The Good, Bad and Ugly of Habits and Traditions

When ritual becomes a rut

Issue #46

By Vivienne Arkell

Ritual in the form of traditions can be deeply delightful and fulfilling. Who doesn’t love getting chocolates or roses on Valentine’s day, a birthday with cake and presents, or turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving.

Ritual as rhythm is a vital and essential facet of our daily wellbeing. Good rituals and practices strengthen our core: physically, mentally, and soulfully. Exercise, yoga, therapeutic baths, and massage enliven body flow plus flexibility. While personal journaling, meditation, faith and study enhance self-worth, connection between mind and soul, sensitivity as well as sensuality.

Yet what happens when rituals shared with our intimate partners become routine habits? When we just go through the steps of a quick kiss at the doorway or making love in the same mode? Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, reminds readers that although “intimacy grows through repetition and familiarity, eroticism is numbed by repetition.”

Many old routines have a way of blocking creativity, flexibility, fresh energy and flow. Isn’t the new and less attainable more exciting than that which you already have or know? Whether it’s a new TV, friend, restaurant, vacation spot, or activity. Doesn’t that freshness excite you and challenge you to be your best and brightest? Might a little mystery, playfulness and a yummy surge of passion spice up your relationship?

Continuity and feelings of security make us feel comfortably grounded. But is that always a good thing? Perel also explains how all of this closeness, familiarity and certainty often ends up “draining the vitality out of the relationship.”

Do you truly adore having your partner in your life? Make sure you show it by breaking out of any rut with old sexual routines and rituals. Surprise yourself and your lover by getting creative. Open your minds and bodies to new locations, moves, games, and responses. Reconnect with fresh habits and a new ritual that will become tradition, ready to be challenged next year.

Check out Mating in Captivity by Esther Peel in The Sensualogist bookshop.


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