(Image source; https://letterboxd.com/arbogast1960/film/belle-de-jour/)
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In the sixth in this series of sex advice, Dr Karen Gurney, @thesexdoctor on Instagram, and director of the Havelock Clinic, answers one reader question...
Hi Dr Karen, I have developed a crush on a friend's partner and have found myself thinking about him a lot. It's got to the point where I'm imagining he actually likes me too and whenever I see him I go bright red and get flustered.
The thing is I long for more excitement and my current partner and I are stuck in a rut. How do I get these fantasies out of my mind? I don't want to hurt anyone.
I need to get over this major crush as soon as possible...any advice please?
Dr Karen Gurney says:
So the first thing to say is that being attracted to someone other than your partner is totally normal. Instead of seeing this as a sign of being virtually unfaithful, or as a sign of future problems, it can be useful to reframe feelings of attraction outside of your relationship - as a positive sign of your sexuality and desires, that you exist as a sexual person outside of your relationship.
Most of us enjoy guilt free physical pleasure away from our partners when masturbating, why not psychological pleasure too? It’s also more common than you think to fantasise about someone other than your partner. A recent study found that almost 80% of heterosexual women in relationships reported such fantasies, often involving emotional intimacy with someone in their social circle rather than a stranger.
Many things we fantasise about we might never intend to put into action- after all that’s part of the fun- there never has to be any realising you’re not wearing your best knickers or being distracted by a stray plastic dinosaur prodding you in the back in a fantasy.
Fantasies are also a way to bring some novelty and excitement into your sex life when the usual object of your affections is as familiar to you as the back of your hand. Sometimes, a fantasy that becomes more and more alluring and turns into stronger feelings can be a sign that there’s something you need or want that you’re not feeling you’re getting in your relationship, or that you are missing feeling for yourself. This could be anything from wanting to feel sexy, wanting to not be seen as mother or wanting something hot and new when your sex life has become a bit predictable and lacking in variety.
Esther Perel has done a great TED talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_the_secret_to_desire_in_a_long_term_relationship )
on how we can sometimes expect too much of our partners (for example watch them wee then still expect to always find them sexy) and she speaks a lot about the importance of considering relationship dynamics on maintaining desire, which relates to fidelity. In my experience it can be useful for some couples to consider this, and work out what significant feelings for someone else might be a sign of.
It is of course possible that you have feelings for someone else- relationships are not immune to this and monogamy doesn’t necessarily always work for everyone, for ever. Before you worry too much about this, it’s worth taking stock of whether the feelings you’re having are more about something you need, about something your relationship could do with, or totally normal as they might be for most women.
In answer to the last bit of your question, your fantasies aren’t hurting anyone, and unless you feel they are damaging or could damage your relationship at some point you don’t need to get them out of your mind. My advice would be to either enjoy them for what they are, or reflect on whether there’s work to be done with your partner to get the things you need. There’s always ways in which our sex lives can get better- even after many years together.
Thanks for writing in and Good luck!
Dr Karen X