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What If You & Your Partner Aren't On The Same Level Sexually?

Should I stay or should I go?

Sex

So, you and your partner aren't on the same level sexually...what do you do? Well, it depends. There's isn't one answer to this, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Ordinarily, when we talk about not being on the same level sexually, it is in reference to sex drives not being in sync. But sexual incompatibility can go beyond sex drives. In fact, two people can be sexually incompatible for a variety of reasons. Things like experience, patience, communication, love language, and even who your partner is to you and how you define that can come into play.

While some people might be able to drop the situation like a bad habit, others might find themselves in more committed partnerships like a long-term relationship or a marriage. If that's your reality, what's the solution? To further shed light on the conversation around being sexually incompatible, I asked four people who have experienced being on different levels sexually than their partners, and it went like this.

Angie, 25

When it came to Angie's experience, she felt like she didn't have enough. She had been dealing with a sexual partner who treated sex like a chore and got straight to it — no foreplay, kissing, or any physical build-up to sex. "He would call me, we would smoke and that was everything that gave me that feeling," she explained. "I wanted foreplay. I wanted everything and I didn't know how to come out and say I need more sexually."

As a solution, she brought the issue to his attention. She explained that she needed more to get her in the mood so that she could fully enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, he never made any improvements or attempts to fulfill her needs and she felt like it was starting to affect her sex drive.

"You just need that energy to feed off of and if us just smoking is the only thing giving me that drive, I can't give you anything else. If he gave me that energy back, it could have been a really good experience. Why would I give you all of this and you're giving me the bare minimum?"
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Donny, 30

With Donny, he experienced this in two different situations. The first time it happened, he was dealing with someone who wasn't on his level sexually. He felt prior to leading up to sex it had been overhyped and when it finally happened he was disappointed because the talk didn't match the action. "Sometimes women talk their sh*t like, 'You're not ready for this' or 'I'm going to put it on you' and when the time comes you don't know what you're doing. She was off her game."

"Maybe we weren't flowing, but the second time around you need to bring your A-game. It didn't happen and I just chalked it up to maybe she didn't have that many sexual partners."

As for a solution, he never found one. It goes back to what I mentioned earlier about the solution depending on who your partner is. For both, this was a casual thing, so he didn't care to tell her or try to resolve it. However, there were cases where he saw things could be better and sent suggestions. He explained, "I'll send some links and gifs that will spice it up. I'll say, 'This looks fire, you think we could try it?' or something like that before I tell you it's wack. We all have the internet and I've learned how to use it to my advantage."

On the other hand, when he was dealing with someone who was older and more experienced, he found it fun and it made him appreciate the experience even more. "It was exciting and exhilarating because shorty went into at least two or three positions that I wasn't really ready for. She kind of wrapped her legs around my waist and did like a handstand but was still throwing it back. I was somewhere in between trying not to nut because it's so lit and figuring out what I can do to challenge this because I didn't really have any moves."

With this, there wasn't a solution either. He couldn't keep up with her and didn't pursue the sexual relationship any further.

"She bodied me. She definitely told me about myself and had every right to. She was like, 'I don't know if I can give this to you again.' This is why I don't do the bragging and I keep it super humble."
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Ron

Ron also experienced not being on the same level as his previous partner. At the time, he was younger and less experienced than his partner. During their sexual relationship, he wasn't quite comfortable with all of the things his partner wanted. She wanted things that he didn't know if he was ready for. "It became an uncomfortable situation because she wanted oral, anal, and all these different things, and I was just on the first step. So it can feel like the person is taking the lead or you're not pleasing them and it becomes more of a chore instead of an experience with one another. It was definitely uncomfortable. I think that that definitely ruined the relationship."

Before things went south, he did make an effort to salvage the relationship while trying to find a solution that would please both of them. When Ron brought up the issue, his partner started to compare him to her other partners. Unfortunately, things continued to get even more uncomfortable and they ended up going their separate ways. Although they didn't find a solution, he learned a lot from the experience. Ron explained:

"If there was more patience, more of a gradual growth towards things, and open-mindedness about the situation in the first place before anything occurred, I think that I could have understood more of where she was and she would have understood where I was instead of having expectations for one another."

He also learned that when it comes to sex and dealing with people, there's so much that correlates with it and people's sex drives. If you really want to make things work, you may have to sacrifice some things, be understanding to your partner, and have a level of patience if finding a solution is important to everyone involved.

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Mone, 33

Last but not least, I was able to speak with Monet and she highlighted the importance of listening to your body. She emphasized that being spiritually aware and attuned with your body and vagina allows you to get a better sense of what your vagina wants. She continued, "I'm a very spiritual person and I do a lot of meditating with my vagina, so me and my vagina are on the same page. I can literally hear when she's not interested in something and so she will literally tell me, 'Yo, this is not where I want to be and this is not what I want to be doing'."

In a time where she was sexually incompatible with her partner, she felt one of the reasons was because she rejected what her vagina was telling her. She explain the experience like this, "We were really cool, we had a great relationship as far as being able to communicate [and have] great energy. It was like a best friend relationship but there was chemistry. So we did decide to try to make it into a sexual relationship, but the energy when we started to get intimate was thrown off. There was no chemistry, it was awkward, and it became a forced situation."

Monet ended up ending the sexual relationship and because she realized this is not what her vagina nor body wanted. She ignored what her body was telling her and learned that she need to be more disciplined with what her body was telling her and try not to force anything.

"We can be spiritual our whole lives, have that intuition, and a voice within us but until you become spiritually aware with that voice, able to really listen to it, and be disciplined enough to listen to that voice, a lot of decisions that put you in situations you don't want to be in can be avoided if we just listen to our intuition and voice."

You may not have to end every relationship, but knowing when to say when is paramount. Additionally, with each interview, communication has proven to be key when overcoming a situation with sexual incompatibility. It's important to communicate what you're feeling (or not feeling) with your partner and determine if sexual incompatibility is something you both are willing to work through.

If sexual incompatibility is something you want to work on with your partner, here are a few things to consider:

Having patience

You'll need to understand that finding a solution won't be easy and it will take some time. You have to have patience and move at a pace that both of you are comfortable with.

Exploring other forms of physical intimacy

If getting in the mood is an issue, there are many ways to feel stimulated aside from penetrative sex. You can explore different types of physical intimacy like kissing, cuddling, massaging, etc. to reinforce sexual activity. Start with this and add more once the time feels right.

Creating a sex menu

You can also explore different sex postions and activities. Whether this be solo or together, there are ways to improve sex and find a happy medium where both partners are satisfied.

Rethinking monogamy

If none of these options seem to work, you may also want to consider rethinking monogamy. There are several options like polyamory, open relationships, or even inviting others to the bedroom (threesomes). Be open-minded when it comes to finding a solution that works best for you and your partner.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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