Assisted Loving: Words of Inspiration for the New Year

By Ginger Manley | Posted: Monday January 12, 2015

Dear Readers,

For the second month, I have had no questions, so I am going to start off the New Year highlighting some of my favorite inspirations about healthy sexuality at all ages.

A colleague of mine, Alexandra Katehakis, is founder and clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles. Much as I did in the 1980s, ‘90s and beyond until 2005, she and her colleagues treat not only couples and individuals with the usual array of sexual performance issues, but also folks whose sexual behavior is out of control, commonly called sexual addiction, and people whose background as a victim of sexual abuse or violence has left them wounded and limping in their adult sexual roles. The basic question, “What compromises hot, healthy sex?” set Alex and her colleague Tom Bliss on a quest to find the underpinnings of healthy sexuality, and from that journey they have now published “Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence,” available at Amazon and other retailers.

The authors state, “‘Mirror of Intimacy’ contains a year’s worth of daily reflections that explore and support the range of human sexualities as a divine gift and a human right. The reflections reference a rich array of approaches: attachment theory, mind/body nexus, neurobiology, 12-step principles, meditation techniques, Eastern and Western philosophy and ancient world myths. Unfettered by cultural, social or religious norms, we set our intention to examine 366 topics related to sex and sexuality.”

These reflections have been available one at a time for more than a year on their webpage, to which I have been a subscriber almost from day one. Each reflection begins with a quote from someone famous or not-so-famous and ends with a homework assignment. Almost every day, something they have written grabs my attention and helps me focus on ways I need to step back and be intentional in my own sexual journey. Here are snippets from six that have been especially meaningful to me.

April 1, 2014: Laughter

“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, now that’s a real treat.” Joanne Woodward

Laughter is a spontaneous and full-bodied expression of aliveness and amusement that transports us into an altered state of joy and, sometimes, glee. The body heaves in expression releasing sounds and movements that instinctively express and communicate that we are attuned with the sources of our entertainment … When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

March 18, 2014: Confidence

During times of profound emotional pain we all depend on our beloved to show up for us in a way that’s firm and steadfast. We need the soothing knowledge that the person we love most in the world will be present to care for us. Confidence in relationship builds when we make ourselves vulnerable enough to receive, for when we receive we have the fortifying experience of being loved.

December 25, 2013:Happiness

“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” Háfez

We do know that true inner happiness is an act of communion because it results in identification and connection to the flow of life. This happiness must involve intimacy, the ability to make oneself known. Receptivity to the experience of personal happiness is a form of self-knowledge. To be capable of self-knowledge, intimacy and communion manifests fulfillment, a deeply enduring happiness.

December 16, 2013: Excitement

Life can seem to lose its luster as we age, leaving us thinking that excitement lives only in the domain of youth. We may wax nostalgic for the lightning-bolt arousal of our feelings, ranging from exuberance to agitation. But taking it slow and becoming present with what and who’s in front of us can create a different, more mature kind of excitement.

December 17, 2013: Love

“You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” Oscar Wilde

In the game of tennis “love” is a score of zero, suggesting that when we’re in love the score is even and all is well … Keep the score zero in your love relationship: Give generous doses of gratitude, make caring gestures to your partner daily and watch the passion and abundance grow.

June 5, 2014: Cherishing

“Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.” Booth Tarkington

A significant predictor of love’s endurance i show we cherish one another … Cherishing real human beings … requires a willingness to see the beauty of their imperfection and to adore them all the same … Life is filled with little disappointments and conflicts, and romantic interactions can easily become tainted with resignation and buried resentment. But that’s why expressing true feelings and needs is so crucial to love’s survival … For cherishing requires a clean slate … There isn’t a fixed amount of love, such that cherishing another depletes us of personal power. That’s not how love and blessings work. If anything, when it comes to affection and appreciation, to give endlessly makes it possible endlessly to receive.

As I begin my 71st year, blessed to be in an enduring relationship of almost 48 years, I am choosing to focus on these principles to guide me. I realize these are sometimes really difficult for me because I was reared to be strong and independent, and most of these guidelines require a degree of vulnerability that does not come to me naturally. In the relationship with my beloved, though, I am continuing to learn to be more resilient, trusting, creative, receptive and vulnerable.

I invite you to pay attention to whatever guidelines you may need as you move through 2015. Each of us has enough room in our souls for more growth towards love.

Happy New Year!


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