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What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Sexually Compatible?

Like most things in life, good sexual energy and interaction come with many layers.

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This is one of those times when, if you've got the time, I'd actually prefer for you to read two other articles (from the site) first. One is entitled "These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom". The other (if you plan on getting married someday) is "Ask These Sex-Related Questions BEFORE You Marry Him". The reason why I'm making this recommendation is this—while in theory, I think we all know that sexual compatibility is important in a relationship, at the same time, I also believe that a lot of us don't make figuring out if we are in "intimacy harmony" with someone a priority until after the deed is done. In other words, a lot of what comes with sexual compatibility can be discovered before hittin' the sheets with someone. It comes through heartfelt communication.

Case in point. I've always liked hearing Meagan Good say that, when she was asked why she didn't want to "test drive her husband" prior to marriage, she didn't because "he is not a car". Yeah, I know that society tries to cram down our throat that you can't find out if you and another individual are sexually in sync without getting naked first, but that's not 100—or even 65—percent true. A lot of sexual compatibility consists of chemistry and connection. And again, a lot of that transpires outside of the bedroom. That's not knocking the fact that sexual compatibility includes the act of sex itself as well, but—I guess what I'm saying is, like most things in life, good sexual energy and interaction comes with many layers. Don't underestimate how far conversations can take you. Then there are six others that we will explore today.

So, how can you know for sure if you and another person are truly sexually compatible? I asked a (totally platonic) male friend of mine to tackle this topic with me. These are the things that we both were able to agree on. How about you?

Sexually Compatible Couples Have Similar Sex Drives

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I've got a friend who, ever since I've known him, he's wanted to have sex at least twice a day (his soon-to-be ex-wife can vouch for this, by the way). It really is like he's insatiable. Hmph. If we only went by men like him, it would be easy to see why the society and the media claim that men have higher sex drives than women do. But then, I've also got a girlfriend whose husband has told me, on more than one occasion, that the person who can't get enough rest isn't her, but him; she is the one whose libido is always in overdrive.

My male friend? He's 47. My female friend is 38. So, we can't really put drives on age, gender or anything else, can we? In many ways, a person's sex drive is totally up to the individual—and the relationship that they are in. This is something that I've been trying to get my male friend to accept ever since college. It's not that there aren't women who can't keep up with him; it's just that different people have different approaches to arousal and seduction. Sometimes, approaches and techniques need to switch up as well.

But what I think we all can agree on, is if two people don't have similar sex drives, that can lead to some disappointment, if not all-out frustration, for one or both individuals. Remember how I said that my male friend is going through a divorce? One of the issues in their marriage was the fact that while he wanted sex at least four times a week, his wife was good with 1-2 times a month. It's hard to be compatible when your desires are incongruent. Is it a relationship deal-breaker? Maybe not. But is it something that should be taken seriously? Definitely so.

Sexually Compatible Couples Connect on a Mental and Emotional Level

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A cool definition of compatible is "capable of existing or living together in harmony". Harmony is defined as being in "agreement; accord; harmonious relations". Recently, I penned an article on here about how you should never automatically assume that a great sex partner will turn into a great life partner. If you want to know how well you and someone work outside of the bedroom, you need to figure out what you agree on and if you are on the same accord about when it comes to principles, values, life goals and what you want for your futures. When you find someone who can relate to you in these various areas, the sex with them is so much better.

There are studies that support this fact (you can read one of them here). There are articles like "The Differences Between Hook-Up Sex, Marital Sex, and Making Love" that co-sign on it. Shoot, I bet you can look back on your own sex life and vouch for the fact that when you were connected on a deep mental and emotional level, the sex was so much better than when you weren't.

Sexually compatible couples are mature in the sense that they aren't only out to get orgasms; they want to have internal highs that come from really knowing a person and them being known in return. They know that their minds and hearts being in sync also qualifies them for being truly sexually compatible.

Sexually Compatible Couples Are Willing to Explore Sexual Desires and Fantasies

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Sometimes couples have a ho-hum sex life but it's not because of the sex itself; it's because they've become bored. That make sense too because most of us have heard that the biggest sex organ we have is our brain. This means that our imagination needs to be stimulated as much as possible. One way to do that is by exploring different types of sexual desires and fantasies.

As far as what some popular publications say—Glamour said that it's sex in public, sex in an usual location and pegging.Everyday Health claims that men enjoy their partner taking charge and engaging in oral and anal sex.Ask Men asked some women and they said, role-playing, domination and voyeurism were some of their favorite fantasies. But all of these findings are based on surveys and polls. The best way to find out what sends your own partner's mind to racing is to ask them. But don't stop there—once they tell you, put your best foot forward to try and make some of their dreams a reality.

A guy once told me that men don't get tired of being with the same woman; they get sick of having the same kind of sex with the same woman. Words to live by, if you ask me.

Sexually Compatible Couples Have Little Stress in Their Dynamic

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I thought it was interesting that, when I asked my male friend to share with me a sign of sexual compatibility, one of the things that he listed was the relationship needed to have as little stress in it as possible. But after those words came out of his mouth, I sat and thought about the sessions I've sat in where the husband was like, "I still find my wife attractive but between all of the nagging and complaining, I'd rather just get some quiet and a good night's rest over some sex."

The reason why I think a lot of people underestimate that stress is an enemy of sexual incompatibility is because they are so used to being stressed out that they don't factor in what it is doing to their intimacy. But if all the two of you are doing is arguing, casting blame, giving each other the silent treatment, rationing affection and/or taking shots at each other, really—what in the world is sexy about that?

I totally get where my friend is coming from. Although one of the benefits of sex is it decreases stress, it's hard to even get into the act if your partner already has you turned off because of all of the stress that they are causing.

Sexually Compatible Couples Strongly Desire to Please Their Partner

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I make it no secret that there have been a couple of partners in my sex life's past who, while I wasn't all that physically attracted to them, the sex was still pretty damn good. It was because pleasing me was a passion of theirs. At the same time, there were a couple of other men in my life who really needed a mirror on the wall for them to look directly into because, while they were fine, they seemed to get off more on themselves than trying to make me happy.

Whenever I sit down with couples who are totally unsatisfied with their sex lives, something that I usually say is they are making things so much harder than they've got to be. If the guy is totally focused on pleasing his lady and the woman is totally into pleasing her man, it's hard for the sex to not be totally off the charts. Problem is, just like with relationships in general, a lot of people aren't in sync with their partner; they are more concerned about what they should be getting than what they should be giving. Sexual compatibility lacks selfishness. Any couple who is in true harmony in this area can certainly vouch for that.

Sexually Compatible Couples Have a Consistent Sex Life

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For some reason, a lot of folks will read the word "consistent" and think that means all day, every day. But actually, consistent simply means to be constant in whatever it is that you are doing (or not doing). As far as sex goes, some of the married couples that I work with consistently have sex 2-3 times a week while others consistently have sex a couple of times a month. Both dynamics seem to be fine with that; things only get "weird" when there is less than what they have grown accustomed to.

If you're curious about what the "general norm" is when it comes to intimacy, one study revealed that the happiest couples are those who have sex no less than once a week. I could see why that is the case. Between work schedules, household responsibilities and everything else on people's to-do list, having sex once a week is something that a lot of couples find to be a realistic amount. At the same time, no matter what is happening in their lives, they make sure that they aren't too busy to engage one another at least once a week. The sexual compatibility here is that sex isn't treated like a "relational perk"; it's a relational need and responsibility. Two people who are on the same page about that are sexually compatible in a way that is truly underrated. A lot of married couples in sexless marriages can certainly vouch for that.

So, there you have it. If you are wondering if you and yours are sexually compatible and your head moved up and down to these points, congrats. You've got something that a lot of people desire—a partner you are sexually in tune with. And that's the makings for some pretty powerful and amazing sex!

Did you know that xoNecole has a new podcast? Join founder Necole Kane, and co-hosts Sheriden Chanel for conversations over cocktails each and every week by subscribing to xoNecole Happy Hour podcast on Itunes and Spotify.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

What's The Difference Between Chemistry And Compatibility?

Sexual Compatibility Is As Important As Spiritual Compatibility

6 Tips For Dealing With A Sexually Incompatible Spouse

If You're In A Committed Relationship, Avoid These Sex Mistakes At All Costs

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Last year, Meagan Good experienced two major transformations in her life. She returned to the small screen starring in the Amazon Prime series Harlem, which has been renewed for a second season and she announced her divorce from her longtime partner DeVon Franklin.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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