Life, Luscious Life!

Malika was stunned to re-discover the beauty, intensity and Tantric message of a passionate tale of an affair between an aristocratic woman and her gamekeeper.

Mellors and Lady Chatterley

I’m in love with a man who’s been dead for 80 years.
My heart has been sprung open, my joy for life enflamed and my desire ignited by his tale of a humble gamekeeper and his aristocratic mistress.
I speak of course of DH Lawrence and his most infamous novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (see left: Sean Bean and Joley Richardson from the 1993 BBC series). For those of you that don’t know the story, it goes something like this: Lady Chatterley is an upper class young woman, married to fellow young aristocrat Sir Clifford, who got paralysed from the waist down in the First World War. They had one month of married life together before his injury. The main action of the book begins two years later, when she is becoming worn out and numbed by life with her husband, who lives solely in his mind and has nothing but contempt for the working men over whom he rules (he’s the local mine owner).
Then she meets Mellors.
Mellors is her husband’s gamekeeper, who has himself been scarred by life. He has shut himself away from human connection, though is still a passionate and tender man under the surface. They begin a love affair and their desire for each other sparks the life back into them, finding not only each other but a love of life, and the guts to stand up for their own truth.
My love affair began by a chance watching of a DVD of the BBC series, made 18 years ago, which caused a stir because of its explicit sex scenes, some of which I remembered from watching it then. What hadn’t stayed in my memory was the tender beauty of the way the love affair between Lady Chatterley and Mellors, was portrayed, which touched my heart as surely as the sex stirred my loins (I can quite see why a nation of women wanted to meet Sean Bean in the woods after this!!)
I was inspired, and so got the book. What I wasn’t prepared for was an even more touching, beautiful, life-affirming experience, as Lawrence expresses to us, through these gorgeous characters, his passionate love of life, and his disregard of the will of industrialised society, that seeks to take away our connection to all that is natural, alive and free.
His descriptions of their love-making are surely some of the most divine in the English language, take this as one example of many:
“…all her womb was open and soft and softly clamouring like a sea-anemone under the tides, clamouring for him to come in again and make a fulfilment for her……and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring and in strange rhythms flushing up into her, with a strange, rhythmic growing motion, swelling and swelling till it filled her cleaving consciousness. And then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation, swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness, till she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling. And she lay there crying in unconscious, inarticulate cries, the voice out of the uttermost night, the life-exclamation. And the man heard it beneath him with a kind of awe, as his life sprang out into her….And they lay, and knew nothing, not even of each other.”
How delicious!
In some ways Lawrence was still a man of his time – there’s little in the way of foreplay in the early sexual encounters and there’s a subtle fear of women detectable in novel. But for me this doesn’t take away from the expression of sexual and human freedom which he portrayals so fervently.
Reading these words of passion stirred something deep in me, calling me to connect to my rootedness, to my flesh and bone existence, to my longing for a 100% man, to my desire to be utterly woman – dissolved and surrendered to existence – realising that I’ve never really allowed a man deep into the core of me.
Writing this book more than 80 years ago, Lawrence was dismayed by the inhumanity of the society he lived in then, which still rings very true for us today. Although he had a brilliant mind, he knew that to live only in the mind created misery, and his manifesto called for an embracing of life, sex and the body. He said:
“Doing the dirt on sex is the crime of our times, because what we need is tenderness towards the body, towards sex, we need tenderhearted fucking.”
That most people still know this book for its use of ‘obscene’ words and that it’s somehow a byword for ‘dirty sex’ shows our society still hasn’t embraced tenderness towards the body or sex, despite sexual images being everywhere.
If you want to be swept away on a tide of passion for love, life and sex, spend a few days with Lady Chatterley and her lover, still as raw and relevant now as it was back when affairs between ladies and gamekeepers truly were forbidden love.

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