As someone who is pushing 40 and didn’t get married until I was nearly 30, I have had more than my fair share of relationships.
There were a few where the only reason I stayed was the great sex and then there was one were everything was great…except the sex.
And because of that, I left.
Until recently, I only let a few people know the real reason why that relationship ended. Even though we were both young and not at an age when many seriously consider getting married, our closest friends were nonetheless shocked and usually commented our break up with “You were such a good match,” or “You had so much in common,” or even “You were the only two people weird enough to get each other.”
While the above was all true, there was the not-so-little matter that we were not a good match sexually-–in a nutshell, the sexual chemistry between us was terrible. It wasn’t that we weren’t attracted to each other—we were both immensely attractive to each other—but when the time came to actually do the deed, we could have been from different planets.
In all fairness to both of us, we tried to listen to each other and accommodate one and other but it simply didn’t get better. While a part of me thinks that perhaps, if we had been older and had the resources, we could have worked things out with a therapist but another part of me doubts it.
While we are all familiar with tales of couples who fall into ruts or the passion in their relationship fades away, rare are the tales of relationships between two people who are initially attracted to each other but fail to be sexually satisfying from the start.
For several years, I believed that I was the only one and that the relationship had been somewhat unique until I started to discuss it. Much to my surprise, I learned that not only was I not alone but there were even cases of couples who married people they didn’t feel sexually compatible with. When asked why, answers ranged from “They were nice,” or “We were compatible in so many other ways” and perhaps the most common one I heard was a variation of “I didn’t think at the time it matter.”
However, as it turns out, it did matter.
In all those cases except one, the couples are no longer together. While most were quick to say there were other factors involved, besides the sex, they all said it played a role in the eventual breakdown of the respective relationships.
Despite knowing better than most that it takes more than sex to make a relationship work, it’s important that we don’t downplay it’s importance. I believe that part of the reason we do has a lot to do with our society’s views of sexual relationships—growing up, I was taught there was a difference between physical relationships and those that were serious. The qualities that were sought out in the latter were so that sex came last or near the end.
It’s time we stopped doing that—the idea that a serious relationship cannot include good or even great sex is simply untrue. While red hot passion may not last forever, successful relationships usually do contain a strong measure of sexual attraction.
When it’s not present and feels like a problem then it usually is.
In my case, my ex and I both went on to meet new partners. Last time I heard, he is now married with two kids and, by all accounts, is happy.
I sincerely hope so and I hope the attraction that was absent between us is there in his current relationship. He—along with everyone else—truly deserves that.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Mariana Amorim/Flickr