We met by chance as social media friends. I was the one who wanted emotional support and I sent a ‘Hi’ to him. To my surprise, I got a message back. I looked at his profile again and got attracted to the pictures he had put there. It was my fantasy to fall for a photographer and it was looking as if my dream would come true. We began chatting and I started ‘liking’ every message of his. Gradually we moved on to calls and his way of talking, choice of words, his intellect…everything was perfect.
Deep down inside, I was also looking for someone who could fulfill my long-held sexual desires. I was confused about whether it was emotional or physical desire that was urging me to take this relationship forward. Even if it was sex that I was looking for, a question I pondered was: Was it bad?
We finally decided to meet at his place. We were both ready to fulfill our sexual longings. And we did. It was a great experience altogether but the aftermath was shocking. There was a lot of emotional turbulence. We discussed at length why we wanted to be in this relationship, and whether we were we looking for a short-term or a long-term relationship. The intensity was more important than the duration, I guess.
We continued to meet but to our surprise we were not meeting only for sex. The relationship that started with a quest for sexual satisfaction became much deeper and we started connecting at a soul level. Now it seemed that we were making love rather than only having sex. Sex was certainly giving us pleasure and we were connected emotionally through this (that’s what made our relationship special), and what was important was the satisfaction of getting love.
I started believing that sex is very good for you in so many ways. It is truly healing – and not just emotionally, but physically too. When you have satisfying sex, you set your body on a path of balancing your hormones and generally feeling happy.
It’s quite common to think of sexual attraction and desire when you think of romantic love. It seems that the steamy, aching feelings that arise with sexual desire pair so perfectly with that crazy first stage of love. It’s also the way that it’s told in all the stories– that true love will automatically lead to good sex. And satisfying sex can also lead to true love. It’s not bad. The truth is, it turns out that lasting sexual desire is ruled by somewhat different forces than what shape a strong love and a strong relationship.
Looking at the scientific aspects of it, it’s easy for there to be more sexual desire, arousal, and attraction at the beginning of a relationship because of how prominent dopamine is during that time. Early in a relationship, more dopamine is released whenever you have contact with a new partner, causing you to pay more attention to them. This also results in an easier release of other neurotransmitters that play a part in driving sexual arousal. It is also known that different parts of the brain light up when someone feels love than when someone feels lust. Interestingly, feelings of lust can lead to increased feelings of love, but not the other way around.
It was so wonderful when I got sexual pleasure from someone I loved, someone I had fun with, someone I trusted, and someone whom I liked as a person! Therefore for me a partner who pleased me was a great choice for a long-term romantic partner.
To keep sexual desire strong, we both keep our intimacy and our sense of adventure strong. Those couples who expect that it should just come automatically and spontaneously – even after children, or during times of stress – are in for a rude awakening. Unfortunately, many of these couples start thinking that they just aren’t attracted to each other anymore and give up on the relationship (or at least the sexual relationship).
It can thus be concluded that both love and sex require nurturing and attention. There are specific interventions that are necessary to keep your overall relationship on track. For love, these include supporting each other emotionally, mutual respect, connecting positively with the other person, and understanding your partner’s point of view. And for sex, what’s needed is feeling open to the other person, being able to focus on your own erotic space, and eliminating those things that interfere with your experience of pleasure (even if they are just in your head).