Welcome back for the second half of my interview with the amazing Chris Unity Bowness. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris on FaceBook about six months ago, I think it was, and almost immediately I began to scheme getting him onto my site as a guest. After some long conversations and some planning and and talking about how we wanted to approach the interview, I’m very glad to welcome Chris to my site for the second part of our interview celebrating sexuality in relationship. Welcome back, Chris, and thanks for joining me!
KD: Recently I’ve begun a series on my blog called Passionate Partners, discussing how partners not only cope, but play a vital role in the careers of erotic writers, and I know from some of our discussions that your wife plays a very vital role in your work. Could you share just a little bit about that relationship?
Chris: From the very outset of our relationship Caroline was sex positive viewing sex, nudity and exploration as a natural ingrained part of life. Rather than it having to be scheduled, discussed and tiptoed around, the usual awkwardness was taken away with the warm, open and comfortable way our relationship and sex could be discussed.
That laid down a very good foundation for our future to be built upon and has created an environment where no sexual debate is out of bounds, whether that be personally in our own relationship or being able to discuss the latest news stories, research or historical aspects of sex.
The way we like to put it is that many relationships have things in common whether it’s the arts, current affairs, religion, politics, celebrities, food. They find common interest and things to debate. Ours just happens to be sex. We are quite happy to start discussions with others too and accept that it might leave some uncomfortable. Having said that, there are a couple of subjects in that previous list that leave me squirming. We’re quite used to the dreaded silence but have learnt that more often than not somebody will be left feeling positive and it’s not uncommon to have them find us later to continue the discussion.
As a mentor I have someone with whom I am able to discuss openly all the subjects surrounding sex. I have someone with whom I can discuss, debate and test out theories. Sometimes those discussions are general, sometimes they may be a specific case. Of course it’s always done with confidentiality. We discuss ideas about what’s going on and ideas to help and support others. This gives me a fantastic environment not only to live in but work in.
Because we promote open two-way communication in relationships people know that Caroline can be just as informative and supportive as I am, so they often ask for her view or tell me to make sure I ask her for her view on the situation so they can get a male and female view of things. Our relationship is very much full-on. Not only do we play together but we also work hard together. We’ve always run our own businesses and been involved with each others. We play to our strengths and weaknesses. That means we have many years of experience dealing with every up and down that could positively and negatively affect relationships.
Finally, what our relationship does is to allow us to explore and experiment with our relationship and sexual pleasures. It allows us to have clear and open discussions about what works and what doesn’t work, or what was enjoyable about it. We are able to step out and look at things in view of what kind of people may enjoy it and why….even if we didn’t. All this hands-on experience puts me in the unique position of being able to pass on our experiences and research to help people not only get the best of their relationships but help them explore their pleasures.
“Nothing risqué, nothing gained.”
KD: If you could give only one piece of advice, something that you think would benefit everyone in their sexual journey, what would it be?
I know this may sound simple but I really believe a great part of what I want to do includes reminding people of the simple things, getting back to basics, because somehow with the modern busy complicated lives we lead it’s been forgotten.
There are many pieces of advice I could give for individual situations but, bottom line, good and bad they all come down to constant open communication. Whether you’re on day one of your relationship or ten years down the line, my advice is to keep talking and conversing openly and honestly not just about the good experiences, like experimenting and exploring, but also when problems do arise, rather than avoiding issues. People avoid discussing problems and issues that arise because they’re afraid it might break them up, when in reality it’s the anxiety and stress that avoiding the situation puts on a relationship that ultimately breaks a relationship down
It’s been my experience with the people I’ve helped that when you stop communicating with your partner your relationship goes into sort of suspended animation. All your views, ideas and thoughts about your partner or your relationship are based on old experiences. Many people I’ve worked with have ideas or make assumptions on conversations or mind sets formed before they stopped talking.
How often do you talk to your partner? And I mean really talk? …Beyond the bog standard good morning? How many times a day do you actively engage in conversation and really connect with each other?
Furthermore, mobiles and social networking gets a bad rep for breaking relationships up but they can be used for good. Even if you both have busy lives a short even slow lingering conversation and keeping in touch throughout the day can do wonders for your relationship. Taking time out of a lunch break to text or message a partner lets them know you’re thinking of them, and taking time to reply even if it’s later in the day can just help reaffirm that connection between you.
Keeping or rebuilding an open honest line of communication today can do wonders for your relationship. My advice…instead of that lunch time game of angry birds…text your fellow love bird instead. You may just be surprised how that one message can be a step towards a happier relationship.
“We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.” ― Marilyn Monroe
KD: Is any one thing you think could happen that would change, for the better, the landscape of how modern culture views sex?
Chris: Without a doubt better education and research. What has shocked me throughout the years is the lack of options and courses available to people who want to study sex and relationships. It seems there are so many courses out there that pander to our basic needs such as art, food, religion, science, music. I mean you can even get a degree in The Beatles. However, there are no courses that cater purely to sex and relationships. Yes there are courses in which sex or an area of sex is a branch or element of core subject but not the main subject and considering what a massive part sex plays in all our lives it’s a shame.
Not only that, but I truly believe that in order to fully enjoy sex and be able to whole heartedly embrace relationships we must learn to appreciate our pasts. By that I don’t just mean our personal history but I mean an understanding of the evolution of relationships and sex over the ages. This can not only help us understand how we got here but also fully appreciate our futures.
KD: What do you think is the biggest detriment to healthy sexuality Westerners face?
Chris: There are two things that go hand in hand, I feel. They are fear and definition.
I believe fear of discussion, debate and communicating positively about sex comes from how Western society defines people by how, where, who and how many people they enjoy sex with.
I feel the media plays a big part in defining norms and classifying those outside the norms as deviants. This drives society’s idea of what is considered normal. Nobody’s relationship falls into the media’s idea of what’s normal and that only serves to stop people from enjoying sex and openly discussing it.
KD: What do you see as the most hopeful thing about sex in the age of internet and social media?
Chris: The internet and social media can be a force for good when it comes to sex positivity by offering more access to a whole range of people who live and work in sex related industries. Being able to have more connection to the people in those areas whether it be educators, therapists, bloggers, makers of sex toys or writers of erotica – like yourself makes sex and the discussions around it so much more approachable. Furthermore, it gives those with positive views and mindsets about sex the chance to meet other likeminded folk and a chance to talk and to realise that our views and consensual expressions of love and sex are natural; that there are others out there who feel and love the same. The internet and social media enable us not only to share these views openly but exchange ideas on how to improve or experiment with those activities to help improve pleasure.