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Partners Really Can be Too Close to Have Great Sex, Experts Warn

Update Date: Mar 11, 2013 02:44 PM EDT

Can you and your significant other really be too close to have good sex? While friendship is the foundation of any strong relationship, experts explain why many couples in the best relationships often have the worst sex lives.

Sexpert Tracey Cox from the Daily Mail says that the "same achingly wonderful intimacy" that makes couples want to "merge' as one'" ironically also destroys desire by "completely neutralizing sexual chemistry".

In an article posted on the Daily Mail, Cox writes that anyone who's ever been in love senses the point when their relationship takes on a "subtle but significant" transformation- from initially "being lovers" to becoming "a couple in love".

Cox explains just as lust turns into romance, passionate kisses are replaced by intense eye gazing as steamy fantasies develop into sweet realities. She says that sexual passion fades as intimacy soars, and by adding friendship into the relationship mix, lust for your partner fizzles out even more.

"Your heart might soar when you hear your partner describe you as their best friend, but it can be the kiss of death for your sex life," Cox writes.

"Despite films like My Best Friend's Wedding, most of us really don't want to make love to our friends. It would feel incestuous, like having sex with a sibling, not to mention highly embarrassing," she explains.

Jack Morin, author of The Erotic Mind, is a leading expert on the "intimacy vs. sex" problem.  Morin is one of the leading experts on why closeness destroys rather than enhances sex.

Morin explains that the reason is simple: people find "separateness" far more attractive than togetherness. He advises people to see their partners as individuals rather than their other half to reignite sexual passion. He explains that when two people become "emotionally fused" they lose their identity and their interest. 

"In other words, genuine closeness turns out to be a turn off. Familiarity and comfort are welcome bedfellows for relationships but they're lethal for your love life," Cox explains.

The secret to having a strong relationship and maintaining a healthy sex life is "differentiation".  Couples must acknowledge that they are separate individuals who don't need to agree on everything, do everything together or like the same things. 

"You don't merge but complement," Cox writes. "A crucial ingredient to having good long-term sex is novelty: if you've become matching bookends with the same tastes and views, that's hard to achieve."

Morin explains that "differentiated" couples are those than embrace their differences and push each other out of their comfort zones.  These couples challenge their partner to try new things and see things from a different perspective. He believes that passion is created with the right combination of "anxiety tolerance" and challenge.

He encourages couples to take up "solo" interests and become more engaged and stimulated by the outside world.  He says that taking a step back from your partner and pursuing separate interests typically strengthens attraction between couples.

He also recommends that couples reveal their secret fantasies to each other and act on some of them.  Just like how mystery breeds desire, he believes that feeling a little anxious or out of control, strangely, turns people on. 

However, he warns that couples struggling with sex need to act soon if they want to keep passion from fading.

"I've never seen a couple who were able to rebuild a sexual connection after they had stopped thinking of each other erotically for five or more years," Morin warns, according to the Daily Mail.

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