Alain De Botton on Sex and Love

By Sumiitra Yiohan Sooriaarratchi

Alain De Botton has some wise insights on Love, Relationships and Sex that I think most of us can learn from. I have featured his talks before in another article (Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person). His eloquent style coupled with humorous real life examples makes his seminars very entertaining and fun.

In the video on sex featured below Alain starts off by stating that he’s going to talk about how to have a better sex life… the bad news is its not going to be simply about physical solutions or exercises (creams, lotions or special sex positions) instead, he states that unfortunately a bad sex life starts in the head – we’re basically thinking about sex in the wrong way.

  1. What makes things sexy?
  2. Why some people turn us on and the psychology of sexiness?
  3. What are the problems of sex? Having too little sex? Having too much sex?

In the video on emotional education in the 21st century Alain gets an interesting question from the audience at the end of the speech –

What can you tell us about the importance of secrets in marriage?

Alain’s answer is quite radical and he uses the example of a wife who has had an affair with her gym teacher- “Secrets are usually seen as a bad thing; why do people lie? … every time you have a lie, you have two people; you have the liar and the person who has set up the situation where they cannot accept the truth and therefore they are being lied to… don’t set the bar of the truth so high that people need to start lying to you… lying is not just the problem of the liar it’s also the problem of the audience.”

In the last video – on love – Alain takes aim at Romanticism and states that it is the single greatest enemy of love, having done immense harm to the world since its inception – we have to reinvent love and how we love.

What is so wrong with Romanticism? Some of the ways to go beyond Romanticism are to realize that we are all crazy and difficult to be with in relationships; to not follow our instincts; don’t be yourself; not expecting your lovers to have an intuitive understanding of your needs;  and not to expect your lover to accept the whole of you -there maybe things about you that your lover would like to change. “The ancient Greeks had a much wiser vision of love, the ancient Greeks believed that love is an attraction to perfection, virtue and accomplishment.” i.e. The other not so perfect aspects of someone; those characteristics that we don’t love require our kind affection and are to be tolerated. 

Alain De Botton on Sex  –

Emotional Education in the 21st Century

Alain De Botton on Love

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