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Crastnopol, M. (2006). The Rub: Sexual Interplay as a Nexus of Lust, Romantic Love, and Emotional Attachment. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(6):687-709.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(6):687-709

The Rub: Sexual Interplay as a Nexus of Lust, Romantic Love, and Emotional Attachment

Margaret Crastnopol, Ph.D.

Sexual interplay and intercourse itself involve not just an erotic impulse, but a web of mating drives that coincide and diverge. Affectionate, romantic, and companionate feelings color the sexual experience to varying degrees in conjunction with lust itself. The rhythmic cadence of each of these mating urges during sexual interplay is just as important as the orgasmic goal. The role of the “rub”—a kind of constructive friction, of healthful pushing against, of a vital opposition between self and other—creates a dynamic excitement that has hitherto been underappreciated by our focus on orgasm itself. The experience of opposing another and being opposed promotes psychic growth and change.

I don't like you, but I love you/Seems that I'm always thinking of you/ Oh, oh, oh/You treat me badly, I love you madly/You've really got a hold on me …

William “Smokey” Robinson

I knew all about the act of love as a non-event, but I still believed it was the act in which one person can truly learn another, and build on what they learn …. All the more because it was a journey I had failed

to make, I believed that the body was the way to the heart, and the heart was the way to the soul.

Nuala O'Faolain (2001), pp. 64-65

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