Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ruthlessness and Intimacy

In April I started working on questions regarding sex and eroticism [see this post: Intimacy, Love, and sexual desire]. One of the books I started reading then was ``Mating in Captivity,'' by Esther Perel. A couple of days ago I picked it up again from where I left and I will probably finish it this time. Here are some interesting parts:

To my thinking, cultivating a sense of ruthlessness in our intimate relationship is an intriguing solution to the problems of desire. While it may appear at first glance to be detached and even uncaring, it is in fact rooted in the love and security of our connection. It is a rare experience of trust to be able to let go completely without guilt or fretfulness, knowing that our relationship is vast enough to withstand the whole of us. We reach a unique intimacy in the erotic encounter. It transcends the civility of the emotional connection and accommodates our unruly impulses and primal appetites. The flint of rubbing bodies gives off a heat not easily achieved through tamer expressions of love. Paradoxically, ruthlessness is a way to achieve closeness. Erotic intimacy invites us into a state of unboundedness where we experience a sweet freedom. We get a temporary break from ourselves---The legacies of our childhood, the habits of our relationship, and the constraints of our respective cultures.
Loving another without losing ourselves is the central dilemma of intimacy. Our ability to negotiate the dual needs for connection and autonomy stems from what we learned as children, and often takes a lifetime of practice. It affects not only how we love but also how we make love. Erotic intimacy holds the double promise of finding oneself and losing oneself. It is an experience of merging and of total self-absorption, of mutuality and selfishness. To be inside another and inside ourselves at the same time is a double stance that borders on the mystical. The momentary oneness we feel with our beloved grows out of our ability to acknowledge our indissoluble separateness. In order to be one, you must first be two. ---pp. 123-124, Mating in Captivity

Incidentally, this year a few good films related to sexual topics have come out:
- Shame: http://www.metacritic.com/movie/shame
- A Dangerous Method: http://www.metacritic.com/movie/a-dangerous-method
- Hope Springs: http://www.metacritic.com/movie/hope-springs
- The Sessions: http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-sessions

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