By: Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, M.S.

self-confidenceDistance and space are essential for creating sexual and erotic tension. Just as a burning fire needs space to burn, so do our emotions and feelings. One of the key generators of attraction is emotional space: the understanding of where you begin and end, and where the other begins and ends.

Emotional space is often created by physical distance. For example, when your lover travels abroad or is away for a business conference. The physical distance leads to feelings of longing and desire. Emotional space can also be created by emotional distancing, such as a fight. Arguments and fights between lovers distance them from each other and thus create emotional space. It is this temporary emotional detachment that results in makeup sex being so arousing and sexually stimulating.

What is it about space that fires eroticism? It’s the human nature to desire what we can’t have or what’s further than an arms distance. At the age of 5 it is the red lollypop that was taken away from us, at the age of 12 it is the computer game our parents won’t let us play, and at 16 it’s the boyfriend our friend has. From there on, throughout our adult life, we are attracted mostly to what appears out of our reach.

Creating emotional space doesn’t require physical distance or an uncomfortable fight. Emotional space can be created by self-confidence. In fact, confidence is the most effective and powerful tool in generating such space. When looking for a partner, people have different preferences and often find certain physical and personal features attractive. However, one specific feature that often tips us head over heels is a person’s confidence and assurance in their own abilities. Yes, there are a few exceptions: some people are attracted to a damsel-in-distress. However, can such attraction last? What happens when the other is no longer in distress, does the attraction fade?

Confidence creates distance because it sends the message: “I’m fine, I can function without you.”  For example, suppose you accompany your partner to her office’s holiday party. You observe her as she engages with her colleagues and boss. You see her in a different environment, playing a different role, and all of a sudden you find yourself more attracted to her then you’ve been in weeks. You might attribute it to her new party dress or perfect makeup, but it isn’t so. The “you-can’t-have” bells are beginning to ring. In this case it isn’t necessarily what you can’t have but rather about what you are not guaranteed. You realize that she has her own identity and that she is not dependent on you. You realize that she has a life outside your relationship, a corner of her own.

To make it clear, I am not referring to a snotty, arrogant, and stuck up behavior, but rather what I am describing is a genuine self-confidence and assurance. Indeed, life with a partner can enhance our experiences and our sense of who we are as people. However, having an identity outside the relationship is important. Confidence within a relationship is being comfortable and happy with who you are independently of whether you are in a relationship or not. To clarify once again, I’m not advocating for fear and paranoia that our partner might actually leave us. Living in such fear has the effect of pouring water on fire. Rather, we simply need to become aware of the emotional distance between ourselves and our partner. It is in this space that eroticism can flourish.

The next time you dress up – while you’re putting on heels or a fancy tie -remember that attraction is strongly dependent on your confidence and not necessarily on the way the tie brings out the color of your eyes.

Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, M.S.
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