We feel most connected with others when we’re listening more than talking.
As a kink educator, a common concern I hear from the kink community is feeling unheard or not thoroughly listened to.
It seems that with content thrust upon us at every turn, as a society we’ve built in a numbing-of-the-noise in our daily lives. Content even comes crashing into the most mundane of places. Just yesterday, I was pumping gas and a screen above the pump came on with a segment from The Tonight Show followed by 3 commercials. Who benefits from 3 commercials while pumping gas? Not you or I, that’s for sure. Just the opposite, it’s conditioning us to a listening numbness that probably affects our ability to listen even when we want to. Like when we want to get our kink on.
One of our fundamentals in the kink community is open communication. But, what’s open communication worth without active listening? We have to place as much importance on listening as we do on sharing. Listening to one another carefully is how we form a stronger intimate connection.
Becoming a better listener might seem simple but it’s often not so easy. Many folks struggle to be communication-present. Active listening takes effort, and oftentimes, some self-training. That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Here are 3 simple, yet powerful tips rooted in mindfulness that will help develop your listening skills and a better kink experience.
1. Be curious.
Sincere curiosity means that we are interested in learning and letting others engage & influence us. Curiosity leads to learning but because comprehension requires humility, we must be willing to be humble and acknowledge not knowing.
Admitting to not knowing can hit differently for some kinksters involved in power exchange play or dynamics/relationships.
For some Dominants, it’s oftentimes a struggle due to fears of looking weak for not being all-knowing. Especially to their submissive. For subs, they can fear looking unworthy of serving if they don’t ‘know’ and anticipate their all their Dominant’s needs.
Regardless of which side of the slash we fall, sincere curiosity is a root element to practicing mindful listening. It creates a safe space for others to feel at ease and communicate.
Listening to one another carefully is how we build a stronger intimate connections. This connection helps us build trust.Mistress Kye
A part of sincere curiosity that can make active listening easier is by setting a genuine intention to understand the other person. What happens is that the more they see your curiosity & intention, the more inclined they’ll be to engage. Their engagement ultimately helps assist you with your active listening.
It can take time to get better at mindfulness, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Active listening overall is a practiced process. Sort of like a kink journey. It takes time, investment, nurturing and practice.
Here are some of the ways you can use mindfulness to help you practice sincere curiosity.
-Ask yourself what matters most to them in what they are sharing?
-What are some of the feelings you see underlying what they’re sharing about their kink interests?
-What sounds like their wants, needs and desires in what they’re expressing?
-Stay curious until you get a sincere sense that they feel they’ve been heard and understood.
An important part of this is checking in with yourself.
-How did it feel to practice genuine interest?
-What did you learn that you might not have known otherwise?
-How can what you learned help you in future active listening?
-How can what you learned help you to understand your kink journey together?
2. Letting others influence you
For some in the kink community, it may feel uncomfortable to hear that they should be influenced. For others, outside influence can be problematic.
Some Dominants can be especially objectionable to influence. But I like to remind them that influence isn’t a scary word so long as we’re talking about positive influence. If the goal is to move forward, whether it’s leading a scene or a dynamic/relationship, a good leader knows positive influence is necessary from all parties involved. Their input and influence is part of the overall well-being of your collective journey together.
Subs can often struggle with people-pleasing so the wrong kind of influence can be problematic. Being submissive doesn’t mean following blindly. It seems they sometimes forget they have agency. Using mindful active listening can help them decide WHO should be allowed to influence them, rather than just letting the urge to people-please make the decisions.
The best type of influence occurs when we recognize that we should listen in the way we wish to be listened to. It is a potent tool in developing greater intimacy through kink.
We feel most connected with others when we’re listening more than talkingMistress Kye
3. Be quite. Be Patient.
It’s pretty impossible to be speaking AND listening at the same time. So, if you’ve set your intention to listen, do just that. One of the most powerful tools we can have as a kinkster is being patient.
A common struggle is wanting to chime in. Whether there’s a lull in the conversation or wanting to reply to what’s been said, being quite and patient takes practice. Mindfulness can help with that.
Here are 2 mindful things to consider in those circumstances:
- Lulls are often people gathering their thoughts. Give them time to ponder and find their feelings & words. When engaging in kinky communication we’re often accessing vulnerable places within ourselves. Give them a safe space to move at their own pace.
- We simply cannot absorb & comprehend if we’re distracted preparing our response. In order to be a better listener, focus on what’s being said to you. You may feel compelled to chime in when there’s a lull, but use that time to absorb what’s just been expressed to you. You’ll have your chance to respond soon enough.
Patience is something many struggle with but it can be achieved with practice. Start small by simply being mindful that you want to be a better listener
By applying any, or all, of these potent listening skills you’ll put the other person at ease. That alone can provide the ‘permission’ necessary to speak their peace or express their kinky wants, needs and desires. A greater flow of communication and connection will come from that, and you’ll be on your way to developing greater intimacy through kink.