“Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night. When everything’s a little clearer in the light of day….We could make a lot of lovin’ ‘for the sun goes down. Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight. Afternoon delight…” -Starland Vocal Band
I can easily hear this old 70’s song echo in my head, I listened to it so many times in my teens and dreamt of what some good afternoon love would be like. Married for 27 years and making love to the same guy for my entire adult life is better than I used to dream of when I heard that song. I know from experience that you can get better at making love work in life when you are intentional. Love is the most positive emotion we can generate in our life. There is no other experience that rivals the power of love to change everything it touches. Still, it takes work to make the sparks fly.
Even after all these years together, it is surprising how rarely we give ourselves permission to take an afternoon away from the daily demands of our busy lives. Yet I know that a lunchtime reunion at home with my husband on a sunny midweek day is a truly healing holiday. Creating the time to bring our loving rituals into the midst of our work week is nothing short of a revelation. The most successful lovemaking is always built around rituals of connection.
Foreplay is everything that prepares you for intimacy and even hygiene can become part of the dance. Bathing together in our large tub, with the sun making patterns on our bodies underwater and watching the sunlight through the cut glass window, spray mini rainbows on skin and tile. It is a small thing, but I rarely see the play of the sun in my own bathroom. We fill our times together with old familiar music. Songs in the rich voices of Billie Holiday or Norah Jones that we have listened to a hundred times over the years fill the space and create a timelessness that comes from years of associating their voices with our intimacy. This music is inseparable from my intimate memories, and ingrained deep in my body.
Scent is how I got into this business of love. A loveologist learns her craft most intuitively through the olfactory, which is the most primal sense we have when if comes to mating rituals. What we smell actually changes the section of our limbic brain that also processes memory and sexuality. When I started out making love oil by hand I was only just beginning to understand the power of scent to connect us to our lovers and ourselves.
Today, using these scents again on a sunny afternoon at lunch hour feels like a dream. In the same way that trying to describe a vivid dream that dissipates even as you open your mouth to describe it, this is how it is to try to describe the worlds we traverse during deep intimacy. Still, if I had only one lesson that I would leave the world, it would be that of all of life’s most profound riches there is nothing that compares to loving someone for as long as you can remember, with your eyes open. Afternoon delight happens as we map the spaces where pleasure arises and stretch the limits of our ability to enjoy and cultivate it. Seriously, if you were to name the best hours of your life, I hope it would be in the center of pleasure that makes us whole.