What does it look like during the holidays to give and receive in a way that’s not consumer-driven? The holidays don't have to be about pretty packages (unless you want to wrap yourself up with ribbon). The best gift we can give is ourselves. We should give our presence, our listening, acting out of trust, love, and desire. Whatever holiday that you're celebrating this winter, take some time to think about the important relationships in your life. anbring new energy to your sexual connections.

The Gift of Giving - and Receiving

What if you decided to invest in your relationship by expanding, exploring, and communicating with a loved one? The best sex occurs when two people come together out of a desire to give and to receive pleasure. There is nothing more satisfying than doing something your partner enjoys and seeing the delight on their face. In the act of giving, you find yourself receiving pleasure as well. It goes without saying that buying yourself or your lover a new sex toy is a great way to promote pleasure. It is the gift that keeps on giving (if you’ll pardon the pun). It can be a new, sexy tradition!

Ideas to Pleasure Your Partner

  • If your partner loves to have their feet rubbed, give him or her a footbath. Then, massage their feet and legs with lotion. Your partner will relax and feel appreciated. Maybe it becomes sexual and maybe it doesn't. There is no expectation. This is a gift for someone you care about. They receive the gift of a massage and the message that you care.

  • Maybe he’s had a difficult day and you want to help ease his tension. Sit him down in a cozy chair and fix drinks. Then, lean over and unzip his pants. Give him a blowjob. Do not do it because you have to or because you feel some sort of obligation. Do it because you want to and because it will delight and surprise him. You get to feel that delightful moment of naughtiness and the wanton delight of giving pleasure in an unexpected, spontaneous way. If giving oral sex isn’t something you love, try to think of it as an expression of your feelings. Savor the sensations and his reactions. Feel the delight in his obvious arousal and then it becomes a gift for both of you.

  • Gift a partner with your thoughts. Start a conversation that is intimate and inviting. Talk about the things that you enjoy doing together. Share a fantasy or offer up an invitation. So often, we expect our partners to know what we like or to make the first move. This may sound gender-biased, but men do tend to be more reluctant to talk about emotions and women tend to expect a male partner to know what they’re thinking. Offer verbal encouragement during sex: "Mmm, that feels good!" "I love that. Don’t stop!" Ask for what you want. Ask your partner what they want. Listening is crucial to this process. When you can truly listen to your lover, you are giving the gift of your presence and respect for their needs. That is more powerful than any aphrodisiac that you can buy in a store.

  • Invite intimacy and desire. Are you one of those people, or do you have a partner, who is rarely in the mood? Desire isn’t always going to show up uninvited. We have to take responsibility for our own desire. This is what Emily Nagoski calls responsive desire as opposed to the widely believed idea of spontaneous desire. If you often find yourself pushing away your partner, give the gift of your presence. Allow yourself to approach an intimate moment with the understanding that desire can grow as you touch and interact with your partner. Desire is as much mental as it is physical and can be stoked by our thoughts, emotions, and a willingness to let ourselves be turned on. If you can shift your focus and look at creating desire as a gift, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Be a Giver for the Sake of Giving

We shouldn’t give in order to get. Sex shouldn’t be about how many orgasms or climaxes we receive. Once we understand the joy of giving as well as receiving, we open up to new ways of connecting with our partner whether it’s a casual romp, the beginning of a relationship, or the 30th wedding anniversary. Take some time right now to think about what you want to give your partner this holiday season. List all the joys you experience in the act of giving; imagine the joyous experience your partner will receive. Then go get creative!