My parent’s marriage ended when my mother told my father she didn’t love him anymore and that she was not sure she ever did. Years later, after all of the ugliness of the divorce was done, something at my father’s core was never the same again. His belief in love was soured and distilled into an experience of abandonment that morphed to fit every ending that followed. Over the years of my loveology practice, I have heard many versions of this traumatic end-of-love story and have witnessed the wreckage of families and lives left in its wake. I know how the residual shame turns to suffering and sticks in us as an abandoned child long after the end of love. These stories have always left me wondering where does the love go? How does love end up disappearing from a heart so completely that you can’t be sure it ever existed at all? Is it really possible to lose your capacity to feel the love you have lived and shared? Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the 'Making Love Sustainable' Category
I have been thinking a lot about healing lately, partly because it is happening on my face. My bee sting of last weekend has dominated my energy and focus as I have witnessed changes in color, swelling and sensation. It was another timely reminder that life on earth is first and foremost an experience in the body. Dealing with the wounds of life on both a physical and emotional level is our first occupation.
Yesterday, I posted this status on Facebook: “For many years I have resisted selling my products in my writing, believing that it would somehow confuse the message and reduce the education about love to advertising. I am ending my silence today. For as much as I have come to understand about the relational quality of loving that makes sex true and amazing, I learned these things through Good Clean Love – our products do create real sexual healing and that’s the truth.”
This feels like starting a new chapter, or even like a change in religion. I have always been so concerned about diluting the important message of relational love that I have left my products as orphans. I never promote my work as an entrepreneur or love product connoisseur. I never talk about why we produce the kind of products we do unless I am doing a sales training. Even then, it is more about education than it is about taking the space that I have earned over the years as a green formulator of the best love products on the market.
This week seems to be ripe with new beginnings. My last year of college started just a few days ago, which means everything’s changing around quite quickly. But let me backtrack for a moment to introduce myself. I am the founder of Good Clean Love’s daughter, a senior in college attending the University of Oregon and will graduate with a degree in public relations. I would like to announce the arrival of a new column on the Good Clean Love site. This column will be dedicated to all of us younger people, trying for the first time, to handle committed adult relationships.
As a culture, our diet often suffers from the overwhelming demands of schedule and time constraints; we pick up food on the run and call it a meal. Even when we take the time to prepare a meal at home, we often eat it in front of a screen, eating quickly and mindlessly. Taking the time to taste our food is a luxury many of us don’t know we are missing. We leap to the main course, over eating but never really filling up.
In many ways our sexual drive sadly gets the same treatment. We take the sensuous part of our humanity for granted, forgetting the power that scent has in waking up our memory, sexuality and emotions. It is well documented that people who become anosmic, suffer not only a significant drop in their ability to taste, but to emote. Thus, sexual drive plummets.
Learning to pay attention to scent and the associated tastes is a form of building a sensory vocabulary.Taking the time to savor our senses makes life rich. Nowhere is that more true than in our intimate lives. Thinking about your sex life like a gourmet meal both takes the pressure off of any preconceived ideas of the main event and opens a gateway to the wonders of what it means to be a sexual being.
“Lovely female shapes are terrible complicators of the difficulties and dangers of this earthly life, especially for their owners.” ~George du Maurier
I was caught by a news headline that showed, in a recent Nutrisystem poll of one thousand people, approximately 50% of female participants say they would rather go without sex for the summer than gain 10 pounds. One quarter of the male respondents agreed. The poll was supported by recent European research with 12,000 participants. This study found that obese women were 30% less likely to have a sexual partner than normal weight women. Interestingly, this did not hold up for obese men.
How we imagine other people see our bodies and how we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror, or touch and smell ourselves, has a significant yet complex impact on how we think about ourselves sexually. Body image doesn’t just include our estimation or our shape and weight compared with the ideal cultural body type, it also often includes our feelings about specific body parts. Our feelings about our bodies are a learned response based on the messages and images of ideal beauty that our society and families value. Growing up comparing ourselves and being compared to a specific type of beauty is how our feelings about our bodies grow in us. Think about how different these beautiful body ideals have been across culture and time.
It is never too late to learn about your boundaries. I am coming to believe that it is perhaps one of the aspects of living that most defines our maturity and facility for accomplishing our goals. Boundary issues are common to most of us; in fact, our personal boundaries are the basic, yet often invisible rulebook that guides all of our relationships. Our boundaries define how and what we communicate, what we give and receive, and even, in the most basic sense, provide the parameters for what we expect from others and life itself.
Boundaries reflect how we love ourselves and what we value most deeply. They impact our capacity at work, with authority, with our money and our sexuality. Knowing when we want to say yes, when we want to say no, what feels like self-respect and where our own needs start and end are the foundations that build the sense of boundaries that control our lives. Mine have long been porous, which is a generous way of admitting that my lines between myself and others, in family and even more so at work, have been fuzzy.
An old friend once told me that our boundaries are the truest measure of how we love ourselves. I thought I understood the meaning at the time. Raising four children should have bestowed on me a mastery of setting limits and protecting my personal space over the last two decades. It hasn’t. I am not alone in my struggle for healthy boundaries. Learning to define our boundaries is challenging for many people because they are fluid and change with our sense of ourselves.
“Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex.” Henry Ellis
Who doesn’t want a healthy and satisfying sex life? And yet a substantial and growing percentage of people struggle with low libido and sexual dysfunction issues. Overcoming this challenge in order to benefit from the many emotional and physical benefits of lovemaking should be on the top of your list when you consider that hundreds of major medical studies correlate an active sex life with a longer life, better heart health, a healthier immune response, reduction in chronic pain symptoms, lower rates of depression and even protection against some cancers.
Identifying the top 5 libido killers is a good way to get on track to finding healthy ways to build healthy mental and physical habits to revitalize the passionate side of your life.
Like millions of other young girls in this country, my daughters were raised with the Disney girls. My eldest was a long-time fan of both Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff and witnessed with disbelief as their girl-next-door appearances slipped into sex symbol and their lives slipped out of control in a world designed to devour them whole. Where were their parents, I wondered, as they made bad choice after bad choice? Disney fame seemed to be a curse for the girls who grew up as role models for so many young girls.
My youngest daughter has been a fan of Hannah Montana for years. The values and lessons in the show, with her real Dad at her side, were comforting to us; we somehow believed that she would escape the fate of her predecessors. My daughter would say, ”She’s from the South, her dad won’t let her do sexy music videos…” Perhaps they left her for a long vacation, because it is hard to believe that her parents or the Disney executives who promote Hannah Montana would be ok with the soft porn music video, “Can’t be Tamed” that she just released.
The line between pornography and music videos has been blurry for a long time. A quick look at Christina Aguilera in her latest video Not Myself Tonight demonstrates that pornography has really crossed every line of society, including our children’s hip-hop culture. In this society, female equals sexualized if you hope to get any attention. Apparently, 17 is not too young to turn a Disney girl into the next piece of meat for society to devour.
Most things in life are developmental. Human lifespan has programmed continuous growth and maturation into our genetic code, which acts as an imperative that makes skill building one of the richest aspects of daily living. Nowhere is this truer than in our foundational relationship to our sexuality.