In my writings I am constantly referring to partnership and what that means. I talk and write about couples or any other intimate grouping being able to share deep needs. I need to talk about how to make that happen. Actually, I believe that it happens a lot more often in the kink world than in vanilla (not kink) culture. That’s because alternative folks are already One Up where revealing the deep stuff is concerned. There is already an expectation of sharing their personal proclivities.
If it is a true partnership then each partner is
1. Expecting change and growth over their time together
2. Willing to support their partner and the changes
3. Willing to hear their partner’s expressions of change or growth.
“Deep” simply means deeper in the mind and as such isn’t likely to show itself under the most ordinary of conditions. Each of us has to feel immensely safe to let deeply held truths come to surface.
Kinky singles share about kink desires and needs. Okay. But that’s just one aspect of their lives. Partners choose to incorporate safe space into the relationship for whatever each needs to truly be themselves, which includes change and/or growth.
Vanilla partners are known to be less accustomed to sharing about the relationship itself and about the most private of matters. Cultural expectations really make a difference. Encouraging a partner to feel at ease no matter what they need to share aloud is a relationship talent that we should all cultivate. A devoted partner wants to connect and stay emotionally connected at deeper levels over the years. A true partner wants to hear what their beloved is thinking about or dreaming about.
A true partner wants to hear what you are thinking and feeling.
Kinky or vanilla, the hinge of true partnership lies with intimacy, which depends on being free to express yourself in the relationship. A common motivation for someone coming to my counseling door is fear about expressing deep desire. They are sure that they cannot say XYZ to their spouse or partner. So, let’s talk about what it might be like to encourage your partner to speak in a deep way and, of course, to welcome their expression.
Notice that I did not offer examples of what your partner might say that they have on their mind. First of all, your partner’s thoughts are just thoughts. All thoughts are not accompanied by the will to do anything. We have fantasies. We have ideas. We have thought experiments. Your partner might say that he’s contemplating crab apple jelly and cheese on his toast. After ten years of cohabitation you are shocked at such a disgusting change in taste.
You have to feel at ease yourself. How willing are you to discuss a dream that you just had? How willing are you to tell your partner about a fantasy? Don’t you want to? Don’t you think that you would feel better if you could tell the partner how you feel on any subject? What’s in the way? What might happen if you spoke about your thoughts?
I am going to start with an assumption that you are the one who is willing and able and would like to enable your partner. I think that the starting place is talking. Tell the partner that what you have in mind is even greater communication. Tell him why. Tell her that you want to build even more intimacy in your relationship. Yeah. That’s great. It’s the kind of conversation that you should be able to have.
My next assumption is that the partner said, “Okay. Sure, honey. That sounds good.” So, your next move is a physical one. Touch. Touch is good. Lots of people immediately think of the physical when they think of intimacy anyway so why not use it. Wherever you want to experience sensual touch (not sex)—the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom—is a terrific idea. There are picture books, DVD’s on the subject of sensual touch, and there are couple massage classes. Some massage therapists will teach a lesson in your home. I can tell you by experience that all of the above are a lot of fun.
If you need to get this campaign started singularly though then don’t fight it. Invest in a bottle of oil and work on his muscles. How can he not enjoy your loving touch? Couples can learn a lot of information about each other through a slow methodical touch session. You may gain info on what body parts need more stimulation and which needs a lot less. Hmmm. So, how is it that she had not told you years and yeas ago? Take turns. Practice taking your time. Practice switching into giving mode rather than focusing on yourself. If you are receiving then allow yourself to truly receive. This is a no-talking start to building expanded space for talking at other times.
Not everyone is into touch as a love expression and that’s okay. Use what works for you to broaden your relationship spaces. This is for your comfort and growth and the partner’s.
Watch for opportunities to talk more deeply as you each read or watch movies. Don’t pounce. Rather, invite your partner into a safe space with you. Signal verbally and nonverbally that s/he is safe with you.
Encouraging a partner to feel at ease no matter what they need to say is a relationship talent to cultivate.
One of the best ways to say to the other person that you are in earnest about safe space is to offer something that you consider is pretty deep yourself. Snuggle up one evening and let that scene in the movie lead your conversation further than usual. However, this time say what you are thinking about yourself. If the partner fails to give you absolute support and adoration then take a deep breath, give them a minute or two, and then if necessary help them to swing back into safe snuggly space with you. “I hope that you are wanting to know more.” “Yes, of course I do. Let’s turn off the television. We can finish the movie later.”
It may take some practice but you can do this. Set a mutually-held expectation of being supportive instead of repellant, nonjudgmental instead of hostile, flexible and curious, not rigid and absolutist. Ask each other what “supportive” might sound like. “I love learning new things about you.” “We’ll never stop learning about each other and that’s what keeps things interesting.” “Tell me more.”
The point is to practice feeling safe with each other. The point is actually being safe with each other. Intimacy is about being able to share yourself with your partner on increasingly deeper levels. Your partner or spouse will greatly appreciate being able to share that s/he enjoys eating toast with crab apple jelly while sitting on the toilet reading a magazine.
©2018 Aisha-Sky Gates Copying my blog posts is allowed if kept unaltered and proper accreditation is given.