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Archive for April, 2011

I’ve just been reading the edgy new book, Se*x At Dawn: Prehistoric Origins of Modern S*exuality, by authors Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha and boy, are my eyebrows singed!

Actually, I don’t find it all that scandalous; more like, “Yeah, duh! It’s about time!” Although I see why it’s incredibly controversial and is being called the most important text on human sexuality since Kinsey’s research, it all makes perfect sense to me and my world view on relationships.

So, I wanted to share with you a tidbit from a great review of the book, invite you to read the whole review, and maybe even the whole darn book!

Here’s the tidbit:

[Se*x At Dawn author] Ryan explains the difficulty of trying to restrain se*xuality using the metaphor of being a vegetarian. “What we are saying is that you can choose to be s*exually monogamous for your whole life if you want to, but this is a choice like choosing to be a vegetarian. It can be an excellent decision morally, ethically, health-wise and on many different levels, but simply choosing to become a vegetarian does not mean bacon will stop smelling good.”

In other words one can choose to have a monogamous marriage, but it doesn’t mean falling in love or getting married will eliminate the natural appetite to have sex with other people. “Once you understand this then you don’t feel you are a failure because you have a fantasy about someone other than your husband. You don’t think there is something wrong with your husband or your marriage because you’re fantasizing about someone else. No, it simply means that you are a homo sapien and that is how it is.”

Ryan says one can choose the context for relationships but people will have feelings and desires regardless of the decisions they make. “Once you understand your nature, and where these feelings come from, it is easier to control them if you choose to.”

Provo-ca-tive, no???

I  follow that with my assertion that there are seven big road-bumps that shall eventually place themselves beneath your relationship’s feet. They WILL show up sometime in the life-span of your partnership, it’s just a question of when. And whether these road-bumps trip you, face-plant you, derail your whole relationship or merely give you a magnificent view from the top of ’em, depends on how you deal with them.

To read about all seven, along with HOW to deal with them well, proactively, with love and respect, you’ll have to wait ’til next year for my book (in the writing, as we speak 😉 I know, I’m such a tease!), but the first big road-bump is this:

#1: We assume monogamy’s IT – but it’s rarely what we do or get.

(Take a breath with me. Breathe. In and out. Take another. I’m all for monogamy. It’s a great choice and it’s very good for very many humans.)

OK, we all know that monogamy is the “right” default sexual agreement of all serious, committed, long-term relationships, correct? Or do we?

Although more than 80% of Americans consider infidelity morally wrong, about 8 out of 10 people have cheated themselves or are affected by cheating. Our morals say one thing, and our actions another. A majority of us are actually non-monogamous while giving only lip-service to the gold-standard of sexual exclusivity.

This is not because we are all crazed se*x addicts, have loose morals, lack emotional maturity, have an attachment disorders or are selfish bastards. Sometimes that might be the case, but there are some other forces at play.

There is a paradoxical effect that sexual monogamy so often has on long-term relationships: what nurtures and feeds love and commitment is the opposite of what fuels erotic desire, and so our sex lives too often dwindle. Sexual spark often needs things like newness, difference, a touch of “danger” or intrigue and “otherness.” The by-products of long-term relationships like closeness, comfort, safety, habituation, sameness, trust, and feeling like you “know” your partner completely, as wonderful and vital as they are, are often the antithesis to a lifetime of hot s*ex.

S*ex At Dawn is simply another (clear, powerful, colorful) voice that, through sharp observation and compelling research, asks us to re-examine the gold standard of monogamy.

And, my coupla two-cent calls to action fall right in line with Ryan and Jetha’s masterful book: to embrace the paradoxes inherent in long-term relationships instead of bemoaning them. To expect the inevitable seven road-bumps to show up in our relationships. To even welcome them as means for growth, wholeness and learning.  And to ask ourselves the hard but juicy questions so we can sidestep the darn road-bumps or use them to take a giant airborne leap into lasting love.
OK, so. Leave me your comments below. It’s obviously a controversial, incendiary topic that warrants your sharp wit and mind!

To read the full Sex At Dawn review, click HERE.

And to read more from my “other” website, Re-Defining Monogamy, click HERE.

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If you are anything like me, conflict isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. Conflict often likes to makes itself known as it races through your bloodstream when a friend or colleague brings up something they are disappointed with.  Or a lover lashes out with anger or struggles to articulate something, awash in sadness.  Or a partner lets you know what you did “wrong.”  Or a heated disagreement, sparks flying left and right.

The point in relationships isn’t to avoid conflict, however – the point is to deal with conflict constructively.

Nowadays, I am able to do that pretty well. But it’s all learned behavior, practiced and honed, with much sweat and adrenaline keeping me company. And I owe much of this essential relationship skill to an understanding of how lightning and lightning rods work.

Conflict in and of itself isn’t a problem. Often, it’s simply the squeak of a wheel desperately in need of grease. Conflict is something stuck, looking to get shook loose. If we can work with it and not freak out and run from it, freeze up in the face of it, or make it mean something’s wrong, then it can reveal a big learning or blessing. About ourselves, about the other, and about the relationship.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a Lightning Rod or Grounding Rod? It’s usually a long, tall piece of metal, often attached to the roof or side of a building, and its job is to attract the electrical energy of a lightning storm. Instead of the lightning striking the building – or your head – the Grounding Rod acts as a conduit; it collects the lightning’s energy and runs it into the ground. Hence, the term, “grounding.”

Without the Grounding Rod, the electrical energy would get into the building – or your head – and fry things.

So, the next time your nervous system starts blinking red, letting you know you’re entering into conflict zone, Ground.

Pretend your body is a Grounding Rod. Feel the electrical energy of the conflict’s lightening storm, but instead of letting it stay in your body, use your breath and intention to run it into the ground.

Then, when the lightening is dispersed and you aren’t a live wire any more, you’ll be able to think straighter and communicate clearer.

You’ll be able to make some sense of where the person is coming from, what’s squeaking that needs a shot of emotional WD40, what’s all bound up beneath what their words, asking to be loosened and looked at.

Enjoy practicing constructively dealing with conflict in a way that doesn’t involve freezing, fighting, flight-ing – or frying.

“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

And don’t forget to leave a comment below.

Best, LiYana