Love Lessons No. 3: Love Is a Playground (Sex Is, Too!)

How to bring a splash of color to your love life

Posted Feb 22, 2012

In a healthy love relationship, there is room to let down your hair. To be silly. To laugh. To express yourself without inhibition. In a healthy love relationship, there is a foundation of acceptance that makes room for experimentation and creativity. Without the heavy threat of judgement, we can color outside the lines, be pioneers on the frontiers of our personalities. We can be goofy, playful, and naughty. We can play out a fantasy in the safety of our partner's understanding and love.

One of the intriguing ideas of psychoanalysis is that each of us has many selves. Whatever our age, we have an adult self that guides our lives with maturity and takes care of things. And whatever our age, we have child selves that are mostly involved in growing, learning, and playing. These child parts of our personalities are full-fledged members of our adult relationships. They bring real color to the black-and-white of life—allowing us to approach our lives with an attitude of wonder, playfulness, and innocence. They help us not take ourselves too seriously.

In a healthy adult love relationship, we are able to flexibly move through different aspects of our personalities, to take on different roles. Sex becomes more alive with this kind of attitude, as does everyday life.

Sometimes we will be two adults working side by side. Sometimes one will be a child being cared for by a nurturing mother; sometimes one will be a father who protects and lovingly guides the other as his child. And sometimes we will be two children, setting aside the cares of the world just to have fun building a sandcastle, swinging on the monkey bars, and imaginatively making our dreams come true.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer L. Kunst, Ph.D.

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