Growth & Healing
Below you will find several exercises designed to assist and facilitate healing in many areas of your relationships. These exercises may all be done at home. If you have questions or feel that you need assistance with getting started, contact Dr. Dina B. Evan at the number at the bottom of this page.
Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan
Conscious Connecting Exercise
This exercise is for couples who wish to connect safely and profoundly
while creating intimacy. It provides a process
for connecting slowly, safely and with awareness and respect for
each other. This exercise is also designed for couples who have been
emotionally or sexually estranged from each other or those who are dealing
with abuse issues in their relationships. It gives couples a progressive
way to reconnect and move back into intimacy and love making slowly and
safely. Read this exercise together and make sure you both fully
understand and agree on the process before you begin.
Conscious Connecting Home Exercises
2. Sit across from each other and establish your boundaries. (Draw a circle around yourself to indicate where your boundaries are for your partner.) Begin to notice the rhythm of each other’s breathing pattern and bring your own into sync. As your partner breathes out, you exhale and as he or she breathes in, you inhale. When you are breathing in the same rhythm, begin to connect with your eyes. If you feel a need to look away, notice what triggers this need and return to eye contact when you can. You may take a time out to talk about or process anything that has been triggered. Then attempt to return to the process or agree on another time to return to it. Make as many attempts and take as much time as needed to do this process safely before moving on. It may take weeks or days to get to a place where you are both comfortable.
3. Once you have achieved a state of comfort with this breath exercise you can take the next step. Watch the pattern of each other’s breath and as your partner breathes in, you breathe out. Establish an energetic circle going from you to your partner with the breath in the area of your heart. As he or she breathes in, you breathe out – as he or she breathes out, you breathe in until you have created a circle of breath/energy moving between you. Reestablish eye contact and begin to allow the energy or breath of your partner to move through you as it moves around the circle. Focus on receiving the energy. Continue this until you feel fully available to the process and safe.
4. Notice what makes you want to leave this intimate space and if or how you get back into it. You may take a time out to talk about or process anything that has been triggered. Then attempt to return to the process or agree on another time to return to it. Make as many attempts and take as much time as needed to do this process safely before moving on. It may take weeks or days to get to a place where you are both comfortable.
5. After you have finished each of these exercises, write down what you noticed and share it with each other or bring it into therapy.
Doing these exercise could take several weeks or months. Do not rush to the next stage. The object is to become completely safe before progressing to the next step. There is no time constraint. Take as much time as you need to connect or reconnect safely.
Do this exercise one or more times over a period of a week This time, once you have become energetically connected, imagine you are moving across the space to sit inside your partners body and he or she is moving to your side of the space to do the same. Take some time while in this meditation to experience what it feels like to be inside your partner and try to experience his or her feelings. Talk about your awareness'.
If you mutually choose to have sexual contact, do not have it immediately after this exercise. This space should be free of expectation and orgasm-oriented pressure. The object is simply to feel safe, at deeply connected energetic levels.
Body Touching Exercises
1 Set aside a time for mutual touching of at least 30 minutes per person. Each person should have plenty of time to experience the touching and being touched so there should be no time constraints. The person doing the touching should use light fingertip stroking. Stroking sessions progress very slowly from stroking hands only to arms and hands, to hands, arms and back, etc., until you have progressed to stroking all over your partner’s body with the exception of genitals or breasts. This progression may take place over several sessions. The person being stroked has full control and gives directions as to the pressure, direction and location of touching. He or she is encouraged to put a hand on the touchers to guide the process. Dialog might sound like this, “A lighter touch at the crook of my arm feels better" or “Touching in long strokes behind my knees is very sensuous.”
The exercise may begin with
full clothing and may last for weeks or months before progressing to full
body, without clothing touching. Do
not rush the process. Begin with the energy connecting, and then move
into hands only. The “touchers” job is to explore the sensations that
feel good to his partner. Give the partner full control and embrace a
willingness to be told what feels best without taking anything personally.
Do not interpret your partner's instructions as criticisms of your
performance. Do not take an
additional step of touching more parts of the body until both partners
feel they have achieved a space of safety and an ability to receive and
give without hesitation on each part currently being touched.
2. The full body assignment is done without clothing, in a bed or other flat space and in a room that is kept a bit warmer than normal. Begin by doing the back or front of your partner’s body with a desire to notice what places on his or her body are sensuous, what places make your partner feel closer and loved, as well as what places have no effect or have a negative effect. The purpose of the exercise is to become fully acquainted with what your partner feels, likes and dislikes during your touching. Don’t take any of the feed back personally. This is not about you, it is about becoming aware of your partner’s needs and likes.
Stroking motions should blend into each other in a slow continuous motion without losing contact with the body. Erection or excitement should not be given attention. Should masturbation become necessary, partners should do that alone and separately. The purpose of this assignment is to collect feedback, impressions and signals from your partner to enhance your connecting process.
After you have finished each of these exercises, write down what you noticed and share it with each other or bring it into therapy.
Doing these exercises may take several weeks and in some cases several months. When touching has been associated with abuse or pain, it is necessary to set up a new reference point in the mind and body that can be associated with pleasure and safety. Take all the time you need to do this without rushing to the next stage. The object is to become completely safe before moving on to the next step. There is no time constraint. Take as many weeks, or months, as you need to reconnect safely.
Do this exercise one or more times over a period of a week. If you mutually choose to have sexual contact, do not have it immediately after this exercise. This space should be free from expectation or orgasm-oriented pressure. The object is simply to feel safe.
Genital Touching Without Orgasm
Remember, you are encouraged to take as many weeks as
necessary to get comfortable with each exercise before moving on to the
next one. The time these exercises
take is not as important as getting to safely connected states.
Proceed as in the previous exercise, but limit the stroking to 10-15 minutes per side. After finishing the front, without switching roles, spend 10-15 minutes focusing on sensitive areas using the same light stroking touch. Trace around ears, lips, breasts, genitals, and insides of upper thighs. The idea is to accept erections and/or lubrication as an indication or sign of pleasure, but to avoid and compulsion to accelerate and instead continue stroking in an exploratory way. Wait a few days for the next session or until it feels safe.
Again, do the 10-15 minutes of stroking, front and back, and as part of the front, cover sensitive areas working toward the genitals. The active partner should be sitting at the side of the passive partner facing the feet. . When touching the genitals, try to get information about your partner’s preferences. Make sure you are checking in with your partner frequently because conditions change at different stages of arousal. Avoid fast or heavy stroking. Men, if erection occurs, be sure it has subsided before returning to stroke the penis. In some cases this may require you to stop all stroking. When stroking female genitals, the natural fluids may reduce friction, but there should also be an opportunity for dry, very light, sensitive stroking as well. Attempt to sustain excitement with moving to orgasm. Wait a few days for the third session or until it feels safe.
This assignment is the same as the previous one with the addition of unscented non-toxic lubricants. Practice sustaining excitement and then allowing it to subside. Wait a few days for the next session or until it feels safe.
Touching with Orgasm
This assignment extends the exercise to include orgasm. The exercise is to help you accomplish staying relaxed all the way to orgasm. This requires continuous monitoring by both partners. Frequent interruptions are usually necessary to avoid build-up of tension. This gives partners an opportunity to identify and describe their impressions. These frequent interruptions may be frustrating enough to rule out orgasm and that is fine. The point is to notice the urge to push for orgasm rather than be giving and receiving.
Begin to notice the natural impulse to withdraw, and break contact, as you become aroused: to avoid looking away and being looked at and to not say anything. Make an effort to keep your eyes open and remain in contact. This will feel unnatural at first and may make you feel exposed or vulnerable. Simply notice the feeling that arises as you connect intimately.
You may also find tension is created when we are put in one-sided roles as giver or receiver. It is important to keep the roles strictly separate. If you are not careful, when you are touched, the compulsion takes over to get control back by stroking back physically or verbally. Try to restrain from giving back and instead notice any discomfort with receiving when you are the one being given to. Focus on being relaxed up to the point of orgasm.
Follow the same progression of stroking, however where up to now you intent has been to create a good sensual experience, now the focus is to create relaxation in your partner. This may mean using deeper stokes – not a massage however – on the neck, back and shoulders. With the palm of your hand, move the muscles on either side of the spine, by pressing and rubbing down toward each side, away from the spine. Continue down the back, over the pelvis and buttocks as your partner exhales.
On the front, smooth the forehead and cup the eyes using a mild loving pressure. If your partner does not mind having his or her hair mussed, kneading the scalp can be relaxing. Use the same exhaling pressure on the chest area. Check for signs of body tension and focus on those areas. Lift legs and arms and let them drop freely. If there are signs of tension, work on those areas.
Once a fairly relaxed state is achieved, move into genital caressing. Lubricants can be used. Since the object is to experience orgasm while being totally relaxed and passive, the active partner needs to monitor the levels of tension in the receiving partner. Many people automatically get tense during arousal, so take your time and slow things down when necessary. The passive partner may notice when tension occurs and take deep breaths, holding them for minute before exhaling. The active partner may also stroke an area of the body that is not arousing until the level of tension diminishes. Resting the left hand on the passive partner’s forehead is helpful. If tension continues, go back to body stroking. Don’t return to genital caressing in this session until partner is relaxed.
Try to avoid any temptation to accelerate touching as your partner comes closer to orgasm. Following the instructions of the receiving partner about how to do the genital touching, both before and after orgasm. Avoid orgasm altogether if it requires special effort to achieve it. Simply work up to whatever level of arousal is possible without strain for either partner and without an end result being anticipated.
Second and Third Sessions:
Repeat this same assignment, paying attention to finer points and more subtle energy. Guys, notice pelvis tension and avoid tightening pelvic muscles, or muscles at the base of the penis.
Calling stop is a formal way to interrupt the process that must be honored. Sometime breaking contact is essential to getting in touch with what is going on. When partners emotionally leave or check out, stop should be called so that the partner that checked out can determine what the trigger was and process the feelings. This will help bring awareness to the surface about what each partner was feeling at the time. Once a partner says, “ I want to call a stop here,” physically separate. How far depends upon the issue. Sometimes you can call a stop and immediately identify the feeling and then resume. Other times you may need to call a stop to the entire session in order to sort out the feelings. Do not take it personally if your partner calls a stop. Move into different rooms or another room if necessary to take the space to feel the feelings. Once you can identify the feeling begin talking about what occurred and what you were experiencing. Take turns to hear each other fully. See how it feels to be back in contact and talk about that as well.
Sometimes sensation can be heightened and other times diminished after your discussion or break. Neither is right or wrong. If the sensation is dulled or lessened, do not resume the exercise. Separating and then reconnecting often, gives partners the ability to say things they might otherwise hold back. Communication is obviously a critical part of this process. Because this is an important part of the process just embrace it as an important part of your exercise and not a sign of failure.
Do not rush this exercise. Move slowly from one level of experience to the next making sure you each feel completely safe before moving on. This insures your success. It also teaches you the joy of touching and being touched without performance or orgasm anxiety. Take all the time you need to enjoy the process.
ă Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan - Phoenix Arizona 1999
Copyright ~ Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan Phoenix: (602) 997-1200
Dina Bachelor Evan, Ph.D. - Therapy for Individuals and Couples
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