Desire: The Secret

The Fisherman and the Syren by Frederic Leighton (1858)The Fisherman and the Syren by Frederic Leighton (1858)

Sometimes when I start writing, if I have a theme or an idea I want to think about, I search online for the single word or phrase. I did this with desire only to discover that there are many self-help books out there around spirituality, in particular Christianity, using the word desire or desiring in their titles. Apparently desiring has quite a lot to do with reaching a higher plane. Funnily enough, you need desire to have a nicer, higher-plane experience of fucking too, otherwise you’re just going through the motions without emotion.

This is why my two part blog post, What Gets Women Off, began with desire — and how imagination sparks desire. It’s why romance and erotica, those belittled genres, have such big readership among women. One must assume women want to feel that desire.

I talked to a gentleman recently who said his wife has gone off sex, she no longer has that desire. According to another book, (which a hitchhiker and I enjoyed listening to on a long car ride recently — poor guy, he had no idea what he was getting into when he flung his backpack on my back seat), Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, husbands and wives who have been married for quite some time love each other like siblings; long marriages mean, after all, they are now family, and sex rarely has the same gloss that it did in the early days with long-term partners. Apparently, it is perfectly normal to feel a little loss of interest in having sex with each other. (Meanwhile according to the book, middle-aged ladies are taking sex tours with their girlfriends to places like Jamaica where they can hire beautiful rent boys who provide the rejuvenation that a passionate cavort will bring, and middle-aged men are re-sowing their wild oats with young students working as high class courtesans and feeling all over again like the specimens of virility they can still be.)

At the beginning of relationships, desire for ones partner is ever-present. That feeling of falling in love is always lust-based and mostly physical, (according to M. Scott Peck who wrote the self-help classic, The Road Less Traveled), and this overwhelming feeling has fooled many a couple into marriage without really being that compatible. It is as if nature is playing a cruel trick on us. Apparently that feeling you get when house hunting and you’ve finally found your dream home is similar to falling in love: you can barely think of anything else and you’re convinced your object of affection is perfection itself.

Meanwhile, the now well-established self-help and empowerment industry have spouted up with new ways of sharing old ideas such as The Secret, which says that we can manifest whatever we want by imagining and visualizing it. I guess how this works is that it creates a desire which is very intense, sparking the neurons in the brain (literally brainstorming?) Suddenly, motivation happens and things get achieved. The Secret also talks about “attracting” synchronicity and coincidences which cause things to happen. One of the titles that came up when I searched Desire was Deepak Chopra’s The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence. What a great title, what a great idea.

So where does the desire come in again? It starts in that space between our ears, as a spark of our imagination. And how do we get desire? By letting ourselves feel it. By indulging in it. Many a great preacher has whipped up a congregation into a frenzy of desire to serve (just before the passing around of the collection plate). Recent erotica hits have taken its readership by storm. We can do that for ourselves by taking the internal conversation further.

So if it all boils down to desire, how does that create hot sex? Are desires like fantasies? Sometimes the ideas are intertwined. My last little collection of blog posts which I re-purposed as a book for Kindle, with the title of Older Women, Younger Men (on the topic of the old-as-the-hills phenomenon of MILF, Moms I’d Like to Fuck) was subtitled Scandalous Desires, because society has told us that we should be paired age-appropriately, the ideal being a lady with a man two years or so older than herself and anything way out of that spectrum is scandalous.

However it is desire, that idea in our head that says we want something, providing we don’t let the wet blanket of shame and negativity dampen it even though some of our desires are forbidden, which can create the passion and motivation to get it. The fire. The spark. Fire and spark are both related to heat interestingly. So that is sex so hot that the steam is rising off it, sweat is sexy, desire is HOT.

So what about shame? A reader of my blog left a comment which I thought was rather wonderful and sparked the desire for me to read the book Sex at Dawn, which I mentioned previously. The blog post was about prostitution and how no matter how open-minded people are and even though times have changed and it is now legal in my country, they often reveal their disapproval of sex work sooner or later. (It’s amazing how often this happens when you listen to what people are really saying, it can be quite off-putting). This is part of what the commenter wrote:

If sex work is regarded as shameful it implies that the desire that drives the demand is also shameful. Seeing sex workers is not something that can be readily admitted to by their clients. This desire also needs to be de-stigmatised.

Is there shame around some of the things we fantasize about? Is it that things just feel so forbidden and shameful that we would not only never tell a living soul, we would not even let ourselves think of them or fan the flames by padding out the fantasy in our thoughts? If you could not imagine that you could ever find a consenting partner (or a sex worker) to carry out your fantasy, think again. There are other adults who share the same fantasies and they may be looking for someone just like you. Sex workers offer services for many different flavors of kink. Yes, such desire has created a demand for these services — no wonder society will always have a problem with those who are a little more open-minded towards the desires, vanilla or many-favored.

Or it could be that the shame has to do with something that ones partner has expressed disgust about, such as cross-dressing, or even oral sex. Yes, the humble blow job, which many people enjoy as a prelude to or even substitute for intercourse, was forbidden by the partner of a sex worker’s client as she found it degrading. He had real shame around the sex worker’s desire to kneel at his feet and devour his member which apparently took quite some convincing that it was her choice and her desire, no exploitation or degradation involved. And wow, he must have really enjoyed that forbidden blow job. The gentleman’s wife though, had instilled in him a real shame around his desire, probably because she had no desire to give her husband a blow job, and if she heaped enough shame around the act itself, he would not ask. But there was a sex service provider who was happy to pander to his fantasies, and who saw no shame in it, in fact, the opposite — quite a lot of pleasure.

Denying our desires or overcoming them selflessly is a common motif in coming of age stories and something we should supposedly all aspire to, but in reality such heroism (or should that be martyrdom for that cause?) is usually a little less common. At the end of such denial of pleasure, there is supposed to be a gem of wisdom or personal growth — something like a key to open a mysterious door and reveal a great truth. Can desires really be quenched with cautionary tales?

The indulgence of desire by allowing thoughts to expand on any particular desire is probably the secret to great sex, via great connection between partners. There needn’t be guilt, as this has never really managed to quash desire fully anyway. And the silliest ideas and desires have evolved into great happenings in the non-sexual arena — by allowing thoughts to expand on any particular desire. One non-sexual desire I can think of off the top of my head: the strange desire to fly like a bird, evolved into creating large metal cylinders which could fly safely in the sky, transporting masses of goods and people by air. It’s amazing what can happen when we let ourselves go.

So how do we get back a desire for sex again? By allowing it. Allowing a spark to grow and catch fire. It’s a personal thing, maybe a secret at first, that involves the mind to begin with. A clever partner, of whatever gender, will observe closely for hints of such desires and run with them.

Why keep the benefits of having desires such a secret? Long live our desires and (sexual) aspirations.

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