The first thing that comes to our mind when someone talks about eroticism or when we hear someone talk about an erotic experience or sensation, tends to be sex and possibly love….
Simply by turning the TV or browsing through a magazine or newspaper, we can see how the media has marketed sex and sexuality in such a way that it explains why most of us usually think the way we do when hearing the word “eroticism”. We can see the amount of sensual connotation the media is trying to sell us simply by looking at a shampoo commercial, in which one is trying to determine whether they are trying to sell us shampoo or to seduce us. Even with the vast amount of over sexualization within the media, there are still many people who find talking about sexuality or eroticism as taboo. They consider the subject offensive and uncomfortable; on the opposite end we can find those for whom the subject evokes mental images of human genitalia and/or sexual practices and health issues.
To clarify things, let’s start by defining the term “Eroticism”…
I have had the opportunity to work with various types of people, however when it comes to Eroticism there seems to be a consensus on how most of us think. Upon hearing the term “Eroticism”, our mind usually fills with lots of questions such as, “what is eroticism”, “how does one experience an erotic feeling”, “is eroticism only in reference to sexual practices”–there seems to be so much we don’t know about the subject. This is partly due to very little specific information one can find about the subject; most of the research on eroticism is derived from vague or mediocre exhaustive explanations on the concept, for example: It is usually described as proper communication/activity between a couple, where different attitudes, emotions and feelings are explored only to culminate on genital stimulation and orgasm; the seeking of sexual pleasure.
Let’s explore the origin of the term….the word eroticism originates from the Greek Eros, in reference to the God EROS who is associated wit sensuality, sensual desire and pleasure, as well as behaviors which are manifested when two people are attracted to each other. Eroticism is a human characteristic; the concept itself refers to overt behaviors and attitudes which incite interactions and sexual activity such as: Caresses, kisses, hugs, oral stimulation, masturbation, among others which usually lead to intercourse and/or directly to the sensation of sexual pleasure for the person practicing them and whom not necessarily seeks reproduction with these behaviors.
How and when is eroticism expressed?….When and where these behaviors manifest depends directly on the personality of each individual’s tastes, preferences, as well as other factors such as socioeconomic level, type of culture, family customs, religious practices, geographic location, etc. These practices allow a person to be in contact with his body, identify and perceive stimuli which are pleasurable, and of course they also allow a person to discover what stimuli is not pleasurable; be it for oneself or for the person one is sharing the experience with.
Eroticism involves a person in an Integral way; physically and psychologically; it represents and exposes the way in which one expresses to himself an to others his most intimate desires, fantasies and feelings. There are innumerable ways in which each one of us carries, manifests these desires to reality and express one’s “erotic being”….from a romantic dinner on the beach, to practices such as S&M, etc. We are all different and as such we all have different ideas of what is pleasurable, some of these ideas come from inside of us while others were influenced by life events/learned behaviors; not all erotic manifestations are exotic, romantic or borderline extremist.
The importance of erotic language…. Erotic language does not have a specific characteristic, it involves each and everyone of our senses. It consists of sensations and warm stimuli which awakens the epidermis. It also involves things such as the levels of love, desire, the exchange of looks, gestures, words and signs which indicate to another that one wishes to experience these sensations to the maximum. Any behavior that represents a source of pleasure for an individual can be considered and erotic sensation. This can be provoked and achieved with one’s own body, the body of our partner, together or external objects such as toys, ice, feathers, etc.
There are a wide range of articles meant to enrich sexual experiences in a way which does not demean or degrade one’s mind or soul. Although few, there are truly specialized stores, fairs which promote and inform people on eroticism, sexual practices, healthy sexual life style and which allow our erotic life to become even more pleasant while educating the population in order to improve our experiences.
The concept of eroticism is something complex and subjective, therefore is impossible to pigeonhole. According to sexologists there is no such a things as normal or abnormal sexual practice. The response to an erotic stimuli depends on the levels of desire and fantasies each person may have. Something that is pleasurable for some, may not be pleasurable for others; it may even be painful or considered abominable; therefore, I think is the responsibility of each one of us to define what is erotic an pleasant, to communicate it and to be honest at a time of sexual practice in order to maintain our physical and psychological integrity.
I consider eroticism part of human need, a deep desire to not only receive but to provide pleasure; a pleasure which can be limited only to the physical or which can extend to the limits of our imagination, resulting in the expansion of our physical, mental and spiritual planes.
Eroticism provides us with a new way to rediscover ourselves through pleasurable experiences; what we do and where we take it depends solely on us. It can build or destroy but only we can decide that, hence the importance of learning to speak openly about our needs, likes, and desires.
Erotic practices bring us closer to ourselves and to our partner in a unique way since is through intimacy that we expose traits which are otherwise kept hidden and private; intimacy allows them all to emerge. It is very important to know our limits and respect those of our partner, that way the practice of eroticism can remain constant, pleasant and lasting.
Developing our erotic identity is vital to our psychological well being. Fortunately today we have multiple tools such as books, Sexual/Tantric therapists to guide us, healthy websites, manuals, educational health institutions, brochures, fairs that are accessible to the public and which allow us to learn about the various aspects of erotic identity. Being involve and being responsible with our sexual behavior depends directly on us.