The following is intended for readers 18+
Sexual incompatibility can range from a minor annoyance for some couples to the death-knell of a relationship for others. No matter what value you place on chemistry in the bedroom, though, the general rule is that if a problem is ignored, it grows in significance and leads to increased anger and resentment on both sides. If the following issues describe your relationship with your partner, I encourage you to start an open discussion with them about the role of sex and sexual compatibility within your relationship.
1. Your Partner Finds Sex “Silly” or “Unimportant”
When couples have a disparity in sex drives, that is one dilemma. The troubles really start, however, when one partner dismisses or discredits the other’s need for sex. If you are thinking your partner would even take issue with the idea of sex being a “need,” that mindset likely points to a problem.
2. Your Partner’s Preferences Are Distasteful to You
If your partner likes to be tied up and it isn’t really your thing, but you can roll with it sometimes, then you are good to go. But if the idea of strapping down your partner is disgusting and debasing in your mind, then you likely will only find the kink more disturbing as time goes on. This misalignment in sexual preferences can lead to a rift in the relationship.
3. You and Your Partner Feel Awkward Around Sex Scenes on TV
Often, when couples have difficulties connecting in bed, they look away from each other when they see passionate sex scenes. Avoiding the topic is easier than discussing what they don’t feel in bed with one another, and much easier than discussing how they could potentially learn to connect in new ways.
4. You Find Your Partner’s Body to Be a Turnoff
While many people may wish their partner would have more of a “gym body” or lose 10 pounds, there is a qualitative difference between that fantasy and the reality of feeling disgusted when you look at your partner naked. This issue isn’t something to ignore in service of being a “deeper” person; it is a red flag for the relationship.
5. You Make Excuses to Stay Up Late After Your Partner Goes to Bed
You might not be able to outright admit to yourself that you feel dissatisfied by your sex life, but take a hard look at your behavior. If you consistently find ways to escape going to bed together by staying up late working, or gaming — or whatever else — you may be subconsciously trying to limit the likelihood of your partner initiating sex.
6. You Have Not Told Your Partner What a Turnoff You Find Certain Things They Do in Bed
There are people who marry partners despite being totally turned off by some of their behavior in the bedroom. Unfortunately problems like this do not resolve themselves over time. Sometimes one incompatible habit makes partners want to avoid sex entirely.
7. You Find Yourself Fantasizing About Past Sexual Relationships Where Your Partner Just “Got” You
It is totally normal to fantasize about an ex sometimes — or about a coworker, or any other human for that matter. But when the focus of the fantasy is being with someone who simply understood how your body works in a way your current partner doesn’t, you need to explore that deprivation deeply and think about what it means for the future of the relationship.
If several of these points apply to you, it can be helpful to work with either an individual or couples counselor. Sexual incompatibility usually only grows over time, and you and your partner both deserve to be with someone who makes you feel sexually satisfied and fulfilled.