As Summertime approaches, we are all looking forward to slowing down...
Shifting the focus away from getting it done, to just lingering a little longer as the long hours of dusk dwindle. Partly because there is more time to be with each other and because we wear less clothing, it’s the perfect time to think about ways to explore and enjoy our intimate relationships with more intention. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Ask for what you want
Maybe the most powerful single change you could bring to your intimate relationship, and honestly all your relationships, is giving a voice to what you want. Whether in gift giving, vacation planning, or in how we offer ourselves to love making- knowing what you want and having the courage to say it is game changing.
It is mind boggling how many years go by of expecting people to read our minds, to know just what we want. The fantasy that our partner should or would know what would make us happy keeps us from happiness. And yet, we remain dedicated to this common form of sabotage, rather than taking the responsibility of naming what we want. This is as true, or maybe even more true about our sexual life too.
It begins early by getting stuck in comparing our current sex life to what it was like in the early falling in love phase. It isn’t that an equal dose of passion is not available deeper into the relationship, it is that the work between you generates the sparks, rather than having them emerge from the biochemistry to reproduce.
Likewise, learning how to articulate your emotional needs is equally transformative. The relationship grows exponentially because people aren’t parenting each other and expecting the other to fix something. Learning to say what feels like love to you is the most evolved way of loving yourself and gives your relationship the room to become better than you could have hoped for.
Have more fun
Relaxing into summertime is the perfect opportunity to cultivate more fun in your relationship. And while we can’t always control where our fun comes from, we can make the internal choice to seek out moments of levity, to not take things so seriously, and to look for things to laugh at together.
Research shows that increasing the number of sweet moments of fun and celebration in your loving relationships creates more connection and intimacy over time than just showing up in the hard times. The deepest rut that most relationships suffer from is when we place more attention on getting through the difficulties, rather than really enjoying a moment together. Not enjoying the time you are in is a slippery slope to not enjoying the people you are around.
Voltaire once said that pleasure is an obligation of all rationale beings, so this summer be deliberate about substituting your to do list for more fun activities that include some laughter.
Give up multi-tasking – especially digital
Next time you find yourself lying in the warm sun, put away all your devices and the many distractions they create and be fully present to the relationships in front of you. Not only do our constant focus on our devices rob us from truly experiencing where we are, but they take an enormous toll on our capacity to relate. So many relationships suffer because they rarely have a moment to themselves. It is impossible to be present with someone when you are texting three other people at the same time.
Our technological capabilities have far exceeded our fledgling ability to relate. Often, we don’t even see the damage that our constantly shifting attention wreaks on our relationships. It has been said that the most generous gift we can give to another is our undivided attention. Most people can’t tell the difference between being deeply listened to and being loved- This is what love feels like, uninterrupted time.
Let this summer be a time when sexual experimentation begins with making the time for it. Frequently we save the sex for last, after a long day in the sun, or a dinner with wine and rich food. By the time we get to the best course, we are exhausted.
What if we put the sex before dinner or mid-day when the sun is too hot?
Getting creative about how to make space for sexual play is not only great foreplay but also sends a strong message about how important intimacy is to you and your partner. That’s why I say make love first, commit yourself to better understanding what makes you feel sexy and keeping your own sexual drive well-tuned. Knowing your own erogenous zones and having access to your own fantasies is the literal rocket fuel to keep long term relationships even sexier than when you started.
No one can really make you feel sexy like this- you must want it. And wanting and enjoying sex opens the pathway to easier communication about most everything else.