Tag Archives: sex

Is it possible to love without attachment?

Is it possible to love without attachment?Dear Justice,

I’ve been listening to some Buddhist teachings on love and attachment. This teacher says that to truly love someone is to want them to be happy, with or without you, but usually what we really want is for ourselves to be happy, and we believe we need someone else to make us happy. We call this love, but that is not love says the Buddhist teacher, that is attachment, and attachment is the cause of suffering.

I’ve struggled a lot with love. It’s true that the love I’m used to has caused me a lot of suffering, so maybe it hasn’t been real love at all! My question – Is it really possible to love someone without attachment?

Signed,
In love and suffering

Dear In love and suffering,

The kind of love that is incompatible with being attached to someone or loving them for your own pleasure is a spiritual love. Spiritual love is a high ideal, and one that some people are called to. In a way, attachment IS the cause of suffering just as the ascetic spiritual traditions teach, and so it makes sense from that point of view that if we want to be free of suffering we should attempt to eliminate our attachments. Since romantic love has caused you a lot of suffering personally, I can see why it would be appealing to trade it in for a love without attachment. But please understand, it won’t be the same love.

Buddhists tend to idealize the emotional equanimity that comes with “non-attachment”. For some this offers a satisfying and enriching path, despite its difficulties. For others the ideal becomes an exercise in self-deception, what is commonly called “spiritual bypass” – rather than face the suffering that comes with the attachments of life, one tries to trick oneself into enlightenment by avoiding life rather than engaging with it. Still others manage to work fruitfully with the tension and dilemmas that come with attachment, even while they continue to live an engaged life.

The classical Greeks offer a different perspective on love altogether. They did not see love as mutually exclusive from attachment (or suffering for that matter), but rather they recognized at least four distinct kinds of love; we’ll look at two: Agape and Eros.

For the Greeks, Agape is spiritual, selfless love. Genitals are not included in this kind of love because bodily desire is not included.

Eros provides a darker foil to Agape. Eros is romantic or erotic love. It is sexually charged and desirous (genitals included).

In some stories the Greek God Eros was said to be mothered by Aphrodite, Goddess of love, and fathered by Ares, God of war. This parentage should give us clues to the temperament of Eros. Erotic love is understood to be frictious and troublesome, obsessive and personal, full of projection and confusion, and yes, suffering. Erotic love is also passionate, invigorating, colourful, and joyous. It’s a mixed bag.

So, do you want a cool and non-attached love? Or do you want a hot love that includes attachment, as well as passion and the associated suffering? There’s no wrong answer, but it’s worth adding that one makes a place for desire, including fucking and other forms of passion, while the other treats desire as a problem, something to be liberated from.

Interestingly, erotic love also has a psychological association that non-attached spiritual love does not. In the old stories Eros himself falls in love with a mortal woman named Psyche. Their love relationship is rocky, there is attachment and suffering in spades, but the suffering is psychologically meaningful; it helps the couple grow.

The Buddhist perspective in your question assumes that liberation from the entanglements of both Eros and Psyche is preferable to the psychological deepening that suffering in love can provide. Another way to say this is that attachment and suffering (and fucking for that matter) might be the enemies of spirituality, but they can be necessary for the soul (to read more about spirit as distinct from soul and the spiritual journey as distinct from the soul journey click here).

We’ve been looking at this in polarized terms for the sake of clarity and understanding, but these may not be mutually exclusive realms. We can question our attachments in love even as we wrestle with and even indulge them (I sometimes hold my partner’s face in my hands and teasingly tell her “I’m so attached to you”).

Can you have it both ways – can you do away with suffering and still feel the kind of fiery love that many crave? Probably not. Is it worth trying? Maybe, but keep in mind that much hinges on the meaning that you make of your suffering. If you believe, as I understand Buddhists do, that suffering is essentially meaningless, then suffering and attachment merely become problems to solve, something to be liberated from. But if you find psychological or soul meaning in the suffering and attachment of erotic love, then suffering becomes perhaps not only tolerable, but even purposeful.

Thanks for asking hard questions.

All My Best,
Justice

Follow me on social media for sex and relationship tips, tools, and insights – Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my new book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

The Re-connection handbook for couples - by Justice Schanfarber - web box2

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

Sign up to get my articles by email –

Like this article? Share it! You can use the buttons below –

The “no-come quickie” – Sexual fuel for your relationship?

The no-come quickie... Fuel for a relationship?A woman colleague confided to me that three or four times a week she propositions her man with a casual, “Want to fuck me for a few minutes?” Apparently he’s very likely to drop what he’s doing and oblige.

I asked the woman (we’ll call her Linda) what she gets from these brief encounters with her partner. I was curious in a general way (because that’s my nature), but more specifically I was curious because of my belief, both personal and professional, that women tend not to be big fans of “quickie” sex.

Linda was happy to enlighten me –

“When I was younger I resented the quickie. The guy would get off, roll over and snore or whatever, and I was left there feeling like a chump. But these days it’s different. It’s changed.”

What is different? What has changed, I wanted to know.

It turns out quite a few things have changed. For starters, Linda’s partner rarely ejaculates during these impromptu sessions, and that makes a big difference for Linda.

“He has control over his ejaculation. Most of the times we have sex he doesn’t come, and he almost never comes during one of our quickies.”

Linda informed me that she usually doesn’t orgasm either during these short, spontaneous interludes, which had me curious again… If there are no orgasms, what does this couple get from this? Again Linda was quick to explain –

“I like sex. I like all kinds of sex. Our no-come quickies energize us both and make us feel connected. They’re a way to build up our sexual energy, and because there’s no release, that sexual energy is with us all day. Our quickies don’t replace the deeper, more intimate and creative sex that we also enjoy; they complement it. Our little fuck sessions are like foreplay for life.”

No-come quickies take about ten minutes out of the couple’s day. There are no orgasms, no loss of sexual energy, and so that energy gets carried forward, bringing an extra spark into the day.

Says Linda –

“It’s easy and energizing. There’s no cost, nothing lost… It makes us feel close and connected, it builds our sexual attraction and desire… Why doesn’t everyone do it?”

I considered Linda’s question. No-come quickies… why doesn’t everyone do it? I can actually think of many reasons why everyone doesn’t do it. It’s simply not going to be appealing to everyone, for many good reasons. But then again, it’s also a great reminder of what’s possible when we continue to embrace our sexuality within a long-term domestic relationship.

Follow me on social media for sex and relationship tips, tools, and insights – Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my new book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

The Re-connection handbook for couples - by Justice Schanfarber - web box2

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

Sign up to get my articles by email –

Like this article? Share it! You can use the buttons below –

The trouble with desire – Why do we fear what we want?

The trouble with desire

Photo by Sudheendra Kadri | Dreamstime Photos

Desire is instinctual. It lives deep in our animal selves. Desire wants what it wants, without rationale, often without full awareness.

Freedom. Pleasure. Rest. Nourishment. These are just a few names for our desire. Desire lives at our core. It can appear abstract and complex through the filters of reason and language, but when followed to its source it is made of basic stuff.

Desire is old. Desire, presumably, was around before words. It is pre-verbal. Perhaps that is why we sometimes have difficulty explaining precisely what we want.

In a baby or young child we see desire in its raw form. Shameless wanting. Shameless demands. Shameless pursuit of desire fulfillment. Shameless satisfaction. As civilized adults we tolerate this shamelessness for a short time and then we begin the work of socialization, which includes organizing desires into boxes labelled “good” and “bad”. As children we internalize these judgements.

Religious, political, family, community and economic ideologies provide us with sanctioned avenues for pursuing approved desires. Other desires we are expected to deny ourselves altogether. Most of us wrestle throughout our lives with the desires we’ve denied ourselves in order to fit into the “good” box and to be accepted in our family and community.

One of the primary tools we use against desire, our own and others’, is reason. When our wanting makes us uncomfortable we try to convince ourselves to stop wanting what we want.

We live in an age of reason and we tend to think of reason as our saviour from the dark ages of superstition. This may be, but reason can also be the murderer of important aspects of ourselves. The opposite of reason is not just superstition or un-reason. On the flipside of reason is also feeling, and feeling is where desire lives.

Nestled beneath our cerebral cortex (the relatively new and exclusively human part of our brain) is an older part that we share with other mammals. This deeper part of the brain is sometimes called the mammalian or limbic brain. As the conduit for empathy and emotion it connects us to others. It is, by definition, unreasonable. Two fundamental parts of our human selves, rational and emotional, are represented by these two parts of our brain. These two parts, both intrinsic to the human experience, do not always communicate well with each other. Feeling is unreasonable. Reason is unfeeling.

Wanting what we believe we should not have, head and heart find themselves at war. The self is turned against the self. This is such a common occurrence that we consider it a normal part of being human. More accurately, this is such a common occurrence that we tend not to consider it at all. This war against the self may be expressed as drug and alcohol abuse, addictive behaviour, depression, anxiety, even violence and self-harm.

Client couples often arrive in my office with each vigorously representing one or the other of these twin aspects of self – head and heart. The internal split has been projected out onto the relationship with one person taking a stand for reason, the other embodying feeling. In heterosexual couples it is most often the man who takes the position of reason, and the woman who champions emotion (but not always – sometimes it is reversed) –

“She’s unreasonable.”
“He doesn’t care about my feelings.”

As each projects either cold reason or emotional chaos onto the other, neither gets the opportunity to confront (and integrate) the same in their self.

Desire frightens us because it contradicts the ideas we have about our lives, each other and the world. We like to believe that reason is king, and all else its subjects. The logic of reason demands dominion over feeling and so also over desire. In the age of reason, desire is expected to conform to the shape of the intellect. The reasoning part of our brain, of our humanity, wants to understand desire in reasonable terms before acknowledging its legitimacy. This precludes letting ourselves actually experience the desire that is present, however dormant and boxed in.

Paradoxically, we reject desire that we don’t understand, but we don’t let ourselves experience desire fully enough to understand it.

Understanding comes from observation, and observation requires proximity. When we dismiss our desire as bad or unacceptable, we never get close enough to observe it, to feel it and thus to receive its message.

Putting words to desire helps bridge the complex and frustrating gap between feeling and thinking. Language supports the understanding of feeling and, obviously, its communication between human beings. But we must risk getting close to desire if we are to know it well enough to name it. Even acknowledging our desire is, in many instances, deeply taboo. For this reason we keep it hidden, from ourselves even, until we have built enough resource and courage to face the truth of our wanting.

The counselling or therapy process often includes an unearthing of our own awareness around our own desire.

The client/therapist relationship creates a container where it is safe to allow the presence of desire, sexual or otherwise, without the risk of judgement or condemnation. In this space desire can be felt fully without an expectation or requirement to necessarily act upon it. By allowing ourselves to simply get close to our desire through fantasy, visualization, and feeling we can begin to develop a personal relationship with it. With practice, we may see it in its most basic form, free from distortion. Only then can we hope to measure our desire against our internal guiding principles and then choose actions that are truly discerning and wise. Only when we have a direct relationship with our desire can we represent ourselves accurately and negotiate effectively with others to get our needs and wants met.

Recommended books –
Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life – Insights from Buddhism and Psychotherapy – Mark Epstein
Intuition: Knowing Beyond Logic – Osho

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my new book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

The Re-connection handbook for couples - by Justice Schanfarber - web box2

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

Sign up to get my articles by email –

Want to share this article? Use the buttons below.

“Mating in Captivity – Have you read it?”

A reader asks Have you read Esther Perel’s book Mating in Captivity?

Dear Justice,

I really like the articles you share on your facebook page and on your website. I’m wondering if you have read the book Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel and if so, what do you think of it?

Mating-In-CaptivityMy response –

Esther Perel’s book Mating in Captivity has been recommended to me often enough that I picked up a copy recently and gave it a speed read. Here are my initial thoughts –

Perel’s observations and experiences mostly match my own, professionally and personally. Early in the book Perel gives nods to both David Schnarch’s Passionate Marriage and Mark Epstein’s lesser known and wonderful book Open To Desire. Her influences are my influences, and so I quickly felt resonance.

I appreciate how she respects the tension between the two poles of desire that commonly define relationships – the desire for security/safety and the desire for excitement/freedom. Rather than offer some easy solution to this dilemma, she invites the reader to sit in the uncomfortable paradox of wanting two seemingly contradictory experiences. This feels like a wise and respectful approach, and one that I employ in my own practice.

Her legitimization of the underlying impulses that drive extra-marital affairs, namely the desire for “aliveness”, will certainly be mistaken for advocacy by those who can’t discern between descriptive and prescriptive voices. Likewise, her willingness to explore kink/bdsm without pathologizing it, and to explore eroticism outside the marriage unit, including consensual non-monogamy, will likely confuse or offend those with fundamentalist ideologies.

Perel gives voice to the elephants in the room. Her truths suddenly seem obvious upon reading, and one wonders how they escaped recognition until now. (The answer likely has to do with the power of taboo and with our unexamined assumptions about sex and love.)

Mating in Captivity acknowledges traditional gender roles and the ways they have shaped our beliefs about marriage and relationship, while offering thoroughly realistic current assessments of how these roles are becoming fluid matters of choice rather than matters of inherited social convention.

Perel’s cross-cultural (and sub-cultural) points of view challenge core American beliefs about the nature of romance, marriage, and intimacy; beliefs that couples therapy as an institution has, itself, largely internalized. For example, you’ll find nothing about “emotional cheating” in this book. In fact, acknowledging and working with the presence of “the third” (whether real, metaphorical or fantasy) is presented as a valuable erotic tool for couples.

In a cultural environment where marriage is expected to become an increasingly serious, responsible, secure and, frankly, non-erotic venture, intentionally nurturing eroticism in the home becomes, as Perel puts it, “an open act of defiance.” Accordingly, Mating in Captivity speaks to those who have a defiant streak.

I’m grateful for the author’s contribution, and the book has earned a place on my shelf alongside Sex at Dawn and the aforementioned Passionate Marriage. For readers struggling with affairs, the loss of eroticism, waning desire, sexual shame, disconnection or other common relationship issues, Mating In Captivity will be a beacon of illumination and hope, while also posing significant challenges to the ways we are accustomed to thinking about fidelity, love, sex and marriage.

All My Best,
Justice

 

 

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my new book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

The Re-connection handbook for couples - by Justice Schanfarber - web box2

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

Sign up to get my articles by email –

 

Want to share this article? Use the buttons below.

Orgasmic Meditation – A mindfulness based stroking practice is helping couples reconnect

“In essence I am suggesting that 20th-century women have been living for centuries in a male-oriented culture which has kept them unconscious of their own feminine principle. Now in their attempt to find their own place in a masculine world, they have unknowingly accepted male values – goal-oriented lives, compulsive drivenness, and concrete bread which fails to nourish their feminine mystery.” – Marion Woodman

Orgasmic Meditation helps couples reconnectHow can we reconnect as a couple?

A question I often get from client couples in marriage counselling is “How can we reconnect?” A few years ago I stumbled upon a sexual practice that caught my attention. It involves a man methodically and lightly stroking a woman’s clitoris for a set length of time. There’s no goal other than to be aware of the sensations, for both parties. Essentially, it’s a body-centred mindfulness practice that is relational and erotic. I found it personally intriguing, and as a mindfulness based, body-centred therapist working in the realms of sex and relationships, I found it of interest professionally. The practice evolved into what is known now as Orgasmic Meditation (OM), and it’s taught worldwide. I thought it might be useful to my clients and readers, so I caught up with OM teacher Bez Maxwell to ask some questions –

Justice: Is Orgasmic Meditation sex?
Bez: Orgasmic Meditation is not sex. It’s a practice that people do independently of having sex. It’s not foreplay, it’s not a replacement for sex and sex isn’t a replacement for it. It’s goalless, and simply focuses on connection around one point of contact — yes, a clitoris. Orgasmic Meditation is not a climax practice. It can feel really good and climax could happen, but it’s not the goal.

Justice: How can Orgasmic Meditation potentially help couples who are feeling disconnected or hurt or distant in the relationship?
Bez: What happens is that couples can simply BE together without an agenda and feel each other without any expectation in a very intimate setting. It’s a type of contact that we don’t often get a lot of in our culture, which is often very results-oriented or has an expectation that sex and connection are supposed to look or feel or sound a certain way. With OM, all those expectations are dropped. So the pressure to perform can be replaced by a true sense of real connection around what’s actually happening.

Justice: Do you talk during Orgasmic Meditation?
Bez: Only in a few specific ways around logistics. OM is really a time to calm the chatter, which is often around performance: Am I doing this right? Do you like me? Does this feel good? In OM you simply notice these thoughts without saying them out loud.

Justice: So the connection is mostly non-verbal?
Bez: Yes, it’s body-based connection. We favor sensations rather than stories. And the best part about Orgasmic Meditation is that nothing is supposed to happen. It isn’t supposed to be hot, or sexy, or loud. You don’t light candles or create a mood. You just connect around what’s here, with nothing extra. And what happens is that people get to relax. That’s what happened for me. It was the first time in my life that I actually relaxed around another person. Ever.

Justice: Wow! That’s significant.
Bez: Yes. Very!!

Justice: When there’s resentment or mistrust in the relationship how do you create enough safety for such an intimate practice?
Bez: Well, OM is very prescribed. The idea is that if we create a clear and easy to follow enough container, then it’s safe for anything to happen inside of it. That’s why in order to practice OM, you will want to get trained so that both people are completely clear about what OM is and what it isn’t, what the set up is, and what’s included and what’s not. That way, both people can relax. I OM with my boyfriend even when I hate his guts and can’t stand him and don’t even want to talk to him — we’ll OM. Because I don’t need to pretend. I can just be me, exactly where I’m at. Because even when you can’t stand your partner, there is still a way to connect with them there.

Justice: There’s an obvious asymmetry to the practice. Why?
Bez: That’s a great question. Orgasmic Meditation is purposefully asymmetrical. The best way I know how to explain it is through this article that my teacher and former OneTaste exec Ken Blackman wrote about why men like porn and women like vibrators. Basically, in this practice we give men and women what they actually want. If you look at the sex buying practices of Americans (and probably Canadians), then you’ll see very clear patterns – Men buy porn, women buy vibrators. Because what women crave and what they are under-nourished in is direct stimulation on their clitorises. They want to feel sensation, lay still, and do nothing. Right? That’s what they do with vibrators. Men, however, want what we call empathic orgasm in that they crave and are undernourished in watching others in states of pleasure and getting enjoyment out of seeing others in enjoyment. So OM actually puts us where we are lacking, and also puts us into the roles we are less comfortable. For women in particular, to lay still and do nothing but get their genitals stroked—and then owe nothing in return—is game changing and relationship changing.

Justice: Interesting! But aren’t we back to sex now?
Bez: Certainly there is sexual arousal. I mean, the stroker is stroking my CLIT. But it’s different from sex. It’s timed. It has a clear order that it always follows. And nothing precedes or follows it that is sexual. It’s not foreplay and you don’t need any foreplay to do it. We recommend that couples don’t OM in their bed, but in a different location so that it can be clearly separated from their sex. Think of it like a sexual wellness practice. We say it’s like yoga, for your orgasm. It’s like running laps or doing sit ups, or eating healthy food. It’s how you can take care of yourself so you can have the kind of connection you want, in life and in sex.

Justice: What kind of leap of faith or thinking do you think is required to start?
Bez: I think it’s a desire to have something different, something more. And a willingness to do the work to get it. Sure, Orgasmic Meditation is edgy. It involves genital stroking. And — it’s not THAT weird. Really. I mean, I have young children and I teach about Orgasm and Sexuality. At first I was nervous about what the other parents would think of me. But honestly, what happens more often is that some mom comes up on the playground with a desperate look on her face and is like, “I just heard what you do for a living. I need to talk to you.” Because while we may have a taboo about talking about our sex and our sexual needs and health, we ALL all have sexual needs and desires. We are all basically the same in that regard. So sure, the practice of Orgasmic Meditation is going to require that someone takes their pants off. And…. don’t you do that every day with your partner anyway, whether you’re stepping into the shower or getting dressed for work? To put that much attention on each other, now THAT is edgy. To go into the unknown, that’s what takes the leap of faith.

Justice: What surprised you about Orgasmic Meditation when you started?
Bez: I remember before OM I just thought, either relationships work or they don’t. The sex works or it doesn’t. It was either magically awesome and I was lucky or I was just destined to be under-fucked and miserable. And with OM, I found there is actually something I can do about it. What surprised me the most, two things: One, my first 50 OMs I just cried. I just cried like the entire time. Because I had no frame of reference for being of any value or use to a man while not doing anything. I couldn’t fathom that he would want to look at or touch my genitals just for his enjoyment. So that was a real life changer. The second was how much not owing a guy anything changed my life. Like, we would have an OM—and then, he would leave. It was over. I couldn’t believe it at first. I was like, I don’t need to give him a blow job or make polite conversation or even offer him some cookies and tea?? Nothing?!? I couldn’t believe it. It really messed with my programming in the best way.

Justice: I guess it’s changed how you do relationship!
Bez: It has in that I understand how much men love women in a way I never did before. And my ability to connect, with no ulterior motive, has given me the chance to have the kind of connection I really want. Which is not surface-level, but much deeper. Unconditional.

Justice: Can it help couples who are “out of love” after 20 years of marriage?
Bez: I’m not sure how to answer that because I can’t say if it will help them or not. I mean, not every relationship should be saved, you know? What I can say is that what Orgasmic Meditation does is provide a space for two people to truly connect with each other. It’s like a flashlight that can light the way towards more satisfying connection and towards more knowledge of yourself and your partner. So if you use that flashlight to find your way back to each other, then yes! If you use it for another purpose, then no. And I want to emphasize that it’s a practice. Just like running or stretching. It’s not a one-shot deal. If you want to get in shape, you practice your laps and you run every day.

During the wrap up of our conversation Bez asked me to emphasize that in order to have a successful Orgasmic Meditation practice, getting trained is key. To find an intro OM class near you, use this directory.

Learn More –
The How To OM Video
About Bez Maxwell

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my new book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

The Re-connection handbook for couples - by Justice Schanfarber - web box2

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

 

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

Sign up to get my articles by email –

 

Want to share this article? Use the buttons below.

 

“Why would my wife have a one night stand, although she swears up and down she loves me and is crazy about me?”

Why would my wife have a one night standA reader asks about cheating, love and betrayal –

Tell me this – why would my wife have a one night stand, although she swears up and down she loves me and is crazy about me? She was out of town on business, she said she had no control over it, she is deeply regretful and ashamed. God, what do I do now, just the thought of this breaks me everyday. If she truly loved me, where was I in her mind when this happened? Does she truly love me, can something like this really just happen on accident? Its been months since this happened but it still feels to me like it was yesterday. She tries everyday to make me feel better but I just don’t, she lays by me at night but I feel like she is so far away, this has changed everything between us. I love her and always have, I’m devastated over this and need help.

Cheating is a breach of trust and sexual betrayal hurts like hell. That said, there are plenty of voices ready to condemn a cheating spouse, so presumably that niche is well filled and I’ll take a different angle. I assume you’ve asked your wife the “why” question you’re asking me now, and that her answer was unsatisfying. She may not know the answer to your question, or she may be too confused and ashamed to admit it – to you and to herself.

Sex is powerful. It’s sometimes more powerful than we want to believe. Sex held power over your wife that night, and it’s held power over you ever since. Sex is paradoxically simple and complicated. Simple in its basic innocence and instinctual roots. Complicated in that we attach worlds of meaning and expectation to it. Have you examined the meaning you attach to sex? I suggest you do. Much of the meaning we attach FEELS like common sense – natural, inherent, universal. But upon inquiry we may discover that the meaning we attach to sex is unconscious, unexamined, and, ultimately… optional.

In simple terms – Yes, a person can conceivably love you AND have sex with someone else. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive things. In fact, couples negotiate all sorts of sexual arrangements to accommodate their values and desires. However, there’s a big difference between consensual agreements and betrayal. I know you’re hurt, and I feel for you. There will likely be a strong impulse for your wife to now pledge undying fidelity and demonstrate deep regret, for you to withdraw into your woundedness for a time, and for both of you to try and get back to “normal” as soon as possible. These are understandable and valid impulses, but see if you can muster the courage to use this window of opportunity for you and your wife to honestly examine, and possibly update your assumptions, beliefs and  agreements around sex.

All My Best,
Justice

Follow me on social media for sex and relationship tips, tools, and insights – Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

The Re-connection handbook for couples - by Justice Schanfarber - web box2

 

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

 

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

 

Sign up to get my articles by email –

 

Want to share this article? You can use the buttons below.

“My boyfriend wants a gangbang – Can this be good for a long term relationship?”

My boyfriend wants a gangbang or threesome

Photo © Pamela Hodson | Dreamstime

A reader asks about gangbangs –

My boyfriend really likes gangbangs. He’s done them in the past and watches a lot of this type of porn. I’ve never participated, being relatively new to this type of thing and I’m trying to understand. I wanted to know if engaging in something like this with a long term partner (as a means of pleasing him, and I would be okay with it too) would jeopardize the relationship. Our goals are to both grow holistically and I’m concerned it would go against that path. He has since made efforts to change his thinking, but it has got me thinking now, what’s the worst that could happen?

Opening your sexual relationship to include others is intrinsically neither helpful nor harmful. It can be either – or both – in different circumstances. I understand your concern that it could jeopardize a long term relationship, and the truth is that it might, but no more so than repressing sexual desires also might.

It sounds like you are warming up to the idea for your own sake. If you were seeing me as a client, I would want to cover some basics on what will help you have a successful outcome should you choose to try it. I do know smart, loving, “holistic” long-term couples who enjoy group sex, gangbangs, and kinky sex of all types, so I know it’s possible.

The word “gangbang” can have a violent connotation. Conventional porn tends to portray impersonality, objectification and degradation. This can influence our perception of sex in general and can come to define specific sexual activities like group sex. As you consider expanding your own sex life, please stretch your vision beyond what you’ve seen in porn. Much more is possible.

Someone close to me recently pointed out that for her a gangbang is really just “group sex with me in the starring role!” The point is that you and your boyfriend can choose whatever sort of tone or feeling you want for the experience. A so-called “gangbang” or group sex session with one woman and multiple men can be gentle, rough, tender, slow, fast or any combination that you choose.

The more clear and communicative you are about your own desires (and limits), the better your chances are of having a positive experience. Get in touch with what YOU actually want. What would feel good for you? Not just for him, but for you too? After all, YOU’RE in the starring role!

Be specific when you discuss the scenario with your boyfriend. Use candid language. Get clear on your limits and make sure you are both on the same page before you include others. Select your collaborators carefully. Are they trustworthy? Do they have sufficient empathy and communication skills to fit into the scenario you envision?

Talk about safety – physical AND emotional – and make sure everyone is on board. I encourage you to discuss and practice moment-to-moment consent. Make sure everyone knows what “Stop” means. Just because you agree to try something does not mean you are required to continue. Giving yourself permission to stop, or slow down, or change course at any time, and making sure this is understood by everyone, will go a long way to build trust and avoid regret. Hopefully it all goes fantastically and you have the time of your life. But if it isn’t going well for you, please stop and re-assess. Make sure everyone present is your ally in this regard.

Consider what kind of aftercare you want. Cuddling? Group shower? Just you and your boyfriend? I encourage you to debrief the experience together. How was it for you? Were there surprises? What did you enjoy? What would you do differently?

Obviously it’s best to practice safer sex using condoms/barriers. I also encourage you to play sober, especially to start. If you can’t muster the courage or chemistry without alcohol or drugs, you aren’t ready.

Please be patient and kind with yourself. Group sex is not as easy as porn stars make it look. Much like one-on-one sex, group sex can have a learning curve and it might require practice before it becomes truly enjoyable. As the woman in the starring role, you may find yourself feeling emotionally and physically vulnerable or awkward as well as excited. The more you can stay present to the experience, communicate your desires, and represent yourself before, during and after the event, the more likely you are to come away feeling good about the experience.

All My Best,
Justice

PS – I recommend the book The Ethical Slut for those exploring consensual non-monogamy in any form. Also, read my book Conscious Kink for Couples.

Follow me on social media for sex and relationship tips, tools, and insights – Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Like what you’re reading here?
You’ll love my book.
Read the first 10 pages free.

Conscious Kink for Couples - The beginner’s guide to using kinky sex and BDSM for pleasure, growth, intimacy, and healing - by Justice Schanfarber

 

8-week Relationship Intensive - Justice Schanfarber

Campbell River Marriage Counselling Justice Schanfarber Trying to grow, fix, change, understand or save your marriage? I provide couples therapy, marriage counselling, coaching and mentoring to individuals and couples on the issues that make or break relationships – Sessions by telephone/skype worldwide. Email justice@justiceschanfarber.com to request a client info package. www.JusticeSchanfarber.com

Like Justice Schanfarber on Facebook

 

Sign up to get my articles by email –

 

Want to share this article? You can use the buttons below.