The Paradox of More Love and Less Sex

Navigating the discomfort zone

By Vivienne Arkell

Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. If intimacy grows through repetition and familiarity, eroticism is numbed by repetition.”

Esther Perel’s thinking couple’s bestseller, Mating in Captivity, is so chocked full of conundrums that it will make your head spin.

Let’s say you and your sweetie are engaged or married and total besties. By now you know his favorite foods, music, and pet peeves. You know where on his neck and exactly where below his belt he likes to be touched. He knows how to appease you when you are mad, what to buy you when you are sad and where to caress you for the minimum amount of time and maximum results. You both feel secure and loved. But where is the spark, the tension, the surprise?

“In order to bring lust home, we need to re-create the distance that we worked so hard to bridge. Erotic intelligence is about creating distance then bringing that space to life” Perel challenges.

After all this cultivated closeness, Perel wants us to re-create psychological distance?

Some familiar dynamics need to be shaken-up to bring a sense of the unknown to a familiar space. Cultivate yourself – physically, emotionally, and intellectually – so that you don’t become identical to your partner. You need to feel alone sometimes, to miss your partner and desire them. And visa versa.

“Love is about having; desire is about wanting. An expression of longing, desire requires ongoing elusiveness. It is less concerned with where it has already been than passionate about where it can still go. But too often as couples settle into the comforts of love, they cease to fan the flame of desire. They forget that fire needs air.”

Maybe push aside cultural taboos? Objectify your partner. Pretend he is your slave or provoke him to objectify you. Abandon dependency, lose control, accept vulnerability and uncertainty… Start a new story for the day where you both anticipate a new location, a new outfit, a new role. Longing, waiting, yearning is your new motto. He is a new man taking you in a new way. None of the old ways will work. He must surprise you and spoil you as if you were his mistress. Tease him and make him wait till he earns entry to your highness’s body. Actively engage yourselves in new, erotic adventures.

Perel’s book taunts and teases your mind and dares that your body follows.

To learn more about this book and other recommendations, visit the bookshop.


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