We have to talk….!
by Diana Daffner
Author, Tantric Sex for Busy Couples: How to Deepen Your Passion in Just Ten Minutes a Day
There’s a popular cliché about being able to recognize married couples at a restaurant – they’re the ones not talking to each other! Two people sitting quietly, each preoccupied with their own thoughts. Well, you might say, of course spouses speak, and they do so frequently. How else could we handle the myriad tasks of living together? Yet many of us yearn for something more intimate than the logistical dialogs required to organize family outings, deal with illnesses, take the car to the repair shop or pick up a child after school.
We may remember how it was when we first met. We may remember how we hung on each other’s words, spent hours on the phone, listened with rapt attention to each other’s stories. At the beginning, we may have overflowed with things to share with each other. Each story, regardless of how many times we had told it before, was new to the listener.
When stories are told, an inner spirit within us is nourished, both as speaker and as listener. As listener, we absorb not just the content of the story, but also the enthusiasm or concern of the person telling it. When we listen closely to our beloved partner, we become aware of the non-verbal communication that comes with the story. Our shared experience of listening and being listened to makes us feel closer, more intimate, more drawn toward each other.
So, what happens as time goes by and we have heard all the stories, when even talking about our day at work seems like a huge effort, when we just want to come home and relax, when it feels as if there are no more stories?
What happens when the excitement of a new relationship simmers down, when we are no longer motivated by a desire to get to know this new person in our lives?
What happens is that we no longer have the mutual benefit that once enriched our being together. What happens is that this natural pathway toward intimate union becomes less available to us. The energy within our relationship and between our souls begins to diminish.
The spirit within us seeks to join us together, delights in the experience of lovers in love with each other! A flow of words from one to the other, and back again, can be an exciting dance of energy that opens our hearts and awakens our sexual interest.
Surprisingly, it is not always the content of the conversation that matters. In fact, sometimes content can distract us from the deeper loving presence that we desire. Here are some fun ways to communicate out loud and verbally without specific content:
+ Sit quietly for five minutes, gaze softly at one another and say your names back and forth to each other.
+ Speak to each other using gibberish – nonsense words that you make up. Try saying something like “Ummba gamani saysay nubanee!” A playful and silly reply might be, “Menocka du nuba su!” Experiment with expressing different emotions and feel the intimacy grow!
+ A Hakomi exercise called “Me, Me, Me” invites each person to tell a story about themselves using only the words “I” or “me.” Although the speaker feels as if he or she is telling a complete story (maybe even an important and oft-repeated story!) but only the words “I” or “me” are spoken allowed. The partner listening tries to understand what is being said, not by paying attention to the words, but by noticing what is significant about the speaker, appreciating who they are, what their attitude is, how they express themselves. The key here, as in all of these practices, is that the listener is engaged with the speaker, listening to the story-telling rather than the story-content. In this exercise, both people are nourished in the same way that new lovers are when they first begin to hear each other’s stories. Mutual attraction builds, creating a magnetic and authentic resonance between the two.
+ Pillow Talk: Invite your beloved to lay his or her head on your pillow, with your faces only inches apart. For the next five minutes, speak to each other only in present tense, describing whatever you notice in the current moment, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. There are no replies to what is said, only each person taking a turn to make a statement about something being felt, noticed, touched, heard, smelled or seen. For example, you might say “I feel your knees touching mine,” or “I hear the clock ticking,” or “I see a smile on your face.” Your partner might say “My shoulder feels sore,” or “I’m having trouble breathing,” or “My stomach is growling.” Keep the “conversation” going, each of you taking turns making a statement. You can even repeat yourself if you notice nothing new. It is not the specific statements, but the shared experience of each of you being authentically present that begins to lure you together.
As the cliché goes, when someone says the dreaded words “We have to talk,” it signifies a dissatisfaction, an unhappiness, a problem. Before it gets to that point, consider inviting your partner to play one of these verbal games with you. Get undressed and speak gibberish, or tell a meaningful story using only “me” and “I.” Try adding the word “you.” Or lay naked, faces close together, and report to each other what your moment-by-moment experience is. Say your names back and forth to each other.
If you’ve been to an Intimacy Retreat or learned some Tantra Tai Chi, use the “Tantra Trilogy” of sex, heart and Bindi! Snuggle close together as you experience and name aloud each of these powerful centers of energy.
Notice how your bodies respond as the energy between you starts to heat up, as the space between you becomes charged with the dynamic presence of love.
Or … play one of these conversation games when you’re sitting at a restaurant, waiting to be served. No one will ever guess that you’re married!
© Diana Daffner
NEW Report: Having pet names for each other can enhance emotional closeness! (MSNBC News)