by Diana Daffner
In the beginning, when love is new, romance, courting and conquest are aphrodisiacs, stimulants that increase our appetite for sexual union. Eventually the chase ends, hearts are won, and lifetime pledges are made. The happy couple says "I do" and strolls off into the sunset together, destined to be lovers forever.
So what happens? The newness fades, the passion flees. Where does it go? Does it get mortgaged along with the house? Disposed with the diapers?
Years ago, Mary, age 49, shyly told her family doctor that she had lost interest in having sex with her husband. She was told this was a natural event, that women eventually lose interest and that's just the way it is. For some women, she was told, it comes even earlier. Martin, back then, wanted to tell his doctor about his erectile difficulties, but was too embarrassed. And so, the couple, wanting to stay together, accepted the end of sex.
Times have changed. Today, Mary might be offered testosterone patches to fire up her lagging libido, and for Martin, there's the magic of Viagra…or Levitra … or Cialis.
Yes, times have changed, but is it really just a story of diminishing hormones and loss of blood flow? The popularity of these new biologically-based treatments attests to their effectiveness as sexual aids. Yet Mary and Martin, like all couples, continue to yearn for the fulfillment of a deeper intimacy. Reviving the mechanics of our sex life may help, but it does not fully address the hunger in our hearts.
We desire more than the climax of sexual release. We crave a connection with our partner's soul. We ache to embrace a love that lights up our eyes, that enlivens our very being.
More than one divorcee has stated, "the sex was great, but there was no intimacy." Without intimacy, sex is not lovemaking. Without lovemaking, hearts are empty. When sex is followed by emptiness, we know that something is missing.
A Chinese saying tells us that "young love is from earth; mature love from heaven." Could it be that our bodies are trying to tell us something as they slow down and cool off? Could it be that it is not our biology which needs assistance, but our spiritual self?
If we look at relationships from a perspective of the Chinese five-element system, the basis of Feng Shui, we can gain some insight and direction. In this ancient understanding of the cosmos, natural elements are used to describe the various phases of creation. These elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each influences the next, in an ongoing and nourishing cycle of harmonious development.
Feng Shui is the art of arranging our physical surroundings, our home, in accord with these elements. We can take a new look at relationships in the light of this theory.
Wood is represented by the flexibility and rapid growth of bamboo. When love is first born, it too grows rapidly. Wood's time is early morning, and its season is Spring, when plants sprout new life and blossom profusely. There is tender excitement, exploration and discovery. This is the beginning phase of the chase, the conquest, the wooing. All is new and filled with promise.
As the day brightens from dawn to noon, relationship proceeds to an expression of the next element, which is fire. Wood provides fuel for fire.
Fire burns erratically and represents the passion and turmoil of life at high noon. The season is Summer, and the heat is strong. In relationships, fire represents the energetic and creative clamor of love's demands, the tears and laughter of sexual drama and delight. When the fire burns out, ashes remain, which turn into earth.
Earth, in the center of the circle of Feng Shui, gives shape and structure to relationship. Although more than fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, this does not slow down our "urge to merge." We keep trying, looking for the right partner, a life partner, a lover forever. We want to give form to our relationship, to hold it in place.
It is the nature of earth to slow things down, providing stability and a sense of restfulness. However, after awhile in the earth phase of the five-element system, our relationships are too often lulled to sleep. Sex medicines and hormone patches can temporarily awaken us, reminding us of the burning fire we had left behind.
Yet something is missing. We cannot stay here in earth or we will get stuck in a rut! What is essential in the Chinese system is a dynamic balance of all the elements. What will energize our relationships now is a movement forward from earth into metal.
Metal is drawn from the earth. With some effort and will, we can extract gold from dirt. It is here, as the day darkens and the season moves to Autumn, that we can best harvest the deeper love that we desire. Dr. Victoria Lee writes in Soulful Sex, "each moment in which you are conscious of the sacred sexual energy that runs through your veins becomes one in which you experience the divine." The key words here are conscious, sacred, divine and sexual.
From this perspective, we can mindfully transform our relationship into a meaningful spiritual path that finally brings the fulfillment we have longed for. Our conscious sexual love becomes the aphrodisiac that opens the doorway to our soul. We draw on ancient wisdom, we explore the energy of sexuality, we communicate, we touch our beloved attentively and with intention. Metal implies knowledge and know-how. We can develop the skill to love artfully, which will guide us to the next phase, the element of water.
Water awakens us to our sensual and emotional inner self. Water conducts the electricity of our sexual energy as we intimately merge and become One with not just our beloved but the entire Universe. Releasing all effort, we float in the serenity of bliss.
Water nourishes the growth of wood, and thus the cycle continues. Passion is renewed and our relationship becomes an ongoing love affair.
Modern medicine may keep Mary and Martin focused on the heat of their sexual drive and sexual performance. In contrast, the five-element Feng Shui theory can provide them - and us - with an ancient prescription for heavenly happiness. As our sexual intimacy evolves and matures, as we nurture it through the cycle of creative growth, we can truly fulfill our destiny as lifetime lovers.
Diana Daffner and her husband Richard lead Intimacy Retreats for Couples, held in Florida, Mexico and other romantic vacation locations. The Daffners teach and offer a video of Tantra Tai Chiâ„¢, exercises that enhance intimacy through the integration of sex and heart. They also produced an audio-CD called "Lessons in Intimacy…The Lover's Touch," that introduces you and your beloved to an actual experience of sacred sexuality. For more information, visit their website www.IntimacyRetreats.com or call them at 941 349-6804 (tollfree 1-877-282-4244.)