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  • feedwordpress 10:00:31 on 2017/06/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , eroticism, , imagination, , pleasure, , sexual fantasy, shame, woman   

    When Their Turn On Is Your Turn Off 

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    “My husband and I started talking about our sexual fantasies the other day and I was shocked and disgusted. What do I do now?” – Stephanie, Milwaukee, MI

    Stephanie’s question resonates with many couples because very frequently one person’s turn on is what turns the other off.

    One of the great mysteries of fantasy is that we don’t know why certain things are a turn off and others are the opposite. We don’t understand the preferences of others or ourselves. Sure, we can examine the biography of a person but fundamentally we are in the dark.

    So let’s say you want to know what your partner’s fantasies are, like Stephanie. But what if they leave you feeling inadequate, disgusted or just plain turned off? Here are some things to consider and try out as you open up the fantasy conversation:

    Fantasy is not reality

    Children may play-act that they are in jail. But if they were in jail, they wouldn’t be playing as a prisoner. The first thing that I would say to Stephanie is that fantasy is play, it is not reality, and it is not what her husband wants in the cold hard light of day.

    Stephanie may also be asking why her husband has these fantasies? My colleague Michael Bader aptly said that a good fantasy states the problem and offers the solution. In other words, whatever cultural obstacles or prohibitions you encounter in life, you are allowed in the realm of your imagination.

    The imagination, of course, is not always politically correct. For instance, a rape fantasy is just that: a fantasy of forced seduction. In a rape-fantasy you never experience the dread that accompanies violence, instead you are subverting the idea and transforming the meaning of that experience into a source of pleasure and excitement.

    Don’t play to the shame game

    Stephanie has asked her husband what his private turn on is. And in turn, he has invited her into his secret garden. If she is openly disgusted, she is effectively slamming the gate and running off into the wilderness. By closing off the conversation or reacting with disgust, we induce shame and guilt in the other.

    The erotic mind is very sensitive to censorship and it knows when it needs to go into hiding. Stephanie’s husband may promise never to have these thoughts or voice them again but you can’t eradicate someone’s preferences because you don’t like them.

    So, if your partner reveals himself or herself to you, don’t shut them down. By shutting down the conversation, you are in effect saying: “I want you open up but only on my terms”. Which becomes a power dynamic that is far removed from the inner erotic sanctum.

    Be why-curious

    I have a friend who doesn’t understand why people like to eat pickled octopus. Like taste, fantasy can induce the ick factor for others. But instead of turning away with revulsion, and worrying about the implications of a partner’s fantasy, I encourage Stephanie to remain curious.

    Stephanie can reopen the conversation and ask her husband: what is it about it your fantasy that is pleasurable? Is it that you get to be passive? Ruthless? Give over power? By remaining curious and open, we are asking the other: who are you? We don’t have to understand them, we can simply find out more about who they are which creates space, acceptance and room for play.

    Try something new

    A woman once told me her partner’s fantasy of being seduced in a clothes’ store change room by the attendant. His fantasy made her feel inadequate and cuckolded: why did he have to imagine another woman? But when they tried playing out the fantasy at home, with her playing the attendant, she found that there was pleasure to be had in playing out fantasy. She could bring her own imagination to it so that they both owned the game. Taste, like our palette as we grow from children to adults, can evolve and change. Be open to trying new flavors, you may find something you like.

    Are you ready to get to know your partner? Let me know what you find out and how these conversations change your relationships. I’d love to read your comments below.

    The post When Their Turn On Is Your Turn Off appeared first on Esther Perel.

  • feedwordpress 14:00:25 on 2017/01/01 Permalink
    Tags: , eroticism, Octavio Paz, , ,   

    Quote of the Month: Eroticism 

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    “[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.” – Octavio Paz

    The post Quote of the Month: Eroticism appeared first on Esther Perel.

  • feedwordpress 18:57:40 on 2016/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: , Cliteracy, , eroticism, Female Sexuality, Huffington Post, Ian Kerner, Secret to desire, Sexual Awareness, , Sophia Wallace,   

    I am cliterate! Are you? 

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    Are you cliterate?

    “Being cliterate is understanding female sexuality, privileging female sexuality, respecting female sexuality” Ian Kerner, Sex Therapist and NYT Bestselling Author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman

    Female sexual anatomy and information about pleasureable sex have been primarily neglected in the education system. Many thanks to the team at Huffington Post and Cliteracy for spreading scientifically proven information on the female pleasure center. Watch the video below by Huffington Post’s Cliterate re-educator Jenny Block and let us know what you think.

    Women are having a lot more sex, but is it pleasurable? Is it satisfying? Orgasm is not the sole proof of her satisfaction. There are various connected elements of erotic bliss that lead to a crescendo of pleasure — body awareness, relaxation, presence, and fantasy to name a few. Understanding the female anatomy is a building block to enjoying one’s own body, and pleasing someone else is one important way we can begin to….

    “As many as three quarters of women can’t orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. In fact, just eight percent of women can reliably orgasm this way, studies estimate. An ill-cliterate individual might write off such information as proof that women just aren’t as sexual as men or that their bodies aren’t hardwired for pleasure. But women who are in same-sex relationships have similar orgasm counts to men and achieve climax in the same amount of time as their hetero male counterparts. The same is true when women pleasure themselves. Women’s bodies are not the problem. The problem is that most of us don’t have a full understanding of how they work.” – Huffington Post, Cliteracy Project by Sophia Wallace.

    Clitorial Anatomy Fast Facts:

    • The clitoris is not located inside the vagina. In fact, the “vagina” only refers to the genital opening and passage
    • The clitoris has executive tissue that swells when aroused
    • The clitoral structure in entirely is actually fairly equal in side to the penis
    • The clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as a penis

    Sex Education: The Missing Chapter from The Huffington Post on Vimeo.

    Image: Huffington Post, Cliteracy Project

    The post I am cliterate! Are you? appeared first on Esther Perel.

  • feedwordpress 00:32:40 on 2015/03/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , eroticism, ,   

    How to Put a Healthy Dose of Space & Mystery into Your Relationship 

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    Isn’t space the opposite of what marriage is about?

    Eroticism occurs in the space between self and other.

    It isn’t always the lack of closeness that stifles desire, but too much closeness. And while love seeks closeness, desire needs space to thrive. That’s because love is about having, and desire is about wanting.

    Space invites otherness and differences. Between me and the other lies the erotic élan. In order to have wanting, we need the sense of mystery, a bridge to cross and someone to visit on the other side.

    How do you bring mystery to a relationship that’s quite established?
    When you ask people when they are drawn to a partner, they say, “when I see him or her from a distance… when he plays with he kids, when he surprises me, he is different.” “When she is on stage, doing something she’s passionate about, when we are at a party and I see her talk to hoer and hold court,” etc. In none of these situations are we caretakers, the perfect anti-aphrodisiac, and that person is momentarily less familiar and again mysterious. We make our partners into something knowable. The big illusion is that you actually need to know that person.

    But certainly, after spending day after day with someone, there aren’t too many surprises. You must know that built in to your mate is someone you don’t know. You hear your partner talking to someone else about new things…you find that there are things you don’t know about them.

    How do you take the steps to create mystery and space?
    Be more independent. Have your own friends, see the movie you want to see, cultivate your own interests. Reach out to your partner–the way you would to a friend. Listen to them as a separate person, separate from you. Be curious! Invite them to an evening at the museum instead of he usual movie. It shows that you’re still looking to please, impress, surprise – all erotic elements.

    What if, by attempting to create this space, your mate becomes threatened?
    Ask what they are worried about, reassure them. Indeed, space must be balanced with security. Discovery and exploration rely on a good dose of trust. Indeed some of us are afraid and so we ask our partners to forego their freedom to ensure our security, but does that ever make us really feel secure?

    Is there a risk to allowing someone too much space?
    Fusion is a fake notion of security – there is just as much risk when keeping someone too close. I find that those who leave a relationship are often suffocated. When you feel you have easy movement, and you show your partner you trust them, both parties stay willingly. Yes, there is a danger that some people abuse the freedom (no doubt) or that when they move away the other barely notices it. Too much closeness may be a problem, but too much distance is as well.

    The post How to Put a Healthy Dose of Space & Mystery into Your Relationship appeared first on Esther Perel.

  • feedwordpress 16:45:09 on 2015/03/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , eroticism, , , ,   

    How Infrequent Sex Can Still be Good 

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    Does infrequent sex equal a failing relationship?

    No! Complainers sometimes want more, but they always want better. They want to reconnect with the poetics of sex. There is a real pressure to have sex in a measurable way. It used to be that you were ashamed because you had too much sex before marriage, now you are ashamed because you have too little, too much pressure. People will experience that desire ebbs and flows, but it’s important to focus on how to bring it back. How do you engage each other erotically? There are plenty of warm, affectionate relationships and if the sexlessness is mutually accepted, then there is no problem.

    So the quality is more important than the frequency?
    Yes, people want to feel alive. If there is a spark between you but it only happens every few weeks, that’s okay. The renewal, the connection, the playfulness is what most people are longing for.

    When do you know if you are in trouble?
    If it’s months, or when you say, “I’m living with my brother,” or, it’s like, “I’m married to my best friend who I’m not attracted to,” then the way you perceive your partner has become desexualized. When you feel this couple has become family and the desexualization is not about tiredness or stress. When the gaze is never on you. When you go for months and you never think of it except to hope your partner does not think of it either.

    Must both partners agree to the amount of sex?
    Yes – If both people are fine with the frequency of sex. What is the erotic connection between two people? If the passion is there, infrequency is only a problem when it becomes active avoidance. Desire discrepancy is often a problem, but it is not the difference between the partners as much as how it is deal with.

    The post How Infrequent Sex Can Still be Good appeared first on Esther Perel.

  • nmw 10:31:28 on 2014/10/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , direct, , eroticism, , intelligence, , plain, real, speech   

    Emphasis on egalitarian and respectful sex — purged of any expressions of power, aggression, and transgression — is antithetical to erotic desire, for men and women alike 

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    Ironically, some of America’s best features—the belief in democracy, equality, consensus-building, compromise, fairness, and mutual tolerance—can, when carried too punctiliously into the bedroom, result in very boring sex.


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