I started thinking about sensuality while listening to a friend complain about how unsatisfying most of his online hookups were. He said they were very mechanical but not much more, certainly no feeling on any level other than physical — sensation without sensuality. Most people think of sensuality as something between two people, but the sensuousness of life starts with the self and our own experiences.
Sensuality is all about feeling. Life is full of sensuality, if we pay attention — full of luscious, rich, sumptuous, and exciting experiences on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Once we understand what sensuality truly is, the more easily we can share that understanding with others.
Think about the feeling of eating your favorite food — the taste of it and how that resonates throughout your body. When I was younger, my favorite dinner was fried shrimp. The crunch of the breading combined with flavor of the shrimp and either the kick of the cocktail sauce or the cool tanginess of the tartar sauce gave me a feeling of pleasure and excitement.
Think about the feeling of a breeze on a beautiful spring day as it makes your skin tingle; how it refreshes the mind and spirit after a long winter. Or a friend’s hand on your shoulder that makes you feel like you belong and are accepted as you are. Or the sound of rain on a tin roof or the rustle of the wind through the trees that reminds you how soothing nature can be.
There is also the sensuality of our spirituality. Our environments are constantly sending us messages with feelings that provide context and texture to our experience of being alive: a song we hear in passing on the radio with a message we needed to hear. A passage we read in a book that deeply resonates. A chance meeting. An unexpected good fortune. An intuitive thought that urges us forward or warns us to stop. Coincidences and synchronicities. All the luck, fate, and chance that make life feel special are tied to our sensuality.
Intimacy is not just about sex. It’s about closeness, tenderness, vulnerability, and trust between two (or more) people regardless of the specific nature of the relationship. Sensuality is about connection on an unspoken level. It happens between and beyond the words used to describe it. It is experiential through the five basic senses. It opens you to the transcendent — where in a moment, and maybe only for a moment, you are lifted beyond time and space where you can touch and be touched by something more than what words can describe. A sensual experience — physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual — can ease overwhelming feelings like isolation or alienation, leading to a sense of oneness with others. Your work, your creative projects, your hopes and dreams all are sources of and benefit from sensuousness.
Connecting with your sensuality requires presence and intention. Put down your phone. Open your senses. What are the smells, touches, tastes, sounds, sights, that your life is providing you with? Where do the accompanying thoughts and feelings take you? Do you find inspiration or hope or beauty or peace? Or maybe a sense of well-being, contentment, gratitude, pleasure, or excitement? Life is a very lush experience, but you’ve got to be paying attention or those experiences will slip on by and you’ll be left wondering, just like my friend, why is this all so mechanical and rote? It’s not. But do you dare to find out?
Living Skills offers positive psychology counseling, spiritual counseling and life coaching services in Atlanta for the LGBTQ community. Also available by Skype. If you have questions, comments or want to find out about our services, please email us at email@example.com or visit www.livingskills.pro.