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Rinne Detroit Sports and MoreIn a stark contrast, the Wings defense was neither tougher, physical, or smart. They were good at blocking shots and stealing pucks but struggled mightily with positioning. The first goal of game 5 was just another in an ugly string of defensive lapses by Detroit. Detroit continued to chase the puck and leave the front of the net open. They regularly slipped guys in with little effort, getting point blank opportunities.

Their 20 straight playoff appearances, multiple Stanley Cups, and consistent level of play has been a modern marvel. The sloppy lapses in the defense weren the only issue for the Wings. The sloppiness in their own zone when handling the puck lead to multiple scoring opportunities and several goals. The Wings looked almost lazy. The talk locally was that the Wings had several injured players. Injuries are no excuse for lack of effort, which is what I saw from them. I hoep the Wings are able to revamp their roster a little and get some speed and hungrier players. Or maybe even just look in the mirror and decide they want greatness again.

Either way, I would hate to see them lose becauee of sloppy play and lack of effort. It not what the Red Wings should ever be known for. This year, the Wings seemed poised for another run. They faded as the season came to a close, however, and ended up with a No. In the end though, the Wings proved to be no match for a stronger, quicker, and more advantageous Predators team.

The Preds and Wings played were different styles. The Wings typical puck possession style of play dominated for large portions of several of the games and they managed to generate a large number of shots. Quality shots were few and far between for the Wings. Mike Babcock took offense to the notion that they were mostly getting shots from the outside and not getting quality opportunities before game 5. Any review of the film though seemed to support that idea. The physical Nashville defense was able to fight the Wings off the net, neutralizing their rebound chances. It is hockey though and I sincerely hope that we find out that most of the main guys were playing hurt.

That would at least explain some of the slow play, loss of concentration, and mental lapses. Playing through pain can have a real effect. The Wings seemed to adjust to their style to throw shots at the net with as much screening as possible. This had a little success but not nearly enough. There are two things that concern me most with this team moving forward. Second, the Wings didn seem to play with the same will power as in years past.

In this Nashville series the Wings lacked effort and intensity throughout the series. They had moments were the energy level rose, such as after the Huddler goal in game 5. They really disappointed their fans.

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It is no surprise why Kampman was drawn to the Jaguars: They play a 43 defense that will allow him to return to the end position. Much to his dismay, Kampman, a twotime Pro Bowl selection at end, found himself learning a completely new position. When the season started, he never publicly complained and seemed to work daily at getting better at the position. One question Thompson will face is whether he did enough to assure the Packers could get compensation for Kampman.

He suddenly was forced to stand up in a twopoint stance, drop into coverage and play laterally more than he ever had. Kampman said playing on the right side will make it easier for him to play at a lighter weight, something he has committed to doing since former defensive coordinator Jim Bates spread him out wide starting in He said he has been battling bigger, stronger tackles on the right side.

General manager Ted Thompson did not make any comments about the loss of Kampman and how hard the Packers tried to keep him. He finished the regular season with four sacks, more than Kampman had in nine games, but the Packers informed him that he will need to put on 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason.

But his quick decision to sign with a 43 team spoke volumes about his preference to play end. The Packers now have two unrestricted players left: right tackle Mark Tauscher and running back Ahman Green. Fast Generate will take benefit of an SSD for speedier boot speed. Her grandmother assisted out in elevating her, and soon she obtained a fortunate split and was signed accompanied by a modeling company in Glasgow.

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    Her grandmother aided out in boosting her, and soon she bought a lucky crack and was signed which includes a modeling company in Glasgow. Her grandmother aided out in boosting her, and shortly she received a fortunate crack and was signed which has a modeling company in Glasgow. Yet sexuality and emotional intimacy are two separate languages.

    I would like to restore the body to its rightful prominent place in discussions about couples and eroticism. The body often contains emotional truths that words can too easily gloss over. The very dynamics that are a source of conflict in a relationship— particularly those pertaining to power, control, dependency, and vulnerability—often become desirable when experienced through the body and eroticized. Sex becomes both a way to illuminate conflicts and confusion around intimacy and desire and a way to begin to heal these destructive splits.

    And I sometimes like to move freely between male and female pronouns without necessarily heaping judgment on either gender. I myself, as my name gives away, am of the female persuasion. I live on many shores, and I want to bring an informed cultural view—or multicultural view—to the topic of this book. I grew up in Belgium, studied in Israel, and finished my training in the United States.

    Shuttling between various cultures for more than thirty years, I have formed the perspective of someone who is comfortable watching from the sidelines. This vantage point has provided me with multiple perspectives for my observations on how we develop sexually, how we connect to one another, how we narrate love, and how we engage in the pleasures of the body. For intercultural couples, the cultural shifts do not stem from a geographic move, but instead take place in their own living rooms.

    What really piqued my interest was how this merging of cultures influenced gender relations and child-rearing practices. I pondered the many meanings of marriage, and how its role and its place in the larger family system varies in different national contexts. Is it a private act of two individuals or a communal affair between two families? In my sessions with couples, I tried to discern the cultural nuances behind the discussion of commitment, intimacy, pleasure, orgasm, and the body.

    Love may be universal, but its constructions in each culture are defined, both literally and figuratively, in different languages. I was particularly sensitive to the conversations about child and adolescent sexuality because it is in messages to children that societies most reveals their values, goals, incentives, prohibitions. I speak eight languages. Some I learned at home, some at school, a few during my travels, and one or two through love. In my practice, I am called on to use my multicultural proficiency as well as my skill as a polyglot.

    They are young, old, and in between. They cover a wide spectrum of cultures, race, and class. Their individual stories highlight the cultural and psychological forces that shape how we love and how we desire. One of my most formative personal experiences underlying this book may seem circuitous, but I must reveal it to you, as it sheds a light on the deeper motivations that fuel my passion.

    My parents were survivors of Nazi concentration camps. For a number of years, they stood face-to-face with death every day. My mother and father were the sole survivors of their respective families. They came out of this experience wanting to charge at life with a vengeance and to make the most of each day. They both felt that they had been granted a unique gift: living life again.

    My parents were unusual, I think. They possessed a thirst for life, thrived on exuberant experiences, and loved to have a good time. They cultivated pleasure. I know absolutely nothing about their sexual life except that they had two children, my brother and me. But by the way they lived, I sensed that they had a deep understanding of eroticism.

    Though I doubt that they ever used this word, they embodied its mystical meaning as a quality of aliveness, a pathway to freedom—not just the narrow definition of sex that modernity has assigned to it. It is this expanded understanding that I bring to bear on my discussion of eroticism in this book.

    There is yet another powerful influence that has helped shape this project. By restoring their sense of creativity and their capacity for play and pleasure, these survivors are ultimately helped to reconnect with life and the hope that fuels it. My husband deals with pain; I deal with pleasure. They are intimately acquainted. The individuals I write about do not appear in the acknowledgments, though I owe them a great deal.

    Their stories are authentic and almost verbatim, but their identities are masked. Many of my ideas were developed through my work, and not the other way around. My ideas also draw on the wealth of careful considerations made by many professionals and authors who have previously tackled the ambiguities of love and desire.

    Every day in my work I am confronted with the detailed realities that hide behind statistics. I see people who are such good friends that they cannot sustain being lovers. I see lovers who hold so tenaciously to the idea that sex must be spontaneous that they never have it at all. I see others who believe that intimacy means knowing everything about each other. They abdicate any sense of separateness, then are left wondering where the mystery has gone. I see couples whose sex lives are rekindled by an affair, and others for whom an affair effectively ends what little connection remained.

    I see older men who feel betrayed by their newly unresponsive penises, who rush for Viagra to soften the anxiety of the hard facts; I see their wives made uncomfortable by the sudden challenge to their own passivity. I see people so ashamed of their sexuality that they spare the one they love the ordeal. I see people who know they are loved, but who long to be desired. They all come to see me because they yearn for erotic vitality. Sometimes they come sheepishly; sometimes they arrive desperate, dejected, enraged. I invite you to join me in my conversations with these questers as we work toward opening up and coming a step closer to transcendence.

    For those who aspire to accelerate their heartbeat periodically, I give them the score: excitement is interwoven with uncertainty, and with our willingness to embrace the unknown rather than to shield ourselves from it. But this very tension leaves us feeling vulnerable. Some relationships originate in feelings of warmth, tenderness, and nurturance, and the partners choose to remain in these calmer waters.

    They prefer a love that is built on patience more than on passion. To them, finding serenity in a lasting bond is what counts. There is no one way, and there is no right way. Mating in Captivity aspires to engage you in an honest, enlightened, and provocative discussion. It encourages you to question yourself, to speak the unspoken, and to be unafraid to challenge sexual and emotional correctness. By flinging the doors open on erotic life and domesticity, I invite you to put the X back in sex. It is the flame of love and eroticism. The double flame of life. Recently I was milling around a self-consciously hip event, and, as is typical in this city of high achievers, before being asked my name I was asked what I do.

    Never was my Q rating as high—at parties, in cabs, at the nail salon, on airplanes, with teenagers, with my husband, you name it—as when I began writing a book about sex. I realize that there are certain topics that chase people away and others that act like magnets.

    People talk to me. Straight couples? Read: is this book also about me? Straight, gay, young, old, committed, and undecided. Is there something inherent in commitment that deadens desire? Can we ever maintain security without succumbing to monotony? I wonder if we can preserve a sense of the poetic, of what Octavio Paz calls the double flame of love and eroticism.

    It has nothing to do with fear. I just hate boring sex. What about desire for one night? Passion turns into something else. Hence the division between the romantics and the realists. They are the perennial seekers, looking for the person with whom desire will never fizzle. Every time desire does wane, they conclude that love is gone. If eras is in decline, love must be on its deathbed. They mourn the loss of excitement and fear settling down. At the opposite extreme are the realists.

    They say that enduring love is more important than hot sex, and that passion makes people do stupid things. The initial excitement grows into something else—deep love, mutual respect, shared history, and companionship. Diminishing desire is inescapable. You are expected to tough it out and grow up. As the conversation unfolds, the two camps eye each other with a complex alloy of pity, tenderness, envy, exasperation, and outright scorn. But while they position themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum, both agree with the fundamental premise that passion cools over time.

    Romantics value intensity over stability. Realists value security over passion. But both are often disappointed, for few people can live happily at either extreme. What can people do? Hidden behind this question looms a secret longing for the elan vital, the surge of erotic energy that marks our aliveness. Whatever safety and security people have persuaded themselves to settle for, they still very much want this force in their lives. The real questions are these: Can we have both love and desire in the same relationship over time? What exactly would that kind of relationship be?

    In fact, security and passion are two separate, fundamental human needs that spring from different motives and tend to pull us in different directions. In his book Can Love Last? As he explains it, we all need security: permanence, reliability, stability, and continuity. These rooting, nesting instincts ground us in our human experience. But we also have a need for novelty and change, generative forces that give life fullness and vibrancy.

    Here risk and adventure loom large. Ever watch a child run away to explore and then run right back to make sure that Mom and Dad are still there? Little Sammy needs to feel secure in order to go into the world and discover; and once he has satisfied his need for exploration, he wants to go back to his safe base to reconnect.

    Periods of being bold and taking risks will alternate with periods of seeking grounding and safety. And what is true for human beings is true for every living thing: all organisms require alternating periods of growth and equilibrium. Any person or system exposed to ceaseless novelty and change risks falling into chaos; but one that is too rigid or static ceases to grow and eventually dies. This never-ending dance between change and stability is like the anchor and the waves.

    Adult relationships mirror these dynamics all too well. We seek a steady, reliable anchor in our partner. Yet at the same time we expect love to offer a transcendent experience that will allow us to soar beyond our ordinary lives. For a lucky few, this is barely a challenge. For them, there is no dissonance between commitment and excitement, responsibility and playfulness. They can buy a home and be naughty in it, too. They can be parents and still be lovers. But for the rest of us, seeking excitement in the same relationship in which we establish permanence is a tall order.

    Unfortunately, too many love stories develop in such a way that we sacrifice passion so as to achieve stability. At thirty-eight, she is a well-established lawyer in private practice. I pick up the newspaper, and I feel fortunate. I know how bad it can be out there. So what is it I want? Because he wants to please me; he knows I like it. You know that feeling you have the first year, that fluttery, exciting feeling, the butterflies in your stomach, the physical passion?

    And when I bring this up to Alan, he gets this face. Excitement wanes, yeah yeah yeah. Now when he travels I tell him not to call me. I have a kid. Does he not like me? Is he going to cheat? I want to be appreciated as a woman. Not as a mother, not as a wife, not as a companion. And I want to appreciate him as a man.

    It could be a gaze, a touch, a word. I want to be looked at without all the baggage. When we first met I bought him a briefcase for his birthday—something he saw in a store window and loved—and it had two tickets to Paris inside. This year I gave him a DVD and we celebrated with a couple of friends by eating a meat loaf his mother had made. Familiarity is indeed reassuring, and it brings a sense of security that Adele would never dream of giving up. At the same time, she wants to recapture the quality of aliveness and excitement that she and Alan had in the beginning.

    She wants both the coziness and the edge, and she wants them both with him. Historically, these two realms of life were organized separately—marriage on one side and passion most likely somewhere else, if anywhere at all. The concept of romantic love, which came about toward the end of the nineteenth century, brought them together for the first time. The central place of sex in marriage, and the heightened expectations surrounding it, took decades more to arrive.

    The social and cultural transformations of the past fifty years have redefined modern coupledom. With the widespread use of the pill, sex became liberated from reproduction. Feminism and gay pride fought to define sexual expression as an inalienable right. Anthony Giddens describes this transition in The Transformation of Intimacy when he explains that sexuality became a property of the self, one that we develop, define, and renegotiate throughout our lives.

    Today, our sexuality is an open-ended personal project; it is part of who we are, an identity, and no longer merely something we do. It has become a central feature of intimate relationships, and sexual satisfaction, we believe, is our due. The era of pleasure has arrived. These developments, in conjunction with postwar economic prosperity, have contributed to a period of unmatched freedom and individualism. People today are encouraged to pursue personal fulfillment and sexual gratification, and to break free of the constraints of a social and family life heretofore defined by duty and obligation.

    But trailing in the shadow of this manifest extravagance lies a new kind of gnawing insecurity. The extended family, the community, and religion may indeed have limited our freedom, sexual and otherwise, but in return they offered us a much-needed sense of belonging. For generations, these traditional institutions provided order, meaning, continuity, and social support. Dismantling them has left us with more choices and fewer restrictions than ever.

    We are freer, but also more alone. As Giddens describes it, we have become ontologically more anxious. We bring to our love relationships this free-floating anxiety. Love, beyond providing emotional sustenance, compassion, and companionship, is now expected to act as a panacea for existential aloneness as well. We look to our partner as a bulwark against the vicissitudes of modern life.

    It is not that our human insecurity is greater today than in earlier times. In fact, quite the contrary may be true. What is different is that modern life has deprived us of our traditional resources, and has created a situation in which we turn to one person for the protection and emotional connections that a multitude of social networks used to provide. Adult intimacy has become overburdened with expectations. But I believe that the perils of love are heightened by the particular modern pangs we bring to it. We live miles away from our families, no longer know our childhood friends, and are regularly uprooted and transplanted.

    Gender Bender

    All this discontinuity has a cumulative effect. Love grabs you, and you feel powerful. You cherish the rush, and you want to hold on to the feeling. The more you become attached, the more you have to lose. So you set out to make love more secure. You seek to fix it, to make it dependable. You make your first commitments, and happily give up a little bit of freedom in exchange for a little bit of stability. You create comfort through devices—habit, ritual, pet names—that bring reassurance.

    But the excitement was bound to a certain measure of insecurity. Your high resulted from the uncertainty, and now, by seeking to harness it, you wind up draining the vitality out of the relationship. You enjoy the comfort, but complain that you feel constrained. You miss the spontaneity. In your attempt to control the risks of passion, you have tamed it out of existence. Marital boredom is born. While love promises us relief from aloneness, it also heightens our dependence on one person. It is inherently vulnerable. We tend to assuage our anxieties through control.

    We feel safer if we can contract the distance between us, maximize the certainty, minimize the threats, and contain the unknown. Yet some of us defend against the uncertainties of love with such zeal that we cut ourselves off from its richness. Yet eroticism thrives on the unpredictable. Desire butts heads with habit and repetition. It is unruly, and it defies our attempts at control.

    So where does that leave us? A sense of physical and emotional safety is basic to healthy pleasure and connection. Yet without an element of uncertainty there is no longing, no anticipation, no frisson. The motivational expert Anthony Robbins put it succinctly when he explained that passion in a relationship is commensurate with the amount of uncertainty you can tolerate. Having New Eyes How are we to introduce this uncertainty into our intimate relationships? How are we to create this gentle imbalance? In truth, it is already there.

    Eastern philosophers have long known that impermanence is the only constant. Given the transient nature of life, given its ceaseless flux, there is more than a hint of arrogance in the assumption that we can make our relationships permanent, and that security can actually be fixed.

    As loyal citizens of the modern world we believe in our own efficacy. We liken the passion of the beginning to adolescent intoxication—both transient and unrealistic. The consolation for giving it up is the security that waits on the other side. Yet when we trade passion for stability, are we not merely swapping one fantasy for another? As Stephen Mitchell points out, the fantasy of permanence may trump the fantasy of passion, but both are products of our imagination.

    We long for constancy, we may labor for it, but it is never guaranteed. When we love we always risk the possibility of loss—by criticism, rejection, separation, and ultimately death—regardless of how hard we try to defend against it. Introducing uncertainty sometimes requires nothing more than letting go of the illusion of certitude.

    In this shift of perception, we recognize the inherent mystery of our partner. I point out to Adele that if we are to maintain desire with one person over time we must be able to bring a sense of unknown into a familiar space. It was almost weird, like an out-of- body experience. And you know what was so attractive? I was away from all that inane stuff and those absurd conversations. I just really saw him. Eroticism is risky. People are afraid to allow themselves these moments of idealization and yearning for the person they live with. When our partner stands alone, with his own will and freedom, the delicateness of our bond is magnified.

    The typical defense against this threat is to stay within the realm of the familiar and the affectionate—the trivial bickering, the comfortable sex, the quotidian aspects of life that keep us tethered to reality and bar any chance of transcendence. She sees him as a man.

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    She has transformed someone familiar into someone still unknown after all these years. If uncertainty is a built-in feature of all relationships, so too is mystery. Many of the couples who come to therapy imagine that they know everything there is to know about their mate. In truth, we never know our partner as well as we think we do. Mitchell reminds us that even in the dullest marriages, predictability is a mirage. We are invested in having him or her conform to an image that is often a creation of our own imagination, based on our own set of needs. Even though she has a PhD, she really likes staying home with the kids.

    We narrow down our partner, ignoring or rejecting essential parts when they threaten the established order of our coupledom. We also reduce ourselves, jettisoning large chunks of our personalities in the name of love. The fragility of this manufactured equilibrium becomes obvious when one partner breaks the rules of the contrivance and insists on bringing more authentic parts of himself into the relationship.

    This is what happened to Charles and Rose. Charles is mercurial, a provocateur, and a playful seducer. He is a passionate man in need of a container, someone to help him channel the unbridled energies that distract him. Rose is strong, independent, and clearheaded.

    She possesses a kind of natural equanimity that calibrates his intemperateness. As they describe it, she is the solid; he, the fluid. The few times Rose ventured into passionate territory before meeting Charles, she found it overwhelming. It left her depleted and unhappy. What scares Rose is the loss of control and what scares Charles is that he enjoys the loss of control too much. The complementarity of their relationship allows them to flourish within a bounded space. Often it follows significant events that make us review the meaning and the structure of our lives.

    Suddenly, the compromises that worked so well yesterday become sacrifices we no longer want to brook today. For Charles, a succession of losses—the death of his mother, the death of a close friend, and a scare regarding his own health— have made him keenly aware of his own mortality. He can no longer bear to keep that part of himself tucked away, even in exchange for the solid ground Rose offers.

    But every time he tries to talk about this hunger, Rose feels threatened and dismisses him. What are you going to do, buy a red Trans-Am? The facts were known, the details were not; and they put these episodes behind them. Or at least Rose did. Risking our marriage! We still do. But, shall we say, we had both known stronger passions.

    I came out of it relieved. I got too lost in it. We talked about it back then, that we were both looking for something more enduring and a little calmer. Her father ran a junkyard in rural Tennessee. Today she has a corner office on the fifty-sixth floor overlooking Madison Avenue in Manhattan. When I met Charles, I knew he was different. I could be with him and he would let me do my own thing. In the early s, that was a big deal. Life is too short. She is fragile and afraid, not the invincible woman Charles needs her to be.

    Just as they had banished his seductiveness, they had also suppressed her vulnerability. They have outgrown their respective roles, and they are in a crisis. Ironically, in the midst of this emotional turmoil they began making love again after many years apart. The more he eludes her, the more she wants him. And for his part, seeing her care so much about what he does has a profound erotic appeal.

    Marina Berzins McCoy

    For a long time their relationship operated on a contract of mutuality. They were not to express feelings or needs that exceeded what they had been allocated. They were not to be irrational, insensitive, or greedy. Now, however, they both were making strong claims. There was a lot of pain, but at the same time there was a vibrancy that neither could deny. But who says that what Charles is after is so frivolous? Rather than making their love more secure, they had, in fact, made it more vulnerable.

    But allowing both of them to reveal heretofore segregated parts of themselves was not without risk. The very foundation of their relationship was at stake. Each of them would have to tolerate the unfolding of the other, even if it took them beyond their range of comfort.

    Dismantling the Security System We often expect our relationship to act as a buttress against the slings and arrows of life. But love, by its very nature, is unstable. So we shore it up: we tighten the borders, batten down the hatches, and create predictability, all in an effort to make us feel more secure. Yet the mechanisms that we put in place to make love safer often put us more at risk. We ground ourselves in familiarity, and perhaps achieve a peaceful domestic arrangement, but in the process we orchestrate boredom.

    The verve of the relationship collapses under the weight of all that control. What ever happened to excitement, to transcendence, to awe? In his book Open to Desire, the Buddhist psychoanalyst Mark Epstein explains that our willingness to engage that mystery keeps desire alive. Faced with the irrefutable otherness of our partner, we can respond with fear or with curiosity.

    We can try to reduce the other to a knowable entity, or we can embrace her persistent mystery. When we resist the urge to control, when we keep ourselves open, we preserve the possibility of discovery. Eroticism resides in the ambiguous space between anxiety and fascination. But, for many of us, renouncing the illusion of safety, and accepting the reality of our fundamental insecurity, proves to be a difficult step. Most of us, however, express our eroticism somewhere in the gray areas where love and lust both relate and conflict.

    Sometimes they need a gentle reminder of what once was. Love is an exercise in selective perception, even a delicious deception as well, though who cares about that in the beginning? We magnify the good qualities of those we love, and confer on them almost mythical powers. We transform them, and we in turn are transformed in their presence. Beginnings are always ripe with possibilities, for they hold the promise of completion.

    Through love we imagine a new way of being. You airbrush my imperfections, and I like what you see. With you, and through you, I will become that which I long to be. I will become whole. Being chosen by the one you chose is one of the glories of falling in love. It generates a feeling of intense personal importance. I matter. You confirm my significance. As I listen to couples describe the merging that accompanies the nascence of love, I get a glimpse of the dreams that propelled them toward each other.

    The first stage of any encounter is filled with fantasies. Here you are in front of someone you barely know, and you imagine climbing Kilimanjaro together, building an Architectural Digest home, making babies, or umpteen irresistible fantasies as arbitrary as the weather. As my patients recount the exaltation they felt, I am able to take a peek beneath the rubble to see what they once had. A Hopeful State of Bliss John and Beatrice spent their first six months virtually locked up in a room in a blissful state of effervescence.

    follow link John is a stockbroker who has known the glories and defeats of the dot-com revolution. When I first met him in therapy he had just witnessed his fortune wither before his eyes. He would spend days staring at his computer screen, helplessly tracking the demise of his portfolio while he drank the last of his single-malt Scotch.

    He had also just experienced an erotic collapse in the midst of an otherwise loving and caring relationship with a girlfriend of five years. He was in the grip of a triple crisis— emotional, professional, and financial. When he met Beatrice, it was like waking up from a coma. His sense of relief and renewal was profound. Beatrice, a Pre-Raphaelite beauty, was a graduate student in English in her mid-twenties, ten years younger than John. In the cocoon under the sheets they would talk for hours, make love, talk again, make love, and sleep but very little.

    Transported as they were in this early rapture, they felt free and open. They relished the meeting of their two worlds, were endlessly curious, and luxuriated in their feelings of mutuality and warmth, free from the torments of the outside world. As the relationship between them evolved, John and Beatrice experienced a growing sense of serenity. The initial excitement matured, the real world reemerged, and hope was transformed into substance. Enter intimacy.

    If love is an act of imagination, then intimacy is an act of fruition. It waits for the high to subside so it can patiently insert itself into the relationship. The seeds of intimacy are time and repetition. We choose each other again and again, and so create a community of two. John likes his coffee black. No sugar. And he needs his first cup as soon as he gets out of bed. Beatrice likes hers with cream, no sugar, but she likes to have a glass of water first. Some of these wants are met with ease and tenderness; some they must learn to accept; and some are annoying, offensive, or downright disgusting.

    It creates routine, which in turn fosters a sense of security. Growing familiarity also signals freedom from ceremony and constraint. Yet this unceremoniousness, which is a welcome feature of intimacy, is a proven antiaphrodisiac as well. Of course, familiarity is but one manifestation of intimacy. Our continued discovery of another person extends far beyond surface habits into an interior world of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. We penetrate our partner mentally. We talk, we listen, we share, and we compare.

    We disclose certain parts of ourselves, while we adorn, fiddle with, and conceal others. Sometimes I learn something about you because you tell me: your history, your family, your life before we met. But just as often my understanding comes from watching you, intuiting, and making associations. You present the facts, I connect the dots, and an image is formed. Your singularities are gradually revealed to me, openly or covertly, intentionally or not.

    Some places inside of you are easy to reach; others are encrypted and laborious to decode. Over time, I come to know your values, and your fault lines. I come to know your dreams and your nightmares. You grow on me. And all this, of course, happens in two directions. As John settles into this new relationship, he stops talking about it in therapy, and I assume that no talk means no problems. So when, after a year, he brings it up again, I pay close attention. We get along great. I really love her. If couples are caring and nurturing—if they have good communication, mutual respect, fairness, trust, empathy, and honesty—you can reliably assume an ongoing, pulsing erotic bond.

    In her book Hot Monogamy, Dr. Patricia Love gives voice to these ideas: Good verbal communication is one of the keys to a good sex life. When couples share their thoughts and emotions freely throughout the day, they create between them a high degree of trust and emotional connection, which gives them the freedom to explore their sexuality more fully. Intimacy begets sexuality. For many people, a loving, committed relationship is indeed a great enhancer of sexual desire, a fillip. They feel accepted and swaddled, and that safety allows them to feel free.

    The trust that comes with emotional closeness enables them to unleash their erotic appetites. But what about John and Beatrice? They have a beautiful, intimate, loving relationship they communicate ; and, according to this view, that should form the basis for sustained desire. Ironically, what makes for good intimacy does not always make for good sex. This is indeed a puzzling inverse correlation: the breakdown of desire appears to be an unintentional consequence of the creation of intimacy. We have a good relationship. Adele and Alan refer to their nights away at a hotel as intimate, but not particularly passionate.

    Despite their erotic frustrations, these couples seem to share a fine intimacy, not a lack thereof. Andrew and Serena are clear that sex has been an issue from the beginning, and that regardless of how much their relationship has flourished, it is never enough to charge them erotically. Before she met Andrew, Serena had experienced a luscious sexual life in a number of long-term relationships.

    That with love it would get better. Sexuality is more than a metaphor for the relationship—it stands on its own as a parallel narrative. There is a complex relationship between love and desire, and it is not a cause-and-effect, linear arrangement. Maybe intimacy only sometimes begets sexuality. Separateness Is a Precondition for Connection It is too easily assumed that problems with sex are the result of a lack of closeness.

    But my point is that perhaps the way we construct closeness reduces the sense of freedom and autonomy needed for sexual pleasure. When intimacy collapses into fusion, it is not a lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire. Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. One does not exist without the other. With too much distance, there can be no connection. But too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals.

    Then there is nothing more to transcend, no bridge to walk on, no one to visit on the other side, no other internal world to enter. When people become fused—when two become one—connection can no longer happen. There is no one to connect with. Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.

    The dual and often conflicting needs for connection and independence are a central theme in our developmental histories. Throughout childhood we struggle to find a delicate balance between our profound dependence on our primary caregivers and our need to carve out a sense of independence. The extent to which our childhood relationships nurture or obstruct both sets of needs will determine the vulnerabilities that we bring into our adult relationships—what we most want and what we most fear.

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    We all straddle both needs. Their intensity and priority fluctuate throughout our lives; and, as it happens, we tend to choose partners whose proclivities match our vulnerabilities. Some of us enter intimate bonds with an acute awareness of our need to connect, to be close, not to be alone, not to be abandoned. Others approach relationships with a heightened need for personal space—our sense of self-preservation inspires vigilance against being devoured.

    Erotic, emotional connection generates closeness that can become overwhelming, evoking claustrophobia. It can feel intrusive. What was initially a secure enclosure becomes confining. While our need for closeness is almost as basic as our need for food, it carries with it anxieties and threats that can inhibit desire. We want closeness, but not so much that we feel trapped by it. All these meanderings on intimacy are still far from the awareness of John and Beatrice.

    The authenticity and the spontaneity of the beginning did not lead them to anticipate the ambivalence of love that would follow. From where they were, intimacy was simple. Open up, reveal, share, become transparent, open up more John and Beatrice exemplify a typical beginning. At this early stage merging and surrendering are relatively safe, because the boundaries between the two people are still externally defined. John and Beatrice are new to each other. It is all the space between them that allows them to imagine no space at all. They are still enthralled by the encounter, and they have not yet consolidated their relationship.

    Otherness is a fact. You aim to overcome that separateness. As new lovers, John and Beatrice enjoyed a built-in distance that allowed them to experience the confluence of love and desire freely, exempt from the conflicts they would bring to therapy later.

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    Entrapment Deadens Desire For John, intimacy harbors a threat of entrapment. He grew up in a home with an alcoholic, abusive father. He was her hope, her solace, a vicarious affirmation that her miserable life would be vindicated through her marvelous son. Children of such conflicted marriages are often enlisted to protect the vulnerable parent.

    From early on, love implied responsibility and obligation. The emerging love he feels for Beatrice carries with it the same heaviness that love has always had for him. There are many circumstances that can lead people to experience love and intimacy as constricting—an unhappy childhood is not a prerequisite. Rather it is the weightiness of that involvement that these people find overbearing.

    Foreclosing the necessary freedom and spontaneity that eros demands, they feel trapped by intimacy. As a matter of fact, the more he cares about her, the less he can freely lust after her. For him, as for many other men in this predicament, erotic shutdown is not subtle. He is at the mercy of a stubborn penis that simply will not respond. But why? What is the erotic block that stops him from pursuing pleasure with Beatrice, the same woman with whom he lay in a languorous paradise not so long ago? Ironically, even the closeness generated by good sex can have a boomerang effect.

    Like John and Beatrice, many couples experience their relationship as a dance in which great sex brings them close, but then this very closeness can make sex difficult again. The initial rapture facilitates a swift bonding and establishes an immediate connection. But while many of us relish the idea of losing ourselves in sex, the very oneness that we experience through the merging of our bodies can evoke a sense of obliteration. The intensity of sexual passion triggers a fear of engulfment.

    What we feel instead is the urge to pull out right after orgasm, or the sudden desire to make a sandwich, to light a cigarette. We welcome the intrusion of any random thought: I meant to send an e-mail to These windows need cleaning I wonder how my friend Jack is doing?

    We appreciate being left alone to meander leisurely in our own mind because this reestablishes a psychological distance, a delineation of the boundaries between me and you. Nowhere is the passage from connection to separateness represented more clearly than at the end of a sexual act. In his view, intimacy comes with a growing concern for the well-being of the other person, which includes a fear of hurting her.

    But sexual excitement requires the capacity not to worry, and the pursuit of pleasure demands a degree of selfishness. This emotional configuration is reminiscent of how John felt toward his mother—his awareness of her unhappiness overwhelmed him with worry and a sense of burden. The very caring he experiences makes it harder for him to focus on his own needs, to feel spontaneous, sexually alive, and carefree. In the past, every time the block set in he interpreted it as meaning that he no longer loved the woman. In fact, the contrary is true. Patterns Are Equal Employment Opportunities Dynamics in relationships are always complementary—both partners contribute to creating patterns.

    So I invite her to come in with John for a few sessions. In the course of our conversation her contribution to the puzzle becomes clear. Unfortunately, all her attempts to increase the closeness between them have had the opposite effect erotically. Her eagerness to please and her constant readiness to give up anything that might come between them increases the emotional burden and further exacerbates his sexual withdrawal.

    I suggested that Beatrice move out of their joint living situation for a while, and reestablish some independence. Doing this encouraged her to reconnect with her friends and to stop organizing her life around John. We need to reestablish a degree of differentiation and re-create some of the distance you had in the beginning. In a remarkable turnaround she found her own apartment, sent in her application for a PhD program, took a trip with her friends, and started earning her own money. Gradually, as John became convinced that she had two feet to stand on, and as it became clear to Beatrice that she did not need to abdicate her own person to merit love, they created a space between them into which desire could flow more freely.

    Many of the men and women I see in my practice find it particularly difficult to introduce this kind of emotional space into their loving relationships. You would think that the safety of an established base would make it easier to take these kinds of risks, but no. A secure relationship does indeed give us the courage to act on our professional ambitions, to confront family secrets, and to take the skydiving course we never dared consider before.

    Yet we balk at the idea of establishing distance within the relationship itself—the very place that grants us the delicious togetherness in the first place. We can tolerate space anywhere but there.

    Sexual desire does not obey the laws that maintain peace and contentment between partners. Reason, understanding, compassion, and camaraderie are the handmaidens of a close, harmonious relationship. But sex often evokes unreasoning obsession rather than thoughtful judgment, and selfish desire rather than altruistic consideration. Aggression, objectification, and power all exist in the shadow of desire, components of passion that do not necessarily nurture intimacy. Desire operates along its own trajectory.

    The Flannel Nightgown My first meeting with Jimmy and Candace was a powerful illustration of this all too common story. They are a biracial couple: she is African-American; he is of Irish descent. She exudes confidence in her boy jeans and aquamarine nails; he has the Quiksilver signature all over him. I had a number of long-term relationships before I met Jimmy, and it happened each time. They share a rich partnership. And while she wants these characteristics in a man, their collateral consequences are counter-erotic for her. We long to create closeness in our relationships, to bridge the space between our partner and ourselves, but, ironically, it is this very space between self and other that is the erotic synapse.

    In order to bring lust home, we need to re-create the distance that we worked so hard to bridge. Erotic intelligence is about creating distance, then bringing that space to life. In one of our sessions Candace describes how nothing turns her on more than to see Jimmy perform onstage. But when I ask her if she ever goes backstage afterward, she tells me no.

    But then you wait until he comes home and he instantly becomes deeroticized. In order to circumvent this pitfall, she needs to create psychological distance. Long before meeting me, Candace had attempted to do just that. She had come up with her own solution to the predicament: Jimmy was to ignore her when he came home, rather than instantly approach her. He saw her need for being at arms- length as a rejection of him. I want her to want me. I want her to be hungry for one thing and one thing only.

    And that thing is me. Here she is asking you to ignore her, not to want her, as a way for her to want you. I can see why this makes no sense. Why such detours? And I understand your reaction. But you see, she needs to separate the intimate from the erotic, and for that she needs space.

    She invited you into a scheme that would allow her to do just that. You have to imagine it not literally, but as a form of sexual play. Play at not needing me. Play at ignoring me. He wanted her to want him his way. Jimmy had felt deprived and rejected for so many years that the main feeling that escorted him was anger.

    His bile only highlighted the extent of his longing and need. The way they neutralized the threat of rage was through massive affection. Their almost constant physicality acted like a sexual appetite suppressor. This kind of contact can sustain itself for years without turning into desire. Unconditional love does not drive unconditional want. Knowing that Candace had already expressed a need for distance, I saw an opening to intervene. I sought to introduce a disruption into the cozy, affectionate touch that had come to replace sex.

    Here they had been emphasizing one aspect of their relationship that they both cherished, and I was taking it away from them.