Committed to Reconnecting
The Wheel of Consent has helped us to transform our relationship. It came to us in just the right moment and it confronted us in unexpected ways. It opened us up to a different way of relating to each other and ourselves.
We, Legien Warsosemito-Schenk and I Stijn Schenk , are a married couple living in Amsterdam. We love life, each other and playfulness. We met each other in our college years and we had shared 20 years of loving intimacy when we discovered the Wheel. We first learned about it during a group workshop. The week after we decided to experiment with it in private. We decided on four sessions of five minutes, in which we took turns in asking to do or consent in being done to. During these 20 minutes we discovered a lot about ourselves and the other.
In the years leading up to our first encounter with the Wheel we were looking for ways to reconnect on physical level. We have always loved to make love. But our intimacy had declined during the pregnancy and the first years after the birth of our two sons. Sexuality was less front and centre and intimacy became more about action than about connecting. The distance grew deeper and more serious when Legien opened up about the abuse she had suffered as a young girl. Up to that point she had been sort of able to separate this history and our intimate moments. But that had taken a toll on her in that she oppressed parts of her emotions. Growing up in an Indonesian/Surinamese family she was not accustomed to think, reflect and talk about these very private things. And I had my own problems around sexuality, in that I took refuge in porn and fantasies.
After the abuse came out a lot changed for us. For one we started to share more and open up to each other in a whole new way. But it also made us overly aware and hesitant to approach the other. The first years of the healing process were all about making Legien feel safe. I struggled with my needs leading to a rollercoaster of me understanding and supporting to anger, frustration and complete disconnect.
The beauty of this process was not lost on us, but it was hard.
We were committed to reconnecting and we experimented and talked a lot but we felt as if we were in a deadlock. Both of us had been very much dedicated to the pleasure and enjoyment of the other. And both had been hesitant in taking initiative. We failed to find the way to reconnect to that deeper level. As it turned out… we had neglected our own Yes’s and No’s.
When we first played with the Wheel it was exciting and scary at the same time. I had not, up until that point, realised that I did not know what Legien really longs for. I felt insecure, waiting for her to express something that she would like to do to me for herself. The absent of my pressure and the open space of the game gave her room to really feel into her wants and needs. When I was free to ask for what I desired I struggled with finding my own inner needs and wants.
Through the game we were able to connect to each other as two individuals that decided to be together. Not as two people that are responsible for each other. But as two persons who are responsible for themselves. Through the game we realised that both of us had been Serving. That both had been giving. And there was hardly anyone really receiving. That we forgot to feel for ourselves and blamed the other for not giving that what we did not dare to feel or ask for. By playing the game we reconnected to each other in that we started to dare to Take and Accept fully. Being present in the moment and being present with each other.
The game that started in the bedroom has found its way to different aspects of our life. Empowering both of us to feel into ourselves more and take responsibility for that what we feel we would like to Receive, Give, Take or Accept. It’s a change that is set in motion and we feel this will keep us helping to grow. It’s amazing that a lovely little game that looks so simple had such an impact on us.