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Developing Sexual Compatibility

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Updated April 26, 2011

Question: Developing Sexual Compatibility
Is it possible to make two people sexually compatible who aren't?
Answer:

Before I can answer this question I need to suggest re-framing a few of the ideas about sexual compatibility that I read in your question. First of all, I don't think you can actually make anyone do anything, without forcing them to do it. So if our goal is (as it should be) consensual sexual interactions, the idea of making someone do something only has a place when the other person has agreed to "be made".

More importantly, when you talk about "making" two people sexually compatible, it sounds like you’re assuming there is an objective measurement called "compatibility" and if you and your partner (or partners) do the right things, say the right things, or move the right ways, you'll "click" together and stay that way. I don't think this is how it works. None of us are fixed objects that can be fit neatly together with others. And no amount of sociological or psychological grease can ensure a perfect fit.

Instead, I would suggest thinking of each person in a relationship as coming to the relationship with many possible sexual interests and desires. We’re not like discrete pieces of a puzzle, we’re more like amorphous blobs. We may have discernible outlines, but they are fluid and flexible and constantly moving (in my mind it looks like the style of animation on Dr. Katz). We know what some of our sexual interests and desires are, but many more remain a mystery even to ourselves.

In this understanding of sexual compatibility, there’s no "trick". The goal is to feel safe and comfortable and reveal yourself to your partner, slowly learning more about them and about yourself. Never forgetting the fact that each of you contains mysteries of desire and eroticism waiting to be revealed.

Which isn't to say I deny the existence of sexual compatibility. Most of us have had an experience of "clicking" with someone (whether that ended up being a friend or a sexual partner). But why we click and what it is that leads us to be open to the click or feel it, is much more complicated than a check list of sexual preferences or values.

So where does that leave us? If you’re in a so-so or bad relationship and you don’t feel sexually compatible, I'm not sure it makes sense to stick around in the hopes that something might happen. Which isn't to say it wouldn't. It might. But who knows. On the other hand, if you’re in a good relationship that you want to stay in but it feels like the sexual aspects of your relationship aren’t clicking, it may be about compatibility or it might be about something else. If the relationship is worth it, you might want to stick around and see what sorts of change are possible.

If you want to know, you'll have to take some risks and ask yourself, and each other, some pointed questions about what sexual compatibility means to you.

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