Erotic Intelligence

What is Eroticism?

“The original, primordial fire, sexuality, raises the red flame of eroticism, and this in turn, raises and feeds another flame, tremulous and blue the flame of love. Eroticism and love the double flame of life.”  – Octavio Paz

Esther Perel (1958) is a Belgian psychotherapist who has explored the tension between the need for security (love, belonging, and closeness) and the need for freedom (erotic desire, adventure, and distance) in human relationships. Her book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into over 25 languages.

Security and passion are separate fundamental human needs from different motives. How to introduce uncertainty into an intimate relationship? 

Uncertainty is already in relationships. Eastern philosophers talked about this for ages – Impermanence is the only constant. Even in the dullest marriages, predictability is a mirage.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust


    • Thrives in the ambiguous space between self and other – between anxiety and fascination
    • Excitement is interwoven with uncertainty and willingness to embrace the unknown
    • Risky, unpredictable, and spontaneous 
    • Pleasure for the sake of pleasure
    • Imaginative act 
    • Inefficient – “work doesn’t work”
    • Healthy entitlement is pre-condition

Eroticism is a movement towards the other. Often, you expect your relationship to act as a buttress against slings and arrows of life.

Love by its very nature is unstable:

  • Seeks closeness and to have
  • Arises from within as an imaginative act, a creative synthesis – Imagine a new way of being
  • Aims to fulfill your deepest longings, oldest dreams 
  • Allow to renew and transform yourself
  • Generates a feeling of intense personal significance 
  • Always accompanied by hate

Being chosen by the one you chose is one of the glories. The other airbrush your imperfections and you like what you see.

“Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.” – Nietzche

So you try to shore love up: tighten borders, create predictability – for security. You try to make love “safer” – orchestrate boredom. 

In addition, you may seek Emotional Intimacy:

  • Act of fruition 
  • Familiarity 
  • Waits for the high to subside
  • Time and repetition are the seeds
  • Comes from growing concern – fear of hurting other
  • Reason, understanding, and compassion in the air
Any practice can be taken to a ridiculous extreme – intimacy might become an intrusion. Increased emotional intimacy is accompanied by decreased sexual desire – for sexuality stands on its own parallel narrative. It is draining to feel erotically impoverished. 

Desire on the other hand:

    • Fueled by the unknown – inherently anxiety-producing
    • Needs distance – Fire needs air
    • Aggression, objectification, and power exist in the shadow of desire
    • Requires capacity not to worry
    • Demands a degree of selfishness
    • Engima – buried in childhood archaeology 
    • Great elixir is anticipation
    • About wanting

Sexual desire and good citizenship don’t play by the same rules. Poetics of sex are often “politically incorrect”.

Erotic intelligence is about creating distance, then bringing that space to life. You may as well develop Erotic intimacy – an act of generosity, self-centeredness of giving, and taking. To enter the body and erotic space of other, without the terror of losing yourself.

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