Relationship and sex therapist Esther Perel notes that, much as one must be able to conjugate certain core verbs in order to speak a language, one must similarly practice seven basic relational verbs to sustain a satisfying friendship or relationship. In the bedroom, practicing these verbs becomes even more significant.
What do you need? Do you ask for it?
Rather than telling people what you don’t want or being hurt when they don’t meet your needs – are you able to request what you want and need?
Are you generous?
Do you enjoy bringing pleasure and joy to others?
Can you give without strings attached?
Do you notice opportunities for giving and then take them?
If so, are you doing this with joy and generosity?
What do you need to give to yourself and/or your relationships?
Are you quick to receive what is given – be it offers to help or compliments?
Do you say thank you, instead of brushing the gifts away?
Do you let others give to you without fear, score-keeping, or feelings of inferiority?
Can you sit back and take in the generosity of others?
What do you need to receive from yourself and your friends (or partner)?
Can you take what you need without waiting for others to grant you permission or offer it up?
Are you empowered to identify what feels good and pursue it?
What do you need to take that would matter to you and/or your relationships?
To Imagine / To Play
What do you need to imagine in your relationships?
How comfortable are you at thinking outside the box?
How willing are you to fantasize about what you could experience?
How willing are you share your dreams and hopes with others?
Where do you need to imagine?
What imaginations might want to be shared with another?
How well do you share with your friends?
How does sharing look different from giving?
What might you share that would feel bonding?
[Perel: “If you’ve never had the freedom to say no, then you’ve never had the permission to say yes.”]
Are you comfortable saying No to your friends or partner?
Are you willing to refuse what doesn’t feel good?
What do you need to practice refusing?
In what areas do you need to say No?