The mind is the largest sex organ in the human body, which is what makes the body fickle when it comes to eroticism. It’s tricky to maintain eroticism and intimacy in long term relationships, because the mind doesn’t forget all the wounds that occur outside the bedroom. In order for many couples to maintain a sexual relationship, they have to block out those wounds, shut off that part of their minds for the moment, to engage in the physical act of sex. This is one reason so many people keep their eyes closed during sex. With eyes closed, you block out what’s really happening and pay attention to the inner movie screen playing out various fantasies. That’s not exactly a recipe for either intimacy or eroticism.
What’s a lover to do? I have three simple but powerful suggestions to build intimacy in your relationship.
1. Breathe together. Sit facing each other, close but not touching. Look into each other’s eyes and smile. Try to relax! One tip for focusing is to choose one eye to look into; it will keep your eyes from bouncing around and help you settle yourself down. Spend 5-10 minutes breathing together without talking or touching. Spend the time focusing on two things: how you feel in that moment, and what you love about your partner. Allow yourself to release any tension or resistance; if negative feelings come up you can notice them and invite them to go away for now.
2. Talk “dirty” with your partner. How do you expect to be satisfied sexually if you can’t ask for what you desire? Do you even know what would satisfy you? It’s OK if your answer is no; that just means you get to experiment more. Nagging will not be an effective means of communication, so instead of saying, “You’re always sticking your tongue down my throat!” try, “mmm, I really like it when you nibble my lips.”
3. Kiss, fondle, and make love with your eyes open. You’ll have to leave the lights on for this one. Keeping your eyes open is difficult for some people, because they feel vulnerable and sometimes because they’ve bought into our social sexual taboos. Kissing with your eyes open keeps you present, and it keeps your mind engaged in what’s actually happening, rather than letting it wander into fantasy land.
These three tips all help you to really see your partner, and for him or her to really see you. It might make you feel more vulnerable, and that gives you an opportunity to examine and heal old wounds. Our capacity for open hearted vulnerability is directly proportional to our capacity for eroticism and intimacy. Break open your heart and allow love to flow!