Whole Life Magazine

December 2019 / January 2020

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December 2019/January 2020 9 Photo: Ammentorp healthy living SEX TALK M ost of us take ourselves way too seriously. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." There is no better time of year to make a concerted effort to add some play into your days, because at its source, playfulness is a byproduct of being fully present. Bringing our full presence into any moment is where life becomes spontaneous, which is one of the main engines of play. Playing replaces habitual tendencies for judging the mishaps of life, especially when things get busy. Becoming more playful can be as simple as a shift in view — celebrating the ridiculous instead of getting mired in the annoying.Treating our own frailties to a little fun is where grace steps in to replace these as ready sources of shame or alienation. And nowhere is this truer than when it comes to our most intimate relationships. Ironically, instead of helping us to lighten up, our most intimate relationships often push us in the opposite direction of re-thinking every comment and misinterpreting unintended meanings. This is an all too common slippery slope that is easy to slide down at the holidays without seeing it happen until we hit bottom. Avoiding the moments where no one is having fun can be as simple as looking for the ridiculous around you. Laughing together is one of the stickiest glues a relationship can generate. Humor and levity are natural stress eliminators and create long-term feelings of pleasure and contentment. Although I have never been one of those lucky quick-witted people who seem to generate humor everywhere around them, I have learned that many times just looking for fun can get you through the door. My children have always been my best teachers in the humor department. Kids operate from play and thrive on laughter. Just go to a park and watch them playing. We all have a vestige of a child in us who wants to play. But beware as well — shared humor is very different from sarcastic humor, which takes someone hostage. If someone ends up feeling badly at the expense of someone else's joke, it isn't funny. When playfulness is one-sided rather than mutual, it is damaging to the relationship and undermines the trust you work so hard to build. Just as no one wants to be the brunt of another's hurtful joke, using humor to cover up other emotions backfires. Anger, fear, and hurt feelings cannot be joked away. Instead they linger and slowly transform unexpressed emotions into the distance that keeps us apart. Don't confuse these behaviors for playfulness; real play is always heart-opening. Many doubt the effectiveness of playing and think of it as a frivolous waste of time, when in actuality, playing creates new neural activity. Many studies show that it is during play where the greatest educational leaps occur, which is why many of the most well-known scientists and spiritual leaders extol play as the source of their genius. But nowhere is this genius more valuable than in the bedroom, where it can ignite a whole new level of intimacy. The ability to play together sexually is the divine spark of passion. Spontaneous sexual play is the opposite of a sexual rut. Experimenting with costumes, positions, toys, and scents is a veritable playground of sensations and laughs. When we play, we are free and having fun, all the magical elements required for sexual pleasure. Playing transports us beyond our fears, expectations, and performance anxiety because when we play, we are fully present. Lean toward playful humor and you will find it adds years to your loving relationships. Wendy Strgar, writer, teacher, and loveologist, is the founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, makers of Almost Naked 95%-organic lubricant. THE JOYFUL SEASON Have a Playful Holiday! By Wendy Strgar

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