**warning adult language used**
One of the biggest challenges to relationships is each person’s relationship with their anxiety. Even if you don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder, everyone has the experience of anxiety in their lives. What happens in relationships is that it is easy to blame the other person for your anxiety and/or want your partner to fix your anxiety. The foundation for many relationships is being able to ease each other’s anxiety. You become each other’s security blanket when you aren’t driving each other crazy.
When this happens sexual attraction goes out the window.
People blame all kinds of factors for their lack of sex drive like lack of self-care, not enough time, intrusive kids, hormones… These may have an impact, but the biggest destroyer of sexual attraction is when your partner becomes your security blanket. When you see them as your source of soothing you don’t want to have sex with them anymore. It is not natural to have sex with the person who soothes you. It feels unnatural. Do you really want to have sex with the person who has now taken on the role of a caretaker?
What brings life back into sexual attraction and desire is the aliveness that comes from seeing that the other is completely incapable of offering that kind of comfort and that you don’t need them to. What is sexy is being able to feel your fundamental okayness with your humanness and with your partner’s. It is liberating to be able to see your partner with all their rough edges and be completely fine. There is freedom in seeing their weaknesses without judgment and realizing your wellbeing is not dependent on their perfection. This sounds counterintuitive. We all think we want the partner who will show up in the perfect way, all of the time, and meet our needs to perfection. All that leads to is disappointment because none of us are perfect, and the game of trying to make this happen is an erotic killer.
What brings sexual aliveness back is the rawness of our human experience. The vulnerability of this. The terrifying reality that our partner is going to disappoint us at times. Our partner is never going to meet our needs perfectly. We are going to get our feelings hurt. That is part of being in a relationship. The dizzying reality of the failure of our fantasies is what actually brings life back into the relationship.
We are not here to please each other. We are here to live our lives and express our uniqueness into the world. We are going to bump into each other along the way. We are going to take things personally. We are going to rub each other the wrong way.
It doesn’t work to try and avoid this. As soon as we start managing ourselves and/or managing our partner disaster looms. This disaster might appear as repeating cycles anger, resentment, and disappointment that don’t get resolved so they end up in a break-up. That cycle tends to repeat itself from relationship to relationship. But another more pervasive form of disaster is where the relationship remains intact but without any spark, without fire and sexual attraction.
The relationship that is based on companionship, but without desire. It is the comfortable pair of shoes that soothes us from the pain of day to day life. It lulls us into a false sense of security. We tell ourselves we can be satisfied with this. This is good enough. It is a balm to our anxiety. It looks like we have set up our life in a way to be protected from our feelings of fear, but this is impossible. Anxiety and insecurity are inherent in the human condition. We can’t medicate ourselves out of that or anesthetize ourselves through a comfortable relationship. Our humanness is fragile physically. Our emotional nature is capricious and ever-changing. Our moods go up and down.
The entire self-help and psychology industry has been selling us a bid of goods that if we work on ourselves hard enough and long enough we can fix this. This is like saying if water would only practice enough strategies and techniques it would stop being wet.
It is through embracing our humanness and that of our partner that we realize there is no promised land of safety and security in this human life. What there is is an abundance of rich experiences. We can like them or hate them but that is what we get. And within this miraculous creation of life, there is an intelligence behind it. Unfolding. But that intelligence is impersonal and neutral. It does not have our personal preferences and interests at heart. It is not going to wrap us up in a cozy blanket and make us comfortable. Life is uncomfortable and comfortable. It is good and bad. It is everything. We do not get to choose.
And when we stop trying to make ourselves comfortable, when we embrace the raw, wild nature of the human experience. The color comes back. Our vibrancy increases. This physical form of the human body is going to die. We cannot stop that. We don’t know when. It is a precarious existence. Our partner is not going to change that. Getting it right isn’t going to change that. Seeing this makes you want to seize life and live it fully. There is a sweetness in recognizing the temporary nature of what we have got.
Recognizing that security is not on offer and a deeper intelligence is at play, allows for the letting go of a whole bunch of thought designed to try and control and manipulate circumstances to minimize suffering. It makes taming and domesticating your partner to soothe your anxiety look ridiculous. And the blessing in stopping that is seeing that your partner is not there to make you feel better or to make your life more comfortable. Your partner is there as their unique expression of this intelligence behind life.
Get out of the way and let them do their thing no matter how annoying or irritating it is. No matter how uncomfortable you feel when they are themselves. Let them be free. Let yourself be free. Let yourself be okay with your insecurity and anxiety. See what aliveness this wakes up inside of you to find peace with your human experience rather than battling with it, and see how different your partner looks when they are a traveler on this journey with you, not a security blanket to make you feel safe along the way. You may be surprised at how much more eminently f*ckable they look.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.