But while many of us relish the idea of losing ourselves in sex, the very oneness that we experience through the merging of our bodies can evoke a sense of obliteration. The intensity of sexual passion triggers a fear of engulfment. Of course, few of us are aware of these undercurrents as they’re happening. What we feel instead is the urge to pull out right after orgasm, or the sudden desire to make a sandwich, to light a cigarette. We welcome the intrusion of random thought: I meant to send an email…These windows need cleaning…I wonder how my friend Jack is doing? We appreciate being left alone to meander leisurely in our own mind because this reestablishes a psychological distance, a delineation of the boundaries between me and you. From “inter-” we go back to “intra-.” Having been all over each other, we retreat back into our own skin. Nowhere is the passage from connection to separateness represented more clearly than at the end of a sexual act.
Mating in Captivity
Esther Perel 2006