Connection Rituals To Help Keep The Spark In Your Relationship

Connection Rituals To Help Keep The Spark In Your Relationship

Shared rituals both large and small play an incredibly important part in each partner’s sense that the relationship is safe and supportive. They also give the relationship a sense of continuity, along with a regular sense of connection that stays intact even in the face of the busy-ness of everyday life. They also give both partners something to look forward to.

Anything can be a connection ritual as long as it’s important to both of you: A particular kind of exercise, a favorite TV show, even a household chore done together — the most important thing about having rituals is that they’re important to both of you.

Following are some rituals, both informal and formal, that I invite you to discuss with each other.

Are any of these worth adopting? Being aware of (and guarding) your connection rituals is a powerful ingredient in sustaining a good relationship.

 

Normal Life Rituals

Mealtimes:

Regularly eat at least one meal a day together, with cell phones and TV turned off, in order to easily talk with each other or with the family.

When leaving the house:

Always find your partner and give him or her a kiss, making sure you know at least one thing he or she will be doing while you’re away.

When arriving home:

Always make sure to find your partner and give him or her a long and loving kiss. Do this before you do anything else.

Talk time each night:

This is a high-priority ritual: Make sure to spend time every evening sitting and talking to one another about your day, sharing what you’re thinking and feeling, and catching up on family news. It can be helpful to meet in the same place.

Bedtime:

It’s important to spend at least a few minutes cuddling and kissing in bed. If one of you goes to bed earlier than the other, do this then.

Date Nights:

Especially if you have children, it’s crucial for the two of you to schedule (and protect) a regular Date Night — preferably once a week, but at a minimum once every two or three weeks. It allows you to escape your everyday responsibilities and create romantic and special “couple time” together. Date Nights don’t have to be expensive — a picnic on a blanket under the moonlight costs no more than a meal at home. Take turns organizing these.

Weekends away:

A regular romantic weekend, even if it’s once every few months, is a powerful, relaxing connection ritual. Again, it need not be expensive; take turns planning them.

 

Special Circumstance Rituals

When one of you is sick:

For most couples, how their partner cares for them when they’re sick or feeling vulnerable is important. Are you someone who likes a lot of attention, or do you prefer being left alone? Talking through this in advance allows you to best provide for each other when the time comes.

Celebrations:

A promotion, a milestone, a personal goal: When one of you has achieved success, how do you celebrate it? Do you create a culture of praise for and with each other and your family?

Bad luck, failures, or exhaustion:

How do you support one another when one of you is stressed out, exhausted, or experiencing failure? Do you acknowledge his or her difficulty? Does the other step up and carry more of the load? (There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.) How do each of you prefer to be supported in tough times?

Entertaining:

Do you have an agreement and a divided workload for entertaining visitors? Who cooks? Who cleans? What do you do together? How often do you entertain? How late does it go? Do you clean up at night or in the morning? Do you wait for each other to go to bed, or not? What do each of your prefer?

Keeping in touch with friends and family:

Do you have particular rituals around staying in touch with friends and family? Who contacts whom? How long between catch-ups? Do you do the same routine each time or change it up?

Making love:

With the daily schedules of life (and particularly with children), making time to make love can be difficult, particularly if you believe sex and lovemaking should be spontaneous. Research has shown that you’ll have a better sex life if you make love regularly, so it can be a good idea to plan a “sex date” together at least one night a week. For many couples, this can often coincide with Date Night; for others, late afternoon on the weekend might be a better time.

Vacations:

How do you take vacations as a couple? Who comes up with the idea? Who organizes the details? Do you always travel together, or do you sometimes go places alone? Do the two of you prefer active or relaxing holidays, or some of both? Is it okay to work on vacation? Do each of you have time to “do your own thing”?

Birthdays and anniversaries:

How do you celebrate these important events? For the two of you as a couple, what’s the norm (and the budget) for of gift-giving, going out, and trips away? Are there particularly special ones to acknowledge? Would you like these celebrations to be different in any way?

6 Love Hacks to keep your relationship hotter than a Jalapeno

Every night:

Make time for the two of you to talk for at least half an hour. This means what happened through the day for you, how you felt about it, and what you have been thinking.

 

Every day:

Find at least one thing you appreciate about your partner and tell him/her.(You look gorgeous, I like your shirt, That was a beautiful meal, I appreciate that you work so hard for us, I love the feel of your skin)

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Every week:

Have a date night one night a week, just the two of you. Take turns to organize what you’ll do. If something else crops up on that night, swap your date night for another night, but don’t put it off. You show your partner that you value your relationship and are not taking him/her for granted by this small but consistent gesture.

 

Every month:

Check with each other about how your relationship is going.

Ask each other,” On a scale of 1 to 10, how are we going?” And then, the more important question, “What would make it a 10 for you?”

In this way you both keep up to date about the quality of your relationship, and have opportunities to take action to keep it alive and vibrant.

 

 

Every 3 months:

Go away, just the two of you, for a weekend, or preferably a long weekend, just to have fun. No-one else is invited. Take turns to organize it.

 

Every year:

Celebrate your anniversary (either wedding, or meeting each other, or moving in together) in a way that is meaningful to both of you, and recommit for another year. Talk about what you like to see happen in the next year.

 

The more you treasure and honor your partner and your relationship, the richer will be the rewards for all. These kind of simple things done over time make a huge difference to the quality of your relating.

Tantra Is The Opposite Of Porn – Learning How To Actually Be Intimate

What if studying tantra could heal our addiction to Porn? What if tapping into our natural abilities to experience ecstasy changes everything?

Porn is a funny thing. Despite some opinions, I believe that it isn’t inherently evil. Lots of people truly enjoy watching porn, including many couples who use it together to have a new experience. Yet it is seemingly undeniable that there are some real dark sides to porn.

Besides the obvious violence and anything involving children, there are much more insidious issues:

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1) What We Look Like Is Everything

 

Porn focuses on being stimulated through the body. And so we are subconsciously told that sexuality depends on what your body looks like. You must be young, fit, have perky breasts and a large penis, otherwise you can’t be a good lover.

And ironically this sets up a huge self-worth issue in everyone, particularly those who don’t see themselves as young, fit and perky. And for the ones that do, they still quite often don’t see themselves as perky or big enough. Ultimately, no one leaves happy with themselves.

2) It’s All About Successfully Pleasuring The Other

Porn focuses on pleasing the other. Now obviously there is some part of us deep down that knows that the desire to please our partner is actually a wonderful thing. But that isn’t usually how it comes across in porn. It comes across as the only thing that is important. That bringing the other person to orgasm is the only goal.

And what’s wrong with that you ask? Well it is the message that our unconscious receives, that this is the only goal of lovemaking. That if you can’t bring your partner to orgasm, then there is no point making love. We end up with things like performance anxiety on both the giver and the receiver side.

3) Connection & Intimacy Aren’t Important

Porn has nothing to do with connection. It is simply a series of physical events that two people do together.

There is no connection or intimacy.

And this isn’t always bad, sometimes a round of rockin’ porn sex can be fun, but again it sends programming to our subconscious that this is what sex is about. That the connection doesn’t matter and it’s just about getting off.

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4) This Is All We Are Capable Of

 

The worst part of it is that porn makes us believe that this is all that there is. We think that we know what sex is all about and that porn just plays the edge of it, which is what is so titillating. But it isn’t true.

 

THE TRUTH IS that we as humans are using maybe 5% of our sexual abilities. It’s like having a piano where we think that there are only 10 keys. So we get really good at playing chopsticks. But the truth is that there are 88 keys and we can actually play phenomenal mind-blowing music. But we just didn’t know.

Porn deepens the belief that chopsticks is all that there is. So we just play it edgier and edgier so that hearing it still interests us. But we are

sexual counsellingmissing the boat.

So how does Tantra change all this?

It shows us the other 78 keys on the piano, and then teaches us how to play.

 

5) We Are So Much More Than Our Physical Bodies

The sexiest part of us isn’t our physicality. A truly sensual person has a presence about them that is absolutely captivating and enthralling. They can look at you and gently touch you in a way that will leave you spellbound. They will bring you into their inner quiet where you will breathe and touch each other sending chills and orgasms throughout your bodies. What their body looks like is quite irrelevant.

6) Pleasuring Is Greater When It Is Mutual

We are energetic beings as well as physical. When we are touching our partner, if we are really present and enjoying the feel of our partner’s skin, they will sense this. Your touch will be different than if you are just doing it in order to please them.

When you are truly in the moment, there is an electricity that comes out your fingers (or other sexy parts) that permeates your partner’s entire body. As your partner’s body responds to this, this pleasure cycles back to you, and the giver and the receiver roles start to become blurred. There is just simply pleasure being shared regardless of who is doing what.

 

7) Connection Is Everything

We are DESIGNED to connect with each other on a very deep level. Human beings do not do well without feeling deep connection. We call it “neediness” and “being desperate” when someone is feeling disconnected. But it’s really just because deep down we know that we are capable of phenomenal connection. And when we feel this amazing connection, things in our lives just get better. Depression lifts. We don’t feel as anxious. We notice the joys in life. We appreciate each other. We feel a level of content and happiness that we just don’t experience when we are all alone.

In tantra, this connection comes first. This is the foundation of all the sexual play. It’s like you first have to “plug in” to each other before the energy can flow. And so there is real intention to drsex counselling sydneyop our guards and allow each other inside to truly connect and experience each other.

 

8) Sex Is Meant To Be A Multi-Dimensional Experience

When we actually bring in everything that we truly are into our intimate experiences, we go from having simply physical sex to having an experience involving our minds, emotions, feelings, intuition, passion, presence, plus a pile of dimensions that you can’t even explain, they just happen.

And the most amazing thing is that it doesn’t take any tricks. It doesn’t take a pile of methods or fancy sexual abilities. It is actually incredibly natural and programmed into us, we just haven’t accessed it.

 

So Will Tantra Rid The World Of Porn?

I don’t think so. We love sex. Our sexual desire makes us feel alive. And truthfully, watching other people have sex can be very titillating.

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Tantra heals our REAL relationships with REAL people. Learning how to actually be intimate with others allows us to have incredibly satisfying relationships with the people around us. We feel deeper connections and our intimate experiences actually heal us and make us feel wonderful about ourselves!

So porn won’t go away, but for many, the addiction can fade, because once you start experiencing the opposite side, your true potential, true intimacy and the sexual experiences that we are designed to have, the porn can’t own you. It just doesn’t come close to comparing to the experiences you’ve had.

I mean, once you’ve driven a Mazerati, driving a child’s push car just doesn’t compare.

 

This article was written by Katrina Bos and originally appeared on Collective-Evolution.com. It has been republished with permission.

Sensual touch: the cornerstone of a great sex life.

  • Do you lovingly touch your partner, children, friends or family? Often?
  • Ever wondered why people who recoil from touch seem unhappy or stressed?
  • Or why some cultures, no matter how poor, seem incredibly happy?
sex therapy for sensual touch

The quality of touch in our lives affects our happiness.

While still in the womb, touch is the first of our five senses to develop. Touch is the most important of our five senses. It is the only sense we cannot survive without.

Humans are incredibly adaptable. We can survive blindness, deafness, and the absence of taste or smell. But we cannot survive without touch. Touch is how we give and receive communication. Without it, we would severely burn or injure ourselves, without even knowing.

Our first and most fundamental form of communication.

When we’re born we rapidly adapt to bright light and deafening noise, and breathe air for the first time. Although it’s an overwhelming experience, touch calms us. Our mother’s touch communicates we’re safe. It anchors us in this strange new world. Stress reduction is the very first role touch plays in our lives. Relaxed, caring touch always reduces stress, no matter how old we are.

Touch reduces our Stress levels

Hugs, kisses, holding hands, close body contact, stroking of skin or hair ….. these all reduce our stress levels and bring us back into our body.

Sex is the highest form of touch we experience as adults because it gives us the most skin on skin contact.

When we’re the touched in a way that communicates we are cared for, the ‘feel good’ hormone, oxytocin, is released into our bloodstream. Oxytocin is creates feelings of wellbeing, emotional bonding, orgasm, and birth contractions.

The presence of oxytocin reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. While experiencing any form of pleasure, oxytocin levels rise and stress levels decrease.

We are designed to touch and be touched, to keep us healthy and reduces stress and disease.

The more loving touch we receive, the stronger our orgasms.

Oxytocin triggers orgasmic contractions. During orgasm, the brain and body are awash with feel-good chemicals (including Oxytocin) to increase our receptivity to more peasure (and more orgasms) and help us bond with our partner.

Our skin is our largest body organ. Receptors in the skin register touch, heat, cold, moisture, pressure, pain and pleasure. Our skin sensitivity depends on the stimulation we receive. The  ‘use it or lose it’ principle applies. Skin cells replace themselves every 4 hours. Less stimulation means less receptors are replaced, making us less receptive to touch.

In an adult man there are approximately 5 million sensory receptors in the skin, all wanting to be touched.

For all of us, touch receptors in the skin reduce in number as we age. At age 3 we have approximately 80 touch receptors per square millimetre of skin. This reduces to 20 per mm2 as a young adult and 4 per mm2 in old age.

This says two things:

  • our need for touch is highest in the first few years of life
  • the less touch we receive, the less touch we are able to receive (because the body doesn’t waste energy continuing to create cells which are not used).

The opposite is also true. The more we expose our bodies to pleasure, the more pleasure pathways are created in the brain and nervous system.

Have you ever noticed your skin feels tingly during sex?

There’s a relationship between breathing and touch. During sexual activity, deeper breathing clears carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the blood. You feel this as a tingling of the skin. Consequently, active breathing significantly increases the pleasure we receive from touch.

Women are generally more responsive to touch than men and are much more dependant on touch for erotic arousal, whereas men are generally more visual.

Also, research suggests that relaxed people enjoy more frequent and enjoyable sexual activity. Relaxation allows us to receive more pleasure.

So touch your partner lovingly (without expectations) to improve your relationship and your health. Touch in a way that communicates you care.

sensual touch

Getting Started: The Art of Erotic Touching

Rediscover the art of sensual touch with your partner – to refine your senses and become completely absorbed in what you are doing.

Set aside a night without interruption from children, television and visitors, and take the phone off the hook. Prepare a space in your bedroom or the lounge that you feel at home and comfortable in.

Set the mood with soft sensual music and invite your partner to lie down naked in a cosy nest. You’ll need some long delicate feathers. Make sure the room is warm.

Put your whole awareness into your fingertips and dissolve into your touching. For the receiver, dissolve your whole body in the experience of being touched.

This is not necessarily a prelude to lovemaking (although it can be), because it fulfils the desire for sensual touch independent of sex.

Create a mood of enjoyment rather than excitement, so your partner can relax and focus on the experience of receiving, letting go of any expectation or sexual goal.

Stroke your partner’s body gently with a feather, starting around the chest and moving up to the throat. Expand across the shoulders and down the arms, playing with areas such as the inside hollow of the elbow and between the fingers.

Then move very delicately and slowly from the area of your partner’s heart down their body to their feet, and finish by sweeping up from the heart to the head.

Play with curves, hollows and angles, and include any scarred or damaged areas of skin, giving these areas healing attention.

Touch feels more exquisite when it is lighter, finer, slower and continuous. So, take your time. Treat every part of your partner’s bare skin with loving care and attention, rather than focusing on the usual erogenous zones.

Then allow your fingertips to barely graze your partner’s flesh. Explore the hollows around the shoulders, behind the ears, the inside of the arms and behind the knees. Enjoy your lover’s toes. Other areas to explore are the palms and soles of feet, belly, the inside of the ear, the edge of the little finger, the inside of the thighs, buttocks, and the small of the back and the nipples.

Lastly, use your breathe to caress your lover’s body, blowing about an inch away from the skin.

Then it is time to swap roles and receive from your partner. Both the giving and receiving are important aspects of this process.

If you need further help with your sex life, we have Psychologists and a Sex Therapist in these centres:

To Check which of our Psychologists are closest to you, please use our Find our Psychologist Search box on the right hand side of the page.

Or contact us on 1300 830552

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References

Grewen KM et al (2005) Effects of Partner Support on Resting Oxytocin, Cortisol, Norepinephrine, and Blood Pressure Before and After Warm Partner Contact. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67

Insel TR et al (1998) Oxytocin, vasopressin, and the neuroendocrine basis of pair bond formation. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 449

Kiecolt-Glaser J & Newton T (2001) Marriage and health: his and hers. Psychology Bulletin, 127