Are couples sexually compatible or incompatible?


Dear Cat,

Firstly I would like to thank you for all your free articles on your website.  I’ve been following your facebook for the past five years and have learnt a considerable deal from your posts.

I sincerely hope you can help me with my dire situation. I have previously believed  I was a fairly sexual man. I coyly admit I’m not sexually wild like some, but I know how to please a woman. I feel confident in my looks  and have never had difficulty finding female interest. My girlfriend is the most sexual woman I’ve ever met but there are cracks beginning to show.

Now my girlfriend wants to break up with me. She says we are not sexually compatible. She states this is something that couples either are or aren’t. She says she needs to find someone she is sexually compatible with and so do I. She says she is sure there is a woman out there who is sexually compatible to me. This breaks my heart because I don’t want this relationship to end.

She’s sexually more “wild” and “experienced” than me.  I admit to being more sexually conservative. I know what I like but she’s always talking about new sexual things such as new positions and the stupid idea of bringing people into our bedroom. I don’t want to do any of those things and nor should I have to. I am happy with our sex as is and I do not want to change anything but she tells me our sex life is stale and boring. Because of these reasons and because she wants a lot more sex than me she says we are not sexually compatible.

I’ve noticed her previous relationship history is an echo of what is happening here. She dates someone for two to three years and then ends the relationship.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Hi Blake,

Thanks for getting in touch and your kind words. I’m glad my work has helped you.
I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through, it sounds quite tough.

I could definitely help you  more in a confidential skype session to work deeper on the issues but will answer briefly here.

This idea your girlfriend is presenting is a widely accepted one in our society however it’s simply not true! There are such a wide abundance of fanciful sexual and relationship myths out there I can’t blame your girlfriend for believing this one- but it’s a myth and not based on any evidence.

I’ve heard all sorts of variations of this myth- in particular that a couple MUST be sexually compatible to last the distance, they HAVE to have sex early on to make sure they’re “right” for each other and if sexually the first few interactions weren’t amazing then they aren’t meant to be and should break up. PHEW! I’m exhausted!

What a towering inferno of a pedastal this puts sex up on!

There’s no such thing as a perfectly sexually compatible couple! Sexual compatibility actually has nothing to do with preferring the same sexual behaviours as each other.

Sexual compatibility is not about liking the same types and  styles of sex as each other at all. .

Expecting someone to be perfectly sexually compatible to yourself sounds frightfully boring and stifling if you ask me!

It assumes that we are sexually rigid beings unable to evolve, grow or expand.

It assumes our sexuality is like an island with a high fort all around the perimeter searching for a perfect replica island that also promises to never grow or change.

This mythical concept would have to be based on the idea that this imaginary ‘sexually compatible’ other that exits out there somewhere has the exact same and identical sexual hang ups. It’s a term which absolves all responsibility from the people in the relationship and the work they can do to create this compatibility.

The real defintion of ‘sexual compatibility’ is about being able to be flexible and adapt to one other’s sexual desires and preferences.

As you spoke about your girlfriend’s previous relationship history it may be that when she gets sexually bored she moves on or perhaps it’s something else like confusing the end of the honeymoon phase with disinterest rather than progressing to the next stage of attachment.

In a long term relationship it’s important to break outside of the safe comfort zone of staying sexually with the same old thing you like. It does sound a bit like that’s what you’ve been doing in the way you’re digging in your heels and refusing to try anything new.

It sounds like you’re both quite stubborn about what you like.

Breaking out of this safe comfort zone of stubborness about both of your sexual needs could be very benefical to you both.

Sexual compatibility should be defined as a relationship where people are willing to expand themselves sexually. As I said in a previous post about relationship compatibility, you must stop thinking of the notion of compatibility as a noun and start to look at it as a verb.

It’s not about finding someone with an identical sex drive because sex drive waxes and wanes over time in response to stress, what’s happening in the relationship, the seasons, medications, work life, family pressures and lots more.

Women of fertile age have a cyclical sex drive which peaks mid cycle when they are fertile and ovulating which is very different to men’s who are fertile every single day 24/7.

Sexual compatibility is the ability to adapt to differences in each other’s sexual preferences. This becomes sooo very important if sexual boredom sets in, and one of you suggests something new. Both of you need to adapt sexually to each other.

Think of sexual compatibility as two people being willing to stretch themselves sexually, rather than stick with the same old things they like in common.

Another reason that idea is a myth is that you can’t extract sex from the broader relationship. Isolating sex from the broader interplay of emotional connection and all the things you do for each other outside of the bedroom- is a reductive view that can lead to relationship breakdown.

Think of everything you do for your partner outside of the bedroom as foreplay!

This firmly places sex within the context of your relationship.

Sexual intimacy is about being vulnerable with each other. If one of you feels like it isn’t safe to be sexually vulnerable with each other – such as she might be feeling judged by you because of how you view her sexual past or your blocks to wanting to try new things- then problems can arise.

Your sex life mirrors the rest of your relationship and life together.

Sex reveals to me the type of emotional connection you have together. I’m curious if you need to do a lot of things in the relationship the ‘way you’ve always done them and like them.’ I wonder how breaking out of that will change things?

I’d be curious to see in a session how you both communicate and resolve issues together as you are currently at a sexual impasse. This stand off can be negotiated in sessions with me and your relationship can become sexually vibrant again.

This does not mean it has to be the end of the relationship if you are both willing to try it can be an opportunity for improving and transforming your relationship.

Photo-Felipe P Lima Rizo

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