I was nine or ten when the nude print appeared in the bathroom at my dad’s house. I remember staring at it after closing the door. The central figure was a woman in pale pinks and blues— all soft curves and exposed pubic hair. My first thoughts were, Now Dad is into dirty stuff. What will my friends think? My dad’s gross? Mom will roll her eyes at this.
Perhaps my dad was going through a sexual renaissance after his divorce — much like I am now.
Let’s face it the last few years of a dying marriage are often not hot bastions of sexy sex or sensuality. Affection and touch are too warm and intimate for a tension filled relationship. Negative tension is a steel blade slicing away at any possibility of soft connection. You either dread or miss the touch of your partner.
Guard Down/Energy Up
As an introvert, I find conflict very stimulating and not in the good way. Introspectives have to be careful not to let external stimulation hijack their inner balance. The inner workings of an introvert’s brain are very busy. Studies show that introvert’s brains are more active than extrovert’s. Inner stimulation added to intense outer stimulation leads to overload and eventually a deep need for solitude. Defensiveness and competition in a relationship steal energy from the place where genuine love and affection originate. Instead of reaching out and caring for your partner, you are forced to use energy to keep your guard up.
This makes for bad sex and limited openness.
Since I have been able to choose partners who give me a sense of freedom and genuine warmth, I have a desire and the energy to love them physically. Granted, dating in general is novel and exciting for me at this point. I am energized by the possibilities and exploration. But I still maintain the main reasons for my surge in outward affection toward my partner are feelings of equality, a lack of one-upping and conflict, and a natural ease around each other. I don’t have to use energy to keep up or maintain the appearance of happiness. I’m allowed to breathe and be, which allows for true love to arise from inside and flow outwardly.
Listening and Physical Affection: Same Effect
Like listening, physical affection nourishes the spirit. When was the last time someone deeply listened to you? When was the last time someone offered you genuine physical affection and caring? How did you feel after each?
I used to put less value on physical connection than I did on mental or spiritual connection. Now I see them all as key aspects of a thriving relationship. Perhaps previously I tried to downgrade physical affection’s significance because it was difficult for me to give in that way. I was worn out and had no energy for holding, caressing or dancing in the kitchen. I hoped my partner would not ask for more than I could give, but he always did. I now have a better understanding of the light that I was withholding from him.
I wanted to be heard. He wanted to be touched. Listening and affection, sacred offerings.
Open to Openness
Years later I recognize that the nude picture in my dad’s loo was tasteful. Why I originally saw it as dirty and embarrassing I’m not sure. What makes us prudes first and openly available almost never?
Sexuality can be beautiful. Touching is necessary for infants to thrive. Vulnerable nakedness is us in our simplest state. Allow yourself to let down your guard and glow under someone else’s fingertips. Allow yourself to enhance the quality of someone else’s existence by spreading warmth with your touch.
How do you feel about physical affection today? Has the desire for touch ebbed and flowed in your life? If so, why? If not, why?
If you enjoyed Sensual Renaissance… then you may also love:
3 Elements of Exquisite Sex and Divine Writing (space2live)
Sensuality in the Suburbs: Redefining the Norm (space2live)