How to make 'lust at first sight' become a life-long affair...
Sexual chemistry is the key to a lasting relationship, writes Deirdre Reynolds
After more than a decade as man-eater Samantha Jones, Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall says she's finally figured out how to bag her own Mr Big.
Three failed marriages on, the Liverpool-born actress now reckons she can tell instantly whether a relationship will work out -- and it's all down to chemistry.
"I'm getting better [at dating]," says Cattrall (56). "I've learnt to listen well.
"You know within three seconds if you're going to have a history with someone. It's a long half-hour if you've got it wrong."
Cattrall isn't the only SATC star to put her trust in Cupid.
When Bo Derek accepted an invitation to go to the Oscars with John Corbett, who played Aidan on the show, the actress ended up being the biggest winner of all.
"He knocked on my hotel door and it was love at first sight," says Derek (55). "I was crazy about him from that moment.
"I can only explain it by chemistry. It's been nine years . . . we don't have anything in common."
So can lust at first sight turn into love for life?
"All my life, I've focused on physical attraction," says Ireland's top matchmaker Willie Daly.
"When I'm matchmaking, I can see the people who would make a lovely match quickly -- usually they can't take their eyes off each other.
"If two people are physically attracted to each other, they can achieve a lot."
'It's up to the couple to keep the romance alive'
Co-preneurs Jeremy and Sharon Kenny from Rathmichael, Co Dublin, who run TollTreats.com together, are married 19 years and have three sons, Charlie (16), Sam (14) and Luke (10).
"Sharon and I met by chance in a pub one Saturday 22 years ago. I remember being mesmerised by her eyes -- and the fact that she couldn't look me in mine made me realise that she was attracted to me too! Until I found Sharon, I didn't have a 'type'. After that, everything fell into place very quickly. From day one, we had a very deep connection. As time goes by, naturally that love ebbs and flows.
"So long as there's a spark there in the first place, you can always rekindle it."
"Every married couple wants the honeymoon to last. But there's definitely such a thing as the 'seven-year itch'. A few years ago, I remember feeling that I didn't fancy Jeremy as much as I did when we first met. In reality, it had more to do with being wrecked from raising three young kids.
"Thankfully, we copped on and stopped taking each other for granted. Couples are far too quick to split up these days. Jeremy and I still go out for lunch together every week and have never been happier.
"It's up to the couple to keep the romance alive. If we didn't have that chemistry from the beginning, though, I don't think we would be together today."
'We're the best of friends as well as husband and wife'
Photographer Maria McGrail (34) and husband Damian (38), an accountant's assistant, from Clarehall, Dublin 13, have just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary.
"Damian and I met in the back of a taxi we were sharing with a mutual friend after a night out. Just like Kim Cattrall, I knew instantly that we would have a history. We chatted the whole way home and went on our first date the next day.
"Chemistry is very important at the start of a relationship. But the more I got to know Damian, the more I fell in love with him. Now we're best friends, as well as husband and wife.
"Since getting married in 2007, we've had some very difficult years -- my mother passed away in 2009 and Damian's father the following year.
"Helping each other through has brought us closer together."
"It sounds cheesy, but when I first met Maria, I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. As it was a cold night, she was wrapped up in a hat and scarf, so all I could see were her eyes and lips -- but that was all it took!
"Quite early on, I could see a future for us together.
"My mother had passed away the year before we met, and Maria was really there for me.
"It's not enough to be physically attracted to someone -- you have to be able to talk to them too.
"We have regular date nights where we go out for dinner or to the cinema to help keep the spark alive."
'On paper we're incompatible -- she's chilled, and I'm a control freak'
Spartan Training and Fitness founder James Murphy (27) and model Teodora Sutra (21) recently moved into their first home in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, after 10 months together.
"Teo and I met last summer when we were both working in a clothes shop. Even though she wasn't at all my usual type (I usually go for curvy women), straight away I knew she was the one. It's impossible to put into words what makes two people click.
"You either feel an attraction the first time you see someone, or you don't. On paper, Teo and I are completely incompatible -- she's really chilled and I'm a control freak.
"Somehow, though, it works. Teo is always getting hit on by men in nightclubs, but I don't mind because I trust her completely. Ten months on, I still get butterflies in my stomach whenever I see her."
"To me, personality is what makes someone beautiful. But the fact that James has a six-pack doesn't hurt either! James and I definitely have chemistry -- he can make me smile without even doing anything. Without that spark, you're just two strangers.
"At first, I was very intimidated by how good looking he is. Now that we've moved in together, I'm completely relaxed in his company.
"Like any couple, we have good days and bad days. But I fell for James's personality, not just his looks, so I'll still love him when he's old and wrinkly.
"People who try to force chemistry will only be disappointed in the end."