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Pillow Talk: Seeing With Fresh Eyes

The next 5 Pillow Talks will be dedicated to our 5 senses and the roles they play in our lives. The senses are the body's way of perceiving and interpreting the external world for us. Through them we know pleasures, wonders, and nuisances, and we so often take for granted the very fact that we can smell, taste, see, hear, and experience physical sensations. We'll start with sight, and I'll offer some tips for bringing more awareness into your relationship through this sense.


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On yesterday's poll, Coming to Our Senses, only of one of you elected to give up your sight for a year. There's a particular kind of vulnerability we face if we lose our sight, and our vision provide us with some of our most vivid daily experiences. We watch movies, we drive, we observe our partners, our parents and our children. We feel humbled by a spectacular sunset, and we soften as we watch our pets sleeping or playing.

We don't really notice that we're actively seeing things all day long, and it's easy to neglect the things that we don't notice. Really look at your partner tonight. Have a staring contest, too. Make it 5 out of 7 wins. Tell each other 3 things you see and find interesting about the way you look or move; find subtle gestures and little details. Really appreciate that you can see those things.

It's funny that we mostly tend to kiss, hug, and make love with our eyes closed. It's less distracting in some ways and allows our other senses full rein. But a nice long look can be erotic and exciting, too. Keep the lights low and soft, and look closely at parts of each other you normally might overlook. Look at his feet, the palms of his hands, his knees, his ears. Take turns. Describe to each what these places look like. Let yourselves be grateful you can see and be seen so completely.

Another fun exercise involves picking a complicated or detailed object in the house, like a painting or a photograph, or your entertainment center. Describe to each other what you see. Find as many details, colors, and shapes as possible. Then notice what's different about how you both see the object or how you describe it. It's a version of I Spy, and a nice way to play together, to practice gratitude and awareness as a couple.

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