Yesterday, I interviewed Neil Biderman, the founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, the online affair portal that boasts 19 million profiles in 26 countries. Every day, the business of cheating generates 26,000 new users and over $91,000. His empire, built on what isn’t working in human intimacy, is booming. Our conversation was lively; he was accustomed to the push back and articulate about the challenges of making a fortune on the devastating betrayals that his website generates. Initially, he argued that it wasn’t the desire for sex as much as a longing for passion and attention that motivated so many of his female customers to initiating affairs. Only moments later he claimed that his website was actually helpful to marriage longevity because it allowed people to stay together and have their sexual needs taken care of elsewhere.
Archive for the 'Making Love Sustainable' Category
“Virtually all hyperosmolar lubricants need to be reformulated… Normally the mucosal lining of the vagina is a good barrier to infection all by itself, but when that barrier gets compromised, all bets are off.” -Richard Cone, biophysicist Johns Hopkins
My work making personal lubricants never seemed like the answer to a national health crisis until now. As many of you know, I was inspired to start Good Clean Love to solve my own intimacy needs. The burning and itching that followed my intimacy didn’t really leave me longing for more. Developing products that made loving healthier was a personal quest more than a business idea. Along the way, I have learned quite a bit about the business side, although still really struggle to understand the greed motive that drives so many large multinational corporations to do things that people individually they would never do on their own (Monsanto is practically synonymous with environmental destruction in my mind). Even though Monsanto’s genetic engineering and planting pesticides inside of food is well known, it seems impossible to stop them.
I have never been a good quitter in life and so it is not surprising that my relationship to endings is challenging. Still, this midyear cycle is always poignantly full of them with school year endings, graduations and all of the moving on that summer invites. This year, two of my children are graduating from college and my younger kids are completing their final years of high school. I am often struck by how the last day of anything, even the things we count down towards, can catch us off guard because, while it is easy to envision moving on from an activity like classes, leaving behind the relationships within that context carries a silent loss that we often don’t recognize until it is gone.
The ability to orgasm remains one of the most coveted and yet misunderstood human experiences there is- partly because we wrongly believe that it is an experience of the genitals, when in fact our ability to climax reverberates throughout the body and initiates deep in the brain. So here I present to you a user friendly guide to the order of operations that, with a unique blend of practice and letting go will move most everybody from arousal to orgasm.
I have been preaching the gospel of learning to stay in our relationships for close to a decade, but only recently have learned for myself how the lessons of staying with the hard places in relationship are most deeply integrated through the work of the body. Learning how to hold our selves in the Warrior/ Virabhadrasana 1 pose provides a powerful metaphor for the complex commitment necessary for our most intimate relationships to thrive.
I have been working on my capacity for receiving for some time. Teaching myself the ways of opening to love and affection, learning how to sense the feel of love in my body and noticing how it lasts or dissipates with my attention. The ability to receive manifests itself in everything from our capacity for sexual pleasure to our sense of financial security. It also lives in the endless human transactions that make up our days, not only within our most intimate relationships but in the ways we meet strangers, participate in groups large and small and generally experience belonging and isolation in our lives.
I have been making love with the same man for some thirty years, and although I can honestly say it has gotten amazingly and increasingly better over the decades, it is important to add that this improvement was in direct proportion to the work and willingness we brought to growing up sexually. To be fair and honest, my earliest memories of sex hold as much frustration as they did passion. I longed for the romantic, sexual combustion that would not only fill me up, but also unite me with my partner/ However, without any real skills to get there, much of our sexuality became an exercise in approach- avoidance.
“The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” -C. Joybell
I am coming to the end of an era in my life as my youngest daughter celebrates her 15th birthday this week. Mothering my four children has been my primary occupation for the last half of my life and now, as I near the end of this growth cycle, I am coming to see what has yet to grow in me. Somehow as I was having all these babies I never realized how old I would become when the job was done. I remember a few random moments pushing a swing, when I would calculate how old I would be when this last little girl would graduate from high school, but then the idea of this time so far in the future felt like fiction. Imagining my two–year-old at fifteen was as unimaginable to me as my then 37-year-old self turning 52.
It is that time of year again, when the garden performs its ritual magic of re-creating itself anew. Regardless of the challenging and changeable winter weather conditions, the perennials in the garden re-emerge each spring, a blooming demonstration of what it means to weather the storms of life. Perennials for me are the defining feature of an evolving garden, because we trust them year after year to sustain the shape of our garden. Finding the source of perennial sustenance in our selves is how we shape our own evolution. For me, after years of searching outside of myself, I am finally waking up to the singular truth of life that has been articulated by way smarter people than me- that our world is created from the inside out.
We all have a sexual soul, or more accurately, a piece of our soul is reflected deeply in our sexuality. This sexual space that inhabits the deepest recesses of our consciousness is one of the most meaningful ways that we know ourselves, and, as the Bible suggests, is truly a garden. Yet, the metaphor of our sexuality as a garden is, in fact, way more mysterious than the simple judgments attached to taking a bite of an apple. Heeding the inner calls to explore and attend your unique garden of sexual delights is a direct route to self-discovery, self-expression and arguably, the essence of our soul’s ability to keep our life pro-creatively inspired.