I'm back from week one of my Somatica Sex Coaching training, and I am left feeling pleasantly intrigued by the complexity of relationships. When I think of relationships, the words love, support, generosity, trust, passion, and intimacy come to mind. After this training, however, I am seeing deeper underlying dynamics that are important in facilitating strong foundations:
Relationships are about repair. Repair means constant growth and expansion. Together with your partner/s, or individually on the self; supportive relationships embrace change while letting go of the need for perfection. Many people refer to relationships as work. And yes, repair can feel like work. But there can also be joy in repair. Repair means moving forward, embracing the shifts, and evolving into a better me, you, and/or us. The complexity of navigating relationships feels easier once we accept the "work" or "repair" as a necessity in growth and in strengthening our relationships.
Relationships are about self-care. It is hard to fully show up for someone else when we aren't fully showing up for ourselves. This is why it is important to get clear on our own needs so we can convey them lovingly while encouraging the same from our partner/s. Self-care is not an easy task, and in fact, may be the most challenging task of them all. Once we understand our needs (while also understanding that our needs shift from moment to moment), as well as respect our needs by giving them the loving attention that they deserve, we can then do the same for our partner/s.
Relationships are about negotiation. Negotiation is the process that happens once we start voicing our self-care needs to our partner/s. Negotiation is a two (or three or four+, depending on how many people you are in relationship with) way street, where our partner/s are also voicing their own self-care needs, resulting in a conversation about how we can both/all get our needs met. Negotiation means that sometimes we function in a grey area, taking care of our needs while respecting that of our partner/s. I need X and you need Y; how can we meet in the middle so we can both have our needs met? Relationships are about the constant meeting of two+ minds who may have very different needs, and in order to move forward, will most likely have to find a common ground. This process continues throughout the entire lifespan of all relationships. Once we get comfortable with the idea that relationships are about ongoing negotiation, they begin to feel safer, smoother, and more fulfilling.
I still have three more modules of Somatica to go, so get ready for more relationship 101 in the upcoming months!
Amy Baldwin is co-owner of Pure Pleasure, as well as a Certified Sex Educator through SFSI (San Francisco Sex Information) with training from Barbara Carrellas' Urban Tantra Professional's program, and is currently enrolled in Celeste and Danielle's Somatica Sex Coaching program. Amy is also a certified Hatha Yoga teacher (200hr YTT), and has a degree in Psychology and a minor in Human Sexuality from San Francisco State University.
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