A gay couple came in to see me recently because their sex life had all but evaporated.
They were in their 40s and had been together for over 15 years.
During this time, they explored open relationships and three-ways. And while they both agreed that such experiences were fun (temporarily, at least), in the end, neither could mask the fact that...
This couple was fundamentally unhappy with the quality of their sex life with one another.
Does this sound familiar to you at all?
Particularly in long-term relationships, once the intensity and newness of passionate love wear off, it’s easy to find oneself sexually disconnected and unfulfilled with their partner.
Most couples believe this lack of "sexual compatibility" signals the end of a relationship.
But the truth is...
What people call "sexual incompatibility" is just another relationship difference, disagreement, or issue that can be worked through.
For example, you may have thoughts or values around finances, extended family, and other matters that are not shared with your partner. These differences can cause conflict to arise until you seek out help on how to manage them.
Well, sexual differences are no different than these issues. And they certainly do not have to mean that you and your partner are fundamentally incompatible.
(Now, I should note here, some differences will be fundamentally incompatible. Think sexual orientation or a fetish that one partner simply will not negotiate on. But otherwise...)
Sexual differences can be solvable if you and your partner have the right tools to overcome them.
The title of this post promises you the key to resolving sexual incompatibility. So perk up those eyes, because here it comes.
We have learned from several bodies of research that...
Couples who talk a lot about sex, have a lot of sex.
Think about it. If you aren't talking about sex, you aren't connecting enough to ever become sexually compatible.
What are your likes? What are your dislikes? What does sex mean to you? What does sex look like to you?
This reminds me of Shere Hite’s fascinating book on sexuality. (It's the only sex book to sell over 48 million copies, so I have to think she knows a thing or two about a thing or two...)
Hite dispelled the idea of what "standard sex" should look like.
The idea of "standard sex" was originally created by Masters and Johnson in the 1950s.
According to Masters and Johnson, "standard sex" sequentially follows through the stages of human intercourse: foreplay, intercourse, orgasm, and resolution. Sound like a familiar structure? That's because this is what has been popularized in the media and porn.
After interviewing thousands of people for her book and asking them open-ended questions about what they do in bed, Hite was surprised to learn that people were not having Masters and Johnson's definition of sex.
And in fact, those who were enjoying a great sex life were actually deviating from this idea of "standard sex."
You see, what sex means to each person and how they enjoy it is really the determining factor of happy sex life. And unless you and your partner share this with one another, neither of you will be truly fulfilled.
As for that couple who came into my office?
I had them ask one another questions from our Dreams Within a Conflict exercise. The exercise was designed to get people to open up about their philosophy around a particular issue.
I asked them to have a conversation about what sex is to them, to give their opinion about it and how they know it when they see it.
What this couple learned was that they had very different ideas and values around what sex is and what it should and should not be. These differences were of course attributed to their particular upbringings and life experiences around sex.
Through open communication and discussion, a lot of new information came out. They learned things about each other and their sexual preferences that they hadn't talked about in over a decade.
Did this new info open them up to more sex?
Not immediately. But what the discussion around sex did do was help them realize that...
It wasn't so-called "sexual incompatibility" that was hindering their relationship. Rather, it was their lack of conversation around sex that was.
They walked away realizing that whatever sex meant to them, they both wanted to have more of it - with each other.
The Takeaway: If you're not having a lot of sex in your relationship, consider how much you're actually *talking* about sex with your partner. By opening up the conversation and talking more about sex, you just might end up having a lot more of it.
Want to go deeper into learning how you can improve your same-sex relationship and make it last?