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Being sexually attracted to someone else makes your relationship stronger, study finds

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Are you in a long-term relationship?

The next time your eye dwells on the handsome stranger in the coffee shop, there's no need to feel bad.

According to a new study, not only are you in good company - a staggering 70% of women have had a crush on someone who isn't their partner - but such harmless eyeing up may actually boost your sex life. 

Sexual health researchers from Columbia University, Indiana University and the University of Kentucky-Lexington surveyed 160 women in relationships of three years or longer to explore their experiences with attractions and feelings for people outside their primary romantic partner.

In the anonymous internet-based study, women were asked open-ended questions about the kinds of sexual attractions they had, and their strategies for dealing with them.

Those questioned were typically married to highly educated men and were aged from 19 to 56 years old.

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The results, published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, showed that 70 percent of women had at some point experienced a crush on someone else while dating their current partner. 

And unsurprisingly, most of those objects of desire came in the form of people at work.

But the key point was that the women questioned weren't worried about the significance of being sexually attracted to someone else. Most felt it had no impact on their primary relationship - to the point that they did not even tell their partner about it - and some even felt their infatuation enhanced it.

"Women had varied experiences with, and diverse strategies for, managing crushes," the authors wrote. "The majority of women reported the crush did not impact their relationship, participants also reported that these crushes improved their desire for their partner."

For these women, the crush acted as a conduit to sexual desire with their partner, as they "described transferring the emotion from the crush to the partner and acting on this with their partner."

The researchers concluded that "women often funneled increased sexual desire from a crush into their primary relationship." 

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