What if there were ways of making love that went far beyond what most people think it is—how open would you be to exploring that possibility?
A few days ago I had coffee with a good friend of mine who happens to be a licensed marriage / family counselor and a professional stand up comedienne (somehow, I can see how those two really go well together). We were discussing intimacy and she shared how she and her husband first “made love” on the dance floor at some local bar. She went on to describe how their every move conveyed a deep sense of intimate giving to each other that could only be truly described as making love.
This caused me to think about how so many couples have sex, but rarely really “make love.” That’s when it occurred to me that maybe the whole notion of what it means to make love is worth re-examining…
Making Love a Thousand Different Ways in a Thousand Different Places
My partner and I have the same experience as my friend and her husband. Any time we walk or sit together and hold hands, we are making love. Most of the time when we kiss, we are making love. When we just lay together and listen to each other’s breathing and heart beats, we are making love.
We’ve made love at the movies, while eating ice cream in public, while walking on the beach or enjoying a concert together.
One time we made profound love just by sitting across from each other while staring into each other’s eyes and synchronizing our breathing. That particular instance was so powerful I almost started convulsing—and yet, we weren’t even touching.
And Then There Is Just Sex
We live in such an overtly sexualized society where anyone with an Internet connection can watch two (or more) people fornicate in every way imaginable (and some, well… unimaginable). Having sex is what our culture typically refers to as “making love.”
Deep down, how many of us really equate having sex as making love if it’s just the physical act, regardless of how pleasurable it may be? I suspect most of us feel there must be something more, something deeper, more intimate than the act itself to deserve the tender moniker “making love.”
It’s the Space Created, Not the Doing
This is something I think about a lot, given I am a clinically impotent male who has an intimate life I wouldn’t trade for all the money, Viagra, or penile implants in the world. Prior to my impotency, sex and making love were synonymous—and most often, very unsatisfying. Losing my ability to have an erection was an invitation to my partner and I to explore other ways of being intimate, and not just physically. What we discovered is that the “space” we create for each other is even more important than what we “do” with each other.
By “space” I mean being fully present for and attuned to the other person. A space of focusing on giving rather than receiving. A space that replaces the need for performance with deep, connecting Presence. A space that allows the essence of who we are to merge into a sublime convergence of singular awareness.
When that kind of space is made available, it enables us to “make love” anywhere, anytime, doing something with each other or nothing at all. And within that kind of space, our love making (whether physical or not) is the most exquisite either of us has ever previously experienced before.
Sex Is Better When You Are Truly Making Love
Now this next part may sound a bit weird. Prior to physical intimacy, we make sure we have created space necessary to experience true love making. This means that when we do experience sex, it is *always* just one part of our love making; it never defines it. As a result of this approach, our physical intimacy is enhanced to the point it is almost beyond description and lasts for hours. And even after we are done with the physical part, we are still making love as we lay in each other’s arms afterward, savoring the experience we just shared.
In some ways, it almost never stops.
Now just think about that for a moment as opposed to the typical Hollywood or Net porn depiction of tearing each other’s clothes off just to achieve climatic release about 10 – 15 minutes later (if the whole process even lasts that long).
For us, making love (whether physical or not) is a selfless act of giving and receiving our attention, awareness and yes, even touch, in a context of being truly present for each other. This is not always an easy thing to do in a culture that conspires to keep us distracted and anything but connected on such a profound level. Yet we, and many couples we know, have found it to be so worth the effort. Practice makes perfect and I personally can’t think of a more important or fulfilling discipline for which to aspire.
This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the author’s full (and kindest) permission.