By Rasa Estee - 02 September 2023
I imagine that'd be what my former intimate partners often say if/when telling stories about our interactions. If you're wondering what, why, and how, I even managed to say what I said with my tendency to get awkward and embarrassed, this is the edition for you.
So, here's my attempt at a step-by-step explanation of how I managed to be both a giver and receiver of compliments during intimate/sexual interactions. Below, I'm using a hypothetical scenario, heavily inspired by my own experiences, to give you a detailed, blow-by-blow how-to.
May it inspire you to keep connecting with others through bravely extending your fiercely loving compliments and receiving theirs with grace...blushing and all.
(Oh, everything after this part will make more sense if, beforehand, you're already clear on the structure of a fiercely-loving compliment, how to bed talk WWE-style, the why it's important and beneficial to practice intentional giving and receiving of compliments, especially for those who are prone to blush.)
You As The GIVER of Compliments
1. Give the compliment
You already know the structure of a fiercely-loving compliment, so take an easeful breath and gently place your attention on your Five Senses and start there.
Say it and just allow the pause to be there. It gives room for the receiver to take it in and you don't need to add or do anything extra. Say it, breathe, and actively soften your muscles, and breathing.
You: "I love how your skin feels in my hands. It's so soft."
(And then actively soften everything. And thank you for your crimes against patriarchy. YOU rock!)
You: "Ooof! There's so much man-beauty right now!"
(Yup. That was me. I said it. It just came out that way. Followed by a massive EEEKK moment. Try not to judge and/or laugh over this too much, will ya?! I said what I said and I stand by it. As I recalled, he didn't seem to mind. ;))
Now, for those of you who are blushers, remember to allow the blush, the eek, the slight contraction, awkward smile, etc. to happen while or after giving compliments.
Firstly, this is a helpful way to give internal acknowledgement and acceptance to your own reaction. There's no need to say or do anything to explain yourself. Let it happen and then actively soften your body, your thoughts and your breathing to help signal to your body that everything is okay...blush and all. Overtime, this may help you develop a self-regulating habit for future blushing moments.
Secondly. this is a high-level practice of vulnerability. We're extending ourselves vulnerably not only to be in our personal practice of being fiercely-loving, but also as an invitation to the receiver to hold our vulnerability in the moment.
So allow the blush and accept your outrageous courageous self, and soften.
If/when the receiver's first reaction is blushing, be there for them. Hold the space and allow them to have their reaction, take things in, and take their time for a response.
You don't need to say anything or console them. Just keep looking at them gently with a genuine smile to indirectly let them know that everything is okay. (Also, it's okay if their blushing makes you blush, too.)
You see, when overwhelmed, we tend to feel rushed, panicked, and/or go straight into instant reaction or response, so you keeping your energy soft and supportive can help the receiver feel not rushed and not under any kind of pressure or expectations.
Also, whatever their response is accept it and be appreciative. If they're the kind that instantly say a short "Thank You!" with a smile, then that's that. Try not to read more into it than it is which is genuine appreciation AND positive reinforcements for future compliments. Smile back to signal that you're happy with their response and move on.
If their response is clear discomfort/dislike or even annoyance, you have the option to ask if your words made them feel uncomfortable. Be ready to apologize and/or go deeper into that line of inquiry so you both can find common ground and proceed with what makes you both feel comfortable and sexy. This option bodes well for increasing your communication skills in bed, too.
(In any case, just like that, you both are on your way to being partners-in-crime against the patriarchy.)
You As The RECEIVER of Compliments
1. Receive the compliment.
The role of a receiver is far from being a passive one. When you know that intentional compliments are courageous and vulnerable bids for connection AND invitation to commit crimes against the patriarchy, it can help fan your own fire to grow as a fiercely-loving receiver.
Firstly, remember that you have the option to send a positive signal to both your system AND theirs by simply AFFIRMING their compliments.
This technique works to help you get into a habit of affirming instead of deflecting compliments and proactively add to the number of positive narratives in your mind.
For instance, if your mind tends to react with counter- or diminishing thoughts about how your skin is really not THAT soft, etc., this might be a helpful technique to try.
Remember that this DOES NOT mean that you're lying to yourself. This is about validating THEIR experience (of your skin) and growing into the habit of taking compliments in and appreciating it for what it is, a gift.
You: "Right?! Thanks. I'm so glad you noticed."
You: "Right?! Thanks! That's so lovely to hear."
I highly encourage you to let your delight shine through your facial expressions and gestures (if you can). Your response can be the signal of your acceptance of the giver's bid and invitation plus provide positive reinforcements for future compliments.
Secondly, remember that it doesn't have to be elaborate and you don't even need to compliment them back right there and then. Expressing a genuine thanks and letting your delight shows on your face alone goes a long way in giving a green light to let both of your systems feel that everything is okay.
You: "Thanks. I really appreciate that."
(You also have the option to pair that with an expressive, inviting gesture to get the ball rolling, and you both are off to pleasure town!)
Okay, so you blush upon hearing their compliment. And you blush HARD. Here's what I usually do myself when I'm in this situation.
As always, remember to allow the blushing, the eek, the contraction to happen as is. You can definitely still give a solid positive signal in this state.
You: "Right?! Thanks."
(You can say this, whisper it or even just mouth the words... while blushing, grinning, and contracting into yourself.)
And if that's still too much for you, know that you could even respond by just nodding in agreement while blushing and contracting into a ball of eekk!
(I've done all of the above myself to stellar results. The most important thing is to somehow signal,"Yes! I like this! More please! And I'm in this tag team against patriarchy!")
3. Handling The Giver's Blushing (As A Receiver)
Perhaps, you somehow could have the glorious opportunity of witnessing the giver's blushing and their physical reactions to conveying their compliments (before having a distracting reactions yourself).
Remember that you can also choose to hold a supportive space for them. You don't need to do or say anything other than soften yourself and take your time to take in their compliments. This will, in turn, provide enough time for them to soften and center themselves, too.
This is also your fiercely-loving practice to hold their vulnerability.
How to collaborate and recover from well-intentioned but not-quite-there compliments while still wanting more!
1. Remember we're just humans.
2. If the compliments aren't going in the direction that will work for you, you need to let each other know clearly.
You: "Thanks. I'd really love it if you could compliment my actions/words/personality (instead)."
Remember that patriarchy and misogyny have messed with most of us in different ways.
For instance, some people might really have an adverse reaction of being complimented on their appearance, for instance. Remember that this isn't about you and remind yourself not to take it personal if/when you're asked to change the subject of your compliments.
Focus on the fact that they like you enough to courageously TELL YOU what they need! (This is a HUGE invitation for more. Honor it well. And trust me, you're good!).
3. If you feel that the other person is exuding a vibe that's somewhere between doubt to suspicion, you have the option to check-in with how they feel and offer if they'd like to hear your thoughts on it. And then share my WWE Tag Team Against the Patriarchy metaphor. (You're welcome. :D)
4. Humor is always available. Have a laugh together!
And move on to focus more on gestures and actions if words aren't going well. After all, there are many, many paths to mutual pleasure.
Practicing intentional compliments in intimate/sexy interactions, especially for the blushers, is not for the faint of hearts. Extending an invitation to hold each other's vulnerability can bring up all the feels. Luckily, a reward with manifold wonders could also be waiting on the other side, a genuine human connection.
Will it always go as smoothly as we hoped? Nope.
Will it allow us to gently grow in emotional regulation and fierce-loving relational skills? Yes.
Will it lead to, at least, a few mutually-memorable and pleasurable sexy times? Quite likely.
And will the blushers EVER stop blushing? Maybe. Maybe not.
Will we still be dismantling patriarchy and reducing unenjoyable sexy times?
And that's a wrap for the compliments and blushing series, folks!
Thanks for reading, you rock stars!
And will I still say awkward things in bed and in this newsletter? Yup.
This is an edited version of On Point section from Lush Letters #06 published on 02 September 2023 titled "That's What She Said (While Blushing And All)".
Image credit: Hari 8 - Mimpi, 2020. Manual Collage. Art by Vantiani