“Looooove is a many splendored thing…”
Then why are so many of us so bad at it?
It’s estimated that half of all people who get married in the U.S. will end up divorcing.
How can this be?
Webinar on Libido
A while ago, I gave a webinar on libido and I was put in a very awkward situation. I’m an OB-GYN doctor, a hormone specialist and because it was February as we are, I did a webinar about libido, hormones, sex drive.
In the Q and A session, I got the question: How do you keep the spark alive in a relationship?
I was annoyed by this question for several reasons. First, this was a coworker who I knew was in her second marriage. Second, I was very happily single at the time and third, I am not a therapist!
As often happens with me, I thought of a really good reply a few days later.
How do you keep the spark alive in a relationship?
Here it is: here is what keeps the spark alive in a relationship.
With a rubber band around both of my hands, what makes the band pull my hands together?
When my hands pull apart with the band around them, the increasing tension on the band is what pulls them together.
Between two people, the tension in the rubber band is the same as sexual tension.
You’re pulling and you feel the tension and it brings people back together (this is what make-up sex is all about, but we’re not going there right now.)
As two people in a relationship get to know each other, there’s less tension. There’s more familiarity and less of what people describe as the spark.
What does sexual energy and tension have to do with love?
What does sexual energy and tension have to do with love, you might ask?
Let me take you back to adolescence. Let me tell you about my 19 year old son.
Charlie is in college. He called me the other day needing to run us a situation by me.
Charlie says, “Mom, there’s this girl that I like. But… she just broke up with my fraternity brother.”
This fraternity brother, whom I’ll call Brad, still likes the girl. I know this because Brad gave my son a pie that he baked for the girl because he (Brad) is about to head out of town.
To complicate matters, Charlie ate a third of the pie before he realized the significance of the pie gift.
Charlie is irritated because he doesn’t understand why he needs to worry about this guy’s lingering feelings for the girl.
So far, despite explaining to my son the distinction between sexual tension and actual love, I have failed to persuade my son that this kind of sexual tension and drama is not a promising foundation for a relationship.
Here we are in the year 2020. We think we are so modern and have so much figured out.
Almost a century ago, in 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote a book called ‘Think and Grow Rich’, in which there is a chapter called ‘The Mystery of Sex Transmutation. ‘
Transmute means to change one form of energy into another. The author talks about “the emotion of sex.” We think of love as an emotion, but how often do we think of sex as an emotion?
Is sex an emotion?
Hill says that the emotion of sex brings into being a state of mind. He also says that it is because of ignorance on the subject that we translate this into only relating to the physical. It is the confusing of the emotion of sex and the emotion of love that gets us into trouble. Hill asserts that the proper blending of the emotions of sex and love through the use of knowledge and willpower can put us on the road to genius.
It has been said that up until about a century ago, men controlled 100% of the money and women controlled 100% of the sex. Nowadays, men and women control the money about 50/50 … and women still control a hundred percent of the sex.
This goes with a vertical model of power between the sexes, a hierarchy or authority structure where men hold power over women.
Movements including Me Too and Time’s Up are evidence that this vertical power structure simply doesn’t work. It’s falling apart right before our eyes.
But what will we build in its place? My husband and I dance the Argentine tango. One of the reasons I love this particular dance so much is that it requires a leader and a follower in any given moment. If we both try to lead or to follow at the same time, it is not pretty.
The Argentine tango
Also, in tango, we have to hold an embrace. We have to hold a degree of tension between us in our bodies in order for the dance to work. If we’re just falling on each other, all snuggled up, the dance does not happen.
I know a therapist who used to send women to my tango class to have them learn how to let go of control, how to not lead, how to share power, how to work in partnership.
All parents want to save their kids from heartache. This is now more urgent than ever. A girl or a young woman who misinterprets my son’s actions or intentions can now end his career.
I want both women and men to be protected, and also to be able to experience a loving, intimate relationship.
“What the world – needs now – is Love, sweet love…”
We need to build a new structure, a new dynamic. It’s not vertical, it’s horizontal. It’s in partnership. It’s sharing back and forth. The leading and the following. This is what will help us truly experience life’s greatest gift, which is in fact, love.
I wish you true happiness this Valentine’s Day, and all year round.