The following is adapted from Touching for Pleasure by Adele P. Kennedy and Susan Dean, Ph.D. I have taken my own methods and inserted them, so it is not identical to the original. My adaptation of their exercise is inspired by additional breath and energy techniques taken primarily from Tantra and emotional release, including the work of Greg Ehmka, quoted below. These added elements serve to deepen the experience of the exercise, and to allow for the expression and completion of persistent suppressed emotions surrounding one’s self-image.
Self image and body image sometimes get in the way in intimate relationships. Some people are afraid to be touched in a particular place because they feel that part of them is ugly or unattractive. Some people refuse to disrobe with their partner unless the lights are off. This type of thinking and behavior can interfere with many opportunities for deeper intimacy and connection in relationships.
“[The biggest problem in the world] is that, on average, the level of individual self-love of the people inhabiting the planet is terribly low. This is not the self-love of the identity loving itself. That is what is meant by megalomaniacal, self-aggrandizing, etc. This is the inability of the identity, that which you think you are, to receive the love of that which you really are.” – Greg Ehmka
The purpose of this body image exercise is to establish a higher level of the type of self-love described above. Before you begin the exercise, prepare yourself to rediscover many things about yourself, and look at your body through new eyes. Also, prepare yourself to be ruthlessly authentic in expressing emotions, thoughts, beliefs, the pictures in your head, or whatever becomes present for you during the exercise.
Expressing what you really feel about yourself can help clear emotions you may have been suppressing or repressing for a long time. By allowing yourself to feel those feelings, think those thoughts and express yourself with authentic vulnerability, you may find those difficult things lift away, giving you access to new and powerful awakenings in your relationship. Read more »