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Erotic Empathy: Deepening Your Sensual Bond

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Oh February! A month to celebrate love! A time to connect in a romantic, sensual and touching way with our lovers, exchange gifts and intensify the bond of pleasure between us.

There’s an especially effective way to bring this depth of intimacy into your love life in and out of the bedroom through a process I call “erotic empathy.” I coined this term after studying a superbly effective method of communication and applying it to my work on intimacy and sexuality. It’s called nonviolent communication or NVC. (If you’re already familiar with this method, skip to the next paragraph. If you’re not, don’t be fooled or put off by the term “nonviolent”.) You see, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the psychologist who created your system. , he developed it during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to help bridge the gap between conflicting groups. Although the term seemed appropriate for the time, the word “violent” now seems to trigger distorted perceptions. Therefore, today, it is often referred to as “compassionate communication”, although the abbreviation “CNV” is still popular as well.

Whatever you call it, this communication tool teaches us to relate to each other in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. It is a wonderful tool for building trust and understanding between individuals and groups. What’s more, I found NVC to be a wonderful system for helping lovers feel mutually understood and deeply trusting. And it can be applied to all aspects of dating, romance, courtship, and marriage.

For example, let’s imagine that you and your partner are about to make love. In the “Creating an Erotic Safety Net” section of my book, I encourage couples to ask each other, “What do you most want and need from me right now?” But suppose your partner’s request is that you do something that makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t turn you on. What are you doing now? How do you communicate your feelings without creating conflict, frustration and alienation?

Fear not! NVC to the rescue! Using the 5 steps below will make it much easier for you to build trust and understanding with your lover, even when your wants, desires, and needs seem to be at odds. While each of these steps is worth a separate article or chapter, for the sake of brevity, I’ll just summarize, using a somewhat light-hearted example.


Step 1: Observe what is seen and heard without any added interpretation

For example, my lover just asked me to do a striptease for him. (Do not add any reason why she believes she has made this request. Just describe the behavior.)

Step 2: Separate your feelings from your thoughts.

(for example, you might have a critical thought towards him like, “he’s so perverted” or some self-criticism like, “I’d look stupid if I did that” or even, “I feel objectified or disrespected” – which includes an interpretation of your partner’s intent Instead, look at the emotions under thoughts like “I feel uncomfortable” or “I feel scared or sad.”

Step 3: Connect with the unmet desire or need below the feeling.

eg “I feel sad, because right now I need affection, appreciation, compassion, respect”, etc.

Stage 4: Give yourself empathy for your unmet need or desire

Our needs and desires, even when they are not met, are precious gifts. They are part of the energy that gives us our sense of vitality, a crucial component of our humanity.

Step 5: Make a connection request

There are two types of requests: Connection Requests and Action Requests. Since the connection, the understanding, the experience of being “got” are essential to build trust and intimacy between the partners, we will start with the connection request:

You can try using one of the following,

“Would you be willing to tell me what you just heard me say?” gold

“Would you tell me your understanding of my feelings and needs?” gold

“Would you be willing to hear me talk about my experience?”

Before making an action request (asking for a specific behavior from your partner to help meet your need), I strongly suggest that you first try to empathize with your partner for any unmet needs or wants he or she may be experiencing. (It will help you get away from any critical thoughts you may have toward yourself, such as “she’s so uptight,” or toward yourself, such as, “I should have kept my mouth shut, now I’ve upset her.” Instead, if you let her know that Acknowledging and respecting the desire, need, or desire that may have prompted your request will bring you both closer.

“I imagine stripping down for you would really satisfy your desire for fun and play”

or “I suppose watching me strip would be very exciting for you.”

Suppose that now both feel heard, understood or recognized by each other.

Step 6: Make an action request

You can ask your partner:

“Would you be willing to tell me what you appreciate about me as a lover, or what you find most attractive about me?”

If you agree, then you can ask:

“Would you be willing to try doing a striptease for me and if you start to feel uncomfortable just let me know and I’ll come over and hold you tenderly?”

With erotic empathy, I suggest you add the following items to your compassionate communication. They will help keep the sensual energy flowing between you as you speak:

1) Stay in physical contact – touching your partner’s hand, knee, shoulder, or some other part of your body that helps you both feel safe, grounded, and connected.

2) Keep your tone of voice soft and encouraging. – a voice that generates calm, acceptance and affection will help your partner meet their needs for security and respect.

3)keep eye contact – It will help both of you to see the vulnerable and tender aspects of each other’s being and will make it easier for you to transcend critical thoughts and move to a place of acceptance and affection.

4)Access pleasant memories – Gently remind yourself of the qualities that your partner possesses that bring joy and pleasure to your life.

May you continue to grow in ways that deepen your experience of loving and being loved.

to love and be loved.

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