Third in our series of ‘Monday Moments’, our regular column dedicated to talking about… sex.
Well – not just sex. Relationships too. We’re not looking at dating – this is a lighthearted look at life inside a relationship that’s been ticking along for quite some time.
It’s an adult-only read, with a seasonal twist around Summer Loving in a grown up way. We’re talking holidays, date nights… and some sexy massage, toys and grown up pleasures too. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, but I guess the people at Durex were right when they said that you don’t stay married for 23 years, have four children and manage to maintain a satisfying sex life without picking up a trick or two along the way…
This week we’re doing it with massage, ladies.
For most of us, the best things in life are usually the simple ones.
A steaming cup of tea.
An unexpected smile.
An surprise card or text from an old friend.
A soothing back rub.
Mostly, I think, because any of those small things makes you feel Noticed. Valued. Appreciated.
And giving – and receiving – a massage is all of those things. Plus a whole lot more Good Things too. Massage is an astonishing surprise – it weaves strong bonds of trust, supercharges intimacy and naturally there’s the fact that it feels absolutely bloody fantastic.
Massage is the gift that keeps on giving. All of us regularly show our love for our partner in a hundred small ways. Making them a coffee, just the way they like it, when they’ve not asked for it. Making sure their favourite TV show is recorded. Holding their hand as you walk down the street together. And massage is all of those small thoughtful moments of affection – on steroids.
I know friends of mine who tend to avoid massage with their husbands’ – not that they don’t like it. No no no, far from it. The trouble, as they perceive it, is that they’re looking for the relaxation and closeness, and their husband’s looking for something a bit more sexy. But if you both want to please each other, I can’t see how the end result can’t be both.
Like a lot of couples who’ve been together a long time, the foreplay tends to get shorter as the years go by. And a few years ago I realised it had been a long (long long LONG) time since I’d had a really great massage from my husband.
And I missed that physical connection. When there’s extended touching, I start focusing on how my body feels. And when I’m focusing on my body, rather than my to-do list, my libido does a joyful soar and kicks up its very prettiest highest of sparkly red heels.
“A massage causes all of the muscles in your body to relax, which, in turn, relaxes your mind,” points out Carole Lieberman, M.D., relationship expert and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. “This makes you feel less anxious about being with your partner on an emotional and a sexual level. Plus, massages stop short of orgasm (or at least they’re supposed to), leaving you hovering on the brink and ready for your lover to complete the act.”
So here’s my top 5 reasons why you should start with the massage, people.
1. Slow Down.
When was the last time you slo-o-o-owed down together. Stopped. Took time out to just… be?
Modern family life is so flipping frenetic – constant digital assaults from four different screens, plus cramming in the needs of everyone needing to be everywhere, plus the chores and the dog and the bills… It’s hard to switch off when we’re switched on and multi-tasking at double speed all day long.
So put aside half an hour. Book it with yourselves. Choose the music, dim the lights, pick your oils (yes, you definitely need oil), lie back and bre-e-eathe. You can’t discuss the bills, the children, the neighbours’ cat or your mother.
Actually, you can’t really talk at all – but that’s okay. Because touching is all the conversation that’s necessary.
2. Massage brings you closer
If you’ve been together for a while, you’ve worked through the awkward firsts – first kiss, first base, first morning-after, first drunken stupidity, first toilet break… all that stuff is intoxicating and exciting in the beginning because it’s new – you’re opening up new layers to each other, making yourself more vulnerable and at the same time realising each time you’re safer than before.
After a while, though, it becomes totally normal to share a bathroom, and you stop noticing just how close and entwined your lives have become. Massage is like a short cut for your brain back to that intimate warmth of the early days.
Oxytocin – the chemical our brains produce when we feel safe, connected, and receive physical affection – washes through us when we have a massage from our partner. And when that core-melting massage is going on, we all just let go of everything but the present moment. And there’s nothing more intimate than being fully engaged in an activity with another human bean.
(As a little happy sidekick, the whole family benefits; when we feel safe and relaxed, we are able to be more generous and loving to everyone around us).
And of course, if you end up feeling so inclined, there’s no reason that your fabulously relaxing massage doesn’t result in a steamy sex session, either…
3. Massage is an I-See-You thing.
We love and appreciate our partners. Of course we do. But just as we forget to notice how closely we live, we also forget to say “I appreciate what you do”. We’re so busy sliding past each other as we rush though our week, we forget to stop and notice each other, to see the countless things the other person does, and be grateful for them. It’s so easy to notice the thing they didn’t do – and completely ignore the hundred things they already did.
And yet we all yearn for that.
We don’t want to be invisible. We all want the acknowledgement that someone sees us. Notices that we are a Good Person, doing a Good Job.
Massage is a great way for that to happen. There’s no distraction, it’s just the two of you. Noticing each other. Concentrating on each other.
And nothing says ‘I see you’ more than that.
In The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, the author proposes that every person has a primary “love language,”. I know it sounds kooky, but the more I read about it, the more I recognise it in my family. He suggest that each of us have a specific way that makes us clearly feel loved and appreciated, and states the five ‘languages’ are
- Words of Appreciation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
Massage pretty well has them all covered.
And intimacy, that safe rock-solid secure connection between you, is what makes everything else thrive.
4. Massage is a Do-over.
After a long, scratchy, irritable day, the very last thing you feel like doing once the kids are in bed and you have the room to yourself is going to all the effort of setting up to give your husband a 30 minute massage, right?
And yet… if you do… I pretty much guarantee that by the end of that 30 minutes you will no longer be snippy and irritable. And then you switch and your partner soothes and releases the last of the frustration knots in your neck, settles the angry niggling ache in your lower back, and does a heavenly nibbling prod at the balls of your feet that makes you wonder what exactly it was you were stressing about.
The physical connection is soothing – it’s not just sex; simply holding hands, stroking a cheek, a wild hug. They’re all important. And if you’re tired of the snippy irritability, the tired churlishness… drag out the candles and the oil, and hit reset. It never fails.
5. Massage makes for an Amazing Date Night
As we said last week, scheduled date nights are important.
Turning off the phone and the tablet and screen, and spending time with each other. And we already know that you can’t simply spend your evening massage talking through the stress of the bank account or your crappy boss (again). You’re forced to move right into ‘date’ territory.
Massage is an ancient tool, used for centuries for relaxation and healing. Shared by couples it can help erase years of stress that may have shut down or stalled even the healthiest of relationships. The power of touch is astounding – both therapeutic and healing. Use it to find your way back to one another.
The foundation of erotic massage is relaxation and openness. Create a quiet, comfortable space for uninterrupted enjoyment. Soft music, candles and massage oil are all useful tools to bring to the experience. Take the time to prepare.
Preferably let the experience spill over into a night wrapped in each other’s arms.
And don’t forget that during July you can WIN some Wild Excitement (worth over £100!) with Durex over on the competitions page. Adults Only!