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Physical attraction can come and go, those who have been married for a long time say. If it's so bad that you can't imagine being intimate with your spouse, though, does that mean your marriage is over?

Remember when you were really, really in love, right at the beginning of your relationship? Unless you had already known your spouse in some other capacity for a good while, chances are that lust played a huge role in that period of your life — just getting to know each other, there wasn't much else to go on. The love new couples feel is exciting, fresh, obsessive, and a little idealistic. When we're in love, we tend to see all those great bits of our partners, while being blind to their less appealing attributes. Few modern people, however, are able to feel this giddy love towards someone they are completely physically unattracted to. 

As we're together for longer, the nature of that initial attraction changes. We intimately know our spouses and their face starts representing who they are, rather than just being a face. 

What People With Great Marriages Say About Attraction

"Are you still attracted to your spouse?" I asked some friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Those who said they have great marriages all answered in a similar way. 

"Oh, yes!," one, who has been married for 27 years now, said. "He's away for work a lot, and when I go to pick him up after his travels, I still feel butterflies. It's not all physical, but yes, physical attraction is still very much a part of our marriage." 

"I'm more attracted to my husband now than I was at the beginning," another shared. "After 10 years together, we have been through a lot. He is a wonderful father, a wonderful partner, and a wonderful friend. The deep connection we have now only adds to the attraction." 

"I love my wife. It isn't just looks, though she looks great too. It's everything, it's who she is," one who has been married for 17 years said. 

Others were less romantic, admitting that life's stresses, hormones, and physical changes meant that physical attraction came and went in cycles, but also adding that marriage is about so much more than physical attraction after a while.

How Much Does Physical Attraction Matter?

A survey of over 1,000 people of both sexes, conducted by Harris Interactive, revealed that 78 percent of participants believed physical attraction was key within a marriage. Interestingly, however, after the first seven years of marriage, factors like shared interests and communication skills became much more important.

Being highly compatible, in other words, can add a little zing to a pre-existing physical attraction, while a nasty personality revealed over the years can take it right away. 

A whopping 92 percent of participants admitted that they felt their relationship was healthier when both partners felt good about their own physical appearance, while 52 percent of people shared that they would like it if their spouse paid more attention to their physical appearance. 

Physical attraction, it seems, is rather important within a marriage, but also influenced by life and personality factors. What if you are repulsed by your partner's appearance, and can't stand the thought of being intimate with them, then? Does that mean that your marriage is over, or do you still have hope? 

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