The Space Between...

The Space Between...

"The Space Between/The tears we cry/Is the laughter keeps us coming back for more/The Space Between/The wicked lies we tell/And hope to keep safe from the pain"  the Dave Matthews Band      

I finished reading Mating In Captivity:  Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, by Esther Perel, this past week while on vacation.  It was very good, offering a number of different insights into the psychology of relationships.

The connecting point between her work and mine can be summed up as “the space between”.  She takes a therapist’s approach, while I take a coach’s and a mystic’s approach. But we come together in “the space between”.  

She returns repeatedly to the point that while committed long term relationships need union, comfort and familiarity, erotic relationships thrive on differentiation and mystery.   From a Tantric perspective, the erotic in a relationship thrives on the polarity

between the masculine and feminine essence we each carry within us.

Sexual attraction requires polarity; it’s like two magnets where the opposite poles attract. And yet, when most couples build a long term relationship, it’s built on shared goals, dreams, and values.  Committed, long term relationships are built on similarities rather than differences, and as the relationship is built, the goal is to bring you together, to blur the lines of demarcation between “me” and “you” and create “we”.  For a time, in the beginning, the committed relationship and the sexual attraction run on parallel tracks, so that one might not realize that they are separate entities.

Then eventually, what strengthens the relationship deadens the fires of passion.  You begin to think of yourselves as a unit, rather than as separate individuals.  For years, when talking about something I had done, I used “we” instead of “I”.  I lost myself somewhere in the merging, as most people do.  It’s a tricky thing, to create a union and maintain individuality at the same time.  Sexual attraction requires and object and a subject.  If  there’s no “I”, there’s no one to be attracted to, and no one to do the attracting. It’s a paradox, and it takes a heroine to successfully embrace the paradox.  

I won’t kid you, it takes a lot of work to maintain passion in a long term relationship.  It’s so easy to slip into the baggy sweats, both literally and figuratively.  It’s so easy to slip into routines, not just with sex but with life in general; it’s Friday night, time for pizza and an orgasm. 

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What if you used your sexual encounters as play time?  Think of it as a time out from reality.  What do you fantasize about?  Our fantasies tell us a lot about our desires and the taboos that run around like sex police in our heads.  It can be really healthy (and lots of fun!) to act out these fantasies. Lighten up a little, don’t take yourself so seriously.  Maybe next time, your sexual encounter can be about the journey, not the destination. How much FUN could you have… in the “space between” the sheets?