How do you chat someone up online? How do you move from pleasantries to an online erotic friendship or encounter? How do we draw and sense the desire lines, and gently follow them?
It’d be easy to give up, to think we’re destined never to be touched again or to break rules, go out for illicit meetings, which have the erotic charge of the forbidden. Even then, being able to relate authentically and intimately is key in these precious moments. How do we form a temporary trust bubble that can encompass a span of human connection, to recognise each other in both aloneness and anticipation? Desultory sexting and pictures of your dinner only go so far in establishing originality and depth.
Being an imaginative, seductive and kind communicator will mean you can make zoom dates special, sensual, safely beguiling. Some of the ways I’ve found that are really helping me to get to know people on zoom, to deepen friendships, to begin new connections and to have meaningful, discovering and playful conversations are based on creative, conscious consent rather than demand and conquest.
Imagine three levels of conversation, the most obvious one is exchanging information about what we’re doing and our lives. Keep this brief, unless we have a common interest. Next, sharing information about our feelings and emotions, allows us to connect with someone on a human level as we too know fear and longing, pleasure and suffering. Mmm, now I’m curious. Even deeper still is sharing our feelings about what we hearing. ‘I’m noticing when I hear you talk about x, I feel y.’ Mmm, now we’re connecting. Using emotionally intelligent conversation as a base for building eroticism.
Online there’s a beautiful level of safety and distance to get to know people at your pace. The Leave Room button is always there. Being allowed into someone’s private citadel, to be a party to their humanness, to recognise our own, offers us a reflection, and depth of connection, unhurried and with less pressure. I find as I’m trusting people more, I’m willing to share greater levels of honesty and vulnerability, that previously, I’d have rather stuck pins in my eyes than admit to. It’s slowing us down, allowing us to get to know someone kindly. When there’s no way of rushing to the next step of meeting, can we simply enjoy seeing what we’re becoming in the presence of another?
As we can no longer talk over or interrupt so easily online, listening skills are increasingly important. One of my favourite way of learning about someone to share private information is to set up Listening Pairs. All you need is a timer and to take turns. When it’s your turn to speak you can just share what you want: It can be a great release to speak aloud, to work out knotty issues, to express longing, knowing we’re not imposing on another person; they don’t have to fix anything, just be a compassionate witness. A time to hear yourself think, it is your time, it’s not to please the other. As a listener you simply give presence and attention, with no questions, no interruptions, you offer a great gift by not having to respond to what you’re hearing.
Socially, I’m enjoying online sex-positive meetings based on Authentic Relating* questions such as,
If you really know me you’d know that I..
My most exciting erotic experience was..
I’m scared of…but I’d like to try..
I feel guilty about..
Something I’m ashamed of is ..
I long for..
If you really knew me you’d know I love to ..
I’m shy to reveal..
A fantasy I have is..
What’s lovely about this style of relating is that you never know which situations will have a charge, which will ignite longing, which are neutral, which ones open our hearts to another human. We can listen to another person, share a meaningful connection and say adieu, as a breakout room closes, without feel obliged. We each feel seen and heard in a spacious way. If our meeting left a desire for more, then how do we find the words and courage to share our enjoyment, to take a risk, to ask to meet again?
Allowing ‘response arousal’ to occur naturally is self-assured. Having no agenda is freeing. Try it, be cool, be relaxed, be curious. When we have nothing to hide and a choice about what we’d like to reveal, we can drop into easier complicity. Your words can be incredibly powerful in creating a magnetic effect. That doesn’t mean you have carte blanche; intimate conversations are subtle without being overtly sexual. In understanding what we have permission to share, what might feel edgy without being imposing, its best to be clear. So asking, not guessing, can relax us. No one wants the conversational equivalent of a non-consensual dick pic sprung on them. Asking “May I share…” gives choice and safety for someone to say no, not yet or I’d love to hear that. Using what’s called I language – only sharing your own experiences without making assumptions about anyone else’s feeling, desires or sexuality. While this separation may last some time, being skilled in intimate conversation is timeless. Creating online connections that are healing, nurturing, sensual and erotic is vital and a great basis for when we begin to meet IRL again.
I’m also enjoying Listening Pairs with my clients, being a confidante, hearing people share what’s up for them, an ally for difficulties, an accountability partner for dating. Intimate Conversations can also include dance breaks, a short meditation, someone to share secrets with, experimenting with requests and verbal commands. to learn to open up gradually, to let the other person be who they are with no expectations, creating sensual games for sharing is working with clients on their erotic psyche rather than their erotic body. Fully clothed, authentic, daring truth.