The four phases of the true erotic mirror human sexuality, but erotic energy is more spiritual than sexual. Learn how the true erotic helps you create bliss in love and work.
Do you feel the ache?
I mean, do you feel the ache that’s really a longing — but for who or what, you’re not sure. You just know that the emptiness hurts. Even though your calendar is full and you’ve got things to do, your relationships are still halfway and going through the motions is the only way to get shit done.
There’s no passion. There’s no bliss.
And yet, you know that passion and bliss exist. Because you’ve felt them before. And you know that if you could just … feel them again, everything would be different. You’d laugh more loudly. Sing in the car. Approach the mundane with joy.
Passion is the fuel of erotic energy, and bliss is what happens when you engage it. Yet in everyday life, stepping into your erotic energy feels more uncomfortable than trying to walk a mile in a pair of stiletto heels.
But what if I told you that accessing your erotic energy is easier than you think?
As a woman, engaging your erotic energy is your superpower. Just like developmental stages in psychology, there are four phases to the true erotic. And this knowledge will empower you to create bliss in whatever area of your life you choose.
Phase 1 of the True Erotic: Separateness
Her partner left, and she was alone for the first time in her adult life. While the thought of reinventing herself was appealing, she was overwhelmed by her aloneness. She’d have to deal with the contractors and make sure the gutters were cleaned, and there would be no more warmth in her bed — or in her heart.
Phase 1 of the true erotic is separateness, but this one actually hurts because separateness is not a natural human state. Connection is the truest human state.
Union (with others) is what gives you a sense of belonging and what makes you build community. Union (within self) is what makes you feel whole. It’s why you desire an intimate partner, family, and friends.
Separation is the antithesis of the erotic. Yet it is a very important and critical phase. According to world renown couple’s therapist Esther Perel, eroticism requires separateness (Perel, 2006). Without the emptiness, without the lack, you would not feel the need for connection.
The emptiness, the ache of separation drives you to Phase 2, Desire.
Phase 2 of the True Erotic: Desire
She desired him. Or did she? Was it his body she craved, or did she crave assurance that someone was there to protect her during the dark nights in the now-empty house? She wasn’t sure — at first. But when she took the time to feel into her desire, she realized that it was not about him per se. Her desire was to be taken care of by someone who loved her.
Phase 2, Desire, is a wanting, and that want can either be conscious (known fully) or unconscious (unknown to a certain degree). When you desire something, there is something about it that you believe will help you transcend separateness.
For example, if you really crave chocolate, there’s probably not a lot that will hold you back from digging into that luscious piece of cake. But there is something deeper than the physical consummation; it is a longing that, when satisfied, brings you to a state of newness.
The energy of desire is more powerful than the state of separation. It is an energy that is bigger than rational thought or reason. Maybe you look back at some of your own choices with regret, seeing how desire pulled you to do something that didn’t work out so well.
Desire is powerful, and sometimes you cannot stop it because it’s bigger than you. But this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is a very good thing because it moves you toward connection.
When you feel desire, stop and ask yourself: How is this desire pulling me to oneness? Oneness with whom or what?
Phase 3 of the True Erotic: Joining
Their relationship had always been the most passionate when he stepped up. It was how she felt loved, which he quickly learned. Gradually, she came to expect him to do everything. She had forgotten to take care of herself.
Phase 3 of the true erotic is Joining: Two or more become one. It is the energy found in the biblical scripture Matthew 19:6, what is separated has now been joined together. Two are better than one, because in the joining, a new and better oneness gestates.
When two become one, a new and better oneness gestates.
Desire drives you to connect, to join. Passion is the energy that drives the connection.
Passion Is Not About A Thing
You’ve probably been asked, “What are you passionate about?” And maybe you thought about your kids, or a social cause you particularly care about, or even how you might love to bake that luscious chocolate cake. But really, passion is about the connection you feel when stimulated by the thing.
Passion both drives you to connect and is fed further by the connection. Like a raging wildfire that begins from the tiniest spark popping from a campfire … it needs to be ignited and tended to.
Phase 4 of the True Erotic: Bliss
She hadn’t felt passionate in so long. She just felt tired. It seemed like she hadn’t really rested in … she couldn’t remember the last time.
Joining (Phase 3) may seem like it should be the last phase. But oh … it’s not. Phase 4 of the true erotic is Bliss. That moment of complete surrender, where pain and fear dissolve in the transcendence of union.
Bliss is a paradox, because in joining it makes no rational sense to be so naked, transparent, and vulnerable without the fear of harm from the other. But in that surrender, you allow the experience of Something Greater: perfect peace, healing, and wholeness.
She wanted to feel good again … whole. Even in throes of her grief, there was an energy to recreate the life and love she craved.
You may notice that four phases of the true erotic seem sexual. But actuality, the human sexual response cycle mirrors the true erotic. Sex is just one part of eros; it’s not the fullness of it. The true erotic is more spiritual than it is sexual.
It is the Something Greater that makes it spiritual. If it were not for bliss, then erotic energy would simply be about having fun, feeling powerful, or having a stress release. In other words, it would be self-serving. But for bliss, the presence of the other is necessary.
Alone, you can only go so far in your self-evolution. In relationship, you can go further (yes, either for better or for worse). It is in relationship that we are wounded; it is also in relationship that we are healed.
And this is the Divinity of the true erotic. Something Greater than you hard wired into your soul the craving to join — so that you could connect with it — and connect with all things. In doing so, you are healed. You return to your truest self.
Bliss matters, because it is what you were designed for.
You were designed for bliss.
Stepping Into Your Erotic Energy
When you understand what the true erotic is — how it’s such a primordial part of your soul — and how to navigate it with intention, you take control of your life. You can create almost anything you want.
You feel passion again.
For my grieving friend above — in the acceptance of her state of separateness, she can reflect on how she and her former partner lost their desire and failed to join. Perhaps they can work on things and try again. Or, perhaps she can step into her own erotic energy to create bliss within herself first before trying with a partner.
For you, in your work — in the realization of your current state (burnout, perhaps?), you can analyze what steps you need to take to move toward a Greater connection in your work, and ultimately reach bliss in it.
The ache (separateness) that is really a longing (desire) is one of your best teachers, because it leads you to connection (joining). In that, you cultivate your truest self and the best life you could ever imagine (bliss).
If you’d like to learn more about stepping into your erotic energy, please stay connected to my work by subscribing to my contact list. Also, check out my book Beyond Burnout, which helps you make things work again through reestablishing the deep connection you crave.
Reference: Perel, E. (2006.) Mating in captivity: Unlocking erotic intelligence. Harper.