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How to Navigate the Sex/Stability Paradox in Challenging Times

coronavirus risk sex space Jun 18, 2020


“The challenge for modern couples lies in reconciling the need for what's safe and predictable with the wish to pursue what's exciting, mysterious, and awe-inspiring."


These are the words of Esther Perel, the master theorist of sex and eroticism in marriage. Her big idea is that marriage consists of two conflicting aims. On one side, we crave security, comfort, and safety. On the other, we crave adventure, excitement, and sometimes even risk.

Ideally, these two opposite cravings can work together. The safer we feel, the more adventure and risk we're willing to take in our most intimate moments. Likewise, the more we push our edge of intimacy, the more connected and trusting we may feel.

But then, along comes a global pandemic, a recession, and social unrest. It’s a perfect storm for disrupting the stability/sex balance.

Our finances? Unstable. Our physical health? At risk. Our emotional health? Challenged constantly. Even our centuries-old democratic institutions appear to be under threat.

The result? With so little certainty, safety, and security, there’s no room left for adventure, risk, and a little bit of craziness in the bedroom.

So what are we to do?



1. Get close, secure, and safe, then get it on.

With the outside world in chaos, now, more than ever, it's important to set up time to connect before sex. Go for a long walk together. Play a game together. Sit outside and gaze at the stars. Do whatever you need to do together to establish a sense of connection and emotional security. It's a simple move that builds the foundation for adventure, exploration, and risk taking in the bedroom.


2. Create space for erotic adventure.

We've talked in a previous newsletter about the lack of space during this time of crisis. Lack of space, just like lack of security, gets in the way of the free-flowing energy of amazing sex. As a result, one of the best things you can do to build the energy of eroticism in marriage is to carve out space for it. This is yet again an example of the play between sex and security. By creating the security of a structured and scheduled time for sex, you open up a space for the spontaneous, the unstructured, and the wildness of erotic desire to emerge. 

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