PARTNERSHIP STRUGGLES? LET’S TALK PASSION!
Let’s DO IT! We’re adults, right? Let’s talk passion and, yes, sex. Contrary to current proper American beliefs, neither are dirty words! Besides, sex has three letters, not four. I consider most dirty, or “bad,” words to have four letters. Words such as hate, cook, and poop (the one that starts with “s” and rhymes with spit) top my “bad” list. Oh, and the “f ” word when used in all the angry and mean ways — that’s a yucky (technical term) four-letter word. I’m not referring to that either.
I’m referring to the kind of passion and sex (and, yes, even the “f ” word) that’s good, positive, and beautiful. The kind that connects and enhances the love between two people. I’m not advocating for or arguing against the tawdry business of the famous Red Light District in “anything goes” Amsterdam. Ditto for common corporate marketing plans – so unoriginal. They use tacky and desensitizing “sex sells” concepts. However, this isn’t about hearts and flowers and unicorns and rainbows either. Those concepts are all so “yesterday,” i.e. dated, unimaginative, and downright ordinary.
Instead, consider sex at its most primal. Sprinkle it with creative passion. Re-commit playfully.
(NOW we’re talkin’!)
Consider Esther Perel’s international bestseller. It’s in paperback: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. She “offers a bold, provocative, new take on intimacy and sex.” She makes her point using man’s often limited ability to communicate his own needs, wants, and desires. She validates how we repeatedly face this confusion in our relationships without understanding why, women included.
One of her many amazing points: “Through sex, men can recapture the pure pleasure of connection without having to compress their hard-to-articulate needs into the prison of words.” Of course, this also goes for women. We’ve been taught, directly and/or indirectly, that passion, sex, and/or sexuality, are bad, dirty, or only for making babies. Americans are, generally speaking, rather puritanical about this topic. (Maybe this attitude is contributing to high divorce rates in an era of immediate, and even extreme, gratification?)
When we compare notes about the “empty nest” syndrome, faced as our youngest children head to college or get off the parent-payroll, whispered adult conversations turn to taboo themes like “midlife crisis” and “marital abandonment.” Talk about a transitional period in relationships!
Usually, at this point, marriages break down, the very time when we’ve been given explicit permission to put ourselves on the top of the priority list! Years of dedication to Little League practices and piano recitals, endless homework and harried schedules have been rewarded by a return to life B.C. (Before Children) … only better. We believe our little darlings will care for us when we’re old and doddering, while we (finally!) get to run around the house naked again and have sex in any room we choose!
We’ve forgotten about that deep yearning we’d felt for our partners. We’ve forgotten what turned us on. We assume our spouses remember and freak out when they don’t. We’ve allowed our relationships, and really ourselves, to slip far down Life’s totem pole (pun intended). We’ve let go of sexual curiosity, sensual longing, and delicious passion we once shared with our now longtime partners. In short, we feel like strangers.
Provocative books and movies stir parental angst instead of adult curiosity. We assume we’re well past those “young, reckless, new love” stages. We’ve “matured” (read: aged), as have our marriages. Aren’t we supposed to speak about our older children or the latest community concerns (a.k.a. gossip)? How dull and mind-numbing!
Friends laugh when I, normally quite private and seemingly proper, so transparently share my absolute glee that sex is no longer for procreation but recreation! A few are always horrified at my unashamed honesty, while most seem relieved that I’ve said what they’ve wanted to: we need to still matter.
The characters in G.A.S.P., the first book in my trilogy (alert: shameless promotion happening), address these midlife transitions and concerns of partnership struggles, absent passion, and conforming (even prudish) sexuality. Does any of this resonate as true for you?
I’ve reasoned we unnecessarily age when we neglect our human need for physical contact through intimate touch. In so doing, we’ve neglected deep and meaningful parts of our partners and ourselves. Mrs. Perel’s premise speaks to my heart as well as my naughty playful spirit about sex, passion, and our spouses: “Can we desire what we already have?” I agree with her: YES WE CAN!
So, let’s do more than ignore, or just talk about, sex and passion. Instead of turning away from our spouses, let’s rediscover them. Enjoy what brought us together to begin with, what connected us…if you know what I mean.