Couples can develop tools to be re-ignited. When we fall in love with that one special other, most of us feel everything that comes with being in love: a bounce in our step, exciting energy, and anticipation for what is now possible. Our outlook is brighter, activities seem more satisfying, and life feels more alive. Unfortunately for most couples this experience fades over time, becoming difficult to maintain or recapture. Despite our best efforts, couples often settle into a predictable routine with little passion or vibrancy. Without a better explanation, we may begin to wonder what is wrong with our sex drive or if the relationship has lost its spark altogether.
Transform Your Relationship
According to Esther Perel, author, speaker and therapist, there is much more going on with a couple’s love life than is readily apparent. In her groundbreaking work, Mating in Captivity, she reveals astounding information that can transform our understanding, participation and experience of sexual play and attraction. Through years of research, interviews and working directly with couples, she has identified that the essential ingredients to love and commitment are very different from the essential ingredients to sex and erotic attraction. The wisdom she offers gives many couples guidance, hope and tools to enjoy a playful sex life within their committed relationship. While most couples automatically nurture a skill set toward long-lasting love, Perel urges us to nurture another skill set specific to erotic chemistry. Consider the two skill sets below and reflect on where you may be invited to risk and grow!
Nurture Your Relationship
|What Nurtures Love & Commitment||What Nurtures Sexual Play and the Erotic|
|Safety and security||Taking inspired risks, what is adventurous|
|What is known and predictable, enduring||The novel and new, the playful and edgy|
|Commonality: what one shares in common, sameness||Individuality: what makes one exciting, with the other, different from the other|
|Reliability, stability, routine||The unknown, the mysterious, letting go|
|Deeply knowing your partner, knowing all their details||Realizing your partner isn’t a fixed entity, but an ever-growing mystery|
Couple’s Desire and Chemistry
Perel suggests that desire and erotic chemistry are fueled by different qualities and behaviors than long-lasting love. The former is ignited by the unknown, distance and individuality, imagination and surrender. The latter is nurtured by reliability, commonality, security and safety. So, how do couples incorporate both? What is possible then, to have a full sex life within our committed relationships? Some things to consider…
Can we bring mystery and curiosity to what is familiar and known?
Can we nurture the novel and the new along with what is predictable and stable?
Can we bring adventure and risk alongside security and safety?
Can we allow individuality and distance along with togetherness and partnership?
While braving the gap between long-lasting love and erotic chemistry is not easy, neither is living in committed relationships that are languishing sexually. As with anything worth having, begin where you can, take small steps, and trust the larger process. Couples really are more powerful than they think!