When I first started dating, this is how it went:
You liked someone. They liked you. You spent time together. You kissed and made out. You spent more time together. You became lovers and partners. You stayed together.
This is how all my long-term relationships started. It was easy and straightforward.
There was never any doubt in my head that my partner would leave or prefer somebody else.
Making love went along with a mutual (though unspoken) assumption, that we were going to be together.
But when I came out of my marriage 15 years ago, everything seemed to have changed.
Freshly free and eagerly exploring my spirituality, I connected with a man at a tantra workshop, who wooed me with his words, charisma and flowers. I felt so special. So desired. So chosen.
It was only AFTER we'd made love, that he revealed his simultaneous interest in several other women from said workshop: he was wanting to explore polyamory.
My heart sank. I had no interest in any of that. I wanted a serious relationship. And it felt incredibly vulnerable to have opened myself up to a man, only to discover that his intentions were not what I'm imagined.
Thus began my "adventures" on the rather more choppy seas of tantra and "conscious relating".
In which I had multiple experiences of men approaching me with what felt like sincere interest and devotion, only to exit stage right pretty swiftly once we'd gotten sexual or were just a few short months into our relating.
And every single time, my heart hurt. Badly.
The irony wasn't lost on me that now that I was so earnestly studying tantra, spirituality and authentic relating, I was finding it so much harder to meet a man for a steady, committed partnership, when back in my "unconscious" days, it had been easy!
And now that my heart, body and yoni were so much more sensitive as a result of years of awakening practices (oh, the mind-blowing bliss and ecstasy!), the pain I felt at such abandonments was far more intense too.
So life gave me this delicate dance and edge to explore: how to marry my vast desire and love of sensuality, with my equally strong calling for a deep, committed, monogamous relationship?
How to honour my huge, tender heart in this new terrain of intimate exploration, where the ground-rules seemed to have shifted?
How to trust and discern, when I'd "gotten it wrong" repeatedly; totally convinced my suitor and I were on the same page and not seeing the signs, that he had a different agenda or trajectory.
Which brings me right back around to my theme of Safe to be Sexual.
I can't profess to speak for all women. But for me and most of those I've counselled, there is the desire for a committed, soul-aligned partnership. For LOVE.
And when it comes to intimacy, when my heart opens, my yoni opens. When my yoni is penetrated, my soul is penetrated. Layers of my being are revealed. Undefended. In this opening, there is a total letting go into love, bliss and primal innocence. This creates both a profound sense of vulnerability and bonding.
To experience a lover abruptly pull away after such intimacy, whether physically or energetically, is a shock to the heart, body and nervous system.
Safety is needed both for the opening AND BEYOND for me to continue to bask in, ground and integrate that love and bliss energy. As much as the unconscious stuff that the movement of Shakti energy triggers.
There is also a very natural desire to expand upon and move into more of the intimacy that created such an ecstatic experience of communion.
All of which requires my lover's reciprocal desire and presence. And he's only going to bring that if he truly can and he truly cares.
So sex and heart are never separate.
And if we want to have both the best relational AND sexual experience, there is so much more to take into account, than the hot buzz of raw attraction.
Come and join me on my next online retreat - Safe to be Sexual. - where, amongst other things, we will be exploring how to take care of your heart, whilst honouring your desire.
Sunday, March 21st, 11am-6pm, Live on Zoom.
Investment: £133 Early Bird (on or before March 14); Payment link here.
Art: Kissing my Heart by Ines Honfi