Alright, so this blog post is about a hot topic (pun intended) …a topic that is so important and central to our lives as human beings, yet we don’t talk enough about it because you know… we are a busy generation! We are always busy. We are busy with school, with our families, busy trying to maintain a workout routine, busy trying to eat healthily, so who has the time to think about…eroticism? (Woah, did I hear you gasp?).
In fact, research shows that younger people now have less sex. There is obviously nothing wrong with being busy, however, life is about more than checking things off your list. I hope you know this by now 🙂
Eroticism is an essential part of being human and it is something that only humans can experience (Unless animals are secretly erotic too, I don’t know). Animals have sex. Humans, we…we fantasize, we dream, we anticipate, we appreciate sensuality, we touch, we kiss…sex is richer and a lot more complex for us than just the act of sexual intercourse. We have sex for pleasure, not just to reproduce.
So, if we want to have satisfying sexual experiences, especially in long-term relationships, we need to befriend eroticism and open the door for her. (yes, eroticism is female in my mind).
So, thinking about the topic of eroticism and ‘erotic intelligence’ started when I stumbled upon the book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by the author Esther Perel. The book was a delight to read and Perel did a fabulous job illustrating her points with stories from her practice (She is a couples’ and family therapist). In the book, Perel answered two fundamental questions. The first was: Can we desire what we already have? And the second was: Does good intimacy always make for hot sex?
You must be wondering about the answers to those questions…
Yes, we can desire what we already have, but in order to do that, we have to embrace uncertainty and know for a fact that we do not ‘own’ our partners or think that they are ‘ours’. This may seem to be counterintuitive at first, I mean, we are socialized to be monogamous and that brings an element of ownership to our relationships. You think because you are married that you know everything about your partner, and you live under the illusion that you have discovered everything there is to know about them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In order to desire what you already have, it requires introducing uncertainty into the relationship and that could be as simple as letting go of the illusion of certitude. You could lose your partner to death in a matter of seconds or you could lose them to someone else; never stop showing them that you care. Never take for granted that they have chosen you; they still have the free will to leave. Just simply being aware of those facts is enough to introduce uncertainty and as a result to keep you desiring what you have.
Also, remember that your partner is inherently mysterious. They are a separate human being from you; they are a whole other universe. Never think you got them all figured out, if you do, you can kiss desire goodbye.
Try perceiving your partner through the eyes of a stranger; someone who doesn’t know them and who is fascinated by them.
Passion in a relationship is intimately connected with the amount of uncertainty you can tolerate. That is not an easy concept to grasp. This may trigger fear of loss and fear of abandonment in many of us. However, this is a matter of recognizing facts of life 🙂 Remember that change and impermanence is the only constant in life.
Now, does good intimacy always make for hot sex?
In life, there is and will always be a constant tension between intimacy and passion, security and adventure…intimacy thrives on closeness, sharing while passion thrives on distance, anticipation, separateness. The paradox between security/intimacy and passion/adventure is something we have to manage; it shouldn’t be perceived as a problem to solve.
We need a bit of both at different times of our lives, however, it is difficult to experience both fully at the same exact time.
To answer the question, if you want to have hot sex, you need to create space in your relationship. Psychological and physical distance results in anticipation and desire.
As Perel words it perfectly “ Love seeks closeness, but Desire needs distance”. In fact, too much closeness can indeed impede sexual desire. Perel suggests that in order to keep desire and erotic energy alive in relationships and in order to continue having hot sex, we need to nurture a sense of selfhood. Creating distance in relationships appears to be essential to eroticism. We need to develop the courage necessary to step back from the comfort and security of the relationship and feel more alone.
Finally, on a different note, you can learn a whole lot about a society’s values about sex from simply observing their thoughts and attitudes towards adolescent sexuality and sex education. Perel brings a European view of adolescent sexuality as a normal developmental stage on the journey to healthy adult sexuality. To me, this is a refreshing concept, one I wanted to share in this post and that I intend to practice If I have children in the future.
Sex is never the problem. Being irresponsible about sex is the real problem.
I will stop right here. As always, I highly recommend reading this book if you want to learn more about eroticism and relationships in general!
If you have read the book, feel free to share your thoughts below 🙂