At the risk of being seen as something less than manly, I want to write in praise of cuddling. This post builds on yesterday's Robert Masters article, but in a more personal way. NOTE: this is going to be a personal article, so if you don't want to know this kind of stuff, go read ESPN.com or something.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but I have been working on some of these things for many years. And I know that most men claim that cuddling is a chore, an obligation to get some sex. I call bullshit on that.
Okay, then, Masters said a couple of things I want to repeat:
Connect Before, During, and After SexAnd this . . .
Instead of trying to find connection through sex with your partner, come to sex already connected — that is, already feeling intimate — with your partner. If you don’t feel close to your partner, don’t then go for sex, but rather mutually face and work through whatever’s obstructing your closeness with each other.
If you start to lose connection during sex — as can happen when we slip into fantasy or try to make things go a certain way — interrupt whatever you’re doing sexually, and let your partner know what is going on with you, and stay with it until you are both reconnected, even if this means not resuming your lovemaking. This is not about shaming or blaming, but about simply changing gears.
Staying connected after sex does not mean dutifully trying to be close, but rather making your connection with each other such a priority that you are held in the circle of each other’s loving embrace, even when that circle expands infinitely.
For men, it is crucial that they contact and fully embody their core adult masculinity, reclaiming their balls without losing touch with their heart, so that they are simultaneously capable of great erotic presence and equally great tenderness. As he becomes more fully present, more strongly anchored in love, integrity, and his essential masculinity, he becomes not only more trustworthy to his partner, but also more attractive, so that she can open more fully to him, with the result that their lovemaking becomes much, much more than just a mechanical ritual or exercise.Both of these quotes relate to what I want to write about . . . namely, cuddling.
The polarity between being-centered partners can be mind-blowingly great, since it hypervividly highlights (and simultaneously celebrates) the differences between male and female in every dimension — which only increases the longing, the enormously rich longing, for the two to meet as deeply as they possibly can.
Jami and I cuddle a lot. I like it as much as she does. And unlike many men, I do not see it as a chore, an obligation, or as boring. It's a major part of how we maintain intimacy in our relationship.
The first Masters quote above talks about maintaining intimacy before, during, and after sex. Cuddling is a great way to do that. If we have felt distant during the week because of work, my school work, or whatever, we cuddle before even thinking about having sex.
The second Masters quote is about sexual polarity - and when he talks about this part of our lives, it's a hell of a lot more integral than anything David Deida might write. Masters wants men to embody their full, mature masculinity, and you know what? We can do this when we cuddle with our partner.
When I hold Jami, she surrenders into my body, and she says she can feel my love for her in my touch. When I hold her, I feel protective, embodied, present, and masculine. Rather than making me more feminine, cuddling makes me feel more manly and more masculine. She feels more feminine, more contained, more safe. Our polarity is activated in a profound way, and having that energy contributes to the passion of our sex lives.
The key here, of course, is being present with each other, being in the moment. If we are thinking about work, or sports, or school, or whatever, we are not present and we will not create the intimacy and polarity that is possible. When we are present, we are open and vulnerable and our hearts are tender and warm.
My strength as a man comes from sharing the tenderness and love that is in my heart, while also acting as a container for those shared feelings, and owning my masculine power. When I can do this, it allows Jami to embrace her feminine power, to be contained in our love, to be more open.
So men, my challenge to you is try this in your relationship. Be powerful, be passionate, be present, be tender - and do it while you cuddle, with sex not being on the agenda for a while. The more you can do this, the better your sex life will be when you do go in that direction.