It can happen to any of us – and perhaps it will happen to all of us. You love your partner. And you know they love you. You created a good life together. They make you laugh. They get you thinking about things differently. They keep you on track.
So why did your sex life disappear? Esther Perel, a family and couple’s therapist in New York city knows why. In her book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic + the Domestic Perel explains how familiarity breeds a lack of desire in relationships that were once filled with passion. The unfortunate truth is that this is almost inevitable, as the heckic-ness of daily life keeps us so busy and disconnected from our partners, that familiarity soon grows into disengagement. And once disengaged from our partners, the journey back to connection can feel daunting.
The good news is that conscious awareness of the challenges of maintaining passion in long term relationships is an important first step in keeping passion alive, or restoring passion to your existing relationship. Perel suggests a wide variety of ‘usual’ activities, like masturbation and role play, to re-awaken passion. These techniques create a lack of predictability during sex that counteracts the disinterest brought about by familiarity.
Perel is unique in her potentially troubling claim that good sex is about the interplay of power between partners, and that erotic vitality requires us to move beyond our notions of what is fair and equal in a relationship to embrace our most erotic imaginings. For many feminists, using power relations to excite sexuality is problematic, and potentially misogynistic. However, this misses the insights in Perel’s work that recognize that relationships always are shaped by power dynamics. Power is enacted through the body as part of the social process – and there is no escaping this. Consciously utilizing the subtle and not so subtle effects of power in our sexual relationships works to keep passion alive, in the bedroom and beyond. Power, when used with loving awareness is the foundation for playful sexuality.
So, if you are looking to put passion and play back into the bedroom and beyond, give this a read.