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Emotional Intercourse

“What do women want?” is supposed to be a question that has baffled the wise for centuries.  Even Sigmund Freud said he didn’t figure it out.  Let me suggest that perhaps the answer is – emotional intercourse.  Time and time again when I use this term in couple’s counseling the women smile and nod while the men look quite puzzled.

Frequently a woman will say something like, “Of course” or “How true” or “That sums it up”.  The men will usually remark, “What the heck is emotional intercourse?”.  I think the truth is that males also want emotional intercourse at a deep instinctive level but are not so likely to be consciously aware of having this natural and needed desire.  When both men and women get, and know they have gotten, good emotional intercourse they express that it has enriched their relationship as well as their lives in general.

Emotional intercourse is an extremely important part of intimate, romantic, real love.  It seems emotional intercourse is one of the main things that keeps intimate love fueled and running.  To keep a healthy romantic-type love alive and growing emotional intercourse is probably a very vital, necessary requirement.

What is emotional intercourse?  Emotional intercourse is the frequently satisfying and often passionate giving and receiving of each other’s many and varied emotions.  Much like sexual intercourse it is best done naked – that is, emotionally naked.  Going emotionally naked engenders very real, without disguise or deception communication.  Emotional intercourse also is best done up-close and quite personal, and it’s best when it involves the whole person (facial expressions, voice tones, body postures, etc.) of each of the participants.

How is positive emotional intercourse done?  Emotional intercourse is accomplished by the speaking and showing of emotions, and by closely attending to the emotional expressions of another person while having and showing corresponding, empathetic feelings.  If your lover is sad be sad for their sadness and show it.  If your lover is glad be glad for their gladness and show it.  With each feeling your lover has you can harmonize with that feeling, and feel it and then show you feel it.

Emotional intercourse also can be accomplished by showing corresponding, empathetic caring when your lover hurts, empathetic anger when your lover is angry about something in their life, and empathetic concern when your lover is afraid.  These empathetic feelings are to be felt and shown whether or not you cognitively believe the feeling they are having is justified, rational, or right.  Remember, emotions are facts.  When you have one it is a reality, whether it makes sense to anyone or not.  Emotional intercourse involves intimately being with your lover’s psychological heart, gut and genitals as they feel the feelings that emanate from each of those symbolic centers.

To be good at emotional intercourse takes showing your own emotions.  That is done with varying facial expressions, tones of voice, gestures, posture changes and touch.  Of course, the more you can identify, label  and give voice to your emotions with words the better.

In order to enhance the speaking of your emotions here is a little learning exercise.  Make a list of emotions.  Come up with one or more names for emotions which start with each letter of the alphabet.  Yes, there are words that label emotions starting with each letter of the alphabet.  Aim for your list to have more pleasurable emotions than dis-pleasurable ones.  After you make your list think about when you have felt each of these emotions.  Pick out several and share these feelings, and the events that went with them, with someone you love.

After that ask your loved one when they have had the same emotions.  Pay really close, loving attention to what they say and how they say it.  Then show that you are doing this.  Usually making good eye contact, being able to elucidate on the emotion you think they are experiencing, and being able to empathetically reflect back to  them what they just said usually accomplishes this.  In doing this exercise perhaps you will start toward experiencing deeply satisfying emotional intercourse in a somewhat new and different way.

Sexual intercourse has a strong relationship with emotional intercourse in lasting relationships.  To have ongoing, healthy sexual intercourse with someone it almost always requires good, ongoing emotional intercourse.  Yes, people can have short-term, enjoyable sex without having much emotional intercourse with a sex partner.  However, to have a lasting and good sex life with a particular person, good and repeated emotional intercourse seems to be necessary.  If you get really good at emotional intercourse you probably will be getting good at one of the most important skills for growing lasting and highly satisfying, intimate, romantic love.

As always – Grow in love.

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
What are three emotions you have felt so far today?  Who might you share them with and, thereby, probably feel a little closer to?

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