The Tao of Dating: Six Sex Guidelines for Empowered Women.

Via Michelle Margaret Fajkus
on Oct 28, 2010
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“Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.” ~ Billy Crystal

This is all the wisdom I have gleaned about partnerships, dating, sex, love and romance over the past 16 years.

How simultaneously empowering and pathetic: My entire love life can be summarized in mere paragraphs. All those dramatic, chemical, sticky, everlasting affairs boil down to a handful of fleeting sentences. But instead of rehashing my personal past, I offer six simple guidelines for joyful sexual relationships. Since I am a woman, these are written from a woman’s perspective. No offense, men.

Photo Courtesy Margo Connor

1. Open communication is the essential foundation of every relationship.

Total honesty provides the necessary foundation for trust, love, respect and mutual growth. Like yoga (and tennis and any habit), total honesty takes practice. Act with integrity, and share your intentions for yourself and for the relationship with your partner.

When you meet someone new, maintain a beginner’s mind. Treat each experience as new and minimize judgment. Practice mindfulness in the relationship. Look him in the eyes. Listen fully. Be there. When sex enters the picture, it intensifies everything. A lot. Know that, and try to take it slow.

2. Cultivate friendship.

The best relationships are friendships. Friendship means things in common, compassion, mutual respect. Osho calls friendliness “the highest form of love,” because friendship transcends neediness and lust.

Friendships that evolve organically into romantic relationships are often the most successful. Though there always is that risk of screwing it all up and losing the friendship altogether. When bridging the gap between friendly love and romantic love, it’s best to define the relationship’s boundaries frequently. Tell each other what you want and need. Most men don’t like doing this. Because it makes some women feel clingy, they avoid initiating this type of conversation. Get over it! It will be worth it.

3. Destroy the pedestal.
Those silly boyfriends. They mattered so much at the time. I put them on such pedestals. What can I say? I like beginnings better than endings. Firsts are fun. Pregnant with possibilities. You meet someone and begin conjuring up concepts together. Fantasies. Action plans. Next steps. “Our future.” Beginnings of relationships serve us well. We open our hearts. We connect with hope, we trust the other person, we form a partnership. Not to mention the biochemical happiness that floods the brain and causes the euphoria of “falling in love.” Ahhhh. So lovely.

Accept reality. He is not perfect, he is far from ideal, he may or may not be “right” for you. Physical chemistry is a tricky thing. It cannot be created or destroyed. It can cause unhealthy projections, seemingly tricking us into falling for douchebags. The stronger the physical chemistry, the more addictive the sex, the higher the pedestal. Knock them down. I’m a champion daydreamer, but I’ve learned to be careful not to overindulge in ruminations, fantasies or unrealistic projections of any kind, especially in the early stages of infatuation.

4. There’s no such thing as casual sex.

If you’re sleeping with someone, whether you think it’s meaningful or not, you are creating a connection. If this emotional connection is only felt by the woman, turmoil is inevitable. (Most men, straight or gay, seem quite capable of unattached sex.) At the same time, sex outside of a committed relationship can be fun and helpful in its own weird way (e.g. “rebounding”), but it’s essential to keep it light and infrequent. Don’t allow yourself to confuse lust for love.

5. Detach.
Whether in a relationship or not, solitude is a fact of life. We all know serial monogamists. But, at the end of the day, the truth is: we are alone, whether we are “single” or coupled. In reality, I have control over nothing and no one except my responses to the things that happen to me. Except my own personal goals and plans, or lack thereof.

The best thing to do when starting a new relationship is to let go of goals and plans. This holds true for all of life. Plans never work out; why make them? Goals make you feel bad when you fail to meet them. I used to write many personal resolutions. I would plan my life down to the hour. For the past year, I’ve been shifting away from planning and actively aiming to live in the present moment as much as possible. (To learn more about this lifestyle, check out zenhabits.)

If you’re in a long-term, serious relationship or marriage, you also have to detach. This is one of the most confusing tenets of Buddhism, for me at least. Detachment doesn’t mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you won’t experience sadness and grieve when a loved one dies. It simply means you are not attached to their physical form only. You let go when the time comes to move on, whether it is death or divorce that drives you apart. You are grateful for the experience. You hold no grudge.

6. Nothing lasts forever.
Buddhism 101. Everything is impermanent. If we’re lucky, we find a relationship that promotes mutual growth and lasts beyond the first date. But if it deteriorates, comfort alone is not a good rationale to keep seeing someone. Are you guilty of this detrimental thought pattern? “Oh, I already know him… he’s seen me naked… it would be such a hassle to find someone new.” Just stop it! It’s better to be single than in a relationship perpetuated by mutual laze.

Listen to your intuition, because it is always right. Reading through my old journals, I am astonished at how often I called breakups before they happened. I didn’t listen to my gut and end the relationships, so usually the guy did. Intuition never lies. How many more times are we going to ignore its truth?

If all else fails…

Unless you connect sufficiently and authentically with your partner on all four levels of being: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual, a vibrator is a hell of a lot simpler and more effective! Trust that you will meet “Mr. Right Now” when you are ready and able.


About Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a Gemini yogini, writer, teacher and retreat leader who founded Yoga Freedom in 2002 in Austin, Texas. Her home since 2012 is Lake Atitlán, Guatemala where she lives in a tiny eco cabin with her Colombiano partner and their adorable daughter, dog and two gatos. Michelle has been writing this column for elephant journal since 2010 and has written some inspiring books, with more on the way. She leads yoga and mindfulness retreats and serves as the retreat managers for the stunningly beautiful Villa Sumaya on majestic Lago Atitlan. Her lineage is the very esoteric Yoga Schmoga, which incorporates hatha yoga asana, dharma (Buddhist) teachings, pranayama (breath work), yin yoga, mindfulness practices and meditation. Join Michelle on retreat in Guatemala!


21 Responses to “The Tao of Dating: Six Sex Guidelines for Empowered Women.”

  1. yogafreedomfoundation says:

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Helene! These ideas are practical, but easier said than done. I guess it's human nature to want to cling to experiences and people. There is such freedom in letting go and living presently!

  2. Thanks Michelle!

    Even though this was intended for your female readers, I think you've also done us guys a real service by sharing these insights.



  3. Joe says:

    I like this…Thanks! Oh and I am a Dude.

  4. Kate says:

    I really respect the individuals desire for a relationship to be in a certain way, the way my relationships work are not anything like this but I can still appreciate the older views of relationships. One thing I really do not like though is these ancient gender stereotypes of woman get attached while men can seem to have unattached sex without a second thought. Anyone in the modern world can see that the roles are quickly changing. Men are becoming attached at a glance and women just want to get laid. Of course it's not one way all of the time, but lets stop stereotyping ourselves.

  5. yogafreedomfoundation says:

    Hi Chris, I'm so glad that you appreciated the piece. What a sweet compliment to call them "insights." I guess they are guidelines for all humans, not just women. 😉

  6. yogafreedomfoundation says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Kate! Perhaps it is an incorrect generalization (as most generalizations are), but in my experience, the woman (myself or my female friends) tends to be the one who gets more attached. Though sometimes the opposite is true. I agree that stereotypes are not helpful.

  7. yogafreedomfoundation says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Dylan. In a previous revision of this piece, I had stated that men and women both develop an emotional connection due to sex (casual or committed), but that men are just better at repressing it. You're totally right about society and the media teaching women and men that sex is just sex and nothing deeper. I hope that people, especially teenagers and young adults, will start to become more aware of the power of sex — and to treat it with more respect. Namaste, Michelle

  8. Naheed says:

    Thank you for such a thoughtful article. It’s high time that we seriously learn the significance of relationships in our lives especially, the one between a man and a woman. I just loved every word of yours you said. The last rule has touched me to the depth of my heart. God bless you and may god enlighten you always.

  9. yogafreedomfoundation says:

    Thank you! Blessings, Michelle

  10. Jimmy Herard says:

    will some bodylisten to me.?!

  11. timful says:

    Nice article, except for the Billy Crystal quote, which seems to cast sex as a tool for empowerment. Perhaps this is why many men have learned to disengage emotionally. It may be self-fulfilling prophecy.

  12. altlaw3 says:

    Not for women only. This is the smartest piece on relationships I have seen in long time. Thank you.

  13. sonyata says:

    Thank you for opening up and sharing, Michelle. I saw something that caught my attention, something which I have developed over the years, and originally used to create goals for my own personal development. It is your four levels of being. I defined seven, as the chakras and everything else seems to like seven.

    "Unless you connect sufficiently and authentically with your partner on all four levels of being: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual…"

    Seven Aspects of the Soul – by Sonyata

    Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, Social, Professional, Financial

    These additional three aspects are very important in relationships as well, and most certainly will come into play in a lasting relationship. In fact, they are perhaps the reason so many relationships grow apart. And, when we engage in sexual relationships, we make contact on all seven levels somehow. We become yoked in our karma with our partner(s) to lesser or greater extent.

    Practice Safe Sex! Stay Thirsty My Friends! Peace.

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  17. veganfortheanimals says:

    Great post; exactly what I needed to ground myself right now. Thank you!

  18. LivingArtisan says:

    I'm really sick of this stereo-type , it does nothing to improve relationships . If there is a common stereotype about men that has to go … its this one.

    "(Most men, straight or gay, seem quite capable of unattached sex.) "

    I've seen more 'empowered women' taking this stance … and its just flat out got nothing to do with gender and everything to do with attitude.

    In fact, I'm going to write and post an article about this right now.

  19. Erica says:

    Love you! Thank you so much for posting your thoughts.

  20. Jacob says:

    I agree with what some people have said, the idea that men dont get attached as easily is somewhat stereotypical.

    The problem of unhealthy attachment is a human problem, not just one for women.

    Ever notice how the loudest person in the room is always the one people agree with? Probably the men you encounter who can have sex without getting attached are the most up-front and entitled of the bunch. Society tries to teach men to be the best “player” around, but really there are probably more normal guys out there, who would get attached, if they were meeting people. It is important to notice that some guys consciously practice a “pick up” lifestyle.

    Anyway i think this article is really helpful for people in general.

  21. Stephanie says:

    I’m closer to 40, so perhaps I’m older and more antiquated with life bursting to the seams beneath my milestone belt buckle, but I just loved this. It totally resonated, and I definitely shared it on my FB page. Thank you for writing this! 🙂