“Like the Victorians, most contemporary Western societies inflate the inherent value of sex by restricting supply (good girl’s don’t) and inflating demand (girls gone wild). This process leads to a distorted vision of just how important sex really is,” say Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá in Sex at Dawn. No one here is trying to diminish the positive reasons for having sex (see Vivi’s Top 10 Reasons for Having Sex) nor undervalue the beauty and complexity of erotic sensual desire and pleasure. Yet what these authors and Esther Perel of Mating in Captivity are saying is: why maintain strict outmoded ideals within monogamous relationships, when human sexual enjoyment could become much more evolved? Ryan and Jethá base many of their insights on anthropology, our closest primate relatives the bonobos, and society’s repressive modes, along with the squelching of female desire. Further discussions, from my review of their book, can be found in the article Reclaiming your Sexual Freedom. “Passionate sex can be an important part of marital intimacy, but it’s a grave mistake to think it’s the essence of long-term intimacy,” note Ryan and Jethá. As explored in numerous publications and by The Sensualogist in The Paradox of More Love and Less Sex, the nature of love and sex change over the course of years. The slow death of desire is often very real. Ryan and Jethá confirm: “It’s a simple, unavoidable truth – but few dare to discuss: variety and change are the necessary spice of the sex life…” Perel reinforces that variety, mystery, and fresh erotic feelings are key. However, she doesn’t stop at suggesting it’s just natural and more open relationships should be explored. Perel takes us further suggesting ways to remedy the boredom or blockage. A brief review of her provocative views on erotic intelligence can be found in Free your Erotic Energy. Eroticism, and the definition of it, is quite dependent on your cultural and personal tastes. Thinking about your own opinions on sexual openness, where are you on a scale of one to ten? Some immediately freeze up when discussions veer away from romantic sex towards erotic sex. Yet a greater openness towards sexual desire and arousal could actually provoke some enlightened conversations and outcomes – conquering uncomfortable and judgmental feelings about enjoying and sharing erotic pleasure. Eroticism deals with the way humans transform sexuality into a mental activity, a mental activity that results in pleasure for its own sake. It’s considered to be a transcendent and evolved experience. Perel calls it, ”a place where you go inside yourself with another.” The Sensualogist feels that the best erotic experiences involve sharing. Suppressing eroticism or hiding it only hurts our physical pleasure, sexual satisfaction and quality of life. The discovery, or re-discovering your erotic nature, can free you of past taboos, patterns and limitations. Free your mind to free your body in newly sensual and erotic ways. To learn more about these books and other recommendations, visit the bookshop.