Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cultivating playfulness

by Esther Perel

So how do we begin to better ourselves in the language of sex? First of all, stop thinking you're trying to improve "sex"--it's a limiting definition, too enmeshed in mechanics, necessity and numbers. Think about improving your relationship with eroticism; if that's too big a leap, think play.

Defined in part by the fact that it serves no purpose, play is amusement that is carefree and unabashed. Our facility for play is inherent, but as we age, it is increasingly elusive. When I talk about the importance of playfulness in the erotic, Americans often have a lot of questions about what I "really mean" by playfulness. They want instruction on how to do something that is best cultivated in autonomy and imagination.

We are a society that is all about directness: we want the point, and we want it now. We don't have time to be spontaneous. We don't have room in our jam-packed, over-booked, chock-a-block schedules for such luxuries as ambiguity, mystery and wonder. We want our eroticism neatly packaged and Fed-Exed. And it is in how we want that we manage to deny ourselves what we want.

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