I don't understand the last sentence of the following paragraph, especially the meaning and usage of "save us with that".

So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide. Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it's a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.

Source:Esther Perel: The secret to desire in a long-term relationship

  • Perhaps 'to save us with that' means 'to help us make sure of that' or 'to do that for us'. – Řídící Aug 14 '16 at 17:46
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    It's not a very well written text - hardly surprising, since it seems to be just a transcript of a talk. – FumbleFingers Aug 14 '16 at 17:54
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's asking for the meaning of poorly written text. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 14 '16 at 20:20

Esther Perel is fluent in English, and if you listen to her talk, you'll find her eloquent, but she makes a few non-idiomatic slips. In the paragraph above, she contrasts comfort with edge when she means edginess. Later on in the talk, in a passage you don't quote, she says "contract the gap", where "narrow the gap" would be more common.

In the passage you do quote, Ms Perel gives a list of contradictory qualities that she claims we have come to expect ("a given") in long-term relationships. Her thesis is that the contradictions drain the erotic energy from these relationships and that we think that

toys [i.e., sex toys] and lingerie are going to save us with that.

She's using with in the sense of concerning, which would be fine in a sentence like

toys and lingerie are going to involve us with that.

That must refer to the list of contradictions. It can't refer to toys and lingerie because that would take a reflective pronoun:

toys and lingerie are going to involve us by themselves

But the verb to save licenses the preposition from to indicate the dangers avoided, so we'd expect

toys and lingerie are going to save us from [all] that.

The preposition with combined with to save has the meaning of agency, so we say

the victim of the crash could have been saved with a seatbelt.

(Synonymous with the substitution of the preposition by) But the toys and lingerie are the agents of salvation, so using with leaves the uncomfortable sense that they are the antecedent to that in the phrase with that. Of course, the context makes it clear that this cannot be what Ms Perel means.

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It means "prevent us from experiencing the predictably bad outcomes that tend to result from putting those kinds of expectations on one single relationship and person." It is part of the more general use of the "prevent bad outcomes" meaning of "save." The implication is that no individual human is likely to be able to meet those high expectations and be able to provide all that, not even with the help of those physical items.

The speaker's use of "we think" indicates the author's doubt about the claim that these physical items can really prevent those bad outcomes, supporting the point that they cannot.

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