You can feel in your body that the arousal of desire has a heat to it, it’s the movement of fire inside of us – the flames of passionate desire for hot, sweaty, instinctual sexuality that makes us feel ALIVE. And you can probably also feel how the calm waters inside the intimate bonds of emotional closeness, allow us to relax deeply into a precious vulnerability that opens a deep feeling of SAFETY & containment. What everyone really wants is to feel both, yet in relationship sexual desire is most often what gets sacrificed, in favour of emotional intimacy. Why is this?
Many of us want deep connection, to enjoy comfort in the safety of family, with someone we really love. Many of us also want freedom to explore our own expansion, to feel unhindered as we follow our own energy, into exciting & unknown places. It’s clear to see which side is more socially acceptable in modern culture, and which side is shamed or shunned in a variety of ways that push it into the shadows of ‘unfaithfulness’.
But we all know what happens when there is too much water – it puts out the fire. It’s not rocket science, yet the amount of drama that goes into trying to avoid facing it is immense. Over-sharing from our emotional realm puts out the flames. Desire for sex is diminished, orgasm is contracted and access to the Mystery via eroticism is suppressed, or compromised just enough to maintain a mediocre relationship that gets held in place through mental assertion in some cases, because their bodies are no longer truly responding. Then attention wanders towards those who can allow the unexpressed part of you, from the innate need to feel whole.
Lets enter into an understanding here within the safety of this blog, where neither side of these natural human desires are made wrong or bad – they just are, they exist. Lets assume they are both equally necessary…. and holy. And lets be open to comprehending that being erotically alive can be for the purpose of self knowledge rather than a shallow expression of superficial urges.
The wanting to feel sexual sovereignty is often pathologised in modern relationship psychology, as though wanting to express one’s autonomy is like a disease to heal or a problem to solve. But what if this common, linear perspective lacked intelligence? It controls the life force of people who may genuinely really love each other, yet tend to suffocate each other, stamping out the flames. I know this from a lifetime of consciously questioning how we as humans operate in intimate relationship and from being a tantric guide & confidante to men and women for many years.
So what is the recipe?
What is the formula for maintaining the alchemy for the steam from fire and water?
1. Understand that the tension between emotional intimacy + sexual desire is a paradox of life to be with, rather than a problem to solve. What if that tension was actually part of what creates eroticism? In her groundbreaking book ‘Mating in Captivity‘, Esther Perel speaks eloquently of the need for us to mature as human beings, to grasp this important shift in approach to intimate relationship. Question your education to perceive life in a linear way, because it’s not, and because you are capable of meeting reality in all it’s vast richness.
2. Explore your own capacity for secure attachment + for genuinely embodied erotic expression. Be available for nurturing both parts of yourself. Knowing these places inside affords you a deep respect and appreciation to extend to your partner. It’s a much sexier alternative than being stuck in fear, self doubt, shame, blame, closure or unhealthy control. Humility, respect and true appreciation are born from the reverence found in meeting our own primal intelligence. It can be scary, yet that has always been the price of feeing truly alive. And when you’re there, you wouldn’t want it any other way it feels so amazing.
3. Learn to self-parent, to self-regulate your nervous system, so you can relate through a mature psyche. We’ve all been tentatively experimenting with the boundaries of freedom and closeness since we were children, and maybe it’s time to evolve. Sexual sovereignty in partnership cannot arise in an environment that isn’t committed to this union of self responsibility inside. Be curious about your own emotional reactions before you force them onto your partner. This capacity for self reflection and respect for both fire + water, actually evolves the human nervous system. It results in an actual restructuring of our neural pathways, developing us into our full potential. In this quality of presence, there is a sense of grace – a remembering of wholeness.
When you give yourself permission to nurture both fire and water, while your partner is also permitting both, there is a very different ground and texture to the relationship, or at least there can be. It’s all up to the consciousness and self honesty of the people involved. And yes this does relate to both monogamy and non-monogamy; as nurturing one’s erotic aliveness can have many expressions.
How will you create the environment needed for your relationship to thrive with the required alchemy of fire + water, for both desire and intimacy to exist?