We’ve mentioned the core erotic theme in other posts. But what is it, really? And more importantly, how could it improve your sex life?
In his book, The Erotic Mind, Jack Morin outlines eroticism as:
The interplay of sexual arousal with the challenges of living and loving… Eroticism can be best understood as the multifaceted process through which our innate capacity for arousal is shaped, focused, suppressed, and expressed. We’re born sensuous and sexual, but we become erotic as we receive both overt and subtle messages about ourselves from our primary caretakers and gradually integrate these messages with our experiences of touch, as well as the highly personal mental images and emotions that go with them. As we grow, the demands and ideals of our culture, along with the interpersonal dynamics of our families and communities, influence our responses profoundly.
In other words, while sex can be “little more than a collection of urges and acts,” eroticism is the process in which sex becomes meaningful. “Eros is energized by the entire human drama, including the unruly impulses and painful lessons that no one – except those who retreat from life – can possibly avoid. No wonder the erotic mind conjures up images of debauchery as well as delight… It is connected with all aspects of existence.” Essentially, our eroticism interacts with and is influenced by our upbringing, surroundings, and all our sexual and non-sexual experiences.
Embracing these complexities and the paradoxes that exist within our own motivations and emotions is important for the erotic mind to blossom. The idea of the core erotic theme builds on this. Think back on your peak sexual experience(s), the unforgettable moments where you remember feeling the most turned-on. It may be a situation that involved sex, though some peak encounters don’t. Other encounters are completely visual and no clothing is removed. What about that experience stands out to you? Without a doubt something close to your core came alive; this is some part of your core erotic theme. Do you notice a pattern where this particular aspect had significance in other peak sexual experiences or sexual fantasies? Can you think of why this aspect appeals to you? Does it make you feel desired, worshipped, devious, in control, submissive, powerful, something else? It is through pinpointing these feelings that you will identify underlying themes in your most arousing turn-ons.
If it’s not obvious what specifically stood out to you about the experience, was there any exchange between what was attractive to you and any obstacles – physical or perceived – that may have been in your way? Morin writes, “You already know how positive emotions can energize arousal, but you’ll see how unexpected aphrodisiacs such as anxiety, guilt, and anger can have similar effects. As your awareness expands you’ll marvel at your erotic mind’s amazing ability to transform life’s inevitable difficulties and emotional wounds into sources of excitation.”
Not all fantasies involve negative feelings, but many will include an aspect that does not fit comfortably inside our concept of who we are, and it is easy to pass these fantasies over. In fact, one good starting point to discovering your own less tidy fantasies is noticing when you retreat from your partner or feel yourself becoming overly critical of them. When this happens, pause and think about how your defensiveness or whatever triggered your distancing attitude might be related to that situation threatening your core erotic theme.
Some will benefit from the new information that has been revealed, while others will use their discoveries as inspiration for hotter sex. Regardless, by bringing these realizations to the forefront of the mind, you will be amazed by your mind’s ability to creatively express its most precious desires and potentials. Responsibly and mindfully exploring your own core erotic theme(s) can be a tool for immense healing, self-awareness, and growth. If you are willing to look at all sides of your arousal with an open mind you may even be pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and truths that reveal themselves at the end of the trail of questions, thoughts, and feelings. Just be sure to use a gentle approach, suspend judgment as much as you can, and trust yourself. The more you trust yourself, the more honest you will be with yourself. Dr. Morin’s “most fervent belief about erotic self-discovery is that deep erotic truths do not reveal themselves to judgmental eyes and non accepting hearts. The secrets of the erotic mind become visible only to those who consciously cultivate the ability to set aside critical evaluations long enough to perceive what’s actually there.”
He adds, “Some people have a mistaken notion that suspending judgment means adopting an amoral stance toward sexuality or negating the importance of one’s values. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, only through a courageous examination of the difficult truths of erotic life does it become possible to establish a meaningful ethical system to guide our actions.” It is a process that can take quite a bit of time, even several years to understand the layers of truth amidst the fear of rejection and urge to self-preserve. Yet everyone I know that has had the courage to examine their personal uncharted erotic territory said that it changed their life, increasing their level of energy and allowing them to make more space to experience greater passion and fulfillment. It’s something we should all be so fortunate to experience, if we are willing to do the work.