Marriage And Sexual Compatibility

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Changes in society mean that couples are no longer willing to compromise in even one aspect of their marriage regardless of the fact that they get along well in other aspects. One such area is sexual compatibility. There is much more demand for partners to be compatible in this area of their relationship as well since sex is no longer viewed as being just for procreation, but also for meeting each other’s sexual needs and desires.

Emotional intimacy without physical intimacy (or vice versa) will often result in a relationship that fails to reach its true potential. With changing times, sexual compatibility has gained more attention than it used to when couples would get married without even sparing a thought to it

Let’s take a deeper look at why sexual compatibility is so important in marriages and what happens when couples realize after 20 years of marriage that their relationship is plagued with sexual incompatibility.

How Important Is Sexual Compatibility In Marriage?

Before getting into how important is sexual compatibility, let’s get on the same page about “what is sexual compatibility”. While every couple may have different answers to this question due to their unique dynamic, achieving it is one of the biggest priorities in a relationship.

Sexual compatibility is when two partners are in sync about their sexual needs, their turn-ons and their turn-offs, and their expectations from each other in bed. The frequency of sex is agreed upon, and there’s a shared desire to experience the moment together, instead of one partner wanting something the other partner does not wish for.

Sexual incompatibility in marriage will lead to the development of negative feelings over time, such as resentment. A mismatch of wants/needs in the sexual sphere becomes the elephant in the room which when discussed, leads to an argument almost every time. So, just how important is sexual compatibility in marriage and what will it achieve? Here are a few points.

1. Sexual compatibility in marriage achieves a harmonious relationship

A harmonious relationship is said to be one in which both partners effortlessly get along with each other. A sexually incompatible marriage might look functional at first glance, but as time goes by, the cracks may start to appear that will lead to the precarious foundation of it being questioned.

Along with emotional intimacy, if you two also have a healthy amount of sexual compatibility, it will be easier to establish a fulfilling relationship devoid of ego tussles, anxiety, resentment and anger.

2. It will improve emotional intimacy

Unsurprisingly, a sexually incompatible marriage will not really feature much emotional intimacy either. When a couple disagrees on each other’s sexual needs and the bedroom isn’t a particularly happy place to be in, it can often creep into other parts of your relationship as well.

If it seems like you’ve stopped having conversations and just have arguments now, try to take a sexual compatibility test to see just how well you get along. Is the sex really as good as you think it is?

3. Sexual compatibility will reduce communication gaps

sexual compatibility will reduce communication barriers
Sexual compatibility will reduce communication barriers

Once a person in a relationship is able to express him/herself with their partner sexually, they’ll be better able to express themselves in other situations as well. Sharing an intimate moment with your partner can build up trust and make you feel safer about your relationship, thus leading to better communication overall.

Sexual incompatibility in marriage may lead to communication problems, which eventually leads you down a slippery slope of arguments, disagreements, misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations.

4. Sexual compatibility reduces unrealistic expectations

Speaking of unrealistic expectations in relationships, sexual incompatibility may be the culprit in some cases. As you’ll see later on in the article, when there’s sexual incompatibility, one partner may expect something which seems absurd to the other.

Eventually, this will cause rifts big enough to make you two reconsider your relationship. Managing expectations is one of the key aspects of a relationship, without which one is destined to run into problems.

Related reading: Lack Of Affection And Intimacy In A Relationship — 9 Ways It Affects You

Evidently, the answer to “how important is sexual compatibility in relationships” is most certainly “extremely important”. Some would even argue that it’s a pre-requisite to a complete relationship that leaves no room for disappointments. If you’re looking for sexual compatibility test for couples, the answer simply lies in how happy you are with your sex life with your partner.

Now that we’ve covered “what is sexual compatibility” and understood how important it is, let’s get into some real-life examples I’ve seen of sexual compatibility and how changing times have affected its importance.

Is Sexual Compatibility Affecting Marriages In The Present Times?

I have seen couples at marital counseling who have celebrated their 45­th anniversary – with married children and grandchildren – saying, “Sexual compatibility was never present in our relationship. We have lived with each other all these years, but there was no sexual satisfaction.”

With the younger ones, sexual incompatibility issues are very high. The expectation of sex in the younger generation has become much fancier, much more exploratory. It is seen as a right to have pleasure, which is a new thing, as 20 years ago women never saw it as a right. Since communication barriers have been struck down, it’s talked about more openly.

Among couples who are in their late 20s, married with a kid who is going to pre-school, there is a very aggressive side to a lot of women — they feel they have a right to their sexual urges and they have to be fulfilled. And there is nothing wrong with this.

Women who are in their 30s and have a child who is around 10 are gradually getting used to the fact that sexuality is a part of life and it is okay, but they are looking more at gender equality – their rights, their identities, their careers. “The children are grown up and I am talented, so I must take up some kind of work – maybe part-time, but I want to work.” For them the issue is of gender identity, which to them is sexual identity.

Salony Priya, counseling psychologist.

Awareness about sexual compatibility has changed mindsets

For women who are in their late 40s, there is a huge vacuum, considering that their sexual urges were never fulfilled. In some very closely followed cases what I have found is that they feel they just accepted whatever they got when they married at the ages of 19 or 20. “I didn’t know much, no one ever talks about these things.”

Now that sexual compatibility is being widely talked about without a feeling of taboo attached to it, things have started to change. The same women who feel as though their sexual urges have never been met are now talking about the problems more openly.

Related Reading: Why Do Guys Distance Themselves After Intimacy?

They know more because of so much awareness in society now, right from movies to the media. Earlier their mothers were like, “Your children have grown up so now all this is passé.” Sexual intimacy was seen only as a part of procreation. Beyond that, it was not needed. Women are now realizing that procreation was only a part of it; there is so much beyond that. In companionship, a certain amount of sensitivity catering to your emotions and sexual intimacy are wanted.

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Sexual compatibility and millennial/gen X men

A majority of men married for 18-20 years realized that in their need to derive pleasure, they did it their way. I know people who are very open to talking about it and they have gone back admitting they were wrong.

Sexual insensitivity is when one of the partners is not being sensitive to the other’s needs and more often than not, it is the woman’s needs that are overlooked – she feels that he doesn’t care for her feelings: “Things have to always happen his way and I have seen enough of his way and I am sick and tired of it.” In such cases, the couple’s marriages may have not broken in front of society, but deep inside they are broken – they have been sleep divorced for several years. They maintain social conformity because their children are yet to get married or their children are married and they don’t want to create problems for them. These are the people who seek a lot of counseling help.

I had one case of a man in his late 40s and with a lot of sexual urges. He got married when he was only 19 and his wife was not even 16. He is a man who likes to dress up, is very well known in social circles, likes to do a lot of social services, and he feels that his wife must be with him in all these areas. She is not.

The wife is very discontented with the husband. She finds him insensitive: “I don’t matter to him, what he wants is a showpiece.” And the man says, “When it comes to sexual intimacy, my wife is a dead dog. She suspects me of having other relationships because she may be feeling guilty that she is not fulfilling my needs. I am constantly telling her these are my needs and that we are husband and wife. She doesn’t respond.”

When you talk to the wife, she says, “I just cannot take it anymore. I am just staying because my daughter is of marriageable age. If I walk out of this relationship, how will my daughter get married? So I have to stay with this man.”

We tried to have therapy sessions with both, but the husband did not carry on with the sessions; he went away because he is convinced that the problem lies with his wife. He doesn’t look at it as a problem of incompatibility and his insensitivity.

Where are marriages headed in the next 20 years?

People these days, however, are looking at marriage as something coercive. I feel that marriage as an institution is under threat if we are not going to do anything to increase gender sensitivity, or if we are not going to accept the transition of gender roles – that a father does not have to go to the office and a mother does not have to cook.

We have a long way to go in this sphere. A lot of couples who have this sensitivity and who understand this, have good relationships and are bringing up really well-balanced kids. There is a great need for us to advocate, talk and project the positives.

Salony Priya is a counseling psychologist with 18 years of experience in training and counseling across educational institutions, social organizations, NGOs and corporates. She is the Director of UMMEED, a multispeciality positive psychology institution.


1. How much does sexual compatibility matter in a relationship?

With sexual compatibility, you’ll be able to establish a harmonious relationship that’s devoid of unrealistic expectations, communication barriers and a lack of emotional intimacy. Sexual compatibility will lead to a more fulfilling relationship.

2. What if my partner and I aren’t sexually compatible?

If your partner and you aren’t sexually compatible, you must talk it out with your partner and understand the root cause. Consult a counselor if you feel the need for one and understand what’s causing the sexual incompatibility.

3. How do you know if you are sexually compatible?

If you’re looking for a sexual compatibility test for couples, the best one is by assessing the health of your relationship. Ask yourself questions like are you sexually satisfied in your relationship? Is there a mismatch of expectations/needs? Does one partner want more than the other is willing to provide?

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