R is for Respect
It is important to find out what respect means for you. How do you respect yourself, and how do you show that respect to those you love.

Respect each other. Respect yourself.

As the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, so aptly sang: “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.; find out what it means to me.” Respect is a cornerstone for any relationship to survive and thrive. And to Respect Yourself, as DJ Bobo, wrote, “is the name of the game. Respect yourself and you’ll never miss your aim.” It is important to find out what respect means for you. How do you respect yourself, and how do you show that respect to those you love.

What does Respect mean in your world?

Respect in my world encompasses:

R - Response-ability: Our ability to respond in a respectful way.

E - Enjoyment of our loved one(s) and sexual experiences.

S - Service to our loved one(s): to serve them sexually in love.

P - Patience to lovingly accept ourselves and our loved one(s).

E - Ecstasy of sensual sexual exploration and satisfaction.

C - Connection to yourself and your loved one(s), and the importance of communication.

T - Trust, an essential element in any relationship: to trust yourself and the one(s) you love.

What's your Response-Ability?

Our ability to respond to what comes up in life is one of the keys to success on all levels. We can react or respond. And to be responsible depends on your response-ability, your ability to respond, rather than react. A reaction is often clouded in prejudgements, cultural, religious or societal patterning and upbringing, but may not necessarily be an accurate response. Our ability to respond depends on how we perceive a situation and see it for what it is not what we think it might be. Especially when it comes to relationships.

Many times we can be too quick to judge another, and also to judge ourselves. If you find yourself reacting strongly to something your partner does or says, take a moment to assess your reaction and see where it comes from. Is it realistic? Perhaps you are seeing it differently to what it really is. Try to put yourself in their shoes and see it from their perspective. Give yourself time to reflect, to feel it out. Share how you are feeling and ask them to share more about where they are coming from and why they said or did what they did.

Respect is giving yourself and your loved ones space to express themselves and not to instantly react and jump all over them for what they said or did. Rather than prejudge, give them some respect by honoring them for what they did, but honoring yourself too and discovering what really is going on.

Respect can bring you so much Joy

Respect is also about enjoying each other and yourself sexually. Respecting the other person’s boundaries, desires, fantasies, limits. Respecting your own… yet always staying open to exploring new experiences. Enjoyment is definitely a measuring stick for your life and love. As I mentioned in J for Joy… if it doesn’t bring you joy, if you are not enjoying yourself, then respect yourself and honor yourself. Talk about it with your loved one. If something sexually doesn’t feel good then share it. Talk about it. Respect yourself. Don’t do what you don’t want to do. Yet, respect your partner if they want you to try out something new. Give it a go. But if it really isn’t enjoyable for you, then share that with them and try something else…

Being of service is a sign of respect for your loved one. Think about how you can best serve them. Sexually, what do they really enjoy? What brings them happiness? Show your respect for them by being of service… offering to give them a massage to clean up the kitchen to take them away for a romantic vacation. To be of service is one of the highest spiritual touchstones you can achieve -- to move from ego-based actions to deeds of service for those you love. Certain cultures are more focused on being of service sexually.

Our western culture is more based on egocentric behavior. What benefits me. To shift that focus to how can I be of service in love can profoundly change a relationship for the better. Think about how you can be of service to those you love…

Respect means Patience

Patience is also an important key to any successful relationship. To be patient with oneself and also with the ones we love. Love is an ongoing commitment to each other and to yourself. Patience is our ability to respect ourselves and each other. Not to judge too quickly and to allow time for love to blossom and to discover what it is that truly turns us on. Patience to continue being the sexual adventurers that you are. Not to give up but to keep striving to find sexual satisfaction. Do whatever it takes and take as long as it takes!

Respect can bring Ecstacy, too

Ecstasy is the aim. Ecstatic responses the gain. When we respect ourselves and each other we do not bring pain, anger, discomfort, or sadness. We aim for ecstasy. To bring ecstasy into the lives of the ones we love. What can we do to bring them to that point of sexual ecstasy? What can you do to help bring yourself to sexual ecstasy? Respect them and respect yourself by shifting your focus away from what is wrong, and what doesn’t work, to what brings you ecstasy, what brings your joy, especially sexually.

Connection and Communication is a big part of Respect

To be able to connect physically, emotionally, intellectually, and energetically and to communicate your desires, feelings and express those helps to enhance your relationship to yourself and your loved one(s). Respecting each other and where they are at includes tuning in to them energetically. To ask them how they are doing. And to listen to their responses. To really hear what they have to say and not prejudge their actions or words without truly understanding where they are coming from, and what’s really going on for them. Respect them by wanting to understand them and hear them.

Trust yourself, first and foremost. And trust the one(s) you love. Give them the benefit of doubt. Don’t react but respond. Respect that they may have other things going on in their lives that you don’t necessarily know about. Health issues, families strife, hormonal issues (more on that in W for Women…). But if you have a gut feeling about something, trust that, too. And follow through with it. Open up the communication channels. Share how you feel. Ask questions. Show you care. Respect your inner feelings. Respect the other for where they are.

To respond rather than react, to seek sexual enjoyment to be of service to be patient to follow your ecstasy to connect and communicate, and trust will bring RESPECT into your life, and love, and enhance your sexual experiences exponentially! Next is S for Sex & Spirituality…

Dr. Shelley

Originally from New Zealand, now based in Las Vegas, Dr Shelley has a PhD specializing in human sexuality and in particular open relationships and polyamory. She is the author of Soul Sex, and the Anti-Aging & Health Benefits of Sex. Dr Shelley teaches small group intensives, workshops and has been working with couples and individuals for 20 years focusing on making the world more sexually joyful. She is excited to share her latest writings Dr Shelley's A-Z of Sex.
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