How to Rekindle Joy and Have Fun with Embodied Dating

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In this modern dating landscape, navigating the path to finding a meaningful connection can sometimes feel like an arduous task. Almost as if dating has turned into a science of the mind – a calculated process in which you are supposed to identify your key requirements and dealbreakers. Often, it more resembles a job interview than a fun, joyous, and exciting prospect at intimacy. 

And so you sit across from each other on your first date, and ask each other horrible questions like, “What was your last relationship like?”, “Do you want kids?”, or “Are you interested in marriage?”. You stutter, try to be impressive, while you’re looking for red flags – and mostly don’t feel anything at all.

It’s no wonder then that most people look at dating as a terrible chore. A necessary evil that they must endure to experience sex, intimacy, and relationships.

Amidst the chaos, three distinctive approaches emerge: Checklist Dating, Consoli-Dating, and Embodied Dating. The former two cling to preconceived ideals and criteria – while the latter champions a deep, intuitive connection with oneself and your potential partner. Let’s look at how we can embrace embodied dating and advocate for a shift towards more genuine, joyous dating experiences.

Young couple on a joyous, embodied date

Checklist Dating and Its Pitfalls

Whether you’re dating IRL or virtually, you will have encountered the checklist dater. The person who approaches dating with a checklist in hand, ready to cross off potential partners at the slightest provocation. Or, perhaps worse, they are trying to create a relationship with someone they feel nothing for but fits all their pre-conceived prerequisites.

At its core, checklist dating is a methodical approach, where you have a specific set of criteria that a potential partner must meet. This strategy, though seemingly logical, often leads to a mechanical and superficial process. It disregards the nuanced, indefinable qualities that make connections truly enriching. By focusing solely on ticking boxes, you may inadvertently overlook potential matches who, despite not meeting every criterion, could offer profound, meaningful companionship.

The true pitfall of checklist dating however assumes humans know what they want all the time, and that their desires never change.

The Perils of Consoli-Dating

Another concerning dating trend is the rise of consoli-dating. Here, you prematurely enter into a relationship for the sole purpose of mitigating loneliness or societal pressure.

This means you go on a couple of crappy coffee dates, maybe feel some chemistry, and before you know it, decide to be exclusive. In other words – this tiny sprout of a connection suddenly has to endure all the pressures of a full-blown relationship.

This often results in partnerships lacking in depth and genuine connection. It’s a stark reminder of the importance of pursuing relationships for the right reasons. And it emphasizes the need for self-reflection and authenticity in our dating journeys.

Two girls on a fun date.

How to Have Fun on a Date? Embrace Embodied Dating!

In the face of such challenges, how can we inject joy and have fun on a date again?

The answer lies in embracing spontaneity, exploring new experiences, and fostering a mindset of curiosity. Dating should be an adventure, an opportunity to discover new aspects of ourselves and others. And embodied dating is just that – a way to turn inward and connect with your deepest desires and emotions. By shifting your focus from outcomes to experiences, you can transform dating into a source of true joy and self-discovery.

Embodied dating is not about discarding preferences. It’s about allowing a more fluid process to guide you toward people you genuinely resonate with.

5 Ways You Can Introduce Joy on Your Next Date

  1. The Pre-Party: Getting ready for a date can be a great way to get grounded and start things off with some joy of your own. Do something indulgent, like taking a bubble bath or long shower, or eat something that makes your senses come alive. Listen to your anthem – the one that makes you feel like you can do anything. A little self-love can be a great way to relieve nerves and get in touch with your desires.
  2. A Joyous Plan: For a foodie, a surefire joyous plan might be trying a new food truck or a great restaurant. But if you date a lot, this can feel like a movie montage, where the person across from you swaps out, but your experience remains the same. So how about trying something new? Ice skating? A car picnic to watch the sunset? Mini golf? Maybe go to a comedy show – and get a window into your partner’s sense of humor. Flirt! Whatever you do – make a plan that excites you and fills you with anticipation.
  3. Stories are Everything: If you are dating someone new, take the time to hear their stories and appreciate how unique they are. Also, when you are telling your own stories, try and be as honest about yourself as possible instead of editing. Be confident that you are fascinating because we all are when we share our unique perspectives.
  4. Having Fun Doesn’t Mean You’re Leading Anyone On: Some people feel like they need to be overly “realistic” and make the date unpleasant if they feel there won’t be a follow-up. Enjoy yourself without worrying about the future. You might end up surprising yourself, making a new friend, or just having a good story. You can always end by saying, “I had a great time with you. I’m not feeling the chemistry, but I’m glad we met.”
  5. Strong Finish: Sometimes, a date ends in a night of mind-blowing sex. But many other outcomes can still feel great and leave you with a feeling of hope and joy. Maybe leave your partner with a sweet, sincere compliment. Or, if your after-party is solo, remember all of the wonderful things you enjoyed about the evening – about yourself, your date, where you went, what you ate, etc. Gratitude is contagious as well!

Enjoy the Ride – Or Hire a Dating Coach for Support

Navigating the modern dating world calls for a departure from conventional strategies that no longer serve us. By embracing embodied dating, we open ourselves to more authentic, fulfilling connections. It’s a journey of turning inward, embracing vulnerability, and ultimately, finding joy in the beautiful, unpredictable adventure of connecting with others.

If you want help with dating and seduction or just want to learn how to have fun on dates, consider hiring a dating coach.

Find a professional sex coach near you or by expertise now.

Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel
Dr. Danielle Harel is the the co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the co-founder of the Somatica® Institute. She has a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality (DHS), a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW), and a Bachelors (BA) degree in Psychology and Educational Counseling.

As a somatic sexologist, professor, and author, Danielle has devoted the last 20 years to resolving her client’s sexual challenges, training sex & relationship coaches, and empowering people. Harnessing her extensive training in sexology, psychology, and body-based modalities like Hakomi, attachment theory, character theory, and neuro-patterning, she guides people in reaching their fullest personal, professional, and sexual potential.

In addition to being faculty at Esalen and teaching the Advanced Somatica Training and Mastery Classes, Danielle has most recently embraced the adventure of co-producing the TV series Here She Comes – an episodic based on the Somatica Method (currently in production).

Before that, she published original research on Orgasmic Birth, and co-authored 3 books with Celeste Hirschman: Cockfidence, Making Love Real, and Coming Together.

She has also written extensively on sex, relationships, and dating, and is frequently quoted as an expert resource in publications.

To everything she does, Danielle brings her unparalleled passion, depth, intuition, and magnetizing personality.

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