When it comes to sharing a life with your partner, it’s common to get lost in daily routines and forget about mindful touch. Mindful touch is an exercise that can help break up routine surrounding touch and intimacy in your relationship. There’s beauty in the ordinary way most of us live our lives; we’ve learned to master routines that make caring for ourselves easier. However, our life’s routines often cause us to go on “auto-pilot”, we move from task to task without much awareness or conscious intention behind our actions. We’re not really present when we’re on auto-pilot. When we get stuck on auto-pilot, activities like mindful touching, making eye contact and building desire with your lover can fall to the wayside. We may be rushing through routines so much that we struggle, or skip over the need to maintain closeness to our partner; we need to slow down. We need a deliberate ritual to slow down and bring mindfulness into the process of physical connection before sex is even on the table. A mindful touch ritual can bring fresh energy into your relationship by creating an intentional space for slowing down, tuning into the breath and experiencing radical intimacy through the sensation of loving touch. Through presence, unique experiences can arise.
Mindful Touch: Slow it Down
Begin by picking a time and a place where you will have privacy and comfort. Give yourself at least an hour, preferably 90 minutes. It helps to have mutually enjoyed music playing, candles lit and the room at a comfortable temperature. What makes you feel comfortable? Co-create the space.
1. Take 5 minutes for any stretching required to help you feel comfortable in your body. What can you do to help your body to feel good? Perhaps you need to stretch your legs, or roll your shoulders to release tension.
2. Next, Sit facing each other in a comfortable position and look into each other’s eyes for 5 minutes. It can be helpful to focus on the space between the eyebrows. You can be playful here, smile and laugh if that’s what comes up. This is a radically vulnerable act, and can help to build intimacy and desire. Do you feel safe being seen by your lover? What’s coming up for you? Feel free to share with each other. It’s okay if you find this to be a challenging task. There is no right or wrong way to do, or experience this exercise.
3. Transitioning out of eye-gazing, take a few deep breaths and begin Gratitude Sharing. Take turns sharing 3 things you’re grateful for about the other person. And then, take turns sharing 3 things you’d like your partner to know about you at this moment. Have you had a hard week? Does this exercise make you nervous? How are you feeling right now? Are you afraid to share? Do you feel silly? How do you feel in your body? Remember to accept what your partner shares, and thank them for sharing. Gratitude sharing is about listening and connecting, not solving issues or trying to change your partner’s feelings.
4. After Gratitude Sharing, it’s time to slowly move into physical touch. In this step, you will take turns giving each other a 20-minute massage. You can ask your partner, “Are you ready for a massage?” “Do you prefer clothes on or off?” It’s important both parties are ready to move onto this step.
The person receiving the massage:
Focus on your breath, your breath is always linked to the present moment. Allow your breath to remind you that you’re in this moment. Focus on your body, how is your partner touching you? Where are you holding tension? Can you feel the tension release? Would you prefer your partner to change their pressure or pace? Can you communicate that? What communication style feels most comfortable to you? What communication style do you wish you could use? Are you able to be direct? Does being touched in this way relax you? Or are you anxious? Both are normal responses. Focus on your breath and be honest.
The person giving the massage
Focus on your partner’s body and breath. Can you synchronise your movements with the movement of their breath? You can try applying pressure in an upward moment on your partner’s inbreath, and guiding the pressure downward on your partner’s out-breathe. How does your partner want to be touched? Listen to your partner’s requests. Do you feel comfortable checking in with them? How is it to be in this role? Are you relaxed? Do you feel desire building? Do you feel like you want to rush through so it’s your turn? All thoughts are normal. Focus on your breathing, too. If you and your partner can sync breaths, the process of massage can be even more meditative and connective. The breath reminds us that we are in the present moment; here, you can bask in the presence of your partner.
After both people have received a massage, sit quietly for a moment and take some deep breaths together. How are you both feeling? It’s perfectly fine to stop here and bask in the enjoyment of gratitude sharing.
5. If you decide you want to continue on with the exercise, begin 10 minutes of “The No Kissing Game”. The last person to receive a massage can start, but the game itself is not about a leader and a follower, but rather a co-created experience.
Bring your lips to your partner’s lips, but keep them from making complete contact. Stay here for a second, separate and come back together. Resist the urge to kiss your partner and watch desire grow. Have fun and play around here. You can also bring your lips to other parts of your partner’s body without making full contact. Experience the joy of play and its potential to create intimate moments with your partner.
6. Finally, allow the next step to be an authentic make-out session (at least 10 minutes). Yes, a make-out session. We so often forgo these early-relationship inspired make-out sessions and jump immediately into a routine sexual script. We forget about the experience of the breath, the magic of touch and the gradual build of desire. Give into the desire to kiss your partner. Let your hands wander, and feel the pressure that’s been building up to get to this very moment. Take some time to enjoy each other, breathe with each other and admire how pleasurable it is to slow it down. Slowing down is where you will find new energy between you and your partner.
There is so much pleasure to be had in true engagement with your partner. How do you cultivate closeness? How do you keep things alive in the realm of your long-term relationship? Bringing mindfulness and ritual into your routine allows for the discovery of new pleasure and greater shared intimacy. This exercise can be viewed as a meditative experience with another person. In slowing down, it becomes easier to communicate needs around touch and to really feel into what it’s like to be with your partner. We can uncover new things about ourselves and our partners by creating the deliberate time to do so. Creating the space for authenticity, communication and mindful touch takes us off of auto-pilot and into the new experience of being together in this unique moment.