his own platform to it. He’s amazing in terms of his knowledge, he’s a brilliant therapist and not only that, but he is so vulnerable from a macho perspective about his, you know, knowledge and lack of knowledge about sexuality and, you know, he’s like all the time sort of saying, you know, “Wow, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know where to find that place on her,” and all. So it’s a lot of fun, but I think I’m not sure if we had a big break, but eventually we started to grow and I was noticing, wow, our downloads are increasing.
And that was exciting. And yeah, I think, you know, now we’re at 4 1/3 million downloads and we have 200 – over 200,000 downloads a month. We have had a national sponsor reach out to us. I reached out to another national sponsor, and so we are finally going to make money, which is really exciting.
And there’s been a lot of opportunities that have happened because of it. I think that the most exciting thing to me is I get hundreds of letters. And people say, you know, “You’ve changed our lives. We are talking to each other. We’ve been married for X number of years,” some of them many, many years – decades.
And they say, “We’ve never talked about sex to each other, and listening to you, you’re so natural. You make it so easy to talk about it. You know, it’s informative, but it’s not salacious, and so it’s something that we can really resonate with and learn from.” And that probably is the thing that just, a nonmonetary on a personal level, that reward of getting those letters and lots and lots and lots of them.
And what is nice too, is very little critical letters come in and I’m a blogger, and all I get on my blog is critical letters, so this is kind of nice.
Jason Gillikin: That’s so great that you’re making a difference, and was that one of the reasons that you wanted to do this was to make that difference and, or did, did it have any specific goals in place?
Because you’re having to put some time into this, like when, when you’re doing this and you’re doing this launch, you put out three episodes you probably had in the can, another 10 episodes or something like that. And you’re taking the time. It’s a lot of time involved in this. You know, were there specific goals for, for it?
Dr. Laurie Watson: Well, I’m pretty naive. And I think it really was just let’s get the word out and see what happens. And, you know, this was four and a half years ago, so we didn’t have any hope of making money on it really. I mean, we thought maybe we could make our costs back and that we would expand our practices, and that was sort of our minimal goal.
And that certainly has happened, and I’ll talk about specifically how, but, I mean, I think some of it was just some altruism it’s like, wow, people are suffering out there and we have answers. We understand theoretically how to help people solve sexual problems. That there is actually a theory about it.,And people don’t know that, you know, it’s just a shot in the dark and they get these messages from Reader’s Digest type articles, you know, go by lingerie, do date night, and then there’s so much discouragement that nothing changes permanently and they don’t know how to secure the sexual relationship.
And I think in my theory, I do know how to do that. So, that’s kind of why I first put it out there hoping to just develop the practice and see what would happen. I didn’t have any lofty goals, I had no idea we would be this popular.
Jason Gillikin: Now, was there any competition at the time? Like was there, was there anybody else who was doing a, like a sex education type of podcast?
Dr. Laurie Watson: There are a couple competitors, certainly, in my field. The biggest competitors are Sex with Emily and Dan Savage’s Lovecast, but they’re different than we are. I mean, I think, some of it, Sex with Emily is about her own dating life, and she is a sexologist, but there’s more gratuitous kinds of content.
And Dan Savage, you know, he’s a columnist, but he’s not a sex therapist. So I don’t – I think he gives advice, but he doesn’t have a theoretical background. So yeah, there wasn’t much out there like us, and there still isn’t much out there like us in terms of really coming from a philosophy and a theory to help people.
Cee Cee Huffman: Well, I feel like a lot of people are just too afraid to actually talk about it. So, I feel like they just need, I mean, you’re one of the people who’s brave enough and smart enough to know how to do it. And I think that’s great, but how do people like – the negative reviews that you get, how do you deal with those?
Because you get a lot of positive, but sometimes, you know, the negative can outweigh that.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Well, given that I’m a sex therapist, you’ll understand this metaphor. I say you got to wear steel panties. You know, you really do. I think, you just have to let it drop at your feet and say, “I have a mission. I have a purpose and I believe in my content,” and there’s going to be naysayers.
Somebody told me early on, it’s like, you know what, don’t beat yourself up. There’s plenty of people out there who are going to do it for you. So just, you gotta hold on in your heart to your own vision, and that’s kind of what I’ve done. I think again, as a writer, I am a blogger, I’ve dealt with this for many, many years, you know, over 10 years of negative feedback and you just, you gotta ignore it.
Jason Gillikin: And that’s really great advice. I’m curious, like what, what has this podcast done for your business? Like you, you said you had a book that was out, and you had a practice, but how has this podcast helped you connect further with your, with your audience, with your patients? What has it meant for media?
What has it meant for the book? Like, what has it meant for your business overall?
Dr. Laurie Watson: So I have, gosh, grown so much in – first of all, it’s given me a national audience. People are aware of me as a sex therapist, and it’s given me opportunities to speak, opportunities to do therapy and intensives, which are expensive weekends where couples fly into Raleigh, and then we work on their sex life in a really concentrated way for basically 12 to 16 hours, and you can just make stuff so much headway. And so, certainly that has been a huge, fun opportunity. The media has paid attention. I mean, we’ve been in the New York Times, we’ve been in Time Magazine, Buzzfeed, you name it – Huffington Post, wherever they’re talking about podcasts and wherever they’re talking about sex therapy, suddenly I’ve kind of risen to the top in terms of as a commentator and for opinions. And that is so exciting. I can’t sleep. I went to go see Hamilton, and I leaned over to my husband and I said, “I can’t stop thinking about work. I know I’m supposed to be paying attention here, but what I’m doing is my life passion and so exciting, and the opportunities are so exciting.”
So, you know, just to have that kind of influence yeah. to deliver hope on a scale that, you know, we can actually help therapists understand how to do this now, so that the, you know, it’s just exponential in terms of the reach. So it’s just very exciting. I mean, certainly it’s been profitable, too, in terms of the business development profitable.
I’m really only now more than breaking even on sponsorship. So four and a half years, I think some of this, the hold back was that it was sexual content, and so some sponsors didn’t want to do that. Whereas I think most people at this level would be having sponsors, you know, beat the bushes to find them.
And, but for me, there was some difficulty in that.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. And I’ll get inquiries, a fair mouth from people who. I think that their podcast is going to attract sponsorships right away, and I kind of have to talk them down a little bit because, you know, maybe it will, you know, maybe there’ll be a, a viral sensation, but the reality is the Joe Rogan’s of the world, the Bill Simmons’ of the world, the Jenna Kutcher’s of the world are very rare. And it’s, it’s hard to do that. And you’re only gonna get about a $25 CPM, so $25 per thousand downloads, you know, per the first 30 days of your show, which isn’t much. You know, so let’s say you get a thousand downloads, which is, which is very good, you know, for the first 30 days, you’re only looking at a hundred dollars for an ad spot.
So, you know, like the, the benefit to podcasting for businesses is going to be much more than that, and the fact that you’re just now breaking even kinda, it doesn’t hide it, but it glosses over the, the business benefit, right? Of –
Dr. Laurie Watson: Well we are now more than breaking even, just for the record. And I will say my price point is quite a bit higher finally then that, but you know, you, you can use services that help you get ads, but then you also split with them a percentage, so that $25 CPM is split with a percentage as well. So you’re right, there’s often not, unless you have, you know, downloads are King, unless you have a ton of downloads, it is hard to make money even to make back your costs in terms of your editing, your studio rental, all that, which one smart thing I did is I built out a closet at work as a studio.
Jason Gillikin: Oh, closets work great.
Dr. Laurie Watson: So, I saved, I saved on studio costs.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah, that, that makes sense.
Cee Cee Huffman: And you have it whenever you want.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Right, and I’ll rent it out to local podcasters, so let me know.
Jason Gillikin: Interesting. So we just, we don’t have a studio. The, the thing is like one of the biggest attractions for, for working with businesses is that they can go to their clients, or to their clients’ offices and just set up shop. And so that’s what we were doing for our clients is going to their client’s places and just recording a podcast from there. And then now, now it’s all Zoom, right? So now, now it’s just super convenient. But yeah, we’re always on the lookout for good studios.
So, we’ll have to check that out.
Dr. Laurie Watson: It is, yeah. My cohost is in New York, so we do this basically through Zoom, we have special fancy equipment in both locations, but we look at each other on Zoom. So yeah, it’s a different world right now
Jason Gillikin: For sure. Yeah. Dr. Laurie, can you talk about what the podcast has meant to your book? You know you had the book out, was it selling? Has it helped it’s life? Is there a call to action on, on the podcast for the book? Like how has, how has that helped.
Dr. Laurie Watson: That’s a very good question. I don’t see that it’s promoted the book that much. When my book came out, I was invited onto Katie Couric, and did that, and that was very exciting, and even the Katie Couric Show had zero influence on the book sales. Zero. We, we flat lined on that, and this was right as Oprah was closing, my agent had said, “You know, this is Oprah fodder,” and I said, “It is,” it was so exciting, and then she shut down and you know, it was very difficult. You know, when you publish a book in the beginning, if you’re not a name and you don’t have a platform, then you are the publicist as well.
But I think that what Foreplay has done for us is it’s given us a platform so our next book that we write, you know, we can sell and publishers certainly would look at our platform and want to take us on. And we may just self publish because we have such an audience. We could make money that way, and it depends on our goals.
And some of the goal is if you go with a publisher, right, you might have national money and exposure, whereas if you self publish, you might actually make money. So it depends, and I’m not sure where we’re landing on that at this point, but we are writing. We’ve just begun that process.
Jason Gillikin: Well, that’s exciting. When, when do you think a new book is coming out?
Dr. Laurie Watson: George says that our new book is going to be done by February, but the rough draft will be done by February. I’m looking at him like he’s crazy ’cause it took me five years to write my first book, but, you know, “He’s like, nah, let’s just do a chapter a week and it’ll be fine.”
He’s an author, he’s an experienced author of three books, so.
Jason Gillikin: Dr. Laurie, one of the reasons I wanted you on the show is because some of our, our clients, you know, have a concern about giving away free content. Like there’s, you know, there there’s a lot of content that you can give out, but how do you monetize that? Now, is there a concern on your end that you have published so much content out there, but then you’re trying to sell this book.
But you’re trying to, you know, help out your, your clients, and with 4 million plus downloads, you’ve given away a ton of free content. How do you, how do you walk that line?
Dr. Laurie Watson: I kind of believe in reaping and sowing, you know, that what you put out there, what you give to the world comes back to you.
And so, I don’t worry so much about that. I think that monetization could happen in many ways and probably I should have done it better, but it could, you know, seminars and programs, you know, there there’s so many people that podcast that really package themselves better than I have, you know, where they come in on maybe different platforms.
So, you know, there’s like a gold, silver, bronze level that you can join us and you’ll get time with me. You’ll get this special episode, this content, or, you know, maybe as a business, training programs. I mean, there’s a lot of ways that, besides just monetization of the podcast, that really people can make money early.
So I, I think that that is probably something I should have done, haven’t really done as well, and I’m just getting to the point, you know, my children are out of the home now and there is less responsibility that I feel at home. So, maybe I can do a little bit more of that and, you know, the books are the first step.
I don’t know, people like to see things in organized ways and I think what is really exciting about podcasting is it’s relational learning. You know, they, they hear you as a personality, but then when they’re applying it to their own lives, sometimes they like an organization that they can go through, that it’s hard copy, you know, maybe they can review with their partner. I mean, there’s, there are still good reasons to produce content that is not just what you’ve already done.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Or it’s repackaged and I think people will buy that.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. And so has, for your practice, like, has the demand increased or do people come to you and say, “I heard this episode, and I’m coming to visit you now.”
Dr. Laurie Watson: Oh my gosh, that has been phenomenal. I used to see that people read, read my blog, which is on Psychology Today. It’s called “Married and Still Doing It,” and we have 15 million downloads there. And I, and they would say, “You know what? You said in this blog, that blog,” and I was like, “Oh wow. You know, you’re listening to-” but now people come in and, you know, I am currently pretty full with my own patient load.
I still see patients, but they are always talking about what I’ve said on the podcast, they are telling people about it, they’re telling their therapists in my clinic, you know “Well Laurie says this” and it’s – I think what is exciting is they have a relationship. They have a sense of comfort about answering couples and sex therapy that wouldn’t have been possible had they not listened to me. You know, I mean, when you think about, “Oh wow. We have sexual problems. Let’s go see a sex therapist.” That’s really scary. Like, what is a sex therapist? Is it like Barbara Streisand on the Fockers, right? It’s not. And my tagline in Raleigh, we have, we have, I think a 6,000 list of doctors who have referred to us and my tagline is, you know, “You’ll like her. She’s normal.”
And basically what they are trying to say is you know, that I am a real person. And so, people resonate with that and I think they feel comfortable and certainly more comfortable engaging a sex therapist because they know what it’s like. They can listen.
Cee Cee Huffman: It makes sense that, that would make it easier. Like it’s, it is such a big step to decide to just go somewhere. If you can like hear somebody talk about it before you can go, you know what you’re getting into when you walk in.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Right, exactly.
Cee Cee Huffman: So ,you say that you have people listening to your podcast and then, you know, coming to see you or talking to you, how did you find that audience for your podcast in the first place?
Like this was a while ago, how did you find your listeners? Like what kind of social media strategy works really well for you? Like, I just kind of want to hear all about that. That’s my favorite thing.
Dr. Laurie Watson: I did post it on my personal page, and I had a professional page, so I started posting about the episodes that we were doing and not very consistently, you know, I sent out emails.
W e had a few flyers in the office. We distributed it to all the doctors that were in the area so that they could begin to refer their patients to us for particular problems sexually that many people struggle with, like not being able to have an orgasm, or ED, or premature ejaculation or frequency differences.
I mean, that’s, you know, one person wants more, one person wants less and doctors kind of wanted something concise because doctors don’t feel as comfortable talking about sex. I mean, they’re the body expert, but they’re not necessarily the sex expert. So they were very excited, and I think that spread the word a little bit.
Andd I’m not exactly sure that we did a national strategy in the beginning. We only have an Instagram that is probably, I dunno, a year and a half old? And Vogue has picked us up and I’m a sexpert on Vogue, I was on their wedding Instagram, you know, and they did a little, couple videos of me, and that was really exciting.
And that has helped, so people picking us up has developed us. We are still in that process of developing our strategy. George Fowler has a Facebook page that is really active with therapists, and again, therapists are distribution channels for us. So we put a lot of time into that, so I need to listen to you to hear your strategy.
Cee Cee Huffman: I think that makes total sense, and I think you’re in a very unique position to have so many other industry professionals that you can reach out to who can vet, like, see, recognize the quality of your content and share it with others. Because if my doctor tells me, “Hey, you should listen to this,” I mean, that’s like saying, “Hey, you should take this medicine.”
Like, OK, sure! And there’s your audience. Like, it makes total sense.
Dr. Laurie Watson: Yes. Yes.
Jason Gillikin: It sounds like your PR strategy is just off the charts excellent. Like, did people find you, or did you have a PR team reach out to Vogue and reach out to Katie Couric and New York Times and all these things that you’ve been on?
Dr. Laurie Watson: Half and half. Actually the Katie Couric Show, I knew there was a drug on female libido coming out, so I reached out to the show myself and said, or actually. No, I used a PR person locally, but it was kind of my idea of let’s time a reach with this drug coming out, and they bit and had me on and that was great. Vogue found me, New York Times found me. Now my name, when you Google sex therapist, I mean, definitely it’s out there. Like, pages and pages on Google. So, even, I mean, I think I’m more findable these days, and podcasting, you know, it’s just an exploding industry and we are usually in, we are always in the top 10 in iTunes under sexuality, and we’ve made top four, so we were very excited about that.
Jason Gillikin: So is video part of your strategy at all with these episodes? Like, are you capturing video? W hether it’s just you talking or whether it’s you and George talking or on Zoom together. Like, are you utilizing video at all?
Dr. Laurie Watson: We are on YouTube, but we are just audio on YouTube.
We are not. We need to, probably, I think that’s a fabulous strategy where we’re going to do an episode for our patrons on Patreon, probably but we haven’t maximized that, and I think we should, yeah. George is very photogenic, and I feel a little old and I hate wearing a lot of makeup, so I kind of resist all that, but, maybe, maybe the video will come soon.
Cee Cee Huffman: Could you tell us some more about your Patreon? Like, what do you do on there?
Dr. Laurie Watson: So we have three levels. There’s kind of the newsletter, there’s the second level is special content, and the third level is a quarterly – includes a quarterly Facebook live that we just do a Q and A. So when people want to ask questions about sex therapy or their own sexual questions, we just go on there and talk to people.
It’s, it’s – that’s probably one of the easiest, funnest things I do is the Q and A, so.
Cee Cee Huffman: Right, and it’s like live podcast. That’s really a cool way to interact with your audience, too. It’s not just leave a comment and maybe we’ll respond or we’ll talk about it later. Like, let’s talk about it right now.
That’s, that’s cool.
Jason Gillikin: So, I’m very curious about how COVID has impacted, not necessarily your podcast, but how it’s affected your practice.
And, and here’s the, here’s the background for it. Couples are together a lot more, so it could go potentially one of two ways where there’s more problems now because people are together all the time, or it could go the other way where now you have more time together to, you know, to be together and in intimate ways.
So like, how has your practice changed with quarantine here?
Dr. Laurie Watson: I think you’ve nailed the issue on its head for some couples who have lacked time, right, time for them is their love language, that’s how they feel connection, COVID is good. I personally am working at home with my husband, I’m getting to garden on breaks.
I mean, there’s a blessing in this that is really neat. Other couples, I think all this time together is difficult because they can no longer escape into their work or other activities and escape the dynamics that they’re struggling with as a couple. So, you know, I survived the recession in 2008, but I remember in a week’s time, I lost half my practice.
I mean, when the recession hit, I mean, I was just boom, cut in half right away. And so in March, when COVID hit, we closed very early, went to Zoom as a practice. I had two pregnant clinicians and immunocompromised staff workers, and I just said, “We’ve got to, you know, we’ve got to protect everybody.”
So we did that, and we saw a huge drop, and patients who had been with me for quite a while said, “Ah, you know, we’ll just wait until this is all over, then we’ll come back, and so we’re going to cancel.” And I just remember my throat kind of closing, like, “Oh no, here it comes 2008 again, here we go.” And for about a month, there was a drop and then we are just gangbusters. I mean, people’s anxiety of course is up, their problems are being revealed. We’ve hired clinicians. We’re expanding. Yeah. We’re, we’re growing and people need help. I mean, I think this is what it, probably, the biggest thing is being revealed is that they need help with their relationships.
You know, they’re home all the time and there’s, they’re getting plenty of asleep and all those excuses of “I’m too tired to have sex,” are not flying anymore. So they’re like, “OK, maybe there’s something else that’s happening, let’s go see somebody.”
Jason Gillikin: Yeah, yeah. And then, and then there’s kids at home all the time.
Just added stresses involved in everything. you know, I, I heard in March like that we would have, you know, a boom in, in kids nine months from March and I’m thinking – you know, I’ve got three kids at home – I’m thinking, yeah, maybe for people that don’t have any kids right now, but for, for people that –
Don’t know any better?
Right, exactly. So, I want to be respectful of your time, but I’ve got a couple fun questions, like, so for Foreplay Radio, do you have a favorite episode or is there any one episode that you would recommend to the audience?
Dr. Laurie Watson: I suppose are most popular episodes that people like are the ones that deal with sex acts like oral sex, and they’re fun. I think my own is just the fun that I’m having with George. We did one recently that was just hilarious and so informative to me, it was basically on kind of a, a self rating of the average Joe, and how he feels pre, during and post game, you know, what, what are his feelings in his body, his genitals, his heart and his mind? And he – George kind of ranks these things, and I don’t know if he’s drawing from his own life or from his patients, but it was really fun. And we had a good time laughing about it, and we do kind of a series there. There’s an average Joe, an average Jane, and then together – this is actually our release today – we talk about how to close the gap on the arousal of differences between a man and a woman, the tiny, and we just have fun together. So I think that’s, those have been developed and they’re my favorites, my latest ones, really?
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. I listened to the last one and the average Joe, the average Jane. Really interesting.
And you’re right about George, you’re not sure if he’s talking about his own experience or his patient’s experience or what, but the way he comes across as like naturally curious, and you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t expect somebody who is a, a counselor to come across that way. I would expect him to, as the host of the podcast as a counselor, to have all the answers, but no. Like he’s asking you advice and I think it works really well.
Dr. Laurie Watson: I think so too, he’s just really vulnerable. And George is a 9/11 firefighter. He survived 9/11. He was a Lieutenant in the New York FD. And so, he’s really kind of this unique person who is – he’s a real hero. And then he became a therapist and he brought, he says, you know, “I go into the fire in a different way. I go into the fire with escalated couples who are fighting,” and, and, you know, he helps them. And so he’s just a fabulous person and a bright person, and I’m really honored to have him with me. Wow.
Jason Gillikin: That’s really cool. So what do you listen to like, what are your favorite podcasts?
Dr. Laurie Watson: I listened to “Stuff That You Should Know,” it’s this podcast, and they have long episodes and then they have shorts, and I have become so pigeonholed in my life. I mean, all my reading is about my clinical work. I can’t even read fiction anymore because it’s all sad, I think. I listen to sad stories all day long, I don’t want to listen to that. So this is just like, random stuff. You know, they have a little episode on jigsaw puzzles and like, you know, my brain needs a few other things to think about. So I listened to that and I do listen to – I listene to the feed, which is the Libsyn Podcast about podcasting and that’s all they, you know, kind of keep me posted on what’s going on.
And I listen to Tara Brock, who is a guru on meditation and mindfulness. So I do that when I’m walking sometimes, but kind of random stuff. Those are my top ones that I listened to, and I love podcasting. I just, I would listen to podcasts all day long if I could.
Jason Gillikin: Very nice. Incredible stuff that you’re doing, Dr. Laurie, and I appreciate you being a guest on the Earfluence podcast here.
Cee Cee Huffman: Yeah, thanks for joining us.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. Where can people find, you know, what are the calls to action here? Where can people find Foreplay Radio?
Dr. Laurie Watson: Okay. It’s foreplayradiosextherapy.com, easy to remember. Even if you just Google Foreplay, Laurie, you’ll get to us. You know, we are on iTunes, Apple, Spotify, everywhere. Search in your podcasts for sexuality, and look for the black dot, and that’s us, that’s Foreplay Radio. And certainly, if you’re local to Raleigh, Awakenings Counseling is our couples and sex therapy, and we are fully licensed psychotherapists. We take individuals for anxiety and depression, we work with families, and we have a theoretical basis. We’re not just random shooting in the dark, whatever works we’re going to use.
We follow theory and research.
Jason Gillikin: Awesome. Well, Dr. Laurie, again, thank you so much.
Dr. Laurie Watson: I just want to thank you guys for having me. This has been fun to talk about the business aspect of it, you know, on a podcast with people who are thinking about doing this.
And I would just say: do it. That’s my tagline to: do it. Do the podcasting, have some sex. Starting will help your business, so go for it.
Jason Gillikin: That’s incredible. What a, what a quote right there. Do it. Do the podcast have some sex. I like it. Dr. Laurie, thank you so much. And to all the, all of you who haven’t tuned out to go listen to Foreplay Radio already, thanks for sticking with us. Thanks for listening to the Earfluence podcast. I’m Jason Gillikin, and we’ll see you next time.
The Earfluence Podcast is a production of Earfluence Media and hosted by Jason Gillikin and Cee Cee Huffman.