Lying in bed together, we didn’t speak.
We both knew that we would either have sex—or not. It could go either way, and neither of us had a preference. We were poised in the present moment with “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” within our grasp.
I’ve heard of people meditating to attain this sort of presence without preference, but I have also heard of fragile couples who, in such moments, aren’t comfortable with what seems like ambivalence from their partner.
“It feels to me like he doesn’t want me anymore,” said a recent workshop participant. And while that could be true…in many cases, it isn’t.
This sort of deep connection is two people sharing presence of themselves and each other. It is tactically full, but without touching, it is rich in possibility and beckons for love to approach if it will. Sex is often used as evidence for love, but it isn’t. It’s a physical act that chimps, gophers, and zebras share without a hint of love, commitment, or the desire to raise offspring.
Many of us resist sex as a purely biological act. Instead, we imbue it with magical qualities. To do so, we have created a thing called “love,” which is more solid than affection and appears to suggest that we belong together forever. But that isn’t really love—that is relationship, which has even less to do with love than sex does.
After several minutes of bliss, she reached for me, sex took over, and we spent the next half hour in a passion play submitting to the best biology has to offer. Shortly after that, our soft, sleeping breaths and dreams entwined, as one day melted into the next. Love slipped away, visiting another lucky couple.
When love visits, it sweeps us off our feet into a magical world where everything is as it should be—our toes, thighs, and torsos all become more important to us than anything we think. The rules of physics are suspended, and we walk several inches off the ground, feeling youthful and light hearted.
Love visits often, but it doesn’t stay. Like energy and light, it’s always moving. As excited as we are when love visits, we are that disappointed when it leaves—but it will be back again, and then leave once more. When we are present, we witness love coming and love going without preference for either.
Holding onto love.
We are often the villain, tying the heroine (love) to the tracks and twirling our mustache. The train is the inevitable, unconscious dispatcher of love. The tracks are sex and relationship.
But try as we might, we can’t hold onto love. We can be present, noticing love as it comes and goes. When we are present, we know ourselves as lovers.
We want love to hold us together. We coax love to endorse our personal preferences for a romantic partner, sexual exploits, or who we French kiss. But love has no such agendas—unlike us, love has no preferences at all. Focusing attention on love, we discover that it is too busy coming and going to adopt our principles or beliefs.
Love slips through our fingers, our minds, our lives, and our hearts. It leaves us to hold our own hand, to have hot sex (or not), and to turn its momentary inspiration into the soft, heart-warming embers of long-term relationship—if we dare.
To know love is to embrace its ephemeral nature. Love doesn’t hold us together, and love’s absence doesn’t break us apart. Love visits us often—and when we are present, we celebrate its comings and goings.
“Love the one you are with,” is love’s credo. And it is up to more solid aspects of us who that person is. It can be one, two, none, or many.
Love and presence.
As we are cuddled together, aware of each other—love appears. We notice and consider ourselves lucky love lottery winners.
Love’s visit doesn’t mean that we are meant to be together, but it offers a very rich moment that—along with other such moments—has us wanting to share more of our precious time, touch, lips, and skin.
Then love leaves, and we are left without love as a chaperone. We smile at each other, and curl up. She purrs, and love visits again—this time with a warm flush of several emotions including fear, joy, and excitement. We are subtly changed each time love visits.
Love doesn’t bind us together, but it has us enjoy each other’s company immensely.
We don’t make love…we open to love.
The vital difference between having sex and opening to love is presence. While we are having sex, sometimes we are present when love visits—and other times, we are not. We notice its visits when we are present, but not when we are too busy trying to love, orgasm, or connect.
But when we relax and open to each other (and ourselves) without preference, then once again, we notice love.
Becoming more comfortable with our bodies, touching, and having sex frees us to welcome love’s coming and going during sex. This upgrades the biological act of sex into a joyful celebration of love.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina