Does long term monogamy kill eroticism?

Esther Perel, in her book, Mating In Captivity, seems to believe that it often does. She writes that in our quest for security and stability we become too close to our partners and we get too comfortable. In that process, she feels that individuals in a couple often stop viewing one another as exciting. She posits that with all that intimacy, people in long-term monogamous relationships get sucked into a vortex of familiarity where no mystery or passion can thrive.

She does a great job of describing how and why this particular dynamic gets created in couples. However, I think if we look at a wide variety of couples, we see that in some long term, monogamous relationships, people feel their sex lives get better over time. These individuals say that as the relationship grows, it allows them to feel more comfortable and so their sex lives improve. The question becomes: how do they do it?

Long term relationships in which the sex is not fulfilling can be subject to a common pitfall: the individuals get disengaged and disconnected from each other. This emotional and physical distance can be the very thing that creates tension, loneliness or anger in the relationship and, subsequently, things wither in the bedroom. Great communication and closeness do not always lead to great sex. But without those elements in a relationship, a couple’s sex life is vulnerable to the natural changes and challenges that happen to a partnership over time.

When we spend a little time exploring what is going on in a couple, a good clinician can help a couple regroup emotionally and physically, and find a path back to the closeness and intimacy that may be key to a sexually satisfying, long-term relationship.

For some people, newness and risk may be exciting, for others safety and familiarity may be the secret. The goal is to discover what creates sexual compatibility and fulfillment for you.

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