The Elements of Desire
How to keep the eroticism in a relationship
He pushed me against his kitchen cabinets as he started to kiss me. More like devour me. It was a good thing he was holding me up, I’m not sure I would have been able to stand on my own. I was so turned on that I thought I might melt. Literally — dissolve into a puddle right there on his kitchen floor. That fact that it was late morning, I didn’t have on a stitch of makeup, and I was already drenched in sweat from a hot yoga class only made the scene more erotic. “Should we be doing this?” I wanted to ask, but his fervent kisses prevented the words from leaving my mouth. I briefly thought about my kids returning from their half-day of school in about an hour. “I should probably get home,” I unpersuasively suggested. Ignoring my words, he led me upstairs to the bedroom.
The scene above describes an interaction I had with my boyfriend early on in our relationship before he was even my boyfriend. There are elements of novelty, separateness, uncertainty, and primitivity. These elements are innate in casual dating, and early on in relationships —which is why you can’t stop thinking about your new lover, or the hot sex you’re having. However, these elements are still available — and really, inherent — in long-term relationships, too. We just erroneously forget to nurture them, to the detriment of both our own and our partner’s satisfaction. When we apply the same elements to our longer-term relationships, we not only preserve the health and juiciness of our partnerships, but we get to live our life with passion.
In the scene I described, it was midmorning after a yoga class. We both decided that rushing back to his house was more urgent, more important than the other things we were scheduled to do that day. We weren’t concerned about work or other obligations; the thrill of an unplanned tryst was our top priority.
As relationships evolve, we get stuck in routines. We form habits. There doesn’t need to be any urgency for midmorning sex if you know that it will be available after dinner. However, after dinner, you feel full and tired. Maybe tomorrow, you think. Availability has trumped novelty. There is no immediate action required for something always available…