“Intimate relationship…is such a provocative and powerful meeting place, where the psychological and the spiritual come together in a particularly potent way.”
This is the second of a three part series of blog articles looking at the results of my research into the benefits of a great love life. The last article looked at how it can transform people individually and this one looks at how it can transform couples relationally.
As I pointed out in the last article, the six couples I did the deep dive with had all done personal and relational development work, as well as sexual, so I can’t say that the sexual focus on its own led to the relationship growth, yet all the couples said that they felt it definitely contributed. They reported:
- Their relationship feels fresh and not tired
- There is lightness and playfulness in relationship
- Comfort without boredom
- Small moments of bliss throughout life
- Great trust and emotional support of each other
- Extraordinary communication: open, hide nothing, no judgement,
- Don't 'fight', can discuss difficult subjects
- Read each other, in sync
- Separateness and great togetherness – differentiated not fused
- Positive impact on others
- Heightened awareness of each other
- Feel connected when apart
- Focus on their sexuality
- Lots of touch
- Intimacy is easy, flows
- Feeling that sex is integral to relational growth
The term ‘trust’ came up more than any other and seems to be the key to the vulnerability and authenticity that defines these relationships. As one participant said: “trust is a thread that runs through this whole conversation”, going on to explain that her husband is "the guy who backs me up 100%. I don’t know that I’ve ever had that level of total support“.
Other participants agreed that this current relationship is the first in which they have had a high level of trust. One man became quite teary when he said “I don’t entirely think I’ve trusted anyone, if I’ve actually trusted any of my partners, except for L”. Another man felt the same: “this is the first relationship where I’ve felt the trust to be able to be vulnerable”.
Everyone felt that their relationship continues to feel fresh, even after many years together; and also that it’s light and playful.
All the couples have a great deal of touch in their relationship. They reported this verbally in the interviews and it was also obvious in the way they interacted during the interviews – both through touch and frequent eye contact. This kinaesthetic connection enhances their relationship, providing security, comfort and intimacy.
Sex is a ‘mutual hobby’.
The couples felt so comfortable talking about and exploring their sexuality, that it was as if for them sex is a mutual hobby, something they do for pleasure in their leisure time and which enhances their life together.
As with most hobbies, the participants also study and learn about sex and sexuality, reading books, listening to podcasts, attending workshops and retreats. They see their sexuality as an important and regular topic of conversation and discussion, not just when it is a ‘problem’ but as an ongoing creative exploration and journey of learning and discovery.
Freedom and consciousness.
Freedom is a strong aspect of their relationships. The freedom to be their conscious, authentic selves.
One of the men articulated this well when he says it’s “liberation from bizarre culturally constructed roles and dynamics to personal to spiritual to experiential… it’s truth“.
As an example of this conscious freedom, one way in which it manifests is in relation to non-monogamy. All the couples have discussed non-monogamy without judgement and have collaboratively and consciously come to terms with the place it has in their relationship. The agreements they have created differ, there is no one ‘correct’ way to engage in non-monogamy, each couple has determined their own unique approach:
- a fully open relationship where each has their own lover;
- swinging together, but wouldn’t do so alone;
- monogamous, although they would engage with a paid professional, which they have done once;
- open to the possibility and will address it if and when it arises;
- an agreement have sex with others if it feels right at the time, as long as they share the story after. (Although this couple pointed out that the agreement almost became redundant as soon as it was agreed upon because neither has felt the need to do so!)
So, whether monogamous or non-monogamous, each couple’s decision has been, and continues to be, a conscious choice. The participants all have a conscious awareness and engagement in relation to their sexuality and it’s place in their relationship and lives. They are not just following established social conditioning. They have examined their sexuality, they have studied and explored, they discuss it freely, often and without judgement.
These couples are very differentiated – they are self-aware and simultaneously other-aware. There’s a strong sense of respect and non-judgement in their interactions. This creates a safety which allows them to be vulnerable and authentic with each other, which leads to an erotic charge and the transcendent elements of sexuality. Having that ability to engage in such an open pure way allows the couple to take risks, expose themselves, which allows for growth and transformation.
So all in all, there are a lot of benefits to your relationship when you focus on creating a great love life!