Then we enjoy.
Linda: Even though Jordan and Mary had a history of both being manipulative and self-centered in the past, which got them stuck in a power struggle, they got to work and began to re-instill trust. They practiced disengaging from any sexual agenda. Jordan began giving her a very high level of focused, caring attention.
He began to understand how important it was to look deeply into Mary’s experience. He realized that he didn’t really know her as well as he thought he did. Jordan realized that he didn’t know what she was feeling, wanting, or needing at any given moment. A new excitement was entering their relationship as they watched themselves evolving. He recognized his partner as a work in progress, rather than a fixed entity. He stopped taking her for granted.
Jordan: “I didn’t realize that Mary was hurting too. I had just been judging her as cold and selfish because I was all wrapped up in my own frustration. I didn’t know what she needed from me. This trouble motivated me to get to know myself better and to risk sharing myself with my wife. In the process, I’ve gotten to know her a lot better too, which I really like.
Soon Mary was no longer feeling neglected. It was compelling to be given to unconditionally by the man she cared for deeply. She began to understand him more clearly. Once she wasn’t so busy defending against his bids for sex, she was able to see that sex expression was his favorite way of being cherished and valued. The gridlock was broken, and these two not only started to enjoy more frequent sexual contact, but they found that the level of intimacy deepened and they felt much closer to each other.
Giving fully of your uncritical and non-judging attention to your partner often invites a response of appreciation and openness that can dissolve attachments to previously-held grudges or hurts. Jordan realized that instead of trying to get Mary to “get over it”, he would allow the quality of his attentiveness to express his love to her regardless of how he might be feeling at the time.
It’s important that both you and your partner feel that the love that you share is stronger than whatever temporary disturbances may be going on between the two of you. When you desire to know your partner’s feelings, their longings, and their desires because you care about them and want to make them happy, you will give them a kind of attention that is very compelling.
Mary: “Now that Jordan is willing to take some influence from me, we have read some books on sexuality together, taken a few classes to which have been helpful and given us ideas of new things to try. When he gives fully of his uncritical and non-judging attention, it invites my appreciation of him. When I open up and share my previously held grudges and hurts, and he listens to me with caring, my old grudges just dissolve. I’ve learned that the very same qualities that healed our relationship during previous challenges work in the sexual arena as well: commitment, patience, good will, communication, and generosity. The emphasis is on giving and receiving. It’s what I have been craving all this time.”
Jordan: “I realized how important it is that both Mary and I feel the love that we share is stronger than whatever temporary disturbance is going on between us. We’re having more sex and enjoying it too. It’s good.”
Mary: “We now enjoy what we have come to call inspired sexuality. We come to each other with respect, trust, and with openness. We’ve experimented with keeping eyes open, play with dancing nude, taking turns being the receptive partner for an entire love-making session, shower our partner with kisses all over the body and varying the location where we make love. There are endless variations of sensual pleasure to explore.”
Jordan: “I’m learning how important it is to take plenty of time, and have a process orientation rather than a goal focused orientation. In sexuality from the heart, we become true artists of the senses. Each sense comes alive, smelling incense, flowers, tasting, feeding each other strawberries, grapes, and chocolate, hearing music, ocean waves, and water trickling over rocks. Letting go with my narrow focus of genital touching to include the entire body, lightly dragging a silk scarf over mary’s skin, full body touching of fingers, toes, faces, backs, and thighs is lots of fun. With so much sensual touching, released from having a goal, we’ve been experimenting with letting go of our attachment to orgasm, to more fully delight in the subtle sensations of pleasure.”
It is the quality of attention that we bring TO each other, even more than what we do FOR each other that conveys our level of caring. That which we love is that to which we give attention. The more loving in our attention, our words, and our deeds we are with our partner, the more intimacy we will share. As the transformation Jordan and Mary went through allowed them to become more expansive in the variety of styles of lovemaking. The big payoff was more honesty, openness, willingness to experiment, creativity, and learn along side each other.
If in our attempts to broaden the experimentation with sexual expression runs into resistance, we have the option to respectfully, gently press the edge of our comfort zone to explore what’s in the way. There can be old wounds or mixed feelings about sex. Working with resistances and ambivalence with a loving attitude is as essential as any other part of the lovemaking and is a part of the whole experience. Wise long-term couples appreciate the importance of their pleasure bond and take the time to learn the art of subtle seduction.
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” – Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate