Editor's Note: Joe Weston also authors an advice column, "Ask Joe," where he shares his training, wisdom, and experience with RealJock readers. Got a question? Need some clarity? Ask Joe anything that's on your mind. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your identity will be kept anonymous, but do note that questions may be edited for length and clarity. For more info on Joe's workshops, see his bio at the end of this article.
In my last articles, I talked about the importance of intimacy with one's self and in relationship, and how necessary it is for human beings to get regular doses of intimate touch for total well-being—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
There are many ways for us to physically nurture ourselves. We can eat well, go to the gym, get massage, connect with nature, feel the sun and wind on our bodies, and breathe deeply, to name a few. And intimate touch is another essential aspect of nurturing that we often neglect.
The Importance of Intimacy
Our desire and need for intimate touch goes very deep. Yet, as we become adults, we lose our ability to ask for and open to it. As we develop our mental capacities, we are unfortunately taught that feelings and needs are secondary to intellect. Even more, we are shamed into expressing our desires and needs. So, we resign ourselves to a life of deep cravings, needs and desires that never really get met, leaving most of us with a deep feeling of lack, touch-starved and frustrated.
This confusing state of being—feeling the deep cravings, as well as the shame and fear to get those needs met—can cause many challenges in our intimacy with ourselves and with our partners, and may lead to both partners ultimately pulling away, and shutting down physically and erotically from the other. The result is either not seeking any outlets for our need for physical and intimate touch, or we seek quick relief elsewhere with other sex partners.
As I mentioned in my last article, there is nothing wrong with quick sexual encounters—in person or on the internet. They can be fun, sexy and help release pent-up energy. But they are not a substitute for real intimate physical erotic connection. As I mentioned last time, the quick encounters are like the candy—sweet, tasty, temporarily satisfying, and fun—while erotic intimacy is like the vegetables: maybe not so sweet and intoxicating, but definitely fully nourishing and life-sustaining, and even fun and tasty!!!
The bottom line is that keeping your energy flowing is a fundamental way to maintain and increase physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health! This concept can be found in the teachings of ancient Indian Tantric Yoga and Chinese Taoist healing techniques.
Having sex or being erotically engaged with a new partner is in some ways easy. The thrill of the unknown, the sport of the courtship, the excitement of getting to know someone new, tends to stimulate the necessary “juices.” We can usually open to our real desires, urges and passions. As we get to know someone, we get to relate in other ways, getting to know more of the person—both the perks and the foibles. If the relationship continues, then a deeper heart connection is established. What I often hear from my clients is that this is the moment when the erotic thrill begins to subside. This is quite common and doesn’t have to mean the end of the erotic intimacy with a long-term partner. It just means that you have to work harder to stay erotically engaged and be more creative to keep this energy between the two of you open.
Exploring Erotic Touch
The big challenge is to combine both the heart connection and the erotic intimacy instead of keeping them separate. This can be a big challenge, especially for men, but not impossible. Even though it is more challenging, I recommend to stay erotically engaged with your partner for your personal health and fulfillment, as well as the growth and development of your relationship—even if the passion wears off. This is especially important if you are in a committed monogamous relationship. Self-pleasuring is a great way to keep your erotic energy flowing, but erotic contact with your partner is nourishing and life-enhancing. If you are in an open relationship, I still believe it is essential to stay erotically engaged with your primary partner as a way to deepen the intimacy and growth of the relationship.
So, what can you do to keep the erotic energy flowing with your long-term partner? Here are some tips to try out. I suggest you approach this like your workout regiment. This may sound technical and not very romantic, but, like the challenges we have with sticking with a workout program, these are ways to overcome the awkward moments and times when you may want to give up. The important thing is to be creative, keep the communication open, not be judgmental and stay committed to even when it feels hard to do.
- Agree on how often: One of the reasons the passion wears off is because one partner wants to “do it” more than the other. One partner usually feels pressured and the other feels guilty, shamed or unfulfilled. Another obstacle is that our busy schedules keep us from making erotic contact a priority. Plus, the stress and anxiety of our lifestyles cut us off from our erotic energy. Like your workout program, come up with your weekly schedule. Sit down with your partner and negotiate how many times a week you will engage erotically that feels right to both of you. If you choose three times a week, then you need to do your best to stick to it. Again, not very romantic, but the schedule will help you find the romance again. Saying yes to this means saying yes to the relationship—what can be more romantic than that?
- Realize that erotic contact is not always “porn” sex: This is an important point and usually the reason why the passion wears off. Many of us learn how to have sex from porn. The standard porn scenario starts with a quick connection, maybe kissing, then some oral, then somehow miraculously both partners are ready for anal, and after five to 10 minutes, both partners ejaculate. This is not reality, yet we seem to model our sex lives from this. If this is the model we are going by, no wonder we have trouble staying erotically engaged with our partners. Engaging with oral, anal and ejaculation in 15 minutes takes a lot of energy, requires that both partners are equally in the mood at the same time, and that hygienic procedures are already taken care of. Not only is this not realistic, it can create a lot of performance anxiety and pressure. No wonder we avoid erotic connection if this is the expectation!
- Realize that erotic engagement doesn’t have to include oral, anal or ejaculating: If you have committed to stay erotically engaged with your partner, agree to be creative and in the moment with what you choose to do. Some of your sessions might be about just pleasuring one partner if the other is not interested in “getting off.” If both of you agree to this, that could be hot and eliminate the pressure. There are plenty of things you can do that don't include anal or oral. And, there is a wide variety of things you can do when you take ejaculating out of the picture.
According to ancient Tantric and Taoist techniques, the best way to use erotic energy to heal and grow and nurture is to avoid ejaculation and allow the energy flow into all parts of your body, promoting vitality, better circulation and organ function (all your organs, not just one…). In fact, an advanced practitioner of these practices will not even have an erection and still have full body orgasms! This is a big part of how I work with couples, individuals and groups—teaching ways to raise erotic energy and having a full body experience. It’s a lot of fun, powerful and deepens connection. So, when you take away the pressure of having to ejaculate, or even getting an erection, then it might be easier to have erotic contact more often with your partner.
- Be spontaneous: Since you have now taken off the pressure of needing be prepared, needing to “go all out,” or needing to ejaculate, have some fun with the timing. Maybe you can find a way to pleasure your partner while he is cooking, just for 10 minutes! Let him know that you will be ready for him when he gets home for work for 15 minutes of erotic massage or anything else he may desire. The more you communicate and plan, the easier it will be. You can agree that once a week, or once a month, you’ll go all out for a few hours of deeper erotic contact, with oral and anl or whatever else turns you on. This gives you time to prepare and be ready for it.
Let other times be short and sweet, less pressured, more creative and spontaneous. There is nothing more nurturing, and romantic, than knowing that your partner is thinking of ways to turn you on and keep your erotic energy flowing. This approach is similar to many diets where they say it may be healthier to eat many small meals throughout the day, instead of two or three big meals. Remember, it’s all about nurturing ourselves and feeding the intimacy of the relationship.
- Create an erotic ritual to speak your desires and fantasies One reason that our erotic energy gets stuck or suppressed is that we find it difficult to express what really turns us on to our partners. When we get to know someone, many of us feel shame or guilt or think we might be judged or rejected if we share what we truly desire, so we keep it to ourselves. We hope that somehow our partner will know what we desire, often becoming disappointed. I recommend you create a ritual where you take the time to listen to each other’s deeper desires and fantasies. Do it with a bottle of wine, good music, candles—whatever works for you. Just sit and talk, hold hands, or massage each others’ feet while you do this. Or imagine pleasuring yourself while you share or even pleasuring your partner while you speak your desires.
This can not only be really hot, but also very healing, and will definitely deepen your intimacy and connection with each other. It is important to let each other know while doing this that you will not judge what they say, and that you are not obligated to do any of it. This is important. It’s not a request but simply an opportunity to express a deeper, creative part of you. All you are required to do is listen with an open heart and let yourself be amazed, and maybe even turned on, by your partners imagination and erotic power. You will see them in a new way. And you may feel a sense of freedom when speaking your desires.
Desires versus Fantasies
It’s also important to distinguish between fantasies and desires. A fantasy can be as “out there” as you want it to be. It is unlikely that you will ever do your fantasy. That’s why it’s called fantasy! For instance, you may dare to speak that you would like to be erotically serviced by a group of aliens. Why not? It’s just fantasy. Desires are more specific and closer to a realistic request. Your partner may share that it would be a big turn on for him to engage erotically somewhere outdoors in a safe place, or to be serviced non-stop for a few hours, or would like to be tied up, or have some role play scenarios that he would like to try with you.
Once again, your only obligation is to listen with an open ear and no feeling of obligation. Who knows? You may figure out a fun way to help fulfill your partners desire in a way that feels right to you too.
So, here are some ways to bring back, or deepen, the erotic flow in your relationship. Try it out, have fun with it. Imagine the power of combining erotic pleasure and excitement with a deep heart connection! A total win-win for the health and well-being of yourself and your partner!
About Joe Weston: Joe Weston is an international workshop facilitator and personal life coach. Born and educated in New York, Joe lived in Amsterdam for 17 years and now lives in California. He is committed to helping others embody spirituality and supports others on their journey towards personal fulfillment and empowerment. Joe brings a wealth of insight to his work based on many teachings, including Tai Chi Chuan and various spiritual traditions—plus his experience in theater and various organizational trainings. He also volunteers for the Liberation Prison Project, teaching Buddhism to inmates. To find out more about his workshops and his personal coaching, visit www.joeweston.com
Joe will be offering a monthly class in Oakland, Ca., Full Body Meditation, combining different physical disciplines as a preparation for a successful mediation. Check for details. He is also leading a one-day Respectful Confrontation Training in Amsterdam on April 17, and in Oakland on May 1, 2010. He is offering a 25 dollar discount to RealJock readers. For more info: http://www.joeweston.com/joe_weston_schedule.php