Cecilia Ce, sexologist: “If you see your partner playing PlayStation while you make lunch boxes, resentment will inhibit desire”

Cecilia Ce, sexologist: “If you see your partner playing PlayStation while you make lunch boxes, resentment will inhibit desire”

As a “cocktail of sex, science and humor” they define the show Beer & Sex Night, a kind of stand-up that the Argentine psychologist and clinical sexologist, Cecilia Ce, created in 2018. This show, which has been presented in Argentina, Uruguay and Spain, landed this week in Chile. In it, with direct and relaxed language, he demolishes myths related to female and male anatomy and stimulation, in addition to inviting his audience to a full, safe and consensual sexuality. The latter is a relevant point for her because, although there is humor in her show – and a lot of it –, it is above all a space that she uses to deliver scientific information. That is her purpose and the reason why she also posts daily content about sexuality on her Instagram account, and why she just published her second book, titled Desire.

Why write a book only about desire?

Because desire crosses all sexuality transversally. It involves our physical body, our mind, our fantasies, our emotions, our lived experiences and our bonds. It is the starting point that allows us to fully understand the different variables that impact our sexual experience. There are people who can think of desire as the desire to have sex, but for me desire is like the excuse or the concept that one takes to think about everything else, to see how connected we are to sexuality. Desire is that: it is my body, how I spend my time, what kind of sex I like to have, how I communicate it; what my day-to-day routine is like and whether it is connected to sexuality or not. In a broad view, desire allows us to know ourselves a lot and work a lot, although it can also bring a lot of suffering. I see it in my office, where people come daily who say that they have never felt desire, that they feel completely disconnected from their sexuality, that they feel broken, failed or required by mandates and pressures to desire in a different way than they really do. they want.

In fact, you say in the book that desire is linked to our history and our self-esteem…

A person who enters sexuality in a natural, spontaneous way, who explores, who masturbates and gives pleasure, who talks about sexuality in a loving tone with his or her group of friends, who has first satisfactory experiences and who sexual orientation is accepted; versus a person who comes from a family where they are told that sex is wrong, who goes to a school where they are told that God sees you all the time, who never masturbates because they told him that it is wrong and that his first encounters Sexual relations were oriented towards the pleasure of the other person. In this case, a scheme is built in which it is not so easy for the desire to exist. How do you desire a person with that history and who also tells you that the desire is spontaneous? No, it is not spontaneous, there is a construction. But if that person continues to believe that he is spontaneous and that he should feel desire, regardless of her context, he will feel lacking and will lower his self-esteem.

Are there many commands around desire?

Well, the book begins by saying that everything we believe about desire is actually a command (laughs). The most typical thing is this idea that you have to have the desire, and that if you don’t have it, there is a problem with your partner or with you. There’s also this idea that if you don’t have sex you’re going to get old or get sick. It is ironic, absurd and even perverse how, although desire speaks of pleasure, in reality we have socially filled it with duty.

“Desire has to do with the emotional and mental aspect, and arousal has to do with the physiological aspect, with the physical response, which is also part of desire,” explains Cecilia to delve into what she defines as a great debate in around which one appears first, if we can differentiate them, if we can separate one from the other, etc. It seems that everyone, men and women, has at some point had difficulty distinguishing between desire and arousal. Research shows that people generally think that desire precedes arousal; Some believe that desire is in the “mind” and arousal is in the “body.”

“For me, desire is not just having desire, but it is: I think about sex, I remember a sexual scene, I have a fantasy, I look in the mirror and I like myself, everything that is sexually relevant. I call it the state of availability, that mental space available for what is erotically relevant, which may or may not translate into desire and may or may not translate into sexual activity. Sometimes I ask couples: did you think about sex this week? Did you feel like it? Did you tell your partner? There are contexts that will make our availability towards the erotic accessible and there will be contexts in which we do not even remember what letter the word sex begins with,” she says.

So sexual desire is not an impulse or a basic need as we have heard so many times?

Every time I say this, it’s the only part where they ask me to send them the paper which confirms that sexual desire is not a basic need, to send to their partners. I tell them to send me the scientific article that says that if you don’t have sex you will die, because it is not a basic physiological need. We have this idea so embedded to justify a lot of things, like a person getting angry because they don’t have sex. But nothing happens. And furthermore, it seems super important to me to differentiate that where there is need, there is no choice, and desire is always chosen because it has to be in freedom. When we talk about a basic need of any kind in life, we are talking about another plane, a dependency. Another thing is that you like it a lot for the connection, for the intimate encounter, for everything that accompanies it, because we are social beings and that is good for us.

So, not feeling desire, not having desire, is it something totally natural?

Actually, the question is: what’s wrong with that? And what do you think it has to do with? Because if I don’t feel like it because my pleasure is never taken into account, because I’m stressed, because I was a mother or because I work 16 hours a day, well, let’s take care of your health and then the desire will appear.

In the book you talk about the myth of synchronicity, you say that no two people always desire with the same frequency. And although it sounds logical, couples expect simultaneity to exist in how, when and what they want.

Talking about this myth of synchronicity is a way of preventing frustrations, of saying that two people who are different have to meet and agree. Some couples tolerate it and find ways to deal with it, and others get stuck in the difference, generating fights, resentments, and further increasing the difference. The truth is that it is a relational problem. The most eager person feels rejected and becomes more insistent, demanding, angry, even hurtful in some cases. And the person who is put in the place of someone she “doesn’t want” usually feels a lot of pressure and exhaustion, and she may also feel that she is broken and this negatively impacts her self-esteem. Two people who hurt each other and whose self-esteem is increasingly hurt is not exactly the formula for desire and encounter.

Cecilia takes up an entire chapter to talk about stress and how it affects people’s desire. In the middle of this, the mental load appears, and she says equity within the couple’s relationship impacts satisfaction within the bond and sexual desire in women.

Can we look at this with a gender perspective?

Those who carry the greater mental load – which are generally women – have lower desire. But be careful that their solitary desire does not diminish, their desire towards the person who is playing the PlayStation while she is making a lunchbox for her children diminishes. Because that burden generates resentment, the inequality in the distribution of tasks generates resentment and that inhibits desire.

And we also have to understand that if desire is a state of availability and I have all the boxes in my head occupied with worries and multitasking; If there is no erotic thought in these boxes or there is no space for them, how am I going to connect? There is no place. So if my partner doesn’t take care of the 72 things I take care of at home, he has more free space to think about sex. Why does your husband have more spontaneous desire? Because he has it more available than you, who are thinking about your parents, that you have to organize the children’s birthday, about tomorrow’s meal, etc. Many women feel that their sexual desire has changed since they lived with their partner or since they became mothers. It’s not a coincidence: it’s the mental load.

In addition to equalizing tasks, what else can we do so that we don’t feel this way?

There are no formulas. Everyone wants the magic recipe, everyone wants the ten tips to maintain eroticism over time. I think the most important thing, and it is what the book is dedicated to, is to try not to feel broken, to be able to understand and accept what happens to us. Because surely your wish is fine, you just think it should be another way. And once you understand that your desire is okay, you can even transform it, but from another place, from choice and acceptance.

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