In Relating with Heart—Passion and Purpose, couples enhance their physical relationship in three major areas: Sensuality, Sexuality and Emotional Bonding.

Sensuality is as much a way of life as an activity. We are exquisitely hard-wired to experience the natural beauty that surrounds us. Across human cultures people appreciate the beauty of meadows interspersed with groves of trees and moving water. These are precisely the environments that provided nourishment and shelter to our ancestors. What we see as beautiful is associated with bounty of one form or another.

Filling our lives with beautiful sensual input, be it music, smells, tastes, being immersed in natural beauty of all kinds, creates an internal haven from stress and pressure. It also allows us to be in touch with our body and physical experience in a more focused way. Heightening your senses in this way can return you to a state of inner harmony—breathing deepens and slows as our body naturally mobilizes resources to begin healing the effects of stress, returning us to a state of health and vitality.

Sex becomes an entirely different experience when we are immersed in a deep state of sensual appreciation. Satisfying the need for romance is also a crucial element to establishing an open and free connection. A high state of empathy stimulates physically, emotionally, even spiritually. This requires open communication, since we often are quite different in what turns us on and what we find romantic. In Relating with Heart—Passion and Purpose we make it safe, fun even, to really open up.

Emotional bonding involves being physically close to another, while feeling emotionally open. This is a biological, as well as an emotional, need. A high percentage of infants will fail to thrive, even die, if they do not experience being held by an emotionally connected care-giver. Our need for emotional bonding is often confused with our desire for sex, but they are not the same thing.

It is possible to have sex without connection and connection without sex. Of course, being able to experience a high state of sensual arousal and emotional connection while having sex is a peak experience. This is the essence of Tantric practices.

“Romantic love is one of the most powerful of all human experiences.”

—Helen Fisher, Center for Human Evolutionary Studies, Dept of Anthropology, Rutgers University

It is our belief and experience that sensuality, sexuality, romance and emotional connection grow stronger with time. The cultural myth that passion inevitably fades is a toxic cultural meme. Only a lack of imagination, attention, good practices and communication make this so. The ever-increasing openness and respect that occur in a great relationship over time—these serve to enhance and deepen the most intense experiences of pleasure.

What follows is a guide to a beautiful massage you can give your partner. This is a great way to connect, to unwind, and to enter a deep state of sensual experience. This massage script is from our colleague, Dr Ann Ladd, who is a vastly gifted and sensitive somatic healer. We work together with her to provide relief and transformation for our clients who are seeking an effective way to heal emotional wounds that stand in the way of intimacy and openness.

Sensual Body Massage for Couples

The general sequence for massage is to begin with gentle, but firm long strokes, move to deeper pressure such as kneading (a circular motion of all the fingers toward the thumb with fairly deep pressure and a gentle lifting of the skin and underlying tissues with sliding motions in moving to adjacent areas) and pressure circles (pressing firmly into the skin and underlying tissues while moving a thumb, fingertips or heel of the hand in a circular motion) and then to finish off with long smoothing strokes. This sequence is followed on each part of the body.

It also feels good to connect the body by occasionally continuing the long strokes over adjacent body segments, i.e. while stroking down the back, continue over the hips and upper legs and while stroking up the back continue over the shoulders and upper arms or up onto the neck. Use sufficient oil to permit your hands to flow easily over the body but be careful not to use too much oil, especially on the feet and face.


Begin by sitting quietly for a few minutes beside your partner and “tuning-in”— perhaps by gently holding a hand or by cradling the head in both hands as in the beginning of the face caress. Become aware of the rhythm of your partner’s breathing and of your own. Before using oil, support your partner’s head with one hand while massaging the scalp with the fingertips of your other hand, then change hands and do the other side of the head. With one hand on the bottom of the head at the back and the other on the forehead, pull the head gently, stretching the neck. Gently lay the head down.

Now move to a foot, put a small amount of oil on your hands and smooth it on the lower leg and foot. (You will apply oil in this manner on each part of the body.) Holding around one leg below the knee, with both hands, pull down towards the foot and “milk” the foot, pulling off one hand at a time. Do this several times. Using your thumbs and fingertips make small pressure circles over all parts of the foot starting at the ankle and heel, going over the top of the foot, and then over the bottom of the foot along several lines from toe to heel working from the outside to the inside arch. Pull each toe gently starting near the foot and sliding off the end. Stretch and rotate the foot between both hands. Finish the foot by repeating the stroke from knee to the pull off at the toes.

Repeat with the other foot.

Move to the thigh of the same leg and with both hands around the leg just above the knee, stroke up to the hip with a firm pressure. Do kneading with both hands on the thigh in three lines—inside, top, and outside (Kneading with two hands is done with each hand alternating.) Repeat the long stroke from knee to hip and then pull down to the lower leg all the way to the foot. Place one hand over the front of the ankle with the thumb on the outside and fingers on the inside (i.e. on your partner’s right leg use your right hand) and work up from the ankle to the knee making pressure circles with your thumb into the front of the leg.

Finish the leg by stroking with both hands from the ankle to the hip and back down off the toes. Do this 2-3 times pulling off the toes very slowly and consciously on the last stroke.

Repeat with the other leg.

Move to one arm and apply oil from the shoulder to the finger tips in one long stroke. Holding at the wrist, place one hand over the arm with the thumb on the outside and the fingers on the inside (with partner’s right arm, hold wrist with your right hand and place your left hand over the arm with the thumb on the outside) and do thumb pressure circles on the forearm and one hand kneading on the upper arm above the elbow. Repeat once or twice and then stroke down from the shoulder to the fingertips again. Holding the hand in both hands, use your thumbs to make circles over the back and palm of the hand and then pull each finger gently from knuckle to fingertip. Pull down from the shoulder to the fingertips once more very carefully laying the hand and arm down as you finish.

Repeat with the other arm.

Move to above your partner’s head. Starting on the front of the shoulder, stroke across the top of the chest and down the center of the chest letting your hands slide out to the side just below the breasts and on down the side of the body to the hips. Pull back up lightly to the shoulders and repeat this several times. Reach under the shoulders with your fingers on each hand with the thumbs on top and squeezing the muscles, pull back toward you slowly as if draining the tension out as you pull the muscle. Repeat and add finger kneading along the shoulder muscles. Then let one hand slide up onto the back of the neck and do lighter but firm one hand kneading from the base of the neck up to the bottom of the head. Finish with another neck pull done gently but firmly and released very slowly while laying the head down.

Now invite your partner to turn over to his/her stomach whenever ready. Make gentle contact in this new position before applying oil by placing your hands lightly in the middle of your partner’s back a few moments and then lightly brushing from shoulders to heels with both bands, one going down each leg. Apply oil with a confident stroke over the entire back from shoulders to hips. Place both hands side by side at the base of the spine over the pelvis with the fingers towards the head. Stroke up the middle of the back, out over the shoulders and back down the outside of the back. Do each stroke three or four times. Then with the heel of your hand make small circles with a deeper pressure over the entire back starting at the hips and moving systematically and smoothly up and down the back being careful to give attention to all areas.

Finish the back for now by repeating the first long stroke over the entire area. End by coming down over the buttocks in a smoothing stroke that includes both hips. Deep circular motions with the heel of one hand and deep kneading (a circular motion of all the fingers toward the thumb with fairly deep pressure and a gentle lifting of the skin and underlying tissues) feel particularly good on the large muscles of the hips and upper legs.

Using both hands, start at the knee of one leg and stroke up the entire upper leg to the hip and return to the knee on the sides of the leg. Next use firm kneading with both hands on the thigh, moving up and down from knee to hip in three lines—inside, middle and outside. This kneading can be continued on the calf below the knee but with less pressure. Do a long gentle stroke from the heel to the hip to finish the leg before moving to the other leg. Begin again at the thigh and repeat the sequence for the leg.

To finish the back, start with one hand at each heel and brush up the entire length of the body to the shoulders and immediately pull from both shoulders back down the entire length of the body using a very slow, firm stroke, pulling off at the heels with your fingertips as if pulling any tension right out the bottom of the foot.

To end the massage, sit quietly again at your partner’s side resting your hands lightly in the middle of the back and again let yourself become aware of the rhythm of his/her breathing. It is nice to rest after loving touch. Be sure your partner is covered and warm.

Your partner can now go quietly to sleep or you can bond and take pleasure in closeness.


—Thanks to Dr Ann Ladd

Relating can be a hassle
Even though you love them a passel
You start off real nice
But then you think twice:
Did I make a mistake?
Is there no give and take?

Joy’s hard to find
When you’re losing your mind
It’s hard to know
Which way to go
Things are so fraught
My efforts are naught
How can I make things better?

I heard about this class
And figured… I would pass
But then, I thought again
If there’s any chance to win
I oughta give it a try
There’s lots of reasons why

Much to my surprise
I found love in my partner’s eyes
Now our life’s so sweet
At last I feel complete