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QUESTION: I met my partner at university 18 years ago. He’s the only man I have ever slept with and we have a good - if unexciting - sex life and one lovely teenage son. Friends envy our closeness, but I can’t help feeling short-changed that I’ve had sexual intimacy with only one person. A huge part of me craves a love affair, or simply a sexual past. How do I deal with my dissatisfaction?
ANSWER: It would be easy to berate you for taking your stable relationship for granted, but there’s scarcely a person alive who doesn’t sometimes yearn for ‘the road not taken’.
It’s hard not to feel you’ve missed out when we’re bombarded with so many images of places to go and people to desire. That said, there are plenty of people who long to feel less jaded.
Just take a look at the vast sales of the erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey - so many sexually adroit middle-aged women are lapping up a tale about a virgin who falls in love with the first man she sleeps with.
In other words, plenty of women harbour a fantasy that’s not that far removed from your reality. Your friends envy your closeness with your husband, as they know it is the product of 18 years together.
Fleeting encounters cannot offer this. Most women I know feel the majority of their exes - while not necessarily regretted - were diversions that happened en route to finding Mr Right.
The only thing a long string of lovers tends to tell you is how hard it is to unearth a soulmate. Most people find the only relationships that impart true sexual confidence are the ones that are long lasting and meaningful. You need to ask yourself what you have really missed out on by finding love so young. I would suggest you’ve avoided a lot of misery, broken dreams and the potential heartache of finding yourself veering towards middle age without a partner or your ‘lovely son’.
Yet I acknowledge there is one downside to your early pairing and that’s the stuck-in-a-rut feelings that affect most long relationships at some point.
However, an affair would be a fatal way to deal with this. The fling would either feel tawdry, and you would be overwhelmed with guilt, or the sex would feel thrilling in the short-term, compelling you to risk your family’s happiness.
All the couples I know whose relationship has progressed through a similarly graceful arc to your own have a certain joyful innocence about them that isn’t worth jeopardising.
You’re not in a sexless or loveless union. Can you be honest about your sense of frustration?
What is stopping you having adventures together? Why squander your fantasies on a stranger when you have a richly deserving partner to embrace? - Daily Mail