Here's a hot tip for cultivating a sense of intimacy and safety with a new (or even a current) partner.
Take the initiative and set the boundaries, for that particular encounter. Have a brave conversation. Social courage is so sexy! The more carefully held and precise these boundaries are, the more trust you will build with this new partner.
The boundaries can be very time-bound.
"For the next hour, how would it feel to you if we agreed to keep our clothes on?"
"For tonight, how about if we make (these activities) off limits?"
Boundaries can support an intention.
"I would really like to be fully present with you, so if I know our boundaries for today, I will no longer be waiting and wondering about how far we are gonna go."
Boundary setting is a powerful and embodied form of care.
Many of us who have been acculturated as women find it extremely exhausting to always be the "gatekeeper", the one who controls the access to sex. So if and when a partner sets temporary limiting boundaries, it can be VERY VERY hot.
Why? Because it helps us relax! We can set down the constant vigilance of protecting ourselves, for a few moments. Arousal and pleasure, stemming from relaxation, offer the possibility of profoundly healing and transformative encounters. Many of us have never even experienced pleasure in this way, due to systemic trauma and constantly activated nervous systems.
These conversations feel vulnerable at first, but they get easier as your skills develop.
And lastly... Don't set boundaries unless you fully plan to honor them!
photo cred: Maja Willow Linden