How Important is Sexual Compatibility?
Sex tends to be thought of as one of the central components of a relationship, and for many people it is. Sex is a huge part of being human and being in a romantic relationship – for most people. That’s why it can be confusing and frustrating when you don’t feel like you’re totally sexually compatible with your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together.
What is Sexual Compatibility?
Sexual compatibility is how well you and your partner balance each other’s sexual needs, how strong your communication is around sex, and how satisfied you both feel. Sexual compatibility looks like when you both feel seen, heard, held, and fulfilled in your sex life. When there’s a mismatch in your sexual compatibility because of innate differences or life circumstances, one or both of you might feel like your needs aren’t being met, a lack of connection, and a lack of sexual pleasure.
What Influences Sexual Compatibility?
Sexual compatibility is the interplay of your individual sexual needs, desires, and libido levels, and how they play out together. This can be influenced by so many things, and if you find that your sexual compatibility has changed, it may be due to a variety of factors. What influences sexual compatibility?
Let’s take a look:
- Different sexual preferences: Maybe you have different definitions of sex, or one of you might be on the asexual spectrum, have different kinks, or you want to explore different things in your sex life. There are so many things that can go into sexual preferences, and whether or not they match up with your partner’s.
- Physical and Mental Health: Your sex life might be one of the first things to be affected if one or both of you is having physical or mental health issues. Things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and any number of physical health issues can impact your sex life. That also includes medications that might affect your energy levels and libido.
- Big Life Changes: Part of being in a relationship is that you face life together with its ups, downs, and changes. Big life changes like having kids, moving, deaths, and just going through the motions of life can all affect your sex life.
- Your Relationship: Of course one of the biggest factors is how your relationship is overall. You can have a fantastic relationship and not prioritize sexual compatibility. But if it’s important to you and your relationship needs work overall, then any issues in the relationship can negatively affect your sexual compatibility.
There are so many more things that come into play when it comes to sexual compatibility, now the real question is – how much does it actually matter?
How Important is Sexual Compatibility in a Relationship?
So here’s the kicker – is sexual compatibility really that important? The thing is, there’s no right answer. For some people it is, and for others, it isn’t. The importance of sexual compatibility in your relationship may change over time, especially as you develop more of companionship with each other in the case of long-term relationships. Your sexuality can evolve over time and with it your needs and desires. There are so many other components to a relationship besides sex like trust, communication, enjoyment, playfulness, collaboration, companionship, and so much more. Sexual compatibility can ebb and flow, but it tends to be more stable when you’re tending to the other parts of your relationship as well. So how important is it? Only you (and your partner) can answer that question. This is such a personal topic and varies greatly from person to person, and between relationships.
How to Increase Sexual Compatibility?
All that being said, for many people sexual compatibility is a vital part of a thriving relationship. Sex is a practice and something you can work on, which can help increase your sexual compatability.
If a mismatch in your sexual compatibility is causing a rift in your relationship, try asking yourself (and your partner) these questions:
- Is there any resentment between us?
- What else is going on in our lives that may be affecting our sex life?
- Are we taking into account each other’s sexual needs?
After working through those questions, you can try taking these steps to help increase your sexual compatibility:
- Work on Communication Skills: Both inside and outside the bedroom. If you need help, here are some tips on how to ask for what you want during sex.
- Go to a Sex Therapist: Seeing a sex therapist as individuals and as a couple can help you find a sexual rhythm again, and work through any blocks you both have.
- Increasing Intimacy: Focus on increasing intimacy outside of sex. This can include vulnerable conversations, cuddling, kissing, massages, baths, gentle walks together, and doing other things you enjoy together.
- Bring Toys into the Bedroom: This might help bridge any mismatch in pleasure you two are experiencing.
- Opening Up a Relationship: Exploring polyamory and open relationships might give you the spice you need or help you satisfy your needs in a different way.
- Get Creative: What new things have you been wanting to try in your sex life? Maybe you two want to try threesomes, pegging, kink, or exploring food fantasies.
- Masturbate: This might seem counterintuitive, but masturbating can help you get back in touch with your sense of pleasure and what you like, which you can then incorporate into your sexual relationship with your partner.
Again, sexual compatibility is a highly personal topic. It might not be at the forefront of your relationship, and that’s totally ok. If it is something you want to work on, we hope these tips help you!
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.