Love vs Sex 131

We like to believe that sex arises from an impulse or inclination that is natural, unprompted, and artless. We talk about being swept away. “I couldn’t resist…I felt such a rush through my veins…It was bigger than both of us…I was completely taken over.” This infatuation with the big bang theory of sex suggests our impatience with seduction and playful eroticism, which take up too much time, require too much effort, and—most important—demand full consciousness of what we are doing. For many of us, premeditated sex is suspicious. It threatens our belief that sex is subject only to the machinations of magic and chemistry. The idea that sex must be spontaneous keeps us one step removed from having to will sex, to own desire, and to express intent. As long as sex is something that just happens, you don’t have to claim it. It’s ironic that in such a willful society, willfully conjuring up sex seems obvious and crass. It embarrases us, as if we’ve been caught doing something inappropriate.

Mating in Captivity

Esther Perel          2006

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