Withhold the chi

One can only wonder how many times last week, on Valentine’s Day, that eroticized lovers, soaking in an intoxicating bath of self-generated dopamine, cooed at one another about “feeling this way forever.”

And yet, if you’re past the age of 22, you know there’s one terribly beautiful thing about romantic love. It’s fleeting. It’s a royal pisser, but true. Love is here today, but there’s no way in the world to guarantee it will still be around in two years. Or five months. Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t. After you’ve tasted it and had it and fallen for this most powerful of “addictions”—as Roxy Music sang, “Love is the drug, and I need to score”—sooner or later most of us ask “OK, so how can I make this last?” Because it’d be nice if this whole wondrous delirium thing hung around for a bit longer than the last time.

Marnia Robinson has put forth an interesting answer in her book Peace Between the Sheets. She opines that, if a couple is really serious about making the good, juicy, effortless stage of a love affair last—you know, the really good part—they’ll consider dispensing with the orgasms.

Say what?

Not dispensing with sex, mind you. Just those thunderous climaxes that, Robinson asserts, slowly but surely set the stage for eventual boredom, infidelity, and dissolution.

This would, at first glance, seem to be a horrific paradox. After all, it’s in this first, fiery phase of hooking up with a lover that the act of hooking up is so darned irresistible. Why would we, say the new couple planning to spend another naked Saturday feeding each other grapes and Astroglide, want to hold off on all this great shuddering body thunder, for God’s sake?

Well, Robinson says, you’d avoid the lusty juiciness of all those orgasms if you knew that you were falling into Nature’s chemical soup trap. That by indulging in all these skull-cramping orgasmic payoffs, especially us boys, lovers are behaving exactly the way Nature wants them to behave. That is, they’re in full on baby-making mode. And what’s important for us to know, says Robinson, is that’s the ONLY thing Nature gives a damn about. Nature could not care less about your “relationship.” She wants babies. Lots of ’em. As far as she’s concerned, love stories are for saps. This strategy, it would appear, is fiendishly effective. Quantitatively, humanity is doing pretty darn good.

Robinson knows The Number, that almost half of all marriages these days end in divorce. That means, of course, that half of all couples manage to somehow figure it out, stay together and pull it off. But that also means that there are a lot of folks who are victimized by the all too familiar “cycle of love,” where it begins supernova red hot, only to eventually fizzle completely out. It’s for these casualties of the romantic battlefield that Robinson offers her ideas and strategies.

Next week—Is this woman nuts?