‘I adore you.’ ‘I choose you.’ ‘Thank you for being in my life.’ How many times have you heard that? Or said that? Devotion is a rather beautiful and slightly old-fashioned word isn’t it? In a world where sex is commoditised and judged on performance, the quiet art of devotion doesn’t get much of a look in. Yet my instinct is we’re missing something. Imagine if someone turned up in your life who you couldn’t have expected and, without you having to do too much, simply loves you. And you them. It’s such a gift. I’m not talking about all the spiritual stuff of worshipping the goddess here ; I’m talking about simple admiration, respect, friendliness and seeing the wonder of another human being who you hold in the highest regard. Who you speak to with love and whose happiness you care about. This is not devotion in the way a slave or a martyr or a reluctant householder would offer it - we’ve all seen that. I’m talking about being seen for our highest, kindest qualities. Love is what you do and feel in the present reality; it’s not just a romantic idea, or something you felt a long time ago when you had just met your partner. So how can we show love and devotion to our partners everyday? In habitual, kind, and real ways. These are my tips for Everyday Devotion: Speak kindly Choose loving words and mean them. Call your partner darling or sweetheart or private names. Say it every day: "I adore you." Small gestures Moments of affection are easier than planning a date night. Try holding hands in the street, little kisses, or a squeeze on the hips. Or little gifts of love – a chocolate in a coat pocket, a love note left on a desk or a shopping list. Be brave Speak up about the things that are bothering you. Drop the language of "You always…" or "You never…" Working out what you need and then making a request works better than sulking and quiet resentment. Eg I’d love it if you... Don't tease Everyday bickering and subtly putting each other down shrinks our hearts with a thousand little cuts. I find it heartbreaking when I overhear it. Yes, it’s natural that we do things to upset each other, but how do we deal with those things and still know we are loved? Kindness is best. Move on How you resolve issues is a high art. Fighting to win or make a point is empty and solves nothing. Fight to move things on, so both of you feel better afterwards. I’m in favour of making fighting fun: play-fighting, or if we’re getting a little kinky, a little forgiveness after some punishment with a kitchen spatula can heal the rift and stop the tedium of simmering resentment. Mean it Meaningful compliments are fantastic. Say what you appreciate and admire about someone. Be generous with praise with your partner and your friends. Sharing more than just what they look like but how the things they do make you feel glad to be with them. Say "I love it when you..." and tell them why. Mix it up Keep the erotic charge between you. Variety in intimacy is so important. I’m not talking about simply penetrative sex here, as that can become a pressure and can contribute to performance anxiety. Bring what you love in the bedroom out in to your everyday connection with small acts of intimacy. Talk about sex Often the things that matter the most are the hardest to say. Yet avoiding it creates an elephant in the room. Communication about sex can be so helpful in building trust, fun and embodied sensual pleasure. Please don’t wait for telepathy. Take responsibility Be responsible for your own pleasure instead of making guesses or assumptions about someone else's. Be a grown up and learn what your body likes. Learn how to ask in bed. The two little phrases “would you?” and "may I?” can change everything. Get real Getting out of fantasy and into the reality of loving connection is key. Whether it’s the idea of perfect man who "just knows what we want” or the lusted-after porn starlet, we’re all living in our heads. Getting real with the human being in front of you - and getting to know them and yourself in the process - is everyday devotion. Following these steps opens up all sorts of possibilities of everyday sensuality, which has the power to truly transform our lives. Try it… ‘I adore you.’ ‘I choose you.’ ‘Thank you for being in my life.’ Alison Pilling - Intimacy Coaching www.creativesexuality.co.uk
Alison Pilling is a sex educator and she focuses on helping couples explore this important part of their lives, which is at heart a search for connection with self, other and soul. She started with a Tantra journey at the late age of 49 and has spent the last 5 years working with pioneering teachers and exploring the world of conscious sexuality. Talking about sex can be difficult for everyone..none of went to Sex School after all. Finding our desire, knowing what we want and how to ask for it is really tricky. Especially in a world where a lot of the images of what sex should look like are now dominated by a 'performance’ view of sexuality and increasingly porn. This isn’t really working for those seeking a more intimate deep connection.
Ali is really interested in how we can have every day intimacy and connection and pleasure that we define, want and feel. She is keen to broaden the variety of what we do in our bedrooms to make pleasure relaxing, loving and easy.