As much as sensual touch excites and revs the body for sex, emotions and inner senses inherently run the show. Emotion is one of the brain’s mechanisms for tagging key events, sorting memories by intensity: pleasurable, safe, and loving or peppered with pain, fear or loathing. Being able to access and share emotion openly and fluently is vital for sexual intimacy. So how do we grow emotionally?
The ability to communicate emotions is not always something we are trained to do. In an intimate relationship, both emotional intelligence and sexual intelligence allow us to recognize the range of feelings in others and ourselves. Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss, in their book Mirror of Intimacy, note that with healthy emotional interactions “we become more adept at empathy, which is the master key to resolving conflict.” Once we empathize, imagining ourselves in another’s situation, the more open we become to love and caring..
In an article on emotional fluency, couples’ therapist Brian Gleason suggests putting the intense emotions you are feeling into words. He explains “the more we’re able to put into some sort of language and convey it to our partner, that these are my inner experiences right now, the more empathy there is in the relationship.” The less a person explains their inner experience, he continues, the more one’s partner is going to “be reacting to outer behavior, oftentimes with judgment and frustration, rather than where they would relate to your experience with empathy.” Conveying emotions with words is challenging, yet key to strengthening emotional intelligence.
Emotional truth is an even deeper layer of emotional fluency. Katehakis and Bliss express the thought by sharing a beautiful quote by Benjamin Disraeli:
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do, you apologize for the Truth.”
Continuing, the authors suggest that “Claiming these feelings is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, yet most of us were programmed to keep our feelings and opinions to ourselves, so doing the opposite feels scary.”
Being honest with emotions can feel like riding waves in a vast ocean. Katehakis and Bliss advise to stay truthful to yourself, explaining: “Consider that telling people you’re angry at them or love them are both confrontations requiring you to screw up your courage and brace for their response – understanding, anger, adoration, shame, or a myriad of other emotions that you can’t control.” Holding in past pain and disappointments can mask our vulnerabilities. Yet by expressing emotions and speaking our deeper truth, the roadblocks fall away and we can start to truly feel joy, fun and self-expression, as well as love and intimacy.
Emotional intimacy requires diving into the deepest level of your inner senses. Intuitions, gut feelings and ‘butterflies’ are all signs that we are beyond the basic five senses and actually delving further, past our recognizable emotions. For Katehakis and Bliss, “Connecting [through your bodily-based feelings] with another from this deep place inside you, where your truth and reality reside, is the beginning of emotional intimacy.” Achieving a level of openness and connection, where two bodies and soul centers are both communicating in sync, is not easily reached. Creating tunnels and streams between each other’s deepest inner world, and keeping them open and flowing, is a beautiful, endless journey.
Truly intimate sex inexplicably captures and meshes our bodily energy and deepest emotions with that of our partner. Get in touch with your inner senses and express yourself intuitively. Stay open to emotions, sensual flow, and enjoying that naked time. Experiencing any level of emotional intimacy, pleasure and vulnerability is awesome in itself.
For more on emotions, check out Mirror of Intimacy by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss in The Sensualogist bookshop.