QUESTION: For the past five years, I’ve been fixated by a gorgeous, funny man I met through my choir. Although we both had long-term partners, we became very close and shared our hopes and secrets. I broke up from my boyfriend in the summer, so when my friend split from his partner, too, I was on tenterhooks. He asked me out before Christmas and we had an amazing evening before returning to my house where we fell into bed. I thought it would be the best sex of my life, but from the first kiss everything felt wrong. We’ve barely communicated since. I am distraught. How could incredible chemistry disappear into thin air?
ANSWER: I suspect what has happened here is that you have confused intense, emotional intimacy with lust. Often, of course, the two states go together, but it’s by no means inevitable.
It’s quite possible to fall deeply in love with someone with whom you have no true sexual connection.
The circumstances in which you both founds yourselves - the mutual interest in singing, shared humour, easy communication with one another and, by contrast, something lacking at home - meant you both became very reliant upon one another.
Mutual need and dependency is a powerfully attractive bond.
What I wonder is, had you met for just five minutes as strangers, whether you would have had the zing of instant physical attraction.
There is a raw, hormonal animal element to all the best sexual pairings, but sometimes it can be absent from a match that’s excellent in all other ways.
When I was in my late teens, I spent two years in the pocket of a boy I came to think I loved; we were best friends and confidants, but when we finally came to kiss it was a total disaster. There was absolutely no chemistry and we both knew it.
A friend of mine had a similar experience with a man she befriended at work.
After seven years of lunching and flirting they were suddenly both single at the same time.
“I didn’t realise, until then, that the fact we were so easy and open with one another hinged on our belief we would never get together,” she says. “It was a fantasy relationship that rescued us from day-to-day disappointment. But when there were no bars to us going to bed, all the flirtatious tension disappeared. We were left with nothing.”
Timing may be another big factor in your lack of sexual pizzazz.
Sometimes, when you are soulmates with someone for a long time, you can bypass the moment of maximum desire and hurtle onwards into the place where you feel as intimate as siblings.
It’s as if you’ve reached the familiar, fitting-like- old-slippers stage of marriage without having any of the sexual preamble.
Mystery can be a major component of erotic attraction, but you may have eroded that over five years of swapping confidences.
It’s also true that you both brought exceptionally high expectations to this sexual encounter. If you had known each other for only a couple of months, you would have been braced for a potential let down.
Instead, you had five years’ solid investment staked on this tryst. Could it have ever lived up to your fantasies? On top of that, you both had recent splits with long-term partners to dampen your ardour.
It is hard for anyone sensitive to leap into a new love affair when they are still recovering from an old one. This man you love had only just parted from someone he had been with for years. If anything’s going to put a spanner in the works, it’s that.
The other thing you’ve discovered is that even the most seemingly solid bonds of friendship and intimacy can be instantly shaken by sexual awkwardness.
It’s easy to discuss the flaws of your partner with a third party, but hard to lean across the table to the same person and discuss why sex went wrong with them. Yet this is what you must do - if only to bring some closure to the incident and re-establish your friendship.
The longer you leave things, the more uncomfortable it will get and you’ll end up blaming one another for what happened.
It’s seems possible to me that there is something good which can be salvaged from this moment of embarrassment.
Perhaps you both had to have a disaster to dispense with those hopes of your union, before you could move on in a more realistic fashion.
After all, if you hadn’t known one another for five years, you would have probably gone on a series of dates before falling into bed; then the evolution from talking to making love wouldn’t have been so sudden.
Or perhaps you simply need to agree you make wonderful friends, but not lovers.
Avoiding one another will only leave both of you feeling inadequate. Just remember, sexual attraction is not rare, but finding a soulmate is. - Daily Mail