The Secret To Desire In A Long Term Relationship Analysis

1449 Words 6 Pages
“The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship”:
An Evidentiary Analysis
In 2013, renowned couples psychotherapist Esther Perel presented her talk at a TED Conference in New York titled “The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship.” Perel has authored two books on relationships and sexuality: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, published in 2006, and The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, published in 2017. The primary focus of her talk was to explore the largest paradox she has uncovered in her observations of erotic couples: the coexistence of love and desire. Perel claims that a rise in individualistic ideals in modern society as well as the glorification of romanticism has resulted in a “crisis of desire,”
…show more content…
These definitions are most similar to Hatfield and Walster’s (1978) two styles of romantic love. “Companionate love” was defined a subdued feelings, friendly affection, and deep attachment, while “passionate love” was characterized by extreme emotional fluctuations of “tenderness and sexuality, elation and pain, anxiety and relief, altruism and jealousy” (pg. 2). Though this model support’s Perel’s assertions, later models have been proposed to develop the intricacies of love, attraction, and desire for another person. Sternberg’s (1986) triangular theory of love identified the key components of love as intimacy, compassion, and commitment. Perel’s loose definition of love corresponds to Sternberg’s intimacy: “feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness,” and her definition of desire to passion: “drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation.” However, she does not mention the impacts of commitment on an erotic relationship. Sternberg elaborates by identifying six types of love based on the presence or absence of these components. For the purposes of this research paper and the articles cited, Perel’s concept of love will be referred to as romantic love and Perel’s concept of desire will be referred to as sexual desire or passionate …show more content…
Diamond (2004) admits “It is a truism that romantic love and sexual desire are not the same thing, but one might be hard pressed to cite empirical evidence to this effect.” However, recent neuroimaging techniques, primarily functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, have begun to provide evidence used to identify similarities and differences between neural activity during experiences of romantic love and sexual desire. A meta-analysis by Capiccio et al. (2012) of 20 published fMRI studies concludes that there are several anatomical structures whose level of neural activity differs between romantic love and sexual desire. There is a notable difference in insular activity: fMRI scans showed an active posterior insula when the participant was sexually stimulated, contrasted with active anterior insula when the participant was romantically stimulated. The study concludes this finding indicates a neurological basis for the idea that love is a more abstract representation on the more sensorimotor lower-order motivation of desire. However there is also a shared brain network (the striatum, thalamus, hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex, middle frontal, superior temporal, and precentral gyrus, and occipo-temporal cortices) that regulates rewards and goal-oriented behavior for both romantic love and sexual desire. This research does not dispute

Related Documents