Free love is a concept, that has been highly corrupted by anti hippy propaganda and the excesses of the 60s. To many, it means promiscuity and indiscriminate sexual connections. Lost are the connections to women’s rights, privacy rights, and individual freedom. Yet, I find myself using it because the heart of the words, and their historical meaning is exactly what I am trying to get at.
I am a practitioner of free love. For me this arises from the guiding principles that I choose to be the core of my navigation. By love, I mean deeply intimate, resonant, mutually supportive connections with the universe, my world, the beings that surround me. This love strives to be unconditional and independent of like and dislike. It is a wide open, unshielded connection. Free love for me is a practice that involves making no agreements that inhibit my ability to engage in deeply intimate loving interaction. There is no special type or degree of love that I restrict to a limited few or a single individual. I am free to feel into every moment and every connection. This practice also involves exploring the depths of self-love, opening myself to the truth of who I am and allowing this to flow, to the surface for others to see. It also involves learning to open to fully seeing the world around me independent of whether I like what I see.
In loving, I engage with all of my being including my sexuality and I choose to open myself to seeing those beings who surround me in their entirety, including their sexuality. This does not mean that I wish to engage sexually with all that I love. In choosing a path of unconditional love, it is often a challenge to breath through the desire to recoil in horror or wretch uncontrollably. I choose to maintain Monsanto and Adolph Hitler as my metric of personal success in learning to love. Where there is adoration, the confluence of love and like, personal boundaries often come into play. I can appreciate the emerging sexuality in the children who inhabit my life and choose not to shield my sexual nature from them, to love them with the fullness of my being, while maintaining very clear boundaries around sexual contact.
For me, very few beings cross the threshold of consideration for establishing a sexual relationship. There are many considerations from species, boundaries, maturity, ideology, personality, openness to love, and a whole slew of biological factors and social conditioning. Yet, for me to love completely, openly, and freely, I must be able to act upon those few situations that draw me. Why? Why not? I understand sex to be one of the most wonderful, magical, beautiful things that there is and an incredible way to share love and bond with someone. If I and another being find ourselves compatible and drawn to this connection, why would we choose not to engage? I can imagine a few reasons why someone would choose celibacy or monogamy. None of these resonate with me at this time. My research into the exclusive couples paradigm strongly suggests that the primary reason people engage in this agreement is a sense of insecurity and incompleteness, and that finding “the one” can make them safe and whole. While technically, monogamy is defined according to sex, most monogamous couples associate this with a general restriction on depth of intimacy and the idea of a special love that is only for them, that makes them feel special.
My best friend and I are engaged in a deeply romantic, sexual relationship, and domestic partnership. The fact that this is not restrictive or exclusive does not in any way limit the depth, intensity, security, or specialness of our connection. I have a 25 year marriage under my belt with another good friend for comparison in addition to a studious observation of other relationships and marriages. I cannot overstate the incredible feeling of being with her and knowing, in every moment that she is with me, that she chooses to be there because there is nowhere that she’d rather be. It is also wonderfully freeing to know that I am not restricting her in any way. Rather, I am encouraging and energizing her to blossom into the beautiful creature that she came here to be. In choosing inclusiveness, every connection that she engages in enriches me and adds to the love that we have to share. More love is more love.
There are certainly challenges with free love. This is not the norm. It takes a great deal of communication with those around us to enter into a place of comfortable connection. I invite and incorporate a great deal of ‘father’ energy into my being. I find that many women have difficulty with this in combination with not hiding my sexuality. They may be attracted to me or feel that I am attracted to them and that there is something wrong with this. Similar feelings arise when I engage male friends in what feels to them like a romantic way (a kiss on the cheek, flowers or special treats, sustained eye contact). Friends feel that I am ‘cheating’ on my best friend even after the nature of our relationship has been explained. Women think that they shouldn’t feel the way that they feel around me if I am not to be “The One” for them. I have found myself holding back in the face of what I perceive as discomfort. I am moving with intention in the direction of greater vulnerability in communicating what I am about rather than holding back. I am here to love. I choose to be free.