Open Up!

I’ve been having more and more clients who are having issues opening up -- giving and receiving intimacy.

I bet you were thinking that I was going to talk about polyamory, but I’m not. I’m actually going to tell you about intimacy. It’s been interesting over these past two months because I’ve been having more and more clients who are having issues opening up -- giving and receiving intimacy. The symptoms are always the same: feeling anxiety, feeling uptight and difficulty trusting people. There is also the symptom of maintaining complete control and overall not having the ability to cope with being uncomfortable. This is all rooted in rejection.

Here are a few ways to help you be more relaxed and connect to people, so that you can be comfortable in every environment you’re in.

The same daily affirmations.

You’ve heard me say this before, but let me just reiterate how important this step is. Repeating the same daily affirmations twice a day gets into your subconscious. This is how I was able to lose 20 pounds in a month. I had a couple of affirmations relating to my health and this infused into my system and influenced all my moves, all my intentions and all my health. This is the same with intimacy. Setting an affirmation like “I am lovable and huggable” or “I am relaxed and comfortable.”

Stop handshaking and start hugging.

Hugging is a completely socially acceptable behavior, so be open to experiencing it in every day of your life. The more you hug people, the more you can connect to people, and that releases oxytocin in the brain, which helps with your emotional well-being. You can get 10 two-second hugs a day or one 20-second hug to help you maintain good health. Make it a real hug with genuine authenticity that you care for that person -- with complete invested intention with your intimacy.

Touch people. Of course, don’t touch people inappropriately.

I highly recommend touching people on their shoulder. This is a space that is neutral enough so that people who don’t like to be touched feel okay and people who don’t mind being touched know that there is an opportunity for them to connect o you, as well. Touching people is one of the indicators of loving someone and when people express their love towards you, think about how good you feel. It’s the same for others.

Trust that you might be uncomfortable.

And also realize that it’s okay to be uncomfortable. If we don’t sacrifice our comfort, we will never evolve. We must be okay with change. We must be okay with rejection. We must be willing to get hot or red or sweaty. We must be okay with outright admitting that we are uncomfortable -- the fact is, most people will understand how you may be feeling and be sympathetic with you. Give people the credit that they deserve and trust that you are in alignment with them.

These four points are just the first steps to gaining the confidence you need to be sure of yourself and illuminate your true authenticity. We all have the ability to be intimate, not only with people we know, but with people we don’t know, as well! Cheers to your sexual success!

Marla Stewart

Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a professional sex, intimacy and relationship coach and sex educator. Not only is she a lecturer at Clayton State University, she is also the co-founder of the Sex Down South Conference and the Sexual Liberation Collective. Gaining her reputation for being "The Sex Architect", she created Velvet Lips to empower people of all ages to embrace, educate and enjoy their sexuality and their sexual lives. She has studied human sexuality for more than 16 years at San Francisco State University and Georgia State University, respectively, and has expert knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. She has published academic articles and continues to do sexuality research. She has conducted workshops at conferences, not-for-profit and private organizations, as well as universities in the Atlanta area. She has been featured on many radio shows, documentaries, books, magazines and has been invited to speak at Universities around the country. She also sits on the board for the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!
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