When it comes to dating and relationships, compatibility matters with regard to sexual attitudes, interests and levels of desire. But this doesn’t mean that you have to have everything in common with a potential partner. While it may be easier to build and sustain a healthy relationship if you share similar sexual values, all relationships take work and compromise, so don’t worry if you’re not entirely on the same page. Being respectful of one another’s perspectives and open to learning more while acknowledging your own limitations can take you a long way on the road of compatibility.
Differences in desire will arise in every relationship without exception and the way you manage these differences is often more important than the disparities themselves. In my experience working with couples experiencing differentials in desire, it is their commitment to resolving the issue that determines success as opposed to how far apart they are to begin with. When you first start dating, it is useful to talk about what sex means to you, how much it matters, how you feel about it and what some of your interests and limitations might be. I’m not suggesting you arrive at the first date with a full sexual history questionnaire, but if the relationship becomes physical, it can be useful (and erotic) to have a lighthearted chat about sexual values.
One way to initiate this type of conversation with a newer partner may be to ask about how sex was treated (or ignored) while growing up or to chat about early sexual experiences, particularly if they occurred in the very distant past. Alternatively, you might want to ask general questions and about your new love-interest’s attitude toward a sexually-related news story — there are always lots to choose from! From politicians’ extramarital affairs to changes in sexually-based laws and policies, this type of conversation offers you both an opportunity to share your thoughts on sex without having to talk about your past or divulge personal details.
While sexual compatibility is only one element of overall compatibility in a relationship, it is often a very important component since sex is highly personal and intimate. And like all good things, it really does require work. You might have mind-blowing sex the first time around that fizzles by the third or fourth lap. Whereas you may fumble and struggle in the beginning with a new partner, but then get into an amazing and long-lasting sexual groove with that same person with a little bit of effort.
While chemistry and attraction may come naturally, compatibility can be cultivated through mutual effort, communication and compromise. When it comes to sex, good things really do come to those who work!
Until next time, have fun, experiment and always practice safer sex..