My favorite sex therapist in the whole world is Esther Perel. I am inspired by her intelligence, her thought provoking ideas, her infectious enthusiasm, and her wisdom about how to create vibrant, deep connections with self and another through our own eroticism… she is just a gem!
Perel’s perspective emphasizes living fully engaged and celebrating all of our human experiences. Which, of course, is the essence of connecting to our deepest desires and our true erotic selves. She talks about how the pressures and enormous expectations within modern marriage and domesticity work against developing and nourishing our desire, our passion, and our intrigue in our partner. But with her beautiful wisdom and her innate hopefulness and joy about the challenges of life she states: “Reconciling the erotic and the domestic is not a problem to be solved, but a paradox to be managed.” I love this because if it is not a problem to be solved or to avoid or to fear, then we are more likely to learn how to accept and even embrace it as a part of the existential paradox of living, loving, partnering. We are more likely to move toward this with curiosity and integrate this into our lives in ways that fuel our desire.
So, how do we keep our erotic selves alive and fully engaged in life when so much of our time and energy is focused on chores, children, responsibilities, work? We must learn how to balance freedom to be ourselves and to keep growing, with the importance of honoring our commitments and our connections to another. We must take the time to step back and look at our ourselves and our partner through new eyes, not assuming we already know all there is to know.
Perel encourages us all to give ourselves the gift of eroticism by embracing mystery and curiosity, by accepting and loving ourselves with confidence, by tapping into our aliveness, our imagination and our vitality and by creating distance between our beloved and ourselves. Without distance and with too much closeness, we lose our desire. As Perel says, “Desire needs a bridge to cross the distance between ourselves and another.”
How is your erotic energy and desire? How much have you been ignoring, minimizing or avoiding fueling this vital aspect of your well being? What small steps can you take today to re-connect with your deepest desires and fuel your passion for yourself and for your life? Remember to thank yourself that you took the time to value the gift of your eroticism. Your partner will thank you too!