How to Lay the Groundwork for Intimacy by Setting Healthy Boundaries

Issue 12. February 17, 2023 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting

Photo credit: Kobby Mendez

Sex is WAY better when you have healthy boundaries. In fact, everything about relationships is!

Here’s why – you’re much clearer about that you like and don’t like, and you’re much more likely to speak up about those things when you have healthy boundaries. It makes both parties feel safe when they know the other person is being honest with them. In order to be vulnerable and have true intimacy, safety is required.

The fact that I had very poor (or non-existent) boundaries before I got into recovery contributed greatly to the long string of dysfunctional relationships I had before recovery. I was too much of a chameleon (I thought I was being “nice” by being so accommodating) and was too concerned with the other person. I wasn’t focused at all on what was okay with me and what wasn’t.

As a result of the healthy boundaries I developed in recovery, I’m now in an intimate romantic relationship for the first time in my life. Having healthy boundaries laid a very strong foundation for our intimacy.

I’m going to share below some boundaries that have worked for me in increasing the intimacy in my relationship. At the time, I didn’t even realize some of these were boundaries. Since my experience was creating boundaries before getting into a relationship, what I’m about to share might not be applicable to existing relationships. However, there are some principles that you might be able to use if you’re already in a relationship and want to build boundaries into it.

  • We revealed things to each other bit by bit, not with a firehose like I’d done in the past. This allowed us to get to experience each other and hear stories about each other a little at a time. This gave us time to integrate what we were experiencing and what we were hearing.
  • I’d call him to say, “I just have a few minutes, but wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.” This let him know, “This isn’t going to be a long conversation” and when I stuck to what I said about it being quick, he knew he could trust me. I also did give off the vibe of being desperate like I used to.
  • After several weeks of dating, we had a conversation about having sex. I told him my requirements included being in a committed, monogamous relationship and getting STI testing before we did it and he agreed. This made us both feel safe, which is paramount for true intimacy and vulnerability.
  • We picked a date in the future, so we had something to look forward to. This led to anticipation and playfulness. It also gave us a wonderful memory to look back on!
  • I had a conversation, without going into any detail, about the fact that I’d been shamed for being not adventurous enough as well as being too adventurous with past partners. I told him I needed to feel free to express what was really going on with me in the bedroom. I set up a time to have this conversation at a coffee shop so that I wouldn’t chicken out, and let him know, “I want to talk about sex before we have it.”
  • My partner was incredibly respectful and had healthy boundaries himself. He let me know that he was attracted to me without being inappropriate. He also asked me if we could kiss, which is incredibly hot!! Getting consent from others is incredibly respectful and leads to safety.

Things I don’t want to live without…

Cacao Powder

Not to be confused with cocoa powder, cacao powder has much greater health benefits because the nutrients have not been stripped from this naturally nutritious plant. They both start out as beans from the cacao plant but are processed very differently.
The result is that cacao powder (and cacao nibs) are considered a superfood. They’re very nutrient-dense and very high in antioxidants. I’m a big fan of nutrient-dense foods given all the abuse I did to my body with junk food for decades.

The reason I don’t want to live without it is that I use it in smoothies, which is the only way I’m able to still have chocolate in my life given my food plan and avoidance of all things with sugar!

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