Most everyone grows up not having a perfect childhood. Even well-meaning parents, at some point, wound their children or give them a poor example of what a loving relationship looks like. Children who grew up in cold, unsympathetic households may experience hurt or pining for love (while lacking it) as their primary way of experiencing love. For obvious reasons, this sets the child up for finding a partner who will not be good for them in the long run.
Turned off by Pleasure, Turned on by Pain
This section isn’t about BDSM relationships, but about the somewhat common occurrence that people often choose “bad boys” or the people who are unavailable to them instead of people who will be good for them. There is almost a component of dependency on the rush of seeking out someone unavailable, and for a while, having their attention. Until you don’t. This phenomenon has psychological undercurrents.
At worst, this phenomenon can manifest in the women who date psychopaths and mass murderers. Women with very desirable qualities like compassion and vast understanding end up understanding and helping the wrong people, mostly because they feel like they could use some excitement in their lives. Happily, with some mindfulness, you can choose your path and find a partner who enhances your life, rather than draining the life out of you.
The notion that stability isn’t exciting is true: it’s not meant to be exciting. But you certainly want a stable relationship for the long-term. So, how can you get these two competing desires to coexist in a way that doesn’t thoroughly kill your sexual desire? First, you must learn how to enjoy the stability and monotony of a committed, long-term relationship more than you enjoy the thrill of seeking someone who is not interested in your future.
Getting clarity on your goals is an excellent idea for anyone— whether or not they’re looking for a relationship. Do you truly want someone to be by your side forever? Or do you prefer the wanting, longing, hoping part of a relationship? If you can admit the latter, you can work to overcome it. Short-term gratification almost always competes with long-term fulfillment, and most of the time, you won’t have both.
Keep in mind, stability and sexual chemistry should also be present. You won’t be happy if you find someone stable that you have no interest in sexually. But sexual chemistry can grow, so be sure to give your relationship enough time to understand whether or not you could be happy and sexually excited with a partner who is otherwise an ideal match for you. And also, don’t conflate sexual chemistry with physical attraction. Someone can be much more attractive when you’re bantering back and forth for reasons that go far deeper than their physical body. But, because of this, online dating is all the harder since pictures and brief summaries often don’t do justice to great minds, activists, or artists. Really, it’s just the opposite: a pretty face that’s attached to a idle mind or person without any creativity can be precisely what kills sexual chemistry. So, you’re going to need a mind and body connection.
If you need to up the sexual chemistry factor in an otherwise good relationship, try to get as much face-time with your partner while they’re doing what they do best. This could be giving a speech for work, fixing or repairing a household item, playing music, whatever it is, watch them. Seeing them outside of the humdrum of your daily life and in their element can remind you why you found them so attractive in the first place.
If you want to augment chemistry in an existing relationship or change the type of partners you are currently attracted to, speaking with a therapist who specializes in these areas can help you realize your goals and adjust your habits.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist.