While I was collecting material for Peace Between the Sheets, a lovely young woman explained to me that she didn't want to try the alternative of controlled intercourse with its absence of hot foreplay because she wouldn't be able to use all the great lovemaking skills she had mastered. At a later date she revealed that she had just broken up with her boyfriend because she didn't like “being f*cked like a porn star.” She didn't see a connection between her behavior and his.
Men, too, want to show what great lovers they are, even if they would like to learn controlled intercourse:
Is oral sex OK when one want to practice karezza [controlled intercourse]? I ask because when we did practice oral sex my fiancee had an orgasm whilst I did all I could to control myself from expending my semen.
It's tempting to view others' impulsive, goal-driven behavior as our chief challenge, but what are we doing to them? Why is it so easy to assume that we should have free rein to inflame a lover, while expecting our sweetheart to behave with loving sensitivity and a clear understanding that there's more to sex than orgasm? Are we just short-sighted? Perhaps, but why is our thinking so often cloudy on this point?
Here are some questions to consider:
- Is sex merely recreation, or or does it have subtle, but powerful, potential to distort perception and create emotional distance (or extreme neediness) afterward?
- What value do I place on my various gifts of intimacy? For example, if I had to choose, would I say that my partner most needs a safe, affectionate connection with another human being? Or hot sex? Do I most value my ability to furnish the former or the latter?
- Do I believe a lover has to be addicted to my lovemaking in order to stay in love with me? Vice versa?
- Do I know how to relate to a potential lover without sexual seductiveness?
Passionate people are right about one thing. They want their lovers and themselves to feel sexy and alive. But is it possible that people are actually happiest when they're always brimming with life force energy, and therefore always attracted to their mates? As one man wrote,
It is nice to be a little permanently horny with your mate. I learnt that from you guys. Thanks.
Maybe that steady, dependable magnetism is a better glue than fireworks.
Passionate people know that seduction is a powerful tool for hooking another person...for a while. Fan the flames of desire, present yourself as the cure for your lover's cravings by skillfully, enthusiastically triggering orgasm (or anticipation of orgasm), and voilà, s/he is hooked on you. This ego-enhancing result feels like the best way to keep someone in love with you. Certainly this is the message biology signals to you with that big surge of dopamine in your reward circuitry when you hear a lover moan with passion.
It's hard to leave our most powerful hooks (fanning anticipation, orgasm) outside of our relationships. Yet let's consider some reasons why the hot-passion strategy may not prove as reliable as it feels.
Imagine that you have just dazzled your lover with your bedroom genius, and s/he thinks you're the best lover in the world. Everything is rosy, right?
Maybe not. Your lover's primitive brain, may not see you only as a great lover. It may see you the way a heroin addict sees a pusher. Sure there's a surge of anticipation at the thought of you; but there's also a sense of vulnerability. What if that yummy lovemaking you're dishing out is suddenly withdrawn? What if you want something more than love in return for your addictive lovemaking – like a baby, unsafe sex, control over your lover, or money for an unsound investment? Now that you have set up an addictive response in your lover, s/he may be wondering how s/he would find the willpower and sound judgment to say 'no' to an unwise or predatory request. This dynamic can make love frightening instead of comforting, however innocent your actual intent.
For your part, are you confident that you can act with complete integrity toward this vulnerable, slightly-addicted and therefore needy, person indefinitely? Will you be able to resist the temptation to use sex to manipulate your lover for a selfish end? When that neediness, which you have engendered, arises in your lover in the form of jealousy or possessiveness, is it likely that you will find yourself turned off? Mysteriously madly in love with another – who will briefly seem to be the “real” love of your life? Are you content to pay the karmic costs of such choices when they come back to you?
If your lover is more experienced and has already been burned in the 'hot passion vortex,' s/he may now feel very uneasy about getting close to you, however loving the intentions behind your enthusiastic lovemaking. S/he may even unconsciously be trying to figure out a way to receive your sexually-thrilling gifts as casually as possible while avoiding a truly nourishing connection. Your passionate maneuvers may be ringing a big warning bell in your lover's subconscious, which has nothing to do with your actions, and is entirely based on past "burns." The result? You may end up feeling used instead of loved, and never realize that your passion strategy was the culprit.
A focus on passion can unwittingly create uneasiness between lovers, often costing people the most potentially nurturing relationships of their lives. Passion plays right into our subconscious biological programming, which claps lovers together with exciting fireworks in order to get them pass on genes in the form of progeny...and then drives them apart so they go elsewhere and try it again.
Great lovers tend to repeat this drama more often than others because they excel at seduction and can more easily find new lovers. However, their overall results are at least as painful as those who try to stay married despite growing misery.
True, there's often a very misleading honeymoon period where both people are addicted to hot sex and see each other as their "fix." Think of that intensity as lighter fluid for a larger blaze. Sooner or later using intensity to hold things together registers as unsafe, exhausting, and judgment-distorting. Someone wants out. Break-ups between passionate people tend to be volatile, acrimonious and laced with deception and jealousy.
In short, despite the "glue" of hot sex, emotional distance creeps in. Over time, passionate people often end up in the unsatisfactory compromises of long-distance relationships or extra-marital affairs. The built-in distance in such arrangements tends to keep their romances going longer than they would if the lovers were living together in passionate intensity, but such arrangements are not as life-giving as close, trusted companionship and reliable affection.
A different strategy
Passionate people have another strategy - as the ancient Chinese figured out a long time ago. 1 Men and women can unite to heal and strengthen each other instead creating addictive thrills followed by uneasiness. Specifically what can passionate people do to escape biology's snare? Move away from seductiveness as a strategy, toward safer, more nurturing behavior. Value their loving affection more highly than their skills in the bedroom.