When the romance is new, raw passion is consuming. The challenge is maintaining the feelings.
Being a sex therapist and 27-year marriage veteran, I have experienced and heard a lot about the ebbs and flow of sexual desire in lasting relationships. Where does the sexy disappear to? February being identified, in the US culture, as the month of love and romance, this month's feature is about "The 5 Steps to Sex" in long lasting relationships. This month of love and romance, coined by the Day of love February 14th, Valentine's Day, is the day of love, passion, sex, anxiety, distress and infamy.
When the relationship or romance is new, without effort or thought, the spontaneity, creativity, raw passion and lust consume the partners. The atmosphere and entraps us in its essence. The challenge is maintaining the feelings of spontaneous combustion of erotic energy over the course of time and the changing roles as the relationship blossoms. As the relationship expands with time, the possible feelings of anxiety, distress, infamy and resentment of our partners begin to permeate the union when it comes to the topic of love and romance. This does not have to be the expected norm of lasting relationships. Lasting relationships can be maintained and exist in a continuum of erotic ecstasy and the excitement of sexual expressive freedom.
Whether you have experienced the wane in your sexual relationship, romantic life or not, we have all said,"I do not want to emulate my parent's." As we reflect upon their lack of romantic expression, or become repulsed by thinking of our parents or senior citizens as sexual, loving and romantic beings we can very often fall into a state of unknowing self-fulfilling prophecy, and lean towards the very behaviors we have sworn off. Our environmental experiences from our childhood, cultural, social norms and taboos, create mental constructs that we fail to evaluate and reconstruct as we transition throughout life. Allowing those ideas to crowd our minds traps our creativity and desired sexual freedom.
How do we keep the passion, spontaneity, and raw sexual lust in a lasting, role changing relationship?
- Between consenting individuals, sexual activity does not have to fit within the restraints of cultural/political correctness. When sex is carried out from this perspective, it will result into boring sex. Sexual desire doesn't play by the same rules of communal citizenship, equality, maintaining peace and contentment in the social relations between partners. Sexual expression and excitement are politically incorrect, often thriving on power plays, role reversals, unfair advantages, imperious demands, seductive manipulations, and more....
- Maintain an openness that allows for frequent impulsive acts of expression in your sexual experience. Too often long term relationships are limited to the predictable, routine and ultimately mediocre. Change it up every once in awhile.
- Be open to allowing your physical pleasure to create a unique safe haven that words cannot create. A safe haven that allows you to freely express through your challenges and stresses passionately and sensually.
- Allow your sexual desire and sexual expression be an uninhibited space that allows for your primal and core-self to express itself in a way that can only be felt, received and experienced. Sex and romance are the pathways to escape your anxieties and the obsessive demands of life. When allowed, physical pleasure can tune out the too often numbing stress of everyday life. It provides peace and self-revelation, along with a sense of connection that we all openly and secretly desire.
- Maintain a healthy dose of fantasy and role play. Fantasy can maintain an element of lust in the relationship, allowing partners to see each other from a different perspective, a new light, tantalizing all of the senses. Fantasies and raw direct request for affection are not relationship transgression. Your partner wants to express and share the experiences with you.
As Octavio Paz, Mexican essayist, wrote, eroticism is "the poetry of the body, the testimony of the senses. Like a poem, it is not linear, it meanders and twists back on itself, shows us what we do not see with our eyes, but in the eyes of our spirit. Eroticism reveals to us another world, inside this world. The senses become servants of the imagination, and let us see the invisible and hear the inaudible."
Long lasting relationship passion and eroticism is possible. You must allow yourself to be open, not judgmental of yourself or your partner and be willing to allow yourself to bask in the freeing and fantasizing sexual aspect of the mind.
Todd Malloy is a relationship and sex therapist in in private practice in Charlotte, N.C. and an adjunct professor of the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program (UMSHCP), which provides comprehensive education and training to professionals interested in the field of sexual health. For more information on enabling your inner power to celebrate and live an empowered life, visit www.ipcctr.com or call (704) 937-2286.