Why Eroticism Should Be Part of your Self-Care Plan
Cute girl with heart shaped long hair. Self care, love yourself icon or body positive concept. Happy woman hugs her knees. Illustration of International Women's day. Vector postcard, valentines card.

Eroticism isn’t sex; it’s sexuality transformed by the human imagination. It’s the thoughts, dreams, anticipation, unruly impulses, and even painful memories which make up our vast erotic landscapes. It’s energized by our entire human experience, layered with early childhood experiences of touch, play, or trauma, which later become cornerstones of our erotic life. We know that even things that give us the most pleasure can come from the most painful sources. Eroticism is not comfortable and neat. It unveils inner struggles, emotional tensions, a mix of excitement and anxiety.

We measure and judge ourselves, at times experiencing our body as a prison rather than a chateau full of rooms to lingeringly explore. And if we struggle with being inside our bodies, why would we take the time to explore them? Or for that matter, how could we ever feel safe to invite anyone else in? I’m not talking just about penetration. I’m talking about entering our personhood, our dreams, who we are, our heart and soul. Many of us are so self-critical that we forget these internal wonders. Erotic self-care begins with diminishing our inner-critic and giving ourselves simply the permission to feel beautiful, to enjoy our own company, to be more compassionate and realistic with ourselves without vacillating between excess and repression.

Read more from Esther Perel.

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