The Lover Archetype

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One framework for exploring our sexuality is the Jungian archetype of the Lover. For myself, I’ve noticed how easily accessible the shadow aspects are; the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover.

The Lover Archetype is the part of us that seeks to connect, to bond. Generally it is how we relate – how we relate to our emotions, to our body, to other people, to the universe, as well as to a Higher Power.

Therefore, addiction in the context of the Lover can not only look like typical indulgences and compulsions, but also like an overflow of emotions, being clingy or needy. I notice my own expression of this when I haven’t been doing my personal practices and I feel a rising desire to project my sexuality outwardly. I want to touch, to watch. I lust, look and crave.

Then, impotence in the context of the Lover can not only look like lacklustre libido, but also like emotional stuntedness, being unable to open up. I notice my own expression of this when I allow my addict’s desire to be fulfilled and I feel satiated. My itch has been scratched. I go back to being cut off.

I’ve observed this same swinging between the two shadows in other men. They go from excessively engaging with their sexual energy to completely detaching from it, from addiction to impotence. Often, men will try to stop a detrimental habit or pattern by abstaining from that sexual behaviour. This may work for a little while but, without guidance, they then swing back and start engaging unhealthily with their sexual energy again, until attempting to stop once more.

This flip-flopping can stem from shame about love or connection. Maybe you believe that you aren’t loving enough, or sensual and sexual enough, or emotional in the right way. Maybe you believe you’re not really a loving person. So, you either give up on loving, or try to exaggerate any behaviors that look like loving to compensate for your shaming belief.

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