Ask people the importance of chemistry and lust to the health and well being of their intimate relationship, and they definitely have strongly held attitudes and opinions about the subject.

Several thousand readers from around the world responded to the question posed in this column, “How important is lust, chemistry and sexual attraction to a relationship?” Here is a sampling of people’s answers:

“I find that if I’m attracted to someone, I’m much more likely to appreciate them for who they are, and I want to learn more about them. Even when there are differences, I’m willing to adjust more readily if the right chemistry is there. I’ve met several men who are absolutely perfect for me on paper, but the chemistry wasn’t there. It’s one of those mysterious elements that simply cannot be defined,” writes a 44 year old single woman from Greenfield, Wisconsin.

“In dating, I know almost immediately if I feel any sexual attraction toward a woman. When we meet, it’s either there or it’s not. Do I like how she looks? Does she have a special flare that attracts me? Does she respond to me?” explains Samuel H. from Austin, Texas.

“Mutual lust can be a lot of fun!” suggests Cindy R. from London,Ontario.

“I feel good when I walk around in my bra and my husband goes crazy,” echoes a 23 year old married woman from Hays, Kansas.

“If the chemistry isn’t there, nothing can put it there. I believe there is a little lust in all love relationships,” writes Cathryn W. from Milwaukee.

Interestingly, most men and women—single, married or divorced—see chemical attraction as important and even necessary in order to have a vital relationship. There are some people who hesitate to trust lustful feelings, however.

“I can see a guy I feel instantly is sexy and think “oh, boy…yum, yum,” but it never goes beyond that, because I am aware of being led by lust instead of by love, and I know which is more important,” says Sandy R. from Christchurch, New Zealand.

“This lust and chemical attraction is something one grows out of as one gets wiser and older, and one looks for the personality under all those looks,” suggests Mary B. from Wellington, New Zealand.

“Instant attraction can get your foot in the door, so to speak, but to be in long-lasting relationship you need other things going for you too,” agrees Christine C., from Staten Island, New York.

“I feel too many couples fall into sexual situations out ofloneliness or pure “biology,” and now they’re in a committed relationship because of sexual habit, thinking they’re in love,” writes Aimee M. from Brandon, Florida.

“I’m old enough now to know that sexual attraction and chemistry are all part of life’s plan to draw us together to mate,” says Charley F. from Denver.

Most people understand that sexual attraction is what gets people together in the beginning of a relationship. It is also helpful in keeping people together, especially when their relationship goes through rough times. Some readers, however, went out of their way to suggest that a healthy long-term relationship needs more than chemistry.

“Chemistry involves heart opening connectedness, too,” says Nishanka L. from Largo, Florida.

“I believe that lust and sexual attraction are necessary to “start” a relationship. Once a relationship is established, my experience has shown that deeper emotional and spiritual intimacy keeps the fires stoked,” writes Kathleen C. from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Has your relationship turned cold and distant? Neil’s book Love, Sex, and Staying Warm can help you rekindle your passion.

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