Blog Oktober 2019


A Tribute to Slowness

slowing down, I found, was hard
despite its prominent appeal
for it was when I started to go slow
that I began to feel

Slowness is a dangerous thing. If you don’t believe me, next time you feel yourself starting to speed up, slow down - slow your breath, your movements, your speech - and see what happens. Chances are, you will meet whatever it was you were trying to avoid by going faster. You will feel whatever there is to feel, in this moment. For most of us, this can range from boring to unpleasant to totally terrifying. The faster we are, the more we are on auto-pilot, run by our programs, our patterns. Slowing down means becoming more aware, more mindful of these programs and the feelings that are driving them. Slowness sheds light into the shadow - and for this reason we so often avoid it like the plague.

Nowhere is this fear of going slow more obvious than in our sexuality. According to movies and pornography (the great sex-education teacher of our time), good sex is hot and fast. There is a whole lot of doing going on. It is a dilemma - on the one hand, we are genetically wired to have sex with each other, and as human beings we crave physical contact - on the other hand, we fear intimacy, since there can be no intimacy with opening ourselves and making ourselves vulnerable. As D.H. Lawrence said, “Sex is really only touch, the closest of all touch. And it’s touch we’re afraid of.”. Only I would say it’s not the touch we’re afraid of, it’s the closeness. For many of us, it is a lesson we learnt early in childhood - vulnerability means weakness, weakness makes me feel shame, shame means I am a person unworthy of love and affection.

The way we resolve this dilemma is by what Sue Johnson calls “sealed-off sex” - a kind of impersonal sex focused on sensation and performance, with little connection between the partners and no need to open up and show ourselves. Going full speed towards orgasm allows us to push down our feelings, stay in familiar territory and blow off some sexual steam. If “everything goes well” we feel relief, possibly pride at being a good lover. If things don’t go so well we turn to viagra, find other partners or avoid sex altogether. Needless to say, slowness is a very unwelcome guest here.

The problem is, this kind of sex limits us to a tiny fraction of what sexuality has to offer us. Some examples of what is on offer? Letting someone else look deeply into me, looking into someone else and discovering myself through their eyes. The indescribable pleasure of being touched all over by someone who is truly present. Feeling intense love radiating from my heart, sometimes from my entire body. Letting waves of arousal wash over me, surrendering without needing to do anything with them. Experiencing myself and being experienced in all my different colors - playful, shy, dominant, wild, angry, horny, sad, tired, joyful, needy, generous. Feeling life radiating in every inch of my body. And most precious all - the freedom of allowing myself to be exactly as I am, in this moment.

Slowness is the magic key to unlocking this vast ocean of our sexuality. Slowness allows us to be present, connected, intimate. Of course, we have to contend with the initial resistance to slowing down - often this is our fear disguised in the form of boredom and the compulsive need to do something. If we can stick it through (and this is a matter of practice), slowness has the surprising ability to take us ever deeper into ourselves. When we are slow we can be fully here, every moment is new and fresh and full of possibilities. Crazy and unexpected things can happen. Life, with all its mysteries, is revealed to us.

On that note, I leave you with the words of one of the slowest people I know of...

All your moves are swift
All your turns are tight
Let me catch my breath
I thought we had all night

I like to take my time
I like to linger as it flies
A weekend on your lips
A lifetime in your eyes

Leonard Cohen