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This is the seventh and final blog posts of this series by Roger Tolle. To read them in order, start with Slow Sex, Intro. Throughout our slow and conscious date, my guy and I have fed each other a feast of delicious and soul-filling sensuality, erotic stimulation and tender connection. It would be rude to rush off without a word. And yet so often I have behaved that way after fast sex.

So my Slow Sex philosophy invites me to linger if I am allowed, pay close attention to the details and nuances of what I am feeling, and share that with my partner. And it has proved worth the stretch in many ways.

As Tom Bliss and Alexandra Katehakis write in their excellent book, Mirror of Intimacy:

Ideally, we share more than skin in bed; we also share our truth. The way we connect after lovemaking through lighthearted and tender pillow-talk complements the eroticism of love relationships. Pillow-talk develops couple consciousness, which blends the consciousness of each person as an individual with the collective consciousness of the couple as a unique entity. The more we invite pillow-talk through shared trust and appreciation, the more our relationship nurtures its own meaningful and distinctive language.

For Nick and I, we may not be in the mood for finding words to share our experience till breakfast the next day, or even days later. Or sometimes we pull ourselves together, make ourselves presentable for the outside world, and head out to our local gay-friendly restaurant for a re-fueling and some honest couple conversation. No matter when we take time for it, we have found it both necessary and rewarding to share honestly with each other about what’s happening in our Slow Sex life, what we like about it, what the high points of our dates are, and what we want to do differently next time.

Whether we agree or disagree, it’s important not to rush this intimate communication. If he has an idea for something different than what I think I would like, I give him time to finish his thoughts, and listen closely to where we have common ground. I let him know that I have heard him, by paraphrasing it back to him. And I find the calmest, clearest place in myself from which to suggest something I would like. Since I really want deeper connection in my life, I take the risk of sharing my feelings about each part of it, knowing that the only way I can reduce my sense of isolation and loneliness is to open enough to feel his loving gaze shine on my exposed and vulnerable heart.

This Slow Sex philosophy has a lot to teach me about the rest of my life too. As I practice slowing down my intimate conversations and listening with more kindness and depth to the heartfelt longings of my lover, it also serves me well with other people in my life. I am not so judgmental, more willing to practice loving-kindness for all those who are hurting or struggling with inner conflict.

And I get curious about the impacts that my increased intimacy is having on the rest of my life, and ask myself to notice nuances of change. Is my feeling for my guy shifting my focus in other relationships? Do I want to hang out more with him and less with others? Do I want to include him more when I get together with other friends? Does the post-date body aliveness enrich my exercise program with sensory pleasure or with a lightness in my step? Is my body, perhaps, reminding me what happiness feels like?

When we are making a date for a next time, it’s sometimes hard for Nick and I to resist wanting that next time to start right now. We have also been noticing that we can’t seem to keep our hands off each other when we are out in public. We were not like this with other partners. But here we are, a couple of grown men with careers and homes of our own, sitting beside each other rather than across from each other at restaurants so that we can be touching and whispering throughout the meal, just like a pair of teenagers. Pillow talk out in public. Is this what it looks like to be out in the world, proud to be with the man I am loving?