Simple ways to create bedroom intimacy

Author: Canadian Living


Simple ways to create bedroom intimacy

Your bedroom is a sanctuary that restores your body and perspective with sleep, your mind and emotional equilibrium with solitude (whether reading in bed, meditating, writing in a journal, or just trying on clothes), and your spirit and life force with sex. Whether private or shared, this room has the job of meeting your emotional need for intimacy -- with yourself as well as with another. Honoring intimacy as a real need will guide you in designing, decorating, and maintaining this room in support of that need. It also means you won't live in this room exclusively: you don't work in it, you don't eat in it, and you don't visit with acquaintances in it -- unless you're sick and bedridden. The bed is the most intimate piece or furniture in your home. And that's where a lot of problems in and confusion around the bedroom congregate. Intimacy is not always appropriate -- it needs to be protected. Thus the designation of sanctuary.

Rules of the room

1. Adequate fresh air circulation.
2. Natural 100 per cent cotton (or linen) bedding.
3. Two side tables (with compartment) for all beds larger than a single.
4. Bedside lamp and clock with lighted display.
5. A way to reach someone outside (cell phone, panic button, etc.).
6. Bench, wardrobe valet, or chair for extra blanket, robe, or tomorrow's clothes.
7. Security windows that can be restricted from opening wider than four inches.
8. No TV in the room.

Common ground
If you are not in a productive relationship but would like to be, you need to set up your bedroom to support the functions of a sanctuary for two. Keep the room free of clutter and tasks that conflict with intimacy and get a bed that is large enough for two to stretch out comfortably.

For couples who share this room, conflicts of decor and space usage that are not worked out to each partner's satisfaction might reflect the power struggles and dissatisfactions that will eventually rot the bonds between you. Some women keep this room so frilly and ruffled, no man with any self-respect could call it a sanctuary. Conversely, men who decorate around the theme of a conquering lair strike a discordant chord with the women they are hoping to lure. You are not looking so much for a compromise in this room (where one concedes to the other) as for middle ground (the place where you can both agree). The balance lies somewhere between your individual selves, where your union resides.

Page 1 of 4
-- Learn exactly how to create an inviting bedroom space both parties will love to be in on page 2.


Excerpted from The Emotional House by Kathryn L. Robyn and Dawn Ritchie, copyright 2005. Excerpted with permission by Raincoast Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

What's important is that both partners feel represented, so that you can build your range for intimacy rogether. To accomplish this design task, use the exercise Possessing Personal Style to discover each of your own individual personal palettes. Be sure to include neutral colors. Then bring the two palettes together and see which favorites you share. If you can only come up with one color you both like, then that's your color -- for wall, trim, and drapes. Yours will be a monochromatic colour scheme, with variations appearing in shades and tones of the same colour. Use the same exercise with furnishings, wood and fabric textures, and art.

In an interpersonal union, you can hold dear to the "I" while cultivating and nurturing the "we." The bedroom is the place in your home where the "we" comes together in the deepest, most profound manner. So find the common ground when designing and laying out the area and ensure that everyone has an equal amount of space for their belongings and their spirits, and an equal amount of responsibility for maintaining cleanliness, organization, and this room's sanctuary status. Women should not take the lion's share of the closet, even if they tend to be clothes horses. This room is about sharing, and that means even-steven. Sorry, gals, you can't own the room where your mate sleeps, too.

Protecting your sanctuary
Your time in this room is essential to your physical, mental, and spiritual health; it lends support to your emotional equilibrium, your experience of wellness, and your will to live -- you must not let anyone cut you off from it because of your lack of willingness to close the door and set limits. Let kids know what the closed door means. A door that locks and sound masker that confines the sounds generated inside, to the inside, are vital in the most private of rooms. Unless you're the parent of an infant or a toddler who must be supervised at all times, this room should be sacrosanct from children when that door is closed.

Fearfulness, exhaustion, illness, allergies, and insomnia are afflictions associated with this room that can be comforted, battled, or assuaged by handling problems with the room itself. If you have been sexually violated here or elsewhere, as one in four women and one in seven men reportedly have been, this is probably an emotional roller coaster room for you. It is paramount that you take this room back as a sanctuary. The book Spiritual House-cleaning (2001) offers an in-depth healing journey for violations in general, and this room in particular. The Emotional House Program directs you to keep going and embrace intimacy once again.

Check into your feelings by using the D.U.S.T. method of cleaning your room mindfully. Write down (or draw) the story of any violations and disappointments around the topic of intimacy. Place the written story of your violation or bad experience in an envelope. Label it "Bad Memories I Won't Allow to Affect My Future Happiness" and address it to the Bureau of Understanding. It's difficult to separate yourself from the negative experiences of your life and this is a symbolic exercise, true. But if you acknowledge and add your story to the virtual database of human atrocities and injuries, others may one day figure out a way to stop committing them.

Page 2 of 4 -- Why you may want to consider giving your television the boot out of the bedroom on page 3.


Excerpted from The Emotional House by Kathryn L. Robyn and Dawn Ritchie, Copyright 2005. Excerpted with permission by Raincoast Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

These events are not the things that need to define your whole life. Store the envelope in your keep (basement, attic, or garage), or anywhere outside of your sanctuary. Then spend time working on this room. Turn your bedroom into a healing, restorative sanctuary as a way to defy any violations you experienced around the issue of intimacy. Loving yourself is the first step toward that healing. Protect intimacy by putting limits on who is allowed in this room and the kinds of interactions accepted here

While kids' and dorm rooms tend to have desks in them, the bedroom is not a good place to put your home office -- unless you want to kill the softer parts of you that unite with your larger soul or another human being. However, if you need to multifunction this room, the second function -- especially if it is a computer or work station -- needs to be set off by screens or tall plants or something else that turns the space into two separate rooms. This is a boundary you need to set with yourself.

Pajama games
You have to be careful about dragging the quality of intimacy into every other activity besides the appropriate ones. You have spent at least a third of your life since birth sleeping in your bedroom, and your body -- including your voice -- is in pajamas ... or less. If you think you're concealing that from people on the other end of the phone with whom you're conducting business, you're wrong. They might not picture you in your birthday suit, but they sense that something's "not right," especially when formal business discourse degrades into inappropriate familiarity. It is inappropriate to hold business meetings in the boudoir, especially in person. Those tasks are out of harmony with the function of sanctuary, forcing visitors, who feel their own sense of intimacy violated, to squelch feelings of embarrassment.

Tuning out
Okay, TVs. We realize many people use them in the bedroom for many reasons -- sleeping aid, company, and foreplay, primarily. And if you're going to break a rule, this will probably be it. But, consider that the use and function of this room are at odds with the use and function of the TV.

Nothing against television -- one of us watches more than enough, while the other is responsible for putting quite a bit of it on the screen. We just think you should be fully conscious of what the medium is all about and, more importantly, fully conscious when you're watching it. Remember that everything you see and feel when watching it -- advertising, news, drama, comedy, reality -- is manipulating you through your senses to elicit a certain thought, reaction, or feeling. Its number one function is as a marketing tool; entertainment comes second. Programs are "packaged" for impact and the medium tells you when to laugh, cry, and feel hungry, and what to do about it, as well as what to purchase immediately. And most of us cooperate in predictable patterns. That's what makes it such a powerful tool. It's important that viewers remain conscious and alert when watching it, and that's not the mood you should be in while settling down in your bedroom. So tune out.

Page 3 of 4 -- On page 4, find 22 tips that can help you and your partner get a better night's sleep.


Excerpted from The Emotional House by Kathryn L. Robyn and Dawn Ritchie, Copyright 2005. Excerpted with permission by Raincoast Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

One-third of your life
Recuperative inactivity requires one-third of every day to be effective, so owning a quality mattress should be a major priority. You need physical support from the bed, cleanliness, lighting, and comforts here. If you wake up with backaches, experience eye strain while trying to read, or choke with stale air, make changes to transform this room into a fresh and restorative space.

Because the body sloughs off dead skin and hair when you sleep or change dirty clothes, dust is a major problem in the bedroom. That means dust mites -- a primary cause of allergic attacks -- are in abundance. Launder the sheets, sweep, vacuum, or mop the floor (including under the bed), and dust everywhere every week. Use dye- and perfume-free detergents and softeners for laundering your linens and try to use as few chemical cleaners in this room as possible. We do not recommend upholstered headboards or headboard draperies -- they are havens for dust mites. Use protective allergen barrier encasings -- like the Breathe Right brand -- for mattresses and pillows. It's also a good idea to clean the air in this room with a HEPA air cleaner. Nothing works better to help remove airborne dust and mites, supporting your breathing all night long.

22 tips for a successful sanctuary
A snug fit: Measure mattress width, length and depth before buying sheets. Sizes vary.

California Kings (Cal-Kings): Are longer than Eastern Kings and excellent for tall individuals.

Eastern Kings: Are wider than Cal-Kings and slightly roomier for cramped couples.

Egg-crate foam mattress pads: Are cheaper to replace than a worn-out mattress pillowtop.

High thread count 100 per cent Egyptian cotton sheets: Breathe, don't pill and soften with age.

No chemicals: Place natural linens on the bed, hot from the dryer, and you won't have to iron.

Sliding window locks: Security locks limit window openings while allowing fresh air in.

Sound conditioner: Marpac's white noise emulator, SleepMate, offers restful sounds of water.

Irritable infants: Marpac's LifeSounds soothes newboms with familiar womb sounds.

Marriage saver: SIeep-Eze's Snore Buster uses hearing aid technology to mask noise.

On the night shift: Thrifty blackout liners fit underneath draperies and block excess light.

Electronic-drive roller shades: Lutron's Sivoia QED blocks light at the flick of a switch.

Space challenged? Utilize under-bed storage space with self-enclosing dust-free containers.

Bedside saddlebags: Eyeglasses, books, lotions, and other private items not-for-display fit here.

Sleek wardrobe valets: They make the next day's clothes inviting and stress-free.

Forbidden family: Don't want your parents in bed with you? Don't display their photos here.

Intimate discretion: Contain intimate items in decorative boxes or drawers of bedside tables.

Sensual ambience: A spray of candles is an invitation to romance.

Decorative finials: These turn bland curtain rods into divine details.

Ceiling art: This is the one room where you lie back and stare at the ceiling. Make the view scenic.

Hot climate? Pick cool colors for the bedroom to cool the room (violets, greens, and blues).

Cool climate? Choose cozy warm colors to heat up passions (orange, yellow, and red hues).

Page 4 of 4 -- Kathryn and Dawn lay down their rules for the bedroom -- see if you follow or break them on Page 1.


Excerpted from The Emotional House by Kathryn L. Robyn and Dawn Ritchie, Copyright 2005. Excerpted with permission by Raincoast Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Simple ways to create bedroom intimacy