We more commonly know Eros, which is a name for the figure of love, as Cupid. This figure appears around Valentine’s Day looking like a cherub, a boy, a young one. However, Eros is actually a very powerful aspect of our personality and hits us as adults in many surprising and penetrating ways. We are always vulnerable to Eros and cannot resist. So, how will we know if he comes in a beneficial guise or is drawing us into a maelstrom of problems?

The erotic is a mind/body trip. It draws us in and brings us to heights of imagination and anticipation. Eros as the erotic is the foundational beginning and necessary glue of a relationship. When struck by Cupid’s arrow, we are blinded by love, smitten and taken over. Love in its erotic stages is strong and is an instinct that is basic to love and life. It leads us to seek pleasure, and sometimes even results in pain. Eros is more than physical body expression. It really is an expression of relatedness and leads us to seek comfort in intimacy. It reflects our secret fantasies and our innermost desires.

However, too often couples stop sharing their fantasies and desires with each other. When this occurs it is like a slow leak out of the couple system. They each gradually become bored and boring. The sparkle of sex based on lust and love erodes, weakening the ground of the relationship. The instinctual system for relating that comes through the erotic withers.

Why do couples fail to address this? What holds people back from opening up about what they each want and need? And, here is where Eros is the child. The adult needs we have for physical and sexual connection harken back to early needs that have been met; or more accurately, unmet in childhood. How we were loved as a child helps shape our erotic self. Herein lay the needs for closeness, warmth, love and affection. In addition, attention and attachment satisfaction are also significant aspects of sexuality.

The erotic is made up of the mind, body and soul. It is self-expression par excellence. It is where we reveal what we are connecting to. There is always someone else involved in any of our fantasies, even if it is our own self. The deepest recesses of our being are revealed through sexuality, if we feel safe and have enough trust in our self and the connection with our partner. Showing the basic needs contained in sexual expression brings us closer to each other. Yet, it can feel risky to be open and vulnerable. Intimacy is not an easy road, but can be a process of finding who we are with another. In essence; Eros and the erotic become the means we use for self-definition and relational development. Part of transformation involves facing inhibitions, fears and yearnings which reside within our sexual expressions.

So, in this short piece on Eros we can see that the story is complex and sex is usually more than sex. Honoring these many layers of feelings leads us into ourselves and into connecting in fulfilling ways with our partner.

Author's Bio: 

Susan E. Schwartz, Ph.D. is a Jungian analyst trained in Zurich, Switzerland, as well as a licensed clinical psychologist. For many years Susan has enjoyed giving workshops and presentations at various local, national, community and professional organizations, and lectures worldwide on various aspects of Jungian analytical psychology. She is the author of several journal articles on daughters and fathers, Puella, Sylvia Plath, a chapter in the four editions of Counseling and Psychotherapy textbook and a chapter in Perpetual Adolescence published in 2009.

She is a member of the New Mexico Society of Jungian Analysts, the International Association of Analytical Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Phoenix Friends of Jung.

Susan maintains a private practice in Paradise Valley, Arizona and serves clients in the greater Phoenix area, including Tuscon, Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Tempe.

Visit her website to read more about her practice: http://www.susanschwartzphd.com.