Our Philosophy - Jim & Felicia Matto-Shepard
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"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us some thing is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." [e. e. Cummings]

From our perspective, a secure, satisfying, sexually fulfilling relationship is a mature relationship. Erotic partnership is the luscious fruit that ripens when the tree of relationship is properly tended.

In the same way that a master gardener understands and fosters the growth of plants to create beautiful and bountiful gardens, After The Honeymoon programs create the conditions for nourishing, satisfying relationships.

This section describes some of the conditions that foster erotic partnership.

Our Philosophy

While falling in love and having exciting sex often requires little or no work in the beginning, maintaining an enduring passionate partnership requires time, attention and understanding.

Too often couples find themselves years down the road questioning the relationship, "How did I get here?" "Is this all there is?" "What happened to my partner's (or my) desire for sex?" "If only he would be more emotionally sensitive." "Maybe I married the wrong person." "I love her, but I’m no longer in love with her." The luster of early romance inevitably tarnishes with time.

There is a temptation to satisfy our longing by returning to the past. We may yearn for a kinder, simpler time, before the innocence was lost, before the thrill was gone. Some attempt to recapture the honeymoon feelings in their current relationship. Some go from relationship to relationship seeking the thrill of falling in love over and over again. Just as we cannot relive our childhood, we cannot relive the Honeymoon stage of relationship. Deep satisfaction comes from understanding and responding to the necessities of the future and honoring the lessons of the past, not from yearning to return to the past.

While we cannot return to the honeymoon stage of our partnerships, we can experience an even more satisfying erotic connection through participating in the work of transformation together.

The alchemists believed that by taking the raw material of lead and exposing it to the fires of transformation, gold would eventually emerge. Geologists know that coal becomes a diamond only after the application of time and pressure. In these same ways, relationships mature and go through stages. The most meaningful relationships happen when the right conditions are created for transformation.

An essential condition for erotic partnership is that both partners commit to the ongoing process of personal development and to relationship building. Each individual in a partnership must focus on becoming a more efective partner - must actively work on being connected to one's own emotional center, to being authentic and communicating clearly. Each partner must also cultivate genuine caring and appreciation for the other - a willingness to listen deeply, express gratitude, and provide a secure attachment.

This kind of mutual participation in the work of transformation allows us to work on change together rather than cling to being right or blaming the other for the problem.

Trust is cultivated as each individual appreciates and supports their partner's growth. A positive cycle is created as the safety of trust and connection creates even more ability to risk personal change. Generosity naturally increases. As we spiral toward an increase in personal power and collaboration we can risk surrender to the powerful erotic forces that move through us. These erotic forces are not just sexual. They are sexual, but they are more than that. Each of has a core nature that in our own individual way pulls us into passionate embrace with our partner, moves through us as an interest in family and community, and creates a longing to engage fully in our lives.

Sexual problems often manifest in relationships where couples do not understand how relationships develop, when relationship is not made a priority, when partners blame each other rather than working on themselves, and/ or where there is insufcient skill to process diference. All sexual problems that are not based on an organic issue are manifestations of an individual's psychological make up and/or the dynamics that live between the couple. (Check with your doctor if you have any doubt about the organicity of your issue.)

We believe that mature sexual relationships are based in heart connection. We emphasize the emotional building blocks for creating enduring sexual satisfaction.

In addition, a satisfying erotic partnership requires that time and attention be devoted to sexual practice. Some basic practices include discussing specific sexual likes and dislikes, developing the art of flirting and romance, and cultivating personal desire. (While hormones - especially testosterone - play a role in the amount of spontaneously experienced sexual desire a person might have, we must cultivate desire within our long-term sexual partnerships.)

So, cultivating erotic energy in a long-term relationship requires a multifaceted approach that includes personal development, collaboration, and attention to technique.

And, it is a journey of pleasure. The "work" of constructing an erotic partnership is balanced with the creation of a relaxed and romantic atmosphere, the celebration of sensuality and having fun.

Indeed, we believe that transformation happens in dynamic tension. After the Honeymoon is a place to gracefully hold the dynamic tension of our lives - the tension between masculine and feminine energies, between safety and exploration, personal freedom and emotional connection, working hard and having fun.

This amounts to the creation of an erotic lifestyle that uses the dynamic tension of partnership for the soul's transformation. The environment that we create together and the practices that we engage in together form a sacred container for our lives, an alchemical vessel within which we are transformed.

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