My partner and I have recently returned from the Seven Day Making Love Retreat and we’re feeling much quieter inside as well as more deeply connected to one another. Why did we embark on this workshop – created by Diana Richardson, author of six books, including Slow Sex, Tantric Orgasm for Women and Tantric Sex for Men – which introduces a different and more sustainable kind of making love?
Well, we were happy with our sex lives but aware that there was another kind of making love available which could make our intimacy greater so we wanted to try out this possibility. We wanted to explore what else was out there for a couple to experience. And the UK teachers, Jayne Blackman and Tim Broughton are friends of mine, so I had already observed what richness and increased love this work had brought to their relationship. And I knew it included allowing more vulnerability into my relationship and I wanted that to happen.
Other reasons for going are that couples may have stopped having sex and fallen into contented companionship, yet realise there is also something missing. Or perhaps one person in the partnership has become nervous about sex because of a health difficulty or erectile dysfunction or numbness of the vagina. Or perhaps they simply want more joy in their making love.
By the time I set off, I was so looking forward to this week being just for my partner and myself. We’d had quite a turbulent summer and I was yearning for peace of heart and mind. The location itself – the Mill Retreat Centre in Normandy – was so gorgeous. An old mill, open fires, delicious vegetarian meals, a group room to die for and autumnal sun in the idyllic grounds that had a lake, falling willow leaves and even a kingfisher. And Jayne and Tim were so personal in their approach that it made the subject of sex (not always easy) so ordinary and everyday. I really enjoyed conversing in a pragmatic way about sex with the other couples. It was liberating and a relief.
Our days were spent dancing, meditating, doing bodywork – one of the most important aspects of this work is that you can’t really make love if you’re not present, and so we were encouraged with activities like dance and meditation that brought us into the body – being taught the theory of what we were doing and putting that information into practice. There was dedicated time to make love, which at first seemed a little odd but soon turned into a valuable practice. This style of making love really is a practice like doing yoga or 5Rhythms.
One of the tenets of this work is that in order to fully connect to your partner, you have to connect to yourself first. Oh, I so loved connecting to myself in this tranquil way. It became a resource that I’m still using after the workshop. And because I had opened to myself first and was feeling loving, I could be so much more open and loving to my partner. That difference was wonderful to feel.
One of the aspects of Jayne and Tim’s relationship that I’d noticed before was that they could be vulnerable in the moment. They would say to each other – ‘Oh, wait a minute, I need to go inside ’ or ‘I’m feeling sad right now’ or ‘I feel emotional’. My partner and I took the opportunity to practise more of this during our dedicated making love time. One day, we had a big falling out – we triggered each other and couldn’t sort it out straight away – and we were able to communicate later on in a profoundly vulnerable way. That enabled me to see my behaviour more and it brought more love to our making love.
Which really is what it’s all about – opening the heart, bringing more softness to everyday contact as well as sexual connection plus more skills around communication and understanding. Jayne and Tim bring their own sweet love – as well as the difficulties they encounter along the way – to this workshop in a way that is invaluable and inspiring.
Slow sex, making love in this more conscious way – which is based on the exchange of sexual energy between male and female poles in the body, and moving the focus away from hot sex or orgasms – requires time. I don’t pretend to have got there yet. But we have begun to feel the potential of this way of making love and we’ve booked in our next making love session. It’s actually being committed to giving the time to it that also makes it possible. Incidentally, I also witnessed transformations on this workshop. One woman said she’d been numb in her pelvis area for over 10 years – she’d been having sex with her husband but not enjoying it – and this situation totally changed for her. She became sexually alive again and it was a joy to behold.
In the meantime, I’m welcoming the new levels of harmony into my relationship. Long may it last.
The next Making Love Retreats for couples with Jayne and Tim are May 15th – 22nd and Oct 30th – Nov 6th 2016 at the EarthSpirit Centre in Somerset. Do check out the website and their video: www.themakingloveretreat.co.uk
And please join the Making Love Community.
This article was first published in The Connections Magazine.
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Photo: Tim Broughton and Jayne Blackman.