MOVIE star Olivia Wilde caused controversy last week when she appeared to throw her ex-husband under the metaphorical bus. The actress was performing at an event for women hosted by Glamour magazine in the US, and delivered a monologue she had written about the "death" of her vagina when with her ex.
She told of how she was trying to put a brave face on when their sexual intimacy cooled, and even lied to her heart and her head, but the final straw came when she realised she could no longer lie to her "dead" vagina -- that it wanted to feel alive again, and she had to let it.
A little OTT for sure but we've all been there: You meet a new guy or girl, and things click right away. There's chemistry, an attraction, and for the next few weeks you're completely infatuated. High on great sex and the buzz of passion in your life, everything falls by the wayside as hormones and chemicals take over your brain. If you're lucky, as well as sexual compatibility there's something more there -- a meeting of minds as well as bodies. In the right circumstances, this can lead to a relationship and even love, and everything is rosy.
Flash forward a few years. The initial buzz is long gone, replaced by the mundanities of life. Bills, kids, families and stress have replaced passion in your existence, and you feel a bit starved of affection and excitement. You begin to begrudge your partner, and resent them for not making you feel the way they used to.
This is when trouble brews, when things can go wrong -- the seven-year itch can start way earlier than stated. People get bored of one another, develop crushes on others and sometimes initiate affairs or flings. The answer to why so many cheat on their partners? In most cases the answer is boredom, or because they could. I believe, though, that the real reason is that they're chasing the elusive passion they once had and lost, thinking that with the right person maybe it will last and last.
The same goes for work. We chase our dream jobs or spend long hours imagining doing something we love for a living. However, if we were to achieve this dream, and get over the initial high emotion, it would soon become a job like any other. Nicer than most of course, and not horrible; you'll still feel grateful that you have it and recognise your luck, but after a while the passion fades and the bar is raised yet again.
Once we get used to something, no matter how passionately we love or want it, it's a fact of life that we acclimatise. However some people mistake feeling settled and steady as settling for less, and continue to chase highs that will never last.
I've long thought that celebrities, such as Miss Wilde, are fickle when it comes to matters of the heart. I'm not sure whether it's their high expectations of life, the fact that they live on a different planet to the rest of us or because they have a sense of entitlement when it comes to being happy, but they seem to give up easily when things take a turn for the worse.
Whether it's Kim Kardashian and her 72-day marriage fiasco, Katy Perry and Russell Brand who barely saw one another during their short period of matrimony, or the likes of Wilde and her ex (who was an Italian prince by the way), many famous couples seem to throw in the towel way more easily than we mere mortals. Of course, in some cases it's extremely obvious, when it's just not working, but I believe that the famous beings among us chase passion more than anybody else -- and that's where the danger lies.
There's no need to worry about Wilde's dead vagina any more. Apparently it's alive and well again, for now anyway, thanks to her new relationship with comedian Jason Sudeikis. During her monologue, the actress divulged that she and her new man have sex like "Kenyan marathon runners". But of course they do; they're still new. Who's to say that when their sex life settles down, Olivia won't drop her fella like a hot potato and move on to the next young stud waiting to breathe new life into her nether regions?
I'm a person that's been very lucky with my life so far. I began working in the industry of my dreams at only 22, and I'll never forget how I felt when I came out of my interview with a magazine editor. Nauseous with excitement, green as a field of grass and in disbelief that this might happen for me -- a career in journalism, writing for a living.
I was high as a kite for a good 10 months before reality started to seep in, and it became a job like any other -- not as mundane as most and still incredibly exciting at times, but still work. After a couple of years resentment crept in. I knew I had a dream job, but I wanted to earn more money and have more control over my own life. The passion hadn't been extinguished, it had just faltered and it took that happening to realise that I needed a new direction, a new challenge. In this case, leaving my old job was what was necessary. At the moment I'm still on a high -- not quite ecstatic but mildly buzzing -- that I've rediscovered a lust for my job. However, I know now it's up to me to keep things exciting.
The same goes for my six- year relationship. If somebody had told me at the beginning that it wouldn't always be as er, athletic, I would have laughed in their face. I thought the tummy flips and I-have-to-have-you-NOW urge would be around forever, but after a while life tends to get in the way of passion.
I'm not saying I don't want to be thrown over a shoulder and devoured like it was the first time every now and then -- the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey shows that so many of us are longing for those early flames to be fanned --but, overall, I'm glad passion dwindles. An odd statement perhaps, but hear me out.
Passion is fleeting by its very nature, like its good pal happiness. Neither are infinite, which is what makes experiencing them all the more exciting -- if they were around all the time, you'd tire of them, we need to see the other side of the coin to appreciate life's special moments.
I remember a very wise woman once told me to wish for contentment in my life instead of chasing high emotions, and I've followed her advice to this very day. Happiness and passion are not meant to be held on to, or chased -- by definition they cannot last. How could they when they're so mind- and life-altering?
We couldn't continue a normal, healthy existence with them in our lives constantly. Who wants to go around fuzzy headed and distracted 24/7, like we do when in the throes of a new romance?
There is a myth that passion should be what drives us, what we aim to have in life. However knowing that passion fades, I believe that what's left afterwards is more important -- intimacy, gratitude and the realisation that hanging on to anything you love, be it your job or your relationship, takes work.
The fact is that passion doesn't die entirely, nor does it take your private parts with it to its grave. Like a fire, it can be stoked into flames again -- and it doesn't always take a new lover to do that, or a career change. Often, just making a small change can make a world of difference.
Whether it's a new position -- professional or sexual -- a new way of looking at things or forcing yourself out of a rut, passion can pop up and make you (and your bits) feel more alive than you ever thought possible.