Good sex that lasts isn’t a gift, it’s an achievement. Like all good things, the more you put into it, the better it gets – and the more variety you have, the higher your desire and satisfaction levels.
But sometimes the emotional intimacy that comes from a long-term devoted relationship can actually hinder passion between the sheets.Friendship is the foundation of every solid relationship but can you in fact be…
Too close for great sex?
It’s ironic: the couples who have the closest, soul-mate connection and the best relationships often have the worst sex lives.Why? Because the same achingly wonderful intimacy that makes us yearn to merge as ‘one’, obliterates desire by completely neutralizing sexual chemistry.Almost anyone who’s ever been in love subliminally senses the point when the relationship subtly but significantly shifts from you both being lovers, to being a couple in love.Sex tips with it: lust morphs into romance, torrid kissing gets replaced by tense eye-gazing, greedily devouring each other’s bodies with your eyes turns into examining each other’s faces.
If intimacy increases even further, a fiercely powerful friendship muscles its way into the mix, pushing sexual passion even further out of the equation.Your heart might soar when you hear your partner describe you as their best friend, but it can be the kiss of death for your sex life. Despite films like My Best Friend’s Wedding, most of us really don’t want to make love to our friends. It would feel incestuous, like having sex with a sibling, not to mention highly embarrassing.One of the world’s leading experts in the ‘intimacy vs sex’ problem is Jack Morin, author of The Erotic Mind (essential reading for any couple struggling with this issue, by the way).
Morin and others are at the forefront of exploring why closeness destroys rather than enhances sex (which we’ve always assumed). The reason appears to be this simple: we find ‘separateness’ far more attractive.We need to see our partners as individuals, people who are their own person rather than one-half of ourselves, in order to fancy them. Become ‘emotionally fused’, to the point where you lose your sense of where you finish and they start, and you don’t just lose your identity, you lose interest.
In other words, genuine closeness turns out to be a turn off. Familiarity and comfort are welcome bedfellows for relationships but they’re lethal for your love life.Healthier, is what’s called ‘differentiation’: you’re emotionally engaged and connected but you accept you’re two separate people who don’t have to agree on everything, do everything together or like the same things.
You don’t merge but complement.A crucial ingredient to having good long-term sex is novelty: if you’ve become matching bookends with the same tastes and views, that’s hard to achieve.Differentiated couples embrace their differences and push each other out of their comfort zones, challenging their partner to try new things and see things from a different point of view.Morin believes passion is created when there’s the right mix of ‘anxiety tolerance’ (we’re emotionally healthy enough to cope with being stretched) and challenge.
In short, we should push ourselves sexually, then when we’ve mastered that particular thing, aim for something that’s just a little further out of our reach.Something we haven’t done before is something that’s unknown. Unfamiliar.So, the answer to the question ‘Are you too close for great sex?’ could well be ‘Yes’.But you’re not being asked to ditch intimacy, just to unpeel the Velcro which is attaching you hip-to-hip and stand facing each other, rather than side by side.To take a little tiny step away from each other. To wave each other out the door occasionally.
When couples do dare to expand their range of ‘solo’ interests and become more engaged and stimulated by the outside world, their attraction for each other typically grows, says Morin.It especially means letting those X-rated, wicked thoughts work their way to the forefront of our brains, rather than pushing them back. It means revealing them to our partners. Letting them reveal theirs. Acting on some of them. Feeling a little out of control. Feeling, anxious but oddly turned on.Feeling, in fact, like having a jolly good…..Well, I think you get the picture by now. One final word: if you’re going to do this, do it soon.‘I’ve never seen a couple who were able to rebuild a sexual connection after they had stopped thinking of each other erotically for five or more years,’ Morin warns.