In Anticipation of a Good Read

**If you are here for ICLW, you may want to visit this post to get an outline of my TTC/IF journey so far**

On the recommendation of my cousin Blithe, I downloaded a new book onto my Nook.  As so many of us realize at some point, infertility really messes with a couple’s mojo.  We read the stupid articles in Cos.mo on “how to please your man” or “how to rejuvenate your sex life” or “ways to say ‘I’m ovulating’ with lingerie and macaroni art”.  My cousin may be family, and may be a man, but he’s like a best friend so we talk about our lives, and he knows Hubster and I have struggled in the area.  Anyway, during our trip out to Bainbridge Island he said a friend had recommended a book to him and he thought it might help me.  It’s called “Mat.ing in Capti.vity” by Esther Perel.

So I downloaded the book yesterday, and read through the introduction and part of the first chapter, titled “From Adventure to Captivity; Why the Quest for Security Saps Erotic Vitality”.  Basically the author is coming at this from an anthropological point of view, that excitement and desire springs from the unknown and uncertainty, but intimacy comes from knowledge and certainty.  The first chapter (from what I have read of it so far) is goes into detail about love and desire; security and passion are possible in a long term committed relationship but that they have different placed in our relationship.  We can’t have both 100% of the time. Here is a quote I feel sums up what I have read so far fairly well.  “We all need security: permanence, reliability, stability and continuity,  These rooting, nesting instincts ground us in our human experience.  But we also have a need for novelty and change, generative forces that give life fullness and vibrancy.  Here risk and adventure loom large.  We’re walking contradictions, seeking safety and predictability 0n one hand and thriving on diversity on the other … any person or system exposed to ceaseless novelty and change risks failling into chaos; but one that is too rigid or static ceases to grow and eventually dies.” 

Esther speaks on the history of romanticism, “Not so long ago, the desire to feel passionate about one’s husband would have been considered a contradiction in terms.”  It wasn’t until half a century ago that ideas of what marriage should/could look like began to change.  In one small sentence she talks about how “…sex became liberated from reproduction” and I think I actually mockingly laughed out loud, but the fact is we want to be able to have sex for reproduction and passion, so I can’t snicker to much.  Otherwise I would be content in our current situation, right?

Interestingly, she notes the decline of traditional values (religion, multiple generations of family living together) may be the reason we place so much weight on our partner to fulfill our desires for security.  “The extended family, the community and religion may indeed have limited our freedom, sexual and otherwise, but in return they offered us a much-needed sense of belonging.  For generations these traditional institutions provided order, meaning, continuity, and social support.  Dismantling them has left us with more choices and fewer restrictions than ever.  We are freer, but also more alone … What is different is that modern life has deprived us of our traditional resources, and has created a situation in which we turn to one person for the protections and emotional connections that a multitude of social networks used to provide.”

The author also explores how, the longer we know someone the more we start to see them in a sort of constancy, whether through pet names, or putting them in a box of their likes, dislikes and habits, making assumptions about their motives, expectations or desires.  And while we need that security, we must also acknowledge there are hidden aspects of our spouse and of ourselves left to learn and share, be willing to allow them and ourselves to grow and change.  “Neutralizing each other’s complexity affords us a kind of manageable otherness.  We narrow down our partner, ignoring or rejecting essential parts when they threaten the established order of our coupledom.  We also reduve ourselves, jettisoning large chunks of our personalities in the name of love.”

And that’s about as far as I come.  There is PLENTY left to read, and I know the first chapter is basically setting up the premise for the rest of the book, but I already find myself wanting to debate some of this.  I mean, I know it’s unrealistic for Hubster to like, say, playing board games. In fact, he hates them.  And puzzles.  But I don’t hide the fact that I enjoy them, I just find friends who likes them to let out that side of me.  So I have tried not to lose big parts of who I am, I just find people I can do them with.  Of course, though, that cannot apply to our sex life, so I recognize she may have a point there.  Anyway, plenty of food for thought, what do you think so far?  Intrigued?  Even though I don’t accept 100% of what she has to say, I also think she has some real valuable points in there and am excited to continuing reading.  Perhaps some of you will pick up your own copy and follow along?

Tomorrow I have a lot to do, packing for my house-sitting at Polly’s farm, and a doctors appointment in Seattle, then coming home and putting everything in my car for said weekend.  Today I got to hang out with K for a good long time, and have dinner with her and her son, and came home and made some pretty fab cookies she finally shared her recipe for with me.  And after a bit more exploring online, I am going to head off to bed.  With the smell of homemade cookies in the air 🙂  My happy is the smell of freshly made baked goods!

Day 14 (that’s 2 whole weeks!) of 100 Days of Happiness 😀

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Very intriguing and interesting. and YUM to the cookies one of the best smells in the world and my secret downfall.

    Reply

  2. Wow, that sounds like a fascinating book. I’d need more of my brain power at my disposal (long, long night already) to debate it but it definitely sounds like a worthy read.

    ICLW #19

    Reply

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