Purpose: To practice communicating feelings of love through your eyes.

Suggested Time: Several minutes

Imagine that your eyes are windows to your heart. Look at your part­ner while focusing on your feelings of love and appreciation. Let those feelings move up from your heart and out through your eyes. Smile and make eye contact every now and then, letting your partner see the happiness in your eyes. Feel free to verbalize the feelings of caring and appreciation you are experiencing to your partner as you look. Repeat this exercise frequently in different circumstances and settings that you are in with your partner.

Expand what you find appealing. Partners who feel they are being seen as attractive are more open sexually. This can’t happen in a relation­ship when a former porn user is still saddled with a narrow and limited range of what he finds sexually arousing and attractive. Many partners can sense when they are being compared to porn and, as a result, can end up having a negative emotional reaction that interferes with intimacy in the relationship. If you are a former porn user, learning to value and become more attracted to the natural and unique qualities of your part­ner can forge a stronger emotional bond and enhance sexual pleasure for both of you.

Since no one is 100 percent sexy—including you—you can begin to accept and appreciate your partner’s sexual desirability by retraining your eyes to focus in on what appeals to you most about her presence. Consciously acknowledge to yourself the traits your partner has that you find most attractive. For instance, it might be the sparkle in her eyes, the breadth of her smile, the way her hair falls, or the curve of her neck. As you look, also be aware of other nonvisual aspects you appreciate, such as her voice, scent, movements, or the feel of her skin. By concentrating on what you’re attracted to, the characteristics you have typically judged as sexual turn-offs will begin to fade into the background. You might tell your partner how much you enjoy and value her attributes.

Changing the way you look at your partner can translate to a sexual relationship that is more fun and adventurous. For example, Debbie told us: “Roger and I are a whole lot more spontaneous now. There’s a lot more teasing. We do playful things now. Like, I’ll just walk out naked and go, ‘Have you seen my pajamas? I seem to have lost them.’ He’ll give me a wink and a smile and go, ‘No, but I think you ought to wear that set. Those look real good.’ I’m comfortable with him looking at me because I feel honored and respected by him in our everyday life.”

When you and your partner feel secure that you are valued and ac­cepted for who you are you will be more confident and expressive in your sexual interactions.