Recently I asked on several of my social media platforms, “What is the most important part of Intimacy to you?” The overwhelming response to this was simple in nature. Communication with my partner. Regardless of their relationship status, length of time, or how many children they had, communication was above all the overwhelming answer I received from my followers. By communicating with your spouse, you are laying the intimate foundations of your relationship. You are present in each other’s life.
How do we communicate? Well to start, there’s verbal and non-verbal communication. I’m only going to focus on these two for today. We love hearing words of affirmations right? Then we have psychical touch. These are two of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Both of these we will be exploring further. But first I would like to ask all of you:
What is Intimacy?
According to Wikipedia, intimacy is the state of being intimate. A close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. A close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history. An act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection. Sexual intercourse the quality of being comfortable, warm or familiar.1
Regardless of your history, or cultural upbringing, we all can agree on one thing—As humans, we were never created to be alone. We crave to be touched, to be loved, to have intimate relationships with others. We see this is evident in the case studies having been done on newborns in the hospital receiving skin to skin bonding time with their mothers. The babies who are held flourish while those who are lacking touch do not do nearly as well. You see the premature babies in the INICU, most of them are hooked up to some pretty heavy duty machines. I can tell you this first hand as a mother. Our youngest was born with an Atrial Septal Defect ASD, or a hole in her heart and a Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), which means her pulmonary veins were not correctly connected to her left atrium. We did not find out about these conditions until she was two months old. She spent nearly a month in the hospital while we waited for her little body to become healthy enough for the open heart surgery she required. My husband and I would sit and watch the monitors. As soon as she could feel her daddy’s hands touching her little arm or leg, her heart rate would quicken and she would open her eyes. There she was my little fighter, ready to take on the world.
This is also further proven by looking at any of the small children living in one of the many orphanages. Her body is mal nourished, her eyes are sad and she is simply existing. She is hardly ever held or shown affections or even told words of affirmation. Her health suffers from not enough contact. You take this same child, you drop down to her eye level. Make direct eye contact and show her warm and open body language. What does she do? She hesitates for a moment because sadly, she may not understand what attention means or even be sure of what is about to happen, and then you see it. She reaches out her primal urge, longing to be held by someone, anyone willing to comfort her. Willing to hold her and tell her she is loved and valued in this world. When children like her are adopted and given the opportunity to be in a loving home, they come alive and they flourish in this world.
This transfers over to adults, in any relationship. As adults, we long for and crave to be touched and to find an intimate relationship.
To have another person to share our lives with. To have someone who knows us in such an intimate way. We long to find trust and comfort to lay the foundations for something so much greater. To have our hearts nourished and feel full of love. In a marriage we have to acknowledge the different stages, the life cycle of it.
We all start off hot heavy, then we grow and we change, and we become more comfortable. As we start this journey, some of us become parents and our marriages shift to adjust to our new roles. Our focus is no longer on the hot and heavy stage of US, it’s on becoming parents caring for our children, building a life for them and ourselves. We can fall into a comfortable numb, a mundane and complacent life if we’re not careful. Slowly, over time, we lose ourselves and sometimes, unfortunately, each other along the way. Once we figure out what stage we are in, we need to figure out how do we get back to us? How do we find that missing spark again?
As an adult toy educator, I see this quite often in the discreet one-on-one consultations I do with my customers. We get so busy in life, we forget the traditions that reinforce the bonds in our relationships, the playful and loving rituals we do to reignite that sparkle in our significant other’s eyes. I have a few questions I like to ask my clients when we really sit down to talk. I want them to really think back to the fun, the playful, the BLISS.
Remember that first date? What was so special about it? How about that moment in life when you KNEW your spouse was the one person you were going to spend the rest of your life with? What was it that caught your attention about them? How about your first kiss? The first time you made love? Hold on to those memories for just a moment.
I met my husband on a blind date, when I was only 19. I knew he was the one after an hour of talking to him. It was so strange to me, when he and I spoke I felt as though I knew him already. As though we were already familiar in our hearts with each other. At 19 years old, I was still a baby, yet I had lived a lifetime before meeting him. My husband was the only man I ever spoke to where I didn’t stutter. I still remember that night like it was yesterday. He made me feel warm and comfortable during our conversations. Talking about our families, and our friends while we giggled as we learned about each other.
Not 24 hours after I met him, I packed a duffle bag of clothes, grabbed my favorite cast iron skillet, and the home-made butcher’s block my father had recently made for me. We hopped in his truck and this California girl was off to Waco, Texas. Every parent’s nightmare right? Lol.
Almost 12 years later, we have three beautiful little daughters, and life we have worked so hard to build together. I can attest to losing intimacy in my marriage. When we became parents, it was not that we ever stopped being us, we simply pushed us off to the side and focused everything on the first steps, the first words, first laugh and then this focus grew into the beautiful first day of school, first time riding a bike without training wheels, and the first big job promotion. As a parent, how do you find time for intimacy when everyone in the house is having a meltdown? It’s not an easy task, not by far. Sometimes, you are able to see it coming other times you are not.
For us, when we hit a very rough patch, we spoke about that horrible “D word” no one ever wants to hear in a marriage. When the moment came, we opted for marriage counseling instead. We wanted to fight for our marriage, for our family and for what we have worked so hard to build together. During our sessions we had discovered somewhere along the 12 years and three beautiful, incredible, amazing little daughters we lost US. We lost who we were as a couple. We lost what had made us work together as a solid unit. With becoming the very best guy at work, and women in business. We put us off to the side. We forgot how to hold hands in the store. Instead, we replaced holding hands with holding children. The three little kisses on the check shoulder or arms before bedtime. We were lost in the mix of quick showers, brushing our hair and teeth and preparing for bed. We had forgotten about the glass of chocolate milk after sex. If sex was great, the chocolate milk was on point. Not too sweet, not too milky. Yet if sex was just ok … Well we laughed at the horrible batch of chocolate milk we made together.
These small, yet extremely important rituals in marriage are necessary to reaffirm the intimacy we are missing.
So how do you get the rituals back after becoming a parent? Well, you can go to counseling, read books on relationships, and practice communicating with your spouse. It’s a start, to want that intimate connection back. At least that has helped us to become the very best partners we could ever possibly become. It starts off small. Baby steps. Getting to this point didn’t happen overnight. It took time to grow apart, and it may take time to grow back together.
Maybe it’s scheduling a date night. Take time for this, because it’s important. Take the time to get dressed up for your spouse. Ladies, that means shaving your legs. Men you too. Let your beautiful spouse see the man she married. This is the moment you dress up for each other.
Find a place to go to dinner, or if money is kinda tight, improvise and make a nice dinner at home (hide the frozen dinner boxes of premade food in the bottom of the trash can if you must). The important thing to remember is it’s the journey getting to this point, not the small little details of things that really don’t matter at the end of the day. Perhaps it’s a weekend away to fully immerse in a silly adventure together.
Maybe…dare I say, randomly watch a porno together, see how you both feel about what is being done in the scene. Allow yourselves the opportunity to communicate and explore creative ways of playing in a safe space. Then sit and talk about it for a moment and maybe, you might find an exciting new way to play together. I tell you, after 12 years together, we are still learning and finding new ways to play together.
Recently, on the show “Play with Me” from Playboy Radio, the panelists discussed the subject of kissing and the body’s emotional, psychological and psychical response to kissing. Let’s start off with psychical and psychological responses. Did you know our lips are our bodies most exposed erogenous zone? Oh yes, it takes five of the 12 cranial nerves to engage in learning about our partner.
When we kiss, dopamine is released throughout our bodies creating the sensation of falling in love during a passionate kiss. This dopamine makes us feel happy or sad sometimes even sleepy. This also sends a message to our blood vessels allowing them to dilate and our hearts to race. This is also what we identify as the sensation of falling in love.
Have you ever had such a passionate kiss it brought you to orgasm? It’s an interesting experience to have. From an emotional standpoint, kissing so connecting in a relationship. After a long day of work how would it feel to have your spouse meet you at the door? Wrapping his or her arms around your neck and body and fully embracing you for a hot and passionate kiss. Only to pull away and look you in the eyes and say “I missed you today.” How does it make you feel to kiss your significant other? When was the last time you had a hot and heavy make out session with heavy petting and hot breath on your neck?
What are some other rituals you do in your relationship to reaffirm your love?
I am big on psychical touch. Run your finger through my hair, touch my face and tell me that you love me.
After a long day one of the biggest things I look forward to my husband doing for me is a shower. The psychical act of soaping up a sponge with our tropical scented handcrafted soaps and washing my entire body scrubbing away all of the stress from the day. The feel of the warm shower and the closeness of his body to mine. Most of the time, it really does not require sex afterwards. Just the intimate moment we share naked in front of each other. The rough feel of his hands, the warmth of his skin. The intimate way to explore each other’s bodies. The way his body feels as I scrub his legs. To connect, to talk about our day. To release the stress, then we dry each other off. Most of the time, this only happens realistically after we put our little ones to bed. Otherwise we do hear the distractions of knocking and whining at the door.
I have heard of a few rituals other couples do, one couple writes naughty little messages across the smooth surface of the peanut butter jar. Just a quick little naughty note to remind each other hey…I see you, I want to play with you and engage. Another bakes a tray of cookies and meets her husband at the door wearing her apron, heels and holding the tray of cookies with nothing else. This couple recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary (and a possible sexual harassment charge from the Fed Ex driver… Just kidding).
Love is a playful art form. Intimacy is the choosing to connect and be present in your partner’s life. Without having intimacy in your marriage and honoring the close connection, it will not bring any joy to your life, it will suffer and may even perish.
This is one of the biggest reasons I love being an adult toy educator. I am honored to sit down nearly every weekend to hear people share their personal sex lives with me. Sometimes it’s a date night and a pair of vibrating panties. Sometimes it’s finding the right flavor of edible warming oil and book to describe the different ways to give and receive a sensual massage for a special anniversary present. Other times it’s in the workshops I teach, helping women to rediscover the body confidence they often lose after having children.
In closing, I want to add an important point. Adult toys were never created to replace your spouse. They are meant to enhance your sex lives. To explore the many intimate ways your body responds to the visual stimulation, the psychical vibrations and textures of materials, also sometimes utilizing scent, and taste. Once you open this door the possibilities are endless.
If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with me on social media. Here’s to continued intimacy in your marriage.
This article previously published on Amanda’s blog.