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  • Love versus Desire, a review of a TED talk by Esther Perel

    Psychologist and sex therapist Esther Perel’s personal research found that often couples who claim they’re madly in-love aren’t having sex. Perel aks, why is it that the better you know someone and the more you love them, the less you desire them?

    And why do we care?

    We care because healthy sexuality is a powerful and energising life-force, so finding that desire for your partner is very much worth its while in fostering your union and to empower yourself as an  individual.

    Perel says, love and desire are more often than not, the antithesis of one another and in a recent TED talk I watched, she addresses this issue, giving us ways to nurture both in our long-term relationships.

    Culturally we acknowledge the importance of love, we treat it as a basic human need, but society often forgets to address the naturalness of desire. Perel suggests, life would be really boring if we all fantasised about getting laid on a bed of roses… and of course, in this way fantasy and desire are healthy, natural and needed. So what hope is there for bringing the mystery and desire back into your loving relationship?

    More often than we like, or we probably realise, when we’re deep in love with someone, we yearn for them, we can become inseparable from one another, we text them several times a day about the mundane crap and it can even get to the point where we’re using the toilet in front of each other. Which is fine for comfort factor, but does nothing for sexy.

    Nothing about these habits, nurtures desire for the other. Yes, some of them are beautiful and sustain our basic human needs, those of predictability, security, and mutuality; but conversely they can go amiss on feeding desire. None of them inspire want for the other, only need.

    Perel in her TED talk smoothly quotes “if love and desire were verbs, love would be a need and desire would be a want”.

    So let’s talk about desire for a moment. What fuels desire? The unknown, the mystery, the after hours and the fantasy.

    When do you most desire your partner?  Think about this for a moment.

    Perel asked a number of her clients about this and found that there were two different types of answers. One was when their partners had been away for a while and individuals had a chance to miss and want them. We get so caught in the falling in love stage of the relationship that we end up spending big chunks of time with our partners and before we know it, we are relying on them to do anything. Although to a point this can be beautiful, quickly it can become unhealthy. If the relationship becomes unhealthy, we begin to deal with issues like possessiveness, jealousy and ego. It becomes hard to see with clarity what it was that you liked about your partner in the first place and what brought you two together which is not good for desire, amongst other things.

    I like the quote, “one beds, two minds”.

    Back to Perel’s research, which found that the second reason individual’s gave for desiring their partners, was when they saw them in their element, doing their thing.  This is when they found them most attractive and desired them. Wonderful, I’m not alone.

    On a side note, I love when women (in general) do their thing. I find it supremely attractive – I call it ‘dominating their space’, however women do not celebrate this side of themselves enough. This lack of self-worth and self-love is one of the motivators behind Mia Muse and we even have a section on the blog called Wonderful Women, dedicated to celebrating women doing their thing.

    If desire is seemingly lack-lustre, but the love for one another is there, try giving your partner some time to do their thing - alone. Miss them a little bit while they’re nurturing the things they love. They’ll get to hone and practice what they’re good at and you’ll miss them while they’re gone. If all things go to plan it’ll be like swallowing a double dose of the desire pill.

    Remember too, a good lover understands that desire comes and goes in waves.  It’s never about the number of times you’re at it; it’s about nurturing the sexuality in each of you and lighting it’s fire, which will allow the power of it to contribute to your greater wellbeing and overall vitality.

    BRING. IT. ON.

    -Vanessa x

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