Going back to the basics can bear great gifts, especially in love and sex. Let’s remember some of the teachings mom gave us on our way. “Look into people’s eyes as you speak with them”, she said. “Be respectful to others. Listen carefully when someone talks with you”, she insisted. “And never interrupt.” This wisdom turns out to be quite useful, especially in our love relationships.
One of our first tantric practices as a couple was a deceptively simple communication experiment about how we like to be loved – physically, emotionally and spiritually. It goes like this: Steve asks me the question, “How do you like to be loved?” I answer as Steve listens, without commentary. If I don’t answer, he will ask the same question again. After 10 minutes, we switch roles, asking and answering the same question.
Are you willing to invest 10 minutes into your love life?
At first, 10 minutes might seem an awfully long time to talk about how we like to be loved. But let’s face it – those 10 minutes are a great investment into a more pleasurable time with your lover and with yourself! You’d be surprised how time flies when you explore this subject matter whole-heartedly.
The Power of Words
Communication takes place on many levels, especially in the bedroom. Yet not many people actually tell each other how exactly they like to be loved. In the early days of a relationship it is easy to intuit what our partner likes, and to flow together effortlessly. But after the honeymoon is over, many of us have we settled into a satisfactory routine, a habitual way of making love. Verbalizing our wishes and desires makes us more aware of our own desires and those of our partner, and creates more spontaneity.
Can you listen to your partner without an agenda?
Listening is a meditation! Being genuinely interested in what our partner says is one of the keys to a great relationship. Possible agendas might be your mental comments such as, “Oh no, that’s how he likes it. I am such a lousy lover!” or, “Aha! I have all kinds of great ideas how I can embellish her wishes, for example.” Agendas distract us from being able to listen with a beginner’s mind and an open heart.
Do you actually know how you like to be loved?
If I don’t know how I like to be loved, how can I possibly expect my partner to know? Taking responsibility for our pleasure, for our life is a key concept in Tantra that applies in and out of the bedroom. Investigating how we like to be loved emotionally, physically, and spiritually will make it easier for us to ask for what we want, and in turn create more passion, peace and harmony in our whole life.
Can you speak without an agenda?
Telling your partner how you like to be loved can be fun, exciting, sexy and challenging – all at the same time. Can you let the words roll off your tongue easily, without self-judgment? Perhaps you feel shy or nervous to share your most intimate secrets – shame, feelings of unworthiness and guilt raise their heads. Or maybe you say things to lash out indirectly at him/her for not giving you what you really want. Do you hold anything back because you are afraid what your partner might think of you? It is an ongoing and very rewarding exploration!
Infinite Ways to Being Loved
The most wonderful thing about this particular question is that there are infinite ways to answer it. In our 11 years together we have done this practice countless times, and we learn new things about ourselves, and each other every single time. Just as life changes with every breath, the way we like to be loved changes. You never know what you are going to say or hear.
The results of this practice are countless. The best for me is that because I listen attentively to him talk about how he likes to be loved, I can give him what he wants without him having to ask for it directly, and of course, vice versa. We both feel loved and cherished, connected and seen. If we all ask and answer this question time and again, the world will be a better place, and that time investment will be well worth it!
Try it out and let us know about your experience with this practice!