Eroticism: What Turns us On?
Deep within the recesses of who we know ourselves to be, unresolved conflicts reside which first developed when we were small children. We cling to these conflicts dearly. We regard them as deeply personal and intensely intimate. Such internal dilemmas guide us when we choose the content from our unlimited imagination to populate our sexual fantasies with choices perfectly tailored to suit our erotic needs. Situations are erotic when they cause us to be sexually excited and aroused.
Many people have buried their eroticism so that the impulse to create a fantasy seems to them not to exist. But in fact it does exist, but lies outside of their conscious awareness. A myriad of social pressures, of should’s, of rights and wrongs have strongly rewarded many to repress their eroticism so that they may join those who are experienced as being acceptable and good enough by others.
As children and having the experience of being small while being surrounded by powerful and able adults, the threat that our needs would not be met was ever-present. The resulting childish conflicts are simple; to gain power to overcome powerlessness, to gain control to overcome feelings of being out of control, and to gain certainty in order to overcome uncertainty. That is why so many sexual fantasies are dramas of power, in which we may delight in ourpowerfulness or powerlessness, or we may free ourselves by overcoming laws or limitations. Because the sources of our sexual excitement are so deep and near our center that they are sources of tremendous vulnerability; hence we labeled them as too deeply personal to commonly be shared, often even with our life partners. Yet sexual fantasies are not uncommon and their plots can even be seen as formulaic.
When we are with our lover, hopefully in a sexual garden of delight, playfulness is valuable. Eroticism and sexuality are adults’ play. We play at creating scenarios which include body,mind and spirit while exploring ways to resolve these deep conflicts so as to feel free. By doing so intense pleasure is produced.
Passion in our love play is the brass ring in what is universally called “good sex.” In order to experience the full possibilities of joining with the one we love, without exception, all of us must be shared. By first knowing and then revealing our eroticism we truly make ourselves vulnerable, but also open ourselves to levels of love that are widely sought after and deeply valued. Knowing our own eroticism is essential to value ourselves and our sexuality. Andrew Aaron, LICSW