Tending Eros in Longterm Relationships
RETREATS on MINDFUL SEXUALITY for COUPLES
RETREATS on MINDFUL SEXUALITY for COUPLES
Our couple’s retreats will teach you skills to weather these difficulties and transform your relationship.
Cultivates deep connection and trust when intimacy is fading.
Cultivates curiosity and engagement when passion is ebbing.
Cultivates freedom and play when creativity is dwindling.
Cultivates mystery and surprise when spontaneity is waning.
These retreats will show you how to expand beyond deadening routines and recover the creativity that often gets lost with the passage of time together.
Regardless of whether you’re in a sexual drought or fully nourished erotically, Tending Eros will help you establish a more awake and passionate erotic life.
In this introductory retreat, you will learn how mindfulness can revitalize your erotic bond. Tending eros requires cultivating a fresh mindset to overcome the dulling effect of familiarity in long-term relationships. You can recover the intimacy and passion that once was yours by adopting a present, curious and exploratory state of mind.
We will hold space for you to re-access your embodied wholeness as you gently explore your sexual initiation and work together to heal erotic wounds. As you learn to see, touch and share with renewed curiosity and Presence, you will discover where you have been stuck or deadened.
You will come to understand why the intensity of your sexual relationship has waned and how mindfulness can bring it back.
In our second retreat, you will learn to use normally divisive issues to become cooperative allies. Tending eros involves appreciating your different levels of desire and arousal pathways. Time and again, we have seen couples transform what felt like challenging impasses into catalysts for connection simply by sharing the deeper—often hidden—vulnerabilities at the core of their conflicts.
Just as growth is evident when the first shoots surface from beneath the soil, connection grows when we disclose our unseen fears and desires to our partner. With a newfound spirit of compassion and curiosity, you will mindfully study the emotional states you both go into that lead to arguments and deadlocks.
Together, you will discover how an undefended way of loving opens the door to cooperation and deep connection.
In our third retreat, you will develop an embodied trust in your ability to express your erotic impulses while fully honoring your boundaries. Tending eros now involves letting your various erotic “parts” find full expression. All too often, the energy flattens out between us when we keep the juicy, more edgy aspects of ourselves hidden from our primary partner. This happens because we are afraid of threatening the preciousness of our bond. Yet becoming less protected erotically connects us as deeply as being unprotected emotionally.
Building upon your solid base as an Erotic Team, you will practice disclosing your deepest desires to one another. By befriending –and expressing– the many guises of your desire, you can add color and variety to the garden of delight you have been tending together. As facilitators, we hold space for you to give voice to the erotic parts that live inside of you as you explore fantasies that you may have kept hidden all these years, perhaps even from yourself.
Time and again, participants tell us that participating in Expression releases layers of shame and is “fun and thrilling.”
In this retreat, you will learn to fully attune to your intrinsic eroticism as you build on the enduring sense of mystery, freedom, and playfulness growing between you as a couple. Tending Eros now involves following your erotic impulses in whichever direction feels most fulfilling right now. Welcoming your abundant harvest, you can mix and match flavors in wonderful and inventive combinations, picking only what is ripe and inviting.
We have often seen how feelings of performance “inadequacy” transform into feelings of compassion, curiosity, and in turn, creativity when you allow your body to be a vessel and guide for the dynamic energy inside of you both. By learning and practicing the skill of Erotic Attunement, you will come to know in your body – feel in your bones – that your Pure Erotic Potential is always there for you to both tap into.
This will serve as the basis of your future together to ensure that your lovemaking is – and will continue to be – mindful, playful, fresh, and fully expressed.
PASSION & PRESENCE retreats are especially helpful for couples who are:
• In a loving relationship, but having little or no sex with each other
• Interested in using sex for growth and transformation
• Unsure how to speak openly about their sexual desires and fears
• Adjusting to physical changes due to aging or illness
• Seeking more freedom, ease and play in their lovemaking
• Stuck in power struggles, hurt and resentment about sex
• Wanting the benefits of commitment without giving up thrills
• Wanting to build a solid foundation for the years to come
The training format consists of morning mindfulness followed by “group time” and one-on-one support from the leaders.
We intentionally foster an environment where couples support other couples. This dissolves the silence around sexuality that leads so many of us to feel deficient and ashamed. Rest assured, however, that we also respect your privacy. You will never be required to share explicit details about your sex life.
Throughout the day, we give short talks on mindful sexuality followed by experiential (non sexual) exercises that you complete under the supervision and modeling of the leaders.
We help you get connected right from the start, so that you can meet difficulties as a team. This is why we practice in class and give you assignments at night. We want you to feel confident that the skills you learn in the retreat will transfer to your life at home.
You will also receive private exercises to complete before and after group sessions.
These are not hands-on techniques, but rather gentle guidelines to cultivate a present and exploratory state of mind. Most participants find that the exercises add safety, particularly if you’re at an impasse, but you can always modify them to fit your individual needs.
Yes. Starting with the first retreat, you will acquire more ease in talking openly about sex. This happens through ice breakers, structured dialogues and hearing the leaders talk about sex. We will teach you how to slow down, notice, and report on your experience in a way that engenders curiosity and compassion from your partner rather than defensiveness or withdrawal. We also teach you how to find your way back to a mindful state when you get triggered.
Time and again we have seen couples recover the love and passion that once was theirs. This happens by starting to repair past hurts and becoming more vulnerable with each other. As you speak your deeper truths, you become re-acquainted and often re-engaged with one another. While this doesn’t happen for every couple, we have seen it often enough to know that emotional honesty can be a powerful aphrodisiac.
Almost all of us carry unresolved hurts, disappointments and fears that, when unnamed, create a wedge between us and our partner. We introduce communication processes that invite a level of transparency that builds the needed safety to let yourself see and be seen by your partner. The trick is wanting to be reconnected rather than simply “venting.” If your true intention is to heal and grow closer, then it is possible to name things in a way that deepens rather than destroys connection.
In regard to your second question: We advocate as strongly for boundaries as we do for self-expression. We honor your internal knowing about what is best for you and never push you to go beyond your limits. Therefore, you are always in charge of when, how, and with whom you disclose.
If you have a genuine interest in reconnecting erotically, even if you don’t know how to or haven’t had sex in a while, then our retreats will be beneficial for you. If you are in an active crisis, or if cooperating in a joint exploration feels impossible, then we suggest you do other therapeutic work first.
If you feel contempt for your partner, or have already “left” the relationship and do not want to return, then our retreats are not for you. We are happy to talk with you about your situation to determine if attending our retreats is the right course of action for you.
Figuring out which retreat is right for you can be hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Our retreats focus on using sex for enjoyment and transformation. The facilitators are credentialed therapists and life partners with decades of experience teaching mindfulness, leading groups and helping couples get unstuck. We meet with every couple individually, developing a relationship with you and following your journey as a couple.
We also provide personal coaching as needed throughout the retreat, particularly when you are triggered. Instead of avoiding sex to avoid problems, you will learn ways to work with difficulties that help you grow as a couple.
Many sexual enrichment programs focus on ways to enhance pleasure and performance. Knowing how to pleasure each other is important, but so is having tools to work with the limiting beliefs, unresolved hurt and shame that leads many people to avoid sex in the first place.
By learning how to explore your experience as a team, you can begin to access your Pure Erotic Potential. This is the vast creativity available to you when you let go of goals and become embodied and attuned. While many enrichment programs focus on your sexual behaviors, we focus on your state of mind. We teach you how to enter a “state of novelty” to experience more variety in your love-making. You will learn to attune to, and be guided by, the dynamic erotic energy inside of you instead of following familiar pathways to arousal.
If you just learned about your wife’s affair, you need time to recover your equilibrium and heal. These days, affair recovery is thought of as a series of stages that include recovering from the crisis of the disclosure, understanding the meaning of the affair and re-envisioning your post-affair relationship. The final step is erotic recovery.
If you have moved through the first few stages and feel ready to re-engage erotically, then by all means attend our retreat. However, since you said you are in crisis, we suggest you work through the other phases first.
The retreats build on each other and must be taken in sequence. This is because we teach and practice different mindfulness skills each retreat. We want you to practice the skills in between sessions so they become integrated into your erotic life. Going step-by-step also builds the needed trust to risk expressing your deeper desires with one another and to embrace erotic challenges as a team.
You are not alone. Many people have trouble expressing their desires to their partner or even knowing what they want. They have little practice looking within or have prohibitions against acknowledging their sexuality. Many of us learned early in life that our needs don’t matter, so we calibrate to others and quietly “wait our turn.” Or, we may have asked for something and it didn’t go well, so we stopped asking. We address these very common issues in our retreats.
We also use mindfulness to help you listen to the deepest parts of you, to help you first get clear about where you are so you can give voice to your desires. Our mindful approach is about helping you access your inner knowing, rather than fixing you or changing your relationship.
Yes. Our retreats welcome couples of all orientations and preferences. Every couple, no matter their orientation, will face an ebb of desire due to over-familiarity and will go through bodily changes that affect partner sex. Knowing how to stay connected during these phases and having ways to enliven Eros is what Passion and Presence® is all about.
We don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced some shame around their appearance. Many of us struggle with feelings of unworthiness if we don’t match an idealized image of desirability. This can dampen desire and cause us to avoid sex altogether. We celebrate diversity and believe that every human being has a right to enjoy and express their sexuality, no matter their size, shape, or age. According to the feedback we receive, we are very good at establishing a safe, non-judgmental and inclusive environment.
Almost all of us have experienced some level of relational and sexual wounding. We take this as a given and offer tools to heal erotic wounds. You can name your experiences if you want to, but you will not be expected to do so. Many people with a history of trauma are relieved by how much attention we place on going slowly, staying mindful and relinquishing goals. The tools we offer are designed to help you feel more united around working with unpleasant feelings that arise during love-making. We offer ways to honor your limits by becoming more embodied and self-aware. We also help you heal from the past by teaching you how to stay connected to yourself and your partner in the present.
€500 non-refundable deposit