In our culture, we largely view relationships as something that will complete us. We find another person, we fall in love, and we synthesize our existence with that person. This merging with another person is depicted almost everywhere we look. We’ll see it in our family and friends, we see it on television, and we even hear it in music. Although it’s depicted as the ultimate level of relational bliss, merging doesn’t necessarily work to enhance a long-term, positive, and even healthy sexual relationship.
Many times, when I’m working with clients, I’ll have people who will come into therapy, who are puzzled about their lack of sexual satisfaction in their relationship. They’re with a partner who they love. They often have successful careers, and so finances aren’t an issue. They might even have children together. Nothing stands out as something that would create sexual frustration, yet they are in a relationship that is either sexless or sexually ungratifying.
Mystery is one way that people can find a sexually satisfying relationship with their partners. At the beginning of a relationship, sexual desire is often at its peak. This is also a time where people haven’t yet totally merged together. They are different beings, and this differentiation makes sex exciting, enjoyable, and an adventure. However, we’re not taught that this is how relationships should be. We’re taught that when in relationships, living different lives is a threat. However, it’s what we don’t know that can truly keep healthy eroticism alive. We’re most drawn to our partners when we discover something that we appreciate, but that we also were unaware had previously existed in that person.
What we think we know in relationships is often built on assumptions. These assumptions are often critical, full of blame, and full of frustration. They are also built on a fear of vulnerability. If we accept that there are things about our partners that we don’t know, we open a door to inquire, rather than assume. We learn about the story behind who that person is, and we reopen the door for excitement.
This vulnerability and mystery makes sex a place where you can again go together. It’s more than just something that you do. It’s more than just an obligation or even just stimulation. This makes sex more about communicating and expressing a part of who you are, as well as learning about your partner the process.
So pay attention to the doors that you haven’t opened. There’s likely a person behind many of them that you’ll find yourself extremely drawn to. Be patient and with this curiosity, you’ll likely have a better sex-life as a result.