Damn, you are getting yours and making a conscious effort to live your best erotic life on the daily. Let’s exchange emails, maybe we can get some advice from you! But in all seriousness, congratulations—you take your pleasure seriously and it has paid off. You’re fluent in your own sexuality, trust your body’s responses and approach your erotic mind with compassion and creativity. What else is there to do for someone so well-tuned with their pleasure? Well, unless you’re aromantic, you may desire a partner with whom to sustain & share your pleasure.
Sexual desires, responses, and interests are as diverse as the people experiencing them. Put multiple wonderfully complex individuals together…and therein lies the challenge. You may be a maestro of your own pleasure, but communicating your desires and achieving that pleasure with others requires a different kind of self-intimacy and introspection. Like many others, you may experience self-judgment or out-of-body “spectatoring” with a partner. Maybe you’ve prioritized mental pleasure (validation, intimacy, etc.) and completely neglected your physical pleasure. Or perhaps you feel out of touch with your eroticism in a long-term partnership. In order to experience consistent, sustainable pleasure, seek to understand every corner of your sexuality and celebrate its perfection, just the way it is.
In her paradigm-shifting book Mating in Captivity, relationship counselor and psychotherapist Esther Perel talks about the importance of making room for erotic growth, or “cultivating a secret garden”:
“Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. Love likes to shrink the distance that exists between me and you, while desire is energized by it. If intimacy grows through repetition and familiarity, eroticism is numbed by repetition. It thrives on the mysterious, the novel, and the unexpected. Love is about having; desire is about wanting. An expression of longing, desire requires ongoing elusiveness. It is less concerned with where it has already been than passionate about where it can still go. But too often, as couples settle into the comforts of love, they cease to fan the flame of desire. They forget that fire needs air.”
Some questions for Sustain & Share profiles: How well do you understand your own desire — or in other words, the forces that excite or inhibit your arousal? Do you have certain notions about what a “good” and “bad” sexual performance looks like? Are those concepts serving your pleasure, or are they causing you anxiety? Are you able to show yourself compassion when you have low libido or feeling self-critical? How does familiarity affect your desire? How does novelty? How have being in relationships affected your desire? How is your sexuality tied to your identity? Have you made room for your sexual identity to shift or evolve?