What are your deepest desires?
I work with people on their desires, whether their passionate desire is for a tight butt or more sex or to feel consistently peaceful.
And it’s caused me to reflect on the distinction of desires and preferences, especially in partnered relationships.
One phrase that makes me cringe is “I have needs.”
Because this phrase usually has an unspoken clause: “And I expect my partner to want/participate in satisfying my needs. Oh, yeah, and they should want to want to meet my needs.”
And if the other person doesn’t…then what?
Representing the other side, I have several clients who say, “I don’t want to give in because they expect me to!”
If the other person wants something and you genuinely don’t…then what?
For starters, the only person that you have authority over is you.
Your desires are yours to choose and to satisfy, if you make this desire a priority.
That said, I find it helpful to frame a distinction between “desire” and “preference.”
Desire could be described as a hunger, a drive, an ambition, an urge, a goal, a dream.
A desire is completely neutral and not urgent until you think it’s urgent.
Preferences are your wish list for getting your desire satisfied.
Here’s an example:
Partner A desires sex twice a day. Partner B does not.
Who wins when partner A has “needs” and partner B does not?
This came up in a session. What we discovered is that partner B is not opposed to sex. They just have preferences for when sex seems like their idea, too.
They both share a desire to be in a relationship with each other.
One partner prefers that the connection is sexual at a certain frequency.
Another partner prefers having their genuine sexual nature respected and that sex is not rushed or expected.
Is this an impasse? Not unless they make it one.
Not unless they decide that there is right or wrong or that one desire takes primacy over another desire.
You simply decide whether one partner’s preference is going to be a relationship factor…or not.
I like the song “Birdhouse in Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants. It’s total nonsense, true late 1980s style.
If my partner decides to end the relationship because I play this song on repeat, okey-dokie.
If they decide to yell at me when I play the song on max volume, okey-dokie.
If they shrug their shoulders and leave the room, okey-dokie.
If they brag to their friends that they’ve found the perfect girl because she has “Birdhouse in Your Soul” as her ringtone, okey-dokie.
Feel free to substitute this analogy with a sexual wish of your choosing.
My desire is to feel uninhibited and playful and singing “put a bee in your bonnet” loudly could be my preference for achieving that desire.
My partner need not share with either my desire nor my preference for us to have a healthy relationship.
Same with sex – frequency, style, props – or how the house is maintained or how children are parented.
What is your deepest desire?
And how can you take 100% responsibility for achieving your desire without assigning ANY ownership to your chosen life partner?
Seriously…what possibilities could this open up for you?
You can have a fantastic, fulfilling relationship with someone who has vastly different preferences and priorities, sexual or otherwise. Consider how that might be possible and how rich a relationship like that might be.
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