Reflections on Lovemaking
Radiance Angelina Petro
Reading a book this afternoon, called, Sexual Ecstasy (hey, why not? Yeah, I mean, I’m basically ace, or demi-sexual, or abstinent by circumstances or perhaps by choice, but I can dream and study and wonder, can’t I?), I am aware how many times the author, Margo Anand, refers to sex as “lovemaking,” one word. When I wasn’t just looking at the pictures, I saw this word, “lovemaking,” a lot. The more I did, the more I thought.
Can’t anything be love-making—two-words? Can’t walking (silently or chatting) be love-making? Can’t eating together be love-making? Can’t talking into the wee hours of the night be love-making? Can’t reading to one another be love-making? Or reading silently to ourselves in the same room, or serving one another, of easing the suffering of others, of being an activist?
I would say, yes. Love-making, to me, isn’t (shouldn’t) be confined to sexual-intimacy. Of course, it’s totally valid if you view love-making as lovemaking in a sexual sense. Some people, however, have consensual sexual experiences not as a fruit of romantic love, but as friend-love—friends with benefits, so to speak. Sex doesn’t always have to involve romantic love, or even friendship. It can be sex work; it can be casual. Constraining sex to only romantic love limits the possibilities of not only what love can be, but also what sexual experiences can be. As long as its enthusiastically consensual and safe for everyone involved, and doesn’t involve minors, then have at it.
Love goes both beyond the body and into the body. It can be of your own body and/or include the body of another—a sort of rhythm of inner and outer. It encompasses infinite variations of unfoldment—love between friends, love between monogamous couples, love in poly relationships. Love unfolds as tenderness, openness, vulnerability, honest communication, deep listening, as well as fun, wildness, quiet calm, ecstatic singing, ecstatic silence, helping others, compassion, kindness, and more.
Further, as I began to reflect on all of this, the question arose: Can any kind of love between people be “made?” If so, what does that mean? Is love like a recipe? Is love like a canvas, clay on a potter’s wheel, a melody of music? It can be. I mean, it’s legit to think of it as that. I also like to think that love isn’t “made,” so much as cultivated, but then again, that’s like making love in the sense of creating a garden with someone and/or someone’s. I guess, in this moment, the best way I can express this thought is that perhaps love is just there—everywhere, and when people connect (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, life experientially, for a common dream, for laughter-ally, etc.) they are participating in something that already exists. In other words, it’s more like merging with a hidden-in-plain-sight river, or song, or breath. Yeah, that’s it. Love is like air. When we consciously love it’s like consciously breathing. It’s a sharing, a partaking of the furtherance of the flow of things. It’s a quiet (or wild) celebration of the air, of sunlight, moonlight, holy darkness, of earthiness, of clouds, of the laughter of creation.
In addition, my dear friend, and wonderful writer, Elaine Mansfield, reminds us that creativity in and of itself is love-making. It needn’t involve physical touch or to even be in the same room with someone. Creativity nevertheless reaches out and touches others. Elaine, speaking of when she’s chasing written inspiration, says:
“I can feel hot on the trail of something when I’m writing–and that’s a kind of love-making for me and it involves “touching” others.”
Not only is writing self-love, it indeed touches the reader even if that reader is hundreds of miles away. For touching goes beyond the physical, beyond the body. And this kind of touching goes with all forms of creativity. The painter paints, and their work touches us. A composer composes and their music touches us. A singer sings and their song touches us. It is the same with dancers, sculptures, and all other creative love-making. They make love with us in the most genuine and intimate ways.
Self-love can also encompass self-sexual pleasuring, setting boundaries, practicing holy solitude, self-care, and so on. Love is just as valid and powerful alone, doing “nothing,” as it can be between people in any kind of consensual, safe relationship paradigm one is a part of.
Someone once said, the purpose of life is to learn to love and be loved. I think that’s a wondrous idea, but perhaps not the purpose of life (or, at very least, not the only one). I haven’t a clue, really, what the purpose of life is. It’s different for everyone and for every relationship. It also doesn’t need to have a “purpose.” It can just be—just exist in the experience of existing without attaching a goal to it.
These are some things I thought about today, alone on my Treehouse, wondering whether or not I should delete OKCupid and Tinder, whether I am surrendered to being single, abstinent or ace, or will I keep looking for some kind of relationship. There is much deconstructing yet to do in my cultural conditioning of what love is, and that it goes beyond romantic love. Keeping in mind the original meaning of “romance” is a story, and adventure. In that light, life itself is one long romance with the world, and with one’s self, and with others in one form or another. In the end, it simply is what it is, even as it is sometimes touched with sorrow and longing for me. It’s also flavored with a quiet, growing acceptance of who I am and how my life has unfolded and is unfolding. Love is the here and now at the same time it’s the blossoming of horizon after horizon. It’s fun to think about–to think about all the manifestations love can be/is, and not just confine it to sexual intimacy, just as light is not confined to the day, just as wisdom is not confined to the mind, just as seeds are not confined to the darkness.