Let’s face it: breaking rules feels good. Breaking the rules helps us feel free and brings the thrills of new and novel experiences. Breaking the rules helps us relieve the stress and responsibility of daily life. Breaking the rules has an erotic thrill that can’t easily be topped.
Many people break the rule of monogamy to find these thrills. But the cost of this transgression is often devastating.
Here’s how to break an even bigger set of rules – together as a couple – to capture the thrills of transgression while strengthening your relationship.
This episode is part of our book club series inspired by Esther Perel’s new book, The State of Affairs. In the first episode we talked about making explicit monogamy agreements for your relationship. In the second episode we tackled the topic of jealousy. In this episode, we discuss how to transgress boundaries together as a couple, rather than cheating on one another.
If you want to go deeper with these ideas, come on over to patreon.com/pleasuremechanics to join our online community and unlock bonus resources – I am developing interactive worksheets that help you integrate the ideas of this podcast into your love life. You’ll also get an ad free version of this podcast – go to Patreon.com/pleasuremechanics and join in!
In her incredible book, The State of Affairs, Esther Perel discusses what we can learn from infidelity to help us strengthen long term relationships. She writes:
Each of these long standing couples has chosen not to ignore the lure of the forbidden, but rather to subvert its power by inviting it in. Plainly, these tactics strengthen their connection, and when the connection is stronger, they are less likely to cheat. “It would be fun, but it’s not worth it” becomes a voice of the inner boundary. That still does not mean their relationships are “affair proof.” And it is precisely because they know this that they are continuously adding new pages to their love stories.
Our partners do not belong to us; they are only on loan, with an option to renew – or not. Knowing that we can lose them does not have to undermine commitment; rather, it mandates an active engagement that long-term couples often lose. The realization that our loved ones are forever elusive should jolt us out of complacency, in the most positive sense.
The current of aliveness, once awoken, is a force hard to resist. What must be resisted are the dwindling curiosity, the flaccid engagements, the grim resignation, the desiccating routines. Domestic deadness is often a crisis of imagination.
At their peak, affairs rarely lack imagination. Nor do they lack desire, abundance of attention, romance and playfulness. Shared dreams, affection, passion and endless curiosity – all these are natural ingredients found in the adulterous plot. They are also the ingredients of thriving relationships. It is no accident that many of the most erotic couples lift their marital strategies directly from the infidelity playbook ~ Esther Perel, The State of Affairs
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