3 Steps to Heaven

Do you remember the song: “3 Steps to Heaven” by Eddie Cochrane? It goes, “Step one: find a girl to love. Step two: she falls in love with you. Step three: you kiss and hold her tightly. Now that sure… seems like heaven… to me.”

Well, if only it were that simple. Just around 20% of couples manage to have a long term, harmonious sexual relationship. So, what is missing?

Some years ago, I had my own version of 3 steps to heaven that kept rattling around in my head: step one – love yourself; step two, love others; and step three, create situations in which love can grow. It’s not as catchy as Eddy Cochrane’s version, but it has worked for me in practice.

My Three Steps to Heaven

Having worked hard in my teens and early 20’s, I decided it was then time to settle down. I met a man when I was 24 and apart from our powerful attraction on a physical level, I loved his mind. It felt right. We were in love and wanted to be together forever. I remember  he used to say “We need to get over this euphoria and calm down.” What? Why wouldn’t you want to keep this state of giddy love going on forever? We became engaged after just a few weeks and were set to marry within 6 months.

To cut a long story short, tensions grew and it all fell apart. I was totally heartbroken and grieved for at least 2 years. The experience left me very fearful of intimacy. I thought I had been in love and yet it all fell apart. How could I ever trust my own judgement again?  Should I even try? That was my attempt at the Eddy Cochrane version of 3 steps to heaven and it had failed.

I didn’t give up hope completely but I was very wary. There was evidently more to learn. I couldn’t trust my own ego’s desires for union. A legally binding relationship was out of the question until I had cracked the code. It took a lot longer than expected, 25 years in fact, to learn the 3 key things about sexual love that are never taught but became my own 3-step mantra. Here’s how they work.

First, learn how to love yourself.

For me, it meant not obediently following family tradition or even the religious doctrine I grew up with. It meant not blindly following the latest cultural trends either. I had to love myself by learning to trust my own intuition. It led ultimately to pulling away from family who were undermining my efforts at self-efficacy. One of the biggest steps was choosing not to have children, but to use my maternal instincts instead for the wider community. That was when I started to grow up.

Importantly, to really know myself and trust my own judgement, I benefitted from using oracles. These tap into our higher expanded consciousness that connects us with the universal heart. Oracles help us to separate out fearful thinking and ego-driven desires from the bigger picture. I used them to find Mr Right. My husband would not have been my ego’s first choice. But I trusted my higher guidance and we have had a most loving and productive relationship for almost 11 years. I continue to use oracles to this day. My favourite is the ancient Chinese oracle the I Ching, but I also like tarot cards.

Second, learn how to love others.

For most people, loving others is about saving our love for The One. The reason this so often doesn’t work long-term is due to a huge biological challenge called the Coolidge effect. It is a design weakness of every mammal, male and female. We have to know about it lest it sabotage our sexual intimate relationships, whatever our sexual identity.

The Coolidge effect is what makes it so difficult for sexual partners to stay in love long-term, as it promotes habituation, a loss of desire and a search for novelty. It’s also why affairs on the side are so common. Nature’s number one priority is passing on genes and isn’t interested in couples being in a long-term state of bliss. It just wants them blissed out for a few months of intense love making to get the job done of creating new life. Ideally they then get bored and move on to pastures new. Are we doomed to inevitable disappointment and endless churn in our relationships? No.

Third, learn how to make love grow.

Good news! There is another way to make love that doesn’t trigger the Coolidge effect. We can express sexual intimacy in a way that actually strengthens bonds rather than weakens them.

It seems that over the millennia many cultures mastered this rather special, little known form of lovemaking, which does not focus on orgasm as the purpose of lovemaking. It appears in the Taoist culture, in Hinduism, in early Christianity, and in many other spiritual and philosophical traditions. It’s also known as Synergy.

It helps us be loving towards others too, not just towards our partner. It works with my third step to heaven, ‘create situations in which love can grow’. It contrasts with conventional climax-focused sex. In my experience, that triggers a stress response in the body and leads to selfishness and emotional distancing over time. Lovers feel this distancing particularly after the initial honeymoon neurochemicals wear off, and with them the sparkle.

Synergy lets us ‘take the glass out of the wound’. That is, to reduce the stressors and trauma from our everyday life. It helps release anger, fear and resentment and not waste time on arguments and remorse. It lets us feel safe to make love truly, the benefits of which spread out to other areas of our life.

Having practised both forms of lovemaking, I can say with confidence that Synergy, is the better and more sustainable way of achieving those awe-inspiring three steps to heaven. Ready to try them?