This is a book about love and sex and learning how, by bringing love into our sexual practices, we can transform and enrich ourselves and our lovers. Love is a phenomenon and sex is a mystery, and I am captivated and intrigued by them both.
Interest in sex is as old as human life, and still it holds its mysterious quality even within the limitations of our conditioned lives. Love is a phenomenon that defies definition, and we all yearn for it and seek it, and hope to share it, give it, and receive it. In fact, love is such an important and vital source of energy in our lives that it contributes enormously to our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Whatever your age, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, and religious, spiritual, or cultural persuasion, I invite you to learn how to expand your sexual and loving consciousness. By doing so, you may bring changes into your life and your values that will positively affect all aspects of your daily life, not just your sex life.
You do not need to wait for your lover to join you in order to start practice and awareness. Begin with yourself, and sooner rather than later your lover will be attracted to your discovery. Develop the relationship you have with yourself, your self-worth, self-acceptance, and your higher self, your inherent divinity. The more comfortable you are with your own sexuality, the more sexy you feel, and the more sexy you will be. The more capable you are of truly loving yourself, the more loving you will feel, and the more loving you will be.
Discover sex as dynamic meditation or experience it as a form of still meditation, alone or with a lover, in a peaceful, expressive, focused, electric, and enlightening way. Love is the spirit of sex and sex is the body of love. Sex is a journey with no destination. Love and loving is a way of being, a practice of remaining open, a practice of service as the highest honor.
"Marriage under the Law of Shiva is of two kinds. One is terminated at the conclusion of the rite, and the other is lifelong. Both require a high level of commitment. When it is stated aloud, 'Approve our marriage according to the Law of Shiva,' a marriage commitment is truly made."
Human beings all seek love from one source or another. In fact, we need love in order to survive. We have a need to receive it and a need to give it. Love is caring, both caring about and caring for. It is also communicating, and wanting to be together and to do things together, not just the daily tasks but playing, relaxing, and lovemaking as well. It requires a certain kind of openness and trust, a willingness to be vulnerable, and in that vulnerability lies great strength.
Emotions are more enduring than feelings; they can last a lifetime. That is why the arousal of the emotion of love in an intimate relationship involves a commitment and allows an opportunity for deep, shared intimacy to develop.
Whether formal or informal, any commitment motivated by true love strengthens a relationship and gives it meaning. Commitment implies absolute trust, profound acceptance, and mutual service, agreeing to give the most of ourselves to one another.
Commitment between lovers develops gradually. It is much more than sharing responsibilities such as mortgage payments, maintaining and running a home, and taking care of children. In a relationship of love, the emotional commitment to one another, and to one another's needs and emotional well-being, has to be regularly expressed and reaffirmed and thereby renewed.
Once established, commitment creates a bond that keeps the lovers together, and that bond can help them to overcome any difficulties by providing an element of strength for them to draw upon. The commitment is not simply to endure as a couple, but to make the relationship much more complete by continually exploring and renewing it.
Communication, and learning how to communicate, is vital in any loving relationship. We all need to be cared for, comforted, loved, caressed, adored, and worshiped, but in order to receive these "blessings" we have to be willing to give them. So unless you know what your lover likes, wants, or needs, and what he or she expects or hopes for from you, you cannot give it.
You have to be willing to listen and become aware of your lover's needs, without judging them and without feeling criticized or inadequate. Be open to your lover's desires rather than being consumed by your own. To give open-heartedly and unconditionally without expecting something in return is hard, but by giving in that way you will be rewarded. Giving can be the most rewarding of all experiences. Honoring your lover by giving the time and energy he or she requires is a very special gift.
How to Ask for It
It's important that you each express your wants and needs in a positive, compassionate, and empathetic way, especially when discussing your sexual desires. Suggest new ways of doing things rather than saying "I don't like it when you . . ." Focus on what you do like and want to experiment with. In this way you can also gauge your lover's reactions to your suggestions.
If you have difficulty expressing yourself verbally about certain things, such as what you want your lover to do for you, or what you want to do but have never dared ask for, write them down. Do this together, and always be honest and open with one another.
Finding a Lover for You
When you are hoping to find a lover you first have to believe in your own "lovability," and that comes from loving yourself and accepting yourself fully for who you really are. Loving yourself, love giving love, love receiving it, and you will have a better chance of attracting your perfect lover. If you have an air of need or desperation about you, you may attract a lover, but he or she may not be one who wants a long-term, loving relationship of equals.
To be available for love also means letting go of any hurt and pain caused by a previous relationship. Wounds from an old relationship can create blockages that make it difficult to allow new love in. You need to allow yourself to feel all those painful feelings of rage, anger, fear, and grief to get them out of your body and mind. Let go and open yourself and your heart to new beginnings.
Be grateful for having had your heart broken, because it has broken your heart open and allowed you to feel. Being in touch with and sensitive to your feelings is an important aspect of loving--both loving yourself and being able to love someone else.
Only when you can love and value the person you are today will you attract other people. And those people will include that special someone who can help you to develop and grow in the direction you need.
Words are not always the most effective or loving way to signal desire. Nonverbal signals, not always consciously given, can be clearer indicators of someone's interest in you or your interest in them. There are many different body language signals, some more subtle than others, that can indicate whether or not a person is interested in or attracted to you. Facial expressions, body movements, and tone of voice can all be clues to sexual interest.
Body language is the real indication of what is happening inside you, and between yourself and other people. No matter what you say, the real message is reflected in what your body does.
For example, when you are depressed or "carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders," your shoulders automatically sag and your back becomes rigid instead of being flexible. When you are tense and bottling up your emotions, your tummy muscles tighten and your walk becomes jerky. Tension affects the way you stand and the way you hold your body and the way you move. People who are open and unembarrassed will talk to you with movements of their arms, facing you. Shy people or strangers tend to avert their faces, and may also cross their arms in front of their bodies as a form of defence or protection.
You can learn a lot about what another person thinks of you by looking into their eyes. If someone dislikes you, the pupils of their eyes tend to narrow when they look at you. But when someone is attracted to you, his or her pupils will widen and grow. At the same time, their blink rate might increase. Most people usually blink about twice a second, but when they are sexually attracted to someone their blink rate goes up. So to find out if someone is interested in you, look into his or her eyes. If the pupils grow, there is interest. And if the blink rate goes up, be bold!
Another useful clue lies in the way the other person looks at you. As two people get to know one another, they take each other's faces in as they chat. The eyes meet, just long enough to register, and then move to the mouth, cheeks, and hair. A man interested in a woman will also tend to trace her figure with his eyes, and women do the same with men.
Smiling and Laughing
Smiling not only makes you feel better and happy, it makes you look better too. Happy, joyful, smiley people are always more attractive than sad, unhappy, depressed people. Your happiness shows in your appearance, the way you hold yourself and the energy you project.
To see how you look when you are smiling with genuine happiness, rather than forcing a smile, try this simple exercise. Look into a mirror, close your eyes, and remember the happiest time of your life or a time when you felt really joyful. Picture it and feel the smile coming. Now open your eyes and let your lips part, your eyes crinkle, and the edges of your mouth curl up. You might be laughing by now!
A real smile involves the muscles from around your mouth and lips to those right up to your eyes. So powerful is the smile from the heart that if you smile genuinely at someone, you will get an immediate and positive response.
When someone laughs with you or at your remarks or jokes, it is a particularly appealing signal that they are enjoying your company and it is reasonably easy to tell a false laugh from a genuine one. Over-enthusiastic laughter can, however, be a real turn-off!
When someone you are talking with makes gentle physical contact, such as by touching your arm, it could be just a friendly gesture or it could mean they are attracted to you. More intimate actions, such as picking a hair or fluff from your clothing, or leaning a knee against yours under the table, are usually more reliable signs that the other person is attracted to you.
The Power of Attraction
People tend to be attracted to those whose physical attractiveness is comparable to their own. We expect to feel more comfortable, and less apprehensive of rejection, by choosing someone on the same level of attractiveness as ourselves.
When two people meet, the obvious initial attraction is visual. Recent research also indicates that we are attracted to one another by smell, by the scent of one another. We then use tactics such as conversation and increasingly close physical contact to reinforce the mutual attraction.
When you walk into a room and meet someone that you are attracted to, someone who excites and arouses you, you will notice that within minutes your energy perks up. Your heart beats faster, your palms may sweat, and you feel sexually aroused.
These effects are caused by the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), produced by the body to prepare it for physical action. The rush of epinephrine makes us feel "turned on." It can lead us to mistake these sensations of physical excitement for love, and to start a relationship based purely on intense sexual attraction. However, there are many long-lasting loving relationships that started off based on powerful physical attraction. These lovers definitely fell in lust before creating an enduring bond.
Other body chemicals associated with sexual attraction include endorphins--the "pleasure chemicals"--and pheromones, substances emitted by the body to stimulate or attract a member of the opposite sex.
The production of these chemicals increases when a person is sexually aroused or in love, and they trigger very distinct biochemical changes. When lovers talk about the chemistry between them, they are right!From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpted from Sextasy by Caroline Aldred. Copyright © 2005 by Caroline Aldred. Excerpted by permission of Delta, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.