A couple holding hands, sexual compatibility
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10 Signs You Are Sexually Compatible With Your Partner

In case you’re not 100% sure just yet.

by Irina Gonzalez
Originally Published: 

Sex is not the be all end all of a relationship, but it’s hard to overcome a disappointing or nonexistent sex life, especially if you completely connect outside of the bedroom. It’s not that sex absolutely must be phenomenal from the first time (though that would be nice), but a truly great connection between the sheets is, for many people, an important part of a relationship. While sexual compatibility is a broad concept, and really something that every couple can negotiate themselves to some extent, there are some overarching signs that you’re sexually compatible with your significant other.

But what is “sexual compatibility?” And how is it defined — is it even something that we can clearly define for all people? “Sexual compatibility is about having a shared understanding of your sexual desires, preferences and turn-ons and how they align with your partner’s,” explains Alana R. Ogilvie, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Sex Therapist (CST) practicing in Portland, Oregon. “Couples with compatible sexuality recognize, express and engage in sexual experiences that feel good to both of them.” In other words, like so many things in a healthy relationship, sexual compatibility is fundamentally about how well you two can communicate.

To figure out if you and your significant other are in sync in the bedroom, read on to find out more about 10 signs that you’re sexually compatible.


Your sex drives are similar

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One of the most important ways to determine if you and your partner have a good sexual compatibility is to figure out if your sex drives match. Sexually compatible partners generally “feel aligned in their preferences,” says Ogilvie. Often, this simply means how frequently you and your partner desire sex. For instance, if you are a once-per-day person and your partner prefers sex once or twice a week, that could spell a problem. However, sexual preferences also change over time, so remember, none of this is set in stone.


You work at it together, with an open mind

If you don't quite match up on the vanilla to kinky spectrum, it may be OK if both of you are willing to compromise and try new things. Sexual compatibility is not a set thing — it’s always in flux, and can still be something that you work towards. Rather than being 100% in agreement at all times, partners who are thought of as sexually compatible “have ways of communicating about their differences effectively,” says Ogilvie.


You are strong communicators

In line with working at your relationship is how well you understand each other, as listener and communicators. “The couples who are the most compatible know how to negotiate their desires to be in alignment with each other,” Ogilvie explains. Both of you need to be able to tell each other what you want and don't want. When it comes to sex, both of you need to communicate about what you enjoy during sex and how to tweak things so that they’re even better as your needs evolve.


You make time for intimacy

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Keeping an intimate connection alive long-term is important, so it's crucial that you and your partner agree about the place sex has in your daily lives. In general, a sexually compatible couple will “feel aligned in their preferences and have ways of communicating about their differences effectively,” explains Ogilvie.


You have the same kissing style

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Although there are many different styles of kissing, most people stick to the one that feels natural to them. What's important in sexual compatibility is that your kissing styles match so that you form a certain synchronicity through mutual rhythm, and pace. Additionally, according to a study by Oxford University published in the Journal of Sexual Behavior, kissing actually helps people to subconsciously figure out a potential partner's long-term compatibility through taste and smell, since you pick up on biological cues for sexual compatibility, genetic fitness, and general health.


You know each other’s signals

What does it mean when your partner runs their hand sensually down your back at the end of dinner, or when you tap on their knee as you finish that last episode on Netflix? If you are attuned to each other's sexy signs, then you know exactly what each of you might be asking subtly. Knowing each other's hints for when romance is in the air is an important part of sexual compatibility, because it helps to set the mood and push each other to spend more time together.


You have similar relationships to sexuality

“Sexual compatibility is about having a shared understanding of your sexual desires, preferences and turn-ons and how they align with your partner’s,” stresses Ogilvie. Your relationship with sex (as in, how you view sex’s purpose) is very important to your sexual compatibility with your partner. Is sex for connecting with your partner? Is it simply good as stress relief at the end of a long day? And, most importantly, how important is it for the upkeep of your relationship?


You both make an effort

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Willingness to put in effort — in all elements of your relationship — indicates compatibility overall. Amazing sex takes time and effort on both of your parts, and ensuring that you have a lasting love life (and long-lasting happiness in the bedroom) means continuing to put in the effort over time.


You have an instant spark

It’s true that you won't know everything about your partner’s body when you first start out in the bedroom, and visa versa, but having that initial “spark” is a good sign that you’ll get there.


You enjoy similar sexual behaviors

If you both enjoy engaging in the same sexual behaviors, then you may be compatible. When it comes to sexual appetite, everyone falls on the spectrum that ranges from very vanilla to very kinky. The problem can present itself if one person is perfectly happy with missionary sex every single time while the other person is bored.

Sexual compatibility is not one-size-fits-all. Instead it’s a process and it’s all about open communication, like most things in a long-term relationship. If you’re feeling like your relationship needs a little help right now, the good news is that sexual compatibility is something you can work on, if you’d like to.

Sources cited:


Alana R. Ogilvie, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Sex Therapist (CST)

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