Love Makes You Creative, Sex Not So Much

Scientific American:

In sum, the authors suggest that, because love activates a long-term perspective that elicits global processing, it should also promote creativity and impede analytic thinking. In contrast, inasmuch as sex activates a short-term perspective that elicits local processing, it should also promote analytic thinking and impede creative thinking.

I know this is tangential to this broader argument, but if fucking has made me more analytic, it seems to me to be defeating one of its core purposes.

I have had sex out of love and it's an amazing, wonderful, transformative thing. At its height, it is the most overwhelming thing I have ever experienced. I have also had sex in my life largely as a way to escape this fucking brain in my head, that won't stop constantly analyzing and thinking. I have had sex for these reasons as well - so I can gain a few blissful moments when I do not think at all. The relief of this is indescribable and, for me at least, an element of mental and psychological health.

I recall one marathon twelve-hour session of passion many years ago now. It was only afterwards that I realized I had barely had a single trace of an analytic thought for the longest period I could then remember. I was never happier. As I finally collapsed into my lover's arms with the final orgasm that drained every last drop of desire or need from my body and soul, I understood for the first time why the French call coming "le petit mort". It can be the emptying of self entirely. Which is why sex is so close at times to the presence of the divine, and reflects and incarnates God in ways few other things can so easily. We are more animal and more divine in sex than in any other activity.

The ordeal of consciousness is at times oppressive. To leave that consciousness and yet stay so vividly alive is one of sex's great wonders. Love is deeper than that; friendship is deeper still. But I know nothing that God has given us - save psilocybin - that gives us this divine, if fleeting, parole from a vale of tears.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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