Intimacy and your 5 Senses: How you can invite Eroticism into your Relationship when You Feel Depleted

Noemi J. Mullins

“Eroticism is a way to see another world within this world.” The senses are made to serve our imagination. We can see the invisible and hear what is not.

Eroticism is a sense of joy, curiosity, and spontaneity. It goes beyond sexuality to describe a feeling of being alive. We become our Erotic self when we listen to the world around us and within ourselves. We pay more attention. We touch things a little more gently. We take it at the moment and enjoy it. We see and feel. Eroticism gives meaning to our lives, fosters connection and–when times get tough–Eroticism keeps us connected to our humanity, hope and joy despite all odds. Eroticism is essential at all stages of a relationship. Eroticism is crucial when couples face challenges. This can be internal or external, such as work stress, climate anxiety or illness, the death of a loved one, or general feelings of existential dread.

We permit Eroticism to enter our individual lives, especially by engaging in our five senses. This allows us to recall a fundamental truth that is often forgotten: The essential beauty of the universe is always available to us, even in the most difficult of times. Eroticism is welcomed into our relationship. This permission container surrounds the couple and holds us together with a shared sense of wonder that grounds us both. Eroticism can counter melancholy. Accessing it is as easy as tuning in to our senses at our disposal.

How touch fosters intimacy

The first sense we acquire is touch. Touch is the first sense we develop as babies. Touch is how we self-soothe. We do this by sucking our thumbs, twisting our hair and lowering our heart rate. We like to touch and explore all textures and temperatures as toddlers. We start to build things: forts from hard wooden blocks, buildings made out of soft sheets, plush pillows, and tiny sculptures made out of squishy ceramic that harden over time.

As adults, how we use our senses of touch is directly related to how we play as children. As we age, we move on to more advanced tactical experiences learned from our youth. We will do our self-soothing through massage or masturbation if we have the time and space. We take long, hot baths after work if we have the time. Sometimes, we will sleep in on Saturdays, snuggling up with our partner under the soft sheets of our beds. These experiences are often treated as special, but they are fundamental expressions of our Erotic self. These tactical experiences can be prioritized by creating an altar of things we love to touch, staying in bed for a bit longer with our partner, or going on barefoot walking together and discussing the feeling of the grass under our feet. A hug or a touch on the shoulder that conveys, without words, how much you care is what’s best. You are important to me. I am excited to be with you. We are in this together.

Believing is as easy as seeing.

When times are difficult, our eyes can focus on the things around us that support our inner feelings. We see the clutter in the house and physical items like bills or broken appliances that remind our endless To-Do List. We look in the mirror at ourselves and see what we would like to be different. How would it feel to see our environment and ourselves through a more gentle and compassionate lens?

  • Imagine if your home was not just messy but where your children could have fun, to make sofa cushions into boats or sheets into forts.
  • Is it possible that the broken appliance is a sign of renewal? The toaster was capable of making delicious toast, but now it needs to be replaced.
  • What if the body we see in the mirror was a vessel that supports and nurtures us rather than a punching bag?

How we perceive is directly related to our sense of sight. While our eyes see what is in front of us, our minds create the story. It could be said that dreaming is an extension of seeing. Even though the world around us is horrible, we can still dream of another version. If we pay attention to the most beautiful and intimate details of our lives, we will find evidence that this reality exists.

What is the difference between listening and hearing?

A guided meditation starts with the following version: “What are you hearing?” Sirens, birds, cars, people speaking? Do not try to block it; accept it and let it fade away.” This exercise is profound because we can choose how we react to sounds around us. We can either obsess over them or embrace them as part of our experience.

Although we may not be able to choose what we hear, we can choose how we listen. This is true for everything that comes our way through our ears. Try this with your partner:

  • Get as quiet as you can and name all the sounds that each of you can hear.
  • Listening to your favourite album is the main activity, not just while doing other things.
  • Singing together a favourite song and trying to remember the lyrics. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it will be fun.
  • Talking in bed in whispers is the best way to have a conversation. Talk as softly as you can and get close to your partner’s ears.

Scent-Imental Intimacy

The most basic sense, smell, is ours. We can sense if something is pleasant or unpleasant by how we smell it. It’s all about biology and chemical. Memory is intimately linked to smell. We are transported to another world when we smell our grandmother’s perfume or mothballs from their attic. This is also true for our romantic relationships. Ask each other:

  • Which scent brings back memories of your first date?
  • How does the air feel where you live?
  • What does it smell like? Try to limit it to three notes.
  • What is the best meal you can make?

This last question is a great way to see how tuning in to our senses can be intimately linked with how we feel desire. Our whole body experiences desire when our senses detect something that makes us happy, just as our mouths begin to drool over good food.

Good taste

Make good food together when in doubt. Cooking involves all the senses. It is possible to see and smell the delicious food and listen to its cooking process. Cooking reminds us to take care of ourselves, be self-reliant, and create something together. These are important reminders, especially when we feel down or deflated.

Because it is nourishing and pleasurable, our sense of taste urges us to slow down. This is how you can do it together.

  • Divide an orange in half. One half of the orange should be given to your partner.
  • You can roll it in your hands. You can just a little bit dig your fingers into the skin.
  • You will smell the orange juice and sweetness you get from doing this.
  • Have a bite.
  • It can be rolled around in your mouth. It’s delicious in every corner.
  • Take note of the brightness and the acidity. Then, swallow.
  • Kiss. Kiss your partner and taste the orange.

Keep a small bowl with oranges on your kitchen counter if you like this exercise. Even if your day is chaotic or you rush to get out the door, the simple sight of them will remind us and each other to slow down. Savour. Connect. Take the time to connect with all our senses today.

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