“Sex alone is not enough. Much of the human contact between people ends up empty. When not open to bonding, even sex between people feels emotionally empty, and it is. The feelings are accurately conveying the deprivation of a biologic need not being met. The reason sex feels emotionally empty is due to the fact that it is emotionally empty. It may feel sensually pleasant, but emotionally, if one person is closed, then it feels empty to the one that remains open.”
Before I add more content to our natural roadmap to happiness, I think you should know how it evolved. When I was a student at Columbia University’s Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research, they had an elementary chart for their Adaptational Psychodynamic Theory. Though not original, they stated quite correctly, that all behavior is purposeful. We act to pursue pleasure or avoid pain, based primarily on our biological drives.
In 1966, I wrote a paper entitled, “A Modification of Adaptational Psychodynamic Theory in Light of the Successful Treatment of the Drug Addict. I presented the paper at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. By 1968 I made other changes and additions. It was no longer “Adaptational Psychodynamic” theory, since they were not moving in my direction. I named my new theory and treatment; “The New Identity Process.”
Briefly, Adaptational Psychodynamic threw out Freudian theory. They could not adhere to Freud’s concept of fixed, unyielding, unbending libidinous drives; basically, of sex and angry aggression. They felt, correctly, that a human being’s biological drive, unlike insects, are adaptable and modifiable. They did not think aggression was an instinctual drive but rather a defense against danger, real or imagined. They were correct. They were also correct in adding the other biological needs such as food, water, oxygen, etc. They did not know about bonding at all. Creativity as a drive was not mentioned. Although their theory differed markedly from Freudian theory, we had to learn both. Their technique of treatment was very similar, if not exact.
My treatment is dramatically different. The theory, as you will see, borrowed its foundations from Adaptational Dynamics, but has grown and developed markedly since then. As I told you I found I had developed a microscope to clearly understand what makes people tick.
All but bonding and creativity are obvious needs that have been well documented by Western culture. They are obviously biologically realistic needs which our society has provided ways and means to fulfill. Basic and secondary institutions have been developed to ensure that our culture can provide for these needs for its people. Western culture has provided for most of these needs better than any other culture past or present. No matter where one goes within the western cultured world, one can buy food to eat and water to drink. One can find toilets to urinate and defecate into. One can rent rooms and beds to sleep in. One is free to exercise or rest and sleep. One can buy clothes to keep one warmer or cooler. The air is fit to breathe (except sometimes in Los Angeles). Like food, one can buy sex if one needs or desires it in almost any large town.
Of course, in many primitive cultures sex was more free and less restrictive. It was not as necessary for the individual’s survival as was food and water, and the other biological needs. That it was easier to give and receive sexual favors then food or water makes sense to me. It was less important for the individual’s survival, and the act given freely was a very great pleasure to experience. Sex of course is not necessary for the survival of the individual, but it is necessary for the survival of the species. I think that is why it evolved by nature as one of the most intense of an individual’s pleasures. With that degree of pleasure, the species was assured of survival. Those species whom did not have as much pleasure in sex are no longer with us.
An important concept that has been overlooked in our society is that many biological needs are coupled together by natural efficiency of time and effort. We can rest without sleeping. It is unusual (but not impossible) to sleep without resting. Most of us have nights of unrestful, intermittent sleep. But usually, we rest when we sleep. We can drink without eating, but if we continue to eat we want to drink something with it, “to wash it down.” We can urinate without defecating, but I never met anyone who could defecate without urinating. As my son said when he was five, “I can pee without pooping, but I can’t poop without peeing”.
Sex is not enough
The big surprise for many is that sex, by itself, is not sufficient. If it were, sex would be solely an act of masturbation. Masturbation gives us total control of the intensity, quantity, frequency, and timing of our orgasm. In terms of exact touching; how, where, pressure, movement, it can’t be surpassed. Why then, after the initial pleasures we obtained from masturbation and early adolescence do we want and require something more? That is an interesting question. I will give you my answer.
Sex needs another biological need, bonding, to make one feel fulfilled in the act. People phrase it differently. “I need to feel close to someone to make sex pleasurable.” “Sex without love is very empty.” I think nature made the young man desirous of spreading his seed wherever or whenever he could. I think nature evolved women to be a little more selective since she carried the results of her union. I jokingly tell people in my workshops, “The way to a man’s heart via his genitals. The way to a woman’s genitals is via her heart.” I can understand that as an efficient natural evolution. The discerning reader will notice that my primary goal is not to decide what is culturally right or wrong, but what is naturally a logical exclamation of pleasure and pain within the survival of humankind, the individual and the species.
I have never read anything written about the dual biological needs that have to be fulfilled in order to enjoy an “act of love” i.e. intercourse. People write about the physical techniques of “lovemaking,” i.e. the physical act of having sex. People write about the feelings that should be present before one has coitus. But they come from a position of cultural morality rather than natural needs of fulfillment. They talk about what one should feel. One should feel “in love.” But where do the feelings come from? Frequently the feelings come from desire, based on need and what one expects to experience from the person. What one ends up feeling can be totally different. When one finally has his desires fulfilled over and over again, the romance starts to fade, the “honeymoon is over.” If one is lucky, the memory will linger on and on and on. But the reality of everyday living will replace the romance of the honeymoon.
Marriage is such an important step, one should not have to rely on chance or luck. Read and apply the knowledge of my articles, and you will be much better informed what you are doing and not have the blindly hope for the best.
The experts who write the books focus on the feelings of having sex rather than the non-fulfillment or fulfillment of the biologic needs that cause the feelings. Of course, all things being equal, a woman would rather go to bed with prince charming then Donald Duck. But if prince charming is a hostile, emotionally closed, turned off, and insensitive man, where as Donald is a fun loving, warm and cuddly caring, loving man, Donald will end up with the woman. If she is lucky. Why? He is not as rich, famous, educated, handsome, successful, cultured, or as gracious out of bed as is the prince. Tragically, many women marry the prince out of their own cultural distortions and biologic blindness and live unhappily ever after.
Of course, books have been written about the thinking that goes on before, during, and after sex. People confuse the biological need of sex with the biological need for bonding. People further confuse the biological need for bonding with the emotion of “love.” Love is the very pleasurable fulfillment of that biological need which, in westernized culture, we carry with us and sometimes chronic, severe deprivation. That is why you “love” it and the person who supplies “it.” If you’re chronic deprivation was over food and water, you would love the person who could supply food and water to you. I could understand a very poor girl who had a lot of bonding in her infancy and childhood but no food, clothing, or housing choosing prince charming. But why would anyone else? You will read about this later in my articles.
Basically, love is a feeling of great pleasure. Love, as with any emotion, such as pain, pleasure, fear, and anger, are the reaction to the fulfillment or deprivation of any biologic needs, and not the biological need itself. People “in love,” having sex, are getting pleasure from two biologic needs at once: The pleasure of sex coupled with the pleasure of bonding.
Sex alone is not enough. Much of the human contact between people ends up empty. When not open to bonding, even sex between people feels emotionally empty, and it is. The feelings are accurately conveying the deprivation of a biologic need not being met. The reason sex feels emotionally empty is due to the fact that it is emotionally empty. It may feel sensually pleasant, but emotionally, if one person is closed, then it feels empty to the one that remains open. The closed person may not feel anything. A starving person is not hungry, even though he is starving. If one has not eaten in four or five days one feels very hungry. After four or five days of starvation, the pangs of hunger cease. The person continues to starve without hunger. Many people are starving for bonding, but have no symptoms. They do not understand why their intimate human relationships have so little pleasure. Many do not understand why they are so bored with their marriage. Many do not understand what their mates are complaining about.
I recall when a very successful man came to see me. His son was shooting dope and his wife was depressed. He thought his wife was depressed because his son was shooting dope. Laughingly, he said, “Maybe the kid is shooting dope because his mother is depressed.” He continued, “If I were a drinker, I’d get drunk myself.” But he did not escape into drugs, booze, or depression; he escaped into his work, which took him away from home. His son was put into my residential facility called A.R.E.B.A. His wife came into see me and was put into the Institute outpatient groups and individual therapy. She was a very self-effacing woman who would never complain. Within six weeks of her entering therapy, and two months after his son was in the residential program, he called for a consultation. He said, “I want to thank you, my son seems so much better, and my wife is no longer depressed. But now she is a pain in the ass. She is always screaming and telling me how she feels and what she wants. She keeps telling me she can’t feel me. I don’t know what the hell she means. We do have sex. She was easier to live with when she was depressed.”
He did not know that his wife’s symptom was due to her inability to deal with him as a partner who was emotionally turned off. She was now beginning to deal with him efficiently. The boy’s symptom of drugs was also basically his feeling of emotional deprivation from both his parents, and not feeling any identification with his father which made him feel not good enough. It is difficult for a child to see the parent of the same sex on top of the ladder, and not seeing any bottom rungs to climb. How does one get to where his/her parents are? If there is no bonding, there is no way. The child feels it is his/her fault, there is something wrong with him/her. He/she must be inadequate. That is a painful feeling, and drugs or alcohol reduces pain. They are very effective analgesics. More of this later.