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A Best Gift of Love?

Mini-Love-Lesson  #266

Synopsis:  A wonderfully powerful and useful way to go about enacting healthy, real love via learning and practicing a venerable, Eastern mindset which can be of great benefit to love relationships of all kinds is presented and discussed here, with clear how-to’s given.

Could This Be Your Very Best Gift of Love?

Here is a gift of love that can make every day better than it otherwise would have been.  It is a gift everyone can afford yet it is far too rarely given.  This is a gift the giver often benefits from giving as much, or more than the receiver.  Furthermore, it is one of those few gifts that tends to grow bigger and better every time you give it.  This is a gift which is inclined to brighten dull days, spark up the mundane and make the ordinary just a bit extraordinary.  It is good on happy days, bad days, extraordinary days but especially is it good for blah and boring days.

This gift of love does take some work, some regular and repeated practice, occasional tolerance when there is poor reception, honing and perfecting skills and some perseverance.  There are far more spectacular gifts but very few that can do as much good for making love relationships of all kinds stronger, happier and healthier.  If this gift is not the very best gift you can give, it definitely is in the top five.

What is this gift?  It is the amazing gift of what is known in the East as “Mudita” love! (Spellings vary)

Mudita Love – A Best Practice of Love

Mudita love here means to choose to be happy, joyous and positive on purpose and then give or share that happiness with those you love and care about every day you can, day after day after day.  On days of difficulty you may switch to “Metta” love which essentially refers to loving kindness and/or to “Karuna” love which basically means compassionate love, and on days of conflict to “Upeksha” love according to the Buddhist and Hindu teachings about these forms of love.  The four together are known as the Bramavihara, or four immeasurables of love (other similar titles exist as do ancient Sanskrit and Pali translations).

On most ordinary days, regular days, usual days and so-so days, Mudita love would have you choose to be genuinely happy with a countenance of upbeat joy which you repeatedly present to your loved ones and others of your choice.  This can include everyone you meet and, of course, you also can give this gift to yourself thereby making every day at least a bit better than it might have been.  Thus, this becomes a great way to love others as you love yourself.

A Mudita Love Prerequisite

Mudita love also means doing one other thing that is quite hard for a lot of people to do.  It is an extremely good thing to do but it goes against a very common, Western world, cultural training.  Mudita love requires that you disavow and reject the thinking that we need an outside something or someone to make or cause us to be happy.  That is so difficult for many people because the teaching that happiness is dependent on something or someone outside ourselves has to come along to make or cause our happiness is so prevalent.

Mudita love teaches us we can often be happy just because we choose to be happy.  In fact, we can come to habitually and authentically have a happy, loving positivity as our most regular daily countenance.  At the same time, we still can be happy about good things that come along and special people too.  Likewise, we can be unhappy or upset when appropriate and functionally useful.

How to Learn to Do Mudita Love

There are many ways to learn and do Mudita love.  Here is one.

Start by choosing to act happy whether you feel that way or not.  Remember, often motions lead emotions.  So, smile, say something in happy tones, sing, whistle or hum a happy tune, stride not just walk, and make open arm gestures while standing tall or dancing energetically.  Don't let any nay-saying in your head stop you.  Next, put your focus on things to be happy about.  You are alive, you are breathing, you probably are able to see color, hear music and smell nice scents, read interesting stuff, and so forth.  Yes, all those are quite ordinary and ordinary is to be quite happy about.  Bear in mind, there are lots of people in the world who would be glad to trade what they have for your ordinary.  As you focus on the good stuff more, it also is good to focus on the bad stuff, worrisome stuff, etc. a bit less.  Where you put your focus the most has a lot to do with your healthy happiness.  We need to focus on some of the bad stuff a certain amount so as to understand it and be motivated to do something about it.  However, many over-do that and under-do the positive focusing.

There is evidence that as you do regular and repeated, positive focusing you are causing your brain to regularly and repeatedly make more happiness producing and processing neurochemicals.  In time, that can become your brain’s habitual level of healthful production.  This, in turn, is thought probably to contribute to a sort of habitual tendency toward happiness in many people.  If you are not already, how about becoming one of them?

Next, start practicing giving or sharing your countenance of happiness with those you love and anybody else you choose.  Go do happiness at and around those you love and like.  Later you can try strangers and even enemies.  Keep doing that especially to those who act with indifference or some form of negativity while you practice not letting their lack of positive response steal your happiness from you.

Finally, start leaving out the focus on things that can help you be happy and, instead, just start relying on your choice to be happy.  Keep choosing happiness because it will help you increasingly own that ability.  Remember to keep taking your happiness to your loved ones and others, and doing happiness toward and around them.

Being Happy At !!!

Happiness done toward and around those you love can help them to feel glad, elated, more energized, positive about life, good about themselves and more love-bonded with you.  Likely, it also will help them want you around more, be more positively disposed to your ways and wants, and be more upbeat-cooperative with you.

Being happy toward someone you love or like is very healthy for you and them.  For both of you, Mudita type love likely will reduce destructive hormone production as it lowers stress and stress reaction while also improving immunity functioning and contribute to general well-being and longevity.  Mudita love definitely is a high quality gift of love to give those you love again and again, day after day, plus it is really great for love relationships of every type.  It also is often a fine way to simultaneously love others as you love yourself.

Are There Drawbacks?

There is some evidence that in adulthood many people make themselves about as happy and unhappy as they were programmed to do in childhood, irrespective of what is going on in their adult life.  If that is true, it means you might have a subconscious program for habitual unhappiness that you will have to unlearn as you learn the ways of Mudita love.  Your anti-happiness program may come on stronger as you work to change to the ways of Mudita love.

Sometimes the way others see you starts to change as you grow with happy, Mudita love.  Usually that is good but not always.  Some may envy you and not handle their envy very well.  Worse, others may be jealous of you and try to sabotage your countenance of happiness.  Keep in mind, the envious only want something like what you have but the jealous do not want you to have it at all.  You can show the envious how to get their own Mudita love and, hopefully, spot and dodge the jealous who might try to take it from you.

The Four Immeasurable Ways of Love

Mudita love has a lot of other aspects and facets to learn about, as do the other Buddhist and Hindu "Immeasurable Ways of Love".  What you have here in this mini-love-lesson is just a small starter lesson on the marvelous wealth of useful information about love found in Eastern teachings.  To learn more you might want to do some reading in Buddhist psychology or at the online site of the Brahma Vihara Foundation, perhaps followed by the Teachings of Love, a book by the world acclaimed Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn. (Spellings very)

One More Thing

Mudita love is a great thing to tell somebody about and see what they think.  If you do that, please mention this site and its many mini-love-lessons and, hopefully thereby, spread some needed love knowledge around.  As Thich has said, "To love without knowing how to love wounds those we love." (Translations vary a bit)

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable question: Can what you do not know about love be harming your love relationships?

How Receiving Love Well Gives Love Better

Synopsis: A note on ongoing love; then getting a grasp of what is good and bad love reception starts our mini-love-lesson; leading to how to really receive love – part one having to do love mindfulness and really getting it, which is followed by part two on how to give love back by showing you truly got it.

Ongoing Love Is a Game of Pitch, Catch and Throw Back

First you have to notice love is coming your way, then you have to react to really catch it well and not let it go by or drop it, then you have to accomplish a good return pitch.

Good and Bad Love Reception

When love comes your way, do you do a good job of receiving it?  Some people are so bad at receiving love they unknowingly get themselves love-starved.  They also unknowingly may be turning off people from trying to love them.  That can ruin a love relationship.  Those who are really good at love reception are better nourished and more energized by the love they receive.  In the act of good love reception, someone good at love reception sends love back to the previous love sender.  This greatly helps to form and maintain a love-generating, love-bonding, and love-cycling love relationship.

Poor receivers dishearten and disappoint the people they love, and even may cause them to feel rejected and futile in their attempts to give love.  Poor receivers also model and, therefore,  program or unintentionally may teach their children to become poor receivers.  Good receivers do exactly the opposite.  Those who are good at love reception generally are much more liked, befriended, included and assisted than are those who are poor at love reception.

It turns out that receiving love well is an excellent way to actually send love to someone.  It is one of the eight major types of behavior by which a person can directly help another person thrive on love.  (See “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love” mini-love-lessons at this site).  It is for that reason that it can be called Receptional Love and can be listed along with the other seven major types of behavior that convey love discovered by the massive research efforts in social psychology to understand love started by the eminent Dr. Clifford Swensen.

How to Receive Love Well: Part One

If someone sends you a statement of love, a gift of love, a loving touch, a loving look or any of the other ways that show and convey love, what do you do with it?  First, of course, you have to notice it.  Sadly many people are very poor at noticing the love that is coming their way.  They have been programmed, even self-trained to be so focused on a great many other things that they totally miss the love that actually is there for them.  Next, they have to count it.  Once a love action is noticed it is important to value it.

Here is an example.  A child, in an act of love toward a parent, goes to the trouble of making a picture.  Maybe they go to a lot of trouble making the picture, really taking time with it.  Then they present it to their parent as a gift of love.  If the parent is busy with something else, like talking to someone, and the parent takes the picture but does not look at it and instead places it aside on a pile of other papers, where soon it will be buried by other papers; this parent has sent a message which says to the child, your gift of love is of no value.

If that or similar things happen at crucial times, and far too often, the child may learn not to behave with love.  This child also may learn to feel unworthy, insignificant and even unlovable since loving behavior did not came back.  Someday the parent may be asking, why don’t my children want to visit me, contact me, or show any signs that they love me?  The parent also may wonder why their children have so much trouble with their own love relationships.

All was not lost.  If the parent later were to come back to the child holding the picture, and with warm tones of voice and a smile say they have been looking at the picture, and soaking up what a fine gift of love the picture is, and how they will cherish it, and give it a place of honor in a scrapbook, they may have amended sufficiently their former poor love reception, and turned it into an act of good receptional love.

Love Mindfulness

It is the same with adults, only with complications.  First notice, then take time to value or ‘count’ the demonstrations of love coming your way.  Maybe you say to yourself, “He (or she) is holding my hand and that’s showing me some love, so I will let myself fully notice it and value it”.  The next step is to let yourself more fully feel it.  Don’t let your mind go off somewhere else.  Stick with the fact that your hand is being held and that means some love can come in.  Maybe you tell yourself, with a bit of a deeper breath, “I feel it; I’m being loved and I feel it,  I am letting myself fully feel that this person holding my hand is loving me right now; I digest it; I absorb it and I let it nourish me”.

I have heard people who are learning this mindfulness technique say, “I don’t have time for all that”.  Sometimes I reply, “You don’t have maybe 15 seconds, even the 20 or 30 seconds it will take to do that?  You don’t have time to feel loved?  What will that do to you in the long run”?  Usually they then begin to try what I’m suggesting they do, to absorb and digest the love that comes their way.  You can do the same.  Bear in mind, it does take practice and repetition to do it well.

Lots of love comes to us through statements.  Those statements of love often are accompanied by loving looks and loving tones of voice.  There may be a loving gesture or posture change (known as expressional love) like opening arms to us or leaning forward toward us.  It is important we become mindful of all that, along with the words.  In this way you get the whole behavioral love gift and not just part of it.  If your beloved says “I love you” and all you do is snap back with “I love you too”, that is nice but usually it is not deep or nearly all you could be experiencing.  If you take a couple of seconds to look into your beloved’s face and say to yourself something like “I’m being told ‘you’ ‘love’ ‘me’, and that’s important.  I am taking it in, and I am absorbing it,.  I am letting myself fully feel it and know it”.  It is when we learn to do things like that, that we can much more fully receive love in a deep way and really be nourished by it.

Sometimes love comes to us through much bigger actions which take longer than a simple statement or an act like holding your hand.  It is appropriate to take a lot longer to focus on, strongly value, and more deeply absorb those demonstrations of love.  To feel precious and cherished by ongoing actions of love, to let ourselves feel honored by the day-to-day ways we are loved, to let ourselves feel highly valued by loving thoughtfulness, kindness, assistance, support and the many other ways we are loved also is highly important. By doing so, we help our loved ones succeed at loving us.  Healthy, real love partly comes our way from those who truly love us, so that love accomplishes its goal of benefiting us, because this is what love does.  Letting love do exactly that by absorbing it well, lets those who love us achieve one of love’s great goals.  Anything that depletes good, full reception, helps inhibit love.

Training your mind not to let anything interfere with taking some time to really feel and absorb the love coming of your way helps.  You can train yourself to do a good job of part one of receptional love.  At first it may take more practice that you might think but like anything if you keep practicing you get better at it, and you begin to notice the good feelings and many other benefits that result.  It may feel odd, strange, or unusual if you have not been doing this sort of thing.  With repeated work, you can join the happy people who know how to receive love well and let it nourish them.

How to Receive Love Well: Part Two

Now, as you work on really noticing, valuing, absorbing, and therefore, letting yourself fully feel loved, there is another big, important thing to do.  This is to do a good job of showing that you are getting the love being sent your way.  If somebody hands you a ‘love gift’ and you just say “thanks”, and put it down, and you don’t do much more, that is not very good reception.  If you take it for granted, that shows you do not sincerely and honestly notice, value and absorb it which may also show that you are not giving back the gift of good receiving.

If someone says words of love to you and you act as if nothing happened, or you only return some perfunctory politeness, that probably will not do the job of good love reception either.  Being truthful also is important.  The truth best be that you have really noticed with appreciation (valued) and felt (absorbed) the love demonstration that came your way.  Even if the ‘love action’ coming your way is not really ‘your thing’, you can appreciate the loving gesture behind it and absorb the love itself that is being delivered.

Love Behaviors That Give Love Back

If you are with someone who loves you, and they say or do something loving towards you, and you absorb it, your expressional reaction immediately can give love back.  Expressional love is given by your facial expression – usually a smile, your tonal expression – usually warm and happy tones of voice, a gestural expression – maybe open arms, and a postural expression – leaning in or moving toward the person.  In some situations these may be done in minimal ways like a small nod of the head with just a tiny momentary grin, but usually it is better if the expressional behavior is bigger and more robust.

Tactile behavior such as hugs and kisses, hand and arm squeezes, pats on legs, arms, backs, etc., all can be added to the expressional reaction and all can show you really noticed, value and have absorbed with appreciation the other person’s love action.

Words of thanks and appreciation are great ways to show you got the love sent, and you are sending love back.   There are many love getting and giving situations that can be well done with words, both verbally and in written form.  But be careful not to sound like you are being only dutifully polite.
Gifting, both tangible gifts and experiential gifts, also can be terrifically good in showing someone you truly got their gift of love.  Thank you cards, flowers, and other tangible gifts are great.  Doing someone a return favor, or surprising them in some happy-making way is often the experiential gift that shows you really got and appreciated their gift of love.

Sometimes opening up to a person who has shown you love, returns the love by your self disclosure.  Various ways to show affirmation of a person’s value in your life is especially good for demonstrating receptional love.  Even tolerational love can be tied in with reception love.

More to Learn

This mini-love-lesson is aimed at getting you started toward new and better receptional love behaviors.  There is more to learn about reception love, and especially about how it is key to maintaining lasting love relationships.  To do that learning, you may wish to read other mini-love-lessons at this site having to do with the behaviors of love.  You also can read the section on Receptional Love in my book, Recovering Love, which I am proud to say has especially helped a lot of people with this and related issues.  Another good source is Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt’s book Receiving Love which covers quite a few, in depth factors often involved in this very important topic.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being best, how do you rate yourself on being a good receiver of love, and what are you going to do to help yourself have an even higher score?

Behaviors That Give Love - The Basic Core Four

Synopsis: This mini love lesson gets you started on how to give healthy, real love as a useful step toward also being able to get it; then goes into the four most basic, core types of behavior discovered by research which convey healthy, real love.

How to Give Healthy, Real Love and Then Get It

To get love, learn to give it.  How do you do that, you ask.  A wonderful answer has been given to us by massive, expansive, long-range, wonderfully well done research conducted in social psychology.

That research has discovered 383 distinctive behaviors likely for stimulating feeling loved by the recipients of those behaviors.  Luckily, advanced, astonishing, ‘magical’, statistical analysis techniques now have boiled down all that to just eight simple groups of behavior, which you can learn .  In addition to that, clinical and field work by practitioners of relationship therapy have added all sorts of important goodies to this knowledge.

If you learn, practice and get good at the major ways of sending your love to others, all sorts of improvements in your life become likely.  A ton of research supports that contention.

Many people come to me asking how they can fall in love, become loved, find love, get love, be lovable, etc..  The first thing to do, I suggest, is concentrate and learn how to give healthy, real love.  Then practice and get really good at it.  At this site you can study what healthy, real love truly is and about the eight major categories of behavior that social psychologists and others have discovered which send, demonstrate, deliver and give healthy, real love directly to others. Plus there are four more larger, wide-ranging categories of how love is given, but first get the basics.

Presented here are the basic, core, four major ways to directly give love which lay down a groundwork for learning the rest.  Each of these can be applied to romantic love, spouse love, love of a child, friendship love, and many other types of love, including healthy self-love.

Introducing The Basic, Core Four

1.  Touch Love
Touch, or tactile love, is defined as physical contact which demonstrates loving affection, support, caring, comforting and also sensual and sexual loving, plus the special category of healing touch.  Touching with love perhaps is the most basic and oldest form of demonstrating love.  It probably is the first form of love people experience, usually beginning in the womb and very soon after birth.  Babies who do not receive loving touch die of ‘failure to thrive’ illnesses like marasmus even though they are otherwise well taken care of.

Before loving, holding, cuddling and stroking became part of the care program given to infant orphans, 99.9% of them died before reaching the age of two in the orphanages studied in North America and Europe.  It is feared that older people in various care facilities also may die sooner without loving touch.  There also is evidence to suggest that between those two age groups those who go without loving touch are far more likely to experience all kinds of serious, psychological disorders and perhaps physical ones also.  So, learn to do loving touch – a lot!

Take a look at the following list of words expressing how many different ways loving touch may be done.

Holding, hand holding, petting, stroking, caressing, cuddling, hugging, kissing, embracing, clasping, nuzzling, foot rubbing, snuggling, fondling, squeezing, tapping, light tickling, full body pressing, lap dancing , tease pinching, cupping and at least a dozen others for the sensual and erotic, love expressive, touch actions.

Why not get good at all of them?

Another category of tactile love involves healing touch.  To be lovingly touched when ill or injured, distressed, or in any way dysfunctional is known to be surprisingly healing, including at the physical level.  Wounded areas lovingly touched by someone loving you heal faster and better according to no small number of studies.

2.  Expressional Love
Expressional love probably is the second oldest and also is a very basic, quickly delivered form of showing love.  Expressional love is accomplished by loving expressions in your tones of voice, loving facial expressions, loving gestures and love communicated by posture movements.  If someone you love comes in the room and you stand up (posture movement expression), hold open your arms in welcoming (gesture expression), smile (facial expression) and say “aahh” in a most loving tone of voice (tonal expression) you probably have done a really good job of sending several bits of expressional love.

Most people are surprised to learn that in direct, personal, face-to-face communication only 7% of the communication is carried by the words being spoken.  Tonal expression conveys about 35% of the message and facial, gesture and body motion can convey 55% of the total message.  So, get good at studying what your tones, face, gesture and whole body movements are saying and help them speak of your love to those you love.

Become good at the looks and sounds of love and then it is more likely that those will flow back to you in greater abundance.  When you do this love-bonding becomes far more likely and love relationship health is nourished.  However, don’t do it for those reasons because the mere giving of love action does wonders for you whether you get anything in return from others or not.  Remember, real love is a free gift.

3.  Verbal Love
The words that convey love can add all sorts of power, intricacy, elaboration, understanding and magnificence to the way you deliver your love to another.  Verbal love includes words spoken and words written.  Verbal love simply is defined as the behavior of using words to convey and express love.

The simple “I love you” statements are perhaps the most common form of verbal love.  Pet names, nicknames, terms of endearment like sweetheart, darling, honey, etc., words expressing the many and varied, different emotions caused by love (remember, love itself is not an emotion but a powerful natural process), special made-up words shared only by intimately connecting lovers, words of passion when love is part of the passion, poetic and artful phraseology, positive humorous terms, double meanings, and other very personally expressive and descriptive word-craft all count here in the verbal expressions of love.

4.  Gift Love
Gift love is defined as presenting to a loved one tangible objects, resources, opportunities or experiences aimed at conveying love, and having no component of expecting a return action or object being sought.  Gift love is generally thought of in two major forms: those that are more tangible gifts like things attractively wrapped in boxes but also including resources like finances; and the other form of experience gifts like surprise birthday parties or a picnic date, offering opportunities counts here too like letting someone use your place for the party they are giving.
What is important is to enjoy the giving of the gift and let that be enough.  If the recipient of you gift enjoys it, says thanks, gives you something in return, or shows off your gift or makes laudatory statements to others on your behalf that’s all extra.  ‘Giving to get something back’ is not a gift, it’s a manipulation.

Experience gifts like taking someone to an event they really want to go to, playing music they really like to hear, or providing an opportunity for them to do something adventuresome, beautiful or extraordinary can be among the best of gifts.  For conveying intimate love sometimes unexpected, small gifts like a single rose can be more important than larger gifts like a whole bouquet when presented just right.  Gift love is best considered an ‘art form’ well worth learning and practicing.
To really learn and get into all eight of the major ways of directly giving healthy, real love I, perhaps egotistically, strongly recommend you read my book, Recovering Love, available through amazon.com, iuniverse.com, and others.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Of the above, basic, core, four ways to give love which are you best at and how are you going to get even better at it?

Poly Love

Synopsis: Uncle Charlie’s introduction to a love weirdness; The Poly Advantage; Questions and Quandaries; Personal Questions; and the Worldwide Scene.

Uncle Charlie’s Introduction to a Love ‘Weirdness’

Jackie opened the door and said, “Hi Mom, Dad, Uncle Charlie.  Come on in and meet two of the guys I’m considering marrying or at least someday living with”.

Dad and Mom looked at her a bit sheepishly and Uncle Charlie looked happily confused but interested. Uncle Charlie said, “So what are you going to do with the husband you already have”?  “I’ll keep him too of course,” Jackie replied.  “All three at the same time?”, Charlie asked, acting like he was sort of going along with a joke.  “Yes, all three, at least some of them at the same time,” Jackie replied in a serious, contemplative tone of voice.

Uncle Charlie looked more puzzled.  “Ah hah,” said Jackie turning to her mother and father.  “You haven’t told him I’m a Poly, have you?”  Jackie’s father spoke up saying, “ I would just get him confused trying to explain it, because I haven’t quite figured it out yet myself”.  Jackie then replied, “Come on in to dinner and I’ll see if I can explain it to you without too much confusion and maybe even without too much embarrassment.”  More people arrived and were introduced as friends and part of Jackie’s “poly” network.  At dinner Jackie explained. “Poly love, or more officially Polyamory, is about two or more people openly loving each other, usually in an ongoing relationship, while acting supportive of their lover’s other love relationships.

“Here’s a basic concept.  If you love somebody you want the one you love to have what they want and need.  Many of us want and need more than one romantic or mate-like relationship.  Therefore, if someone we love intimately wants or needs others we want them to have those relationships.  Since you can love two or more parents, two or more siblings, two or more children,  two or more friends at the same time why not two or more lovers or love mates?

“There are different societies around the world who have lived this love style for hundreds even thousands of years.  More accurately poly love styles, in a variety of different ways, but none of them make for exclusive one-on-one living or for being dishonest about it.  Polys tend to argue that our culture’s way is ‘phony monogamy’ but actually it’s serial polygamy or polyandry with lots of dishonesty.  Affairs, adultery, unfaithfulness, cheating and the like, occur in over half the marriages pretending to be monogamous.  So much doesn’t get shared that deep sharing realness and real intimacy of the heart hardly have a chance.”

Uncle Charlie, an open-minded and bold sort of fella said, “So, let me ask the big question in my mind. What about sex ?  I can’t help but suspect all this Polyamory stuff is all just a mask for a form of ‘swinging’?”  Jackie laughed openly and everyone else giggled or blushed a bit.  “Sex is usually included but not always.  With some, Poly love is done more like long-lasting, deep friendship while relationships in the swinging world tend to be more shallow and brief, though that’s not always true.  But with us Polys it’s really not primarily about sex.  That’s more for ordinary singles, swingers and of course cheaters.  We Poly people are about the people we love having what they need and want, and that can include lots of sex with lots of people, though it usually is confined to a much smaller number of very special people”.

Uncle Charlie looking a bit devilish said, “Again let me ask, altogether at once?”  Jackie responded, “That can happen and does with some Polys.  For other Polys sex is a more private, one-on-one sort of thing.  Again it’s much more about healthy, real love that’s open and honest”.

The Poly Advantage

One of the other dinner guests then spoke up, “The Poly way has a great big advantage.  It is non-deceitful, non-possessive, non-controlling, non-restrictive and non-exclusive.  When you lust or feel love for another, which I think every spirited, really alive person does, you don’t have to hide it from those closest and dearest to you.”

Another guest at the table who had been quietly listening said, “The Poly way saves us from cheating and all the lies that go with it.  If you have a forbidden desire you get to talk about it instead of hiding and feeling bad about yourself about having the desire.  It also means having a whole lot more love in your life, and with it a whole lot more joy –  at least that’s the way I experience it”.

Then Sandra shyly spoke up saying, “Let me tell you my experience.  Before I became a Poly I was always afraid of losing whatever love I had, so I always had to secretly have a second lover on the side.  Time and again that meant someone found out what I was secretly doing on the side and there were horrible fights and a horrible breakup and a whole lot of time spent suffering and also in recovery.  Then the whole thing would start again. That nearly killed me.  I mean literally.  I nearly suicided twice.

“Then I got introduced to the Poly thing.  I learned I really have what it takes to love and be loved a lot.  It just seems natural to me.  What was messing it up was dishonesty and a value system which made sexual fidelity and monogamy more important than what I think of as natural, real love or truth.  When monogamy or sexual singularity are more important than love it can destroy love.  I’ve heard it said that whatever we make more important than love ruins love, and I think that’s true for me at least.  Now I see that anyone dumb or insecure enough to want to abandon me over who else I love probably isn’t right for me anyway.  Breaking up would hurt some but see I have deep and abiding love with the most wonderful set of other people, so I know I’m not going to be unloved. It’s more like the family you can count on, and I wouldn’t trade anything for it.  I know it’s not for everyone but it works way better for me than what I was doing before”.

Questions and Quandaries

Well, the evening went on with lots of humor, occasional tender, caring feelings and a surprising amount of frank, open honesty.  Some talked of their failures at being Poly and the failures of others they had known who tried it and found it wanting.  There was quite a lot of talk going on about children with some parents strongly testifying how much seeing their parents go Poly had done for them.  Others, of course, were very dubious about that part.

A lot of the other ways that a Poly lifestyle can be lived also got mentioned.  Handling jealousy and insecurity, plus the role of healthy self-love in doing so was focused on for a time.  How a Poly love lifestyle was being a great benefit to bisexuals in the Poly community was generally agreed on.  The question of “is Poly love real love?” resulted in people saying “sometimes yes and sometimes no”.  All acknowledged that false forms of love could happen in Poly relationships just like in monogamous relationships.  Also everybody agreed Poly love took just as much or more work as any other kind of relationship.  While it seemed like a sort of salvation for some, it was seldom easy, especially at first.

Some put forth the idea that it’s the English-speaking peoples that have the most trouble with Poly lifestyles, while maybe northern Europeans, the French, Polynesians and certain special indigenous people in China were more likely to do well with it.  Jackie’s parents testified to the fact that their daughter was happier this way than she ever had been before and that was what mattered to them.  Uncle Charlie said this dinner party had been the best conversational circus he had ever gone to, and he had never experienced so many surprising thoughts that he would have to think about a lot more and he was going to do just that.

Personal Questions And the Worldwide Scene

So, dear reader, how do you think you would go home from a dinner party like that one? What might your personal questions be?  If some of your close friends or family were to be revealed living a Poly lifestyle what would that mean to you?  Since all polls and other indicators show the Poly lifestyle to be growing with Poly clubs in every major city and many minor ones, Poly national and international conventions popping up all over the Western world, parts of the Far East , South America and especially North America, seminars talks, group discussions, Internet sites, online magazines and lots more, it seems likely you are going to run into it sooner or later personally.

Perhaps you already have.  It seems like a lot of people keep their Poly involvement kind of quiet because, after all, it is a rather personal thing.  As to love and lifestyles, the world seems to be changing one relationship at a time.  Concerning yourself, those closest to you, family, children, neighbors, etc. if any of them want you to come with them to the gathering of the Polys what you think you are likely to do if you haven’t already?

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Are you more puzzled, threatened, dismissive, angered, worried, curious, amused, conflicted, inspired, excited, encouraged or just don’t know what to think by the Poly lifestyle?

Special note: Thanks to the several people who have requested this topic be addressed.  Sorry we didn’t get to it sooner.  For those new to the topic you might want to Google “Polyamory”, there’s lots of information at lots of different sites. Yes, there is likely to be more on this topic from time to time, along with information about other “alternative” lifestyles and how love is being carried out in those lifestyles, along with the “traditional”.

Can You Talk about Sex - with Love?

Talking about sex with love is known to work wonders for both the sex lives and love lives of many people.  Unfortunately there still are many others who don’t know how to do this very well.  In fact there are quite a few who don’t seem to be able to do this at all.

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?