Did you ever play the game Truth Or Dare? I did. I also recall being nervous, intimidated and a little excited by it. My husband and I invented a new version. It’s called Dance or Don’t Dance. Allow me to explain.
Have you ever posed a question to your partner and then got really mad at the answer? Have you asked that fateful question, “Does this dress make me look fat”? And then in your mind screamed, “NOOOOOOO, DON’T ANSWER!!!”? Or how about that time you were enjoying a quiet intimate moment and you opened your pretty mouth and asked, “Out of all my friends, who would you want to have sex with if you had permission?” And then had to drop that dear friend because you couldn’t bear to look at her ever again? Or you ask your woman, “What’s wrong?” and she gives you the evil eye and says, “Nothing!” My question to you all is, did you really want to know what they were thinking or did you already have an answer in mind you hoped they would know to use?
Often these fateful questions are met with that look of a deer caught in the headlights! The game of Dance/Don’t Dance is about readiness for raw honesty: If you want your partner to tell you the absolute truth and not dance around a touchy subject, you would say, “Don’t dance.” However, if you know you can’t really handle all the possibilities that might come your way, you would say, “Dancing is OK” (in other words, tell me what I want and need to hear right now). This game can be a very effective tool in opening up the communications about our sexual desires, among other things.
Over the years (24 now) Mark and I have enjoyed many hours of fiery discussion about our fantasies, desires, hopes, dreams, wishes and more. Quite often we find ourselves treading into areas that bring up a lot of old beliefs and fears. This is a good thing. There is endless learning potential in those moments — about yourself as well as your partner. Inevitably you will get to a place where you touch upon a sensitive topic or issue. This is when you can play our game Dance/Don’t Dance.
You must first establish ground rules before embarking on this game: First, you can never, let me repeat that, NEVER use what your partner reveals in a future argument or moment of anger. Doing so is a sure fire way to miss other opportunities to learn some revealing and enlightening information about your partner. Second, whatever your partner says you have to greet with respect and gratitude that you are learning about your mate. Third, you cannot judge, criticize or try to talk him or her out of feeling or needing. Any of those three things will stunt your communication growth and destroy trust and intimacy. Communication stunting is NOT good for anyone’s sex life! If you can abide by these three rules you have just opened the door to a deeper, more satisfying love and intimacy than I can adequately describe here.
About S-E-X. Playing this game while sharing your fantasies can open a lot of tightly sealed doors. It’s important to remember that simply because you reveal your deepest, darkest, wildest and kinkiest fantasy does not necessarily mean you want to act it out. Honestly, most of them we don’t. But it can create some wild fun when you verbalize and share those fantasies with someone you trust and adore. Also please remember that just because your partner does not reveal this to you does not mean it doesn’t exist. Ask yourself which would you prefer? To really KNOW your partner or pretend they are who you want them to be? What you decide to DO with the new discoveries can light up your life – or not – you can choose. It’s your relationship. Your creation.
The happiest couples are those who grow together. That doesn’t mean you have to do everything together and become the same person. It means you are always excited to learn more about your partner as that person discovers him- or herself. We are all a work in progress and the person you met when you were 25 is not going to be the same person you are looking at 25 years later. We evolve. Staying open to and excited about this process is key. Many people are surprised by the changes that occur, like we are supposed to stay the same. Nothing stays the same. It’s not supposed to.
A law of nature – Time creates change. With a 50% divorce rate looming over the heads of Americans, many choose to recreate their marriage to meet specific needs and wants as they unfold. If you and your partner discover you have very different sexual needs, how would you resolve this? (See sex drive) A growing percentage (statistics show between 1% and 16%, according to The Kinsey Institute and The Journal of Human Sexuality) of people are ignoring society’s constraints. They choose to fulfill their sexual needs in ways that work for them with such agreements as a non-monogamous relationship. In the ’60s they were called “open” relationships, for which there are a wide variety of definitions. I will delve into this topic in great detail in the near future.
Most relationships start to die when a couple makes an agreement to ignore each other’s issues. Whatever your fantasies, desires, hopes and dreams in life are, being free to share and explore them within a loving, supportive relationship is far superior to feeling isolated, judged and without a healthy outlet. The world of human sexuality is vast. There is no such thing as “normal”; that is a judgment determined by another human being. The term paraphilia (previously known as sexual perversion) is now simply known as sexual preferences “along side” that of the culture you live in. Does it really matter what floats your boat as long as both people in the relationship are comfortable, happy and fulfilled? (As long as no animals or humans are harmed in the making of that film.)
What happens when you express your preferences and desires and your partner just can’t go there? First let me just say it would be wonderful if we could have all this information early on in a relationship. However, this is rarely the case. Like I said earlier, we grow; we evolve, and little by little we uncover our human desires and quirks. Once we discover that we have vastly different needs, turning to an objective, professional therapist will provide much-needed guidance toward a resolution. It’s not about changing or fixing each other; it’s about adapting to the changes we discover. One drastic example is when a couple discovers that one of them suffers from a gender identity disorder and undergoes a sex reassignment surgery. So now the other partner has to either leave this person they love or adapt to the changes discovered. It’s a choice. Many choose to adapt.
There are an unlimited number of creative ways for a couple to keep the fire burning. The most effective of them all is communication. With a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and desires we can pick and choose from the plethora of possibilities that work for our own special relationship. Spending the energy to develop a skilled, mature and open communication style is invaluable. For my marriage, the Dance or Don’t Dance game has opened up a whole new world of communicating. And not just about S-E-X. We use this game to discuss everything. When we know we are dancing around the truth, and we want to cut to the chase, we use this technique. For us, it tells the other person they are safe to express their personal truth without fear of rejection, ridicule or judgment. It says, “I can handle whatever you give me, so let me know your truth.” This is what intimacy is … the sharing of our raw, truthful, vulnerable selves.
WARNING: This game is not for the immature and angry. You must never abuse this game or it’s Game Over! Are you ready to play Dance or Don’t Dance? I’d love to hear from you.
A Special Note from Nancy, If you read my last column I said this week I would be discussing Infidelity. After reading Doni’s column about her own firewalk I decided to wait awhile before publishing. I will approach this topic soon and would love to address your personal concerns when doing so. Send personal inquiries or letters about this or any other topic to email@example.com
Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comment or questions.
As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling. www.bodylogicmd.com
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