Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, by Esther Perel

I know you look at others, but I can’t fully know what you see. I know others are looking at you, but I don’t really know who it is they’re seeing. Suddenly you’re no longer familiar. You’re no longer a known entity that I need not bother being curious about. In fact, you’re quite a mystery. And I’m a little unnerved. Who are you? I want you. Accommodating the third opens up an erotic expanse where eros needn’t worry about wilting. In that expanse, we can be deeply moved by our partner’s otherness, and soon thereafter deeply aroused. I’d like to suggest that we view monogamy not as a given but as a choice. As such, it becomes a negotiated decision. More to the point, if we’re planning to spend fifty years with one soul—and we want a happy jubilee—it may be wiser to review our contract at various junctures. Just how accommodating each couple may be to the third varies. But at least a nod is more apt to sustain desire with our one and only over the long haul—and perhaps even to create a new “art of loving” for the twenty-first century couple.

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