Do you know what you want? Creating an intimate relationship with yourself

by Majbrit Villadsen on July 17, 2016

Do you know what you want

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Have you ever longed for a more intimate relationship with your partner? Have you felt you’ve grown apart in the busy-ness of life? Felt like you weren’t really connected anymore. Your talks have become superficial, focused around the practical aspects of everyday life. Tenderness has become sporadic, the kisses have become part of a morning or evening routine, and even lovemaking (if it happens at all) seem to be just another item on the to-do list.

If you’re single, you may feel like you’re missing out, or that life is passing you by. You may feel a longing, not necessarily for a partner, just a longing for something which you can’t quite put your finger on. Like something is missing, and if only you had it, life would be great. If only you knew what it was!

Loosing touch with what matters most

Many of us will feel disconnected at one time or another. We feel we’ve lost touch with our partner and with what matters most - to them and to us. We feel disconnected to ourselves. If you have kids, you may feel like they no longer need you, and you’re no longer part of their life. Even the relationship to your once so near and dear friends seem to have vanished. You feel alone, abandoned maybe. Life feels colorless and…boring.

When this happens it’s time to look within. It’s time to stop waiting to be saved. It’s time to take responsibility for ourselves and our life. I know it sounds like your mom telling you to be responsible and it sounds like hard and tedious work. I won’t lie; it may be hard and it certainly takes dedication. Hard in the sense that if you’ve grown into a pattern of not feeling into yourself, your wants, needs and desires, it may take a lot of practice to awaken that part of you. Hence the dedication and commitment to continue to explore the intimate connection to yourself.

But let me explain what I mean by taking responsibility (if I haven’t lost you already because the thought was simply too boring for you).

How do you want to be touched?

I recently attended a workshop by Betty Martin. She has developed something she calls the Wheel of Consent. It’s a great tool for practitioners who works with touch, and a wonderful way for individuals to gain clarity, set limits and to discover what we want, and that we have a choice in giving and receiving.

In life, we often loose touch of what we want, as we’re fulfilling the demands and wishes of others - our boss, partner, children, parents and other relatives, friends - the list goes on.

In the workshop we played a game called The 3 Minute Game. It’s an exploration of the answers to two questions:

1. How do you want me to touch you for 3 minutes?

2. How do you want to touch me for 3 minutes?

Feel into yourself and discover what you want

In this article we’ll focus on exploring question 1. I see The 3 Minute Game as a very practical approach to nurture the intimate relationship to ourselves. It’s a way for us to discover what we want in that moment. Not what would be okay for us or what we would be willing to accept, but what we would love. How would you love part of your body to be touched for 3 minutes? And now, how would you love that part of your body to be touched for 3 minutes?

You can play this game with your partner, or a good friend or family member. Before you do though, I highly recommend you read this article first on how to sensitize your hands. This is an important first step to become more present, raise awareness in your hands and to be more relaxed when you touch another person. It’ll increase your own pleasure when you touch others, and improve the quality of your touch and your ability to feel into another person.

The 3 Minute Game in no way has to be a sexual game. And for the one asking question 1, you’re offering a gift, so feel into the answer you get (about how your practice partner wants to be touched), and notice if you feel comfortable with giving touch in the way your partner would like to be touched. If you don’t feel you can offer that gift, have them ask for someting else, or you might be willing to do it in a modified way.

Even if you play this game with your romantic partner, I recommend to start with clothes on and to keep away from genital touch. It just puts less pressure, and enhance the sense of safety. So start with a hand or arm, and take your time before you move further. So the question would be “How do you want me to touch your hand for 3 minutes?”

It can be very difficult to feel into what we want, and playing this game may make you realize that what you thought you wanted wasn’t actually what you wanted - and you get to change your mind. You can even change the timeframe and make it shorter or longer than 3 minutes; agree upon it before you start.

If you’re intimate partners, or you feel comfortable, and play with a consenting adult, you can gradually include more of the body into the game. As you do, you’ll most likely notice how it may bring emotional challenges or feelings of shame for one or both of you. Always listen to your body and don’t push yourself into something you don’t feel ready for. For the one receiving touch, it’s about receiving something that feels wonderful to you, so if it doesn’t, make sure to ask for what would feel delicious. For the one giving touch, although you set aside your personal preference, you keep responsibility for your limits and don’t agree to do something you can not give with a full heart.

Taking responsibility for yourself

Sometimes we unconsciously put the responsibility on our partner, so when asked the question How do you want me to touch you for 3 minutes, we may answer something like I want you to make me feel loved in the way you touch me. The thing is, the kind of touch that makes you feel loved, may differ from the kind of touch that makes me feel loved. We can’t expect our partner to be a mind reader. By not being clear about what we want we put the responsibility on our partner. We expect them to know already.

Not only do we put them in an impossible situation, we also put ourselves in the role of being a victim , moving away from self-love. In that way, we’re perpetuating a cycle of never getting what we want - unless by chance when someone guesses right. In other words, we’re giving our power away and keep hoping that someone will save us. So be specific in your request and make it tangible.

Receiving the gift of attention

Through this game we get to feel into, and notice, what we want. When asked question 1, take some time to feel what you want. Let go of pre-conceived mental ideas and let your body convey the answer. Realize this is a gift for you, not for the one giving. And of course it’s within the limits of the giver, but those limits are for the giver to set, not for you to try to second guess.

For the one asking, take time to feel your body’s response to the request; is this a gift you’re comfortable to give? As a giver you set aside what you want, you simply give your time and attention but you always do so within your particular limitations in any given request. Remember, you only give what you’ve been asked to give. Don’t start to do more, or wander away from what have been asked of you. If you do, it’s a breach of the agreement and it can create distrust and a feeling of insecurity. The receiver may start to feel unsafe, as their request is not being honored.

Gratitude enlivens the body

We train ourselves to pay attention to our wants and desires, listening to, and honoring, our limitations. In doing so, our lives become more fulfilled and joyful - and it reaches much further than just how we want to be touched.

The original version of this game is created by Harry Faddis, and the question was What do you want me to do to you for 3 minutes? In similar ways you can play with changing the question to discover new wants and desires. It could be, What do you want me to do for you for the next 20 minutes?

When you ask for something and you get it, don’t forget to notice the gratitude for having received such a precious gift. Thank your partner for having provided what you asked for. Gratitude strengthens the bond between you, and it elevates your mood and the vitality of your body. As a natural response, you’re partner will say “you’re welcome.”

Please watch this short video to get Betty Martin’s explanation about The 3 Minute Game. Also check out all the videos on her website about The Wheel of Consent and how it informs the way we give and receive touch. It’s super important not only for practitioners but for all of us in our daily interactions with people around us.

Have fun exploring - and even if you feel stuck not feeling what you want, trust the process and allow yourself all the time you need to feel what you want.

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