My partner and I stepped out of our comfort zone recently and had a couple of couples massage lessons. Now, lest you fear this post is rude, rest easy…everyone was fully dressed!
Cosmo from Cosmo Thai Yoga and his wife Anna delivered beautiful sessions that helped us with ways to connect with non-sexual touch. We both found it deeply moving, as a couple it helped us to broaden our experience of intimacy and to know each other physically in a different way. We are finding using Thai Massage an interesting dimension to our care for each other that is enhancing our experience of coupledom significantly.
We sometimes use being intimate as a euphemism for sexual activity, as if they were the same. My massage experience has reminded me this is just not so. The truth is, when couples come into couples psychotherapy asking for more intimacy in their relationships, they usually don’t mean they want more sex. What they tell me is that they have lost their connection. They say that they no longer give, and receive. They reflect that their care and concern for each other has dissipated and they feel invisible, unimportant, or just part of the family furniture.
As we progress into middle age, and as we navigate the significant challenges life brings, our sexual appetites change. We don’t always feel we want to have sex, and nor should we. There are so many ways of being intimate and close. Intimacy is as much about emotional sharing as it is about physical. It’s about being vulnerable, allowing yourself to be seen and known, and about holding a space for the other to be equally visible and emotionally held.
I’ll offer just one tip that Cosmo reminded us of today. Breathe together. The act of synchronising your breathing so that you breath in and out at the same pace is deeply resonant. It offers physiological attunement, deeply pacing the experience of the other, and it has a wonderfully relaxing effect.