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I’ve been reading “Who Should You Have Sex With” by Dr. Mark Thompson and have not been terribly surprised by his very masculine take on sexual chemistry. After all, men tend to be very logical and precise in their view of reality. He believes that where sex is concerned, like should always match like. This view mirrors the notion espoused today, that great sex, the chandelier-swinging variety, occurs best in a context where a husband and wife are on the same sexual page.

 

The idea that a couple needs to be sexually compatible to enjoy a good roll in the hay is not ground-breaking science. And at surface level it seems to make perfect sense. This notion in fact mirrors how we pursue many of our other relationships. From school-days we tend to hang out with those who have similar interests to us. When we enter the world of work this practice tends to continue and we seem to find great comfort in existing in this safety-zone where our points of view and daily practices are not challenged because our close cohorts share them with us. When it comes to our romantic and sexual interests, we understandably apply the same principles. We apparently look for a sexual partner who seems to have similar tastes, values and sexual experiences, even when we are not aware of it.

 

While this may appear like the safe route, the reality is that sex and our sexuality does not occur in a vacuum. How we experience sex and what we expect of it are heavily influenced by how we were raised, and what we were told about sex. This does not however mean that our sexual style or preferences will remain unchanged.  Sex and our sexuality are not static. Our individual sexual tastes can take on a life of their own because they can reflect new sexual information and desires to which we have become exposed. How can a couple then ensure that their sex-life does not suffer because of marked differences in tastes and approach?

 

I think it is first necessary for a couple to begin on some common ground. Presuming that both parties at least like sex, then, all things being equal, no difference should be so insurmountable as to be the cause of divorce. Perhaps we should examine some of the critical areas where sexual differences could pose a bit of a problem. Because such differences can occur across sexes and are not limited to male or female, we will simply look at them as differences exhibited by Partner A and Partner B.

Partner A Partner B
-Prefers morning sex

-Likes long, slow, leisurely love-making sessions

-Is quite happy with the same-old, same-old

-Sees no need to be a sexual gymnast

-Likes to keep it quiet; mum’s the word, is embarrassed at the possibility of being heard

-Expects partner to know intuitively what to do

-Makes love with eyes tightly closed

-The sexual climax is the goal of love-making

- Enjoys sex, but can go for long periods without it

-Views sex as good and necessary, even if a bit over-rated

-Expects some good loving at night

-Prefers it hot, passionate and quick

-Likes to try the newest tricks

-Abhors the missionary position

-Likes to keep a running conversation going; lots of “ooohs” and “ahs” and perhaps even shouting

-Is not afraid to voice wants and desires

-Likes to see what’s actually going on

-The sexual climax is the goal as well as the fun involved in getting there

-Wants lots of sex, as in several times a week

-Sex is like oxygen; can’t imagine life without it

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides a reasonable example of several of the popular differences which can affect a relationship. These sexual preferences actually reveal a particular sexual personality. Partner A, for example, seems to be far less sexually adventurous than Partner B. The sexual risk-taker (Partner B), or the one willing to experiment, is likely to be reflective of a particular general personality-type which actually spills over into the sex-life. The same might be true of the more conservative Partner A. He/she is likely to be less of a risk-taker and this again is reflected in how sex is negotiated.

 

Although these are commonly the areas examined when we think of sexual compatibility, are these differences insurmountable deal-breakers? Of course not! At least they shouldn’t be. One of the hallmarks of a successful relationship must be the issue of compromise or flexibility and what better way to test this than in the area of sex. If love is really about putting the needs of another before our own, then surface issues like preferred sexual positions, sexual-pace and the time-of-day for love-making should not be allowed to determine our “compatibility” as couples. The give-and-take of the relationship should take precedence over one individual’s preferred sexual-style. This means that both partner A and B must be willing to give in a little to the needs of the other. At the same time, a willingness to change, to grow and explore the unfamiliar, is a hallmark of individual maturity and should be a goal of both parties. It's really all about how much the relationship is valued by both individuals.

 

That having been said, the reality of relationships is seldom as straightforward as we would like. Very often we find selfish, unmotivated, unwilling-to-change individuals who believe that “their way” is the only right way. This attitude is one of the real culprits which can truly foster a sense of “incompatibility” and undermine the success of a sexual relationship.  Coupled with this might be significant philosophical differences or differences in values which could affect how the sexual relationship pans out. These real deal-breakers which can affect sex would be issues like sexual exclusivity, boundary-setting with the opposite sex, honesty and openness, views on emotional intimacy and general relationship integrity. These are the real serious issues which need to be discussed and ironed out long before the marriage and the sex begins.

 

If we are looking keenly for a relationship which will bring us a level of satisfaction, then our radars must be up and running from the earliest stages. We should listen for and interpret all the cues which just might be reflective of the type of partner we are likely to have in our beds. These seven questions should guide this process.

-          Is my partner willing to listen to another point of view?

-          Is my partner ever willing to try new experiences?

-          Does my partner set clear boundaries with other women/men?

-          Can my partner be trusted?

-          Is my partner selfish or self-focused?

-          Is my partner in the habit of expressing his/her needs?

-          Does my partner ever put my needs before his/her own?

 

If the relationship or marriage is already well on its way, then hopefully the responses to these questions will provide the scope for a fresh new dialogue between the couple who really want to make things work. Sexual compatibility is really not about similarity in technique or experience. It's really about finding a common-ground and belief-system from which your couple-sexuality can be explored to the hilt.

Read more articles like this on Denise's blog redredapples

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