Integrity in a Sexual Relationship
By Ayal Hurst
As with anything in life, I think the more we come to know who we are, the more we know who or what fits us. Certainly not everyone will attract or match us sexually - sometimes you can have a great lover, but he or she may be unsuitable for you emotionally, or lack other qualities you need and desire. Or, someone can be unattractive to us physically, but have many other qualities we appreciate. There will be people who do not interest us, and others who can offer us sexual experiences that bring us to new understandings. One thing I do know is that there can be as many sexual experiences as there are people on this planet. Everyone is different and will have a different chemical reaction with us. However, I would not advocate making love with millions of people to learn what we like and what fits us!
Knowing ourselves takes time - it's a lifelong journey. In life, by choosing one road, one person, or relationship, it means that we have to let go of taking some other road. We can't take them all. Life just can't work that way. So we have to make choices. Hopefully the choices we make come from a place of clarity. Often, the only way to get to that clarity is by going through life and learning about ourselves as we go. As we make choices, and are willing to see ourselves clearly, we grow. There will be confusion. The most important thing is to come to know the deepest parts of yourself - to find out what is your real truth and who you really are - and what brings you true happiness.
There will never be the perfect road. But we can go deep on the road we do choose. It will show us who we are, both our good stuff, and the stuff we don't like much about ourselves. And if we become wise, we will learn to separate who we really are from what our reactions and issues are. The reaction of either feeling repulsed by someone or something, or drawn to someone or something are strong ones and can teach you a lot about yourself. If you feel good about someone, they represent something in yourself that you love and value. If you feel repulsed about someone or something, sexually or otherwise, it is a sure bet that they represent something inside of you, a place where you feel insecure about yourself, or wounded in some way. People who repulse us represent some wound in us. Find out what that is, and you will have learned something very important about yourself.
Of course, we don't have to sleep with someone whom we are drawn to simply because we feel that there is some degree of connection going on. We often mistake a spark of interest or a sense that we have things in common for an immediate sexual connection or relationship. Then we jump in, head first, often to end up stuck in the mud. There are many levels of connectedness, and a true partnership relationship has deep complexities to it - people are complex beings with all sorts of layers to them. If we are to become involved sexually, and allow an intimate connection to occur, it is wise to know more about who we are getting involved with, and what we will be dealing with, what the situation is really about.
Any experience you have will teach you something if you ask: "What am I to learn about myself through this experience?" And then you will begin to gather information and gain input on what road to take. A relationship may turn sexual, or it may not. But it is always good to take your time and seek the answer to the question of whether or not a relationship should turn sexual by looking deeply at what is really going on - what the connection is really all about. It makes life a lot less confusing and can save a lot of possible distress and turmoil.
Making a commitment to a certain path, relationship, or person can be a scary thing, and many issues will come up for you when you do. It is really making a commitment to facing yourself - a commitment to your own growth. We can have many experiences, sexually, and many relationships. It is good to have enough experience in life to know what fits you. I think we can and do learn what fits us by being willing to face ourselves and to learn about ourselves by diving deep in a relationship through commitment. No one choice or person will ever give us everything. And even within a deeply committed relationship, you will have times when a person repulses you, and times when you gain new understandings from them. Deep relationships often have long cycles to them - periods of great connectedness that can last for quite a while, as well as more difficult cycles of time that may also last for a while. True, deeply rooted growth and change takes time, and as we cycle through these periods, we gain a lot, if we are willing to understand what is trying to transform, and what needs to be seen and understood so that growth may occur.
I have been married now for 12 years. It has taken us a lot of time to become good lovers for one another, both sexually, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. We certainly have grown and come a long way from where we started out. And we still are evolving in these areas as we learn more about ourselves and each other. What I finally learned is that it isn't just up to him to please me. It is up to me to state what I want, to be clear about that, to know myself, and to be in a state of love - within myself. For instance, depending upon what I have going on inside of myself, I will feel differently toward my husband at different times. Sometimes I look at him through eyes that see all his good qualities, and at those times I feel "in love" with him, because I am seeing through the eyes of love, and feel good about myself and life.. Other times, when I am not clear, or issues are up for me, I can look at him and be repulsed and see only his unpleasant qualities. At those times, our love making will certainly not be as good as when I am feeling good about myself and have love to share with him. But it all comes down to how I am feeling inside of myself.
People who love one another can certainly learn to please each other sexually. It may be a spectacular experience to begin with, or it may not, and even later on there will be more rewarding sexual experiences than others that you have with your partner. As my husband and I have come to love and understand each other - and ourselves - better, our sex has gotten better. For something to be truly strong, like a sturdy tree, it takes time and slow, steady growth, working things out, communicating, being honest, learning about ourselves and others. Attraction is really all about bringing into our lives those people who will help us grow and see ourselves better. And as love grows, attraction does also.
There are many people who advocate a swinger lifestyle these days. Being a "Player" is seen as being cool. To me, this is the worst sort of ego gratification, and I see it as being very distorted and harmful. People aren't trophies to be captured, or big game to be bagged, and relationships or interactions with others certainly isn't about scoring, like getting a high score on a video game. Everyone has feelings, can bleed, and be damaged and badly wounded. I don't think being a swinger and allowing a lot of sexual activity in one's life is the same thing as being cool or mature. Being mature means you knows yourself well enough to know what you can handle and where you're at. Being mature means that you don't seek to harm others. There are issues of honor and ethics in life which we must live by to truly feel good about ourselves, and there are these same issues in a relationship. This means that we make choices which are moral, fair, and honest, choices which benefit ourselves and our partner in the best way. This allows the relationship to grow to be a healthy entity. Having ethics and honor in a relationship involves loyalty, wisdom, insight, discipline, and integrity: the strength of will to do what one says one will do.
Often, if some or all of these issues are out of balance, or missing in a relationship, in oneself and one's partner, many people choose to go looking outside of the relationship for someone else instead of healing what one has. A relationship will always mirror for each person, or reflect, whatever issues and patterns they have in their lives that are good, or dysfunctional. Going elsewhere does not solve the problem. It will come up again and again until it is faced and resolved.
A relationship, as far as I am concerned, requires sound ethics, honor, strength of will, making good choices, and devotion to flourish. A relationship is about loving another and caring for the happiness of the other as much as for one's self. That is real maturity. To use another being for sexual purposes and to think that nothing goes on with that, that then it's over and nothing of importance has occurred, that it is meaningless, that there is no connection, is, as far as I am concerned, a profound misunderstanding of what sex, life, and how we treat others, is all about.
When one has a sexual connection with another, there is a deep exchange of life force energy. A deep connection does occur. Sexuality is the joining of two beings for the purpose of creating life and pleasure. It is the capacity to share oneself completely with another. It is the human equivalent of surrendering to another, of trusting another, as we hopefully can allow ourselves on the spiritual level to surrender to trusting the Love of God - to be vulnerable and giving in a fully open and loving way. It is the ultimate physical manifestation of love and connectedness. It is an incredibly powerful force, and to use it lightly seems to me to be missing out on what the journey of life is all about.
I think giving ourselves pleasure is a wonderful and important thing to do. However, when one has sex with another, there are actually psychic cords that connect you to that other person. These cords allow an energy exchange to continue long after the act of sex itself is over. Your energy is then mixed up and connected to that other person's in a way that can be detrimental, unclear, and confusing for a long time. Therefore, we must choose wisely who we will will allow to enter into our energetic space and whose space we are willing to connect to.
Even after having sex with someone we love, it is important to disconnect from being attached to their energy, as we all must keep our own energy in our own space. Otherwise, part of our energy is lost to us. Even with people we love, it is important not to confuse their space, or ours, by having either our energy mixed up with theirs, or theirs with us. We must bring our energy always back to ourselves, and then continue to love, but not by being "outside" of ourselves in someone else's space.
Sex can be a fleeting pleasure on the "playing around" level, but ultimately that is not fulfilling, and can even be extremely detrimental, especially if your energy is entwined with many people. If one continues to seek fulfillment that way, it can become an addiction because it is seeking something you need from a place where you won't be able to get it, and that means you are chasing an illusion, thinking it's the real thing. To think something external will fulfill what we are all really looking for, which is Love, ultimately, feeling loved, safe, and worthwhile, doesn't get it. That's the same thing as needing to eat chocolate as soon as one feels tense or unhappy, thinking somehow that will bring peace and safety. It doesn't. It's a temporary fix, and one can't sustain oneself on it. Too much chocolate actually undermines health after a while.
It IS ok to seek pleasure in a way that does not cause harm to self or others. However, often we seek pleasure in a way that does cause harm. The journey of life is to learn from our experiences - to learn to honor life and to do no harm. Because sex is such an intimate act, there always is the chance that people who connect seemingly in a casual way can become deeply connected, and therefore hurt if sex is treated in a cavalier manner. And that's what a swinger lifestyle is all about - using people sexually and treating it in a cavalier manner. It's a set up for disaster, I believe. If we are in balance with our masculine and feminine energies within, if we have developed these other qualities of honor, ethics, strength of will, and devotion, I think we feel balanced and do not need to be looking for something "without" to make us feel better or satisfied or more alive. We can enjoy external pleasures, but we don't "need" them to feel good about ourselves and our lives.
Until we become safe within ourselves, we will turn to things outside of ourselves to try to feel safe or worthwhile. When we face these issues in ourselves and heal them, we can transform the patterns that cause distress. Then we no longer operate out of the pain or rage or fear we were caught in. We always have the choice, moment by moment, to choose either love, or fear. We have the choice, every moment, to get the support we need to change. Any dysfunctional pattern found in a relationship can be healed if people have the willingness to face it. Then there is the opportunity for deep growth to occur, both for the individuals involved, and for the relationship itself. It's up to each of us. When we realize that maintaining a state of love and clarity within ourselves is true power and safety, we don't need anything external to make us feel better. Great sex may make you feel good for a little while, but you always come down from it. It's truly only a small part of a fulfilling relationship. It's by no means the whole answer. Whereas we may have sex once a day, or once a week, or once a month, we still are needing to relate in a fulfilling and clear way for all the rest of the time we are together with the other person.
It's our inner power, our knowledge of our God Self, of who we truly are, and not anything external, that heals and serves us. Finding our way to reconnect with that, in whatever way is right for one, is the key. Going out to have sexual adventures may be fun, for a while, but it is only a temporary fix. Taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time, is the answer also. We are always in the Now, and the Now is always God. So, we are always safe, and full of that Power which transcends time, personality, and drama in each and every moment, if our connection to who we are is based on what is Real. When we touch that IS-ness of being in the NOW, when we accept what is without fear, when we meet whatever shows up in the moment with LOVE and Trust, honesty and clarity, we find that fulfillment we are seeking, in relationship, and in every other moment of our lives.