How was Valentine’s Day for you? Did you feel pressure to do the ‘right’ thing…. take your partner out to dinner, bring them flowers, and….. initiate love-making? If you’re not in a relationship, did you try to ignore what day it is? Or, did you offend someone because you forgot to send them a valentine!?
Don’t get me wrong, I think Valentine’s Day is awesome, though I wonder……what about the other 364 days of the year? Some couples who come to me for coaching hate this ‘holiday,’ because it throws into their faces all the ways they aren’t feeling connected. It’s astounding how many of them have obligatory sex dates, or avoid it altogether. Worse, they’ve forgotten how to touch each other – a brush of the hand against the back, a gentle caress on the cheek, let alone looking directly into each other’s eyes.
Recently I spent a day interviewing a group of women over fifty. All of them were married, most had children and some even grandchildren. For the first hour they shared about family….. the joy of being a grandparent, the deja vu of seeing children become parents, the angst of caring for aging parents.
Then they dropped down beneath the surface of things – and the conversation got more personal: I’ve never enjoyed sex with my husband. Now that I’m post-menopausal, I feel like a dried up prune. He can’t get an erection, so we don’t even try to make love. We don’t have anything to talk about, especially now that the children are grown. My partner isn’t attracted to my sagging body. Though she gave me chocolates for Valentine’s Day, she complains that I’m getting too fat.
These women’s brave sharing is an example of how many 55+ women – and their spouses – talk to themselves about their relationship. Some couples assume that this is just how it is, and there’s nothing to be done. Others refuse to give up, and choose to work with me because they hope it’s not too late to re-ignite their connection.
A couple entered my office because they’d heard about the Wellness Sexuality Practice. They were great friends, co-parents, and life companions, but were no longer sexually intimate. They hoped that in a few sessions they’d learn some techniques so they could return to the kind of lovemaking they had in their thirties and forties. And then the truth started to come out…..
She confessed that she’d stopped initiating love making years ago because she was tired of faking orgasms to please her partner! He then shared that he felt like he’d let her down because he couldn’t sustain his erection. Both had been so focused on pleasing the other, that they had lost the capacity feel pleasure in their own bodies. They both could see that their old way of lovemaking wasn’t good for either of them – and they were excited to try something totally new….
The couple started with Level 1: Sensing. Sensing is NON-sexual. Why? Because they, like many of us, had been so conditioned by our culture to focus on genital stimulation, that they’d lost the capacity to feel the pleasure of physical sensation. I invited them to begin sitting side by side, and sense what they were feeling in their own bodies (heat/cold, tension/ease, the sense of the body relaxing into the couch). Once they’d opened up to that experience, they turned to each other and did a simple exercise where one lifted and held the other’s arm. That was all.
So much happened in that few minutes. She got to experience her initial resistance, and then the relief of surrendering her arm into the safety of his touch. He got to feel the weight of her arm, and how it bit by bit started to relax into his hands. Her face became flushed, and he felt a surge of heat from his pelvis up to his head. Out of that simple experience came an intimate conversation about trust and turn on. They settled into the Sensing practice for weeks, and only when they felt 100% ready, moved up to the next level, and began to experience a whole new world of sexual connection and pleasure.
Are you wondering……… how might I have this experience for myself? I invite you to contact me, and ask for a FREE 30 minute consultation!