Believe it or not, we still live in a relatively Puritanical society. It is a society that still contains many taboos about sex. Going even beyond sex, many of us learned to distrust desires of all kinds if it did not fit the idea of what a parent, authority figure or even culture felt we should desire. That could be about sex, about a career, about a passion for a hobby, etc. So our deeper sexual desires and other pursuits often go underground, leaving us with the two poor choices of either suppressing or acting them out in sabotaging ways; sabotaging to your own emotional well being and/or your relationship.
When we desire something or someone, I like to look at it as a communication from the soul. I suggest to my clients that if they have a desire, they should explore it and wonder about it and learn about themselves through it. In some instances, they should act on the desire. Of course, having a desire to be with another person when you are already committed is problematic if acted on and kept from the partner, because secrets can destroy lives and relationships. However, that desire could be explored as well. Why do I feel this desire? What do I need in my life that I am not having?
I had a client who was happily married but came to me because she had this sexual fantasy about a man at work. She was his assistant and he was an influential man who made decisions on a daily basis that could help many people. In our work together, we honored and explored her sexual desire for him and we discovered that it was about her own feelings of a lack of power and influence in her own life. She wanted to be in more of a position to help others besides computer work and filing. She decided to go back to school to eventually become a nurse. Lo and behold, as she began her own course of a career, her sexual feelings and fantasies with this man totally subsided.
That is an example of how sexual desire can be linked with other aspects of our life. As she learned to trust her desire, it lead her to discover more about herself and eventually a more fulfilling life.
Of course, every situation is different and sexual desires can be more about our own sexuality, sexual preferences and wishes and less about other aspects of our life. I have helped many clients shift from feeling guilty about their sexual desires, preferences and fantasies to getting interested in their own sexual selves. This open and adventurous mindset is different that what many people have learned in their families of origin. Guilt in these cases just stops us from becoming more of ourselves. Again, this does not mean that we act on every desire; we need to think of the consequences for ourselves and our loved ones. But let’s at least decide that we are interesting sexual people who have more to discover and experience in ourselves.
We don’t know ourselves as well as we may think we do and that includes sexually. Being open to how we respond to people, images, smells, voices, etc. can tell us something about our desires. Just as my wife and I discovered the joys of wanting Thai food, which we had rarely consumed until recently, so can we have the same adventurous and curious attitude about what turns us on sexually throughout our lives.
Trust your desires, follow them and creatively and intelligently explore them. It will lead to a more robust and passionate life in the sexual arena as well as in other aspects of your life.