The first piece of writing that I did about sexuality and the shadow was very focused on you. I firmly believe that that’s where you have to start because when you’re with a partner, you really do have two shadow selves that can be at work in your joining. That complicates things, and hopefully, you have a partner who is doing his/her work to understand their shadow. But I’m going to make this post a little bit softer than some of my other blog posts and leave the harder issues (sexual traumas) alone for the time being. This is probably going to sound like a basic sex column, and what’s one of the core parts of sexuality with a partner, class? Communication.
Good Communication: It’s Never Out of Style
I’m already waiting for someone to have a thought saying, “How is this spiritual?” Oh wait. There goes one. Everything is interconnected in us. Everything is spiritual, and that definitely includes sex. Sexuality is one of the primary (and for some people, only ways) that people feel union. It’s an amazing way to let the body know that it is connected and not isolated. And orgasm is one of the surest fire way to break open the mind–at least for a few breathtakingly beautiful moments. And then the mind usually rushes back in.
Communication with yourself is step one (hence the journaling). Verbal and non-verbal communication with your partner is step two. Until you can talk to yourself and admit what you want and need, it’s tough to do that with a partner. When I talk about sexual issues for this blog, it’s less about a major issue coming up for you (although it can be), and it’s more about where you’re uncomfortable or want different needs met. If you’d like a different type of stimulation or touch from your partner, you have to know how to verbalize and ask for it. This makes the experience better for both. It nourishes you both as you both learn how to serve each other, and at the heart of spiritual sexuality is a deep, profound, loving sense of service.
Breakdowns in Communication Breakdown a Relationship
If you want to destroy a relationship, just stop talking. I think my parents have a rule that no matter how hard things get that they keep talking. Maybe there have been breaks in there to blow off steam, but they’ve kept talking in different situations. There is no worse breakdown of communication than what can happen in sexuality. It’ll destroy the whole moment and experience. If something is coming up for you–a desire for a different position, some upset feelings, or whatever–your partner has probably noticed it. It just shifts the experience, the way your bodies feel, and the way your emotions run. It’s hard not to notice. I’m sure not all partners are super-sensitive to this, but in some ways, we all know. We always know. It can be said in off-handed remarks like, “Ya know, it used to be really good, but I dunno. It’s not the same anymore.” Most people don’t have words for these things, so step one to finding your shadow desires is to start communicating.
Shadow Desires: Running the Gamut from Kinky to Simple Exploration
I’m really not here to tell you what’s right or wrong sexually. I think there’s enough of that going on already. I’m here to encourage you to find out what’s right for you. Most people are so locked down that they have no idea. They have thoughts, and then they’re like, “Well, I could never do that.” Certainly, this takes a partner who is willing to explore with you, and that’s important to have. This topic is a street made for two, so you’ll have to figure out what the right road is for both of you. That’s lots to explore, and there’s lots to share. Oftentimes, this type of thing ends up in the sexual article about how to spice up your sex life, which are funny things to read. They usually go back towards communication, but I think a lot of times they miss the most important relationship lubricant–love.
Loving Your Shadow and Your Partner’s Shadow
Making space to be able to talk about and accept what your partner’s secret desires are is important. It helps your partner feel more seen and secure, and in relationships in general, so much more intimacy is possible when we feel more fully seen. More needs get met just in recognition than you can possibly imagine. So many relationships can’t really even touch deeply in sexuality because they’re always trying to hold onto images of what they think they should be for their lover. It’s kinda like the overly-chivalrous dude who thinks he’s been impolite if he gets too handsy with his lover, who secretly wants her knight-in-shining armor to throw her on the bed and rip her clothes off. You all know this is true–take a look at the romance novel section in the bookstore if you don’t believe me.
Deeper sexual intimacy echoes out into other things in your life. It gives you a very strong sense of connection with your lover, and in relationships, I think that’s a crucial building block to deal with all the other crap that goes on. It is also an energizing thing because you’re not busy locking away aspects of your sexuality during sex. It opens up the body more deeply. Locked up and tense bodies don’t blend well together. It’s a lot of chafing and uncomfortableness. And where there is discomfort in other parts of your relationship, those shadow aspects walk right in with you into the bedroom.
Sexual Energy and Illumining the Shadows
You probably won’t want to fill all of each other’s fantasies, and that’s not really what I’m aiming at with this blog. That’s part of the trap of shadow work–you can get lost in the shadows and secret desires. It’s much more about acknowledging and making space for those desires to be seen with a partner. Maybe you enact some of them, or maybe just communicating that they’re present for you is enough. Maybe your shadow is simply all the simple stimulations and touches that you enjoy and being able to tell your partner. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly crazy. The simple things go a LONG way in relationships and sexuality. The point is to be able to fully be with your partner without trying to hide parts of yourself in the midst of intimacy. It sounds crazy, but people try to do it. It really is a turn-off.
Above all else, we end back up at love (can you tell that I’m working on a theme?). Loving the shadow and all those hidden things is important. Sharing those parts of yourself with a partner is extremely powerful, and they can open you both up to deeper intimacy in your hearts and bodies than you can imagine.