Love, the verb, is a constant practice of feeling compassion, giving the benefit of the doubt, and remembering to feed our goals and desires, as well as those of the people we love. ~ Wendy Strgar
This is a quote from the book I just finished reading, Love That Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy by Wendy Strgar.
I won a contest and got a ton of the products from the author’s line of intimate care products called Good Clean Love and the book itself, which is signed by the author herself.
I really like that quote as I feel it’s a good definition of love. I was struggling with how to write a post on what I felt love is and what defines it, and then I came across that line in the book, and it really struck me.
The book emphasizes holding compassionate and good thoughts about the ones we love, and also remembering all the reasons we love those people at all times, especially during the difficult and trouble-filled periods and finding reasons to stay in our relationships.
She also talks about how relationships don’t exist to make us happy or to fulfill us or make us content of any of that, but that they are vessels in teaching us how to love and to show us our capacity to love. Love always shapes us int who we want to be and shows us the better person we can become because of it.
I also agree with something in the book that love is sometimes about putting the other person’s needs before your own, and that you have to accept that the person you’re with isn’t perfect and that the love you have won’t always what you expect it or even want it to be, but that you have to learn to MAKE it into what you want and need through the “ecology of love”.
The “ecology of love” as she calls it is broken up into four catergories: earth/ground, air, water, and fire. The ground of love is our thoughts and thought processes. The air is communication and our ability to communicate. The water is in how we show up for each other in each others’ lives and the “ebb and flow” of “togetherness”. And the fire is physical intimacy.
The book is broken up into chapters deal with each of the elements of the ecology/environment of love and includes stories of couples that relate to whatever topic her short essays, which comprise the book, deal with.
She also includes chapters on sex toys, lubricants, sex books, orgasms, and pheremones.
Another quote I really identified with from her book was: “We all see things as we are, rather than as they are.”
I really can see this in the group of people I hang out with, both coworkers and friends and family (though my coworkers are also both friends and like family to me too).
It’s obvious that people put their own spins on stories I tell or events I relate when they give me their opinion or advice or thoughts on whatever it is I happen to be talking about. They speak from their own experiences and their own personalities as opposed to what the actual situation is. I don’t judge them or get upset with them for it though, I merely just accept it as how they are and as something to observe and learn from.
Here’s another quotation from the text that I think applies to the ultimate goal of this blog, for me: “Feeling sexy is not something that someone gives us; it is a gift we give ourselves, and the responsibility for it is our own.”
That is something I’m trying to do, through this blog and through therapy and through my own readings and research. She just puts it so eloquently. I know that it’s not my boyfriend’s place to heal my broken sexuality, it’s mine, and that’s what I’m seeking to do.
More from the book: “Still, I want to acknowledge that even after opening to touch, getting on the road to sexual passion requires a mental leap. There is no other place in life that generates the kind of abandon and wildness that our sexuality does. It requires a letting go of the rational and, to a certain extent, our perceived ability to control outcomes”
Another gem: ” Emotions are not actually thoughts running around your brain, although this is how we often describe them; they are actually visceral experiences that live in one’s body, as true as chills on a windy night or burning skin under a summer sun.”
Another that struck me: “A physical conversation requires a willingness to be vulnerable enough to be touched, to allow your body to truly feel someone with you.”
I think I have a problem in being vulnerable enough to allow myself to be truly open when it comes to sex and sexuality. I feel obligated to be sexual, instead of truly wanting it, and I think this stems from my molestation. I’m afraid of allowing myself to be open and vulnerable because I’m afraid of being hurt and devastated again and completely ripped apart, which is a huge fear I have when it comes to my boyfriend. I’m afraid he’s going to break me by leaving me or severely hurting me emotionally.
“Finding comfort with our sexual selves is one of the most genuine, intimate and life-affirming ways we can know ourselves.”
She also talks a little about BDSM and being willing to experience pleasure as well as pain in the process of loving other people. She talks about masturbation and the stigmas that surround it, as well as the benefits of self-love in the physical sense. She even encourages tantric sex.
I found this book very informative, but I also thought a lot of it was common sense for anyone who knows anything about psychology or relationships or sexuality. I still liked her short essays and the quotes she chose to use and the books she referenced.
I give this book a 4 out of five.