Sexual intimacy is one of the major dimensions of personal and spiritual development in our time. Indeed the major stages of the evolution of sexual awareness in the second half of the 20 th century took place alongside the rapid development of individuation during the same period. Sexual development and the development of individual identity seem to be two sides of the same evolutionary process.
There is a deep longing in creation for unifying through the separation of earthly existence. No sooner has a new baby been born out of the body of his mother he/she longs with to reunite with her through her breast and her milk. That urge to reunite with the body of the mother will not fade for many years. It will later be transformed into another urge for uniting with another human body: sexual intimacy.
Sex has been with us since ancient times, and love in its various forms has always been a basic human value. But intimacy is new. Although it is such a fundamental component of today's interpersonal relationships, so important in creating families, so highly valued as an important source of personal happiness, intimacy remains a mystery.Most people perceive that intimacy is either a part of a partner relationship if you are one of the luckier ones, or if you are not, you are simply out of luck. Relationships, sex life, marriage and love can survive to a certain level without intimacy, but the soul, heart and their energy cannot.
Women are taking up their equal position in society world-wide with unstoppable momentum. It has been a long road just to recognise their equal right to vote: 1881 Isle of Man, 1893 New Zealand, 1917 Canada, 1918 Britain and Germany, 1920 in the USA. It has been a long road since the Women Liberation Movement of the 60’s to the relative improved conditions for women’s economic and political equality of today, and there is still a long way to go for realising true equality between the sexes.
Of all the forms of counselling my favourite one is couple and relationship counselling. In all other forms of counselling, personal development and psychotherapy, working one on one or in a made-up group – the clients still have to go home and integrate whatever was achieved in the session – into their normal relationship at home. But when you have both parts of a living relationship together in one process, if the process has any effect at all – whatever is achieved there is already integrated between them, because they achieve it together. Something is already done, a social form, however small, has upgraded itself. They take it home with them. The relationship itself has been upgraded.
Personal intimate relationships are in urgent need of upgrading everywhere. We cannot manage it the old ways any more. We have grown into complex sophisticated individuals in an ever more complex civilization. Traditions, old habits and following previous generations don’t work for us any more. We are upgrading everything around us all the time from the simplest gadgets to IT to international trade, but the way we interact in personal relationships remains primitive, from the simplest of people to the most cultured and educated ones.
What is the mission of men in the 21st century? Men used to have their unique mission. They ruled the world indisputably for thousands of years, regarding women as secondary class citizens, inferior human beings born to serve them, love them, bear their children, care for them, entertain them, obey them and have no say in the running of the world. Only 126 years ago women were given equal vote for the first time: New Zealand 1893, South Australia 1894. Switzerland gave women this right only in 1971.
It is obvious to a growing number of people everywhere that what was once considered ‘normal’ relationship does no longer exists, and what does exists – does not feel normal to most people, namely: relationship, without special effort put into them, does not feel to most people to be what it should be in their hopes and ideals. Unhealthy repetitive patterns can destroy the most beautiful love stories, and only a new level of self-awareness can change them.
One late Spring evening on top of a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley in central Slovakia I stood with a group of seven men around a fire. All of us were men who are committed to personal development, all of us family men in committed marriages to the woman we love in families and in homes with our children, courageous and honest enough to look inside ourselves and see our personal reality: the good, the bad, the wise and the stupid, the successes and the failures, the courage and the fear, the love and the hate, the beautiful and the ugly.