Heather Corinna replies:
I have a question regarding sex but also emotions. I've had the same boyfriend for 3 years and we have haven't had a sexual partner before each other. We love each other greatly but his best friend and me have gotten to know each other better and one night, we kissed. We didn't mean it to happen but it did and it almost happened again but I stopped it the second time around...so when I have sex with my boyfriend, it feels great during the action...but then I always feel down in the dumps right after. Is it because I'm not ready to have sex again until this situation clears my head or am I completely turned off on having sex with my boyfriend? I love him greatly but sometimes I don't feel as sexually attracted to him as I am to his best friend...please help me! Thank you.
What I don't know is how strongly attracted you've felt to your boyfriend over the years, well before now.
I bring that up because loving someone doesn't always mean we want to have sex with that person, or that we're sexually attracted to them. In some ways, sexual chemistry is something separate from love. We can absolutely have it with people that we also love, to be sure, but we can have it with people we don't -- heck, even with people we can't stand! -- and NOT have it with people we do. If the attraction was never all that strong, it may be that you both made something sexual because it seemed like what people who love each other do, or like that was how boyfriend/girlfriend relationships are supposed to go -- or even because you were each available partners -- but it wasn't actually something that was all that...well, there. Know what I mean?
Additionally, it's pretty normal for relationships to change over time, and I'm not talking about for better or for worse, but the nature of relationships. Someone with whom we had a romantic relationship at first may, over time, turn into more of a friend, or vice-versa. With younger people, those changes can also happen more frequently or more quickly because you're in a stage of your life where you are usually undergoing massive personal growth, development and change. Who you are one year can be pretty different than who you were the year before, and same goes for your partner. Too, when your horizons expand -- when you've only dated one person, but are then introduced to other options -- it can be pretty confusing and not so easy to manage. That gets easier with more practice, mind you. few people will only ever be attracted to one person only, after all, even when they choose to only be with one partner exclusively.
One other thing to know is that it's also typical for attraction, libido and sexual chemistry to not be constants. They can -- and often do -- wax and wane over time. We may feel a chemistry or attraction very strongly one month, then not so strongly the month afterwards, then have it flare up again.
You really are the only person who can sort out why you're feeling the way that you are. It could be any of the possibilities you've brought up. Maybe you do need to clear your head, and also draw some final limits with your boyfriend's best friend, putting a stop to that. Let's face it, even if you don't want to be with your boyfriend anymore, a current or exes best friend is someone who should be off limits. Getting involved with a best friend threatens to destroy more than one important relationship, after all. You might also consider if the fact that your feelings are so taboo are what are making them seem so exciting. That'd be pretty typical. same goes for feeling down in the dumps if you're feeling guilty about what's going on. After all, having sex with a partner is about real intimacy, and if you're keeping a big secret in the context of that, it'd make sense to feel lousy about it.
Maybe you also need to look at if you're still feeling it when it comes to a sexual and/or romantic relationship with your boyfriend. Three years is a long time, and things changing in that span of time wouldn't be surprising. Too, new relationship energy is a pretty different thing than the vibe of a more well-seasoned relationship, and we all often have to get used to those differences and adjust how we think about sex in that regard. Things tend to have a different kind of heat at the beginning than they do over time. So, are you still feeling it or not? Might you two just need to do some talking about how to sustain your relationship, including the sexual aspects? Might you want to talk about shifting to a friendship instead? Might you want to explore dating at this point with others more? These are the kinds of things you'll want to be thinking and talking about, and given how confused you're feeling, sounds like it's high time to open the communication channels up between the two of you and get all this out in the open. For all you know, he's feeling the same way. Unless you two talk about it, you can't very well address it as a couple.
I'd also realize that the kissing with the best friend isn't likely to stay a secret. His friend may say something to him, especially if he's a good friend and feels he betrayed his friend. I'm an honesty-is-always-the-best-policy gal -- especially if you want to have a relationship with real intimacy and of real integrity -- so even though it certainly is going to be hard, and all three of you are likely to have some trust to repair, I'd suggest you at least think about letting your boyfriend know that this happened after you draw that hard line with the best friend.
I have a couple of links to toss at you which might help you out. Take a look at these:
This might also be a good time to just take a break from sex of any kind with anyone so you can have a clear head to sort this stuff out: Does Abstinence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?.
Bear in mind, too, that the only basis of comparison when it comes to what turns you on, and how you feel about sex isn't just your boyfriend and his best friend. You also have your own solo sex life -- how things go when you masturbate -- to look at, as well as your sexual fantasy life. How are you feeling with those things? Still down in the dumps? Are your more realistic sexual fantasies very divorced from your sexual reality right now, or closer to it?
I know that some of this may seem like limited help, but alas, a lot of what you're asking about are things only you can figure out and also work out with your current partner, and there's just no easy right answer. What's right is going to depend on what you both want, where your relationship is really at these days, and what feels best for you. Hopefully, some of what I've said and those additional links will help you with that process.