Are women lustful creatures? Are women individuals of meaning that need connection? Do women choose partners for security and men choose partners for sexual need? Does love lead to desire? Esther Perel challenged these preconceptions. Daniel Bergner agreed. I was in denial.
Monique Steckel, President of FIAF (French Institute/Alliance Francaise) welcomed the audience to a wonderful evening about sex. “Our series: Undressed: The Art of Sex and Seduction is a sell-out. The topic this evening: Inside the Erotic Mind.”
Esther Perel began by defining what a sexual fantasy is. “Fantasy is the cultivation of pleasure for its own sake. It is an imaginative act. A resource to enhance erotic experience.”
I believe the moderator, Erica Lumiere expected Esther Perel and Daniel Bergner to be on opposing sides. Instead they agreed on practically everything:
Fantasies are symbolic creations that require decoding.
Like everything else, fantasies come from the details of our childhood experiences.The erotic mind has the capacity to transform these experiences into fantasies.
Erica asked Esther and Daniel what fantasies reveal about ourselves? The audience was dead quiet. “Most people deny they have any sexual fantasies. The role of fantasy is to remove shame and responsibility. Fantasy is an imaginary production in which you are the main character.”
In an admittedly over simplification, Esther continued:. Fantasies are about breaking the rules. It’s freedom. Men are burdened by the role of protection and women by care giving Removing these two burdens, removes judgement and guilt. Fantasies are our private garden. They provide a sanctuary for intimacy with yourself. My sanctuary was disturbed by this statement by Perel: seeing your partner as someone who is vulnerable makes it harder to have a lustful relationship.
I almost always write about either gardening, landscape or art. This post strays into different territory. I am breaking the rules of blogging: stay on message. Since this evening was about permission to explore other sides of yourself, I decided to give myself the freedom to write about something different.
Vive la Fantaisie!
Inside the Erotic Mind
Monday, December 2, 2013
Panel discussion with Esther Perel, Daniel Bergner, and Erica Lumiere