I have a tool that I use to define and create relationships. I coach people to use it to create good boundaries and I want to share it with everyone! Relationships and boundaries are “complex sets of thoughts and emotions bundled together in a confusing way” and fall nicely within my “Desire – Intimacy – Sex” (DIS) magnifying glass.
Relationships are about boundaries and agreements. You and your partner are writing a contract. I suggest that you both think and imagine what is possible and what you want, and look for solutions that support the intimacy and love you have with your husband. Few people take the time to do this, and those who do can have a much better relationship agreement if they approach things with intention and a little planning.
First figure out what you really want. My DIS tool can help you tease things out a bit. I’ll nutshell it for you and invite you to try it out a little and see if it helps you break this down.
Desire - What is in you. These are your fantasies, hungers, thoughts, secrets (dirty and otherwise). This is you wanting more. This is good stuff, but not all of it is practical. This is where creativity starts though so no holds barred here.
Intimacy - this is what happens between you and your partners and friends and family. This is actually something you share with your husband in your long talks, in the 21 years of marriage that you don’t want to leave. This is what you have with your besties when you huddle late at night over a bottle of wine and plot and scheme. This is where oxytosin is made and connections are built and you see reflections of yourself in the context of another. Intimacy is never monogamous.
Sex - I was facilitating a workshop on sex…and one of the attendees said this:
“Sex is what’s happening in my body right now.”
I have not found a better way to put it. Sex is not only about procreation or orgasm or genitals or nakedness. I have had incredibly sexual moments barely touching fingers and just feeling the charge of another person’s desire there. Sex is about bodies and sensation and touch. Sex is holding hands or cuddling or getting a massage. Sex is solo or paired or in groups and it’s always about what is happening in my body right now.
How to use DIS - DIS is a tool, not a fact. When I am coaching people on relationships, I ask them to use DIS to get clearer on what they want and what is happening. It’s useful to clarify because then you can really understand and create BOUNDARIES (those pesky things).
What do you desire from a relationship, what are your fantasies and imaginings, what’s in it for you? How much connection and intimacy do you want there, and how will you relate it to your other relationships? How much sex do you want? Holding hands only? Kissing? Making out and groping? You get the picture.
Use each element in relation to the others. Make a one-to-ten scale for each element and imagine how that might look. Try to define some current relationships this way. With your best friend it might look like D-2, I-8, S-2. With your cat it might look like D-6, I-6, S-1 (though since my cat insists on sitting on my keyboard while I type, one could argue D-1, I-6, S-4). With your new lover it could look many ways and the more you get clear on what you want from them, the more effective you will be at having boundaries.
Once you have an idea of what you want from a relationship, you can construct the boundaries that will be kindest to your other relationships. In Shameless, Pamela Madsen tells the story of how she and her husband construct boundaries where her exploration can run openly and benefit her marriage. She is able to journey deeply into her sexual exploration with Dakas and Sacred Intimates and Sexological Bodyworkers (*finger pointing at me…*) and still maintain and enhance the intimacy of her marriage because the boundaries (bubbles I think she calls them here) are good.
So…you are not alone. You are not in uncharted territory either. You have DIS to use and create intention. Create your own bubbles and explore!