Continuing on this thread of needs and desires (from now on I will use these two terms interchangeably), we acknowledge that in order to have good sex ad relationships one must be able to ask for their needs to be met. This will be much easier to do once we’ve recognized, to ourselves first, what it is we do need. Communicating that need to a lover, spouse or potential partner is the next step. To feel more confident in communicating our desires we must first sit with the fact that the response from our lover is completely out of our control and we may be disappointed. Deep breathe, and I repeat, we may be disappointed. This may be obvious to our brains but it is not so obvious to our emotions. Far to not-so-often do we allow ourselves to be in disappointment. Its uncomfortable and, by the way, isn’t half the reason we have this so-called-lover is to fulfill all of our needs and desires!?!?!? I would say in your dreams but this message that ‘the one’ ought to satisfy all of our most intimate desires comes from culture, religion, media, etc. and is COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC. On the flip side, being the disappointer is not any more comfortable and many of us have not built the tolerance or resiliency to sit in either one of these positions while staying in connection to our partner(s). The emphasis being with ‘while staying in connection’. Insert The Somatica Method. All of us have the ability exercise our emotional muscles and Somatica offers the precise space to efficiently and safely continue this process. This method incorporates patients and empathy in order to create a safe space that welcomes all feelings from all sides. It allows for enough space to where sides, hopefully, eventually dissipate. Having had the last 3 out of 3 partners, over the course of nine years, want to separate from me due to my overly-promiscuous behavior, I know very well the feeling of disappointing others. Although, through all those years I never gave time to sit with how terrible that felt because I was too preoccupied with my resentment for feeling unfree. I am looking forward to a new era of my life where I can have space for all of my double-dipped emotions. This disappointment can come along with changing physical bodies, gender identity, E.D., early ejaculation, and low libido. I am also looking forward to sharing the Somatica Method now as Santa Cruz’s first Certified Somatica Practitioner!
One thing that people need in order to have good sex and relationships is that it is okay to have needs and desires. It is also convenient if needs and desires are both equally valued because, how we feel in our body is important no matter how we label it. One part of understanding our desires/needs and how important they are is, giving space for our eroticism. When we are in our fully embodied eroticism, we can feel okay with having our needs and desires. This is a full circle of positive reinforcement and a good example of how we can be in an intimate connection and communicate from a place of love. Our ideas, sub-conscious or conscious, of what our needs or desire are is heavily influenced by our childhood and culture. E.g. men are providers of physical/structural safety and women have many needs and are the emotional caretakers. I personally have responded to this conundrum by being a rebellious female and magically having little to no needs, clears throat…Knowing what you want is essential for healthy relationships! It is very difficult to know what You want when you’re focused on the other . When we learn to put ourselves first, knowing it will be best of service to all involved, the ripple effect is delightful. No shame if we are not there, life is this process.
As I come the completion of Esther Perel’s “The State of Affairs”, I am celebrating the new-found sense of relaxation that comes with a greater understanding of how we are all relating in the world. I myself have never been a part of a legal ‘affair’, to my knowledge anyways, however I have had my fair share of infidelities being on every point of the triangle. It is not the best feeling no matter what part you play. Infidelities, or at least the discovery or admittance of, are often a cornerstone on the trajectory of a relationship regardless of the specifics. Trust being broken, emotional and possibly physical safety being put at risk is an happening that many people cannot recover from or, there is no chance given for recovery. It is an end-all for many. However, affairs, cheating and other slights of the ilk happen ALL THE TIME!!! Like right now…a bunch are happening all over the place. Esther’s book is humbling, empathic, thorough, and intellectually and emotionally provocative. Being honest is not necessarily as simple of a concept as it sounds. Often we are honest with others in sacrifice of being honest with ourselves. We crave acceptance and dominant culture controls by shame. Esther adds perspective to our internal dilemma. Example -Culture B – third party finds out about affair and chooses not to tell anyone because they (the third party) knows it will break up the entire family and bring shame reigning down upon the participants. Culture A – third party finds out about affair and chooses to tell their friend because individual knowing reigns all. Their friend is devastated and chooses to respond to said affair by leaving their partner immediately and severing years of bonding efforts. Both of these decisions by the third party are legitimate and they are culturally relational. One purpose behind somatic sex and relationship coaching is to offer a nurturing, empathetic and connected space where clients have an embodied emotional experience. We can all be grateful for a confidential and judgement-free space especially around sexuality. Esther Perel is a great leader in relational psychology and I attribute much of my inspiration to her!
Thanks for joining me!
A good place to start when exploring feelings around sharing intimate partners…
There are a lot of resources out there on the topic of non-monogamy or polyamory. Out of the books I have read, the one I recommend to start off with is ‘Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships’ by Tristan Taormino. This book should be at the top of your list because it introduces the idea of open relating in such a gentle way and provides helpful guidance for those dealing with non-monogamous-related issues even while orienting in a monogamous way. If you are curious about opening up your relationship but not yet convinced or ready to start actualizing that exploration, start with this book! There are quizzes at the end of the chapters to help guide you to learn about how you relate to relating. Interesting concept, right? Tristan does a great job of introducing the concepts and work that goes along with non-monogamous orientation while not trying to convince anyone that this way of orienting is somehow superior, better or more evolved (a very common mind-set especially among us new-age hippies ; ). There are infinite ways of co-creating relationships and it’s books like this that helps create cultural space for all the options to be shame-free and intellectually available to anyone. If you are monogamously oriented but want to have a better understanding of open relationships so you can be a more supportive platonic friend, this is also a great resource for you!
When I was first exploring open relationships and coupling that exploration with books, ‘The Ethical Slut’ by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy was one of the first I read. This is also a great read and is geared more for those who are already fully interested in an alternatively-oriented relationship structure.
Thank you for helping co-create a more cooperative culture starting with your most personal relationships!