When you get along great without someone outside of the bedroom, feeling mismatched between the sheets can be totally disorienting. Maybe you finally slept with your longtime crush, and after a disappointing chain of events, it was just awkward. Or perhaps getting it on with your partner has always felt a little off. Regardless, feeling sexually disconnected from the people you're sleeping with can feel very frustrating. Whether you and your boo have different libidos or you're just into different sexy things, it's natural to wonder what sexual incompatibility feels like and what the heck to do about it
"[Sexual incompatibility] can take many forms, but two common definitions of sexual compatibility are a difference in sex drives (or libido), and a difference in how sexual desire is experienced," sex educator and writer Jamie J. LeClaire tells Elite Daily. "Some folks may have a spontaneous desire, while some might have responsive desire, which can leave you feeling like you're never on the same page."
Though you may always feel ready to rip your partner's clothes off and get right to it, your boo may need some sexy talk or nonsexual touching before turning up the heat. And while your boo may want to do it in the shower every morning, perhaps you'd rather eat an entire pineapple (skin and leaves included) than have sex before school or work.
According to LeClaire, if you like to have sex every day and your boo likes to have sex once a month, you may struggle to find a time that you're both feeling sexy. Additionally, if you need to feel mentally in the zone before getting it on and your partner needs to be physically ready to turn up the heat, it's common to feel a little disconnected. Whether you prefer a lot of foreplay and your boo wants to jump right in, or you have totally mismatching sex drives, finding something that works for both of you can mean taking the time to really talk it out.
"Everyone's sexual preferences, desires, and communication styles are so unique," LeClaire says. "This is why you might be 'great at sex' with one person, but find that the same approach doesn't work with another. Better sexual compatibility comes with consistent communication, ease of communication, and an investment in each other's pleasure, which can come with time and practice."
While navigating your sexual separations may initially feel daunting, feeling sexual incompatibly with someone doesn't mean "Game Over." As LeClaire says, feeling sexual compatible with someone can build over time.
"[Sexual incompatibility] is normal, and it's most likely nothing that communication, listening, and mutual investment can't improve," LeClaire says. "You don't have to go full throttle into sex either. You can take things slowly and work at building your compatibility for different foreplay and sex acts, step by step."
While talking openly about your desires and preferences may initially feel silly or awkward, LeClaire attests that having the sex you want to be having means directly communicating. "How do you know what your partner likes in bed? Ask them!" LeClaire says. "One of the most important bases to cover are your sexual boundaries. This ranges from sexual acts you're comfortable with, to the language you use. Along with boundaries, discuss your STI status and what sort of barrier methods and protection you'll be using. This is also a great time to talk about and set up 'safe words.'"
When you're getting it on with someone new, discussing consent and boundaries, as well as intentions, can be a great way to build some initial compatibility. If you're worried that dropping a, "So, when did you last get tested?" will ruin the moment (spoiler: it won't), it may help to consider the sexual benefits of open communication.
As LeClaire shares, the only way to get on the same page with your sexual partner is to literally talk to them about whatever's on your mind. Whether you need a Lorde song playing in the background to climax fully or you like your partner to call you "Daddy," being clear about your needs and desires is the first step to strengthening your sexual compatibility. Additionally, even if you've seen your boo for a while and you've already discussed contraceptives and safe words, LeClaire shares that it's still important to check in about your sexual preferences. While you and your boo may know each other well, it's natural for sexual desires or preferences to change over time.
Perhaps you used to love bondage and now you're not so into it, or you once hated dirty talk, but now you just want to try it out. Maybe you and your partner have both been feeling a little off lately, or stress from school or work has started to impact your sex life. Whatever the case, if you're feeling sexually disconnected from someone, the only way to get on the same sexy page is to talk openly about what you want and how you want it.
While actively communicating during sex can be incredibly valuable, LeClaire shares that if you're feeling sheepish about starting the conversation, communicating over the phone may put you and your partner(s) at ease. "Texting can be a great, low-pressure way to communicate your desires and you can make it sexy, by turning it into dirty talk," LeClaire says. "For example, "I'd love it if you blanked my blank," or "I just love it when a partner blanks."
Being super into someone only to have kind of wonky sex with them can be totally frustrating. If you and your partner are feeling a little disconnected, finding a sultry compromise (like switching off between morning and night sex) may help you find your balance. While you never need to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, talking about your needs and desires, and trying new things that work for both of you can help you get on the same page. Whether you like to go at it every morning, you like a monthly romp, or you need an hour of foreplay before doing the thing, sexual compatibility demands open communication.