Sex and the City: Married best friend, but no intimacy

I married my best friend, and I love the way we can laugh and talk in an uninhibited manner. The problem is there is no sexual chemistry and we both feel awkward when we try to get intimate. We were both looking to marry at 38, but could not find a compatible partner. We tried to be matchmakers for each other for several years. Then one day we decided that since we were so compatible as friends, we would make great life partners and our parents agreed with us. It is strange that even now we keep talking about who we find physically attractive, and neither of us finds it odd. We are very comfortable in our everyday life, but there is a sadness in both of us about the missing element of physical intimacy. We are in a strange fix. What should we do?

Ans. Chemistry as a subject is also a function of certain combinations being made for a desired transition to take place. It's clear to me that you will have to make certain changes in how you'll interact with each other. Sexual chemistry can grow from several moments of demonstrated physical tenderness. This needs to first be decided upon and then executed accordingly. Like with all daunting, and sometimes confusing pursuits in life, you got to warm up to a task before proclaiming yourself the master of a certain endeavour. Baby steps need to be taken first.

To initiate some physical contact, you'll could perhaps start off with the not-so-innocent but somewhat innocent frequent embraces and hugging, holding hands and soft kisses on the cheek with each other. This may pave the way to how you'll sexually express yourselves with each other. Couplehood is an evolving friendship with sexual overtones and romantic undertones. So, you are perhaps not as far off as you think from developing sexual chemistry with each other.

However, the process must not be rushed or rambled through. It’s alright to be physically attracted to other people, but it’s important to remember that a relationship usually entails an exclusivity contract that whereby you two are tied to each other’s emotions and thoughts through the seasons of life. How old you are has nothing to do with the emotional decision of ‘being together’ that you'll must make if this is to proceed in the direction described by you. The consent of friends and family may feel like a necessary hurdle to jump over, but it's important to be able to make an independent assessment of the compatibility you’ll share without letting the opinions of other people contaminate how you see your partner.

Your partner won’t be perfect, but if you care enough about a person, you’ll be willing to adjust your expectations and find ways to be happy with that person rather than nitpick about how you could have landed up with a better partner. There’s no end to wanting to trade up and upgrade in life.

A dear friend of mine once told me a story about a Zen master who sent his disciple to the forest to find the tallest tree, chop it down and bring it back so they could build a log cabin with the wood. When the disciple went to the forest, he was delighted to spot a rather tall tree. Just as he was about to cut it down, he spotted a tree in the distance that looked taller than the one he was about to cut. Before he knew it, he had wandered most of the forest wondering if one tree was taller than the other and he never ended up cutting the tree. The disciple returned to his master feeling forlorn and defeated at the end of the day. His task was incomplete. His master smiled at him and told him that it doesn’t matter if the tree is tall or short. What mattered was how they were going to use the tree.

Sometimes a person’s situation may be ‘good enough’ even though he/she wanders through the thicket wondering if ‘the best is still waiting out there’. As you'll live and interact with each other, and the friendship gets further consolidated, who knows what surprises it may throw up? There are no guarantees in life and love. There is only the clarity of intent and efforts.

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