Sometimes the person closest to you can feel like a stranger, but then again, aren't strangers in the dark sexy?
Being in a long-term relationship is no guarantee of good communication. And when it comes to communicating about sex, things get even more complicated sometimes. We need to learn how to communicate effectively so that we are seen and heard.
Every person on this planet (and probably off-world too) contains a jumble of issues around sex, including difficulties understanding their own needs and desires, and asking for what they want. These issues are rooted in our upbringing, which in many cultures involves a solid dose of shame, blame, guilt, and unnatural gendered stereotypes around sexual performance and identity.
We unwittingly bring all these myths and misinformation into play in our relationships, and unfortunately, into our bedrooms.
Despite all this, there is hope for all of us. It takes a bit of conscious effort, but a happy, healthy, rewarding and shame and guilt-free sex life IS possible!
Here are a few tips:
1. KNOW THYSELF. Possibly not the subject Socrates had in mind, but a superb direction none-the-less. Spending time getting to know yourself and your natural sexual self, is crucial to being able to be present with another person. Understanding where your mindset comes from, seeing how your opinions, likes and dislikes evolve, and recognising judgement of self and others, will all go a long way to help you communicate with others. This applies to all aspects of life, not just the bedroom.
2. CONSENT. There's a game I play with clients in my intimacy coaching called The Wheel of Consent from Betty Martin. Each person learns that consent is a two-way street, how to speak about our boundaries and our desires. It's so much more than just asking or giving permission.
If you don't actually want something to be happening, to be touched a certain way for instance, but you dismiss yourself because you're worried you will hurt the other person's feelings - you're creating mixed messaging. Your body and energy are saying no, but your mouth is saying yes. This is just one example of how consent becomes confusing and can lead to toxicity within yourself and your relationship.
If you're not being honest with yourself about how you do and don't want to be touched, how will your partner be able to connect with you?
3. TAKE TURNS. We're all dysfunctional in our own ways. If you want to truly open your relationship up to new levels of understanding, you're gonna have to take turns working through your stuff, exploring your individual fantasies, and experiencing more varied pleasure. It's such an incredible feeling to be given permission just to BE. To RECEIVE fully.
Without fearing the other person will take it wrong way, feel resentful, or judge you or leave you. Trust that you are expressing your authentic truth and that's always beautiful. Be transparent and give your partner the space and respect you'd like yourself.