A Valentines Q&A with Intimacy Coach Viktoria Kalenteris
by Catherine Morris | February 13, 2021, updated about 2 years ago
Love is in the air this month, but for some couples keeping the fire alive isn't easy.
If you're out of the starry-eyed phase and wondering if you and your partner have lost your spark, don't panic. That’s normal, and there are plenty of things you can do to rekindle that flame.
We talked to intimacy coach Viktoria Kalenteris of Playful Loving about getting stuck in a romance rut, fostering intimacy, and the power of playful passion.
Q: What exactly does an intimacy coach do, and what does the coaching process involve?
Before I dive into answering, I need to clarify what intimacy means for me as a coach and counsellor–
Intimacy [into-me-see]; Empowering self-awareness to authentically love deeply, live fully, laugh often, and get the vibrant healthy intimacy you desire. The curiosity to adventure with confidence and presence into powerful possibilities of transformation to connect.
So many people feel awkward and uncomfortable in their intimate relationships with themselves, loved ones and day to day life. They do not know how to ask for what they need and want without feeling a myriad of negative feelings like; fear, anger, sadness, guilt, and shame. They’re left feeling lonely and disconnected, robbing themselves of joyful intimacy.
I help people reconnect with curiosity, confidence, presence and passion with themselves first and then with their loved ones. All done through playful loving transformational learning dynamics, self-empowerment practices, healthy boundary setting, compassionate communication, confidence building, along with practical guidelines for success and much much more.
It's about empowering your intimacy with confidence, joy, and passion for life. That path of honouring myself can be your's as well. A journey with transformational counselling, embodied yoga, ancient wisdom of Daoist and Tantra traditions of healing and empowerment.
Inspired by my own journey. I created a supportive, hand-held odyssey where I walk with you into the dark and back into the light with courage and confidence. Giving you the ability to creatively connect to a vibrant life of self-empowered love and the intimacy you desire.
Q: How and why did you become an intimacy coach?
My journey has elements of ugly to awesome. Growing up in a strict Greek orthodox family I was disciplined in the art of heightened awareness and self-sacrificing service.
As a result, I left myself on the back burner, putting others before me. I basically took on my mother's narrative of surviving in a loveless marriage. I was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of 18, and never really got to know who I was. At the same time, I experienced a variety of physical abusive and emotional traumas at the hands of close people and a variety of misguided partners. I felt incredibly alone and disconnected.
To survive, my coping mechanism led me to create a protective armour around my heart and, in an effort to feel safe, my warrior side emerged and I became more masculine. I went through life feeling numb and disconnected. Unable to feel myself, not knowing how to seek self-care and not allowing anyone into my heart left me feeling isolated.
Years passed, and I felt lost and tired of holding up my protective shield. My heart felt heavy and numb. My mind was angry and frustrated and struggling with the words; Why did this happen to me?
I felt the need to breathe deeply with a burning desire to live life fully and authentically. Pushing through the words of upset I decided to begin my empowering healing journey.
During my epic odyssey of personal healing, it hit me, like a brick to the head. I realized my body, heart and mind must heal as a holistic system. I learned how to feel connected and empowered with myself and my environment. I nourished and began to remember how to cultivate my authentic confidence. Bringing forward my passion, curiosity, creativity, love of life, joy of laughter and playful loving intimacy.
Now I'm celebrating 15+ years of empowering education, guidance, teaching, counselling and coaching for women, men, and couples.
Q: What are the biggest barriers to intimacy in a relationship?
Communication with regard to not being heard and not knowing how to express emotions, not being seen or appreciated.
Also, not being shown how much they are loved, not being touched the way they need, not being desired, and feeling taken for granted.
Fear of not being understood, rejected, abandoned. Trauma. A lack of confidence to express desires and curiosities, and shame story loops that interfere with connection.
Q: What are some of the intimacy red flags that might indicate a couple needs therapy?
A lack of intimate communication and being always busy with no quality time given to their relationship.
If their libido is not in sync–that creates physical distance and resentment because one or the other is afraid to ask for what they desire. Routine mundane connection in intimacy leads to boredom in the bedroom.
If one partner is frustrated because there is a craving for deeper connection and they do not know how to attain this.
If there is past trauma that creates disconnection during intimacy and one or both partners often do not know how to overcome or manage the awkwardness.
Q: We often carry past traumas and beliefs into our present relationships, how can people break their negative patterns and work with where they are?
True, the majority of people carry past trauma and real time trauma and beliefs that create blocks, disconnection, and everyday struggles in a present day relationship.
Firstly, be gentle and compassionate with yourself and your partner. Secondly, be comfortable being uncomfortable with the facts of your negative experience in a safe and nurturing space with yourself and with your partner. Third, you need to seek out the best daily and intimate practices that help you work through the negative and transform it into a positive loving connection.
Q: How can couples maintain intimacy over the long-term and avoid the boring slump that many longstanding partnerships experience?
The best way to maintain healthy and vibrant intimacy and avoid any funny looking slump is to be curious. Accentuate the positives. Take responsibility and ownership for your own sh#$. You are adults, not children that require parenting.
Q: Intimacy means different things to different people, how can you make sure your partner's on the same page as you?
Find out what intimacy means to yourself and your partner.
First know what intimacy looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like and tastes like to you and then ask from a place of curiosity—what is intimacy to your partner?
Q: If you had to give couples one piece of key advice for building a healthy relationship, what would it be?
The key advice for building a healthy, authentic and vibrant relationship is to be comfortable in your intimacy. Choose to be compassionate, communicative, and in connection with curiosity, with yourself and each other.
Connect with Viktoria or one of our other Which Doctor couples therapists or counsellors today to reignite your relationship and get started on your healing journey together.
Catherine Morris is an award-winning journalist with a bad case of wanderlust and a passion for all things health and wellness. Originally from Northern Ireland, she worked as a news and feature writer for media outlets in the UK, South Africa, France and the Caribbean before settling in Canada. Catherine now lives in Alberta with her husband and rescue mutt and spends her time happily exploring the great outdoors with both.