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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lust and Marriage

“Could we believe that regardless of how sexually free we might have been before tying the knot, marriage is no place for the naughtiness of lust?”

~Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity.

A dichotomy forms in-between the definitive stages of passion, the initial stages of romance—and intimacy, the maturing of love beyond the first year. When we consider both of these factors—passion and intimacy—ebb and flow through the duration of the relationship we certainly note the usual waning of passion the longer things go (and with it often, though more latently, intimacy can diminish too) through the seasons in life.

Most marriages struggle for passion, at least from time to time. It’s a rather elusive quality.

The author of the above quote mentions that she is astounded “how much people are willing to experiment sexually outside their relationships, yet how tame and puritanical they are at home with their partners.” It’s clearly a moral wrong and a will bent to sluggard-gain. Lust is clearly a very alluring thing when the generous helpings of love required are doubly hard in relationships; especially as they wind on to the hum of everyday life.

But, what if we could engender “lust” in our marriages?

Refreshingly she calls us to maximise the erotic hope in the home, with our marriage partner of choice—the one we chose all those few or many years ago.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination how we might “spice” things up a little—the main thing is interest level. Are we interested? Both parties to the marriage need to be.

Sex is only staid because we make it that way, when in all reality it’s like God—there’s an infiniteness to the issues of desire and creativity. We only have to open up to it. And, of course, there are the doubters no matter what is said. The doubters never break away in faith and engage beyond their fears, selfishness or laziness.

Passion needs spontaneity, doesn’t it? Yet, Perel turns the tables on spontaneity. She believes that planning—not spontaneity—increases anticipation which in turns switches on desire—this in turn engenders intimacy as there’s a lot of forethought and discussion going on between the partners. She also wants us to cultivate play and to become more ‘erotically intelligent’—after all, if emotional intelligence can be grown, why not erotic intelligence?

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity – Sex, Lies and Domestic Bliss (London, England: Hodder & Stoughton, 2007), p. 200-20.

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