So, lockdown, 2 teenage kids in the house 24x7, working from home, everything from home, never more than 2 rooms away from partner - intimacy whoosh out the window. Any suggestions would be excellent! Oh and “ What's the best way to get started in BDSM?” We are curious but seem to both be subs. One definitely, the other could maybe switch. Mind you see previous question - a single slap and the kids would barge in wondering what was happening. Bloody lockdowns - Geoff
Oh the vagaries of modern intimacy Geoff.
I just love the intricacies of your question - how it pulls together the opposing ideas of routine and freedom, lockdown and transgression, comfort and wildness.
It's got me pondering the challenge of and perhaps the impossibility of maintaining eroticism within the boundaries of lockdown and more broadly, traditional family life. Probably not the answer you were expecting Geoff and just to reassure you, I will outline some ways to have exciting lockdown sex a little later on.
First though, I want to delve into the opposing states of predictability and eroticism that we find ourselves in.
FINDING EROTICISM IN THE MUNDANE
Love, intimacy and family life are about creating a stable home with routines and boundaries for our children and by extension, ourselves. We build intimacy, trust and closeness with our partner through the repetition of daily life.
If love is about having, then desire is about wanting.
In the beginning of a relationship we are excited to be an unknown - distant from one another. And the sex is great! As we fall in love we work to understand and know each other entirely, finding security and comfort together. But desire thrives on the unknown - the thrill of being completely new to another. As poet Octovio Paz says
“Eroticism is first and foremost a thirst for otherness.”
If you've been in lockdown forever then by default, you and your partner are practically one unit locked together in a cage with your teenagers poking their heads through the bars. You’ve built a stable, intimate life together but now it's almost impossible to have a sexual connection because you’re so close there’s nothing to connect to. How can you feel alive when this kind of insane togetherness is the complete antidote to eroticism (which by nature thrives on the unknown)?
This is the fundamental challenge we need to ponder, both together as a couple and on our own. And whether we are in lockdown or not, the dilemma remains. How can we maintain our independence inside the constructs of a relationship? How can we keep desire alive?
COUPLES AS SEPARATE BEINGS, TOGETHER
The answer is to foster separateness as a way to come together - to ‘make spaces in togetherness’ as Kahlil Gibran counsels. And as Esther Perel so beautifully elucidates in her book Mating in Captivity
“In order to bring lust home, we need to re-create the distance that we worked so hard to bridge. Erotic intelligence is about creating distance, then bringing that space to life”
Our bodies are in lockdown but our minds are not. Now is the time to cultivate our selves as a separate entity to our partner, in order to regain mystery and elusiveness. We can work to more deeply feel the otherness of the other. We will cultivate our secret gardens. We will do the work to create freedom within our relationships so that they can thrive.
SEX IN LOCKDOWN
While we are quietly cultivating, we can work on ways to have sizzling sex in lockdown. And this is where I love your idea Geoff of a bit of BDSM or in this case, roleplay. If we can’t physically separate ourselves from our partners right now, we can imaginatively do so.
"You will never imprison my mind"- Mahatma Ghandi
Talk to your partner about the challenges of finding eroticism in the mundane and suggest a scenario where you can be strangers to one another. Let’s pretend the fantasy is the gardener coming to do a job and the wife finding him devastatingly attractive. (You could do this in the backyard to avoid the kids). Start flirting and suggest another meeting. When you do ‘meet’ again, have something new to bring to the party. Whether it be underwear or a different sex position, make sure it’s new!
You need to get creative and talk about fantasies that you have or have had in the past. If you want to bring some BDSM into it, create fantasies that have a dominant and a submissive so you can use the power dynamic to fuel your lust. Swap the roles and inhabit the character. This is how you bring the erotic, the excitement into a too familiar love life.
QUIET SEX ROLEPLAY
Don’t want to wake the kids? PERFECT! Silent sex can be so so thrilling. And it creates the opportunity to act out a super hot fantasy using some of my favourite bedroom gear - blindfold, ball gag, cuffs and fur lined paddle (to absorb the noise). Oof and a Liberator Wedge. And an array of sex toys. You get the idea. No noise allowed... or else.
OTHER WAYS TO HAVE QUIETER SEX
- Have it on the floor
- Have it in the shower (use silicone lube)
- Put background music on
- Put something against the door
- Set an alarm for sex - 5am sex is awesome with a little post coital nap
- The doggy position lets you muffle your moans in the pillow
- Or just tell the kids that you're having sex and let them deal with it
We all want to feel desired. Even when we’re in our PJ’s all day. Tear up a dozen tiny bits of paper and write on them all the things you love about your partner. Tear up another dozen and write down all the ways you’d like to pleasure them. Fold them up and pass them to each other throughout the day or week. It helps to maintain an erotic connection while building tension and desire.
As our world is reduced to our home and family in lockdown, so too is familiarity and intimacy amplified. Nice, but an utter killer of desire.
Find ways to cultivate your otherness and give each other the permission to do so. Trust that your partner will be MORE and not LESS when they practice separateness. The comforts of love keep us safe and secure but the insecurities that may arise from our partner pursuing personal interests keeps the relationship healthy with sizzle. It can be challenging for some but it's good to work through it.
Use fantasy and roleplay as a way of portraying your independence. Work together to find ways of creating something new in your sex life. Be spontaneous and work hard to fan the flames of desire. We can reinvent our relationships when we make the effort. When we don’t, we start to look for our otherness elsewhere.
Create distance and bring that space to life.
Until next week,
Michelle xxxSign up to our newsletter for your weekly dose of Passionfruit Pulp + CATS