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Energizing Intimacy

old message Energizing Intimacy - The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication Darrell Miller 07/27/05


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Date: July 27, 2005 04:17 PM
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Subject: Energizing Intimacy - The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication

Energizing Intimacy

The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication.

Mars/Venus. He said/she said. Action movies/chick flicks. However you choose to characterize differences between the sexes, one this is clear: We tend to see men and women as irreconcilable opposites, people who need each other deeply yet who often don’t know how to live with one another. The stress that ensues when the love connection breaks down aches not only our hearts but the rest of our bodies as well…to say nothing of what it teaches our children about the nature of relationships.

This issue of Energy Times is primarily devoted to offering advice and guidance on how to rebuild that love connection; how committed, loving couples can energize intimacy in their relationships. You can find valuable information in stories on the incredible herbs around the world that aid and enhance libido; tips on how women can use natural cosmetics to rev up a partner’s sexual engine; and how couples can create passion in the kitchen, through mutual back massage and after menopause.

But those articles offer little help if the foundation of your relationship is not primarily built on communicating your needs and desires- whether inside or outside of the bedroom- and listening, really listening, to the other person in your life. Communication is the holistic way to view sexual health and healing because having a clear understanding with your partner about love and life is the way your relationship can truly be whole.

With our national divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, it is clear that American adults still have an immense learning curve when it comes to talking about sex and intimacy. Sensual images and situations bombard us from books, television, films and Internet sites, yet we seem to be as clueless as ever, not knowing how to talk intelligently about intimate relationships to each other or to our children.

Part of the problem stems from the constant barrage of verbal and visual messages- whether from our parents, friends or corporate advertising- that make us incredibly self-conscious about sensuality and our bodies. Many women fight to come to terms with self-images of their bodies as not thin or beautiful enough, while a lot of men struggle to overcome fear and insecurity over their sexual prowess. Carrying such baggage around can’t help but negatively affect the way people relate in a relationship. After all, before you can share love with your partner, you must learn to love yourself.

We also have to overcome the energy flows that start getting blocked during childhood, when we learn to restrain our emotional energy for the sake of fitting in. Like water behind a crumbling dam, though, repressed energy leaks out in all sorts of extremely unhealthy ways: Anger, depression, irritability, stress- and sexual dysfunction.

Learning to Talk

According to Chris Frey, a Missouri-based psychotherapist and pet who has studies sexual relationships, our culture does a great job reaching people about the mechanics and “how-to” of intimacy and the dangers of unprotected sex, but few families or institutions talk about healthy sexuality with a partner.

“Culturally, the prevalent myth still is that loves means intuitively knowing what my partner wants,” Frey said in an interview posted on the website of the Missouri Lawyer Assistance Program (MOLAP). “People think if they have to talk, or worse yet, ask about it, then there must be something wrong with them. That’s incorrect. Instead of open communication, people often turn to innuendo, humor and guesswork. When couples break through that, the sensitivity and intimacy built as two uncertain people begin to communicate about sex builds an amazing amount of trust, and most likely, a much more pleasurable relationship.”

In fact, trust is a key part of a model of healthy sexuality developed by social worker, marriage and family therapist and author Wendy Maltz. Called CERTS, Maltz’s model requires that five basic conditions be met for a healthy sexual relationship: Consent, Equality, Respect, Trust and Safety.

  • • Consent means you can freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in intimate activity and you are able to stop the activity at any time during the contact.

  • • Equality means your sense of personal power is on an equal level with your partner. Neither of you dominates the other.
  • • Respect means you have positive regard for yourself and for your partner. You feel respected by your partner.
  • • Trust means you trust your partner on a physical and emotional level. You have mutual acceptance of vulnerability and an ability to respond to it with sensitivity.

  • • Safety means you feel secure and safe within the intimate setting. You are comfortable with and assertive about where, when and how the intimacy takes place. You feel safe from the possibility of harm, such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection and physical injury. According to Chris Frey, it is only when the CERTS model-what he calls “the attitudes of healthy sexuality”-exists as a foundation in the relationship that you can build on those attitudes with behaviors such as romance, affection, intimacy and sensuality. “The CERTS model is a guide for being more mature and loving in any adult relationship: marriage, dating, friendship. The opportunities to move away from shame, miscommunication, exploitation and confusion are all present in this information. In Sexuality, CERTS is the work for an advanced course in having a healthy relationship. In life, CERTS is simply a great guide for how we can choose to interact with one another.” Once a couple achieves wholeness through communication, they can spend the rest of their lives exploring the limitless sensual possibilities.
    -Steven Hanks and Lisa James



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