How do you revive your relationship if it has got into a rut? Well Gwyneth Paltrow claims that her new book on love and sex may help. Gwyneth Paltrow founded the website Goop in 2008 and the celebrated actress has been in the news recently for her advice on yoni egg exercises and of course for her recent engagement to the writer-director Brad Falchuk.
In a recent interview Gwyneth Paltrow talks to Esther Perel, one of the world’s leading couple counsellors about what makes a relationship last. Reading the interview I noted that Perel states that there are three key areas in your relationship to keep an eye on: admiration, vision and erotic connection. She explains that when she talks about erotic connection she does not simply mean how much sex they have, but is there affection, touch, complicity – are they physical together? She goes on to say that keeping this erotic connection alive requires nurturing. In Tantra the headings may be different, but it is recommended that couples pro-actively build and keep their bond alive before they drift apart. Tantra often gets misconstrued as being all about sex and indeed marathon sex sessions, but the reality is that authentic Tantra is about building connection and harnessing sexual energy to enhance meaningful relationships.
Western Tantra teachers Charles and Caroline Muir explain that relationships should be nurtured every day with what they term “10-Minute Connects.” This process involves three practices known as nurturing meditation, hand on heart and yab yum.
Lie in the spooning position with both partners lying on their left side. Before getting into the spooning position, decide which one of you feels most in need of nurturing, the partner at the back is the ‘giver’. The ‘giver’ should snuggle up close to their partner and align their chakra centre’s – heart chakra to heart chakra, sacral to sacral etc. The couple will need to use cushions or pillows to ensure that the ‘giving’ partner is at the right height to slip their left arm under their partner’s neck and bring their hand to rest lightly on the third eye chakra of their partner’s forehead or the crown chakra at the top of her head. The ’givers’ right arm should cradle their partner, with their hand over their partners heart; the recipient partner should rest their hand on top of the ‘givers’ hand.
Lie like this for a few minutes and just enjoy the closeness. After a few moments, move into the “harmonising breath” stage of the exercise. Notice your partner’s breath, and begin to synchronise with it: Inhale together, pause together, exhale together, and pause again. As the recipient partner inhales, they should focus on accepting energy through their back into all of her chakras; as the giving partner exhales they should concentrate on sending energy out the front of their body and into their recipient partner.
Charles and Caroline Muir explain that when the partners are ready, they can use this technique to charge each chakra individually. Beginning with the heart chakra, and focusing there for three full breath cycles. Then moving their awareness to the third eye chakra for three breaths; then to the “root” chakra at the base of the spine. Next, move up your body to your second chakra (your genital area), then your navel chakra, your throat chakra, and your crown chakra.
Sit comfortably, cross-legged, facing your partner. Each partner places their right hand on their partner’s heart chakra and their left hand on top of their partner’s right hand. Charles and Caroline instruct that the partners should tune in to your heart: first, your physical heart, and then the emotion and energy of your heart chakra.
The final daily method that the Muirs recommend is called Yab-Yum. The man sits cross-legged and the woman sits on his upper thighs, crossing her ankles behind his back. This upright sitting posture promotes alert awareness, aligns the partners’ chakras, and allows them to breathe each other’s breath and either touch their brow chakras together or gaze into each other’s eyes, yab-yum is the classic position for Tantric sex.
Gwyneth Paltrow explains that the idea behind her new book was to ‘’create a safe space where questions of sexuality could be explored by everyone – women, men, heterosexual, homosexual, single, married, experienced or young.’’ She explains that a healthy sex life happens when ‘’both partners feel satisfied with the amount and quality of sex they are having’’, she goes on to say that ‘’it is normal to feel bored with a long-term partner’’, and suggests in order to remedy this couples should partake in activities that involve partners expressing and ‘’tapping into their true wants and needs’’, her suggestions include watching adult movies together and then describing what turns them on in the film; sharing fantasies by highlighting a column in a book or sex advice column; and buying sex toys from an adult store. Sadly, Paltrow’s advice does not focus upon how a close bond between a couple and building intimacy can turn a relationship around and does not look at sex beyond a physical act, perhaps it comes down to the question, are you making love or having sex.
Mal Weeraratne, Tantric Master, author and founder of Tantric Journey said, ‘’attraction and chemistry, along with great banter are all great things to have in a relationship and they may well culminate in a active sex life, but without trust and connection none of this sustainable. Trust is what acts as ‘glue’ in a relationship and produces connection. Just like a fire trust needs to be stoked, fanned and fueled to keep it roaring. ‘’ Mal explained that trust is not just gained or developed over time, or because you exchange vows and it is not a given, it is something that requires effort. He explains that ‘’healthy relationships are about more than moments and powerful feelings. A healthy relationship cannot be founded purely on those heady feelings of new love, instead long-term healthy relationships are built and they must be built on foundations of trust and connection. If a relationship is to stand the test of time it will require time, work, patience, and a deep look inward – for you cannot depend on your partner to heal you and make you happy as happiness must come from within’’. Mal suggests that it is key to make time for your relationship and advises that couples look to kindle the soul mate connection.
It is certain that in our fast paced society, it can be difficult to carve out time for our intimate relationships and that the Western Media place too much emphasis on sex lives and not enough of the intimacy that can be enjoyed and achieved in a committed relationships.
Mal Weeraratne is the author of ‘Emotional Detox through Bodywork’ and if you would like to purchase a copy, click here. If you would like to find out more about Tantric Journey then please visit the website here.