Intimate love — 06 June 2008
Words of love are great aphrodisiacs

The search for increased passion and sexual arousal has spanned centuries. People sought substances, potions, foods, scents, herbs, plants, magical preparations, drugs and a variety of formulas as sources for intensified sexual cravings and potency. Though scientific research has yet to prove a link between any reputed aphrodisiac and actual increased sexual desire, the believers keep searching, testing and trusting that it exists.

The fascination with love and physical pleasure has consumed volumes of literature, poetry, music and art. The needs to love and be passionately loved are essential ingredients of human dependency on connection and validation of another being. Intimacy protects us from the fears of isolation and extinction. Elaine G. Caruth, Ph.D. in “Language of Intimacy and Isolation” describes how the infant is protected from feeling alone and separate through his omnipotent fantasies that the mother is “within, around, or a part of him.” Being in emotional and physical blissful merger with another person is the ultimate secure and intoxicating state.

Brain research now deals with neurotransmitters and hormones that impact our desires for and attachments to our beloved. It also addresses the concept of attunement between people. In their book “Parenting from the Inside Out”, Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell describe the benefits of this type of connection: “Attuning to each other’s internal state links us in a state of emotional resonance that enables each person to ‘feel felt’ by the other. This attunement, this connecting resonance, enables us to feel joined.”

People are drawn to those who view them favorably. Every individual is in love with being loved. It is the greatest thrill to realize that the person you value finds you attractive and sexually appealing. People are drawn to those who like and appreciate them, particularly those who lavish them with extra attention, praise, adulation, and extreme enthusiasm for their exceptional merits and appeal. The affirming words are helpful in securing the sense of acceptance and safety needed as apart of sexual arousal.

Dr. Erik Erikson, the psychoanalyst who shaped the field of child development, argued that adolescents fall in love as a way to affirm their self-definition, by seeing their idealized version of themselves through the eyes of another. He described that process as “something akin to looking in a very flattering mirror”. It appears that this process is also applicable to lovers of any age.

Having a partner extol your virtues and use positive and flattering language to describe his/her perception of you is captivating, heartwarming and arousing. Most people, even those who have a strong positive self-image, need to hear their lover’s validation to affirm their ongoing healthy self view.

Though during courtship and early relationships partners spend a great deal of time admiring each other, as relationships mature, the frequency of appreciations and validating words decreases, leaving some mates wondering as to their ongoing desirability. It is crucial that lovers keep up their adulation of each other active and find special creative ways of affirming each other’s specialness on a regular basis.

Some partners complain that their physical intimacy is not what it used to be, one or both partners no longer feel enthusiastic about being sexual. Others lament that their relationship has lost its’ spark; that age, life events, hurt and frustrations have soured their view of each other. Yet others no longer see themselves as desirable romantic partners. All these and other waning desires can be re-sparked starting with the hearing the desired words.

• Your mate is still the same exciting, beautiful, charming, wonderful, smart, funny, kind and delightful person he/she has always been, regardless of some hurdles along the way. Tell your mate that he/she is still adored by you.
• Recall and re-use the words of excitement, the playful language, and the adulation you shared when you first fell in love.
• Express with the most affirming, appreciating and loving words how pleasing your mate’s looks, thoughts, feeling, actions and demeanor are to you.
• Watch the softening and happy response you will create and receive. Mutual acceptance and delight leads to increased attraction, closeness and passion.
• Disarm your partner’s displeasure with him/herself. Say: “To me, you are still the most beautiful woman in the room. I feel so lucky to have you in my life.”
• Forget the search for magical potions use words of endearment, admiration, respect, love, support and encouragement- they are the real powerful aphrodisiacs. Do increase their use and you will attain greater intimacy bliss.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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