Sally had been everything Harry had admired in a woman – strong, independent, ballsy, not afraid to go after life. So why were those exact traits starting to bug him, two years on? Why did he find himself being profoundly irritated by this woman that he still loved?
The strange thing about intimate relationships is that they mix together a cocktail of different factors that have influenced us in terms of who and what we’re attracted to. Some of that is individual – the family we’ve grown up in, the kind of parenting we received and our own natural disposition. But some of it is a reflection of what society in general values and respects. And our society values the masculine.
Before you react, let me explain. I don’t mean masculine as in ‘men’. I mean masculine as in ‘yang’ – an expression of energy which is active, logical, analytical, focused. All of us are raised in modern societies, women as well as men, to respect logical thought, goal-oriented action and achievement. From the time we start school, and even before it, we learn that to get ahead in life we have to be fearless go-getters who chase our dreams, snatch victory from competitors and secure our achievements so they can’t escape. And we admire others who have succeeded in this way – including, frequently, prospective romantic partners.
All that sounds pretty normal, doesn’t it? And it is, for most of us. After all, what’s wrong with wanting to reach for the stars, wanting to make things happen and hoping for those characteristics in a love match? Isn’t it healthy and normal? It just seems to be a fact of life.
But, the thing is, unless we make space for the feminine in our relationships along with the masculine, things can fizzle out sexually without the necessary charge from two opposite energies coming together. Too much of the same kind of energy can even start to grate on our nerves emotionally. Two partners coming in from a long day in the office, all square edges, deadlines and attitude, just rub each-other up the wrong way. So Harry looks at Sally and complains that she’s too aggressive, and Sally accuses Harry of not being able to handle a woman’s power. And both of those may be true to a point. The lower end of masculine energy is the aggressive need to have power over another in order to feel powerful, and it’s not uncommon for one partner to feel threatened by the other’s empowerment.
What may really be the issue, though, is that they’re missing the energy to balance out the over-emphasis on the masculine. The feminine is missing in many relationships. With society’s focus on masculine traits and values, many women as well as men have come to view the fluid, receptive, feminine,yin energy as powerless and are only too happy to repress and reject it – in themselves and in others. Just watch Harry suggest to Sally that she would benefit from embracing more of the feminine and watch the sparks fly! Of course, there are exceptions to this and many women are starting to allow more of that feminine energy to express itself through them again, in ways that are deeper than simply a superficial flirtation with clothes and make-up.
The thing is, we need the feminine. We need it in ourselves in order to balance us out when we get stuck in our minds and on the hamster-wheel of busy-ness. And we also need it to breathe depth and life into our relationships.
It was in relationships that I first got a real sense of what the feminine was all about. Like many others, my understanding of it had been superficial – assuming it had something to do with ‘what women are like’. Even with some knowledge of yin and yang, I still couldn’t see why yin had a power if it was receptive, even passive. Somehow, receptive equaled powerless in my modern, career-focused brain. No matter which way I turned it over in my analytical mind, I just couldn’t get a real sense of what feminine energy was all about.
And then I had amazing sex. Yep, it took a few decades to get to that point of blissful, boundary-dissolving love-making, but that’s what worked. Suddenly I got it. As my partner stepped into a strongly masculine place, focused, determined, totally present, I found myself swinging almost automatically into its polar opposite. My body felt like it had become almost still, open, allowing waves of bliss to wash over it – feminine receptivity. And the combination of the two opposite forces coming together was more powerful than anything I’d ever experienced before.
So in the interests of lightly playing with the feminine and becoming more aware of it, here are three partner ‘home play’ exercises to try, ideally exploring each one in turn before moving on to the next.
- Silent Communication. Agree with your partner an evening when you can spend time together in silence, ideally doing something where you are sitting together – perhaps listening to music or just sharing space. The aim is to become aware of the subtle undercurrents within and between you, staying away as much as possible from the temptation of having an inner conversation or commentary. Try to feel the connection between you and to get a sense of what’s happening in your body.
If you want to take this a stage further, you can sit cross-legged, facing each-other with the intention of deliberately focusing on the energetic connection between you.
- Intuitive Touch. In this exercise, one of you at a time gets to be the receptive partner while the other uses their intuition to guide their loving touch. Its not a massage, no oil or lubricant is needed and it’s not intended to be deliberately sexual. The receptive partner is naked, open and trusting to their partner’s touch (so make sure that room is warm!). The touching partner is aiming to quieten their mind and to follow their instincts as much as possible in allowing their fingers, palms, even forearms, to gently stroke their partner’s body.
- Polarity Sex. Both partners need to explore both energies in this exercise, though not necessarily during the same exchange. Men are as capable as women of understanding and expressing the feminine, and have the same need to accept and integrate it.
Agree who will express the masculine and who will express the feminine energy, and the aim is to hold the extreme of that energy as much as possible. The masculine partner will take the lead, direct how the action unfolds, be as present in the moment as possible and utterly focused on the feminine partner. Keeping eyes open and focused on the other partner helps in staying present. The feminine partner flows with the direction which the masculine partner establishes, opening and expanding (I’m speaking energetically here!) to receive the masculine energy fully. It’s fine to close the eyes. Abandoning yourself to the pleasure is perfect.
As you play around with these exercises, you start to get a feel for what the feminine is all about. See, the feminine needs to be experienced rather than thought about. It needs to be felt in and through the body. And once you get it, everything changes. You have access to a deeper creativity, more peace and acceptance, a knowing of what’s right or wrong for you – and, of course, the potential for a richer, more passionate and more adaptable, relationship.