When I think of passion killers, nothing beats the "absolutely enormous panties" uncovered by Hugh Grant's flamboyant playboy character inBridget Jones Diary (2001) while he got down to some rompy-pompy with Bridget Jones.
Most of us would agree that this situation would best call for tiny underwear or seductive lingerie. But, as odd as it may sound, some men don't find granny panties unattractive. It goes to show that different people are turned on - or off - by different things.
One man's poison is another man's medicine, as seen with Grant's character Daniel Cleaver, who seemed to be fascinated by Jones' tent-like underwear - and even greeted her undergarment with a teasingly warm "Hello Mummy".
There's no denying that it is fabulous if your lover adores you, even when you are in a pair of unsexy panties that are the size of an aircraft carrier. Still, you would not want to take any risk and neglect your sex appeal and, hence, affect the quality of your sex life. Relationships are mostly driven by passion in the beginning.
For any relationship to thrive we need to keep the spark alive or at least not do anything detrimental to kill the flame before its expiry date. We know full well passion gradually diminishes over time, but this doesn't mean we should remain complacent.
Passion killers don't just take place in the bedroom. There are a lot of unattractive behaviours that take place in everyday life that could extinguish the flame of passion. I talked to a few dissatisfied people who spilled the beans on their partners.
They say women often find men who cook and do housework more sexy, mostly because women see it as a sign of love and caring when their partners share domestic chores. On the flip side, the least attractive thing a man can do is be reluctant to do the dishes or tidy up after eating, says flower arranging artist, Jessie.
"The everyday chores such as washing up dishes and tidying up the table after a meal might sound insignificant, but if my partner doesn't help out, it really puts me off," Jessie says.
She also thinks personal appearance and personal hygiene are important factors to help keep the flame alive. "I love my hubby dearly, but every time I see the mess he makes in the bathroom after a shower, my love for him goes down the drain," she says.
When it comes to personal hygiene, showering before bedtime is a must for Jessie.
"There is nothing worse than lying in bed next to someone with sticky skin who has been soaking up the heat and pollution all day, especially in Hong Kong's hot and humid climate. It is definitely a turn-off for me," Jessie adds.
Alex, who is a public relations manager in finance, says, "I usually meet my dates in cafes or restaurants, so a key indicator for me is the way they treat the waiter/waitress. I don't tolerate any kind of rudeness or dismissive behaviour, so if my date has any of that, it's an immediate no for me."
"Also, a show-off or boastful attitude is a very quick way for me to say no, as well as a non-stop talker. Indeed, being a good listener is definitely one of the most attractive traits in a guy."
Nancy, who is a senior executive and single mother, believes a classy appearance is a must when it comes to being attracted to someone.
She points out that having a bad sense of fashion can be a passion killer - think men who wearwhite socks, a brown belt with black shoes or vice versa, an undervest, an under shirt, a tie that is too short, and underwear with holes.
Nancy thinks being a gentleman is also a strong character trait. "Not holding the door open for a woman, an elderly person or a child is not someone I want to be with," she says.
Personal grooming is a top priority for Nancy, but she says it can also be a negative if men are way too focused on it. "I don't like men who are always looking at themselves in the mirror," she says.
More importantly, a lot of women do not like men who think they can tell a woman what to think, feel and how to dress, Nancy adds. And of course, the ultimate passion killer is a man who is bad in bed, no matter how good he looks out of bed, she says.
"Being selfish in bed and having an orgasm within two minutes is sure to put out the flame," Nancy says.
Cat, who is an animal welfare campaigner, puts personal grooming at the top of her list when it comes to men and women.
"Some off-putting habits are not shaving, or, at the very least, maintaining intimate areas. I also find stubble on legs icky. To sum it up, it's about personal grooming. And that also includes bad breath and body odour," she says.
"Other personal hygiene issues for me include smokers' mouth, although some people like the smell. However, bad breath is always a no-no - no matter how much you like someone, it is an instant turn-off."
Ultimate passion killers
● Checking smartphones or keeping an eye on the phone during sex
● Bad bathroom habits, like a stained toilet bowl or leaving a mess after use
● Wearing old, worn out and discoloured underwear
● Smell of alcohol or cigarettes on one's breath
● Living with parents, in-laws, or relatives
● Swearing excessively
● Physically unfit or gaining or losing weight too quickly
● Distracted while having a conversation with you
● Checking out other people while with you
Luisa Tam is a correspondent at the Post
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