My name is Zach Beach, and three years ago I decided to completely devote myself to love. I had no idea where to begin. I had no idea what love meant, or if it was even possible to unravel the mysteries around it. My only guide was my heart, so I decided to follow it.
My heart took me in a lot of different directions. I completed a Masters in Psychology and became a certified Sex Educator with San Francisco Sex Information. I went to psychology conferences, sex conferences, porn conferences, swinger parties, polyamorous gatherings, kinky dungeons, queer potlucks, churches, ashrams, temples, and lecture halls. I explored the work of great poets and even published a poetry book of my own. I read countless books, articles and advice columns about love, looking for illusive secrets into this most powerful and profound force.
Out of all this exploration came four simple conclusions:
- Everyone on this planet is, to some extent, concerned with love.
No matter what race, gender, religion or age, single, married or “its complicated,” the importance of love is undeniable. From parents figuring out how best to love their children, to young lovers who can’t stop thinking about each other, to those married for 30 years and wanting to keep the spark alive, people everywhere encounter very similar problems and have the very same concerns around love.
- There are very few spaces to openly discuss, learn about, and grow our ability to love.
Despite everyone being concerned about love, there aren’t many public places to learn about it. You can’t go to college and major in love, let alone even take a class on it. People are simply supposed to know how to love. Even those that received little or no love as a child are still expected to know how to find and maintain loving relationships.
This leaves those struggling with love- or struggling with a lack of love- few places to turn. Navigating the overabundance of self-help books can be confusing, and therapy is not only expensive but many people feel uncertain about its effectiveness.
- There is a lot of insider knowledge that most people don’t know.
Whenever I talked to couples or sex therapists, many would say something along the lines of “I just wish my clients knew about this.” I learned that there are a lot of basic concepts—from psychology to neuroscience to spirituality to sexual health—that could be a tremendous help to people.
The truth is, porn stars know a lot about sexual health, pick-up artists know a lot about attraction, therapists have a lot of advice about our emotional worlds, and coaches have a thousand and one tips that could save your marriage. Unfortunately, many people in these professions live in small community bubbles and spend a lot of time preaching to the choir.
- There’s a lot of bad advice out there. Really bad advice.
Since everyone is concerned with love, you end up with a lot of people who think they know what makes a relationship work. Unfortunately for most writers of advice columns, there’s a lot of conventional wisdom that has been discounted by actual research. But because this research rarely gets discussed in the public eye, it’s difficult to discern what is fabricated and what is fact.
For all of these reasons and more, I created Learn to Love.
I hope the Learn to Love platform will equip people with the right tools and insights to bring more love into their lives. By showing that love is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and developed, we can all become better at loving and in turn, better at living.
My aim is for Learn to Love to elevate the dialogue we have around love by bringing together leading psychologists, therapists, relationship coaches, and sex educators. I don’t want to provide just what “sounds right,” but what actually works. Not just knowledge but distilled wisdom. And not just pointers and cheeky self-help advice, but applicable methods anyone can begin using today.
Let’s face it: the world of love is changing fast. Kids are exposed to sex and sexual images at younger and younger ages. Dating life has turned into Tinder and texting. Some couples are wondering if marriage is right for them, while others are wondering if marriage is even right for anyone. The world of nonmonogamy and “monogamish” practices are starting to grow as the Internet is making it easier for people to share their thoughts and feelings around alternative ways of loving one another, from polyamory to “open relationships” to asexuality and kink. All of these change makes things more diverse yet also more confusing. Where do we go to talk about these issues?
How we love is how we live. I hope Learn to Love can become an engaging community where people can open their hearts and expand their minds, and I hope that you will add your own voice and help shape our cultural conversation around love.