Let’s turn our attention to the ever important topic of AFFECTION within our intimate relationships.
Firstly, affection plays a vital role in the development of any relationship. This is because each of us has varying needs and wounds related to touching and being touched. The nature of these needs and wounds are unique to each of us and creating respectful and honouring relationships needs to entail consciousness and mindfulness of these differences. In essence, each of us has a unique relationship to touch that is worthy of being heard and respected.
Secondly, affectionate action, as a physical expression of loving energy, spans a broad spectrum. At one end of the continuum lies tender expressions such as holding, hugging, fleeting touches and other forms of non-sexual contact. At the other end, sexual acts and caressing that entails touch imbued with erotic elements of lust and desire can be found. It is important to remember that different types of affection will be felt as wanted/desired/needed/appropriate at different times and in different contexts. By paying attention and being receptive to these factors, each of us can learn a great deal about ourselves and others and gain vital information that will inform our future choices and actions in the realm of giving and receiving affection.
Thirdly, gaining personal mastery in the realm of mindful touch requires that we are sensitive to touch given as we would like to give it and touch given as the other wishes to be touched. These are not one and the same and, within an intimate relationship, there will be times when these do not align. Being able to navigate this terrain with grace will greatly assist how each person experiences the love of the other and how the relationship will be impacted.
Learning how we and our intimate partners relate to affection and touch is extremely beneficial for both partners. This involves that each partner takes some time to reflect on their own personal relationship to touch and consciously creating the space to communicate this to each other. Within the framework of non-judgemental listening, by sharing personal histories of touch and discussing how each partner experiences touch in their bodies, couples build on their intimacy skills and enhance their abilities to respond to each partner’s needs.