by Alex Allman: The challenge for so many loving and committed couples is in keeping desire, attraction, passion, and presence in their sex lives.It can feel like your sex drive is betraying your heart. You wish that you could be consumed with mad attraction for the person you love, and yet all too often, familiarity actually kills libido. You might even begin to feel shame around the simple truth that you are often more sexually aroused by thoughts of complete strangers than thoughts of the person who is so dear to your heart.
Yet it would be naive, or worse, self-deceptive, to not acknowledge that this is the way humans are built, and in absence of some intentional action on your part, this is likely the way your relationships will evolve.
A big part of the problem is that most people define “making love” simply as “sex with someone you love.”
The danger with that definition is that it assumes that love is passively to be enjoyed during sex, rather than something that you DO.
However, if you examine the phrase “making love,” you might notice that it is not grammatically passive. There is a powerful action term in there. “Making” is creating — perhaps the most demanding of all actions. One can watch, listen, or even walk quite passively, but making or creating requires attention, intention, and presence.
In my definition, making love is in doing the work of surrendering the mind (or the ego) in service of relating. It is being present with your shared desire rather than being wrapped up in your unconnected mental or emotional experience.
One of the unexpected consequences of this definition is that it is possible to engage in profound love-making with a total stranger in a didn’t-even-catch-your-name one-night-stand.
Being “in love” is not required for “making love.” Rather, what is required is an openness to love itself and a willingness to “do love” by being present. Further, it is often easier for some individuals to do this with a relative stranger than with someone they deeply love and respect, with whom they have shared many of life’s trials and rewards, and with whom they’ve developed a deep and trusting relationship.
There are two reasons for this counterintuitive experience:
The first is that for a couple who have not practiced and worked at “doing love” while “making love” throughout their relationship, the path to being truly present with each other during sex becomes overgrown with all of the accumulated disappointments, minor betrayals, grudges, wrong-makings, and resentments of the years living together as partners in the business of life.
Eventually, for many couples, they wake up one day to discover that their life partner is the single most threatening person in the world for them to become sexually vulnerable, present, and real with.
Their partner is the person they are most likely to feel judged by, and the person they most fear judgement from. There is simply too much at stake.
The second reason is that no human ever really accurately knows another in the terms of the “ego/I”. The person I know myself to be on a daily basis will never be the same person that exists in your mind of who I am.
If we dig into the labyrinthian alleyways of modern spiritualism and non-duality, then we might agree that the person who I know myself to be on a daily basis is a fiction to begin with, just a story that I have created about myself to justify my self and hide from the terror of mortality. And my fictional story of who I am and your fictional story of who I am are not likely to be exactly the same story.
The longer we know someone, the more entrenched our version of that story becomes. We might not be surprised to discover that someone we just met is, in fact, very different from the way we first imagined them. But our parents, children, siblings and lovers? We have built up strong certainties that we know them as well (or even better!) than they know themselves.
Bringing that story into bed with you, in open and loving acceptance of your partner, with all of their faults and all of their wonderful qualities… might feel a very great deal like intimacy.
Yet I’d like to offer a perspective that no matter how you bring that story into bed with you, you are actually destroying any chance of authentic intimacy, killing the freshness of attraction, and erecting powerful barriers to experiencing Making Love.
Try this instead:
Do whatever mental acrobatics you need to in order to completely drop your “knowing” and your familiarity of who your lover is. Bring yourself back to presence, to seeing them new in the moment.
You will discover that it is more powerful to be present with your lover’s orgasm – simply at the level of feeling and experience (or even just to be more present with his cock or her pussy and your own baseline animal feelings of arousal for their genitals), than it is to be present with your lover’s personality.
Sometimes the training wheels necessary to get your mind to drop familiarity might involve a fantasy… perhaps a fantasy of a didn’t-even-get-your-name one-night-stand. You close your eyes and then open them again to see this person before you completely new. The truth of the situation opens for you and you relate to them not as “who they are,” but as the root experience of being human together.
Bringing your self back to presence, seeing your lover in the moment simply as they are, and not as they have ever been before, and then experiencing them through erotic touch IS making love.
At this level, sex becomes an entirely spiritual endeavor. You are now in the space, not only of truly making love, but of truly making love with a person you are in love with. In this state of mutual experience, it is not uncommon to weep tears of joy over and over again, each time you make you love, because it is not something that never becomes routine or familiar.
Ultimately, your commitment to “doing love” with your partner during sex will lead to moments of deep and profound recognition of Truth itself; which, of course, is the recognition of Love itself.
Image by caterina_renaux, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.