seeking a happy partner

When the Sexual Chemistry Knocks the Sense Right Out of You

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Have you ever met someone and felt the immediate electrical shock of sexual chemistry? It is sort of the panacea most of us are seeking when we approach our next lover/relationship/partner. Maybe not everyone is into sex, but… Well, I’ll leave it at that. When the sexual chemistry is on, I know immediately that I am in trouble. I need to take sexual intelligence into consideration and not just sexual chemistry.

Sexual Chemistry is Dangerous

I want the hit. I want the high. And I immediately want the full experience. When my sexual radar is registering an incoming hurricane it’s time for me to look at what is going on inside my mind, my body, and what past experience is being triggered. Sexual chemistry is a series of senses that when firing the YES message, tend to cause most of us to act drunk. Regardless of our level of sobriety at the moment. A sexual hit from a new potential partner is as powerful as several shots of your favorite tequila. No salt and lime are required. This is the good stuff. This is the aspirational stuff we hope for… And there’s a catch.

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Several things are in play when our sexual soul is activated in a big way.

  • We see the sexual potential of the person before us (they are our type)
  • Some mutual feedback loop is established between both of you within seconds and there’s a “yes” that courses over the newly formed neural network
  • Our hormones and brain chemistry begin firing up and releasing the “feel good” stuff into our bloodstream
  • We begin overlaying the reality of the moment (the present moment) with some fantasy (projection) or historical recollection (past relationship experience) that hype our attraction to intoxicating levels

If there’s a mutual yes, our flooded systems may come together emotionally and spiritually before our logical (“Is this a potentially healthy and long-term relationship) brain has a chance to catch up. And in these moments (in the first meeting, or the first few weeks of dating someone) we might make fatal mistakes. Well, not deadly to ourselves, but deadly to the long-term viability of the relationship. If we let the sex take over we can OFTEN find ourselves in bad relationships with good sex. This is NOT A WIN. This is a distraction.

How to Counteract the Lies Our Sexual Brains Are Shouting At Us

There is a simple way to keep the sexual chemistry from screwing up the opening of a potential relationship: don’t indulge. Don’t have sex together until your brains have had a chance to cool off and consider the other parts of this person. The parts that may not be so perfect for us. If we let our sexual bodies drive the opening weeks and months of a relationship, we are likely to overlook things that might become problematic as the relationship matures beyond the rose-colored-glasses phase. When you are evaluating your partner through lust-fueled senses, your readings are going to be off. Sometimes by a factor of 10.

In the past, I’ve jumped into a relationship simply on the fire that ignited in our first few dates. I didn’t pay attention to how much they liked to drink. I didn’t see the thin veneer that they kept over their rageful anger. In the early stages of dating, it may be a while before you hit an angry moment. So how could you know they fought dirty when they seemed so respectful in their negotiations and navigations around disagreements? You can’t know how a person is going to behave in various situations until you experience those situations together.

Once You Become Lovers

If you jump into bed, suddenly your logical evaluation skills become severely damaged. At that moment, you don’t want to lose your sexual connection. No matter what. You are likely to start compromising your wants and desires. You are liable to begin putting up with behaviors that would’ve been red flags before you slept together. Sex changes everything. If you haven’t set up the relationship and your styles of relating, sex is going to inhibit your ability to be honest and clear when what ask for what you need in the relationship. This is part of the challenge of navigating a relationship that has entered the relationship-building phase. How do you stay true to yourself while you’re having amazing sex?

I remember a woman who lit up with sexual chemistry on the first date. While she was clear that we were not going to be dating, she did let me know she saw me as a hot match. “I don’t wait too long to have sex with someone,” she said. “I mean, you need to know. Because when that’s bad, there’s almost no way to fix it. And if you waste too much time before, you know, checking it out, it’s just a bad idea.”

I don’t agree. I think it is better to wait a bit before checking if the sexual chemistry is also going to equal bedroom satisfaction. If I can establish a relationship without sex, then sex has the potential to be that much better. If I were to have sex too soon, it would be a different kind of sex. I don’t want recreational sex. I don’t want sex as a release. I want sex as a way to build a loving and deep connection with a partner. I’m ready to make a commitment. Sex, to me, means we are immediately 100% exclusive. It means I’m ready to give the WE (as a couple) a try.

If sex is casual or recreational, for me, it’s not very satisfying. I can get that kind of release by myself.

Sexual Chemistry is Essential

I do believe that sexual chemistry is required for a long-term relationship to be successful. What I’m saying is that this is a theory of mine, and has not been proven out by any great success at building long-term relationships. In fact, when I light up, it’s a challenge for me to slow things down. It’s more of an aspirational goal. But I do know FOR A FACT, that if the sexual chemistry is not found or established within the first few dates, then I am going to take a hard pass on the relationship.

Immediate sexual chemistry, on the other hand, can also present problems. I might be projecting a past hot relationship with this new person. This is not a bad thing, it’s part of what the “chemistry” is about, but it might not be a great indicator of how this new person is going to be IN a relationship with me.

Sexual chemistry has resulted in some serious detours in my journey to find my next long-term relationship. While I had fun with the sex kittens, and the fire of sexual fulfillment, the relationship part of the coupling was damaged from the beginning. The trick is to balance sexual chemistry with sexual intelligence. How do you test for sexual intelligence, that’s a more nuanced discovery process. And perhaps, for me, it’s best not to let the sexual fire burn too brightly, lest I be pulled into a bed that is hot but is also on fire with a troubled partner.

I think we want a healthy relationship and not just a hot hot heat detour. That’s my goal, anyway.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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