Before Karl and I share a home, we share a sacred space.

Together in my rented house on Arundel Street, Fremantle, we create our sacred space in a spare room.

Arundel Street, Fremantle

I share the Fremantle house with two young lads in their twenties.

Karl and the boys, Fremantle, 1993

So Karl and I definitely need privacy for our middle-aged love affair.

We imbue our sacred space with a mystical and romantic feeling; it is a place for ritual and transformation. We install a lock on the door (I share the house) and cleanse the room, flicking water into all its corners for extra protection. True to his Romani heritage, Karl loves ritual and anything mystical. He contributes pungent Indian sandalwood incense (noting its reputation as an aphrodisiac), as well as a tiny burner and charcoal for burning frankincense, a delight unfamiliar to me.

I own the other necessary ritual paraphernalia. To make it luxurious and erotic, we decorate our nest with candles, incense, cushions, bells and drums, precious stones and crystals, soft music and low lighting. I choose essential oils to enhance erotic feelings: ylang-ylang, cinnamon bark, clary sage, patchouli, bergamot, and sandalwood. We mist the air and each other with our aromatic blends.

The Melting Hug

Then we lovingly explore the sacredness of our developing relationship. I’ve been reading the recently published Art of Sexual Ecstasy, and it becomes our guidebook.

Our first and most beloved exercise is the Melting Hug. It is blissful and healing. We stand to face each other, nested against each other’s chests, slowly wrapping our arms around each other. Our thighs and bellies meet as we give ourselves over to this trusting embrace. We feel our heart connection.

Later we move on to Soul Gazing. We face each other, held each other, and look deeply into each other’s eyes. That courageous work anchors us when we feel adrift.

Karl is to say later about this magical time: “I was in a rut when I met you. All the spiritual stuff we did together at the beginning of our relationship opened up my heart (and my mind).”

We work through the book’s chapters with great enthusiasm, at one point nearly burning down our temple when a candle sets a lampshade alight. I can’t believe my luck. I quickly learn with Karl what my hippie lover, Mica, could not teach me. Tantric tricks like upside-down pelvic breathing and whooshing through my crown chakra with Mica don’t hold a candle to “The Love”, as Karl calls it.

And we are doing this together.