The topic today is eroticism, which is our unique fingerprint of what turns us on. It’s a set of things or the theme of things that really arouses us – that we find highly interesting and erotic. We all have the things that we prefer in sex and things that we find more arousing than others. This is a useful concept and area of inquiry if we’re going to make our sex life as good as we can.
Listen to “82: [Soapbox] Exploring Eroticism – Jessa Zimmerman” on Spreaker.
Frees Us from Guilt and Shame
I find eroticism fascinating. And one of the theories that I subscribe to was developed by Michael Bader, who wrote a great book called Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies. He talks about how our eroticism, what we find especially arousing, frees us from guilt and shame. It moves those obstacles out of the way so that we can be fully aroused.
I give a great example of what Mr. Bader means, and if you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend the book in terms of trying to figure out why exactly does your eroticism exist? What does it absolve you of or relieve for you?
Why is Eroticism Important?
In some ways, you may have been going along having sex with your partner for a long time. It hasn’t been highly erotic, and it’s been just fine, and that’s part of the problem. We tend, over time, to come down to what a colleague of mine called “lowest common denominator sex.” How do we get to this point and what do we do to move beyond this level? It’s important to understand that maybe there’s room to explore what could reenergize your sex life.
We Need More Fuel for the Fire
Not only is our sex life becoming a little bit more predictable if we’re with the same partner usually, but we tend to need more fuel on the fire to get aroused or to reach an orgasm as we age, as we have more stress, as we have more responsibilities. So, tapping into our eroticism is a great way to up the stimulation because that is mental stimulation. If you’ve ever heard the saying that our brain is our biggest sex organ, that’s what that means to me. I explain it further during the episode.
Mental stimulation has a lot of power. And if we add that, we get our brain engaged and highly charged, and that’s a lot of energy for our sex life. That added stimulation makes it much, much easier to get aroused or reach orgasm, especially as we get older in terms of what we need to really get turned on.
Your Eroticism is Revealed in Different Ways
If you think about the best sex you’ve ever had or the sex that was the most exciting or what you like to do, that might point you in the direction of what you find highly arousing.
A place you could also look is in your reaction to sexual or romantic material. There is so much out there, and we don’t respond equally to all of it. We’re going to be drawn towards things that shine a light on what we find erotic. Watch for those things. And if you haven’t noticed that or you’re not coming across it, maybe seek out some erotic material on purpose and test the waters.
Another place you can look for your eroticism is in your sexual fantasies. If you fantasize, or if you could begin to fantasize about purely erotic material, your own creations really reflect your eroticism. This works because we don’t put stuff in there that doesn’t work for us. If you want to examine your sexual fantasies, spend a little bit of time there, maybe write some of these out. That can be a great place to identify the themes of what turns you on.
Once You Understand Your Eroticism
The next step is to share that with your partner. To learn theirs and to share yours with them. I can’t stress this enough – adopt a stance of curiosity without judgment. Set the stage to have a welcoming conversation and start to explore what really turns you each on without any sense that you must do anything about this yet, or that it means that anything is good or bad. Once you have the sort of common ground and this curiosity, you might share your own fantasies and just delving deeper into what really turns you on.
Find the Overlap
You come out of this process with a real knowledge of yourself and your partner, and I think you’re going to begin to see the overlap. There’s room to put these together. Now it doesn’t mean that what you find erotic, that what you fantasize about, that you want to do it. I describe different ways you can use erotic energy even if you don’t want to do the things in real life. You’re working with another person whose desires and wishes, and their eroticism also matters. And looking for where you can get overlap and you can play together, and you can harness what is wonderful.
Figure Out What Eroticism is for You
I can’t stress enough how powerful I think this is and how useful I think it can be in your sex life. And again, not every time you have sex. But it’s nice to have some of this to draw on and to have a little bit of variance in how arousing sex is… like there are places to pull it out and make it hotter.
And then there are other times where we just sort of want a simple, moderately warm encounter. Right? They’re all okay, but this gives you some flexibility. I hope you enjoy that and thanks again for listening.