by Anne McRitchie, Chilcotts Grass, NSW, Australia
It may be the hottest book around, but I have no intention of reading Fifty Shades of Grey! Not because I am turning 70 next year and therefore am past being ‘interested in sex’, but because in the last few years I have come to know the difference between ‘having sex’ and ‘making love’, and believe as an older woman, it does not involve handcuffs, the Karma Sutra or even any Tantric teaching.
I was in my teens in an era where often the only thing a young girl was told about sex was “You have to wait until you are married”. This was heavily instilled in me and I adhered to it until I reached 24; I found myself in London at the time when the Beatles and Carnaby Street ruled, and with no prospect of getting married. So when I had an opportunity to find out what I had been missing, I took it, even though there was no love involved, just a mutually convenient friendship. I did not understand what the big deal was, but at least I was held and touched by someone. Plus he was Indian, which somehow in London in the 1960s made it seem somewhat exotic!
From then on I made up for lost time. On one occasion after attending a nightclub opening in London, my beautiful female room mate (who had her pick of men at the time!) suddenly kissed me when we were alone. We went to bed and hugged and caressed each other, but passed out before anything intimate happened. Next morning I left for an assignment in Italy so we did not see each other again. That was my one and only near-sexual encounter with a woman.
I did live in a monogamous relationship with a partner for some eight years during my thirties: that finally ended when he came home drunk on my 40th birthday, so instead of the planned dinner celebration, I spent the evening alone, eating dry biscuits and cheese while he was passed out in the upstairs bedroom.
Several times during my life I have stopped to wonder what I was searching for! Yes, sex was usually fulfilling on a physical level – but why did I still feel so empty afterwards? I always felt that something was missing; that there had to be something more no one was telling me about!
When my now husband and I met, more than twenty years ago, we were older but no wiser, and in the beginning our relationship was often emotional and very needy on both sides. We knew that there was something more to life, but we had yet to discover it. In 2004 we decided to marry –me at sixty-one, and my husband at fifty-one. Neither of us had been married before, so we were not used to living closely with another, we were fiercely independent, and we both carried strong emotional scars from the experiences of our lives. Needless to say it was an emotionally charged partnership.
Looking back, what held it together was an almost unconscious feeling we both had that there was some inner-beauty deep within the other person that we could occasionally feel, even though they did not allow that to be expressed. In both cases that ‘inner-beauty’ was buried behind our ‘emptiness’ and the hurts we carried. Despite the constant turmoil in our lives, at the time we still called what we had ‘Love’.
Later that year we attended a Universal Medicine Heart-Chakra workshop and we knew immediately that here might possibly be the piece that had been missing. What was being said was common sense, but it had never been presented to us in such a simple way before. Here was someone saying that you cannot truly love another until you love yourself. How many of us were ever told by our parents or teachers when we were young to love ourselves? Mostly we were recognised for what we achieved – being Dux of Kindergarten (yes! I was), being the fastest runner, the best speller, etc. Always for something that we did, but never for just ‘being ourself’. Is it any wonder we spend our lives forever searching for someone to recognise us for who we are, rather than what we do?
After listening to Serge Benhayon present for several years, we both began to make different choices. We gradually discarded the emptiness and hurts and started to live in a more loving way, both with ourselves and each other. As we embodied more love, we became aware that what we had up until that time was not ‘love’, but a relationship based on filling each other’s needs… and when our needs were not met, the emotional games kicked in. At that stage we both felt emotionally debased – if what we thought was ‘love’ was not truly ‘love’, then why were we together at all?
For a couple who reaches this point there is often a choice, either to separate or to rebuild a foundation of true love. For us there was no choice, because we shared a deep connection and we wanted to be together, but the change did not happen instantly or even in the first year. It took commitment on both sides, and a mutual understanding and trust when one or the other of us chose to express from emotion… rather than from the love within.
Now, ‘making love’ is a confirmation of the way we have been together during the day. But in truth, it is how we are in every moment of the day, not what we do. It is how we smile at each other, touch each other in passing, prepare a meal together or feel the other when they are not there. Unlike ‘having sex’, there is no beginning or end to ‘making love’. It is a feeling that is forever with you, and the physical act is a glorious and joy-full confirmation of our loving connection.