Years ago, and I don't really remember when, D and I developed a habit of talking about our deepest, darkest desires and potentially embarrassing requests with the lights off. To be honest, they weren't so deep and dark back then. Even now, I'd say we're probably only 62%, maybe 71% dark (I guess that technically makes us bittersweet, chocolate fans), but back then, we probably barely qualified as even the most exotic vanilla.
I think I was the one who proposed the idea. Whatever it was I wanted to talk about, I didn't want him to see the red glow on my face as I asked or told him the buried secret. Talking in the dark, sometimes even with our heads buried under the covers, gave us freedom. I know it may sound like an act that comes from a place of shame. And maybe it does. Or maybe it comes from a place of not having the words to express desires. The dark is a powerful signifier, however you look at it.
In the last several years we didn't have too many "in the dark" conversations. Looking back, maybe if we had used that technique we could have spoken more easily and openly about our sexual difficulties. Something I forgot: the in-the-dark chats were always held in bed. That started because at the time we both had roommates, and our bedrooms were the only places we could have these conversations. Conversations about things that would just be awkward and weird over the phone, but were somehow easily managed as long as we were in the same room, hearing each others' voices, even if we weren't seeing or touching each other.
A few months ago we had our first chat in the dark in many years. Out of nowhere I remembered our past success and asked if we could use it. I don't know why I felt I needed to do it. Talking in the dark makes us both feel more open to listening, perhaps because we can't see the other's face and react to the expressions we see there. We can only speak what's in our hearts, if we're being completely honest with each other.
What we had to talk about was something incredibly difficult and potentially painful in our relationship. As honest as I am on these pages, the topic is something I want to stay between us. But the process for working through it was an incredibly useful one. And as a result of having that conversation in the dark, we've been able to speak more freely about the issues, in the bright light of day and with a smile on our faces.