My teenage son came to me the other day and proudly declared that out of all his mates, he’s the only one who has made love.
Once I got over the initial shock of him being so open with me – even though all three of my children are really open about their sexuality, since I’ve brought them up that way, it still surprises me as I could never have been that open with my parents – I asked him if he meant that his friends haven’t had sex yet.
“No, Mum,” he clarified “they’re having sex, but it’s just that boring teenage sex. Me and Kate, we really make love.” He had a big satisfied smile on his face.
“So, what’s the difference between regular sex and love-making?” I asked.
The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!
Take a group of couples who love each other, put them in a beautiful environment with no distractions, teach them to connect more deeply, inspire them to explore and play, and what do you get…?
Well, as one man who attended one of my couples retreats put it:
"I thought this retreat would expand our sex life, but it didn’t so much expand as turn our sex life upside down! I’m now seeing the world with a new, exciting, slightly bewildering light.”
It’s hard to explain that to someone before they’ve experienced it. “What do you do?” people ask me. My answer could indeed be: “I turn people’s sex lives upside down.”
In the retreats I teach centredness, presence and mindfulness as the basis, then from there we explore the concepts of connection, energy and sensation - and voila! The combination opens people up to experiences that are so much more than the... read more
How do you describe the act of intercourse? Do you call it ‘penetrative sex’? If you do, which wouldn’t be surprising as it’s such a common term, have you ever thought about what the word actually means and symbolises?
Penetration means ‘breaking through resistance’. Which might have applied to sex in the bad old days when a wife was supposed to just submit to her husband whether she wanted to or not, so it may well have been an act of breaking through resistance. But now, in 2020, do we really want to think of sex as an aggressive act?
Worse still, the term ‘penetrative sex’ gives agency to the ‘penetrator’ - the man - who does it to a resistant, or at least passive, recipient – the woman.
Is this really the concept of intercourse we want to be perpetrating these days – that it’s something done to a woman by a man? Of course not, yet we still use the term.
After a couple of really full and busy years, I had hoped 2020 would be slower-paced, but I wasn’t expecting it to be like this! With the bushfires at the start of the year there was no annual beach holiday to refresh and recuperate, so I thought a ‘stay-cation’ would be good as I could potter at home and get the house and garden looking good (when it wasn’t too smoky to go outside that is). And…I’m still pottering at home. The house and garden are looking amazing! I am fortunate than I can still get out of the house go to my clinic to see clients, mostly online.
It is interesting to see how clients are reacting to the pandemic restrictions. There are couples who are finding that spending more time together is solving their problems as what they mostly needed was more downtime together. Others are finding the forced time together is highlighting and exacerbating existing problems, bringing their troubles to the fore and forcing them to address them. Some single clients are withdrawing from the world while others are reaching out and finding that the longer ‘dating’ required at this time means they are forming better quality connections.
For me, at the start of the pandemic,... read more
When we’re talking about sex, what you’re actually doing is the icing. Everything that goes into yourselves individually
and as a couple, is the cake. That’s who you are as a couple, your dynamic, how you approach and engage intimately and sexually.
I love using food metaphors when educating and inspiring people around sexuality. We understand the variety, the flavours, the processes and ingredients – from simple to complex - when it comes to food. So, it is with sex too.
One of my most important food analogies is that great sex is non-linear, more like a picnic than a three-course meal. More recently I wrote about ‘relationship vitamins’, all the little things that are needed to make a relationship strong and healthy and sexy.
Today I’d like to use the metaphor of a cake and icing (frosting for my North American readers). Icing is sweet and delicious, but on its own, it’s too sweet and is sickly rather than tasty. Icing is only good when it’s on a cake. When you have a delicious cake, and then you ice it – mmm, yummy scrummy!
I’ve developed a model, the... read more
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I've just turned 60 and have been married over 35 years to a very good lady who loves me, but over the years has lost interest in sex. These days, she would happily have no sex at all, and so my advances are almost entirely rebuffed. The problem is I can’t find release myself – I’m not able to masturbate (perhaps my Catholic upbringing has locked in some guilt that stops me). My question has two parts: Is having regular erections without release bad for my health (eg my prostate)? And then… what can I do? If I can’t change my wife’s mind or learn to self-pleasure, I’m afraid I’ll start looking outside my marriage."
Answer: First up, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that men need to ejaculate for their prostate health, some studies even indicate the opposite. So, let’s get that myth out of the way and turn to the more interesting part of your question. Better still, let’s turn it around and ask the real question – why sex? There are many reasons why we desire sex. Two of the main ones are: (1) we’re feeling horny and want an orgasmic release, and (2) we want to have a pleasurable, connecting experience with... read more
I am really interested in human sexual potential. What is truly great sex? And why should we aim for it?
Well, most sexological research seems to have been focused more on quantity than quality. There’s a big focus on functioning genitals, with the assumption that if he’s erect and she’s lubricating, well, off you go then, that’s all you need for sex.
More recently there is more attention placed on pleasure, which is great, but again, it tends to focus on quantity rather than quality. How many orgasms are we having and how big are they?
But I work a lot with people who do have functioning genitals and satisfactory orgasms, yet they still say there’s something missing, that there’s got to be more. And yes, there is! I believe our human sexual potential has a lot more to do with depth and transcendence than in functioning genitals and quantifiable orgasms.
Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately
goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including
our experience of our partner.
When we first meet there is so much newness and excitement – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating. Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.
But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get... read more
So many people who come to me are wanting more from their sexuality, but are at a loss as to what that ‘more’ might be.
These people might already have done their own research or seen other professional helpers. They've made sure their genitals are functioning, have given themselves permission to try different sexual activities, learned the importance of consent – and yes, these are all important parts of a healthy sex life – yet something is still missing…
The answer to the ‘more’ in sex is not a doing more, it’s a being more.
It is about moving away from sex as an ‘act’ or a ‘performance’ and engaging with another with openness and transparency. Rather than ‘doing’ each other or ‘getting each other off’, it’s about both surrendering to the experience. When two people engage in this way you are allowing yourself to explore, express and be known at the deepest levels of your being.
- mindful, in that your mind is not distracted but is fully present;
- bodyful, in that you are completely embodied, experiencing fully through the whole of your physicality; and it becomes
- soulful, in that you discover... read more
So often I hear my clients say that they still love their partner but are no longer in love. Often this is given as the reason for wanting to end an otherwise good relationship. These clients always make this claim with some despondency and with a sense of finality, as though once it’s gone it’s gone.
This is understandable, as it’s a common belief that there is the exciting, passionate ‘in love’ honeymoon period and then there is dreary ‘loving’ companionship ever after. But is this fact or myth? Is loss of ‘in love-ness’ inevitable or can we keep it going?
Well, it’s a huge topic and I’d need more than one blog post to go into details, but essentially the answer is yes, you can cultivate that feeling. The key word here is cultivate. It doesn’t ‘just happen’.
Nothing good in life ‘just happens’, nothing good lasts without focus and attention. You don’t stay fit and healthy if you don’t focus on it, you don’t become wealthy if you don’t pay attention, you don’t develop a good career or business without on-going intent to do so. Yet for some reason when it comes to love and sex, we think it... read more
- #332: Be Conscious Not Complacent
- #331: It's OK to Disappoint Your Partner
- #330: Moans & Groans – why sound is good in sex and how to make more
- #329: Gateways to the Erotic Shift
- #328: Safety is Sexy
- #327: Pace Your Sexual Interactions
- #326: Fly on the Wall Friday - my new Video Series
- #325: When Things Get Wobbly Assume the Best and Get Curious
- #324: How Alike do You Need to be to Have a Good Relationship
- #323: Be "At Home" in Your Body
- #322: Don't Ever Stop Kissing
- #321: Consent From the Inside
- #320: How to Say No Without It Feeling Like Rejection
- #319: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 3: Sexual Transformation
- #318: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 2: Relational Transformation
to LOVELIFE News for regular inspiration on sex, love and intimacy!