//
archives

Mikaya Heart

This tag is associated with 26 posts

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: An Alternative Wedding

Alternative-Wedding-Photography

Wanna get married? I recently officiated at a very fun wedding held on some land in northern California. The couple were both in their thirties, and the half that did most of the organizing is an accomplished artist who designed and sewed her own dress, made hundreds of origami cranes, and etched names in glasses as presents for those friends who helped her get it all together.

Get wedding dance lessons from the Dance Doctor!

About a hundred guests gathered in the center of a field where straw bales covered in various beautiful pieces of cloth were set in a circle for everyone to sit on. I began a slow drum beat and was joined by a woman on a violin. Sage and Nate came walking towards the circle from different directions, meeting at the south point. We walked to each direction in turn while I did an invocation, which, when it’s done with a sense of authority, is always a great way to set the scene. Then we went to the center of the circle, and I spoke about the ceremony, telling the guests that they were active participants in this, and by their presence here they were making a commitment to allowing love to flow through them freely; it has to start with loving yourself with all your faults and your body with all its imperfections, and then you extend that outwards and accept everyone around you with all their faults. You don’t need to have a lover to do that, you can love the checker at Safeway just by looking into her/his eyes.

Sage had made leis with the origami cranes and both of them went up to their parents, putting a lei around their necks and thanking them. Then one of Sage’s friends came up to read a poem by Rumi. For those of you who don’t know, Rumi was a Persian poet who died several centuries ago. His writing is all about passionate love, and although most people maintain that he’s talking about a spiritual passion, it has some powerful references that can certainly be interpreted in a physical sense.

Rings were threaded on a very beautiful braided cord made by Sage. I removed them from the cord and they both placed their rings on the others hands, reading vows which they had previously written. They included things like promising to try not to burn the coffee in the morning, which added a great flavor of humor. Another friend came up, and took the hand-fasting cord, asking them if they were ready to get tied up and then binding their wrists together. (Hand-fasting is an ancient Celtic custom).

There was bread and wine on the table, and I held out the bread to each of them in turn, asking if they were committed to providing, to the best of their abilities, whatever the other needed to nourish body, mind, and soul. They fed each other some bread, and then that was repeated with a cup of wine, while I asked if they were willing to fulfill each others needs for passion and creativity, always keeping the others glass overflowing.

I turned to the audience and asked if they were willing to accept these two as partners on this journey of life, and everyone shouted yes with great enthusiasm while the couple sealed the deal with a kiss. I admonished them to recall this feeling of love throughout the hard times as well as the easy times, and particularly to be in that same place of love should they ever need to re-negotiate their vows. Finally I gave the audience a job: each of them was to go up to one other person during the evening (someone they knew or not) and, looking into that person’s eyes, say something along the lines of: in this moment, I see who you are, I see the beauty and magnificence of all that you are, and I honor that from the depths of my heart.

Leaving most of the guests, those of us who had been involved in the organization went down to the house with Sage and Nathan where we signed all the relevant papers and were given our personal engraved glasses. In a flat area further up the hill, long tables had been made out of pallets, and several people had been working to organize what turned out to be an amazing and copious feast of tastes: a dinner made up from dozens of potluck dishes provided by all the guests. A band set up and we celebrated the evening away.

Weddings are meant to be about love, but many of them are a sham. This was for real, with an abundance of love and beauty, and a very relaxed yet powerful atmosphere. It was certainly the most delightful wedding I have ever attended.

Mikaya Heart (mikayaheart.org) is an award-winning author and a life-coach, using shamanic methods to teach people how to operate from a place of trust instead of fear. Her last book was The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women; her next book is Life, Lies, and Sex: A User’s Guide to Being in a Body.

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Dealing with Anger

Couple sitting up in bed, both looking away   Original Filename: couple.jpg

I apologize for the long delay in posting – life has just been incredibly full and busy!

OK, following on from my last post, I’m still on the subject of communication and anger. Although it’s true that someone who is very afraid will never be able to communicate clearly, and that some people have no desire to communicate clearly, I’ve seen more mis-communication occur because of anger than for any other reason. Sometimes it’s just about different styles: person A stating something categorically may be read by person B as angry, when in fact A is just being emphatic. But it’s also true that some people walk around all the time with a very consistent level of anger. Once either partner is reacting to what s/he thinks is going on, rather than speaking from his/her center and listening to the other person without assumptions and judgments, then real communication can’t happen. (And anger is a powerful emotion which can quickly overwhelm the person who feels it being aimed their way, even if they are only imagining it!) So the first thing is to work out whether A really is angry or whether B is assuming s/he is angry and reacting to that. If it’s the latter, then B needs some reassurance to make her/him see differently. If A really is angry, then s/he needs to acknowledge that and get to the root of what’s causing it. That can be a huge and life-changing journey, because the anger is often about past experiences, and it requires the willingness to let go of those, forgiving one-self and others. In the end a person who wants to get over being chronically angry has to make a very serious commitment to addressing it; and his/her partner may not be able to help very much. It can be a lonely journey—but as someone who has done it, I can assure you that it’s well worth it.

Here is an extract from an article I wrote about anger:

“The art in dealing with feelings of anger is go to fully into them, to make friends with them, to go to the very roots of them, and hear what they are telling us. Those feelings are always truthful and it is never useful to ignore them for long (we may have to ignore them for short periods in order to behave in a socially acceptable manner). They usually only turn into roaring fury because we have been trying to ignore them. Once we really learn to honor our feelings, and pay attention to them, we become very familiar with them and we can act on their messages before they become roaring fury.

“Some people are stuck in situations which make them feel angry, and they need the anger to motivate them to change. Once you have escaped the initial situation that was making you angry, it’s sometimes just a matter of updating your reality. In other words, you may find that the anger is no longer relevant, and the sensation of anger is just an old habit. How do you go about updating your reality so that the chronic anger is released? Setting intention is always the most powerful tool of change, and then it is necessary to be brave enough to be truthful. A lot of people are in denial about their anger. Acknowledge the truth of what you are feeling, allow yourself to weep with the desperate frustration of not having what you need, allow your body to feel the fullness of it, to be filled up with it; and then let it go. If it doesn’t pass, look deeper. What aspects of your life do you need to change in order to stop feeling angry?

“Because it is life-force energy, trying to control anger will depress your life force, so in the long term, it cannot be controlled without some negative effects. When anger has been buried, it leaks out as irritation, bitchiness, a disapproving attitude, a constant need to belittle others (for instance). As a result of growing up in cultures that insisted on denial of anger, most of us have years of repressed anger to deal with, so we have first to deal with those old layers before we can get to the root of what anger is telling us about the here and now. Peeling away those old layers often involves expressing the outdated repressed feelings. That can happen very quickly and easily once you decide that you are willing to do it. It’s necessary to do it without blame or judgment, and without dumping on others. Be sure that when you find yourself justifying your anger at someone else’s expense, then you are on the wrong track. So just stop right there, and allow the feelings to come up; dive into them instead of trying to avoid them. There is never any need to blame others, even when it is someone else’s actions that appear to initiate the anger that we feel. We all have to do whatever we have to do, and everyone is doing their best, even when it seems extraordinary or unpleasant. You may express anger towards someone because you perceive them as being abusive and you want to stop them, and you may see that expression of anger as entirely appropriate. Others might agree or might not, but if you are being completely honest with yourself, you will know whether you are looking for a convenient outlet for your anger rather than going deeply into the truth, or whether you are simply stopping someone from treating you in a way you find disrespectful, which I would normally consider ethical behavior. We must learn to take responsibility for ourselves, which requires being honest and clear with ourselves. Never waste time justifying what you feel. What you feel is what you feel. If you deliberately hurt someone because you are angry, it may certainly be appropriate to apologize; but if you are acting upon the information the anger is offering you and taking care of yourself with due consideration for others, then there is no need to apologize.”

Mikaya Heart (mikayaheart.org) is an award-winning author and a life-coach, using shamanic methods to teach people how to operate from a place of trust instead of fear. Her last book was The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women; her next book is Life, Lies, and Sex: A User’s Guide to Being in a Body.

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Moving Beyond Fear And Anxiety

manandwomansex

Unless you are one of those lucky people who just happens to be with someone who wants to have sex exactly the way you do, the art of negotiation is an essential skill. By that I mean that you need to be able to listen to what your partner is saying without taking aboard any judgments, and you need to know what you want, and be able to express it clearly to your partner in a manner that s/he can hear. Then you need to take appropriate action so you both get what you need. Normally, what gets in the way of clear negotiation is fear of making ourselves vulnerable to negative judgments, or anger that arises (or usually, has already arisen) because we are not getting our needs met. In an ideal relationship, in an ideal world, you are not afraid of what anyone else thinks because you know it says more about him/her than it says about you; and you have not allowed anger (or resentment which is the same thing) to build up because you have addressed it as it arose. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and we generally have to learn these kinds of things through experience, because no one is teaching us.

Respect is integral to good communication and therefore to a healthy relationship. I don’t just mean respecting your partner, but also respecting yourself and your own needs. The one is just as important as the other, because if you don’t respect your own needs, you will be a needy person, and the manifestation of that isn’t usually attractive. You both have your own lives and yet you are able to demonstrate your love for each other, take risks, and consider new ideas. You honor whatever it is the other wants, even though it may not be what you want. That requires operating consistently on every level from a place of trust and love. This does not mean you are certain your partner will never leave you. On the contrary, you know that your partnership may not last a lifetime, just because we live in a world where change is the only constant. But you know that doesn’t mean your life will fall apart and it doesn’t mean your partner will stop loving you. Love has very little to do with whether a relationship lasts a long time; that has more to do with compatibility and the ability to communicate.

Good communication cannot occur in an atmosphere of fear, even if it’s only an undercurrent. Most of us have to deal with fear on some level, or with some of its close relatives such as anxiety. Some of my friends have described me as fearless because I am a keen kite surfer, which is a fairly extreme sport, but the fact is that I am very familiar with fear. I have learned how to step outside the feeling so that I can look at whether it’s valid or not, and whether I am willing to allow it to motivate me. That ability is an important one to cultivate.

Fear and self-esteem don’t go together. If you want to stop being afraid of other people’s judgments, you must develop self-esteem, which means you must know that, no matter what happens, you always deserve to be treated with respect (and so does everyone else). That can be a long slow path and often requires help. If you’re lucky, you find yourself in a healthy relationship with a partner who is respectful of you, and that teaches you what respect is. If you don’t have a partner or close friends who can do that, go to a group such as Alanon, or find a therapist.

Sometimes the fear that’s getting in the way is about being alone in the world: your motivation is not to have a healthy relationship but to prevent your partner from leaving you. You are willing to disrespect yourself and ignore your own needs in order to keep your partner. If you can honestly admit to yourself that that is true for you, and you don’t like it, then you are halfway to changing it. Again, the answer is often to get support from other quarters. Make a proactive choice to spend time alone on a regular basis, and do things you love; get a life that carries on without your partner. Involve yourself in charity work, take classes in creativity, work with animals—whatever turns you on. Many of us are afraid of growing old alone, but in this day and age you don’t need a partner or even a family in order to avoid that. There are many other options.

Most of us have inordinate fears around sex. Men and women are afraid they won’t be able to “perform” (a word that inspires anxiety and does not belong in the bedroom) . Our ideas of what a correct performance is and our attempts to conform to that prevent us from being spontaneous and truthful about what we really want. Many of us are at least a little afraid of being completely truthful and trying new things. You have to learn to acknowledge any fearful motivations and put them to one side, setting the intention of being present and real. This applies to communication on sexual matters as much as it applies to discussing what you are going to do today or for this lifetime. Sex is a metaphor for life, outlined in neon lights so that any false-ness has immediate consequences which will inevitably prevent any lasting satisfaction. What do you really want from a sexual exchange? If it is to get the most joy possible (for instance), your best approach is to relax and encourage your partner to relax, which allows both your bodies to express themselves freely. Both of you have much more chance of experiencing true, deep pleasure that way than by trying to do things “right” according to some rote method.

Now apply that to your daily life.

Mikaya Heart (mikayaheart.org) is an award-winning author and a life-coach, using shamanic methods to teach people how to operate from a place of trust instead of fear. Her last book was The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women; her next book is Life, Lies, and Sex: A User’s Guide to Being in a Body.

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Breaking Up

Things-you-Shouldn’t-do-After-a-Breakup1

Contrary to popular belief, breaking up is not necessarily hard to do. It does tend to get harder if you put it off until you are on very bad terms with your partner. If you stay and stay and stay, resentments will build up and up and up, until you can’t remember why you loved this person, and that is a horrible place to be. Unless you really intend to be with this person for the rest of your life (can you ever decide such a thing definitively?), it’s a good idea to set precedents early on in the relationship, establishing that it’s OK to have time alone, to do things separately, to assume that you will not be together forever, and so on. There are ways to avoid the more standard difficulties that people go through when they break up: have separate bank accounts, put both of your names on everything you buy together, have separate rooms, or just don’t live together in the first place. Some people will tell you that you can’t have real intimacy unless you are living together, but that isn’t necessarily true at all. Maybe you just need your own space, no matter how much you love your partner.

It’s often looked on as a failure when we don’t make a relationship last, but that kind of judgment comes from a very limited perspective. It may well be that the standard model of relationship isn’t for us, or that we are just very picky people who would rather be alone than put up with mediocrity. Quality frequently has no connection with longevity.

It’s easy to fall into a longterm relationship by default, simply by failing to talk about what you want and what is going on. Some people are very good at refusing to talk about difficult things, believing (sometimes correctly) that if they consistently absent themselves from any conversations about things they consider difficult, that they can delay those eventualities indefinitely.

How do you decide when it’s time to say it’s over? That is up to you alone, and really, you don’t need to have any explanation. It’s just time to move on. But when you are very enmeshed in a relationship, it can be difficult to get a clear perspective. Here are a few (just a few) red flags: do you often find yourself fighting a sense of frustration with this person? Do you repeatedly struggle to keep your mouth shut? Do you usually feel better after you have spent time with other people than you do when you spend time just with your partner? Do you often walk into the room and tense up because s/he is there, or dreading when s/he comes home? Do you regularly find yourself fantasizing about being with someone else? Does your partner frequently over-ride your needs or desires? You may be able to squash these thoughts and feelings quickly enough that you barely register them, or you may get so used to them that you don’t notice them, or you may think it’s just that you’re chronically irritable. Perhaps you are chronically irritable and perhaps that is because you are not getting what you need from the relationship.

Maybe you can open the relationship up to the possibility of other lovers, or take steps to get space away from your partner. Either of those could be leading to a break-up, but you may be able to establish workable ways of getting your needs met without breaking up.

If you need something pretty different from what you are getting in your relationship and you keep denying that, you will probably fall in love with someone else quite suddenly, and being obsessed with another person usually leads to an unpleasant break-up. But however it happens, remember that life is a process of growth, and you did love your ex, or soon-to-be-ex, at one point. You can choose to keep your heart open; there is no need to fall into blame and judgment. It isn’t anyone’s fault that you are breaking up, it’s just that things have changed, as they constantly do. If your ex is very angry you might have to keep your distance until s/he has calmed down, but still—you don’t have to hate her/him. You always have the choice to be kind and considerate, while maintaining the new limits that you have decided to assert. In order to do that—in fact in order to behave lovingly on any consistent basis—you have to be able to control your expression of emotion. Some people think they are controlling their emotions even when they are radiating anger, and other people assume someone is angry when that person is just stating something clearly. Controlling emotions is essential to good communication. It’s a huge subject. Plenty of material for another post . . .

Mikaya Heart (mikayaheart.org) is an award-winning author and a life-coach, using shamanic methods to teach people how to operate from a place of trust instead of fear. Her last book was The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women; her next book is Life, Lies, and Sex: A User’s Guide to Being in a Body.

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: That Nasty Word – Abuse

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Since 2001, more American women have been killed by their husbands or boyfriends than all US citizens killed in 9/11, the Iraqi war, and the Afghani war combined. Domestic abuse is rife—a vicious ongoing undercurrent beneath a civilized veneer. Even nowadays, an abused woman is usually too frightened or embarrassed to talk about it, not only because doing so will likely provoke her partner further, but also because there is still so much shame attached to it, based on the belief (usually unspoken) that she did something to deserve it. Not so long ago, it was an openly acceptable concept, that married women were subject to their husband’s rule. In many Western countries, rape within marriage was legal until thirty or forty years ago; it was a woman’s duty to give her body to her husband when he wanted to use it. Until the advent of feminism in the West, most people really did believe that it was OK for a man to beat his wife with a stick as long as it was no bigger than his thumb. Nowadays we know that it’s not only men who can be abusive, although they are far more likely to go to the extreme of using fists, knives, and guns. Physical violence, however, is the end product of something that starts verbally.

The word “abuse” is very loaded, and most people would be angry and shocked to be told they are abusers. Yet, if you define abuse as the desire to hurt your partner (let’s keep it to intimate adult relationships for now), I wager almost no one on the planet could honestly deny they have felt that way. Love brings up everything that is not love. When you are really attached to someone and things don’t go the way you want, you hurt—and then you want to hurt the person whom you perceive is hurting you. In the average case, all you do is snap at them. Because you know your partner well, it’s very quick and easy to say something that really does hurt the other person, although most people carefully don’t think about that—they just snap. Even when it’s more calculated, we humans find it alarmingly easy to deny, to ourselves as well as to others, that we intend to cause someone pain. The effects of verbal abuse can go very deep and because they are not as visible as bruises from physical abuse, they may go without being addressed for a lifetime.

domestic-violence

If you’ve been frustrated and hurting for a long time, using your partner as a dartboard may be habitual. The average person keeps it within the bounds of social acceptability although the possibility of going beyond those boundaries is always there until you admit to yourself what you are doing. Whether it manifests as behavior like nagging and bitching, making apparently offhand put-downs phrased as jokes, leaning over your smaller partner threateningly, or something much more tangibly abusive, it’s really all the same thing, and we can look at it two different ways: it’s either the determination to get what you want without consideration for your partner’s feelings, or it’s the need to lash out at someone else to relieve your own inner pain. The former might not be called abuse, but truthfully, a person whose feelings are ignored over a long period of time loses the ability to enjoy life. It’s a form of constant belittling that erodes self-esteem most effectively.

The latter—needing to hurt someone else because you are hurting—is familiar to me from my childhood. My father, a man in deep denial about his feelings of inadequacy and fear, needed an outlet. He rarely hit me but he was a master at verbal abuse which affected me on a deep psychic level. He could use a tone of voice that cut to the quick. I promised myself that when I grew up, I would not do what he was doing, but I was a quick learner with a lot of suppressed anger and pain. I remember a particular fit of irritation in my twenties when I made a casual remark to my lover that was a carefully veiled insult. I’d been doing that kind of thing for years, needing the brief but pleasing relief that came from lashing out at someone else. The fact that I had been doing it in a way that most onlookers would not notice didn’t detract from its power or from the truth of my intention. A number of factors contributed to my admitting what I was doing, and once I had acknowledged it, I couldn’t return to that place of denial. I spent some years working with a very good therapist and addressed the roots of my “stuff” until I got to a place where I no longer wanted to hurt anyone else.

So I know about abuse from a number of angles. I’ve been both victim and perpetrator—and yes, that means I’ve been an abuser. What about you?

Mikaya Heart (mikayaheart.org) is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her previous book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women, and her next book, due out in August, is Life, Lies, and Sex: A User’s Guide to Being in a Body.

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Loving Yourself

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These days there is a lot of talk about self-love, and many people will tell you that you must first love yourself before you can love anyone else. While that is true, I think it needs some explaining. What does it mean to love yourself, and how does that manifest in daily life? It’s really about taking care of yourself: being absolutely present in your body, in your life, appreciating the joys of being you, and the unique gifts that you embody. That is love.

We (women, at least) are taught to put others’ needs before our own, and many of us believe (subconsciously if not consciously) that no one will love us if we don’t do that. But this doesn’t really work in the long run. If you aren’t centered in your own being-ness (which is another way of comprehending the experience of loving yourself) before you start helping others, you will eventually get sick yourself, and how is that going to help others? Yet it is a common pattern, that we take care of others at our own expense for long periods of time; so common that we often don’t even realize we are doing it. In the end, you will get sick because you are worn down from constantly giving yourself away, and the only cure for that is getting love and attention from others. Or, another way of putting it is that we all need love and attention, and if we don’t give it to ourselves we will tend to get sick so that we then have a good excuse to get what we need from others. In my opinion that is not a desirable cycle.

Sometimes you can form a partnership with another person, or people, where you give each other the love and attention you need, but the downside of that is that you become dependent on them. Better to learn to give it to yourself, and then form healthy partnerships that don’t involve dependence, but support change and growth. Taking responsibility for fulfilling your own needs frees you up to love someone else unconditionally. You are not desperately looking for love from an external source.

The fact of being alive is enough to make you worthy of love, so don’t question that. You have to forgive yourself for not being perfect enough that you don’t need something. No negative self-talk, even when you make mistakes! No one is perfect and we’re not meant to be, since mistakes are a necessary part of life and learning. Perfection is not a useful concept. We all need love and appreciation, and it is really about allowing it to flow from inside. That is when we can never doubt it, because it is felt as utterly, unquestioningly authentic. An external source is always at least a little uncertain, and therefore there is always fear of losing it.

In the end, you must question your priorities. What do you want most in life? What will truly delight you? When I asked myself that question, the answer was that I wanted to bring more joy into the world. The easiest and most effective way to do that is to be in a place of joy myself. So I sold my place to go traveling and took up kite-surfing, a pastime that is not useful in any obvious way, but brings me a great deal of joy, and that in itself is of enormous value, because joy is infectious. By taking care of myself and doing what feels right to me, I benefit everyone. How delightful is that?!

Of course, this kind of thinking can lead to selfish behavior, and there is a fine line between selfishness and self-care, or self-love. The former comes from a place of ego that is unhealthy and the latter comes from a place of individuation that incorporates an understanding of oneness. Or you can put it this way: the former arises out of fear of lack and a sense that there is not enough, while the latter arises out of trust in abundance and a self-awareness that comes from a very deep place of love for all things. One is competitive and the other is cooperative.

Be fully, unapologetically who you are, instead of trying to fit into the molds that your upbringing and society want to impose upon you. Never betray yourself by saying yes because you think you should, only do so when you really mean it. This requires courage and a lot of very honest introspection, but it’s always worth it, because everything in life is more fulfilling and rewarding when you are coming from that place of authenticity. And when you love yourself enough to be truthful, you will find that “true love” comes into your life from all kinds of sources.

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org)

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Finding and Expressing Love

expressing love

There are many ways to express love, and different people experience love in different ways. One of the keys to compatibility with your partner is when you both express and receive love in the same ways, so it’s easy and natural for you to make each other feel loved. The feeling of being loved is relaxing, and being relaxed is a state wherein problems tend to fall away. Even problems within the relationship will resolve more easily because a person who feels loved by you will more readily be able to listen to your needs.

So it’s well worth finding out what makes your partner loved. Some people need to be told, I love you. Others need to be given things, like flowers or meals. Others need to feel heard. Some people need space and others need constant companionship. If two people with opposite needs get together, they must learn to adjust to each other, and sometimes it can take an external source such as a therapist to point out what’s going on. A person who needs space and isn’t getting enough alone-time will be irritable. A person who doesn’t want to be left alone will get needy and demanding when s/he isn’t getting enough time with her/his partner. Both partners have to learn to give the other person exactly what it is that they would not want. Being able to do that will make the relationship not only viable but deeply rewarding. People need to get what people need, and when they do, they are generally more able to give others what they need. It’s the opposite of a vicious cycle. Once again, it comes back to knowing yourself and what you need, being able to communicate that to your partner without making him/her feel defensive, and being able to hear your partner communicate her/his needs to you.

Love is a natural state of being. You can easily grow to love someone, and decide to continue in an intimate relationship with that person just because it gives you the companionship and sense of security that you want even if it is missing some major components, such as exciting sex. As I have said before, great sex in itself isn’t what makes a relationship work. Living with someone every day, sharing your daily life and having kids often isn’t conducive to exciting sex. Maybe you will want to go elsewhere if that is really important to you. Going elsewhere isn’t wrong or bad; but I value a world where people tell the truth, so I hope that if you go elsewhere, you will do so openly and discuss it with your partner.

On the other hand, let’s be realistic: some relationships are not based on honesty. It may be important to keep secrets from each other. Perhaps you need to feel like you have your own life and you are not totally dependent on this other person’s approval. (If you want a deep and meaningful relationship then you are already off to a bad start—but “deep and meaningful” is not for everyone). Women’s friendships with other women often fulfill a role that is missing for women in their relationships with their husbands; they can talk about things they would never talk about with him. And he can go fishing with his buddies, which he might never do with his wife. We in the West are very privileged to think that we can have relationships based on love. Many white men go to places like the Philippines and Indonesia to find a wife who will simply take care of them and occasionally have sex. Plenty of women from such impoverished countries are willing to do that in exchange for money which they send back to their families. It probably seems like a good deal to both of them. And love may grow from roots like those. It’s certainly not my job to tell anyone they should be looking for something more.

Many people have sex without real intimacy and therefore miss out on what could be an incredible experience, because they are too scared to go deep, or simply don’t perceive it as a possibility. This can be addressed and changed at any stage in the relationship. When I wrote the first edition of The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women, I called up radio stations to ask if they would do reviews. On one occasion I pitched to a middle-aged man from the Midwest who had clearly never reviewed a book about sex. He hesitantly agreed to look at a copy of the book and I sent it off, thinking I would never hear from him again. A couple of weeks later he called me and set up an on-air interview which went very well. Later he emailed me to say, “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your book has improved my relationship with my wife beyond my wildest expectations, after forty years of marriage.”

Probably they had never talked about sex before. It brings tears to my eyes to think that I was able to initiate such a wonderful change.

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org).

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Love

Love-Wallpaper

Let’s talk about love. I have said before and will say again that it is not love but compatibility and companionship that make a relationship work. You might love someone and yet need to stay well away from that person because s/he is abusive; but if you share many common interests with someone and s/he treats you well, then you grow to love that person because you gradually come to trust her/him the more you enjoy being together. Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary experience being in love with someone. It is truly a state of grace, when you look at a person and see only the epitome of beauty; when you look into someone’s eyes and it’s like falling forever; when you feel such intense delight at being with someone that you think you would happily die; when the lightest touch of skin on skin can make you orgasm; when you can’t think of anything or anyone else but that person. Why does that happen with some people and not others? I don’t really subscribe to the concept of chemistry since I see the body and the mind as a constant feedback loop. I think that sometimes we are just ready to go that deep, and when another person comes along who is also willing to go that deep, a connection is made. It also must be to do with the fact that our personal energies are in synchronicity—the vibe is right. You aren’t going to fall in love with someone who vibrates at a frequency that jars with yours.

Why doesn’t it last forever? Well, nothing lasts forever. We get on with our lives, and that is sometimes about going in different directions. The longevity of a relationship often has nothing to do with its quality, however much our culture might insist otherwise.

Most attraction is based not on falling in love as much as perceiving the possibility of a relationship that will give you what you want. That might be anything from a good-looking partner with lots of money and social credibility to someone who plays great music and is a good lover. But let’s not get too cynical: the vibration thing is very real. Our bodies are matrices of energy and all energy is vibrating at a particular frequency. When you meet someone who stirs something inside you, however slightly, you want that frequency to complement yours. It’s like music—certain kinds of music sound absolutely right and you want to listen to them again and again. You could see that person who stirs something inside you as having some quality that you want to integrate into your life, and that could be defined as what makes them attractive, even though you might not be aware of what it is.

Attraction doesn’t really relate to love except insofar as love relates to everything. Love is about being fully alive. It’s all around us. It’s the stuff of everything. It’s life force. We can cultivate a sense of love by watching and listening and partaking in all the life that is going on around us all the time. Appreciate and admire whatever you see or feel that pleases you. It might be a flower, a child playing, a cloud, a person, a car, a fast checkout at the grocery store, an animal, good weather—the possibilities are infinite. It’s best if you verbalize your pleasure aloud, but if you don’t want to do it aloud, then at least think it clearly to yourself, and allow yourself to smile. In other words, feel it in your body. That is about allowing life-force to move through you, it’s about being fully present. When you start doing this, you will meet others who do the same thing, and gradually you will learn to share this with each other. There is no finer thing than the physical intimacy that arises from sharing love with another person. It is much more than what this culture defines as sex, much more than intercourse. When you really make love, you are literally making love, you are operating from a place of simply wanting to give this person love, illustrate your love. You don’t need to bother about what society says you need to do in order to “perform” correctly. You only need to listen to your partner in the same way that you would listen to a piece of music, and then allow your own body to dance in response.

Whether this will develop into what we call a committed Relationship (as oppsoed to relating with a small “r” which we do with everyone and everything all the time) depends, of course, on how compatible you are. If not, that doesn’t mean that the sex hasn’t been a profound expression of love. Many people get stuck on repeating the experience of intensity that comes with particular lovers over and over even if the Relationship isn’t pleasant. Know that any experience of love comes from inside you. It’s not dependent on the presence of a particular external source. Yes, sometimes it seems like there is only that one special person who does it for you, and I don’t mean to belittle the pain that comes from letting go of that. But truthfully, when we really let go of what isn’t working, it makes space for something else which may be different yet also profoundly fulfilling and delightful.

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org).

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Dealing with Jealousy – Again!

jealousy

I’ve touched on this subject before, but it’s so central in understanding how to have healthy relationships that it needs some in-depth examination.

There are not very many people in this world who have not felt jealous at some point or another, and it can take many forms. Let’s restrict it to the kind of jealousy that one tends to feel towards one’s intimate partner. Most people think that it’s natural and normal to feel jealous when your partner is sexually attracted to someone else, and many people don’t believe me when I say that doesn’t usually make me experience jealousy. I can find it quite arousing to think about my partner having sex with someone else. I’m not the only person who feels this way. Many polyamorous people have told me they find it exciting or pleasing to watch their partner flirting with someone else.

What makes it possible for some people to feel this way, while others will descend into an abyss of terror at the very idea? Are some of us just wired differently? That may be one way of looking at why we have such different reactions, but I think it’s more useful to examine exactly what it is that inspires what we call jealousy. It does seem to be primarily about security. If you are confident in yourself, and you operate from a place where you believe that life is full of possibilities, you are much less likely to be afraid of anything that anyone else is doing. You know that the world provides, and you expect yourself to have what you need. If you are uncertain about your value in the world, you are likely to be very anxious about losing what you have, and you tend to think of love as something you have or you don’t have. This is what makes people possessive about their partners, although, really, thinking of another person as something you have—something that’s yours—is a little strange. I certainly don’t like the idea that someone might be walking around in their daily life thinking of me as a possession. I might play with the concept in the bedroom—but I am a free entity elsewhere. And I expect my partners to act as free entities too. They make their own decisions. When we share intimacy, we need to be able to make some of those decisions together. But I am the one who will make decisions about what I do with my own life, and I don’t have any right to impose my desires on anyone else. I want my partners to be happy. In the long run, I know that I won’t be happy hanging out with someone who isn’t happy. However, I understand that many people are very afraid of being alone in the world, and they see love as a limited commodity.

Let’s go a little deeper. Many of us have been taught that the world is a dangerous place, especially for women, and we have to guard what we have, in case something or someone takes it away. I call this a survival mentality. A couple of hundred years ago, when our future was much less certain, and many of us struggled every day for food and shelter, most humans were in a survival mentality, operating from fear of scarcity. Since most westerners now live in a world where we can be pretty sure of getting enough to eat and a roof over our heads, we don’t live in scarcity any more. We don’t need to be anxious about getting our physical needs met. Does this mean we don’t need to be anxious about getting our emotional needs met either? I believe the two are inevitably inter-related, and we can learn how not to be anxious. That applies to being anxious about not having enough love as much as anything else. We can develop a perspective where we see that abundance surrounds us, and we can cultivate a constant awareness of the presence of love, so that we never feel alone. More on that in my next post!

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org).

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: The Value of Feeling Desire

bed-couple-desire

In my last post, I described the various stages of desire, and suggested that we might utilize the experience of desire to manifest things in our physical world. We all are capable of manifesting what we need and want, otherwise we wouldn’t have food and shelter. We wouldn’t even have bodies! The process of manifestation, when it’s done consciously, involves first identifying what we want, then allowing ourselves to experience how delightful it will be when we have it, which is a physical sensation, and then committing to it, which is about making the decision to go for it without holding back. (We can still manifest things without making the decision whole-heartedly–but it won’t be such a straightforward process, in the same way that sex is less fulfilling when you are not wholly involved in it). Finally, we have to act on the opportunities that present themselves.

Most people make two mistakes:

1. Thinking that they have to work at making it happen. Let’s go back to sex here: you don’t have to work at feeling desire when it’s sexual—or if you do, you might as well forget it, because working at it doesn’t work. You have to allow it to occur of its own accord. That’s really what life is about. Note that there is a difference between participating in and working at something, or trying to force it to be a particular way. I don’t mean that you just lie back and let it happen, or not happen, as the case may be; on the contrary, you need to be pro-active in creating it the way you want. The point is you can’t force it to be something other than what you really want, no matter what anyone else thinks or wants. You are who you are, and that is the gift that you bring to the world. So first settle back into who you are and then see what it is you want, not what society and your friends and family think you should want. Cultural and social influences can confuse us very deeply, and then we waste our energy trying to fit in (doing what we think is normal) rather than identifying what it is we want and need. This goes for how you like to have sex, and it goes for how you like to be in the world.

2. Focusing on the fact that they don’t have what they want, rather than on the delight they will feel when they do have it. Make a habit of going back again and again to the sensation of delight that you will feel when you do have it.

The power of manifestation lies primarily in the ability to feel how delighted you will be when you have what you want. That feeling, when it is not contradicted, will bring what you want. Again, you can utilise sex to help you get there. When you are building up to orgasm or you want to fuck and you know it is going to happen, and you feel that delight coursing through your body, so that nothing else matters, remember that you can apply this intensity of energy to getting other things. When you are in that euphoric post orgasmic phase, and your mind is drifting in bliss land, gently focus it on something you want. No effort needs to be made; just decide and delight.

A word about ethics here. It isn’t ethical to impose your desires on others. To force or even persuade someone to do something that s/he really doesn’t want to do is not OK. In truth, it doesn’t even work to do that, because what we all want is to be happy, whatever form that takes for any individual, and no one is happy unless they are doing what they want. If you want to manifest love (which you can certainly do), practice loving yourself and others. Love comes from many quarters and in many forms. Look around you and see it everywhere. Be very careful about setting your sights on a particular person. Do you want others to allow you to be yourself and get what you want? Then allow others to be themselves and get what they want. You cannot change other people, and things tend to get nasty when you try.

It’s very common to have fantasies about being powerless or having power over others. You can act out these fantasies in consensual negotiated sex play, and I’ll address that in another post (see also my previous posts on bondage). It is better not to ignore fantasies – they always hold a great deal of power, and denying that does not make it go away.

Author Byline: Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org).

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Sex and the Vastness of Being

Sex is an unparalleled opportunity to learn how to work with energy flows and develop awareness of the existence of states of reality that are beyond the physical. Although it starts with the body and appears to arise in the body, sexual energy can take us into a state of awareness that is far greater than our normal daily consciousness.

I refer to this expanded state of awareness as the vastness of being because it is very much a sense of vastness, of taking part in an existence that occurs on many other levels. We might imagine our everyday existence as a narrow band of reality within something that is actually so huge it is beyond our wildest imaginings. We perceive the truth of this in the aftermath of orgasm: a blissful perspective from which our daily worries seem ridiculous and trivial.

However, the fact that it takes us into an expanded state of consciousness is only part of what we can learn from sex. It can teach us how to work with flows of energy through the body, and that is the basis of the art of manifestation, which in turn is the art of choice, which is perhaps the most basic of the various arts of being human. When we really know how to make a choice and then apply it to physical reality so that we can manifest what we want here and now, we are much more likely to be able to be happy. (I am qualifying this slightly, as it’s very common for people to think they want a particular thing, and then find that it doesn’t make them happy—but that’s all part of the process of life).

I’ll explain the basics of this first and then go into it in more detail in another post. The first and most important aspect of choosing something is to allow ourselves to experience desire. We can desire anything—but sexual desire is often more familiar to us than other form of desire. Think of it as a sensation moving through your body, without labeling it. It is simply the sensation of energy (which is life-force) building inside, and it wants to be expressed. In truth, it doesn’t have to be manifested as sexual energy, but the intensity of the feeling is often interpreted as sexual partly because that is what we know, and partly because the intensity can be uncomfortable, so that we sometimes just look for the quickest way to release it in order to get back to feeling “normal.” It’s a good idea to get used to that sensation, because it is about life moving through us, and when we allow it, rather than trying to avoid it, we are more alive. That means we are energetic, enthused, excited, present, motivated, and focused: in short, we are full of life. Doesn’t that sound like a good thing? Especially when you consider that most illnesses can be traced back to areas of stuck energy in the body.

In the process of sexual desire, we experience various stages that might be categorized thus: an initial build-up that demands our attention, an increase in intensity that is very much a physical sensation, a very specific focus, an almost irresistible sense of urgency, and then a powerful and sudden release, followed by a state of bliss which can last a long time if we allow it. In a situation which we don’t define as sexual, these stages can all occur slowly and gradually, but the process may also be very rapid, and the format is often very similar, with the various states I have described above being more or less acute or prolonged. I’ll say more about how this applies to manifesting what we want in physical reality in my next post; meanwhile, you might practice recognizing and savoring these various stages in non-sexual situations, particularly when you are being creative.

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org).

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: More On Becoming Gay

 OlgaK

In my last post, I wrote about the process I went through to get to a place of opening up to women on a sexual level. Some lesbians know from a young age that they are only interested in women, but they are in the minority. It certainly didn’t happen that way for me. Prior to recognizing how delightful it was to sleep with women, I had had a number of very close friendships with women, and in retrospect I had been in love with my best friend from high school, who was resoundingly heterosexual. Perhaps that taught me not to perceive sleeping with women as an option; perhaps I didn’t dare to hope. Thanks to a number of negative sexual experiences, I had very little clarity around the concept of sexual attraction, and on a conscious level I didn’t identify my childhood friendship as sexual at all.

In my case, the opening that occurred in my twenties was fairly mind-blowing, and while I am certainly not saying it’s that way for everyone, a surprising number of women do find that being sexual with other women is a remarkable and very surprising awakening. Later, they may look back and say that it never felt right sleeping with men, just as some gay men who have tried sleeping with women will say it never felt right; but how do you know something doesn’t feel right until you have tried something else? For women especially, who are not so accustomed to taking the initiative sexually, there often has to be some kind of an opening, such as C.’s husband so conveniently provided for me. (see my previous post).

Nowadays it’s a lot more acceptable to be gay; but still, many women don’t feel a spark with another woman and so assume there is no spark there, whereas in fact we are very deeply conditioned only to feel attracted to the opposite sex, and it’s not as easy to buck that convention as one might think. That kind of conditioning takes several generations to evaporate, and meanwhile it operates on a deep level that we aren’t aware of. In other words, the spark may be buried so deep that it takes some nurturing before it bursts into flame.

As an example, I’ll refer to my own experience again. The first time I slept with C. it was pleasant but not earth-shaking. However, without my conscious awareness, it tripped some switch: the following day I packed my bags and took off traveling abroad. Months later, I met up with C., and that was when my world turned abruptly upside down. In retrospect, I couldn’t have allowed that to happen when I was still comfortably ensconced in my oh so familiar life back home.

If you find yourself experiencing an attraction to someone of the same gender, you are obviously not obliged to act on it, and it certainly doesn’t mean you are gay. But you might want to think about that kind of label. Are you avoiding it because of the social stigma? Because of how it might end up changing your life if you embrace it? Because you want to be “normal”? Because you are personally holding onto some prejudices about what it means to be gay? Because you think that lesbians are mannish and ugly, or gay men are feminine and affected? Those are common stereotypes, and although it’s true that some lesbians and gays embrace them, plenty of gays and lesbians don’t. Rest assured, you can look as heterosexual as you like (whatever that means), and still be actively sexual with people of the same gender—or not. If you want to be accepted in the lesbian and gay communities, you may experience a certain pressure to conform to stereotypes, just as you may in any community. Prejudice about how you should look is sadly prevalent in both heterosexual and gay circles, and no one has to knuckle under to such reactionary and limited ways of thinking. Have the courage to be fully who you are, no matter whom you are attracted to and no matter what you look like.

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women (see mikayaheart.org). If the above post interests you, check out Mikaya’s article on “Allowing Myself to Look Like Me” at http://bodyandselfimage.com/2011/11/05/mikaya-heart-allowing-myself-to-look-like-me/

Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Becoming Gay

Mardi Gras flight

Realizing that you are attracted to the same sex can occur gradually or very suddenly; it can happen when you are seventy or when you are three. It can change and fluctuate or remain constant. Thinking you are gay and then being attracted to someone of the opposite sex can be just as much of a shock as the other way round. Recognizing their gay-ness happens a million different ways for different people, men and women. I believe that left to our own devices, many (perhaps everyone) of us would be bisexual. But the assumption about what our sexual preferences should be is deeply ingrained in our subconscious from a long history of sexual repression, and sex is too often a subject heavily loaded with anxiety and pain, so those kinds of decisions are very rarely free choices. We can repress all kinds of feelings that might threatened our established reality without ever being consciously aware of what we are doing.

Being bisexual is not even a free choice for people who have had the occasion or the courage to identify as gay, because within the gay community there has been some suspicion of bisexuals. They tend to be dismissed as fence-sitters, or thought to be “backsliding.” This kind of attitude arises out of a natural mistrust of outsiders that exists in all oppressed groups, and happily, it is not nearly so prevalent in places where being gay is becoming widely accepted. Still, it’s important to realize that only just over fifty years ago, being gay was illegal in the United States. Less than thirty years ago, Thatcher tried to introduce a bill in the UK which would have prevented any openly homosexual person (male or female) from working with children. The gay community was very tight-knit with good reason to be wary of people who didn’t fully embrace the cause.

When we’re talking about sex, it’s often important to bring it back to the personal rather than keeping it in the theoretical arena, so I want to talk about my own her-story. In my twenties, thirty-five years ago, I was having an affair with a man whose wife (whom I shall call C.) was attracted to me. I had thought about sleeping with women and regarded it as an interesting option, but I wasn’t aware of being more attracted to women than to men; that is to say, I was aware at various times of being attracted to both, and I hadn’t slept with women because I didn’t know any who were interested in me. I wasn’t particularly attracted to C., although I liked her well enough. In any case, her husband was tired one night, and magnanimously left me with his wife – an action he later regretted, since once I had slept with her and fallen head over heels, I had no desire to go back to sleeping with him.

It wasn’t until I actually had sex with a woman that I understood the connection between sex and love. My inability to connect the two when I was sleeping with men may be because men have traditionally used sex as a weapon from the beginning of time, and I was indoctrinated in that belief at a young age. In spite of the fact that I had slept with plenty of men, I had never been treated with the kind of reverence that C. accorded me. Perhaps if that weren’t so, I would be able to have loving sex with men now. In theory, I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do so, except that my body says “no way.” There are too many unpleasant memories that cannot easily be dismissed. More on this in my next post . . .

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women. For more info, see mikayaheart.org

Top Story – Sex and Relationships with Mikaya Heart: Taking Charge

Sensuality is a vital aspect of most sexual play, and when you have someone restrained you can really go to town, using anything from feathers to whips, and using them on all parts of the body in all kinds of ways, in differing rhythms, with differing touches, from very light to very heavy, from very slow to very fast. The hands alone can produce an infinite number of sensations depending whether you use your palms, fingertips, knuckles, or nails. The kitchen is a great source of interesting toys. You may think you don’t want to experiment with whips because they hurt too much, but when a person is physically aroused, s/he doesn’t feel pain in the same way, so as long as you use a whip or a flogger safely, you may both find it a delightful tool. However, a very light and gentle touch is an important aspect of sensuality and can be extremely arousing. What’s necessary is to be absolutely present, emotionally, mentally and physically, with every fiber of your body. You are silent and still inside, focused on, watching and listening to your partner on all levels.

If you haven’t played in this way before, you may imagine that, as the one in charge, you have to put your own feelings aside, and that desire and passion cannot be flowing through your own body. That’s not the case – it’s simply a different kind of build-up, more controlled and held. It’s a more feminine way of being, slower and receptive. However, we all know that it’s more common for men to be in charge when it comes to sex (and life in general), and sadly, many of them don’t understand the art of sensuality; they don’t really know how to listen to their partners. They tend to do sex in standard ways, which frequently isn’t what women want. Therefore it can be very useful for women to take on the role of the top, and using restraints is helpful in establishing that role – although even when you use restraints, you must radiate confidence. That kind of confidence comes from being very present and clear in yourself, and you may initially find that you tend to be anxious that you are not doing it right. That anxiety passes with practice, and in the meantime, I recommend that you just act as though you are absolutely certain about what you are doing, completely self-assured.

You don’t have to stick with any one role, you can play with different roles. That said, some people want to switch, and some don’t. Some find they only play in certain ways with certain people. Some people only ever want kinky sex, and others find that vanilla sex is even more enjoyable when it’s occasionally combined with kink.

Playing around in new and different ways is frequently well worth the initial discomfort and effort, since bondage and other role-playing can quickly change old boring dynamics that aren’t working for you any more. Because she risks being labeled a slut, it requires courage for a woman to step into her own sexual power but when she does so, it’s possible to go very deep, taking intimacy to quite another level. It benefits everyone, since men have a great deal to learn from women who open up in that way. Choosing to claim your power in the realm of sexuality is also likely to help you to be more powerful in your daily life.

Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a life-coach. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women.

www.mikayaheart.org

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,932 other followers

%d bloggers like this: