“The erotic is the very creative stuff of life and is inextricably linked to passion. It is a maverick, capable of the unexpected, and is the therapeutic momentum in analysis. The issue is one of passion, an intensity of feeling with no easy resolution; but out of the heat of passion old links are weakened and new links can be forged.”
– David Mann
Massive Orienting Passions, A ‘Deep Wide Now’
“Our most fleeting and local sensations are shot through with thoughts and feelings in which a long past and a long future, and a deep wide now, are represented. …But our sexuality [as humans] is also characterized by another peculiarity, one that is central for the project of changing our gender arrangements: It resonates, more literally than any other part of our experience, with the massive orienting passions that first take shape in pre-verbal, pre-rational human infancy.”
“For this question, the crucial fact is that the feeling, the vital emotional intercourse, between infant and parent is carried by touch, by taste and smell, by facial expression and gesture, and by mutual accommodations of body position.”
“Until the sexual impulse that emerges at puberty throws us once more into acute, physiologically urgent need for contact with the body of another person, life offers us no comparable avenue for direct expression of those feelings which are continuous with the feelings of infancy, feelings for which we then had no words, no language-dominated thoughts, and which cannot be rediscovered in their original fullness except in touch, in taste and smell, in facial expression and gesture, and in mutual accommodation of body position.”
– Dorothy Dinnerstein
The force of human sexuality. A DEEP WIDE NOW: drenched, submerged in infantile fantasies, enthralled in the moment, flung back into past, only to be thrust forward into future, wrenched with hope, desire, vulnerability. Essential to both the disturbance and the excitement of our erotic desires is the simultaneous evocation of the infantile underpinnings of our somatic/emotional experiences as well as the force and complexity of adult love and passion.
– Bill Cornell
The eros of our life force, whether directly linked to one’s sexual or aggressive expressions or not, is the most enduring and exciting force that can sustain people in the face of life’s vicissitudes, it’s myriad disappointments and frustrations.
There is a tendency to sanitize life in psychotherapy in particular, and any therapeutic work in general. All too often, the role of the practitioner seems to be that of a service provider, one who buffers the client against the difficulties of psychic and relational life, rather than entering into these experiences with the client, as part of the healing effort.
We give the other, in our erotic bonds, the opportunity, the power to know us in the most essential ways, and in that knowing to unsettle, disappoint and sometimes hurt us. We struggle to come to know the other as different from us and in that differentness find an object of excitement.