Working towards an honest intimacy - my reboot log.

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Nicko Stretch, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    Are you talking about sex when you mention your need for intimacy? I can be really stressed and still meet my husbands need for intimacy through talking, listening, supporting. If you’re using need for intimacy as synonymous with sex, then I agree when your wife is stressed is a really bad time, lol.
     
  2. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    When I say intimacy I mean all those things you mention which might include sex. My point was that to be able to judge who has the greatest need for that listening, talking and supporting, I need to consider that my wife might have a greater need for my support than I do at the at time. So instead of automatically voicing my concerns or desires, I should check in with my wife to see wat is gong on for her. Sounds basic I know, but it is a practical behaviour I wish to become more competent in.
     
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  3. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Really hard few days of hypersexualised intrusive thoughts. I dropped out of it Friday night and was able to talk it through with S last night. We think it was triggered by the series of wet dreams I had had after 75 days of semen retention.
    We have decided that we will use an ejaculation schedule which is controlled by S to prevent me slipping back into using them for stress relief. Ejaculations will be approximately 2 months apart to start with. I will be of the mindset that ejaculation is not necessary for us to have a loving and intimate relationship, however regular ejaculation is a requirement for me to maintain good mental health and avoid the boom and bust cycle which happened this year.

    So what did happen? 75 days of semen retention, feeling brilliant, loads of energy, clarity, felt like myself again after many many years of confusion....then bang! 4 wet dreams in 4 weeks, then 2 ejaculations within 3 days and a decent into hypersexualised fantasising for 5 days in a row.
    So The regular ejaculations are a 'pressure release valve' so to speak, to avoid the above situation happening again. We may have to adjust the frequency and it may not work, but it is something different we have not tried.
    I have really valued the insight I had into how close and well our relationship could work, and attribute it mainly to non-orgasm focused intimacy. Lets try that again with the added safety precautions to see if it makes it more sustainable.

    Very grateful for this blog, it is immensely helpful.
     
  4. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    A calm day yesterday.

    I felt grateful and affectionate towards S because of how tolerant she is of my ups and downs. I knew that I would probably be in the negative in terms of libido after a few days of such hyperstimulation, and that negative feeling has continued into today. Its a strange situation. Its like there is a network of sensitivity which is turned off. I still feel her touches but they don't have the same affect as when I am the other side of the hormone rollercoaster. I try hard not to let this lack of sensitivity affect my general behaviour and when I think of hugging and kissing S I still get a smile on my face. Actually hugging and kissing her brings me comfort and reassurance.

    S and I have decided it is probably a good idea for me to be more open about the intrusive fantasies that I have. Previously I would let S know when I was having sexualised intrusive thoughts, but I would not divulge their content through fear of traumatising her (or at least her thinking I am so weird she needs to leave me). We had a really good and open discussion this weekend where I told her about the current intrusive thoughts and she didn't run off and leave me. In fact she was amazingly supportive. This was really helpful for me because it gave me confidence to share issues I am having in the future.

    Nearly 7 days since the last ejaculation. Previously it has taken between 10-17 days to start feeling more level. I feel excited about getting back to my new normal of semen retention and honest intimacy.
     
  5. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Focused on work yesterday. I felt I had good energy and my mood was fairly buoyant and stable.

    I had a few unwanted sexual thoughts but they were literally in and out of my head with no obsessive thinking. When things are fairly stable in my head I have become quite good at noticing unwanted thoughts coming in and saying 'no' to them, which generally sends them on their way.

    I was reflecting last night on obsession. I have identified one of my core values as 'adventure' and this ties in well with my obsessive nature. My family call it my 'Mr Toad' the character from the Wind in the Willows who would get obsessed with things. I develop a bit of tunnel vision about topics. I find myself devoting a lot of time to investigating them, and each bit of new knowledge or experience gives me a buzz and a motivation to find out more.
    I guess this happens with unhealthy topics as well as healthy ones, hence my problems with hypersexualisation and drug addiction.

    So I guess the solution is to find those healthy obsessions. I know earlier this year I definitely got obsessed with semen retention(which is definitely more healthy than ejaculation obsession!!). Not just the idea of doing it but the research and knowledge base surrounding it.
    I enjoyed reading peoples stories, books, watching videos, and recording my own journey. Frustration does come when I reach the limit of the knowledge base, but I suppose that is when I can add to my understanding by analysing my own experiences. But there are not many semen retention clubs or groups about where I can share my thoughts and feelings, which would help me establish semen retention as part of my identity. Maybe I need to look for a forum like this which focuses on semen retention but from a mental health angle.

    Another thing which excites the adventurer in me is having a degree of uncertainty in my life. I can see now that giving control of our intimacy to S gave it that degree of uncertainty. I can't decide 'I think I will make love tonight' because it has to be a joint decision. Not that I would force S but she admits she finds it very hard to say no- something we are trying hard to change. So instead of craving different and new sexual experiences, my adventurer is happy just not knowing where our intimacy is going.
    This is the psychology used by the casino machine designers - if people have no idea how or how often they will get 'rewarded' the drive to seek that 'reward' is maintained.

    I feel excited about our future together but not in a short term over the top way, but in a long, sustainable, healthy way. :)
     
  6. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    A lower energy day yesterday. Frazzled a bit from the amount of work I did the day before.
    Selfcare is important for me on days like that so I don't start beating myself up for not being productive.

    I had a good read of some of the posts on the semen retention reddit. Many of them are quite spiritually orientated which is interesting but not the direction I am going in. Having said this at least they are not focused on how to have great orgasms or how to have sex for hours on end.
    I see semen retention more as a way to keep my mood and energy stable. It is something for me which will have a knock on positive affect on my relationship with my wife.
    I don't think I framed it quite as explicitly as a mental health action last time so it will be interesting to see how that affects my attitude to it this time. I think I did spend a lot of time trying to justify that it was the right way to go last time because I wasn't quite as sure why I was doing it. I remember writing down all the reasons just to make sure it wasn't just another bizarre fantasy my mind had tricked me into.
    I really want to get to the place where I don't obsess about it and just accept it is what I do. Stopping writing in here might be part of that acceptance. I am not quite there yet but I am hoping once things settle down for me I will become unconsciously competent and not need to reflect so much on this issue.

    As for my current mental state, I can feel my mood and energy very slowly recovering. Definitely not back to 'normal' yet but heading in the right direction.
     
  7. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    A productive day yesterday.

    I can tell I am starting to feel more settled. Not quite there yet, I haven't got the enduring stability that comes with a few weeks of semen retention but I know I am heading in that direction.

    I don't feel confident enough to engage in much physical intimacy yet, but am enjoying kisses and embraces. The difference this time is that I don't need to feel anxious about how intimacy will happen or if it will happen. I feel I can trust myself to express my desires when they manifest, and respond to my wife's desires when she communicates them.

    So instead of S having total control over our intimacy, we both have total control. Neither of us are going to do something they don't want to do, and equally we are both going to express how we feel about intimacy in the moment.
    And that is the crucial difference between now and the hypersexualised state I found myself in last week. Intimacy is a feeling - not a construct of the imagination. Spending hours fantasising about something then asking my wife to do it is not about our relationship, it is about me getting high on sex.

    The more authentic intimacy just unfolds and no one knows where it will go.
    So like when S kisses me and I kiss her back which makes warm feelings spread through my body, which make me want to hug her. She hugs me back and this sends energy into my arms which explore her body. This makes her moan which makes my hips move....and so is the dance of intimacy. An unpredictable in the moment sequence of actions and reactions which depend on honest expression and deep listening.
     
  8. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Really interesting conversation about communication yesterday with my wife. The conclusion was, as it usually is, the more we communicate, the better we understand each other. And not just for passing information, but for actually exploring ideas. I might write something she reads and then by discussing it I come to a very different conclusion, but the writing was the starting point.
    We spoke about counting days since the last ejaculation and how the first two weeks are probably the most important to count while the hormones settle down. On reflection I don't even know if that is important anymore. The aim of the counting is what? To say, 'well I am 14 days post ejaculation so I am back to normal'? What if I don't feel back to normal? What if I have another wet dream on day 13? Does that make me a failure because I have to start counting again? What if I feel normal straight away?

    I had an interesting dream last night. It wasn't a wet dream but I had to tell someone to stop doing something because it might make me ejaculate but I guess the dream could have gone the other way. I need to accept that I might involuntarily ejaculate at any point(hopefully not in an important meeting :) ), and that is part of life, and when it happens it might affect my energy levels and mood but so would catching a cold, or having a stressful time at work.

    I believe the nasty episode I had last week was a result of my belief that I was going to retain for ever and the disappointment that followed the series of involuntary and voluntary ejaculations. The hormone imbalance will have had an effect but it is my psychology that needs to change. A survivor from a concentration camp once said its the optimists that die first, they can't handle the disappointment of there goals not being met.

    So going forward I will carry on trying to live by my values with a more realist attitude. Shit happens and no one can prevent it.
     
  9. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I good day yesterday. S and I had a good discussion about what is intimacy. We agreed we are intimate on many different levels.
    She questioned what I meant by saying that I was not quite ready for much physical intimacy yet, and it was really quite hard to define at the time. Reading my post back now I know exactly what I meant. I meant that kind of physical intimacy which involves sexual arousal.
    It was really helpful to talk about it yesterday and I think now I would reframe what i said as: I don't know how sexually aroused I would get during more physical intimacy and if I did get aroused I don't know how much feeling I would have, and I feel anxious about that lack of sensitivity and how I might crave to chase more sensation and I don't feel like I want to be in that situation just yet, and I feel like I would like to wait until I might feel more.

    I feel differently today. I don't feel anxious and would accept what happened whatever the state of arousal or intimacy. This was another interesting thing which came out of our conversations yesterday. By sharing intimacy in the moment whatever shows up, shows up! There is no need to think about what might or might not happen because intimacy is an infinite variable of experiences.

    The title of this blog is 'working towards an honest intimacy'. I still feel like we are 'working towards' and I very much value the therapeutic nature of writing about intimacy and my experiences, however in an ideal world I would not need to. Intimacy would be something that happens between us in the moment, we would be unconsciously competent. A bit like breathing.
    There would be no need for this type of analysis:
    " 50 years in to my breathing journey and I still feel like I am learning. I am in awe of those people who have been doing it for 80 plus years, I hear it gets harder but the benefits are still there.
    Yesterday I managed to breathe on average 10 times a minute. I held my breath at one point for 30 seconds because there was a bad smell in the kitchen and I am so grateful for having the awareness to detect the smell in the first place. I put this down to mediating 20 minutes daily and reducing my dairy intake to keep my sinuses clear.
    I did breath really heavily after walking up a big hill. I enjoyed the experience afterwards but found it challenging at the time. There is stuff all over the internet about the health benefits from breathing heavily so I intend to do it more regularly. There are so many ways to breathe heavily its great! Most of the top athletes breathe heavily several times a day and I heard Brad Pit does too.
    I have been seeing posts about the benefits of stopping breathing all together. I haven't researched this but I can't see it myself. Breathing brings me energy and makes me feel alive. I wouldn't want to give that up.
    I am so glad I am on this breathing journey and am grateful to all you other breathers for supporting me."
    lol
     
  10. Dispo

    Dispo Fapstronaut

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    Hey, I just stumbled across your journal and I'm on a similar path.
    I was just wondering, whether you would share more detailed information on how your intimate encounters start and what excatly you 2 are doing.
    I didn't read through all your jorunal so I don't know, whether you have written something like that before.
     
  11. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Hi, Happy to give you a run down, it may not be what you were expecting though.

    So last night:
    I got in bed before my wife and read for a while. When she came to bed she gave me a quick kiss and started reading herself. Once we had both finished reading and switched the lights off, she lay down with her back towards me. I snuggled up behind her and put my hand on her shoulder. She moaned with pleasure and I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

    Here is another one:
    I was concerned that I write a lot about the way I feel but am not always sure if my wife takes in everything I have written. We had a really intimate conversation about how each of us feels about this and how we could move forward.

    And another:
    S was stood in the kitchen cooking and I was sat behind her. I was watching her, thinking how beautiful she is and how special I felt knowing she wanted to share her life with me. She turned and noticed me watching her. She gave me a little smile which sent shivers up my back and put a broad grin on my face.

    'Cupids poison arrow' or any book by Diana Richardson are great resources and provide detailed information about how to develop an intimacy which isn't focused on the sexual act, although both talk about how to have sex without being ejaculation focused.
    I hope this helps.
     
  12. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Still feeling lots of guilt about wet dreams(had one last night). Its so strange, they are really out of my control most of the time - I stop them if I can, but there is a good percentage that I have no control over. So why do I feel guilty about something I cant control?

    Or maybe it isn't guilt I feel but something to do with how I perceive the ejaculation is going to affect my mood. I am very much moving my mindset to the idea that it is my psychology which has the biggest negative impact post ejaculation. By thinking thinks are going to be bad, then they will be. Maybe I have to reframe a wet dream away from this momentous draining of life force which leaves me a a husk of a man, to a simple emission of fluid which, if it happens 2-3 times in quick succession might leave me feeling a little tired, but if it only happens once in a while will leave me feeling refreshed and reset.

    I might rename them to be something positive - a seed refresh, oil change, decompression, pressure release, semen detox...I know!

    So this latest ball burp comes 2 weeks after that last. I am going to try not to count the days or attribute my mood or reactions to it and see what happens...
     
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  13. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I think the work I did yesterday reframing wet dreams was really useful. When reading posts on another forum about semen retention I saw them from a different perspective. People were counting the days and saying how amazing their lives were and attributed a large proportion of that to not ejaculating for x amount of days. I fear for those people about how they will react when they do ejaculate again.
    There are a proportion of people on the forum who do recognise that it isn't just the semen retention which is making the difference, and that the semen retention just provides added motivation to improve their lives.
    The main differences appear to be a change in attitude towards the sexual act and the feelings associated with sex. By removing their daily obsessions with sex they feel more self respect, which leads to more confidence which leads to better social interaction and motivation to work towards their goals.
    I totally get why complete abstinence is necessary and a goal for a lot of people. I have found it can be the best and sometimes only way to break an addictive habit.
    But for something which is going to happen whether we want it to or not we need to be prepared psychologically.
    So I think I am accepting that ejaculating once in a while either consciously or unconsciously is not such an influential thing. What I need to look out for is if I find myself craving that ejaculation.
     
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  14. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Watched a great TED talk yesterday about how most people want to be seen and want to feel like ethically good people. We tend to become very defensive if we make a mistake, which prevents us learning from that mistake. Instead they suggest expecting mistakes, looking for mistakes so that we are ready to process and learn from them.
    This really resonates with me. I have made many mistakes in my life and I really want to be a good person. I feel I have internalised the thought that I need to be a good person to be accepted because I have used up all my bad person quota in life. I have no room for mistakes.
    I have realised now that this is unrealistic and puts myself under massive pressure. Expecting that I will make mistakes feels liberating.
    It is a subtle change of mindset but one which makes me feel I can be more myself without 'shoulding' myself all the time.
    By having the awareness to notice mistakes when they happen, and the skills to process and learn from this mistakes I feel like I can relax into myself. It is a little bit scary - a bit like relaxing a muscle which has been tensed to protect me from some pain. I don't know if the pain is still there so am wary as I relax, but so far so good :)
    In practical terms this means trusting my instincts and judgement, being honest about feelings in an appropriate way, and being ready to apologise and learn from mistakes that will inevitably happen.
    Something else I learned yesterday from Brene Brown was the concept of SFD , which stands for 'shitty first draft'. This is my technique for writing already. I start the process of writing by writing a first draft which is never going to be any good because I just let it come out, no one will ever read it and it will be totally different by the time I am happy with it, but its something I can start with and work on.
    In terms of communication the concept of SFD can be used to let people know what is showing up for you. So even if you know it is total paranoia or insecurity, being able to say what has shown up for you in your head in the moment helps the other person have empathy for what you are experiencing, and gives them an opportunity to feedback hopefully in a compassionate way.
    I suppose it is important for the other person to know this is your SFD though, incase they think this is actually what you believe.
    I am sure i have used this technique in the past but usually start the conversation with " In my paranoid mind I am feeling that...". I suppose you could use anything which lets the other person know this is the story your mind has made up due to not having all the information to make an objective judgement.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  15. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I have had a couple of days now if letting myself off for not being good enough. The process of accepting that I am not very good has been really refreshing and enlightening. I didn't realise how hard I was on myself for making perceived mistakes like thinking saying or doing the 'wrong' thing. I think I used to think I can't trust myself so I have to live by a set of rules in order to ensure I don't derail my life.
    Now I feel like I am starting to do more things because I want or need to do them rather than feeling I should.
    Its quite a subtle change but I definitely feel a sense of liberation.
    Its early days but hopefully a positive change in mindset.
     
  16. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Interesting thought exercise yesterday and today. I lost a bunch of keys which typically sends me into an obsessive hunt(which it did) and more significantly is something I find very stressful.
    Stress is something I have dealt with in the past with all sorts of unhealthful coping strategies, so this is a good opportunity to explore the feelings and maybe some of the thoughts that lay behind the stress, and how I can manage that stress in a healthier way. One key issue is accepting the fact that looking for them and having to replace them if they don't turn up is going to cause discomfort.
    We naturally move away from discomfort and try to make it go away. This is not always possible. My plan is to accept the discomfort but not focus on it.
     
  17. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    So I coped yesterday using a mixture of acceptance and awareness. I accepted the discomfort, and managed to gain perspective by reminding myself of how unimportant losing keys was in the grand scheme of things, and also how transient it was. I knew that in a few months, I wouldn't even remember what had happened.
    My wife was really supportive and understanding of how I felt. I have always reacted disproportionately to losing things so she tried not to throw more fuel on the fire and reassured me I was still alive and it was no big deal.

    I am nearing the end of a 5 year project which has made me challenge and apply myself in many different ways. It has been a great learning experience and I feel like I know myself so much better now, and this has contributed to our relationship growing stronger.
    Before I had really identified my current most important values and articulated them to S, I found it difficult to reconcile my desire for adventure and my desire for connection. There were times when I got excited about an adventurous opportunity only to then feel other feelings of loss because they might not be something S wanted to do, and that was going against my need for connection. I would often feel guilty for engaging in these activities or just not do them.

    I didn't realise that adventure and connection are two different values that can be met in different ways, and that not everything I want to do was going to meet all my values. Having talked about these issues with S I think she has a better understanding of my drive to do adventurous things, and does not feel obliged to join in.
    In terms of connection, before I recognised connection as one of my core values it would just be a feeling of scarcity that I knew being with S would alleviate. This would lead to me being dependent on S for connection. This was not very healthy because she has connection, especially with her family, as an even stronger value than me, there was no way she could provide all the connection I needed and have the resources to connect with others.
    Tis led to me feeling rejected and jealous at times, purely due to me not recognising I was trying to depend on S for all my connection needs.
    Over the past 5 years I have built enough self awareness to recognise these issues that happened in the past. I am sad that I didn't have the self-awareness at the time to avoid the suffering my behaviour caused myself and those around me, and am happy that I am now aware of these issues which leads to a more fulfilled life and a stronger relationship with S and the other people in my life.
     
  18. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I suppose one of the biggest changes in my mindset over the last 6 years is the idea that sex is the result of intimacy, it does not create intimacy. So in the past I may have thought 'I am so stressed out right now what I really need is to have some sexual contact with S'. With sex no longer being a 'means of relief' the opposite is now true. Sexual intimacy and sometimes just physical intimacy while stressed can feel really inappropriate. I guess it is to do with the flight or fight response. In a stressed state I am on high alert for danger, and cannot flip to being open to intimacy without winding down.
    I think my wife finds close physical contact when stressed comforting and in the past has tried to give it to me in support when I am stressed. I noticed this when I had lost my keys the other day. I could tell she was trying to help by holding and touching me but it didn't feel comfortable in that moment. I couldn't tell her this because I was already stressed and was worried how my communication would manifest.
    We talked about it afterwards and S said she found it really hard to stay conscious of what would help me in that situation. Although the initial physical contact didn't work, S made me feel so much better by saying the right things which helped me bring the issue into perspective and wind down enough to enjoy being close with her.
    Talking about experiences like these is helping us grow together.
     
  19. Dispo

    Dispo Fapstronaut

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    I know similiar situations, like the ones you described on May 9. I guess, those are very nice and indicate a relationship is growing healthy. Yet, that was not exactly what I mean with "intimate encounters". That was more pointed towards a direction where actually something sexual would happen, whatever that may be.
    Me and my GF took the recently on an evening and got naked and touched each other intuitively to try to get in contact with our own bodies and the other ones. Yet, without sexual stimulation or anything. It was jast a bit hard for me find actual reason in myself to touch her oder to "feel anything".
     
  20. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I guessed you were more interested in the sex side of things but wanted to point out that intimacy is so much more than sex. Having said that all those things I described could bring sexual arousal especially when I am not stressed and there has been a few weeks of semen retention. I can get aroused from a simple kiss or by rubbing my wife's shoulders. I have learned to enjoy the arousal for a pleasure in itself.
    When we are in bed and being more sexually intimate my body can get so sensitive that my wife could bring me to orgasm without touching my genitals. The irony is though, that if I actually ejaculate I lose most of that sensitivity for weeks.
    In terms of motivation to touch your GF, as soon as I forget about my selfish desire for hedonistic sexual pleasure and start focusing on giving sensual pleasure to my wife, I get really aroused. Almost like when you stop looking for it, there it is :) When I start to enjoy the feeling of her soft skin on my skin and really focus in on the sensations this brings, I am in the moment - not thinking about goals or where this is headed, just enjoying it for what it is.
    I admit it takes a while and will sometimes feel wrong or pointless, but by keeping at it I believe you can learn the joys of simple sensual pleasures, which bring a sense of satisfaction, connection and wholeness, without a sense of loss.
     

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