This post, below, is a guest blog from Tim my beloved life partner, who plays an essential part in Secret Garden both in the background between groups and supporting me, and all of us, during them – most actively during the Joyful Loving explorations.
I thought this catchy title would grab your attention – either to agree or disagree. My guess is a lot of those who disagree are men who have had lots of great sex in their lives and think that means they are great lovers. That’s not what I mean by my title. ‘The Lover’ is an archetypal energy and expresses healthily in a man who is in touch with his feminine, vulnerable, emotional side, loving sensual life and Eros in all its forms and, through that fulfilment is able to deeply please and fulfil woman emotionally and sexually. My guess is that most ‘grown-up’ self-honest men and women know what I’m talking about.
Note the Lover energy includes our creativity, social engagement, yearning for connection and spiritual depth – but in these posts the focus is more on loving the ‘other’ whether we are in long term committed relating or exploring alternatives to that.
If you are a great lover and are therefore wondering if this blog is for you I’d say – society has thankfully moved on from the 70’s when it was considered that people should only look at their inner life if it was broken. If your life is working well that’s fantastic and this blog points to how yet more wonder and goodness can be squeezed from it.
We’ll explore the challenges men face and give some pointers through those to what can be changed, but as a man who became a committed ‘spiritual seeker’ 35+ years ago and committed to ‘conscious lovemaking’ 30 years ago, I can’t offer quick fixes. I’m still learning and making ‘mistakes’ in living and fully realising The Lover energy but it’s worth noting that the many powerful revelations and openings have come from lived experience, not intellectual understanding.
Modern culture is obsessed with speed / technique / life hacks / solving it /information and getting the most from life in the mind. Have you found yet the end of the day hollowness to ‘mastering a new technique’?
My hope in writing is that some of you will be inspired to look again at your lives as individuals and/or with your partner, and see a new way that your life/lives can evolve into greater joy (without making anything into another “should” for your life).
Masculine and Feminine
It is popular to promote how men and women are equal and to confusingly denigrate any talk of gender differences by referencing the history of patriarchical subjugatation of women. While there is no doubt at all that historically men have in many ways abused their power, and much is still needing to be healed about this, there are in nature huge differences between masculine and feminine energy, values and approaches to life.
Each human being has a unique mixture of masculine and feminine traits, with men tending to but by no means always having more masculine – obvious now that LGBT orientation is, happily, so accepted. I’m a more heterosexual man, energetically at the more masculine end of the spectrum and this post is worded to address the men who are also heterosexual, but most of the content of these posts is relevant to the masculine in all of us, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It’s also worded as ‘how it is’ for brevity but actually this is just ‘how I see it is’ and I’m happy to explore in the comments section with you if you see it differently or questions come to you. If I refer to ‘we’ I’m generalising from my experience with the many men I’ve met in attending or leading men’s groups and from life experience socially and in business.
Joy has written and spoken extensively on masculine and feminine energy, and particularly that the feminine is present in both men and women. Secret Garden work is often an invitation into the feminine since this is what is most needed by both men and women in these times. Men discover and live more fully and easily a more authoritative, wise expression of masculine as a result. You can read more on this in She is in All – and in both Man and Woman .
Where to start… so many causes of man’s challenges in living The Lover. This is not a book so let’s go through some of the more obvious, then look at the possible phases of relating.
Men are genetically programmed to spread their seed wide, and, experience instant sexual attraction based on physical traits. If a man is unconscious of conditioning this can lead into a trance. In the modern world of instant availability and worship of image from Instagram to porn, the limbic system of the brain can easily get addicted to the dopamine rush. Like any drug, more is needed over time for the same high and we’ve likely all heard of increasing levels of impotence amongst even younger men when faced with a flesh and blood woman with real emotions and needs, who is not willing to be an object. So – the more porn and fantasy in a man’s life, the harder it is to be sensually present as The Lover. Obvious but needs saying. With intelligence, it is completely possible to get past this desire for dopamine hits. You might ask yourself “How can I, with total integrity bring more feminine juice into my life?”
Mans driven, ‘give me’ sexual greed is obviously linked to this and I’ll say a bit more about it below. Honest exploration and reflection with other men in a supportive ongoing community of friends is a great way to be so much more than this.
Lack of Realness
I remember vividly realising in my early teens that an advertisement was not the truth – sounds simple but a key step in being ‘my own person’. We know that today our data is being constantly used to feed algorithms that can predict our likely behaviour and interests to feed us ever more targeted advertisements. So it is increasingly easy to delegate our decisions to influences outside of conscious awareness. To combat this, (as Socrates said, …Know Thyself!) my deepest value since my late teens has been Realness or Authenticity. How can you tune into your woman longer term if you do not know yourself, and how can you know yourself if you are not honest with yourself? This itself could be a book but for now I urge you to read my blog post Being Honest.
Courageous, fearless honesty means you will not unduly tiptoe around to stop your woman ‘going off on one’, you’ll be transparent in sharing what you are struggling with, you’ll be vulnerable and not defensive even when she has triggered you – and able to respond from the heart, you’ll have the authority to be trusted in what you say without making yourself small to keep her comfortable in an attempt (which won’t work) to collude in a pact of niceness to get her approval. Developing these deep character traits is man’s life work.
Why does she lose passion?
A guy told me once in a men’s circle that in foreplay, the sign that she was ready was the first barely audible sigh – then he was ‘in’ and shortly ‘going for home’. The Lover has a very different approach. As men we would love our woman to be constantly hot and available ‘like we men are’ but (unfortunately for the sexually greedy male mind) women are just not built like this – so the first and most obvious point guys is … how do we make love in such a way that she enjoys it and wants more rather than it being an obligation she will in time not want to fulfil often. Keep reading!
Is it actually you not her, that have lost your passion? If so, are you withholding love from her because you are angry? Does sexual energy feel dangerous for you (every honest man knows there is part of him that could (not would) abuse, take selfishly and even rape)?
Speed? I prefer the slow cooker
You may have seen some variation of this image on the difference between man and woman (remember I’m simplifying masculine / feminine when I say this), it’s humorous at times, since we know there is truth in it, and it applies to both initial attraction and making love. Man is simply on/off and woman has many dials (so there are many levels instead of on/off for man’s switch).
So men – we all know this, so why is it so hard to act on it? To allow that woman takes time to be really ready for erotic, deep pleasure? Dopamine, greed, unconscious entitlement, laziness or a selfish desire to avoid reality perhaps?
So somehow finding the uninterrupted space and time together when not both knackered for it not to be another quickie – (sustaining but just not deeply fulfilling!). I’m not saying this is easy to do, and it’s obviously harder still with young children. It needs prioritising, and the external world’s demands kept at bay, by both (not just one) of you.
Guys … relaxed sensual sensitivity and present-ness without task focus, daring to allow your first erection to subside (the mind might judge that as going to waste), tuning in, your focus is on giving her pleasure – you will get plenty if/by pleasing her – all in good time. I could write a book on this alone – it can be experientially taught and learnt but how would it be if you could cuddle, caress, pet, for the pleasure of the action, with no end in mind, and no disappointment if it just stopped at any point?…
There is great pleasure to be had in innocent touch when you are with it for itself – just as there was in those heady, perhaps distant days of courtship.
Ejaculation? No thanks
An obvious point for us men is to let go of the need to ejaculate anything like so often – there is lots to explore guys with this and with learning in general to make love for longer. Developing this ability is growthful and enriches lovemaking (and life) deeply. The Lilly Allen song line “I’m lying in the wet patch in the middle of the bed, I’m feeling pretty damn hard done by…” is shockingly insightful into man’s pleasure-seeking shallowness and how a woman feels about it. A man whose woman just wants to please him sexually will not grow up – of course guys part of us would love this but I’m writing to men who are ready to grow up. Growing up into a fully realised man takes time and is much easier with the right support around you.
Technique has a place, but it’s limited
You can learn to make love for much longer without ejaculation or to have non-ejaculatory orgasms or to give great vaginal massage or oral pleasure. We explore this, and it can be learnt but also … so what? Being technically proficient and pleasing your woman physically is only a part of being The Lover, and on its own will still leave you both feeling that something is missing. Ultimately, emotional intimacy with the man you are, with life and with your woman is the secret sauce.
… Relationship Phases?
We’ve likely all had a number of times when we’ve fallen in love or lust and had ‘mind blowing’ sex and/or experienced new levels of connection and intimacy and oneness – its great! We’ve likely also all experienced that after weeks, months or years, this has dissipated especially with the time spent relating over the chores of ordinary life while living together – the end of the ‘honeymoon’. Her body is no longer so new to you, you each know the ‘ways’ you make love. It can easily all become more routine and though you both overall are glad you make love, and feel better for it, there can be a ‘should’ about it – particularly from her. Man pretty much always wants to be inside his woman, a lot of men would say it’s just an effort to get there!
Mainstream culture may well be used to delegate the decision on how often we make love eg. a recent broadsheet article says… ‘so long as we make love twice a week we are ok…’ rather than finding out together authentically without external reference.
If there isn’t good honest clear communication on both sides, it is ridiculously easy for petty unspoken resentments to get in the way (see ‘Being Honest’ above) and for the periods between lovemaking to get longer until ‘we last made love a year or even 5-10-15 years ago’. Settling for comfortable companionship with oxytocin, frustration at her frigidity or finding yourself somewhere on the road to ‘The War of The Roses’ is not fulfilment. Of course, it’s common to swap partners or have secret affairs when challenges occur and then repeat the cycle. I suggest that if this is done without learning the lessons it will end up pretty much the same again – Groundhog Day is a great film since it has such a strong message about learning lessons from the circumstances we create.
Making love is about giving – that’s where we experience our nobility and much more profound fulfilment, but you know how that driving impatience to get your own pleasure (or to give her an orgasm) cuts across the flow and presence your woman needs – you can learn to go inside, to relax with what is, even during sex, not to be driven by what the testosterone or desire for her approval demands it should be.
The actual wonder of this is that is not a quick fix technique that you can learn from your mind to ‘get better sex’. It is totally learnable only as part of coming to friendship with your bodily sensational life – and doing this will have profound and beneficial effects on enjoyment in all areas of your life.
So, how does task focussed man bring in more love? As a task focussed and logic driven male man, I know the challenges you face!
We can only start this from where we are and many men I work with have more feminine energy making them more naturally sensually present than I am (by this I mean in touch with sensational life in the moment and not distracted by hopes, fears, fantasies or day-dreaming).
We learn mostly through becoming able to receive feedback and insight – from a teacher who we accept and respect has earned the right to say what they see about us and life, and from fellow students. Most importantly, we learn from our woman, who may well be still learning herself, has her own failings, and may well say things with an edge from years of not feeling received by you in saying what she sees, and years of not being loved well.
How scary is that man?… ‘’seriously… Is Tim saying I need to let her blame me or reject me or say “You haven’t done the washing up” with an edge in her voice, and not react or defend myself? Surely that is being a wimp – I need to stand up for myself’’.
No… and Yes… this is a great area for experiential learning.
We men love nothing more than to give to our woman – however ‘unconscious’ we may be, it feels great. I’m writing however about giving even when challenged or when the pull is to be distracted or busy.
So, many of the reasons it’s so hard for man to be a Good Lover come from the desire to be in control and in subtle or not so subtle ways get our own way. This is very different to being spaciously present which is a natural male trait once we relax out of the trying – there is hope! I really recommend this brilliant timeless post from Joy a while back laying out man’s journey as myth: The man who denied his balls, lost his balls then found them again.
In the next part of this post I’ll explore the unconscious reasons we men find it so hard to prioritise becoming and being The Lover. And what to do about that. Go to Why is it so hard for Man to be The Lover Part 2
Your comments & questions are welcome!
If this post has interested you, you may want to find out more about the upcoming new Joyful Loving Ongoing Group starting in October.