Put Some SPICE in Your Life!

In all relationships there will be times when a couple will choose or need to avoid genital activity. Some examples of such times can include when a woman has her menses, illness, pelvic rest during pregnancy, after childbirth, when traveling etc. Couples using natural methods of family planning like the Creighton Model FertilityCare System may also choose to avoid genital activity on days of fertility if they wish to avoid a pregnancy.

The Creighton Model System is a holistic system that recognizes that the sexuality of a woman is more than just what is going on in her ovaries; it involves all of her relationships, none more so than the relationship with her spouse. That is why it is so important that during times when genital activity is not possible for whatever reason, the couple has recourse to other forms of intimacy that ultimately strengthen their bond and deepen their relationship.

Below is the content of an educational handout we provide to our clients to help them seek out the SPICE in their own relationships.

SPICE stands for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Communicative (or Creative) and Emotional ways of showing love and affection without genital contact.  During the days that you choose to avoid genital contact, don’t avoid each other!  Instead, plan SPICE activities in order to enhance your relationship.

Make a SPICE List:

  • Make a list of ten non-genital activities that you enjoy—think loving and fun!
  • Swap lists and talk about the activities.  Are there interests and activities that appeal to you both?
  • Make a plan to do some of these activities.  For more spontaneity, write the individual activities on strips of paper and put the strips in a “SPICE jar.”  When you’re ready to have some SPICE fun, pull out a strip and do that activity.

Plan a Date Night:

  • Make a “date” with your loved one.  This might be something as casual as going for a walk or as special as getting dressed up and going out to eat.  The important thing is to make a date—a day and a time—and stick to it.  Unless there’s an emergency, don’t let anything keep you from your plans.
  • Take turns deciding what “date night” might be, this way both of you have a chance to plan a special evening.  You can also plan a “surprise” date night.
  • Date night can also be “date day” or “date weekend,” but the most important thing is to make “date night” a regular event.

Plan a Talk Night:

  • Get comfortable, settle in, get something to eat or drink, cuddle together on the couch and talk about what’s going on in your lives.
  • Your chat can be about external things:  what’s happening at work, at home, in the news, with your friends, in your church, or in the world.  Just talk.  Turn off the TV, turn off the computer, put away the newspaper, and chat.
  • If the conversation turns deep and emotional, that’s okay too.  Sharing personal feelings about what’s going on in your lives or in our world will bring your relationship to a deeper and more intimate level.

Play “Do You Know This About Me?”

  • Make a list of five or more things you don’t think your loved one knows about you.  Does he (she) know that you always wanted to play the cello but never had the chance?  Or that when you were ten you got lost while you were on a camping trip?  Or that your favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip?
  • After you’ve both made your lists, take turns revealing, one by one, those things you think your loved one doesn’t know.  Take some time and talk about each item; don’t simply rush through the list.
  • You can also play “Do you know this about me” as a quiz.  Take your items, one by one, and take turns asking each other, for example, “Do you know what instrument I always wanted to play?”

Play “This Is What I Love about You”

  • Sit down facing each other.  Taking turns, say out loud what you love about the other.  Don’t write down or plan your comments ahead of time.  You can be serious or silly, but stick to what you love (not what you’d like to change!).
  • These things can be physical (“I love the color of your eyes” or “I love how you laugh”).
  • They can be emotional (“I love how you always comfort me when I’m upset).
  • They can be personal characteristics (“I love how you’re so organized”).
  • They can be experiences you’ve shared (“I loved when we went sled riding last winter”)

Use Your Imagination:

  • Not all couples are alike in how they show non-genital affection.  As a couple, talk about what feels “right” to each of you, and how you as individuals and as a couple can maintain and enhance your relationship during those times when you are avoiding genital contact.
  • Write your ideas down.  Talking about how you might find ways to express love and affection without genital contact and then putting those ideas into action will deeper your regard and respect for one another and improve your communication.
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