For love-making to remain exciting over the years with the same partner, the lover must seem both familiar and at the same time strange. In this long closeness there is a certain distance that should always be maintained that is necessary, perhaps, for love-making to remain exciting. Though we may have lived with someone for many years, there will always be a part of a lover that is unfamiliar, mysterious, and incomprehensible. We never know anyone else completely, after all. There are daily actions which continue to surprise us. It is this strangeness that is part of the attraction.

So, firstly, don’t talk it away. Making love is much like writing. Just as a story or a novel is best not discussed until you have much of it down on the page, so love-making is best not analyzed by the lovers but simply acted out.

Secondly, remember that at some point you are on your own in this. It must be a completely narcissistic act. You have the right to your own pleasure. Indeed, it is in your pleasure that the other will find his/her desire. You are alone at this most intimate of moments. Allow yourself to plunge on into the sea of your own desire freely. Follow your fantasies where they might take you. Feel free to imagine anything in your own mind: make love to the woman you glanced in the elevator, to Sharon Stone, a dog, a tree, a stone, whatever appeals to you. Again, anything goes. Think of the Empress Catherine of Russia who supposedly had a horse lowered onto her bed!

Use whatever will stimulate you and your lover without shame: light or shade, music or silence, the outdoors in a secluded place, or the indoors with the windows open . Make love at odd moments of the day, perhaps, in strange places, a hotel room, or just your familiar bedroom in the quiet of a sleepy afternoon, in the dim light, curtains closed, after a light lunch with a glass or two of wine.

At the same time there are all the advantages which come from long familiarity: relax, if it doesn’t work today, there is always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Never reproach your lover, always praise and accept, indeed, enjoy your lover’s inevitable moments of failure with love and tolerance. We all fear failure and our gratitude toward anyone who assuages our guilt is great. Remember the line from the movie, “I have always had a penchant for a limp d…”

Remember too the importance of these most precious moments when all our anger and disappointment, our cares and troubles melt away magically. All can be forgotten for a moment, when we can truly unite with this familiar and strange being, our beloved, our sister, our soul. Think of Baudelaire’s invitation to the country that resembles his lover.

Mon enfant, ma soeur,

Songe à la douceur

D'aller là-bas vivre ensemble!

Aimer à loisir,
Aimer et mourir

Au pays qui te ressemble!

Sheila Kohler is the author of many books including the recent Dreaming for Freud.

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