This is my first post on this site. I wanted to share a little of my own personal journey which bought me to this material and my experience since finding it. I had 2 major relationships in my life. the first for 7 years and the second a marriage of 5 years which ended last year. I have been practising meditation for about 15 years and have a regular practise. This journey has led me to explore deeply my own sexuality and how to integrate this with a spiritual practise. I spent many years attempting celibacy within the first relationship. Unfortunately my partner was having different ideas and it put a great strain on the relationship which eventually ended up after 7 years. After it finished I spent 2 years on a meditation retreat living within a spiritual community. During this time I was married and for the next 5 years I experienced the opposite fate that my previous partner endure. That is I was open to experience a sexual relationship after being unable to previously due to my own fears and limited understandings of living a spiritual life. However during my marriage my partner wanted a celibate marriage and during the 5 years of our relationship we were only involved with each other sexually for a few months at the beginning and strangely enough for a few months after she had decided to leave and go back to America. It was a very healing relationship however and we both grew a lot. There was a lot of affection but we both experience a loss of that closeness after physical intimacy but did not know how to integrate a physical relationship with our spiritual practise. As a result it became an area of our relationship that was a constant battleground. My wife wanted much affection but without sex and I found it difficult to have just affection and was left feeling frustration. We had 18 months of couple counselling and were able to work through some very deep and painful issues that we working with. Also we could meditate a lot together and this meant we could connect with each other on a very deep level at times. However the lack of physical intimacy was something we could not resolve.
After the marriage ended I discovered the book and it spoke to me so deeply I cried with relief. I saw all the struggles I had been going through for 15 years and could begin to understand it with new awareness. I struggled to understand why I had found the book then and not during the relationship. However it resonated with my own experiences. especially the innate fear of intimacy in relationships. It helped me to have compassion for myself and to forgive myself and my partner for all the disharmony and resentments knowing that it was a natural fallout to acting to biology's tune and not something that was wrong with me. I also was able to stop masturbating and was able to go for longer periods without any loss of fluid. As my heart opened the cravings for release subsided and I experienced more peace within myself. Still though I wondered how it would be in a relationship. I travelled for the last 8 months after my wife left and found this this to be a very rewarding experience. I told myself that if I was to be in relationship again than my partner would have to read this book and resonate with the ideas in it. This would be a good measure of whether the relationship had a future for me. I was not willing to compromise my values and have a clearer idea of what is important for me in a a relationship. Whilst i was on a retreat in the USA I met a girl from Spain just before I was due to return back to my home. we were just friends but kept in touch every day. It was clear that there was a sweet connection between us. I introduced to her these ideas and she was very open to it. I have been over twice to spend time with her. The second time we read the book together and although we only had 2 weeks we were able to do an exchange every day up to number 14. With a new relationship the sexual currents are strong and I had doubts as to how it would be with such strong feelings. However, despite some initial discomfort at the beginning it became clear that we were both enjoying the gentle pace in which things developed between us and the mutual trust that was developing. The love between us delighted and surprised us both. One of the challenges has been the fact that we live in different countries at the moment so as the intimacy developed very quickly it became hard to then challenging to end it. However we have been able to connect every day and realised that there is a future for us. I have plans to move over there next year and will go again in a few weeks for 2 weeks. Having reached number 14 we are both unsure were we will carry on from. Do we start again from the beginning or back track a few exchanges? I know the initial meeting will be a strong current between us and would be easy to give way to old patterns. I would like to know if anyone else has had similar situations and how they have managed it.
During the 2 weeks of doing the Exchanges we both found the ways of cooling each other down were very helpful. hand on hearts, head scratching etc. I was so surprised that despite being with someone whom I was very attracted to I did not feel frustration and could be with her in a very intimate way without the loss and feel a sense of well being and peace. The beautiful intimacy also bought up some intense feelings as well and old fears and need for distance also came up even without the release but I could see how these were old patterns coming up and as we shared them with each other and persevered with the Exchanges then they passed and a deepening trust developed between us. I am very grateful for all the understanding that you have shared with this and know that it will benefit many people. I have found other couple who were also interested to try this out and are doing so also.I welcome any feedback and advice on working with this in relationship that is yet going through periods of separation.