By T.M. Bernard
I’ve always been intrigued by the bonding behaviors of couples; the flip of the hair, the sideway glances, the subtle touches on a sleeve, those hungry murmers on the dance floor. In my own relationship, I remember feeling wobbly the first time my then-boyfriend called me, “My Love.” Spoken in his impossible to place accent – a mixture reflecting his early years growing up in a British household with a French father, all while living in the Middle East – I was wholly enamored by the So-Not-American phrase. Immediately, it became our endearment, part proclamation of our feelings and part statement of who we are to one another.
Intuitively, it seems to me, that every aspect of human coupling is rooted in an ancient seduction dance. Watch primates in action to confirm what I write; they wink, nod, grunt and sigh in disarmingly familiar ways to humans when copulating. As for flirting, and dating and all those artifacts of culture that help unite boy with girl, and girl with boy (or other variations), are these not well-established processes and customs we follow in the pursuit of love and connection?
We communicate our needs; heal wounds, share secrets, and move emotional mountains with the sweetly placed touch or word. Our physical wishes are just part of it. Through these expressions of devotion, we pave the way for vulnerabilities and our secret selves to be revealed, using verbal and corporal language and cues to signal our desires. For the most part, though, it all takes place on a subconscious level.
What might it be like if we were to bring mindfulness into the picture, and create something new, a sacred sexual ritual, if you will, in the bedroom? For most of us, I suspect that the idea of ritualizing something about lovemaking feels strange and foreign. So why bother pushing that boundary?
Because rituals do more than establish bonds. I imagine how, with the right intention, they can shift our focus to being more present to the Now and in shared intimacies, and pave the way for creating unexpected capacities for joy, beauty, happiness and healing. And yes, they can be sexy too.
I admit that getting to that place of awareness isn’t always easy, even and especially in our primary love relationship, given our goal oriented culture as just one hurdle. We are programmed and socialized away from acknowledging or experiencing the ‘softer’ side of things, particularly men.
Nor do these practices develop overnight. You don’t read a manual one day and find yourself the next doing naked yoga in the bedroom, chanting secret messages that end in mutual surrender and orgasmic bliss. First, you have to start with the basics, like asking your partner to play along.
Can you imagine saying this to your beloved? “Hi Love, Will you Sit With Me and Gaze Into My Eyes…And Can We Do This Every Thursday Evening, Say Around 8 pm, After The Kids Go To Sleep?”
Better yet, can you imagine his or her response? Would he laugh? Would she cry? Would you find support, ridicule or astonishment? Do you find yourself already balking at the idea? Or running to the bedroom and leaving a trail of clothes…
All those responses tell you something about yourself and your relationship. In no way is there some right or wrong answer here. The idea of bringing what we do subconsciously and heartening it to the conscious mind, in a more formalized way, through the creation of a love ritual, however that may eventually evolve, is one that may work for some and not for others.
So far, what I know about creating these spaces and being mindful under the covers is that these practices aren’t about attaining some lofty position. You don’t suddenly find yourself in sexual nirvana. This is about the journey and a desire to create the right practice, if that is what you decide is the timely and necessary thing to do. It takes time and intention, a good bout of humor, tolerance, and possibly some physical flexibility, depending on how elaborate your practice becomes.
To be clear, I am not an expert on this, just intrigued by what this aspect of sacred sexuality can offer in the way of deepening intimacy. There’s research, and then there’s Research, the sensual homework of applying what we learn to our personal lives, so that we can say, yes, indeed, this is one love lesson worth undressing for.
Photo Credit: Samarel Erotic Art
T.M. Bernard is a regular columnist for Fearlesspress.com, Edenfantasies.com, ShareWIK.com, Greenprophet.com, among other sites. Be a dear and visit her at her blog, Modern Love Musings, where she writes delicious wrongs.