What does the word SEXY conjure up for you? Pictures of an ideal partner? Bedroom allure? A favorite sexual fantasy? As a couple, when we think of sexy, it always includes matters of the heart.
Care Is Sexy
For us, feeling sexually turned on and fulfilled is a natural outcome of the care we show for each other — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. CARE is what makes us feel hot. It's the sensual lubricant for our highly passionate relationship.
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Sexy is different now (in our maturing 50s) than it was in our bed-hopping 20s, our child-rearing 30s, or our over-worked 40s. Our hearts have ripened with age, we're wiser, and we're able to feel and express True Love. If only we had been taught by our parents — or the mainstream media — that what's hot in the bedroom comes from feeling care and love in every room of the house. Instead, we've been hijacked by other people's ideas and images of what sexy is supposed to look and feel like.
Woman, in particular, open their hearts and their sexuality when they feel safe, cherished and honored. As she matures, different things turn her on. She opens when her partner cares for her vulnerability. She gets hot when he appreciates her unique beauty. She is happier when he makes her a priority. When a woman is loved this way, she can open to the full range of her natural sensual energies.
When a woman feels unsafe or insecure, she may shut down and put up barriers. Trust defines her ability to reveal her heart, and her heart is connected to her passion. If a woman in a relationship has lost her sex drive, there's often a good reason: she feels scared, unsafe, or uncertain.
Her man might be directing his primary attention elsewhere – to his work, or to his own interests, or to another person. He may have become indifferent or withdrawn, and he isn’t communicating about what’s going on. His silent withdrawal feels like a threat to her, which prevents her from opening to love and loving. When she closes off, he withdraws even further – and the downward spiral continues, until they are estranged, or a crisis occurs.
Regardless of what caused the shutdown, it is possible to restore the flow of love. We teach our clients to "Care to Repair". It begins by facing the truth of the disconnection, and acknowledging that neither partner has felt particularly loving or sexy lately. The next step is to express the mutual desire to restore the connection through a brief ritual of reconciliation.
Care to Repair: How to Restore Broken Love
When a relationship has been damaged by an argument, fight, or withdrawal, it can be repaired by this simple 8-step healing ritual:
1. One partner recognizes the damage, tells the truth about it, and extends an invitation to restore connection.
"Well, we did it again. We got into a fight and we each withdrew. We broke our loving connection. Are you willing to care and repair with me?"
2. The other partner remembers their deep love for their sweetheart, and chooses to restore the broken connection.
"Yes, I’m still feeling hurt, but I'm willing to do our 'Care to Repair' process."
3. If they're not capable of doing so at the moment, they say exactly when they would be willing to do so.
"I appreciate your invitation, but I can't right now. I'm still feeling too hurt. I'd like another hour by myself to recover my wits. Then I’'l be ready to try."
4. Begin the ritual by each person stating his or her responsibility and role in the conflict. (It doesn't matter who "started" it. You are both expressing the willingness to repair.)
He: "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings in our interaction."
She: "I'm sorry for raising my voice and saying hurtful things back, rather than listening to your needs."
5. Re-align with your loving intention to "care and repair". Look your partner in the eyes, and remember that your love is bigger than the conflict. Speak of your love and your desire to return to harmony.
She: "I love you, and I want us be more kind to each other when we disagree."
He: "I want us both to feel respected and cared for, especially when we disagree. Help me learn how to support you so you feel deeply loved and heard."
6. Make a promise to do your best. Don't expect perfection from yourself or the other person. Say one thing you will do to repair the damage.
He: "I know what triggered me. You reminded me of my judgmental Dad. I'm going to do my best to listen to your feelings, because they're important and true for you. I know you only criticize me when you don't feel heard or honored.
She: "I know that my criticism can be harsh — I learned that from my Mom. I will do my best to offer my point of view in ways that are respectful rather than diminishing."
7. Forgive, thank, and appreciate your partner.
He: "Thank you for hearing me. I forgive you for being human, and I appreciate your willingness to forgive me. It touches me that you want to repair with me as soon as we get triggered."
She: "Thank you, Honey. I do forgive you, and I forgive myself for reacting from that old childhood hurt that makes me so sensitive to your criticism. I love you so much, and I feel that you care about healing and growing with me."
8. With your hearts more open, feel how much you care for each other. Hold each other gently. If appropriate, celebrate by jumping into bed and letting your passion for each other flow through your heart. (Note: This is optional, and highly recommended! ☺)
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When your partner expresses their care, and their desire to repair the connection, you can relax back into your natural, open state of loving them. No one is perfect — we all make mistakes. We each have sensitivities and old wounds that can easily get poked. We react to what the other person said or did, and we can react in hurtful ways. We don't mean to hurt each other, and sometimes we do. The key to repair is that we both care enough to reach out and re-connect, to mend what has been broken, and return to the love that is between us — as soon as possible. Keep reading...
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