The Many Faces of Sexual Attraction

Is it unauthentic to put on a mask and play out somebody you are not? I used to think that way. We are born into this world with a palette of characteristics that exude from our very being, what one could call our true Self and to be authentic is not just to uncover that but to live it, in essence, to stand naked in front of others, not wearing any masks other than this ‘body mask’. Whether you’re in a relationship or strive to be, to be vulnerable and authentic with your partner is a most healthy and liberating experience, that also brings emotional stability. It’s also very very unsexy.

I used to think it unhealthy to wear masks. We see it acted out unconsciously through us and through friends, family, and colleagues. One day it’s sunny and your boss is jolly, the next it’s rainy and he’s a grouch. You see it in society, like with the person behind the checkout counter playing the role of ‘clerk’, but if you happen to be close friends then he or she will interact very differently with you than with the others. And we see it in intimate relationships when one partner does something that the other partner finds offensive or hurtful and they suddenly close off from the other. By putting on the mask of a victim, they unconsciously invite their partner to play out the role of the guilty perpetrator. It costs energy to put on these charades. Therefore, one could argue it’s unhealthy and to be avoided, especially in intimate relationships. The irony of it all is that the most erotic relationships are, in a way, the most bipolar ones too.

Looking back on past relationships, my most sexually charged relationships were the rollercoasters, that lacked emotional stability. During the periods we were physically together, passion flowed, when we were apart, tension, doubt, and conflicts arose until we got back together, and so on. In such relationships, it was like I was dating multiple personas, at the same time, in one woman. Those were everything my current relationship is not, stable, compassionate, and close. Yet those relationships had something that we struggle with now, wild and chaotic passion. How do you juggle the wild with the stable in a relationship, so that you don’t have to go out looking for it through affairs and mischief? How do you imbibe your stable and predictable relationship with chaotic tension to bring back the fire? Put on a mask.

It will sound counter-intuitive to the person seeking authenticity, but there’s nothing wrong with putting on a mask to play a role if you do so consciously. Like role-playing or improvisation, it’s the playful and creative yin to a serious and stable yang. No all-encompassing relationship can flourish without the interplay between both polarities. You can’t have sexy intimacy the same way you can’t have chaotic stability. So if you have a healthy stable foundation with your partner, where might you fancy exploring a spicy alter ego?

Marius Miliunas

Successful ex-burnout and now full-time life-enthusiast, I am Marius. In my old life I was a web developer in the States, selling my potential to earn big bucks, while destined for an early grave. All of that changed, when I got out to attempt to build my own startup. That company's failure was a blessing...