It's difficult to do a retreat on intimacy without paying at least some attention to the topic of sexuality.In our conversation on Saturday, we defined sex as an energy of connection, something much bigger, and perhaps more ambiguous, than any particular activity.Sexuality involves lots of activities, of course, as well as elements that are less tangible.We discussed Five S's of healthy sexuality – and it was a bit of stretch to make them all S's.
Caution:Please don't turn these S's into one more list of things you have to do to be successful at sex.Let this be a gentle guide.Sometimes you'll experience some of these things, sometimes none of them, occasionally all of them.
Safety.Safety is fundamental.It means being at peace with ourselves and our bodies – how they look and how they function.It invites us to let go of those impossible models of perfection we can bludgeon ourselves with.It means listening to ourselves, accepting ourselves, trusting ourselves.And, of course, trusting the other and our relationship with him/her.For example, commitment between partners helps a lot here.
Sensuality.Taking time to savor the experience - with all our senses alive to various tastes, touches, aromas, sounds and sights.No hurry, no destination, staying present to pleasure, stretching our capacity for enjoyment.For example, we can experiment with the most delicate of touches or experience the deep comfort of a melting hug.
Seeing and Being Seen.Here we allude to the quality of connection between partners – an openness to knowing and being known, to learning about each other, staying curious, approaching each other with fresh eyes, open to surprise and new discovery.Friendship is the best and most enduring aphrodisiac.Eyes-open sex is one example of this kind of connection.
Silliness.A light-heartedness with each other, a playful spirit of adventure, an easy humor sometimes expressed in tender, gentle smiles and sometimes with rolling, laughing, heaving bellies.Sometimes, humor is triggered by the inevitable clumsiness and imperfection we feel at times.Playfulness can't be commanded.It comes upon us naturally, following its own rhythms, often in response to the first three S's.No need to search for it.Just make room for it.It will find you.
Sacred.Here we have the sense that something's happening that's much bigger than the people involved.The union of two humans can lead to a larger sense of union and transcendence. It can lead us to God. Eastern traditions, with teachings about Tantra, emphasize the spiritual nature of sexuality.What if loving acts between humans contributes to an expanding universe of LOVE?What if we make LOVE when we make love?
When I think about it, human sexuality is a grand and goofy gift – a weird and wonderful part of a vibrant, abundant relational economy.It's so unique for each person and each relationship.We are invited to accept and appreciate its uniqueness, and our own – even as it leads us to oneness.