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Overcome complacency, revolutionize your sexual outlook

How do we resuscitate our collective libido?

by Karen Kreps

It’s been more than four decades since the Summer of Love, and I believe the time has come to call for new sexual revolution.

In the late nineteen-sixties and early -seventies the development of reliable contraceptives, combined with counterculture movements and mind-altering psychedelics, led to a decisive break with earlier values. New understanding of human sexuality inspired many to reject conservative ways and embrace individual freedom. Woman’s sexual pleasure became unbound from within the suburban walls of heterosexual marriage, and human sexuality—both hetero and homo—went public. Television, according to American Sexuality magazine, “was arguably the most significant cultural form for the dissemination and acceptance of the monumental changes in sexual identities, practices, mores and beliefs that developed in the wake of the sexual revolution.”

Now, however, there’s such a barrage of sexual content in the media that, for many in the audience, it’s no great shakes. We’ve seen it all. Been there, done that! Ho, hum.

So how do we resuscitate our collective libido?

Complacency and indifference interfere with our ability to find and enjoy sex and intimacy. While love is never going out of style, interest in matters of the heart and actions spurred by one’s libido become depressed and inhibited when other issues preoccupy us. Stress keeps us from getting it on.

We tend to compartmentalize our sexuality, narrowing the role that our love life plays. Self-denial is epidemic. Some people may be in a stable marriage or partnership where sex is routine and predictable, but they don’t do anything to change the status quo. Some may pursue relationships with short life cycles.

Others don’t even bother trying to date—they feel defeated by unfavorable odds in the social marketplace. They may simply refuse to make the effort required by an intimate, sexual relationship. They may depend on pornography or abstain from sexual activity entirely. Everyone has a coping mechanism.

In our society, attitudes about sexuality are deeply conflicted. While sex can inspire obsessive interest, it also inspires guilt and shame. And we don’t talk much about our love affairs—or lack of them—our marriages or our fantasies.

Revolutions foment when the needs of people go unmet. We lose interest in sex when it fails to satisfy. Women friends tell me that they aren’t disinterested in sex in principle, but they are bored with it in practice.

Rubbing genitals together in pursuit of pleasure isn’t enough to satisfy the genuine desire for intimate connection, which is a spiritual need. Physical friction, without emotional connection, can be merely irritating. Without an emotional connection to your sexual partner, you won’t develop the personal awareness that can make sex meaningful, transformative and profound.

Talking honestly about your needs and desires is a good first step for getting out of a sexual rut. Regardless of relationship status and sexual orientation, you can ask yourself: What turns you on? What stimuli do you prefer? How is your sense of self tied to your sexuality? Talk to yourself, write in a diary, confide in your lover, share your thoughts with a trusted friend or on an anonymous web site.

A grassroots sexual revolution starts with individual behavior. We can all opt to “make love, not war.” Be the change you want to be. Think of sexual energy as a valuable renewable resource. Love makes the world go around. It is one area in our lives which we exercise personal choice. Wear your sexuality openly, as hippies once donned “love beads,” and you’re sure to attract like-minded souls.

Not yet motivated? Try this little experiment:

Capture in your mind the visceral memory of a time when you experienced sexual pleasure and satisfaction. Recall how relaxed you felt, and happy. (If you can’t recall such a time, a change in outlook could be just the ticket for you.)

The restored memory of love can inspire you to create opportunities for similar experiences. That doesn’t mean promiscuous fornication; it means being open and alert to your own sexual vitality. Treat yourself to more than physical stimulation; adventure into romance and explore the rich storehouse of emotions that may be unlocked.

Today, there are countless resources available to those who want more than some sweaty fun between the sheets. There are books, classes, workshops and web sites about the ancient practices of Tantra, which teaches heightened awareness of one’s own sexuality, deeper connection with partners and possibly, through that, with a higher power.

It’s time for all of us to come out of the closet. We’ve seen homosexuals make brave “coming out” statements to the world (at least to their family and friends) about their sexual preferences. Straight people have missed out on the liberating experience of boldly expressing their sexuality and openly declaring their intimate desires, whichever way they swing.