Good sex isn’t about just elevating your heart rate — it’s about elevating your heart. -David Schnarch
The crossroads between our genitals and our neurology turns out to be a super highway. One of the most powerful transformers in the new science of brain re-wiring occurs during deep intimate connection. As some of the mystery of sexual intimacy is revealed through the emerging science of neurobiology, we begin to understand how we are shaped and re-shaped by the people we love and who love us back. The brain actually rewires itself as we open wide to physical love within a committed relationship.
Enjoying intimate connection in a committed partnership is an important distinction because the intimacy we share with someone who loves and is committed to us is qualitatively different from casual sexual encounters. I recently heard my 18-year-old son tell his brother, “Don’t bother with hook ups; it is way more chill to have a girlfriend who really cares about you.” I was gratified that he can already sense how committed relationships change your life compared with the easy hook-up.
In fact our personal relationships are the most gentle and profound mechanism of growth throughout our adult life. As we mature in our relationships we move toward the process of differentiation, wherein each partner develops more of themselves and stops looking to the relationship to validate them. Allowing ourselves to be different from our partners fosters passion and intimacy. By learning to effectively hold onto ourselves in our relationship, we circumvent the classic responses of men sacrificing the relationship to their sense of self and women sacrificing themselves to their relationship.
Building a relationship that has room for both people to be themselves is by definition flexible and resilient. It is also fertile soil for transformative intimacy. David Schnarch, best-selling author of Passionate Marriage and most recently Desire and Intimacy believes that doing the important work of becoming separate individuals actually allows you to enjoy some of the best sex of your life. By not needing to agree or get the approval of your partner, you are free to explore and express yourself deeply and authentically and, which is perhaps the biggest turn-on when it comes to tapping the sexual potential of the relationship.