When Giving Up Means Getting a Dog

If you think all men are dogs then you might consider trading your needs for your wants…

A friend of ours recently declared that she was SO over men that she decided to get a dog instead. This woman is in her mid-30’s, attractive and really has it together in most other areas of her life. Apparently, the men that did show up during her many attempts to date and connect with just turned out to be dogs. So why not just get a real one. You know, that will love her unconditionally and forever be her best friend without all the B.S. that comes with the hominid variety? And she is not alone in making this decision. A recent study in the U.K. revealed that 1 in 10 women in relationship with a man actually prefer their pet over their man. Is the male gene pool really that bad off or is there something else going on here that suggests these women could go about finding the man of their dreams in a more effective way…

Tick, Tick, Tick…

We have another female friend in her mid-30’s who is drop-dead gorgeous, and very, very frustrated. One day my Partner and I walked into a restaurant only to see our fetching friend having what appeared to be an intimate conversation with yet another new man. We didn’t hear a word either of them said yet is was instantly clear to us that this was going to be another let down. We came to this conclusion so quickly because her body language was like a neon-sign flashing the words “I need a man!” over and over again. Since she is so attractive, she ends up with having many short-lived relationships where the men get the sex they want until her needs pushes them away. In the inevitable aftermath of each one we are debriefed on what “dogs” all men are.

We observed similar behavior in many women in their 30’s and it is really no surprise. The 30’s are the period of a woman’s life where the ticking of the biological clock becomes more strident the closer one approaches 40. And this is true whether the woman wants children or not. It’s all part of our default Sexual Operating System that is designed for propagation rather than fulfillment.

Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again

The problem here is not the biological clock nor all the horn-dog men out there. The real issue lies with: a) not even being aware of these drives, b) assuming one is “incomplete” without a mate, and c) not being clear about with whom you want to share your life. And without these being addressed honestly head-on, one is doomed to repeat the same experience over and over again. That is, until old Fido and his incessant wagging tail starts looking really good as a substitute life companion.

Finding the right partner starts with first learning to be totally comfortable in your own presence. This means you have the ability to fully enjoy life with or without a partner, i.e. alone yet not lonely. Likewise, want and need are two completely different things. You can still feel complete and yet desire someone to share your life adventure. However, the moment you feel a mate is necessary to feel complete, your needs only serves to ward off potential compatible partners.

Finding the right partner starts with first learning to be totally comfortable in your own presence.

While I can’t speak for all men, I will say that a self-assured woman is far more attractive to most men than one who comes off as needing someone to fulfill them. And, this kind of self-assurance will not settle for anyone she feels does not meet her standards and is fully willing to risk waiting for the one that does.

This of course assumes one is willing to be very clear, ideally in writing, about whom they want as a life Partner. I firmly believe this takes a great deal of introspection and self-questioning as to why various characteristics within a mate are so important. It also means being equally clear on what qualities are not acceptable, no matter what –i.e., the “deal-killers”. While most people will tend to agree with the efficacy of this approach, very few ever follow through. It’s as if they would prefer to have God or the Universe just magically deliver the right person on a silver platter. Without clarity, you are essentially tying the hands of Fate from being able to deliver. And by the way, if you are waiting for Prince Charming you may as well as get that puppy now because P.C., who is the very definition of filling a need, is never going to show up.

…a self-assured woman is far more attractive to most men than one who comes off as needing someone to fulfill them.

Don’t get me wrong I love dogs, and cats, for that matter. They love unconditionally, never judge, comfort you when you are down and can even help you keep warm at night. However, they will never, ever provide the depth of fulfillment that can only come from having an authentic relationship with someone you want and respects you as an equal. And that is the ultimate shared human experience worth risking to prepare for.

The Eventual Anachronism of Heteronormative

Here’s why heteronormative may be a thing of the past sooner than we think…

Last Fall, I had a very interesting conversation with Michael Gilbert, USC Professor and author of the extensively researched book, The Disposable Male. We were discussing the issue of sexual fluidity and where it was eventually heading. I suggested that within just a few generations (three to five) bisexuality will likely become the norm for a majority of the population. I was surprised at how vehemently my friend disagreed with my assertion, stating it would take at least 1,000 years, if ever, for that to happen. Well, in light of recent studies concerning young adult sexual identity, it appears that we may both be wrong since it seems to be happening somewhat quicker than even I anticipated…
(Author’s Note: my Partner and I are exclusively heteronormative and harbor no agenda whatsoever promoting or denigrating any particular form of sexual orientation)

Inclusion, Acceptance and Orientation

It is no secret that current younger generations tend to be much more inclusionary in terms of race, creed, gender and sexual orientation. What surprised me however is how quickly inclusion and acceptance seems to be impacting sexual orientation –especially for today’s teens. One study from the J. Walter Thompson Group indicated only 48% of today’s teens view themselves as exclusively heterosexual, down significantly from the 65% of Millennials self-identifying as such. Another recent study of 1600 people by YouGov.uk resulted in 43% of all people 18 – 24 in the United Kingdom do not view themselves as exclusively hetero- or homosexual. Think about that for a moment. That represents nearly half of the young adult population. Given this research, it is not too much of a stretch to consider the possibility that in just two generations (or less) from now well over 50% of the population will view themselves somewhere between 1 and 5 on the Kinsey Scale indicating some level of bisexuality.

…only 48% of today’s teens view themselves as exclusively heterosexual, down significantly from the 65% of Millennials self-identifying as such.

Should this trend continue, which I strongly suspect it will, it begs the question: Will sexual “orientation” or “preference” be the more accurate way to define bi-normative behavior in future generations?

The Propagation of the Species Imperative

The reasons for this apparent trend could be debated endlessly, even without the unavoidable cultural, religious and political biases. Going back to my conversation with Michael Gilbert, we both defended our respective positions using evolutionary principles yet came out the other side with two opposing conclusions. His view was that the evolutionary influence on reproductive biology, physiology and cultural-based psychology were so strong that it would be nearly impossible to overcome. My position was that while evolution designed us for procreation (i.e. to be heteronormative), as conscious beings we are much more susceptible to relatively rapid evolution of our beliefs, behaviors and eventually our drives surrounding sexuality. Part of this evolutionary shift of course is a result of greater society-wide acceptance and inclusion. I also believe we are hard-wired to deeply “connect” with other human beings as long as we feel safe. And of course, sexual expression with another human being regardless of physical gender, offers one of the greatest possibilities for connection that two people can experience.

…as conscious beings we are much more susceptible to relatively rapid evolution of our beliefs, behaviors and eventually our drives surrounding sexuality.

We can thank the cultural, religious and political interpretation of the procreative imperative (often used to wield power over the unruly or unsuspecting masses) as the main source of resistance to non-heteronormative sexual behavior. Anything sexual that flies in the face of procreation is considered within this context as perverted, abnormal, sick or an abomination.

We Don’t Need Sex to Survive as a Species

Intercourse, as fun as it is, used to be the only game in town if you wanted to have children. Thanks to technology, such as in-vitro fertilization, that is no longer the case. And, in the near future, it will become increasing easy to have children regardless of the parent’s gender or the functioning of their reproductive systems.

However, I sincerely believe that our ability to truly connect with others, regardless of gender, race, creed or orientation will emerge as our new survival imperative. With connection comes acceptance, collaboration and the recognition that we are all human beings. A sea of humanity that has the possibility of living in peace, harmony and equality free from the divisive societal renderings that are so prevalent today.

Who’s Entitled to Sexual Entitlement

Why sexual entitlement in committed relationships is an anachronism we can do without…

Recently a very close friend of mine reviewed my latest work on extraordinary intimacy. This particular part focused on men giving their female partner what they want in the bedroom. All with the idea that men are wired to feel their greatest sense of sexual fulfilment the more they are able to selflessly please their partner in the way they desire. While he enthusiastically agreed with my thesis and approach, he mentioned something else that took me by total surprise. The very idea of selfless sexual giving apparently also triggered his shadows surrounding male sexual entitlement. My friend is one of the most conscious men I know, so it blew me away when he brought it up. I actually had to ask him if this kind of thing was still prevalent in our society, which he readily confirmed. Wow…

“I have needs.”

I first had to ask him to clarify what he meant by sexual entitlement just to make sure I was fully understanding what he just said. Essentially, he defined his shadow of “male sexual entitlement” as the right to have sex with his partner when he wanted it, primarily to release his periodic libidinous impulses. I guess that’s where the expression “Wifely duty” originated. While he is certainly not the kind of man to act out on these impulses, the fact that he still had them just confirmed how strongly the default human Sexual Operating System* is still in place.
(* The default human Sexual Operating System or S.O.S. is a collection of largely unconscious drives, beliefs and behaviors that impact nearly every aspect of intimate relationships primarily for the purpose of propagation of the species.)

This exchange prompted me to explore more deeply into the issue of sexual entitlement in general. One of the first definitions I found was: “Male sexual entitlement is the belief that men are owed sex on account of their maleness.” Okay. I can see how rapists may justify their actions this way, but conscientious men in committed relationships living in highly advanced societies –come on, really? Perhaps a more sedate version of this is “If I provide for you and the family, you owe it to me to put out when I want it.”

Women Can Feel Sexually Entitled Too

In sharing this story with a sex coach who works primarily with women, she was not the least bit surprised and went on to explain just how prevalent this still is within our culture. She then shared how some women feel equally entitled to “get off” with their man when they want it. Essentially a form of female sexual entitlement. Clearly, as women have become more independent in all areas, this was bound to emerge. It is also not uncommon that the female within a committed relationship has the stronger and more demanding libido. Great news for the lucky stiff she happens to be with, right? Hardly. Unless he really gets off on being used as a flesh and blood masturbation tool.

No One is Entitled to Sexual Favors

I sincerely hope the irony is not missed here. The very definition of a deeply connecting committed intimate relationship asserts that *no one* is owed sexual favors. Sex is one of the most intimate forms of giving that happens to be highly pleasurable. Turning it into an obligatory act of helping one’s partner achieve gratification flies in the face of being truly connected. If I ever felt my partner saw themselves as entitled to my body and sensual giving rather than enjoying it with mutual respect and desire of it, that relationship would soon be over. In my view, the idea of exchange of sex for being a provider or giver of some other value within the relationship is just a more socially acceptable form of the world’s oldest profession.

The very definition of a deeply connecting committed intimate relationship asserts that *no one* is owed sexual favors.

Granted, it is almost impossible for two committed intimate partners to have the same levels of desire at the same time. This will often result with one or the other building up sexual tension looking for release. This is something my partner and I encounter occasionally. I typically have the stronger libido between the two of us. If I sense a strong buildup of sexual energy and desire prior to us getting together, I will sometimes “bleed it off” via masturbation. I do this out of respect for her so that we are on the same level sexually speaking and I am not constantly fighting overwhelming desire for release when we are together. This is something we have discussed openly and she fully appreciates as it reflects my love and respect for her and her needs.

Call me naïve and idealist, but I simply cannot fathom how in 2016 some men (and women) residing in highly advance societies can continue to assume sexual entitlement.  In the grand scheme of things it simply serves no one –period.

Thank You to All the Women in My Life

Here’s how all the women in my life have helped shape me to become the man I am today…

March 8th was International Women’s Day and a reminder to me of the incalculable positive influence women have on our world. I can honestly say that the best of who I am as a man and how I show up today is primarily thanks to all the women in my life. They taught me joy, compassion, appreciation for beauty, quiet strength in the face of adversity and the value of nurturing others and allowing myself to be nurtured. They taught me how to reign in my ego while allowing my heart to shine through and live fully self-expressed both in playfulness and as a lover. Overall, I’ve learned from them how to be a much better human being and for that I will be forever grateful.

Mother, Sister, Daughter, Aunt, Friend, Life Partner

I was raised in a highly patriarchal very strict German-Catholic family which my Dad ruled with an iron fist. I never really knew my Mom because by the time I was born as the second youngest of 10 children, she had pretty much checked out, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Yet I know from stories I’ve heard about her younger days that she was a high-energy, vivacious, creative and sophisticated woman. Though she didn’t exhibit such qualities when I was old enough to be aware of them, I somehow knew, even at a young age, that deep down she had them. It is because of her that I have always sought out strong women as life partners. Women who I love and admire as equals. For that and the limited amount of love and nurturing she was able to muster for me, I will always be thankful.

I have four fiercely independent, creative and wonderful sisters, the oldest of which has passed on. Despite being treated as second-class citizens to be seen and appreciated but not heard, they have all emerged as incredible human beings. Each of them has made an indelible impact on my life and through their struggles helped me appreciate the challenges all women still face in our society.

My oldest child and adult daughter changed my life for the better the moment she was born. When she was growing up she taught me the utter joy of what it meant to be a father to a most amazing little human being. As an adult she is my “buddy” and mutual confidant with whom I’m as comfortable with as any friend in my life, male or female. And to this day I continue to be in wonderment as I witness her continual blossoming into a highly conscious, thoughtful, confident and compassionate human being who can be just as playful now as she was as a kid.

I consider myself to be a very wealthy man with so many strong, resilient female friends that have helped me through some of my toughest times.

I have several heroes I look up to, both men and women. However, if you were to ask me who my biggest hero was within my family, I wouldn’t hesitate to respond with my Aunt Ruth who just recently passed away at the tender age of 95. I remember visiting her about five years ago just after she turned 90. She still drove, cut her own lawn and had a mind as sharp as any 30-year-old. Yet what I admired about her the most was her positive “can do!” spirit in everything she did. And she was not afraid to do or say what needed to be done or said. She was a force of nature amply expressed both in physical form and her spirit. She was so formidable that I would actually feel a bit sorry for any muggers that were foolish enough to attempt to roll her in a dark ally. Even after her passing she continues to inspire me.

I consider myself to be a very wealthy man with so many strong, resilient female friends that have helped me through some of my toughest times. Friends who stuck with me when everyone else bailed during my life transformation that happened almost five years ago. Friends that were always ready with a shoulder, encouraging word and a smile on their face no matter how down or distraught I was at times. Friends who don’t hesitate to tell me like it is even if it is hard, sometimes very hard, to hear the truth. Friends who continue to remind me of the good I can bring to this world.

I am extremely fortunate to have had two incredible Mates with whom I have shared my life. My ex-wife of 26 years could not have been a better mother to our children for which I will always be appreciative and grateful. As with having enough faith in me to see through two major career changes that took nerves of steel and miles of confidence given our young, growing family at the time. She is also the first to help me open my heart.

My current Life Partner is truly a gift from the Universe. If you have read any of my other work, you may be familiar with the story of how we met under the most unusual and trying of circumstances. She is my Life Mate, Life Partner, confidant, inspiration, Muse, fellow adventurer, Warrior Princess and most beautiful sensual Lover ever. She and I continue to evolve and grow in every way because of the space we create for each other. Because of her, we experience levels of extraordinary emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy that continues to boggle my mind. Intimacy that only gets better, deeper and richer with time. While others may have cracked my heart open just a notch, she has helped me fling it wide open for the world to see. Even after being together for nearly four years, I feel I barely know her. Her sense of Presence is so strong that I continue to have new glimpses of the nearly infinite expanse that is her beneath the surface of common labels most couples assign to each other. She, more than anyone else I have ever met, is a constant reminder that *anything* is possible. Despite the fact that I currently have two cancers and live with more perceived uncertainty than I’ve ever felt before, I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone else on the planet. Thank you with all my Heart and Soul for agreeing to be on this journey with me Sweetie…

Take a Moment

I hope this has inspired you to acknowledge and thank the women in your life that have helped shape you into the best of who you are. And to acknowledge the absolutely crucial part women play in our society, culture and humanity. Every bit the equal to men. It’s interesting to note that some of the most desperate, strife-torn, brutal and underdeveloped regions of the world maintain cultures that systemically oppress women. To me that says our world needs both men and women –on equal footing in all areas. We are all human beings that happen to be assigned one gender or the other. To assume that one is more important than the other is not only uninformed, it is increasingly dangerous to the very survival of our species.

We need strong, resilient, compassionate and independent women more now than ever. Let’s make this most recent anniversary of International Women’s day serve as that reminder.

Undressing for Success in the Bedroom

Here is one simple thing you can do that will tremendously enhance your lovemaking and bond for each other…

What I’m about to share with you has led to countless hours of exquisite lovemaking and a deeper emotional bond and appreciation between my partner and me. It is so ridiculously simple that it is probably the reason many couples have never even considered it as an intimate ritual that could make such a huge difference. I say this because we only stumbled upon it after a particularly playful episode one evening together. Since then it has become such a powerful component of our relationship that we use it every single time we are together…

Frenetic Disrobing

I suspect that most couples have experienced the lust-laced frantic ripping of each other’s clothes off in a moment of unbridled passion. Yes, it is exciting, breath-taking (literally) and usually very short-lived –as is the coitus that typically follows. This is a phase that eventually succumbs to a more subdued process of self-disrobing before any of the exciting stuff happens.

Part of what drives this frenzied first stage of sexual entanglement is the novelty of exploring each other as new lovers. Where expectation and arousal combine into a highly combustible mixture of erotic adventure, discovery and explosive release. Which can be incredibly exciting while it lasts. However, because its very foundation is based upon the newness of the relationship, it will eventually fade.

Part of what drives this frenzied first stage of sexual entanglement is the novelty of exploring each other as new lovers.

My Partner and I have been together for about three and a half years and enjoy an extraordinary intimate life that only gets better over time. This is a significant fact because most couples will likely admit that their initial honeymoon period represented the most exciting phase of their physical relationship. One of the reasons that ours continues to achieve new heights of passion and pleasurable fulfillment is that we are constantly exploring what is possible. And, we are always listening to our sensual intuition in this regard.

One intimate ritual we discovered quite by accident and in a spirit of playfulness is the way we undress each other. We do this before we make love, before we take a shower together, before retiring to bed with no thought of sex and as we change clothes our before we go out on the town. In other words, any time it is required that we need to get naked for any reason whatsoever we follow this ritual. And the payoff has been and continues to be enormous for the health and mutual enjoyment of our overall relationship.

Slow, Sensual and Present

We make a point of always being fully present any time we do anything together. This means ridding our minds of distraction, agendas, goals, expectations and simply being there for each other in the moment, the Now. It is within this very sensually fertile environment that we conduct our mutual disrobing ritual.

We usually start out facing each other practically nose-to-nose as we gaze into each other’s eyes in acknowledgement of our mutual love and appreciation. Then we typically start lightly stroking each other’s fully clothed bodies as if our hands needed to first get a lay of the land so-to-speak on what should come off first.

Where we start really doesn’t matter. What does make a difference however is that we slowly and sensually undress each other while in this state of full presence. We find that when we remove a piece of the other’s clothing (which happens simultaneously) and do it very slowly, it builds an enormous amount of sensual energy between us. Just the feel of a blouse or shirt slowly lifting off and lightly rubbing our skin as our Partner does it with full intention while they look longingly at what is being slowly revealed can be almost overwhelmingly powerful. And, that’s a potential trap if you are not careful or being fully present. That’s because this heightened state of arousal can easily devolve into the more frantic shedding which will definitely break the spell.

Once the first of our garments are removed we typically take a while to lightly caress and kiss each other in the exposed areas. This is accompanied by soft, gentle kissing where our lips are barely touching yet megawatts of sensual energy is passing between them. Then we continue the process of slow, thoughtful mutual undressing and caressing / kissing until we are standing together fully nude.

A very, very sexy variation of this that we often apply is when we look in a large mirror observing each other doing this. In these instances, our caressing is often more overtly sexually explorative and designed to ignite our sensual imaginations. Despite the fact that we’ve done this many times, it still gets me extremely hot just thinking about it as I write this.

Granted, not every couple may want to see each other naked in the glaring light of a brightly lit room. If this is the case, then consider turning down the lights or even off. Use your imagination, hands and lips as the tools of exploration as you go through this mutual undressing ritual. In either case, lights on or off, you will find this to be a deeply connecting experience that keeps things fresh (since each time is unique) and juicy.

What if You Don’t Want to have Sex?

Of course, this practically begs the question as to why a couple would bother with this ritual if they have no intention of following it up with sex. And my answer to that is “Why not?”. Consider this for a moment: If you and your partner could do something every time you are together that resulted in re-kindling passion, desire, love and appreciation for each other, why wouldn’t you?

I think women in particular appreciate this kind of sensual gift that doesn’t always have to lead to sex. And guys, this is an important point. It is not uncommon for women to hesitate kissing a long-term partner for fear that he may get the idea she wants sex when in fact she just wants to express love and affection.

It is not uncommon for women to hesitate kissing a long-term partner for fear that he may get the idea she wants sex when in fact she just wants to express love and affection.

So imagine the impact to your relationship (no matter how many years you’ve been together) if you were to include this ritual even for reasons that did not always end up in having sex (i.e. getting dressed up to go out on the town). By doing so you build an enormous bank account of trust and appreciation within your Partner. And, you are both likely to enjoy each other far more when you do have physical intimacy. Trust me, that buildup of sensual energy lasts a long time. Now granted, this can be difficult to practice if you are always in a hurry. If that is the case, just plan ahead to set aside the time to do it right.

So here’s my challenge to you and your Partner. Incorporate this ritual for the next seven days any time you are both together and your clothes have to come off for any reason whatsoever. And then let me know what that did for your relationship by emailing me directly at contact@MichaelRusserLive.com. I would love to hear from you!

Nothing ventured, nothing gained –and believe me, there is a whole world of intimate adventure to be gained awaiting you both.

The Tip of the Polyamorous Iceberg

Within intimate relationships is quality better than quantity or can you have both?

According to Wikipedia, polyamory is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. This past week alone, no less than three friends of mine (all male) shared with me about their polyamorous intent or experience. This caused my partner and I to start thinking about why people would want to enter into this kind of intimate relationship scenario and the likely outcomes if they did. The following is just our initial observations and best guesses as to why this lifestyle seems to be increasingly prevalent (over 500,000 such relationships in the U.S. alone) and how it differs from a truly committed binary intimate relationship.

Just to be clear, our musings are not an attempt at judgement, but rather an invitation to you, the reader, to chime in with your own 2-cents…

Variety is the Spice of Life

We humans love the excitement and thrill of new experiences. It’s a way to feel more alive, for a while anyway. Until the thrill of the last “new thing” fades and we seek out yet another “new thing” to get us excited. It is quite possible that the impulse for variety is part of the impetus towards participating in polyamorous relationships. However, if that indeed is the case, then the seeds of relationship failure are already sown. No one has any hard data on the success of polyamorous relationships over time. However, we suspect that they tend to be relatively short-lived in terms of the same group of individuals staying within an relationship. One could argue that the very definition of polyamory allows for the periodic or occasional switching out of intimate partners therefore where is the failure? Perhaps it all depends upon how one defines relationship success.

The Not Enough Syndrome

Implicit within a polyamorous relationship is the notion that having a committed intimate relationship with just one other human being is simply not enough. Let’s face it, we live in a society where *nothing* is ever enough. Most people are on this never-ending treadmill of doing more, acquiring more and experiencing more. This begs the question is “more” ever going to bring one a sense of deep fulfillment and happiness? Or is its pursuit just a vain attempt to fill a hole or sense of emptiness that only grows larger the more one tries to fill it? Also, keep in mind that every partner within a polyamorous relationship knows at some level that he or she is “not enough” for any of their other partners. This is a particularly sharp knife that cuts both ways.

The Dart-Board of Intimate Relationships

In my line of work as an intimacy and relationship coach, it has become abundantly clear to me that most adults have no clue on who their ideal mate is. Nor, do many take the time and effort to even think about such things. Instead, they tend to leave this all important choice to that initial spark of attraction and hoping all the other myriad issues of intimate relationship will somehow work themselves out. Good luck with that. This fact actually supports the notion of a partner eventually showing up as “not enough”. Lack of clarity and intent surrounding intimate partners (other than chemistry) is prime breeding ground for feeling like any partner will simply not be enough.

One way to look at this is polyamory becomes a unified crystal of intimate relationships where each facet provides a unique aspect of the desired whole.

One way to look at this is polyamory becomes a unified crystal of intimate relationships where each facet provides a unique aspect of the desired whole. In essence the multi-partner relationship is an attempt to find all the pieces of the ideal mate, just not in one package. My partner and I know from personal experience that the need for this evaporates the moment one is very clear about with whom you want to share your life and not settling for anything less.

Since We Are Not Likely to Make It Anyway…

It is no secret that most traditional long-term intimate relationships either end, end badly or see their fiery passion fade as the price to be paid for the comfort of life-long companionship. Polyamory could be seen as a defacto admission to this sad fact as an attempt to keep intimacy alive and interesting through multiplicity. My partner and I are not married nor will we likely ever get married. We re-commit ourselves to each other every time we are together. And the day we stop doing that is the day our intimate relationship ends. We have no safety net, no document or adjudicated process that protects or dictates the state of our relationship. This is something we choose to be proactive about every together moment. As long as we fulfill each other, that defines relationship success for us. The moment that stops being the case we would rather end it than devolve into a pairing of convenience and comfort –that too is relationship success in our minds.

Seeing Only the Tip of the Iceberg

I am convinced that most intimate partners only see the tip of the iceberg that is their mate. This happens because humans have this tendency to label everything rather than be fully present to and aware of what is there in front of them. Just as the vast majority of an iceberg’s mass is below water and unseen, the near limitless depth and possibility of every human being is also unseen –even by their most intimate partner. I also believe that most people actually want to know their partner at that level but don’t know how to access it. With this in mind it is possible to suppose that polyamory is an attempt to experience that depth via associating with just more tips of human icebergs. Unfortunately, just relating to more icebergs will never bring the knowing of another at their full depth.

I am convinced that most intimate partners only see the tip of the iceberg that is their mate.

This is the analogy that my partner and I use when we speak to couples at events around the country about achieving extraordinary intimacy. I start by drawing the tip of an iceberg and show that the very human tendency of using mental constructs (i.e. labeling) effectively shuts one out from being able to see beneath the surface. To have a glimpse of the nearly limitless Beings we are for each other requires us to be fully present in the moment which allows more of what’s beneath the surface to be revealed. This means quieting the mind and silencing the voice of the judgmental ego –something that requires full intent and conscious effort. Is it worth it? Well, my partner and I have been together now for about 3.5 years and we have barely begun to discover the full depth of who we are for each other. As much as we know and love each other, we always seem to have this sensation of “Who IS this person?!” A very strange and wondrous feeling indeed. One that leads to endless variety and feeling fully alive as two almost totally mysterious partners continue to explore the depths of each other intimately as time goes on. The idea of being able to do this with the inclusion of a third (or fourth, etc.) intimate partner is not in the realm of possibility in our minds. Just speaking strictly for our relationship, quality and depth trumps quantity and variety every time.

So all of this begs the question: Is the emergence and apparent increasing prevalence of polyamory a reflection of, and an adaptation to, our generally disconnected society? Where generalized relationship frustration leads to exploring other intimate modalities for relief. Or, is it just another way of humans to intimately relate that has the same potential for depth, meaning and longevity that is possible with high-functioning binary intimate relationships?

The Emergence of the Feminine and Decline of the Alpha Masculine

Why we need a more balanced masculine / feminine world…

We are living in revolutionary times that future historians will undoubtedly say rivals or surpasses that of the civil rights movement and the social / sexual revolution of the ‘60’s. No more is this apparent than the social maelstrom of our current presidential politics in the U.S. It has become abundantly clear that the old ways, governed by paternalistic drive for dominance (benevolent or otherwise), are being existentially challenged by the rising tide of insistence on authenticity, compassion and collaboration. One way to look at this is the emergence of the feminine, not as a replacement for the overt masculine, but rather as its complementary balancing force. As a species, this couldn’t come too soon for I believe our very survival depends upon it…

Repression of the Feminine

Globally speaking, most cultures are still highly paternalistic. As a result of the work I do I have realized that many men, especially those in positions of authority, are literally fearful of feminine sexual energy. We see extreme examples of this in certain cultures that repress women by dictating what they can and cannot wear or do and how to appear in public. And in some cases, wholesale female genital mutilation is sanctioned as a sick attempt to snuff out the very source of that energy. In more developed Western cultures, it shows up as fear and hatred of anything other than the heteronormative, and sexual objectification and debasement of women for the purpose of male gratification served with a side of contempt. The more attractive a woman is, the more her other attributes will be scorned, no matter how great they may be. Clearly, not all men behave this way, but far too many still do.

I’m neither an anthropologist or sociologist, however here’s my take on why this is still so prevalent. Most males are designed by nature to react strongly, even to the point of almost losing control, when in the presence of female sexuality. This sense of “losing control” is scary for the male psyche, one that is wired for survival purposes to seek dominance in all situations. Yet merely being in the presence of an attractive woman can cause the strongest of men to become weak in the knees. Unfortunately, they sometimes do lose control and allow themselves to express their need for dominance in the form of sexual abuse. Abuse that can arise as preying on the weak or young, regardless of gender or relationship. It is rare indeed that women are found guilty of the same kinds of abuse, and when they are it is likely because they are exhibiting an out-of-control male energy.

Most males are designed by nature to react strongly, even to the point of almost losing control, when in the presence of female sexuality.

This is very ancient wiring that was appropriate for the propagation of our species, but is now getting in the way of the next stage of our evolution. And that stage is the celebration and elevation of the feminine in *all* of us (women and men) and the nearly unlimited sexual / creative / compassionate energy it can manifest. I truly believe that enabling the full expression of the feminine is crucial for our collective survival and thriving as a species.

The Decline of the Alpha Masculine

I use the term “Alpha Masculine” instead of the more common “Alpha Male” to underscore the fact overtly masculine qualities can show up in either gender. While it is true that most Alphas are male, there are females, typically in positions of power, that manifest these tendencies as well. Ironically, even militant feminism can be considered as an expression of alpha masculinity. This not a gender issue but rather an “energy” issue. Overt masculinity tends to be expressed in terms of force, dominance, intolerance and subjugation of others, primarily to protect its own needs. What our culture often perceives as strength, is ultimately the most cowardly of acts –forcefully or surreptitiously putting one’s own interest ahead, and at the expense, of others. The strong eat the weak. Something, according to the “strong”, has always been and will always be. Yet, the one glaring fatal flaw to this world view is that, by definition, there can only be a few at the top. And the many below can, and eventually will, wake up to shake up. A phenomenon I believe we are witnessing now.

What our culture often perceives as strength, is ultimately the most cowardly of acts –forcefully or surreptitiously putting one’s own interest ahead, and at the expense, of others.

However, the Alpha Masculine is not going out without a fight (naturally). And it is so ironic that our current political drama illustrates two outsiders who are shaking up the status quo for similar reasons but in two completely opposite ways. One is the very epitome of the Alpha Male, the other is clearly someone who has learned to balance both his masculine (getting things done) and feminine (compassion, creativity and collaboration) energies. Fortunately, (for all of us), our newest adult generation appears to overwhelmingly eschew the former in favor of the later.

A Grass Roots Revolution to End All Others

For this decline to be successful, we need to see a shift at the individual level on a global scale. This means each one of us fully embracing the beauty and strength that comes with accepting and welcoming the feminine and masculine we each carry within. The inherently destructive Alpha Masculine (be it an individual, political system or ideology) cannot survive in a sea of self-actualized humanity that has acknowledged and encouraged both energies to flourish and complement each other.

It will take some time, perhaps several generations. However, once this has happened, the cycle of repression, domination and reset-revolutions will finally come to an end. And we can thank the integration of the feminine in all of us for showing the way.

Sex is Everywhere, Just Don’t Talk About It

We will all be living in the dark shadows until we can talk about sex openly and authentically –here’s why…

Want to know how to mess people up big time? It’s easy. Just constantly remind them of their second most powerful innate drive and then make it socially unacceptable to even discuss it. This cultural neurosis breeds a dangerous repression that leads to sexual violence, exploitation, self-destructive behavior and laughable heights of hypocrisy. We can give most of the religions of the world a collective “Thank you!” for this state of affairs. However, things are changing. Just as we are witnessing an unprecedented global push-back on the political status quo of elites dictating what is best for us, there is another revolution taking hold as well. And this one is about bringing human sexuality into the light of day as a perfectly normal and healthy topic of discussion. One that every single person on this planet needs to be part of…

“He’s Actually Going to Talk About THAT?!”

My career, actually more of a mission, is about helping adults deeply understand, appreciate and enjoy the beautiful, transformative power of human sexuality and intimacy. Cancer survivors and their partners are my favorite groups I speak to. These folks in particular often struggle with cancer’s impact to their intimacy. I know this directly having two ongoing forms of cancer and being clinically impotent as a result of my treatments. Yet despite those challenges my partner and I consistently experience levels of sexual fulfillment and intimacy that most couples can barely even imagine.

She told me how even couples in their early 30’s have great difficulty discussing sex with each other.

A few weeks ago my partner and I spoke at the Desert Cities Gilda’s Club (a non-profit cancer support organization formed in honor of Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer). The title of our talk was: “Return to Intimacy for Cancer Survivors and Their Partners”. Sounds innocent and appropriate enough, doesn’t it? Yet, the organizer shared how one woman saw their flyer announcing our talk and her only comment was: “He’s actually going to talk about that?”. This same organizer also happens to be a licensed marriage and family counselor. She told me how even couples in their early 30’s have great difficulty discussing sex with each other. That burst my bubble thinking only people in my generation were uptight talking about sex.

After our presentation, one of the attendees shared how she and her husband were in another group of 250 cancer survivors and partners where the big elephant in the room was, well… sex. She said everyone one wanted to know about it in light of their cancer but they were afraid to bring it up.

I am currently booked to give this same talk to various Cancer Support Communities and Gilda’s Clubs all around the country. However, we have learned the hard way that more people will show up if we change the title to: “Turning Tragedy Into Triumph”. Everyone loves to hear an inspirational story of how to turn challenges into something positive. Well, they do hear that. However, it is still about transforming the challenges of cancer and its treatment into an opportunity to experience extraordinary intimacy. In other words, it’s the same talk, just a different wrapper. The irony is that *everyone* wants to hear about improving their intimacy, they just feel terribly uncomfortable about expressing that desire in public. How sad and so unnecessary.

Something is not right with this picture.

The porn industry is one of the most lucrative and certainly resilient industries that is designed to make anything sexually related easy to hide one’s interest. God forbid (at least in a few states) that we have authentic conversations about it in educational institutions, within our family, or with our partner –why is that?

Beyond Sex Ed

I’m seeing signs everywhere that this is changing and with growing momentum. Just from my personal experience I have noticed that Millennials seem to be much more at ease talking about sex and intimacy. I was recently interviewed by Lessa Lamb, a 20-something sex and communications coach who is dedicated to spreading wisdom about human sexuality to all who will listen. And, one who admits to having frank discussions about sex with her parents and “Knows about everything they do in their bedroom.” That certainly is a big shift from when I was her age.

It is even showing up in technology. Recently a company called OMGYes launched their website which is dedicated to unraveling the mystery and beauty of female sexual anatomy and pleasure. This is a Silicon Valley venture started by engineers (I *know* what you are thinking…) and business people for the purpose of removing the stigma and ignorance surrounding female sexuality.

The more something is suppressed, the more likely it is to pop up in ways that are distorted and reviled.

Perhaps the main problem surrounding any conversation around sex, sexuality and intimacy is separating the notions of overt sexual gratification verses understanding and exploring sex and intimacy as gateways to self-actualization and transcendence. The former still has connotations of sleaze which often unfortunately spills over onto the latter. I also believe the sleaze factor is still prevalent primarily because we don’t have a culture where frank and honest conversation about sex and intimacy is common place. The more something is suppressed, the more likely it is to pop up in ways that are distorted and reviled.

The Second Revolution

Think back just 12 months ago –who would have thought that we would ever have the revolution of political thought we are experiencing today? Things are changing quickly. This includes our tolerance and even insistence of being open and authentic about one of the most important aspects of being human. And just like the emergence of our political revolution, this one must happen at the grass-roots level as well.

As more individuals of all walks of life have the courage to be open to real discussion about sex and intimacy, the more the repressive cultural forces against doing so will become impotent. And that is a revolution we should all be part of –for our sake and that of future generations.

A Valentine’s Day They Will Never Forget

Here’s how a little Valentine’s Day creativity will make them remember you forever…

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See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World

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Valentine’s Day can be a  bit stressful, especially for us guys. Trying to figure out what we should get, how much should we spend, will it be too much / too little, and so on. A few years ago I took an entirely different approach –one that came to me just two days before V Day. The irony is that I did this for a friend (not a girlfriend) who lamented how she always dreaded Valentine’s Day due to an unfortunate incident that happened to her several years prior. So I came up with an idea on the spur of the moment that I knew would change forever how she sees Valentine’s Day from that point on. I share this with you here as an inspiration and challenge to up your game a little for this Valentine’s Day…

Creative Frenzy

Sometimes I get these ideas that just take on a life of their own and I’m never really sure where they will end up until I get there. This was definitely one of those times. It started out with me purchasing six individual long-stem red roses. The idea was that I would leave them in six different locations around town with each having a pink bow and a note tied to it that would then lead her to the next location. Sort of a Valentine’s Day treasure hunt. And to keep things interesting, each note was written as a kitschy poem that would only serve to intrigue her more.

Here’s a sample of one of them:

Roses are red, violets are blue
Who’s the world’s biggest Luv Muffin;
Why of course –it’s YOU!
Now head over to Crush Cakes
As something special is waiting
No time at all for anticipating…

Like I said, kitschy –but it did the job…

Launch and Diversion

Before I could hatch this plan and give it any hope of working, I had to consider two very important things. Getting her started on her journey in a way that totally intrigued her and would never cause her to think it was me.

I knew she was going to breakfast that morning at a local outdoor café that we frequented. So, I dropped off the first rose and told the staff what I was up to, which they totally dug. I told them that when my friend came in to order her breakfast to hand her the rose with the note and say: “A middle-aged woman with shoulder length auburn hair came in and asked us to give this to you.” Which was the same thing said to her at every subsequent location –something I knew would drive her crazy with curiosity.

Well-Planned Serendipity

The biggest weakness of my plan was that if she failed to follow any one of the clues to proceed to the next one, it would all fall apart. The key was to keep her totally engaged and at the same time, not have her creeped out by this “mystery woman”. I even went so far as to give one of the roses that had a non-directive poem to her favorite local juice bar, in the event she might visit it that day. While this was not crucial in that it wasn’t required to send her to the next location, it would “seal the deal” in terms of her curiosity. As it happened, she did stop by and the juice bar gal I conspired with really sold it big time. She added her own flare of theater by breathlessly explaining a bit more about the eccentric yet nice “mystery woman” and how she felt my friend so deserved these little gifts.

The biggest weakness of my plan was that if she failed to follow any one of the clues to proceed to the next one, it would all fall apart.

By this time my friend called me very excitedly to share this incredible tale about a strange woman who is leaving roses with cryptic poems all over town. She then asked my advice if she should continue to follow them out of concern it may be some stalker just messing with her. I simply told her to go with her gut –knowing full well what her gut would say.

Heart Quest

I didn’t want to make it too easy for her and at the same time I wanted her fully invested. Earlier that day I hiked up one of the local back-country trails she often used to chill out in nature and left another rose. This trail is about a mile long and has nearly a 1,000-foot elevation gain –so it’s not trivial. My bet paid off as she called me once again for advice as to whether she should go traipsing up this mountain as directed by her secret admirer. I reminded her it was a well-known and traveled trail and that she’s likely to be safe. She went for it but I found out later that she hilariously hid in the bushes near the top for nearly 20 minutes to see if any unsavory character showed up.

The commanding views of the ocean and city at the top gave this particular leg of her Valentine’s Day adventure a sense of an expansive quest. That it portended something big. And of course fueling an even deeper curiosity about this elusive middle-aged woman who took the time and effort to make the climb just to deposit yet another clue. Now this particular one was different from the rest in that it told her that the next clue would come to her via txt. I had to guesstimate when she would be back from her jaunt up the trail to retrieve her rose. Turns out when I sent the txt (anonymously, of course) it hit her phone the moment she was about to get in her car to return home from her hike –which frankly, blew her mind.

Journey’s End

This last clue said to meet her admirer at a local restaurant on the beach for a wonderful dinner and all would be explained. Once again my friend called me, almost in panic, asking if I thought it would be safe to meet this mystery person at the restaurant. I told her that if someone had nefarious intentions, a crowded restaurant (remember, this was Valentine’s Day) would be the last place to suggest to meet. She took the bait.

Knowing that she would now show up I executed the last phase of my plan. I went to a local costume shop and rented a shoulder-length auburn wig and a shawl (to hid my shoulders). Meanwhile, the restaurant was totally game with the whole charade and let me take a seat about 30 minutes early (just in case my friend decided to case it prior to showing up).

So here I was, full beard and all, sitting with my back to the door so there was no chance that I would be recognized as she was shown the table. As I waited for her to show up, I had the most interesting conversations with the couples who sat next to and across from me. Despite my decidedly weird appearance, they all thought it was the coolest Valentine’s Day surprise they had ever heard –which only buoyed my confidence for the time I would have to reveal everything.

She said this was by far the most exciting and wonderful Valentine’s Day she ever had and will never forget it.

Eventually she arrived and I could see her reflection in the window I was facing very tentatively try to check me out before she came around to formally meet her “admirer”. When she finally sat down and I removed my wig, her jaw dropped to the floor, she started hyper-ventilating and all the diners sitting near us started laughing and applauding.

Needless to say we both had a great time as she shared her reaction to each new clue and the building anxiety / excitement she felt as her adventure progressed one rose at a time. Then she said something that made it all worthwhile. She said this was by far the most exciting and wonderful Valentine’s Day she ever had and will never forget it.

Relationship is an Adventure

So here is my challenge to you. Forego the usual Valentine’s Day obligatory gifts. Find a way that will tickle her (or his) fancy with the unexpected. When you put this kind of creative effort into your relationship, it keeps things interesting and it shows that you really, really care. Do this and I guarantee that you both will have a Valentine’s Day that will be remembered and appreciated forever.


Do This One Thing to Become Her Best Lover Ever

Here is one simple shift in the bedroom that will transform your entire relationship…

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See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World

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Nature was kind enough to wire us guys for one thing sexually speaking. That is to spread our seed far and wide and often as possible. This is the reason we can be madly in love with our mate but still steal glances of some cute gal walking by. It’s why we have such a sense of urgency when we have an erection. Often generating a desperate need to use it and seek release from its incessant yearnings sometimes throwing caution and good sense to the wind. And the reason for this wiring is quite simple: to populate the planet as quickly and effectively as possible. Our collective survival depended upon it. But now that we achieved that particular existential objective, that same wiring gets in the way of many committed couples achieving the deepest levels of physical intimacy.

Fortunately, there is an easy and immediate fix to this problem. One that will promptly transform you into the best lover she has ever had.

No Urgency, No Problem

What I’m about to share with you I discovered quite inadvertently on my own in the face of what most men would call the ultimate tragedy, full impotence. Since then I’ve encountered a number of other experts who have also been expounding the same advice, which all-to-often falls on deaf ears.

The problem with the urgency that comes with an erection is, in the words of Robin Williams: “God gave men a brain and a penis but only enough blood to run one at a time.” For the most part, this is so true. At least it was for me prior to being struck with prostate cancer and the resulting full clinical impotence. When I did have hard-ons I just wanted to have sex –period. Despite the fact I fancied myself as a sensitive and considerate lover, that urge was always lurking and had significant influence on my lovemaking. Not always to the greatest fulfillment of my partner.

“God gave men a brain and a penis but only enough blood to run one at a time.”

Something that came as a big surprise to me as a side “benefit” of my impotence was the significant reduction of urgency I felt upon sexual arousal. While I still have a strong libido (desire for sex) the visceral urgency typically associated with an erection is no longer there. This allows me to slow way down for my partner and please her first in the way she wants before receiving reciprocation.

Be The Man That Fulfills Her the Most

It is this last part that is the key. Because of my “condition” it is now easy for me to delay my gratification so that I can focus on her first. Like many women, she requires a much longer warm-up period than most men do prior to achieving orgasm. And by delaying my own gratification, I can take the requisite time and be fully present while giving to her. This approach consistently results in her having an endless series of climaxes until her desire for reciprocation exceeds the pleasure she is receiving. When she returns the favor under these circumstances, it is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. And, for what it is worth, I find the sense of fulfillment and pleasure in giving to her in this way greatly exceeds the sexual gratification I receive in return, as powerful as it is. In essence, delayed gratification and taking the time to please her in the way she prefers is its own reward for every man willing to give it a try.

This approach consistently results in her having an endless series of climaxes until her desire for reciprocation exceeds the pleasure she is receiving.

And I’m not the only one promoting the benefits of this approach. In his best-selling book “She Comes First – The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman” author Ian Kerner, Ph.D. expounds on the many reasons delayed gratification on the part of the male is absolutely crucial to maximizing the female’s sexual response. And he cites many scientific studies to support that contention. Physiologically and psychologically speaking, women are built differently than men resulting in a more gradual sexual response profile. To ignore these differences and just plow ahead to satisfy erectile longings leaves much on the table in terms of fulfillment and satisfaction of both parties.

Are You Giving Her the Space to Experience Unlimited Female Sexual Potential?

Based upon my own experience it became very clear to me that women effectively have no limits to the depth and breadth of sexual capacity. Studies by famed sex researchers Master’s and Johnson further corroborates this. They found that some women are capable of as many as 50 distinctly separate orgasms during a single session of arousal. They and other researchers have also found that women have the ability to experience many different types of orgasms. Kind of makes our few minutes of thrusting and ensuing grunt pale by comparison, doesn’t it?

There is no need for envy however. That’s because we (men) can create the “space” that allows for the full blossoming of our woman’s sexual experience. But this space can only be created when the man is willing to delay (not forgo) his own gratification and slow down to please her in the way she prefers. In so doing, the man receives the greatest intimate reward of all, knowing he genuinely satisfied her like no other.

Don’t take my word for it. Next time you make love, don’t tell her what you are doing, just slow down and pleasure her until she can’t hold back any longer on the urge to reciprocate. And then, let her do it to you as you receive fully her sensuous gifts.

This one simple shift of delaying your own gratification to slow down and please her in the way she wants will open her eyes to you as the world’s greatest lover. Perhaps more importantly, by doing so, you are also creating a practice that will ensure your intimacy and overall relationship will only grow stronger over time. And that is a continuing state of bliss few couples indeed can claim.