If you are enjoying a thriving, inspired erotic life with your long-term partner, congratulations. Typically, passion fades after the honeymoon period. That’s why people more often will ask me: “I still care about my partner, but our sex life is boring (terrible/absent/on life support). Can a Passion & Presence® Retreat fix this?”
Both questions share the assumption that our sex lives are either functioning or malfunctioning. If they don’t need repair or are too far gone to be repaired, there’s nothing we can do for them. I’d like to reframe this concept, which has a goal-driven, performance-oriented quality to it, into something that is bigger and more vital.
In reality, our intimate relationships are ever-shifting and growing. They are living and breathing, continuously unfolding. Many of us were told that sex grows naturally, like the germination of a seed. (although, sadly, most of us were told nothing at all) But just as a seed is more likely to become a flourishing plant through careful tending, we can all benefit from continued cultivation of our erotic lives.
Why does my erotic relationship need tending?
I can think of at least five benefits of tending your erotic life together, even if you have reached the sexual summit and regularly return to that peak.
#1. Fun is good for your sex life!
Most of us have been steeped in cultural messaging that fun is optional, trivial even. The word “commitment” is often equated with “getting serious.” Yet, playfulness and joy are at the very heart of our most vital, engaged erotic connections to each other. As Esther Perel put it in Mating in Captivity, “Eroticism, intertwined as it is with imagination, is another form of play.”
#2. You can befriend your Erotic Energies
Couples who have been in a relationship for only a few years can enjoy the heady passion cocktail that creates a temporary arousal spike. Eventually, however, this cocktail will run out. Even if sex feels great right now, sex becomes more predictable and less alive over time. At our retreats, we learn to tend to Erotic Energies. While in full immersion, we have the chance to notice how to move with and be moved by, our intrinsic energies. So, even if you currently enjoy a passionate sex life, you can make this an ongoing practice.
#3. You can grow deeper roots
Our personal histories affect the extent to which we can be fully open to our Erotic life. We all develop protective blocks, subtle or not, to receiving, trusting, letting go, and responding to our partner that become more visible through the practice of Passion and Presence. We teach you how to look into these blocks to keep growing and deepening as a couple. These skills can bring freshness and vitality to your relationship even if you already feel loving, passionate and close.
#4. Future problems won’t be so scary
Even in the best relationships, couples start to hit erotic bumps eventually. Some bumps will be due to physical challenges, such as aging, or various illnesses, such as cancer. Physical changes may diminish your levels of arousal or orgasmic potential, or restrict the movement and positions that are now possible. Perhaps the demands of being a parent will eventually take center stage. Or perhaps having sex in a committed relationship starts to reveal inhibiting childhood internalizations about sexuality.
Of course, there is a host of competing preferences, expectations, roles, demands that can interfere with your Erotic Teambuilding as a couple. In the face of all this, the sex life of once passionately-bonded couples can become moribund.
At our retreats, we offer couples skills and perspectives to meet these inevitable challenges so that Mindful Sex becomes a portal to transformation. Even if you have a thriving erotic life, the process of growth and decline involves change. You can be ready for that by choosing to embrace the impermanence and uncertainty that runs throughout our lives, including our erotic lives. As Stephen A. Mitchell argues, “…the preservation of the capacity for joy depends on, and supports, the ability to tolerate surprise and unpredictability in one’s life and one’s partner.”
#5. The skills you learn can enrich other areas of your partnership
While we know that sex is a portal for growth and transformation, the skill sets we teach at our retreats can be applied to any area of life. Couples who attend gain an understanding and awareness of the states they go into that create conflict or make it difficult to stay open to each other. In our retreats, couples learn how to work with these states to come back into a loving connection.
I hope I gave you something to consider when thinking about whether your sex life is good, great, or somewhere else along the scale, and have provided you with some insights to jump into a conversation with your partner about where you both view your sexual relationship.
Until next time,