Are you Sexually Compatible?
As the urgency of a new relationship fades (honestly, you can only play “How many times can we have sex before being late to dinner?” so often before you stop getting invited) your sex life will take on a more comfortable tone. It’s still good but…different?
If you’re starting to wonder about your sexual compatibility in the context of a long term relationship, our questions can help shed some light on whether you’re just settling into a groove or dancing to different tunes.
Do you feel like one party is having sex more or less than they’d like to on a regular basis?
- Yes, I’m often feel like I’m bugging my partner for sex.
- No, we’re pretty equal.
- Yes, my partner’s sex drive is much higher than mine.
Do you find you and your partner get aroused at similar times during the day?
- Yes, we’re in step with each other.
- Sometimes they conflict but we try to accommodate both.
- No, it’s literally like night and day.
Sex drives are way more complicated than we tend to think, and can be affected by things as simple as what time of day either of you tend to be in the mood, or even who is initiating. Some people rarely feel like initiating sex, but are game as soon as there’s some kissing and cuddling going on. However, just because you’re turned on like clockwork as soon as you’re off the clock, but he doesn’t heat up ‘til later in the evening doesn’t mean you’re headed to a dead bedroom.
Differences in sex drive can be worked through, if they don’t vary too widely, and if both partners are able to talk through their expectations for frequency of sex. Neither of you should feel badgered for sex and a partner who whines when they hear a ‘no’ is a huge red flag, but being able to talk about your expectations let it be a reasonable conversation rather than the nagging and guilt-tripping that lack of openness can make it seem like.
Openness & Communication
Are you able to discuss your sexual needs?
- Heck yes! I tell them exactly how to [redacted] [redacted] me [redacted]!
- I sometimes mention what I want either before or during sex.
- I prefer for my partner to anticipate my needs.
Obviously, some amount of conversation is required to a happy and healthy relationship, but it’s true that some people are just not as comfortable talking about sex. It can be highly situational, given that we all know one person who will enthusiastically describe their latest sex toy purchase in the middle of a restaurant, and those who prefer to keep it private, pillow-side conversations.
Again, you and your partner don’t need to be exactly the same, but if one of you likes to hear naughty talk in the bedroom and views sexting as a required foreplay, it may be difficult to work through if the other gets uncomfortable with the most euphemistic discussions of sexuality and body parts.
You would describe your preferred sexual style as:
- Harder, better, stronger, faster!
- I take the rough with the smooth.
- When it comes to love, I want a slow hand.
How often do you like to switch up your routine?
- As much as I can!
- We’ve perfected a groove that works for us.
- What’s for dinner, every night.
- All about give and take.
- Something I don’t have the patience for.
Sexual style is just about equal parts what you naturally gravitate towards in bed, and also how open (and enthusiastic) you are about new experiences, and doesn’t necessarily depend on how kinky you are. To clarify, some people might be happy with the inclusion of hand cuffs or ticklers once in a while, while others are greatly interested and invested with exploring new sensations.
Sexual tastes can develop at any time, and while some people may dip their toe into new kinks occasionally, or are happy to do so to please their partner, but don’t feel particularly compelled to continue explore new things on a regular basis. In that way, two people of differing styles can still have a happy sex life, but if catering to each other’s tastes seems like a chore, it doesn’t bode well.
Does your partner feel the need to push sexual boundaries and explore new kinks regularly? Try and be open minded and enthusiastic to try new things within reason. You don’t want to agree to things that will upset or disgust you, but you may find you get a lot of enjoyment out of their kinky pleasure.
Monogamy and you are:
- Mortal enemies.
- In talks.
Monogamy has been the assumed default model for relationships for so long, people can forget that it’s an important discussion to have. Clearly, given the popularity of the threesome fantasy, it simply doesn’t make sense to never discuss how ‘open’ you’d both like your relationship to be.
Some people will treat watching porn as infidelity, and some people will want their partners to be able to find sexual satisfaction with other people in situations where they can’t or would not like to fill a particular need. Both can be equally healthy as long as those attitudes are discussed and agreed upon (sincerely). And hey, it’s ok to change your mind about the level you’ve agreed upon during your relationship, just make sure it’s posed as a new discussion and not an accusation.
Intimacy & Affection
When you think of the most intimate moments you share with your partner, you think of:
- Cuddling on the couch.
- Having a deep conversation at dinner.
- When you’re both in the throes of passion.
Your favorite place to keep your hands is:
- All over your partner.
- In their hand.
- In my pockets.
When you’re stressed out…
- Sex is the furthest thing from my mind.
- My partner and I relax with each other, sometimes through sex.
- Sex is my go-to way to relax.
This may not seem entirely like it’s relevant to sexual compatibility, but bear with us. Imagine one partner rarely makes bodily contact with the other, unless they’re in the bedroom. If their partner is a highly affectionate person, this can seem cold, and perhaps make them think their partner is only interested in them sexually.
Really, we all have different ways of communicating love and affection, as well as attitudes toward things like PDA. Because they aren’t calculated responses, we don’t always think about how our partner will interpret them. By examining your habits and talking about them, you can clear up any misunderstandings about behavior, and also learn how to better communicate affection and intimacy to your partner purposefully.
Be honest: How important is sex to you?
- It can fluctuate depending on who I’m with.
- I like sex but it doesn’t figure that much into my daily life.
Look back over your answers, and think about how your partner would answer them. Better yet, ask! This is a key step to finding out how compatible you are because it will open up discussions about things that you both may have assumed about each other. Have different answers? Before you panic (it’s ok, we promise!) focus on which things are negotiable for you and your partner.
You know yourself that things are rarely black and white, compromise and flexibility are key to establishing how complementary you are as a couple.
And figuring out how you both feel about these aspects of your sexuality doesn’t mean squaring off to see who can get more out of the other person, or that you need to change fundamental parts of yourself. Negotiation might not sound sexy, but trust us when we say that discussing things like how kinky you are and how often you get turned on tend inspire couples to discovery!
Katy Thorn is a post-grad writer with a passion for writing about sex, sexuality, and all things rated R. She received her degree in Women’s Studies with a focus in Intersectionality at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). She has a cat named Yoko, drinks too much black coffee, and hates writing bios.