MSNBC.com/iVillage Lust, Love and Loyalty survey results

Levine believes that over the course of a life, people change, as do our circumstances. There is no other relationship — not with friends, business associates, or even our children — in which we are expected to live with one other person for years, perhaps for the rest of our lives, and not only be able to get along, but to remain intimate with only that person, no matter what life brings us. The entire enterprise is fraught with possible failure.

But our desires and the fact of change may themselves hold the keys for success. They can be opportunities for deeper intimacy.

A woman who never fantasized about the UPS guy may suddenly develop an interest in brown shirts and shorts, but be afraid to express this new tick for fear of raising questions in her lover’s mind. Being able to tell her lover opens a door onto a new way to play.

Blow believes such openness is vital. For example, he says, some couples may enjoy using porn together or separately, and the survey indicates that a minority believe using porn separately constitutes cheating. Where things get sticky is when porn use is kept secret, Blow says. "The harmful thing is secrecy."

He isn’t referring just to secrets about having sex with another person or using porn, but all kinds of secrets. We tend to accumulate secrets during a relationship. We hide our distaste for a partner’s clothes, their family, the way they behave at parties, the fact they’ve gained so much weight, or that we would really like to chuck our secure job and live on a boat. We are afraid of hurting a loved one, or just don’t want an argument. So things fester and space is driven between lovers.

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