The way you make love is the way God will be with you. ~ Rumi
One of the most beautiful aspects of human nature is our versatility.
When it comes to sexual intimacy, nearly every single one of us, regardless of gender, at one point or another desires both quickie, “let’s get it on” encounters and hours of sweet, tender lovemaking—depending on our mood and situation.
So, no judgments here about which might be better—having sex or making love. However, we must take into account that hardly any lovers complain about being made love to too much, while all too often couples lament the fact that the spark has gone out their relationship, resulting in a routine of functional sex…or little to none at all.
As time goes on and comfort levels increase between partners, it’s not really practical to assume that we will have the same mad passion we had for our mates when the relationship was in its beginning stages.
However, it’s not impossible if we adjust our definition of passion.
The first step toward having more loving sex is to redefine your terms.
Remember that man/woman you fell in love with (or at least lusted after) when you first met? Guess what? Chances are s/he’s not the same person.
As humans, we are affected by the world around us. We learn from it and grow. This is a good thing! Try to see the person your partner has become—and will continue to become—as the years go on. You are not responsible for him or her, but rather as a partner you are something like a cheerleader, therapist and best friend rolled into one. By giving each other the space to live and grow on your journeys as individuals, and by sharing your experiences with each other, your life together will remain fresh and new.
The blush of physical passion that brought you together will blossom into a deeper, more mature companionship.
Sex and a Blade of Grass
Many couples make the mistake of comparing their sex lives to others’. Bad mistake.
Each couple is like an individual blade of grass. There are a lot of them that look alike, true, but some are shorter, thicker, weedier…those facts don’t cease to make them blades of grass. To graduate from having sex to making love, stop comparing. Your friends may experience sexual intimacy every other day without fail and not have established the deep connection that the two of you have when you manage it once a week. Maybe that works for them. Your only concern is what works for you.
Talk it Out
You’ll hear this over and over again because it’s essential: Talk to each other. Communication is key in a healthy relationship. In order to transition from functional sex to making love, you must talk to each other. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t have to be deep. Just asking whether or not your partner feels like making love (or expressing that you do) is far better than abrupt groping once the lights go out.
Timing is Everything
Good things take time. Be patient with your partner and the progress of your sexual relationship. It may seem startling to some, but remember that sex drive ebbs and flows. Think about your own right now: When you were without a partner, what kind of sex life did you have with yourself? Did you masturbate every day? If so, did you take time and do it in a loving way? Was it more of a function toward physical release? Sometimes both?
Almost everyone experiences a dip in sex drive. This is normal. If yours and your partners’ don’t match, find other ways to be intimate until things get back on track. You may wish to try the Loving Touch exercise below during these times or just as a way to practice sexual closeness without penetration. And don’t forget to talk to each other!
Regardless of how you choose to share sexual intimacy, remember that the quality far outweighs the quantity. Mutual respect and loving attitudes throughout your relationship can transform even that quickie before a dinner party into a meaningful encounter that you and you and your partner can share forever.
Exercise: The Loving Touch
This exercise can be done alone or with a partner.
Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed for at least 30 minutes. Your bed is a fine location, but you may wish to create a ritual space for this exercise in a place that is separate from your daily routine. One of the ways to accomplish this is to transform the floor of your living room, guest room, or den/office into a “nest” with blankets and pillows. Make sure it’s warm and comforting as this exercise is best done without clothing.
Wherever you choose to set up, add personal touches that soothe you. Burn candles, light your favorite incense. Place fresh flowers around the room. Put on some of your favorite peaceful music, if you like. Silence is also perfectly fine for this exercise.
If desired, take a calming bath or shower.
Lie down in the center of your bed (or nest of blankets and pillows), if you are alone, or next to your partner if you are doing this exercise together.
Close your eyes. Spread your arms and legs out slightly—not so far that they touch your partner. Take deep breaths in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Concentrate on relaxing every muscle in your body. Think of your in-breath as an arrow targeting an area of tension. When you exhale, imagine you are blowing out the tension from this muscle or area. (Don’t overlook hidden areas of tension such as jaws, eyelids, tongue…)
When you are ready to begin, slowly open your eyes. If you are working with a partner, slide the hand closest to your partner and touch his/her fingers.
Whoever is acting as Loving Toucher first, roll onto your side, facing your partner. Regard your partner’s body. Imagine what it would feel like if it were your own.
Maintaining slow and steady breathing and as much relaxation as you can, begin to touch your lover’s body in slow movements. Let your hands and fingers slide along the lengths of limbs, belly, chest, neck, hair, toes, fingers…
As you touch your lover, imagine you are touching yourself.
Consider how the pressure and motions of your hands would feel if you were making the same movements against your own body. This is a great opportunity to give your lover sensual pleasure while showing him/her how you like to be touched. (Those partners who are receiving touch: Pay attention to what your partner is communicating through his/her hands.)
After about 10-15 minutes, place one flat palm in the center of your lover’s chest, just under the collarbone. This is a calming and grounding indicator that s/he is finished and ready to switch places. (Try not to use spoken language.)
If you are working alone, imagine you are new to your own body. Try to approach sensations to it as though you are a lover touching you for the first time. Try to let your hands glide along your skin with no preconditioned thought to what you think feels good; you may find some new zones of pleasure.
Once both partners have had a turn (or if you are alone, once you have finished), be sure to thank your partner with a long hug. If you’re alone, hug yourself! Relax until you feel ready to get up, thereby completing the exercise.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emily Bartran