Why does passion ebb over the course of a long-term, committed relationship? Love and sex specialist Alex Allman investigates that question, proposing ways to short-circuit the phenomenon.
This article originally appeared at Reality Sandwich.
The challenge for so many loving and committed couples is in keeping desire, attraction, passion, and presence in their sex lives.
can feel like your sex drive is betraying your heart. You wish that you could be
consumed with mad attraction for the person you love, and yet all too often,
familiarity actually kills libido. You might even begin to feel shame around the
simple truth that you are often more sexually aroused by thoughts of complete
strangers than thoughts of the person who is so dear to your heart.
Yet it would be naive, or worse, self-deceptive, to not acknowledge that this is the way humans are built, and in absence of some intentional action on your part, this is likely the way your relationships will evolve.
A big part of the problem is that most people define "making love" simply as "sex with someone you love."
The danger with that definition is that it assumes that love is passively to be enjoyed during sex, rather than something that you DO.
However, if you examine the phrase "making love," you might notice that it is not grammatically passive. There is a powerful action term in there. "Making" is creating -- perhaps the most demanding of all actions. One can watch, listen, or even walk quite passively, but making or creating requires attention, intention, and presence.
In my definition, making love is in doing the work of surrendering the mind (or the ego) in service of relating. It is being present with your shared desire rather than being wrapped up in your unconnected mental or emotional experience.
One of the unexpected consequences of this definition is that it is possible to engage in profound love-making with a total stranger in a didn't-even-catch-your-name one-night-stand.
Being "in love" is not required for "making love." Rather, what is required is an openness to love itself and a willingness to "do love" by being present. Further, it is often easier for some individuals to do this with a relative stranger than with someone they deeply love and respect, with whom they have shared many of life's trials and rewards, and with whom they've developed a deep and trusting relationship.
There are two reasons for this counterintuitive experience:
The first is that for a couple who have not practiced and worked at "doing love" while "making love" throughout their relationship, the path to being truly present with each other during sex becomes overgrown with all of the accumulated disappointments, minor betrayals, grudges, wrong-makings, and resentments of the years living together as partners in the business of life.
Eventually, for many couples, they wake up one day to discover that their life partner is the single most threatening person in the world for them to become sexually vulnerable, present, and real with.
Their partner is the person they are most likely to feel judged by, and the person they most fear judgment from. There is simply too much at stake.
Read the rest of this post at Reality Sandwich.
Alex Allman will be a guest on the Evolver Intensives course "From Sex to Super-Consciousness: The Future of Love." For this live, interactive video course, host Adam Gilad has assembled 7 remarkable experts on the ways that sensuality and intimacy provide an ecstatic path to profound spiritual experience. Joining Alex will be Annie Lalla, Sera Beak, Michael Mirdad, Marc Gafni, Carol Queen and Reid Mihalko. It all starts on February 10.