Usually, I live with my partner one week on one week off. He looks after his kids down in West Cork, then comes to Dublin and lives with me for a week. It’s been like that for three years. But just before lockdown began, I traveled to Eyeries on the Beara peninsula. Since then we have been together 24/7. Gone are the evening phone calls where we talked about the day, the weekend strolls when we missed each other’s company and the heightened desire as our bodies longed for each other in the missing week. Now we have it, we have all of it, there’s no escape and I have fallen in love.
I love the peace, I love the view, I love the rhythm to the day. I love waking up without my first thoughts being “what do I have to do today?” I have fallen into a comfortable rhythm of the day. I don’t feel panic, overwhelm or fear during lockdown. I feel good. One unexpected result though is that my curve seems to have flattened. My Libido is low.
Maybe it’s because we are together all the time and as I wrote in my last blog post, regularity is not a recipe for romance. So I have been changing things up, bringing spontaneity into the kitchen and the bedroom. Trying new foods and initiating new things has staved off the boredom. We both practice Chi Gong and have been teaching each other new moves. We have also been playing the Yes/No game from my new book Good Food: Better Sex. You can try this clothed or naked. I will describe here how to play with your clothes on. You can use your imagination or buy the book if you want to try it naked.
First, ask your partner where they are feeling tension in their body? Where would they most like to be touched and how? As the receiver, check in with yourself; do you want to lie down, sit at the kitchen table, or be held in the giver’s arms? How is the quality of touch you want; light stroking of the hair, firm kneading of the shoulders or simply holding hand? Don’t forget to inform the giver of any areas that are out of bounds, where you don’t want to be touched.
As touch begins the receiver says yes and repeats yes as long as the physical sensation feels pleasurable. As the giver, you can begin to move slowly around the body, perhaps from the arm to the shoulder or from the belly to the breast. As long as the receiver is saying yes then continue. It is essential to hear a verbal “Yes” before continuing. If you hear nothing, take this as a no and massage another area or body part. As the receiver, be clear, if you are feeling yes, say YES and if you are feeling no, say NO. Also, you are encouraged to change your mind. As the receiver, you can also say “that is lovely but I’ve had enough on my feet could you rub my back”
As the giver check-in and ask if what you are doing is enjoyable. If you have been stroking their calves and want to work on their feet, you can always verbally check in with them again before you change. In this way, we are listening to our partner and they are being heard.
I recommend setting a time limit, perhaps begin with two minutes and swap roles after the time is up. When you have more time and you feel like making it more intimate you can increase the time but at first, keep it short and easy. This shouldn’t be a chore. Through this simple, enjoyable two minute exercise we are really listening to our partner and we are really being heard.
Fear and panic can also decrease libido. As a Shiatsu practitioner, I really know how effective touch is to reduce stress and anxiety. If you don’t have a partner I encourage you to massage yourself, begin with your feet and hands, or just stroke your shoulders. Self-pleasure is most effective when we feel good so begin by using touch as a tool for health.
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