Here is a simple technique to deepen intimacy in any relationship, to improve the communication between you and your partner, to learn more about each other, and to be more compassionate to the other and to yourself (but don’t worry about it getting too solemn, you’re in for a few laughs in the process as well!).
This practice is, in its own way, a form of meditation, since it brings more awareness of how your body is feeling at the moment.
And slowing down, in order to listen more closely to all parts of ourselves, is what meditation is all about.
It’s simple, but it requires a bit of trust in our own intuition, as well as trust in our partner to hold empathic space regardless of what comes up.
Preparing for the Practice
Here’s the simple outline you can follow for the practice, making sure each of you takes turns so you can both experience the active and the receptive roles.
You can start by sitting in front of each other, and breathing really deeply and slowly for a minute or two in order to make yourselves present into the moment.
One person, we’ll call them Partner A from now on, closes their eyes, and mentally scans through their body, ‘listening’ for any body part that wants a bit of attention.
Maybe this is because there is a bit of pain there, or a bit of shame there, maybe it’s just suddenly a bit warmer than normal, or maybe there is just a gut feeling about it.
Just trust that the right part will present itself, if you actually go through your body slow enough to detect any sensations you are experiencing at the moment. When my wife and I do this practice, there are usually many parts that want attention, and we have to disappoint some to choose just one.
It could be the knees, or the inside of the thighs, the wrists, the small of the back, the breasts, the lips, any part at all. Once it has been chosen, the other person, Partner B, can start talking to that body part.
Begin the Dialogue
Yes, that’s right, just start a conversation where you address directly your partner’s body part. Here are some samples of how the dialogue could work:
Partner B: “Hello soles of my lover’s feet, how are you?”
Partner A then listens into that part, and allows whatever wants to or needs to come through to be expressed, answering the partner as if they were that part (the feet in this case).
Partner A: “We’re ok. A bit sore from standing all day, but we’ve really like the new shoes that are making our life a bit easier.”
“Not good. Constantly in pain. Feel like we are not taken care of at all, have been ignored… We are holding up the entire weight of everything and never given any gratitude”
Whatever the answer is (and the answer may come as words into your mind, or may just be an intuition, or a mental picture, or a feeling in the body), just trust whatever surfaces and express it.
For Partner B, it’s important that whatever comes, the message is received with love and empathy. When my wife and I have done this, some of the responses have been deep sorrow, some parts convey that they feel neglected, some parts voice how they just want to be loved a bit more, and some parts simply have a silly or playful message to share.
The dialogue continues with Partner B asking more and more questions to the addressed body part, as if they really want to get to know it. Some parts are shy and need a bit of coaxing. Some are storing trauma and need holding.
Some are just yearning to be noticed, and will ask for a bit of attention that may turn into foreplay.
Here are some suggested questions to help the dialogue deepen:
How are you?
What do you do for Partner A?
What would you like me to know about you?
Are you holding any pain? Physical or emotional?
What have been the most important experiences in Partner A’s life for you?
Is there anything you would like from me?
Is there anything you would like from Partner A? Love, gratitude, attention, kisses, massage, or maybe to be left alone?
The dialogue can continue as long as it needs to.
Embrace the Results
Be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes engaging in this practice can lead to deep emotional catharsis, sometimes it leads to beautiful lovemaking, that makes you engage with newly discovered erogenous zones. And most times, it will lead to loving touch, long conversations, and deep intimacy.
I can tell you, from the many positive effects I’ve noticed in my relationship, that a practice as simple as this one can really make a difference. And if you’re skeptical about this whole thing of talking to body parts, well, even a better reason to give it a try and see for yourself!
And when you do, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.