Talking and Touching

Posted on in On Our Radar by Chas August


One way that my life partner and I keep our love alive is through our conversations. We talk about everything. We talk about the weather, current events, books we’re reading, friends we have in common, friends the other partner hasn’t met or doesn’t know well, the kids, work, everything.

We talk about things we’re afraid to talk about. We talk about things we have a habit of not talking about—we both notice deep hesitancy in asking for 100% of what we want in our sexuality. It doesn’t feel like fear, more like deep neuronal pathways to keep silent and hope our partner fortuitously happens to do the thing desired. If they get it right, then appropriate moaning and sighing will let them know. If they don’t get it right, the habit is to let it go, enjoy what is being given. So we talk about that habit, and gently teach ourselves to talk about everything.

man and woman faces

And paradoxically, sometimes talk actually gets in the way of intimacy. We both know how to hide in our words. We both are quite adept at building arguments and debates when our hearts are crying out for hugs and cuddles. We strive to understand why. Why did you say that? Why am I feeling this? Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t I learn this as a child? As if understanding, comprehension analysis is the goal. But understanding is often the consolation prize, the worthless toy that game shows give to the losers, the booby prize. And analysis often creates paralysis. In science and engineering it is often useful to search for causality, but in the affairs of the human heart it is often useless. Or maybe, worse than useless, causal thinking can interfere with intimacy.

Most often when my heart aches I want contact, not explanations. The best thing I can do for my beloved when she is hurt or upset is to stay present with her, to hold her, to listen and not ask questions. The best thing my beloved can do for me when I’m hurt or upset is to stay present with me, to hold me, to listen and not ask questions.

And if our talking is having either of us feeling isolated, more alone, less supported, then it might be a clue that we should stop talking and, perhaps, start stroking each other’s face.

In other words, talk is very important, but touch can be even more important.

Chas August is a personal growth coach in the Berkeley area. Since 1988 he has participated in, volunteered for, and led the Human Awareness Institute’s Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality Workshops.

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