Some people can talk with love about sex to a close, intimate friend but not to a spouse or lover. Many parents trying to instruct their children about sex do it in very loveless ways. For others talking to a teenager concerning sex in ways that are love-filled is almost impossible. Many people can’t talk to their family members about sex at all, let alone in ways that convey love. Many people long to have more love in their sex lives but they don’t know how to talk about or ask for that very well.
Others want more sex in their love lives but they sure don’t know how to lovingly converse about that. And then there are some who are vaguely aware that something is missing, which if they talked about it would probably turn out to be communications of love that are missing. Sadly they don’t know how to talk about that so this important missing element is never discovered or dealt with.
For so many people learning how to talk about ways to grow and mix healthy real love with sexuality would lead to satisfying unmet desires and greatly, even profoundly, enrich their lives. Regrettably that is something they mostly are unaware of so that way of talking probably won’t happen. You may ask, how did these blocks or inabilities come to be? Let’s look and see if one or more of these causes and initiating factors happened to you.
Lots of people grew up in homes where no one talked about sex. If that happened to you you were probably being subconsciously programmed not to talk about sex at all or to have a very hard time talking about it. Other people grew up in families that talked about sex only in negative ways of one type or another. If in your family sex was talked about with heavy emotional tones of guilt, disgust, revulsion, judgmentalism, fear, nastiness or any other negative mood or mindset you could have been programmed to talk about sex in similar negative ways and perhaps not even realize it.
Some of us were raised in homes where adults talked about sex in flat, matter-of-fact ways or in puzzling, unclear ways. When sex is mentioned today we may talk in that same matter-of-fact or puzzling, unclear way. For a great many others any mention of sex was embarrassing, shameful, sinful, and something God was against; and as adults it still is. There is another group when growing up perceived talking about sex as a naughty pleasure. Everything referring to sex resulted in a delicious tasting of forbidden fruit. Thus, sex talk was fun but love was not a part of it. Love, therefore, still may be absent or minimal when communicating about sex for people raised this way.
Another common background for many has to do with a conflicted subconscious programming. Parents taught talking about sex was “bad” but siblings and friends taught sex talk was “good” in that it was exciting, powerful, independent, and more adult. This especially seemed true if sex talk was sufficiently shocking, nasty, dirty, raunchy, filthy, salacious, etc.. Such talk was ‘socially forbidden’, therefore, it was filled with the raptures of secret rebellion. This too had a subconscious programming effect which lingers in the minds of many adults today. All this means that too few of today’s adults who were raised in the Western world (and in some other parts of the world) grew up hearing sex talked about with loving words and tones of voice, coupled with loving looks and a general atmosphere of simple, loving okayness. Love and sex effectively often have been uncoupled, divided and set apart from each other, at least as far as talk is concerned.
Let’s look at what to do to make this better.
Ask yourself these three questions. Can you converse about sex with a mate, lover, friends, family members, a child you’re raising, a teenager or even with yourself with love? Do you talk or avoid talking about sex in a way that avoids being loving? Can you do a good job of mixing the words, sounds and looks of love with the words, sounds and looks of sexuality and the erotic? If you can, be proud and happy, but also know that some of those you talk to in more personal ways may need some help in learning to do the same.
To talk about sex with love consider these words which sometimes are used to describe talking with love:
>>>Kind, caring, sweet, happy, tender, joyful, intimate, fun, affirming, praising, thankful, nonjudgmental, accepting, gentle, reassuring, challenging, honest, appreciative, celebratory, laudatory, passionate, reverent, zestful, precious, heartfelt, inspiring, adoring, close, delightful<<<
Can you talk about sex with yourself and others you love in the moods indicated by each of the above words? If not, it might be good for you, and maybe for those who are closest to you, to work on learning how to speak about sex, sexiness and the erotic in at least a few of those loving moods.
Remember, doing a good job of talking together is not just about the words we use. It also is about how well we listen and about the manner in which we receive and deliver messages. A wink, a subtle smile, a whisper, a tonal change, the use of an innuendo and a great many other behaviors can empower or de-power our message, shape interpretation, convey emotions and deliver the ‘between the lines’ message. All this especially is important when talking together about sex with someone you love.
The mood or manner in which we talk about sexuality often is far more important than the words spoken. Mixing highly seductive intonations and strongly suggestive looks, postures and gestures with the sounds, looks and words of love can be enormously impactful in a personal relationship. Happily and lovingly explaining sex to a child mixed with a certain amount of matter-of-factness can have a very positive effect in guiding a child toward a healthy, happy understanding of sexuality. Being kind and caring while discussing a sexual difficulty may be crucial to overcoming the difficulty. Being enthusiastically sexual with loving overtones can produce more superb, erotic love experiences. Speaking intimately naughty but ever so lovingly friendly is another way to shape mood and manner in a positive fashion.
Sex talk with loving laughter, smiles and caresses can work to attain an atmosphere of intimate, relaxed, happy eroticism in which love with sex easily flows. For many the success or failure of asking a love mate to try something new sexually depends on how lovingly the request is made. Sweet, tender, gentle, reassuring, and above all else love-filled talk about a sex conflict often is essential for the conflict’s resolution. Heading into a new sex adventure together is frequently best started with strong, solid expressions of love for one another.
Another way to make talking about sex a love experience has to do with stating appreciation, thankfulness, praise, compliments and generally speaking in a laudatory fashion to and about your love mate. Likewise, talking about sex and listening to someone else talk about sex with tolerance, open-mindedness, affirmation and kindness also can help make the talk a love-filled event. And, of course, using terms of loving endearment like sweetheart, darling, honey, etc. can add quite a lot of love to sex talk.
For most couples doing well at talking about sex with one another is very important. It may determine not only how well their sex life goes but influence a great deal more in their all over relationship. How generally open, honest, intimate and real people can come to be with each other is frequently guided by how well they lovingly talk about sex with one another. This can be true not only for couples but for close, intimate friends as well. How lovingly people treat their love mate’s sex questions, requests and desires often determines how honest and self disclosing a person feels they can be in a relationship.
So crucial to a couple’s sexual development is the ability to hear ‘with love’ what turns on a love mate, what sex fantasies are imagined, what taboo explorations are secretly hoped for, what’s hard to talk about and, most of all, what’s desired. Without demonstrations and expressions of love mixed into a couple’s sex communications there is a likelihood that censorship, inhibition, deception, intolerance, judgmentalism, boredom, emotional distancing and simple discomfort will grow.
Another part of mixing love and sex together in talk has to do with your healthy self-love and how you talk to yourself about your own sexuality. In your internal dialogue can you speak with love to yourself about the erotic you? Can you affirm the natural goodness and healthfulness of the sexuality you were born to experience? Are you able to praise and give thanks for your sexual system and all the many good feelings it gives you? Have you freed yourself of the unhealthy, anti-sexual and anti-self-loving influences that may have impacted you? Are you able to love your own sexuality as a precious part of the bundle of miracles that you are? Is your self talk increasingly loving and positive when it comes to your own sexuality?
It takes a bit of doing to overcome our subconscious programs from childhood that influence how we speak and don’t speak about love and sex. To get a sense of this difficulty imagine you are talking, teaching and answering the questions of teen boys and girls concerning erections, vaginal lubrication, sexual intercourse, menstrual cramps, ejaculate, yeast infections, masturbation, orgasm, the G spot, birth control, STD’s, foreplay, condoms, oral sex, bi-sexuality homosexuality, hypo- and hyper-sexuality and polygamous sex; and imagine you are doing it in a way that connects it all with reassuring love. This is the challenge facing parents who have decided to do a thorough job of sexually educating their offspring. Many would have some problems talking about these things coupled with love to their closest adult friends because of their childhood programs to be embarrassed, ashamed, etc. Yet, the better we frankly can talk with love the better we can solve problems, avoid difficulties, achieve advancement and make growth occur in being lovingly sexual and sexually loving.
To overcome our subconscious programs that work against talking in a sex with love way often takes dedication and perseverance. Those who practice it find the effort highly worthwhile.
Communicating with love and sex mixed together may be a primary way most couples build a sense of deep connectedness. Without the love included a more limited, more narrow, more reserved and more distancing way of relating may be the result. Experiencing the love your love mate has in their heart for you makes everything you do sexually together better. It is the love that empowers sex to be dealt with in ways that enable sexual explorations, adventures, advancements, creativity, freedom, abandonment of inhibitions, and mutual attainment of erotic spiritual heights. When love and sex are mixed together and well communicated awesome, oceanic, transcendental experiences of Eros may result. Traveling together toward such incredible shared ecstasy can begin with developing your ability to talk about sex with love.
As always, grow in love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
♥ Love Success Question With whom are you actually going to talk to about mixing love and sex and the ideas in this blog entry; and how might that be for you?
Synopsis: An Elven teaching about a difference between “smart” and “wise”, finding the guidance messages for upbeat love emotions, the grand importance of sharing emotions, 7 upbeat emotions to share and use for practice in getting your personal guidance messages and more.
“The smart learn from their hurts, agonies, disappointments and despair.
The wise learn from their joys, ecstasies, contentments, and elations,
while sadly – the rest learn not from their feelings at all.”
Natural, good feeling emotions can give us great guidance. Natural, good feeling emotions tell us that we are doing something probably healthful and right for us to do. Shared natural, good feeling emotions guide us toward more and better bonding together in love relationships. Natural, good feeling emotions can teach us a great deal about ourselves, our relationships and how to make both stronger and more successful. It is our job to learn how to get the guidance messages of our natural, good feeling emotions and use them for higher, greater and more wonderful love.
Feelings, both physical and emotional, are ancient, natural guidance systems working for our safety, survival and advancement. They are far older than are reasoning and conscious thought. In relationships and especially love relationships our emotional system of feelings often gives far wiser guidance than do reason or contemplation. However, it is even more advantageous when we use our thinking and reasoning abilities with our emotions because that gives us the very best guidance our incredible brains can produce.
Of even greater benefit is when two or more people in a love relationship share in a simple, ‘four step process’. First comes sharing their emotions, second is searching for and discovering the guidance messages in their emotions and sharing them with one another, third comes sharing and synthesizing their thinking about the feelings and the guidance message, and finally comes acting in teamwork with one another from what they have discovered from sharing and synthesizing. Synthesizing means to interweave together the guidance messages of the emotions and actions stemming from those guidance messages.
Here’s a simple example. Harriet feels cold and understands her feeling guidance message is to “warm up”. Charlie feels hot and understands his guidance message is to “cool down”. Instead of arguing about whether or not they’re going to turn up or turn down the thermostat they synthesize their guidance messages, so Charlie takes off his shirt and hands it to Harriet who puts it on. Charlie is cooler, Harriet is warmer, and both are happier in their harmony together via sharing feelings and their guidance messages and arriving at ‘synthesis’.
There are a number of good things that come from sharing emotions and together discovering the guidance that those emotions give. Here’s the biggest and most wonderful part of that. Sharing emotions together may result in the most significant relationship experiences people have together. By lovingly sharing both the emotions we call “good” and the ones we call “bad” continued emotional connecting and bonding tends to become ongoing. Without that sharing, emotional connection can fade and love relationships may die.
Sharing the emotions of good times and bad times, but especially the upbeat, good times tends to strengthen a couple, or a family, or friendship, or any other human unit. Sharing upbeat feelings is more easily enriching to humans who love each other, but sometimes through sharing hurts there is deep connectedness also. Without the sharing of good, happy, upbeat emotions the continued strengthening and enrichment of a love relationship is very hard to achieve.
Many people do not know that sharing good or upbeat emotions is just as important, if not more important, than sharing the ‘downer’ emotions of pain and displeasure. While sharing pain tends to lessen the pain, sharing good feelings provides motivation to be together, stay together and move forward together. Sharing good or upbeat feelings also provides knowledge, for those who know to learn from it, for how to repeatedly achieve good feelings and the enrichments, health and well-being that natural, good feelings bring. Consider the statement “Date your mate or lose your mate” (see blog entry “Date Your Mate – Always!”). It is in the shared joys of recreation that couples, families, and others are re-created as the word recreation indicates. Therefore, dates, vacations and other ‘upbeat’ emotional experiences are vital to the healthful continuance of love relationships.
Of course it is really best and highly important to share both the feelings we call “good” and the feelings we call “bad” which enable us to better get the guidance messages of them all. In a sense all feelings are good because all feelings give guidance. The ‘team’ we call a couple, or a family, or a friendship, like any team, needs shared guidance. Otherwise one part of the team doesn’t know what the other part of the team is all about and, thus, teamwork fails. It is a simple truth that within a team shared guidance works far better than un-shared guidance and that’s why it is important that all the team members join in sharing their feelings with each other. Only then can all share in the guidance those feelings can give.
Here is an example. His strong emotions were pushing him toward adventure. Her strong feelings were for safety. With love they shared their emotions, and with wisdom they synthesized the guidance messages they got from their feelings. Mountain climbing, starting with a modest mountain, became the most exciting thing they had ever done together and the shared excitement, shared adventure and the shared awe of grand vistas bonded them together like little else could.
She was so thankful for his spirit and desire for adventure because it brought her worlds she never knew and ecstasy she never imagined experiencing. Her own emotions of fear, anxiety and foreboding motivated her request that they start with a not too difficult ascent and also that she bring an extra well-equipped first-aid kit, which contained the necessary items that saved his life when a rattlesnake bit him as they were descending the mountain. He was so thankful that her emotions guided her to the safeguarding actions that saved his life.
Shared fears and desires lead to following the guidance messages that lead to both of them surviving adversity and to a grand and enriching shared adventure. It also brought them closer together and strengthened their mutual love experience. He at first had thought her safety concerns were a bit excessive. She quite definitely thought his adventure desires were excessive but with love, hope and certain safeguarding actions she went forward with him. Both came to feel very glad for being able to understand the guidance their emotions gave them.
So, are you learning the guidance messages and teachings hidden in the wisdom of your emotions? (For more information about the guidance messages of emotions see the entry “Dealing with Love Hurts #1 – Pain’s Crucial Guidance”) Are you especially learning from your upbeat, happy emotions? With a loved one, together are you sharing those emotions, jointly learning their guidance messages, and weaving together what you learn? Do you actively seek to learn the feelings of those you love and ascertain the guidance messages and teachings in the feelings of your loved ones? Are you good at synthesizing yours and your loved one’s emotional guidance messages?
To help you toward doing these things here are five types of ‘good’ or pleasant to experience emotions, and typical learnings or guidance messages ‘wise people’ — or elves — sometimes get from these good feelings.
1. Emotion: Serenity: Possible Guidance Message: Here is restoration, so linger with it and soak it up. Whenever you’re stressed, hassled, anguished or just drained learning from your serenity could help you remember what you did, and how you behaved, and where you went that got you to serenity and to its highly restorative enrichment so that you might do it again. If you share your feelings of serenity with a loved one they may also feel some serenity or feel more connected with you and your current serene countenance, plus they could learn the same thing you’re learning from that feeling. A loved one might also notice and remind you when you need to do those things that lead to your restorative serenity.
2. Emotion: Joyful Anticipation: Possible Guidance Message: Go forward, let yourself get into the anticipated experience fully, soak it up and be enriched by it. Sharing it with a loved one may help them have a good feeling of joyful anticipation also, and that may double both your pleasures, helping to connect you with your loved one more fully.
3. Emotion: Tenderness: Possible Guidance Message: Feeling tender toward someone can guide you to show and share your feeling softly, delicately, slowly and somewhat carefully. The guidance coming from tenderness can lead you toward a more intimate connection with someone you love.
4. Emotion: Affection: Possible Guidance Message: feeling affectionate can guide us to lovingly touch, say words of affection, give and act with affectionate affirmation, and actually be far more in touch with experiencing what is wonderful about a loved one. Done well, expressed affectionate feelings are often highly rewarding to both the lover and the loved. Received well, affection is often energizing, thus, boosting a person’s experience of you, themselves and life.
5. Emotion: Pride: Possible Guidance Message: Feeling pride guides you to be more confident in either ‘your being’ or ‘your doing’ accomplishments. It also may get you to store up that confidence so that you can accomplish more. Pride may help you honor yourself which will tend to strengthen your self-esteem, your sense of worth, and be more motivated ‘to own’ your okayness and, therefore, attempt more in your life. Accurate pride also may counter low self esteem, poor self concept, and a general sense of inadequacy, along with encouraging independence and self-assertion. (Note: Accurate pride in yourself is always the enemy of that which is dictatorial and controlling).
Pride in a loved one, or in your coupleness, in your family, in a friendship or anything else you’re a part of is great for feeling united and inspired. Furthermore, accurate pride can guide us toward having a greater sense of empowered security because of a solidarity with ourselves and others. Pride in others is best when it is shared, which rewards other’s actions and helps with feeling connected. Sharing pride in yourself with a good, self respecting loved one, so long as it is not overdone and is accurate, usually garners respect and greater relaxation together. Do note, there are those who may have trouble with you being proud, for example, the envious, the jealous, the inadequate and those who have been taught that pride is a sin
It is important that everyone work to get their own guidance messages from their own emotions because the guidance messages can vary to a fair degree from person to person. Generally the guidance message in all so-called “good” feeling emotions is to keep doing the actions or thoughts that brought the feelings, until boredom comes along to tell you to do something else. The general guidance message in most emotions known as “bad” feelings is to do something different, usually right away. But as you can see from the above examples of upbeat emotions there is a lot more ‘wisdom’ to be learned and lived by in the “guidance messages for the wise”.
You and a loved one might want to talk about what you think the guidance messages could be for both of you together when experiencing the following ‘upbeat’ emotions: 1. Awe, 2. Joy, 3. Sweetness, 4. Closeness, 5. Tickled , 6. Ecstasy & 7. Respect.
As always –Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Will you identify and share with a loved one the strongest two emotions you have felt so far today, and together see if you can discern what the guidance messages in those feelings might be?
Synopsis: Where your heart resides in your brain and what that has to do with the many emotions triggered by love; how feeding your brain love makes you healthy are all presented and surveyed in this mini-love-lesson; more.
The Heart in Your BrainFirst, in cherished tones, you hear the words “I love you”, or perhaps you feel a tender loving touch, or maybe you see a precious sweet smile on the face of a beloved one, or it could be any of the 383 other loving behaviors (so far discovered, Swenson) which can activate your sensory systems to help you experience love. Next, as your nerves are stimulated by a love input they send electrical messages to centers and circuits of your deeper, ancient, non-conscious brain designed for receiving and processing love.
That deeper part of your brain primarily is where your psychological heart resides. It is where you process love, being loved and loving. It also is the part of that sends out electrical and chemical messages to other parts of your brain and to many parts of your body activating them to function more healthfully, and generally to beneficially guide you. Then those messages stimulate your brain to make a variety of neurochemical compounds which in turn help to make you conscious of starting to feel the many, various, good, emotional and physical feelings of love.
All of that happens mostly quite naturally, automatically and also largely non-consciously at first. But your subconscious knows and is responding. When it comes to love, it seems that the conscious, aware and thinking mind, to a large extent, gets bypassed at first. Some have postulated that perhaps nature does not really trust the conscious mind to handle anything as important as love, other than to be aware of feeling it after it is up and running. Notice, people tend more often to say things like “I realized I love him (or her)”, or “suddenly I just knew I loved (so-and-so)” rather than saying things like “I can tell I love that person a little bit and maybe that love is growing”. That occasionally does happen. Perhaps also that is why you can not feel your love for someone all the time but it is there all the time where you can draw on it when it is called for.
You purposely can come to sense love when it exists in you and, thus, know you love someone, but this is just the awareness of love and not the love itself. Because love neurologically is not an emotion but rather a natural, complicated, internal, deep brain process which you sometimes feel or sense. It also is a process which can give you a great many different emotions, among which are feeling loving, feeling loved and feeling lovable.
Love and Its Accompanying EmotionsWhile love happens, you frequently do become consciously aware of the feelings of being loved, and/or loving, or just a sense of love itself. You also may get a wide range of other, accompanying, positive feelings which the experience of love triggers or sets off in your brain. When love is being experienced, there can be accompanying positive feelings of tenderness, intimacy, ecstasy, serenity, passion, emotional closeness and connection, compassion, ebullience, preciousness, empathetic care, oceanic awareness and a great many other fantastic feelings.
Identifying love as only an emotion is grossly inaccurate and can lead to mis-judging its emotional richness, nature, power, importance and functional dynamics. In turn, that can lead to a great many missed opportunities, misunderstandings and relational mistakes concerning love. Some of those can be quite tragic. Remember, feeling love is natural but love relating is learned.
Blocked and Anti-Love InterferenceThe whole love process described above can be blocked, confounded and in essence sabotaged by other things that go on both in your brain and in your life. For instance, a former love relationship that was too often or too severely painful can cause you to be extra reluctant and cautious about entering a new love involvement. If you have been trained or subconsciously programmed to be more oriented to one, or more, of the false forms of love you may greatly misinterpret or overlook a current, real love opportunity.
Too much emphasis on sexuality, romance, marriage or strong personal insecurity also can get in the way of healthy, real love development. Substance addictions, compulsive avarice and status desires, plus simply plain ignorance about love also provides lots of dangers. These are but some of the many things that can block or interfere with processing love healthfully and doing love-relating successfully.
Love and Your Brain for the More Anatomically FascinatedYou could skip this section if you are not intrigued about knowing some of the brain/body details of love’s psychoneurophysiology and neurochemistry.
There is a lot we don’t know yet and what we do know is like everything else about the brain – complicated. Nevertheless, here is a little bit of more technical brain knowledge concerning what your brain does with love. These knowledge bits can be used to lookup much more complete information than is given here.
First of all, the preponderance of research evidence shows love not to be an emotion like it is so often misidentified. Rather, love, at least in part, is seen as a natural, very healthy, systemic, brain process involving many emotions and a whole lot more than that. Brain-wise the process of love is more similar to the biological process of turning food into energy or your body’s systems and for keeping you free from infections than it is to being just a simple emotional feeling. Unlike an emotion, real love is not a temporary, or frequently fleeting feeling. Rather, once real love is established it likely is going to be with you from then on, and some postulate even after death. A relationship may end but if there was real love that will remain even though there might be many contravening variables about other aspects of the relationship.
Your psychological heart mostly is in your brain’s limbic system. Love processing involves a good many of your limbic system’s component parts. Thought to be included are your insula, anterior cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus and putamen, all of which show heightened activation when you come in contact with someone you feel love with or for. Lower activation also occurs in the amygdala, posterior cingulate, and the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices in the right hemisphere of your brain. Those changes in brain activity show love to be at least a twofold process. One, increases good or positive feelings and the other decreases your negative or bad feelings. Among those are a lowered sense of fear and a heightened sense of safety. Changes in the activation rate of those brain parts also mean you become less outer environmentally aware and more internally and emotionally aware as the love process happens. Worry decreases and as love-induced endorphins and dopamine levels increase so does your all-over sense of happiness and well-being.
Also thought to be probably involved with the love process in your brain are your hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, temporal lobe, orbitofrontal cortex, septal area, corpus callosum, frontal lobe, fornex, mammillary bodies and limbic cortex. Each of those may have to do with different aspects and factors of the love process.
When referring to a couple, some may say “they have chemistry” that certainly is true. Love makes a host of neurochemical things happen. Chemical changes in your brain and body frequently include changes in androgen, testosterone, pheromones, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, epinephrine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine, and that is just what researchers have discovered, it seems so far that I know about. Each of those helps you process different aspects of loves dynamics. For instance, oxytocin helps you with feeling love connected and bonded with another. Please note, these are natural, good chemicals that are produced by our bodies when love occurs. So, those who get lots of love in their lives don’t need similar kinds of pharmaceuticals or street drugs with potential toxic side effects.
From Your Brain to Your BodyThe chemicals your brain makes when it is processing love go into your blood and flow through not only your brain but also through the rest of your body. Everywhere they go they work to have a great variety of beneficial and healthful effects. It seems that each of the three tiers and 12 major categories of loving behavior [see “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love”] may trigger different, healthful benefits. Some are quite invigorating, energizing and mobilizing for action. Others are calming, soothing and make for antidepressant serenity. Quite a few have various kinds of physical healing effects. Others are more healing in a psychological sense.
Feeling loved from any source can sort of work like food giving you energy, sometimes a great deal of energy. Feeling serenely loved especially is good for lowering stress and the body’s reactions to stress. Feeling loving toward others brings on one set of physically healthful effects, while acting loving toward others adds another set of physically healthful, biophysical reactions.
Getting and giving different behaviors that convey love has a positive effect on your immune system’s functioning, can lower your bad cholesterol and can help your T cells fight cancer. The health benefits go on and on, with research discovering more all the time.
Feeding Your Brain Love Makes You HealthyYour psychological mind and your psychological heart are in your brain. The brain is in your body and they are all linked together affecting each other. Experiencing healthy, real love works like a vital health food and a rather miraculous medicine. The more you interact with people you love, and are loved by the more your brain produces helpful responses that affect your entire body’s health. This also seems true for those you like and those you are liked by. More love equals more health. That is what more and more research is showing.
The more you are absent from healthy, real love input, the more you are psycho-physically malnourished or even starved and the more likely you are to have a physical and/or psychological health malfunction. Mixing a lot with people doing false love is like eating non-nourishing, junk food. Even worse, is to be around and interact with negative, anti-love acting people. That is akin to eating toxic and poisonous food. Also bad for your health is a lack of healthy self-love, and self-hate and self negation are even worse.
If at your work, or somewhere else you spend time, involves a lot of contact with non-loving, false love or anti-loving people, you had best counterbalance that with healthy self-love and with others who love well. Remember, it is very important to “love others as you love yourself”. It is likely your health depends on it!
One More ThingHow about sharing and talking over this mini-love-lesson with a friend or two and, thus, spread some love knowledge into our rather love ignorant world.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
♥ Love Success Question: How much real healthy love, shown physically and psychologically, have you been feeding your brain lately?
Synopsis: Bennett’s dilemma, What most couples are not doing about adultery, Adultery’s bigger definition, Bennett’s relief, Adultery commonality, Three major questions to grapple with, Accepting multiple causation, Changing mindsets, Adultery of the heart, Agony, struggling and no divorce love.
You see most of the people who don’t divorce after adultery are glad they stayed married. Not only that, but most of the people who do divorce because of adultery a year later are not at all sure they did the right thing. Many wish they had stayed and worked on their marriage a lot more than they did. At least that’s what I see in my practice, and there’s also pretty good research that largely backs me up on this. It seems that more and more people don’t think adultery is worth getting a divorce over, even though adultery is usually an enormous, hurt-filled problem”.
As used here, the word adultery means having secret, sexual or powerfully romantic, emotional relations with someone other than your spouse in a way that involves betrayal, lies, deceptions, a lack of self disclosure and honest sharing, usually accompanied by the creation and maintenance of false and incomplete understandings.
Bennett said, “I’m so glad to hear something different than what I have been hearing. I want us to be one of those couples that didn’t let adultery break them up. I am going to go home and ask my wife to come to couple’s counseling, and tell her I am willing to do everything I can to help us get past this issue if she will just give it a try with me.” To make a long story short, he did just that and they came to couples counseling together, and now after some pretty hard work they’re doing great. In fact they both suspect they are probably doing better than they ever would have had they not learned to handle their adultery problem with lots of new and better ways to do healing love, and re-start their love relationship in bigger and better ways.
Are you aware that the majority of marriages in the Western world, and especially in the USA, go through at least one major event involving adultery (cheating, affair, unfaithful, etc.) and most do not divorce over it. Of course, for many couples it is immensely difficult and there is a great deal of agony, struggle and recovery work to do. (See the entries under “Dealing with Love Hurts”). The good news is many couples do the work it takes, and though it is a hard way to get there, their marriage becomes stronger and better than it ever was before.
If you’re facing an issue like the one Bennett was facing here are three hard but important questions to ask yourself. Is your love greater than your hurt? (Great love conquers great hurt!). Is the love you have with your spouse more powerful than what you have been taught to think, feel and do about adultery? (What you have been trained to think, feel and do may defeat love if you let it!). How did you help your spouse go toward adultery? (possibly by demonstrating your love for your mate too poorly, too narrowly, too infrequently, or possibly by behaving with very anti-love actions?). Notice in this last question we have said “help” not cause. Primary causal responsibility rests with the primary actor, but other people and assisting factors are to be considered for a full understanding.
Seldom is it wise to see one spouse as 100% victim and the other as 100% perpetrator when it comes to why someone commits adultery. In couples group therapy Jerry said it quite well when he remarked, “I stopped getting her flowers, writing her love notes, telling her how much she meant to me, taking her where she wanted to go on dates, and in just about every way I no longer showed her the love I felt for her. So, of course, she had an affair. What else could I expect?” Linda said, “I did worse than that. I kept putting my husband down, criticizing him, not acknowledging his achievements, taking him for granted, I didn’t really listen to him and sometimes I purposefully frustrated him about sex, and was way to prudish. I did almost every single thing you call anti-love behavior. The other woman did the opposite of all that, so guess what, he committed adultery with her. I might have done the same thing if I were in his place.”
There are lots of other important question/positions, but I suggest starting with these three: If you’re love can be bigger than your hurt that’s a fairly good indicator that you both may be able to recover together. If you develop your own thoughts and chosen actions beyond what you were taught to do, adultery can be responded to in all sorts of new, different and healthier ways. If you can discover and ‘own up to’ how your actions probably helped adultery happen, and then improve, there’s lots of hope. These questions are not usually easily or quickly answered, and each leads to other questions you may need to struggle with. But they often help people move toward the love healing needed.
People’s mindsets are changing in regard to the magnitude of difficulty having sex outside of marriage represents. Gloria said, “When I found out he had sex with someone he met at work I thought it meant he didn’t love me anymore, and that he wanted to replace me with her. That was devastating and terrifying to me. Eventually I discovered he just wanted to see what sex was like with a woman different than me. That was disturbing but not nearly as horrifying as what I had first thought. Now we are working it through, and I think we’re going to make it”.
I got asked a sort of peculiar question at a weekend retreat workshop I was conducting on love relationships. A participant asked, “Just what is the importance of one penis in one vagina as opposed to multiple penis’s in multiple vaginas”? How would you answer that? Follow up questions in that discussion were, “Do we give too much importance to penises in vaginas or other sex acts”, and “How is it that in some parts of the world people enjoy their spouse having sex with others, while elsewhere others can’t even stand the idea of that happening”. Perhaps those are questions you might do well to ponder. It is true that in some cultures and at various periods in history adultery has had almost no importance at all, while at other times and places it has had enormous significance. There are even societies in which there is no word for adultery in their language, while in others there is a whole vocabulary indicating widespread importance.
If you are struggling with an adultery issue in your life, a great big thing to examine is the influence of your societal, subconscious programming or conditioning concerning the subject of adultery. You see, your feelings and many of your thoughts may have been pre-programmed into you, and in a sense may not even be your own, true, self-derived thoughts and feelings. Likewise, what is your training and your subconscious programming concerning love and loving forgiveness? Do you find yourself more in the “love can conquer all and, therefore, forgive all” category, or are you in the “adultery is marriage’s unforgivable sin” category? Which of those do you really choose to be in and which is the most healthful for you?
Let’s look at ‘background’. There are those who think that in olden times the only real reason adultery became the singular, allowable reason for divorce was because the ancient religious elders who made the rules were sexually insecure, immature and quite possibly sexually inadequate. If that’s true they quite easily were threatened and, thereby, motivated to make big, strong rules protecting themselves. Naturally, to reinforce their defense they said it was God’s will, and they were but the messengers. Others point out that patrilineal societies tend to have much stricter prohibitions and punishments for adultery than do matrilineal societies. Then there are the cultures in which not having sex with guests, visitors and the like, outside of the pair bond is grounds for divorce. Also consider the societal groups in which everyone is expected to be having extra pair bond sex, and those in which a woman having children by different men is held in higher esteem than a woman having children by only one man.
Here in modern times and places there is a growth in finding ‘adultery of the heart’ to be far more grievous than ‘adultery of the body’. Marla said, “Just so long as he doesn’t bring home a disease I don’t care who he does what with, except he better not fall in love with her because that’s totally forbidden in our relationship”. Thomas remarked, “My wife and I can have sex with somebody else but three times is the limit. After that it might get too emotional and neither of us wants that. We love each other tremendously and want each other to have all sorts of pleasures, and at the same time we want to safeguard our love because it’s so precious.” People who think like this in the Western world are a minority, but be not mistaken it’s a growing minority.
There also are a growing number of couples who tell of their love of each other being far more significant than mere sex with others. “Adultery is a forgivable sin if you really love somebody, so that’s what I’ll work at,” said Jonathan who was struggling with this issue in his marriage. “Adultery is just not worth getting a divorce over,” said Sondra who was also battling to save her marriage. “When you have kids getting a divorce because of adultery is just plain selfish and shortsighted. If you really love them and your mate see if you can stick it out and make something better happen,” remarked Brenda whose marriage was coming back together. Charles proclaimed, “We have a great deal of love for each other so we’re not going to let adultery defeat our love, and that’s all there is to it”. So, you can see many couples have a strong “no divorce love”, or at least a no divorce over adultery love relationship, which wins the day for them.
Why explore other times, other cultures and other people’s ways of doing love and sex? Because it is one way we are more likely to make informed choices in our own love relationships instead of reacting out of subconscious programmed determined ways.
You may be finding it hard to wrap your mind around these ideas, and your heart may be aching, and your gut churning, because for most people grappling with adultery issues is one of the hardest things they ever do. Adulterous behavior for many leads to almost unbearable agony, great fear, and a great sickening of the heart. Even so, the message here is take heart. While most couples will face a real-life challenge in this area most will, with love and hard work, get past it and many will end up in a better functioning love relationship than they started with. My bias is the smart, the practical, and the most loving seek out the help of a love knowledgeable, nonjudgmental couple’s therapist and get past the difficulties together with help and insight. With competent couple’s counseling they do this far faster, more thoroughly, and with less pain than they otherwise would have.
Also very important is the fact that by way of counseling they do it with far less destructiveness for all concerned. Even though adultery can be terribly painful to a couple, divorce or breaking up is quite frequently not the best answer. Of course, if there is little true, healthy love, lots of emotional and/or other abuse, repeated lies, betrayal and deception, and an unwillingness to truly work for improvement a couple may be psychologically divorced already. However, adultery’s effects so very often can be overcome by a strong ‘no divorce’ committed love when two people keep working to grow their healthy, real love.
In regard to adultery a ‘no divorce love’ is one that makes an established, shared love more important than relations outside that established shared love, more important than fear, more important than hurt (but not more important than harm), and more important than social pressure and past teachings. It also must be one in which those in the established, shared love are willing and able to mutually work on the improvement of their love relationship giving it extremely high priority in their lives.
It is my sincere hope that these thoughts will be helpful to you and those you share these thoughts with.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
So said Andrew in a couple’s counseling session. Rachel, his wife, angrily shouted, “You don’t ever listen to me. You just wall up and ignore what I need. You don’t really love me or you’d listen to me and give me the love I need”. “See what I mean” was Andrew’s reply.
With some work it became clear to both Andrew and Rachel that she actually was attempting to get what she felt she needed and what she very much wanted, not by asking for it but by complaining and blaming about what she wasn’t getting. It also became clear that Andrew had come to hear just about every thing she said as a complaint, gripe or a personal attack to which he got angrily and offensively defensive.
With some more couple’s counseling things began to change for the better. “You’re always yelling at me” became “sweetheart, could you say that in a softer tone please?” “You never listen to me” was replaced with “Honey, I would like you to really hear me very carefully for the next few minutes. Would that be okay?” “We never go anywhere and you never take me out” turned into “Darling, I would really like us to go on a date this weekend, just you and me with real positive, romantic attitudes, OK?” “You’re a damned sex addict” and “You sexless prude” turned into “Let’s make some time for just love, and then some time for love and sex together.” “That sounds great. How about Friday night for one and Saturday night for the other?”. “You don’t love me anymore” became “I’m really hungry for your special love so could we cuddle and hug a lot tonight?”
Rachel and Andrew learned that requests are not easily heard when they sound like complaints. Desires expressed as gripes and longing framed as blame don’t work. Nor is anger easily understood as the hurt and frustration that usually underlies it. Frowns are more likely to be seen as disapproval than worry, and agitation often is not viewed as the fear and anxiety it often stems from.
With help Andrew and Rachel learned, practiced and built new, far more loving ways to go after what they wanted and help each other obtain their desires. They discovered that loving requests are usually not heard as attacks to defend against, desires well stated are not interpreted as criticism, and well expressed wants are not to be interpreted as demands or control efforts to be rebelled against.
Rachel and Andrew created their own version of some simple but very helpful rules to follow:
1. Talking about what’s wrong seldom leads to creating what can become right. Therefore, talk about what ‘right’ would look like to both of you. Then synthesize your two views if possible.
2. Talking about what went wrong doesn’t automatically lead to how you can make something go well. Therefore, talk about how you want something to go rather than how it went.
3. Talking about a past event that felt bad seldom gets a couple to a future event that feels good. Go directly after ‘feel good’ future events and keep talking in the future tense not in the past tense when you want something to improve.
4. Talking about who’s to blame seldom leads to who’s going to make an improvement or how to make a joint improvement. Talk about what is to be done in the future and who’s going to do it and when it will be done.
5. Talking with words that are demeaning (stupid, feather-brain, idiot, brute, etc.) destroys teamwork. Honestly praise and compliment your partner frequently (yes, there usually is something to praise, however small) and use many terms of endearment. It’s OK to say “Lover, right now I am very mad at you” but not “You ignorant bastard”.
6. Talking in unclear, imprecise, vague terms seldom gets you what you want or what is needed. Identify what you desire clearly and then ask for it in behavioral terms. Then add when you want what you desire. For example “You’re not affectionate” can become “I want a hug”, or cuddle, or to make love, or a compliment, or a date, or for you to look lovingly into my eyes, etc.. Remember to identify the time frame you want it in.
7. Talking with a bad or negativistic attitude, or a bland blah neutral attitude is divisive and de-motivating, and will not lead to happy togetherness. Therefore, talk with a loving and whenever appropriate upbeat attitude, and lovingly request the same of your partner. To do that, first purposefully center yourself in love not in anger, hurt, power, manipulation, etc.
I find most couples can benefit from these seven ‘rules’ and I hope you find them useful.
If you lovingly talk in the future tense where improvements can happen you may get to a love-filled future. If you talk in the past tense it will likely take you to the past and all you will do is repeat it. It can be OK to talk the negative, painful past if the talk can be devoid of blame, and does not re-create the bad feelings of the past, and also is accomplished with well demonstrated, two way loving empathy. Otherwise, avoid it. Attempting to get agreement on the past is often an unattainable and unnecessary endeavor. Focus on what is ‘now’ and ‘next’ instead.
Most of all learn to make truthful, accurate, clear behavioral requests with a loving attitude and do it frequently. Then, of course, work hard to really hear your loved one’s requests from a love-centeredness. We often make a mistake so common in our culture. It is the mistake of trying to make improvements in a relationship by talking in the negative i.e. griping, complaining, blaming, criticizing, etc.
Relationship related complaints are often founded in love hunger and an appropriate desire to be better treated, or are founded in some hurtful experience to which well expressed love will be the cure. The trouble with talking in emotional negatives is that it usually doesn’t get you to go toward emotional positives or anywhere else you want to go. Even if your complaint is well-based in something love related, it is only the exceptional, highly love able people who are likely to hear it that way. If you want to be well loved speak in strong, assertive, love filled ways, asking for what you want clearly. Then do a really good job of listening to what is wanted by those you love.
As always, Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
When you were growing up did the people around you communicate with unhappy sounding gripes, complaints, blame and criticism, or with loving requests? Do you talk the same, better or worse now?