Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Intentionality, Playfulness, and Eroticism

I finished the "Mating in Captivity,'' by Esther Perel. The last chapter has some very interesting ideas that I am still processing. One of them, the idea of intentionality, appears very important to me, especially its connection to ``subjectivity'' and ``agency'' ideas. Although I am not quite sure how, or rather, I understand them at a primitive, sub-language, level, LOL
Here are some quotes:

We like to believe that sex arises from an impulse or inclination that is natural, unprompted, and artless. ... This ... suggests our impatience with seduction and playful eroticism, which take up too much time, require too much effort, and---most important---demand full consciousness of what we are doing. ....
When my patients wax nostalgic about the early days of rapid-ignition sex, I remind them that even in the beginning, spontaneity was a myth. Whatever used to happen ``in the moment'' was often the result of hours, if not days, of preparation. ...
The idea of planning a hurdle many couple need to cross. They associate planning with scheduling, scheduling with work, and work with obligation. Often, therapy is a process of dismantling these beliefs.
... quite a few of my patients balk at the idea of deliberateness when it comes to sex. They find these strategies too laborious for the long haul, believing they should no longer be necessary after the initial conquest. ... This reluctance is often a covert expression of an infantile wish to be loved just as we are, without any effort whatsoever on our part, because we're so special. It's the grandiosity of the baby and we all carry it inside. ...
Anticipation implies that we are looking forward to something. It is an important ingredient of desire, and planning for sex helps to generate it. ... Fantasy is the mortar of anticipation. It's a way of imagining what something is going to be like. ...
I believe that longing, waiting, and yearning are fundamental elements of desire that can be generated with forethought, even in long-term relationships. ...
Animals have sex; eroticism is exclusively human. It is sexuality transformed by the imagination. ...
Eroticism, intertwined as it is with imagination, is another form of play. I think of play as an alternative reality midway between the actual and the fictitious, a safe space where we experiment, reinvent ourselves, and take chances. ...
When we are children, play comes to us naturally, but our capacity for play collapses as we age. Sex often remains the last arena of play we can permit ourselves, a bridge to our childhood. Long after the mind has been filled with injunctions to be serious, the body remains a free zone, unencumbered by reason and judgement. In lovemaking, we can recapture the utterly uninhibited movement of the child, who has not yet developed self-consciousness before the judging gaze of others. ---pp. 212-218, Mating in Captivity
2013-2-23: (1) She has a TED talk now:
http://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_the_secret_to_desire_in_a_long_term_relationship.html 
(2) The concept of intentionality is quite advanced, I am still in the process of understanding what I wrote and being able to implement it :)

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