Sexual intimacy can be the glue that holds relationships together, it’s so precious to love and be loved in life. And to mean something to someone. Yet in a couple it can be easy to let intimacy slide.
And there are various valid reasons for it; kids, jobs, menopause, are the ones I hear the most often from men wondering why his wife has “closed down”
From women the story is different…the kids and jobs reasons remain, yet also thrown into the mix is not knowing what we want, resentments, unskilled touch, a lack of sexual confidence to initiate, the pressure to perform, an aversion to living up to fantasy. And finally boredom with the same old routine thing. So really, why bother turning up?
Correspondingly a little part of everyone’s soul shrinks with each turning away. The most important things are the hardest to talk about and once the gap in the bed widens, talking about sex becomes tricky if not impossible. Everyone finds this hard, even new lovers. Intimacy is at the heart of the matter and a longing for something we might have a sense of yet rarely experienced.
Yet when we are in an intimate loving relationship, we know life is happier. And we’re more creative when we’re sexually and emotionally satisfied and empowered. We’re softer when we have both a nurturing and erotic expression of love.
Having a witness to our lives is beautiful and without it we can be lonely or drink a little too much wine or get overly critical and begin blaming, believing there are no good or conscious men out there. I was once told you get the relationship at the level of enlightenment you’re at. So if you’re complaining or trying to change another, it could be time to look at ourselves. I don’t say this to make anyone wrong. Heaven knows I spent many years trying to change everyone else. Unsuccessfully of course.
The journey to changing ourselves
As women, we don’t know what we want because we don’t know what’s possible.
Not only that, but we’re scared that if we did know what is possible, we wouldn’t be heard, our desires would be dismissed, or we would be shamed.
We’re scared and in the dark about our sweetness and our wildness, scared of ourselves and our edges, and scared to be vulnerable in case we turn out to be weak or boring. We are scared to be too passionate in case we’re 'too much', so we close down and give up, feel misunderstood, sad and disconnected.
And probably underneath this we’re also operating under some sense of illusion. That someone knows our body better than we do and will, by some special telepathy, bring us out of our grey zone and into passionate divine union. Its a lovely fantasy. A bit like men wishing for the PVC clad Dominatrix in stockings to use him for her pleasure.
Fantasy - we’re all in it, it’s just the characters and the outfits differ.
Reclaiming ourselves and real intimacy.
So how can we learn to love reality and build a place of intimacy and eroticism in our relationships and bedrooms?
From my experience I can say with certainty that men would like us to know what is possible and express more, as they’re generally fearful that they’re not good enough in bed. There’s a proviso though, although they say they are delighted when we ask for what we want, I’m not completely convinced that’s true when we’re asking for something they lack confidence in.
And there’s a lot of confusion about giving and receiving. What we can all work on is finding our interest in sexuality again. Widening what we might like to try, learning about the pleasure in the whole of our bodies rather than just focusing on the obvious. Relaxing in our bodies and finding our voice and heart in our connections.
And if rather than trying to please our partner, we accept the radical idea that we are responsible for our own emotions, pleasure, body, orgasm and boundaries, life changes. Forget what the glossy magazines says, finding out what pleases you is so much more fruitful!
As humans we often want our lovers and partners to want what we want and then get confused, angry, disappointed or sad if they don’t. I’ve done it when I wanted to settle down and I had a partner who wanted to be polyamorous. And the least interesting gifts in my time have been a bike and a butt plug. I don’t remember asking to receive them at the time and no doubt disappointed the people in question with my lack of enthusiasm.
Yet now after exploring boundaries for the last few years, I realise they weren’t much of a ‘gift’. A useful and amusing metaphor in the long run though.
Compassion is needed. Our men often don’t know what their bodies like either, beyond the obvious, as often they’ve spent most of their lives trying to work out what their women want in order to be allowed close. Coming back towards each other gently with everyday affection is key.
Maintaining and building intimacy is so important
Initially it’s important to find a way of asking lovingly and kindly, so as not to make our lovers feel like they are wrong, or to put them on the defensive. Moving towards each other can be tricky, and we each need to take our own steps to discovering and reclaiming our erotic selves. For women taking responsibility for our sex lives is both fascinating and empowering. A change of attitude changes everything and seeing eroticism and sensual touch as something for you, for your connection, nurture and relaxed pleasure rather than a dutiful chore, changes your openness to intimacy.
Letting our partners know they’re loved and totally welcome is vital to maintain the fun and erotic charge in relationship. For yourself. For them. To offer good role models of love to children. Empowered choices in the bedroom allow you to find out what you like, regain your sense of self, build your confidence, and to feel free and brave enough to trust and share yourself authentically. Your sex life is up to you. Your life is up to you. What would it take for you to enjoy recovering your sense of power in the bedroom and life?