The Slow Burn is Where It’s At

We live in an era when we may satisfy our desires within nanoseconds of expressing them. We focus on getting the most out of every minute. We chase down productivity hacks in hopes of creating more time in which we can achieve. We even schedule 7 minute meditations, a counterintuitive practice if ever I’ve heard one. We can’t “be here now” because we’re running fast to get to our next destination.

I’m guilty of this myself. I’m always in the hunt for a new task management app. I aim for five days a week at the gym. I listen to educational podcasts while I drive or cook. I knit while I watch TV. I read for an hour before bed, no matter how tired I am. The reward I expect is not spare time – it’s all about cramming more into 24 hours so I can get “more” out of life. I prune the roses without taking a moment to smell them. I miss out on a lot, and it’s stressful.

Immediate Sexual Gratification Required

I find this is true in dating as well. Tinder provides immediate gratification via matches. We go out with friends for the evening, but instead of focusing on them and nurturing those relationships, our eyes dart around the room as we check out romantic prospects. We prefer to keep first dates to half an hour, just in case the guy’s a dud.

We reduce attraction to something that can ostensibly be measured within seconds of meeting. We filter for off-the-charts sexual chemistry from the starting line, and when we do get to experience mutual attraction, we run a race to the finish line. Sex or dating – take your pick. Both happen far more quickly today than at any other time throughout history.


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Some of this increase in efficiency is helpful. We can stop wasting time on dead ends. We can “move on” very quickly from any disappointment by getting back on the market instantaneously, possibly even for a quick rebound we hope will set our head straight.

The costs of this approach to romance are not immediately obvious. They’re often hidden. They lie in what we’re missing. They’re opportunity costs – missing out on all of the people who would actually be awesome for you. In our rush to judgment, we make some bad calls, but we don’t even realize it. If only the universe would provide a Womp Womp sound whenever this happened!

Slow Love in the Time Before

Just a generation ago, flirting was something that might last for weeks, not lead to a dance floor makeout. The exquisite longing for someone early on was a key part of any budding romance. We didn’t have the tools to communicate randomly via text or Facebook. We had to actually wait until we physically saw a person to show interest. Eye contact, body language and flirty banter were necessary to demonstrate attraction.

By the time we got to the first kiss, we often felt like we were about to burst. And sex – that happened after ages of liking one another! Longing and craving and intense anticipation drove us crazy – but it also made for crazy good sex.

Zara Barrie at Elite Daily has figured this out and explains it in her article The Lost Art Of The Tease: Why So Many People Find Sex Unsatisfying

“We’re a generation of professionals who have mastered the short-lived adrenaline spike of excitement, the cheap thrill of the “insta-fix,” but have miserably failed at conquering the fine art of the tease.

…The “let’s take it oh-so slowly, indulgently draw it out until you’re pulling the hair out of your head, biting your lower lip until it HURTS, begging, swearing, cursing and trembling because you want it so bad” tease.”

Barrie has listed 5 prerequisites to good sex. Quality takes time to create.

1. When there is no mental stimulation, there is no sexual stimulation.

A pressing conversation, a heated debate, a passionate rant, witty banter, a deeply personal reveal — that’s what plants the sexual seeds.

2. When there is no tension, there is no release.

There is nothing like tension so thick we can literally feel it hanging in the air. And all we want to do is grab it.

…When we finally get our dirty little fingers on it, when we are finally able to touch, see and taste it – the release is absolutely mind-blowing.

3. When there is no seduction, there is no satisfaction.

How can we be satisfied by anything that is so easily handed to us? Aren’t our greatest assets the things we labored over the hardest?

It’s akin to slowly unwrapping a present. Taking your time to untangle the satin ribbons and delicately unwrap the shiny paper — makes getting your hands on the glorious gift so much better.

4. When there is no devotion, there is no emotion.

In order for sex to be unabashedly stimulating and undeniably exciting, it must attain some sort of emotion.

…Great sex is derived from out-of-control frustration, heaps of joy, thrilling recklessness, vehement disagreement (and yes love, of course), anything that pulls the passion out of you.

5. When there is no pleading, there is no pleasing.

We’re not turned on until we’re breathless with cravings, hell-bent with lust. We’re not racked with desire unless we’re pining for your touch.

In some areas of our lives, we’ve already balked at the low quality of “fast” and devoted ourselves to attaining the extraordinary results of “slow.” The Farm to Table movement, the appreciation of artisanal, hand-made goods and the explosion of interest in tiny breweries making craft beer all speak to our dawning understanding that quality cannot be rushed.

It’s the same with relationships. Breathlessly anticipating sex leads to an orgasm earthquake instead of an orgasm blip. (Or no orgasm at all )

Let’s slow down, people. Let’s stop checking calendars and timers and freaking out that we’re in our late 20s and our fertility is declining. Love is not a race to the finish line.

The slow burn is where it’s at.