Affection without attraction

Q: I’ve met a man who is perfect for me in every way–similar world view and sense of humor, common interests, compatible family backgrounds, mutual friends. The problem is I have no sexual attraction for him. Can I learn to be attracted to him? If not, do I stay or leave?

Dr. Klein: This is a common situation in life–something is perfect, except for the ways in which it isn’t. It’s like “if we had ham, we could have a ham and cheese sandwich, if we had cheese.”
In my experience, people rarely overcome an initial lack of sexual attraction to someone and later become really hot for them. So if you can honestly say that you plan on sex being unimportant to you for the foreseeable future, and he feels the same way, then this is a perfect situation. Become a couple and enjoy the intellectual and emotional rewards you anticipate. If later on you decide that sex is important, however, you may feel the situation is untenable. Surely that’s not what you want.
If on the other hand sex is important to you, this isn’t a perfect situation–it’s heartbreaking. By all means, attempt to stay friends with the guy. Maybe this will be one of those rare situations in which a close non-sexual friend gradually becomes sexually attractive simply because you enjoy him so much. At the very least, he will presumably have friends who are as intelligent, warm, and level-headed as he is, and one of them may make you pant.


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