Show the soft side
I find men who have the capacity to be vulnerable a major turn on because they’re putting themselves out there. Vulnerability is not something restricted to women. Being vulnerable can be a risk – you are telling me your innermost thoughts and feelings. Many consider vulnerability to be a weakness. I think it takes a lot of courage to actually open up wholly to someone else, knowing they could hurt you. But look at the rewards! You will be loved just the way you are by someone who can truly claim they know you well. I think it’s worth the risk.
Michelle de Gama, 35, single, physical trainer, Goa
I consider myself to be a good listener. But, it doesn’t mean I want my partner to always talk and not listen to what I am thinking or feeling. Good communication is a two-way street. If I can put aside my own thoughts and needs to focus on you when you are talking, I would expect the same in return. I need your full attention, without interruption, without non-verbal reactions and without already thinking of how to respond. Communication is paramount in any successful relationship. If you’re constantly in touch with your partner, it prevents misunderstandings and leads to lesser fights.
Sakshi Shah, 24, engaged, interior designer, Mumbai
Honesty - the best policy
I expect the truth from my partner. This doesn’t mean they should tell me everything. For example: I would prefer if they told me about any medical (sexual) conditions they may have, rather than details of sexual positions with former partners. Hiding things from me won’t quite cut it. Discretion is important – you need to be able to make a choice on what to share and what should remain with you. I do the same. Honesty becomes even more important when you’re about to get married – you need to know what you’re getting yourself into!
Candace D’Souza, 27, married, homemaker, Goa
Look for the signs
I’m generally a shy person and don’t often have the words to express my feelings. So, I compensate by action. I feel body language is a good way of communicating your thoughts and feelings to another person. It would be nice to have someone who understands my body language and signals or who isn’t afraid to express what they’re feeling, physically. I don’t mean sex, here. Good eye contact when the person while speaking, tone of voice when talking to them, a light touch on the arm when we are out, holding hands at a concert, are some of them. Of course it all depends on the other person and how comfortable they are with PDA.
Milton Sequeira, 40, divorced, works in corporate world, Mumbai
Lend a ear
I believe intimacy in relationships has much to do with how empathetic you are to each other. It doesn’t mean that if I’m frustrated, I want him to get frustrated too. Rather, I would expect him to genuinely listen to me and understand what I’m going through, without dismissing my feelings. Having empathy is like tuning into your partner’s inner feelings and emotions. It’s like having a mutual emotional support bond. Isn’t that what intimacy is all about?
Rekha Kadambari, 25, single, student of psychology, Mumbai
*Names Changed on request
Love Matters Indian wishes all its readers a very Happy World Sexual Health Day (WSHD). This year’s WSHD (4 September) theme is love, bonding, and intimacy.