Discovering healing and transformation through intimacy
Have you ever noticed that intimate relationships seem to be jinxed? You marry someone genuinely wonderful, whom you're certain you can love forever. Yet after a while a strange tension and distance has set in, and one or both of you are sure that you've chosen the wrong person or need 'space' in the relationship. You may stay married, and tolerate the status quo or you may divorce and begin the dance anew; the unwelcome pattern, however, remains.
The media assures us that we could correct the problem with better communication skills, regular counselling, or altered childhoods. In fact, we need to learn to make love differently. The source of our recurring malaise is an unconscious script lurking in the limbic system-a primitive part of every mammalian brain. Here we are neurochemically programmed to fall in love with intense passion, form temporary attachments, reproduce... and then fall out of love....
Been looking at your site the last few days and I find your research and findings very interesting.
I'm going through some personal difficulties at the moment with my relationship (8 years gone strong till now). Our sexual interactions have recently (last year) become stale and potential new partners are totally kicking me into an extreme emotional roller coaster and heavy craving even though I deeply love my partner and have no desire *mentally* to ever fulfill my cravings with others. I often feel totally out of control in these situations, it's like my more 'primitive' self just wants to take over. I would very much like to work out approaches to managing and even mitigating the cravings and integrating my currently warring sides.
So, the findings and conclusions you reach are of significant interest. I am at heart a skeptic (burnt by fundamentalism in my younger years) and have questions that I can't see answered in your writings.
Gary and Marnia will be in giving a workshop at Breitenbush Hot Springs called "Peace Between the Sheets" from September 29th to October 1st.
Visit "Events" page for details
New lust drug that works on the brain...watch out!
Horn of rhinoceros. Penis of tiger. Root of sea holly. Husk of the emerald-green blister beetle known as the Spanish fly. So colourful and exotic is the list of substances that have been claimed to heighten sexual appetite that it is hard not to feel a twinge of disappointment on first beholding the latest entry - a small, white plastic nasal inhaler containing an odourless, colourless synthetic chemical called PT-141. Plain as it is, however, there is one thing that distinguishes PT-141 from the 4,000 years' worth of recorded medicinal aphrodisiacs that precede it: this one actually works.
And it could reach the market in as little as three years. The full range of possible risks and side effects has yet to be determined, but already this much is known: a dose of PT-141 results, in most cases, in a stirring in the loins in as little as 15 minutes. Women, according to one set of results, feel 'genital warmth, tingling and throbbing', not to mention 'a strong desire to have sex'....
My husband and I were fortunate to be raised in sex-positive households. Gary's father worked in schools as a sex educator as part of his career. My grandmother was a social worker - for whom no questions were off limits - and my mother's attitude was quite open too. Religion was not a big factor in either of our families.
When we became sexually active in our late teens, long before we met, we did so with enthusiasm. Orgasms were a natural part of our explorations. Like most folks, we assumed they were the ideal conclusions to a sexual encounter - for both partners. Sex clearly seemed meant for pleasure.
Yet cracks appeared. Gary struggled with chronic depression and ultimately addiction - not to mention relationship troubles. I suffered from urinary tract infections, and emotional drama in my fragile relationships. Neither of us connected these conditions with our activities in the bedroom…until years later.
An explanation finally showed up in a Taoist lovemaking book. It said that orgasm could be "draining." Not only could it cause feelings of depletion or neediness, but those feelings could also result in resentment, uneasiness or anger between partners - well after the pleasures of the bedroom. These same feelings of depletion and neediness indirectly affected our physical and mental health, too...at least our wellbeing certainly increased as we explored the Taoist approach.
It was still hard to believe that passion was causing trouble, but the results spoke for themselves; mankind had a hidden weakness - or untapped potential, depending upon your point of view. Then came Gary's insights about the brain chemistry of the reward center and the benefits of oxytocin. Wow! So many things came into focus. Even the cultural contradictions between "sex positive" and "sex as sinful" began to dissolve. It wasn't a case of either/or. Used carefully, sex healed. Used impulsively, sex eroded wellbeing and willpower....