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.
Archive for the 'Making Love Sustainable' Category
I learned about weeds before I learned anything about gardens. For my 40th birthday my husband built me a beautiful, secure deer fence and I was told to use straw to augment and lighten the heavy clay soil. The straw turned out to be hay and seeded itself heartily throughout the space. I was overwhelmed with weeds that I had inadvertently planted. Later, after the hay crop was removed, as a novice gardener, I planted several varieties of plants that I was told had “magical” properties. Although I didn’t know them as weeds, they infiltrated throughout the flowers and vegetable beds with their sticky seed pods. For many years, weeding and gardening were synonymous. Removing the weeds was the prerequisite to creating the space to grow the garden I had envisioned. It also became a worthy metaphor for working on my marriage.
I recently learned that the transformation of the caterpillar to a butterfly isn’t just about the effort of spinning their cocoon. Once inside, the caterpillar literally liquefies in its metamorphosis to its adult form as a butterfly, which, while short lived, optimizes the astonishing feat of beauty and freedom that most all living creatures aspire towards. In humans, I would argue based on recent life events, the transformation to our fully free and beautiful selves is no less epic. Yet, instead of spinning a cocoon of silk, we transform through forgiveness, through our courage to feel and dismantle the stories that have defined us and remarkably re-make our cellular memory.
Sexual dissatisfaction is one of the top reasons cited when we leave our relationships. It is also one of this life’s most worthy challenges to take on- not only for the meaning and pleasure it can bring to our relationships, but also for the very real health benefits that a satisfying sex life bestows on our wellbeing. I also believe that learning how to satisfy our sex drive and grow our comfort with our erotic selves is a window, which reveals our deepest humanity. It is no surprise that a massive consumer market designed to offer a quick fix for our sexual desires has ballooned into a billion dollar industry. But despite the millions of options available, there is no magic pill (even those that manage to sustain erections), toy or DVD of new sexual techniques that is going to bring you the kind of passionate intimate connection that we all long for. There are however, some pretty straightforward shifts in focus and attention that will lead you towards more satisfying sexual experiences and a comfort with who you are as an erotic human being. Here are a few ideas which are not listed in order of potency and even if you only try one at a time, take note on how your intimate life responds.
“Conservatives say teaching sex education in the public schools will promote promiscuity. With our education system? If we promote promiscuity the same way we promote math or science, they’ve got nothing to worry about.” ~Beverly Mickins
Most of what matters and gets better in life happens through education; yet remarkably, when it comes to sex, many people were not only deprived of sexual education in their youth, but have carried the ignorance is bliss thing way too long into adulthood. In fact, when it comes to cultivating and sustaining an erotic life, persisting in not knowing may well be the kiss of death. Usually what we don’t know about is shrouded with our fear, which can easily turn sexual encounters into regretful decisions with risky consequences. Consequently, three of the most powerful predictors of an evolving and passionate erotic life include cultivating a natural curiosity about your sexual self, opening up to the vast expanse of sexual experiences that live inside of you and discerning true sex education from sexual entertainment.
“Be no longer tender. Cover me with frenzied kisses, – even as I would drench my body in the cruel torrents of the rain. Envelop me from throat to ankle in delirium intolerable….” ~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff
Accessing our deepest erotic selves can be as simple as tapping into the power of our own voice, exploring the range of sounds we create in the throes of intimacy and getting comfortable uttering dirty words. Silencing our sexual sounds is an odd and yet remarkably common holdover from our earliest sexual experiences that can shroud our lovemaking for decades. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was nearing my second decade of marriage before I gave up repressing the noises that wanted to erupt out of me during sex. There is something primordial about the sounds that sex generates, and whether you are with a new partner or one that you have loved for a long time, sounding out in sex brings you to both a new level of vulnerability and intimacy.
The deep abiding mistrust of female sexuality makes the world go round. For us in the West, we know this space as an inability to orgasm, the loss of desire and the fear of getting too close. But in the cultures that make up Africa and the Middle East this mistrust holds a razors edge over the genitalia of millions of young girls. In these cultures, just retaining the physiological capacity for pleasure makes one unclean, unmarriageable, and unable to take their place in their community. This required and brutal rite of passage, sometimes referred to as female circumcision, or more simply “cutting”, has been performed on more than 140 million women living on the planet.
Sexual freedom is on the rise. Just this past week, several notable Republican law makers came out in favor of the right for marriage equality regardless of gender preferences. The interesting thing about change is how after it is done, we can hardly remember how it was before. Before long, coming out will no longer refer to gender orientation and who we have sex with. According to a recent article reported in the NY Times, ‘coming out’ will increasingly be about how people choose to have sex. Thanks in part to the 65 million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey in circulation, practitioners of kinky sex are now coming out and their numbers are multiplying fast. Fetlife, a website catering to kinky persuasion has added 700,000 new members this year bringing their total membership to over 1.7 million.
“I know that when a door closes, it can feel like all doors are closing. A rejection letter can feel like everyone will reject us. But a closed door leads to clarity. It’s really an arrow. Because we cannot go through that door, we will go somewhere else. That somewhere else is your true life.” -Tama Kieves
Rejection might well be the source of our greatest fear and anguish and for good reason. Looking back at our tribal origins, rejection is imprinted in us as a matter of life and death. We humans were never meant to live alone; we are herd animals. I learned again last week just how deeply this lineage of rejection runs in me when I was “un-invited” to a small business group. Never mind that I wasn’t sold on the idea of joining this group from the beginning or even after the first meeting walked away doubting my decision to participate; still the call of rejection stung deep and left circles of reactivity around me for days.
One of my husband’s most reliable responses to my often high level of emotionality is: “Can you just be neutral?” He is a psychiatrist, so he has a lot more practice at finding a neutral objective view. Yet, even before we each chose our respective professions, he would often find his way back to center with more ease than I. Over the years, as I have learned to lean towards this middle space of witnessing reality without the storm of emotions that literally cloud my view, I have witnessed how my relationship has grown up to not only withstand conflicts, but has given each of us the room to really listen to opposing points of view. Actively seeking a neutral perspective moves relating beyond the knee jerk reactions of right and wrong and adds real time to the challenging exchanges that make or break a relationship.