Loving is easy. In my day-to-day exchanges with strangers and people I don’t know well, often I feel a clear, warm feeling coursing through me. My heart swells as I listen to their stories, or simple comments, observations about this or that. Our common humanity sparks my love that pours forth with no effort. It’s simple and I’m gratified.

Relationships on the other hand, even when anchored in deep love, are different.  Repositories of so much stuff – of the individuals and the partnership accumulated over time – make a relationship a complex animal, full of moodiness, varying flavours, intense whirling swoops and dark heavy dips. But in this very tactility lies its preciousness. 

Egon Schiele – Seated Semi-Nude with Hat and Purple Stockings (Gerti) -1910

Romantic relationship is much like performance art that requires the other person. Only in this edgy relational playing field can one let the subtle bubbles of the deep erotic self rise to the surface.

Egon Schiele had an uncanny way of penetrating this space. His art provokes, asks directly: Do you experience expansiveness in your relationship, enough to express the diverse aspects of your and your partner’s selves, even those less acceptable, not conventionally pretty parts that are still urgently real? Is there space to perform your hidden under the skin desires?

Whilst we crave the anchoring sense of loving “home” with a romantic partner, our internal antennae are in spontaneous revolt at the first hint of stifling constraint. In revolt, when we find ourselves having to suppress our individual desires.

Whilst cherishing the other is at the heart of relating, safeguarding our erotic vivacity is paramount, if we are to make space for both the prosaic and the wild that pulses in each of us.