'Married at First Sight' recap: Becca doesn't feel "desired," Brennan is "blindsided" by Emily, and Austin attempts to build intimacy
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/18/2024
Married at First Sight featured Becca not feeling "desired," Austin deciding he was finally ready to consummate his marriage, Brennan feeling "blindsided" by Emily, and another Brennan vs. Dr. Pia Holec heated exchange during the Season 17 episode that aired Wednesday night on Lifetime.
Married at First Sight's seventeenth season was filmed in Denver, CO, and stars Emily and Brennan, Clare and Cameron, and Austin and Becca.
Orion and Lauren already chose to divorce, but they continue to appear on the season every now and then.
And the Married at First Sight season's fifth intended groom, Michael, had unfortunately been jilted at the altar by his match. Michael, however, was just rematched to get married for the second time with a woman named Chloe.
The MAFS season already featured strangers meeting at the wedding altar and enjoying a honeymoon, and now they'll be spending about two months moving in together and navigating the joys and struggles of daily life together.
And at the end of the experiment, Married at First Sight's Season 17 couples will reach "Decision Day" and have to decide whether to remain married or decide to end their marriages and divorce.
The couples were matched by Married at First Sight experts Dr. Pia, Pastor Calvin Roberson, and Dr. Pepper Schwartz.
The Married at First Sight broadcast began with Chloe feeling "really excited and hopeful" -- but also overwhelmed -- about her upcoming wedding to Michael in four days.
And in order to build intimacy, Austin took Becca to a place where they could build "sexy terrariums" with naked figurines inside with 23 days to go until Decision Day.
Becca let Austin know during the activity that she's adventurous in bed and likes to try new things, but at the same time, she typically enjoys what her partner likes. Austin, in turn, said sex would happen once a day or once every two days in his ideal marriage.
"I would agree with that, and if more happens, nobody is ever going to complain!" Becca said in reply.
Cameron was then shown getting dropped off at the hospital for heart surgery. He apparently had a heart fibrillation and arrhythmia, and he said there was no point in contacting Clare because she'd just worry about him.
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Meanwhile, Brennan admitted to Emily that he wasn't in the perfect headspace to talk about deep, emotional things in the hot tub, and Emily said she never meant to attack Brennan or put him on the spot.
Emily didn't feel like Brennan was really going to faint in the hot tub, and she added, "It was disappointing when you can't answer questions. It feels like there's a lack of effort. It feels like you're already shutting down. I think I snapped because we were trying to have a reset, and your actions like that just make me feel bad."
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Brennan said he was trying to do right by Emily but he clearly messed it up.
"I'm not trying to hurt you, and I'm sorry if I'm hurting you. I'm definitely going to work on the way I'm coming across and my delivery. It's something I want to keep in mind and do better at," Brennan concluded.
Emily pointed out how they needed to work on their relationship in order to move forward.
Emily then told the cameras how their marriage wasn't going to last if Brennan was going to continue putting in "minimal effort," especially considering she thought everything had been on his terms.
Emily and Brennan then got a little bit closer when they shared letters they had written to their younger selves. Emily could tell Brennan had been through some challenges in life that gave her a bit more perspective on why he was behaving the way he was in their marriage.
With 22 days to go until Decision Day, Clare admitted she was super concerned and worried about Cameron, whom she cared about and wanted to support.
Cameron, however, had asked her to just sit back and relax during the surgery part, and she totally respected that.
Clare then got together with Emily and Becca while Brennan and Austin spent some time together.
Brennan shared with Austin how he and Emily had taken the pressure off their marriage and were just trying to enjoy each other, and that they were taking things day by day.
And Emily explained how she and Brennan had different communication styles and she was trying to be better. Emily planned to keep persevering, and the ladies gave her a lot of credit for sticking with it and remaining an optimist.
The women also complimented Clare on being there for Cameron and staying true to her vows to her husband.
"But I don't want to hurt him any more than I already have," Clare said through tears.
Becca told Clare and Emily that things were progressing "wonderfully" in her marriage but she'd like things to go further and faster. Austin, for his part, told Brennan that he was actively trying to get out of his head about consummating his marriage.
Austin pointed out how sex in his marriage had become a really big deal and a frequent topic of conversation, which resulted in him having some anxiety and nerves about it.
That night, Michael met up with the cast and revealed how he was going to get married at first sight AGAIN. The cast completely supported his decision and told him that they'd only have the best things to say about him once they got to meet his new bride.
Michael invited the cast to attend his wedding, but Becca and Austin were going to be out of town.
With 21 days to go until Decision Day, Brennan spoke to his best friend Richie via Zoom about how he wasn't used to not having a romantic element in his relationship. Brennan claimed he was making an effort to hug more and he was beginning to feel closer to her.
Richie warned Brennan that he tended to get stuck in his head sometimes and that one intrusive thought had the power to ruin an entire connection for him. Richie asked Brennan to remain open-minded and be flirtatious and fun.
Brennan acknowledged he could express himself better to Emily, and Richie advised Brennan not to get stuck in the motions of adapting to what this life "should" be. Richie wanted his friend to be a little lighter and be in the moment.
"I think she's caring, sweet and amazing, and so I'm hoping the romance part will come," Brennan noted.
Austin and Becca then had a sitdown chat with Dr. Pia Holec.
Austin voiced how he felt bad for taking things too slowly with Becca. Austin revealed how he and Becca had fooled around a little bit but had yet to go all the way.
"That's something that has been surprisingly difficult for me. I haven't had a relationship that moves this slowly, or a relationship where I don't feel as desired as I have in past relationships," Becca announced.
Austin assured his wife that he felt desire for her but he tends to move slower than most men.
"I desire him, and it's hard for me to understand how he can desire me but also not want to show it," Becca explained. "I think he's hot!... I'm ready, even just for a longer makeout every now and then."
Austin confirmed he and Becca had established an emotional connection and so he didn't know why he was holding back. Austin explained how sex had been "tainted" in their marriage because it was discussed so often and there was a lot of pressure surrounding it.
And Becca agreed that she felt, at this point, like Austin having sex with her would be a favor.
Dr. Pia mentioned how the excitement of the act had been stripped away from them, and Austin said he just needed to get out of his head.
Dr. Pia therefore recommended more foreplay, which didn't even have to be physical, and a little more flirty texting. Dr. Pia wanted the pair to increase their intimate conversations and just jump into the act organically when it felt right to the both of them.
With 20 days to go until Decision Day, Emily and Brennan played soccer together in attempt to bond. Emily showed off her skills and beat Brennan in a game of one-on-one, and he admitted in a confessional that he was impressed by the former team captain's athleticism.
After the game, Emily shared how her father had pushed her a lot as a kid into sports, which had its pros and cons growing up. Brennan complimented Emily on being able to take charge in situations as a leader while also being loving and caring. He seemed to like her competitive side.
Meanwhile, Austin and Becca received a basket of goodies to help them ramp up intimacy -- including massage candles, chocolate covered fruit and fuzzy handcuffs. Dr. Pia asked the couple to turn their apartment into an obstacle course, with one person blindfolded going through it.
Austin planned the obstacle course for Becca, and as she went over each obstacle, he was tasked with revealing an intimate detail about himself.
Throughout the activity, Austin shared how his feet are ticklish, how he liked it when Becca talked dirty to him, and how his favorite physical attribute about Becca was her busty chest.
The pair enjoyed a lot of laughs, and Becca suggested they should do an obstacle course every single day because it was a ton of fun.
Later on, Dr. Pia met with Emily and Brennan for a conversation.
Brennan shared how he and Emily were in a good place, but Emily revealed how Brennan had pushed back on some of Dr. Pia's exercises, including the touching activity.
"I don't know where this is coming from. We had such a good day playing soccer. I thought we were in a good place, moving forward and not dwelling in the past, as we had agreed," Brennan complained to Emily.
Emily also voiced how she was following Brennan's "rules" in the marriage, which prompted him to clap back, "Hearing that piece is really, really frustrating."
Brennan claimed that Emily would tell him to come up with something, and then when he did, she'd agree with him and be okay with it.
"Do you know why he doesn't want [to do activities with you]?" Dr. Pia asked Emily. "Why don't you ask him?"
Brennan then let out a big sigh or a moan, and Dr. Pia snapped, "Hold on! What is that about?!"
"Can we please shift gears and talk about something positive? Because, I'm sorry, this is just not going to be productive at this point," Brennan lamented.
Dr. Pia noticed a lot of pushback from Brennan, whom she also thought was being defensive. Dr. Pia didn't like it when Brennan interrupted her or jumped in and answered for Emily.
Brennan explained how he just wanted to move forward, with positive attitudes, and not harp on the past, but Emily clearly felt the need to talk about what had unfolded in the days prior.
Due to the misunderstanding, Dr. Pia asked Emily to communicate her wants and needs a little better and stand up to Brennan if she disagreed with something. Dr. Pia felt like Emily was holding back her true feelings from her husband.
Emily shared in a confessional, "Brennan is a little reactive off-camera, and it's not seen because it's not what he wants people to see... He tries to avoid being seen [in a negative light]."
But Brennan said he had "no idea where this was coming" from.
Brennan apparently thought things were going great and that Emily always expressed herself, and so he told Dr. Pia that he felt "blindsided" by Emily's concerns and complaints.
When asked if he trusted Emily, Brennan said they were building trust and Emily being consistent would help to build more trust. Brennan also said it would be helpful for Emily to validate and acknowledge his effort and the positive changes he had made before criticizing or discrediting what he wasn't doing.
At the end of the conversation, Emily started crying, and Brennan admitted he was sad as well.
"This is not the relationship you and I both wanted and deserve, and all that, and we're just trying to make it work the best way we know how," Brennan told his wife.
"I just think we could be doing better," Emily concluded.
And Brennan expressed how he thought change was still possible because he and Emily had built a great friendship.
That night, Austin decorated the couple's bedroom with candles, rose petals and Polaroid pictures of them. He wanted to take the steps to get them to a better place and put himself in the right mood to make love.
Becca was so impressed by the scene, and it initiated foreplay for the couple.
After a conversation about sex and what they liked about each other, Austin asked Becca, "Do you want to do the other thing now -- the play? THE play?"
"Yeah! Are you serious?" Becca asked with a laugh.
Austin the kissed her and the couple started making out. Things got steamy enough where Austin and Becca had to kick the cameras out.