I’m 27 years old and I’ve been with my boyfriend for 10 months. We were friends before and I haven’t felt this comfortable or happy with anyone. We laugh all the time and I trust his opinion and extreme kindness. But there has never been a sexual connection. At the beginning I didn’t mind having sex with him, but now it’s almost a chore and I sometimes dread it. He is extremely patient but of late he’s expresses how hurtful it is to have me reject him or not be fully into it. I’ve enjoyed a healthy sex life with other boyfriends, but I value this relationship more than any other. Should I continue and hope it gets better? Lust dwindles in most long-term relationships so should I just be happy with what I have? I worry that throwing away what we have for the sake of a rampant sex life is stupid.

That’s a bit feast or famine isn’t it? From my extensive research into the subject I’ve found that the best sex is often with the most unsuitable partners, the magnet of dysfunction proving far stronger than more wholesome choices. Luckily the total reverse doesn’t have to be true.

Aunty Lisa
A rampant sex life may be ambitious, but a degree of physical compatibility is imperative at the start of any union. There’s also always room for improvement and every reason for putting in a bit of effort. Contrary to popular perception the physical relationship when you start dating doesn’t have to be the one you are stuck with. Old dogs do learn new tricks and the easy familiarity that develops between a couple, with a little bit of positive input from both, can be conducive not necessarily to more sex but to better sex. Learning how a lover’s body works is part of the fun and developing the courage to express your own desires certainly helps.

Having recently waded through vast quantities of erotica my eyes have been opened to myriad forms of sex and the limitations we impose on our own pleasure. Those are all ingredients you can work on, particularly if you are comfortable enough with each other to express and explore your fantasies.

You won’t be the first person to discover a relationship rich in cerebral content but lower on animal attraction

Your relationship may have lacked sexual frisson at the outset as a result of your friendship, but that’s something you can turn to your advantage. Using that openness to create an erotically charged environment could be fun. Talking about your sexual fantasies, sharing intimacies about your best sexual experiences and basically putting sex on the menu could breathe passion into your currently unsatisfactory physical encounters. In this desire-drenched 21st century, where we are encouraged to lust on everything we cast our eyes over, from perfume bottles to fashion, real chemistry can be hard to distinguish from animal attraction. There are people whose presence sends a forceful current to our erogenous zones but they’re few and far between and seldom the ones we end up with. Instead it’s the yin and yang of complementary character and compatible physical attributes that offers the most sustainable results.

You do have to love the way your lover smells – it may be base but it’s also a basic truth. Smell and taste are non-negotiable; if those sensory provocations aren’t present you can never create them. However, technique, mood and compulsion all seem entirely surmountable with focus from both parties. I have just edited Desire: 100 of Literature’s Sexiest Stories, an anthology of libido enhancing stories so please forgive me for advertising it but your letter did fall into my mailbag at just the right moment. Getting yourself into the right mood is of paramount importance and reading sexy stories to each other might be a good place to start. The feedback I’m getting is that it’s certainly working for others!

Expecting every element of a relationship to be perfect is where so many of us come unstuck. Relationships take work and two people can mature and expand and improve their repertoire. You say that passion dies and that can certainly be the case but in long-term relationships it’s the memory of sex that keeps you at it, long after the sight of your partner in their underwear has stopped provoking lustful thoughts. One of the challenges in choosing the right person is working out the balance between compulsive desire and compatibility in other areas. You won’t be the first person to discover a relationship rich in cerebral content but lower on animal attraction.

Instead of bemoaning your missing ingredient try a more creative approach. This relationship sounds like it has so much that’s good about it that it’s got to be worth investing energy and ingenuity into what’s missing. As the old adage goes: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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