If your sex life isn’t what you want it to be, perhaps your emotional intimacy isn’t what it should be. An unshakable, trust-filled, emotional connection is the magic ingredient for off-the-chart sex. Sure, you can have feels-really-good sex with a stranger, but if you want committed-relationship sex that satisfies every sense of your being, emotional intimacy is a gotta have.
All couples want emotional intimacy. Problem is, that requires high-level trust which, in turn, requires willing vulnerability. Adults don’t roll that way. We’ve learned, from painful experience, that people who claim to love us can hurt us. The fear of vulnerability is in direct proportion to how much the relationship matters. Therefore, it doesn’t take too many hurts suffered at the hands of your sweetheart before the protective shield is in place and emotional intimacy suffers.
Here’s the tragedy . . . Most emotional wounds result from innocent but unrecognized differences. Sweethearts accept that their partner has preferences—he loves eggplant or she prefers jazz—but, at the same time, paradoxically assume they share the same pipeline to universal truth about how one should behave, think, and react.
Here’s the reality check: Everyone has what I call a Foreplay Navigator that consists of everything that makes you tick. (It’s too complicated to fully explain here but you can learn more in my book Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy.) Like snowflakes, no two Foreplay Navigators are alike. They differ in a zillion ways, and it’s those differences that cause trouble.
Here’s the rub: you behave and interpret your sweetheart’s behavior according to your Foreplay Navigator, but your sweetheart is behaving and interpreting your behavior according to his or her Foreplay Navigator. It’s like playing a game with two different sets of rules where neither of you knows the other’s rules.
Clashes of Foreplay Navigators are inevitable. For example: if, according to your Foreplay Navigator, anniversaries are no big deal, but they are a VERY BIG deal according to your sweetheart’s Foreplay Navigator, and you don’t know this about each other, you’re going to have one disappointed sweetheart when you fail to step up to the celebration plate on your first wedding anniversary.
If you want emotional intimacy—and who doesn’t?—don’t morph innocent clashes of Foreplay Navigators into matters of right and wrong. Use common sense. If your sweetheart smacks you, that’s wrong. Shoes left in the living room is a difference in neatness standards, not “wrong.”
Just as great foreplay is essential to “Wow!” sex, great emotional foreplay is essential to an emotionally intimate “Wow!” relationship. Emotional foreplay is all day, every day, 24/7. The savvy sweetheart racks up what I call Frequent Foreplay Miles by engaging in emotional foreplay that jibes with his or her sweetheart’s Foreplay Navigator.
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To really make this advice work, you need to follow these action steps to complete today's challenge.
Right now, I want you to:
Kick your I-love-my-honey feelings into high gear by listing five "wow!" relationship experiences. Here are suggested starters:
“A favorite memory of a time with my sweetheart is . . .”
“I felt appreciated (or loved or supported) when my sweetheart . . .”
“I wanted to shout for joy when my sweetheart . . .”
Don’t think too hard. Jot down what first comes to mind. Savor each positive emotion. Then relive them with your sweetheart, preferably while cuddled together.
Within 7 days I want you to:
Kick your sweetheart’s loving feelings into high gear by doing an over-the-top act of emotional foreplay, i.e., surprise your sweetie with something so completely unexpected and pleasing that he or she will beam with joy for days.
By the end of the challenge I want you to:
Sustain those loving feelings by committing to engage in everyday emotional foreplay that sustains emotional intimacy and leads to truly awesome, passionate, eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head sex.