One of my best friends, who loves casual sex, hooked up with her friend, who also loves casual sex. They're really close, get along great, both have a huge amount of sexual experience — and the sex was so bad they stopped halfway through. They literally stopped, said "I'm sure you're great at sex, I know I'm great at sex — but this is awful right?" and decided to go get food instead. It was the right move. They just were not sexually compatible.
So how can you tell? It can be your attitudes, your sex styles, or sometimes it can be this mysterious X factor that means despite everything being perfect on paper your sex life is nothing but awkward rubbing and the sound of bedsprings. Don't feel bad — many of us have been there.
"When it comes to sex in relationships, there can often be a square peg and a round hole problem. If I have to translate that for you, you are probably too young to be reading this," relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. "What people do not realize is that most sexual incompatibility problems are a part of broader compatibility issues. This is because enjoyable intimacy in the bedroom is the whole PIE: Physical, Intellectual and Emotional."
Can you overcome it? Absolutely. But the fact is that some people are just more naturally compatible in bed than others. And some people are naturally very incompatible.
1. You Don't Have The Same Sense Of Humor
Laughing at the same things is a great source of the spark — romantic or sexual. And, more than that, weird, funny, stuff happens during sex. "If two people struggle with playfulness outside of the bedroom, they will VERY LIKELY have a mechanical (aka boring) sexual experience in the bedroom," Armstrong tells Bustle. "Couples cannot simply turn on the fun and expect fireworks if their chemistry prior to walking into the bedroom is flat."
You need to be able to laugh about these things together — a weird noise or slip. If you can't laugh about the same things, it's a bad start.
2. The Kissing Sucks
Kissing is the sex of the face. OK, that's probably the grossest thing I've ever said. And I take it back. But you know what I mean — kissing should be sexy and amazing and fun. But bad kissing can be a big turn-off . And I don't know about you, but I've yet to have good sex with a bad kisser. It can be a real bad omen.
3. You Can't Communicate
You've heard a million times how communication is the most important thing in a relationship — but it's true, even when it comes to sex. "If two people struggle with being honest with each other outside of the bedroom, it is VERY LIKELY that they will not be comfortable being honest with each other in the bedroom," Armstrong tells Bustle. "Kara may want to communicate with Zach about her pleasure spots that he is not finding but that is not an easy conversation to have. This is especially true if she and Zach cannot even talk about perceived spending problems, for instance."
You need to narrate every moment of sex or even constantly tell the other person what you need — although if that works for you, great. It's about being in tune with what the other person needs, paying attention to clues, verbal and non-verbal. You should be able to do it in your relationship or it's probably not going to happen during sex.
4. You Don't Crave Their Company
A basic sign of compatibility is really simple: wanting to be around each other. "This is so normal, it weirdly slips under the radar: You’re not looking forward to seeing them," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "When you’re feeling the love, you want to connect — whether it’s in person, electronically or by sending and receiving a love letter in the mail."
You need to have that connection because it's the foundation for a healthy sex life. That craving for each other is like a constant, in the background, foreplay. It's building anticipation about spending time together, and keeps you constantly connected and excited about the idea of seeing each other. This makes the sex so much better. Without it, things can really fall flat.
5. You Have Different Attitudes Toward Sex
Some people are really relaxed about sex — that can mean having casual sex or just being completely disinhibited in the bedroom. Others find it much harder to relax sexually. If you two have very different comfort zones, it means you're going to have to do some real compromising to make you both comfortable.
6. You Have Different Kinks
While you may be really malleable about sex — happy to have something vanilla or more kinky, depending on the partner, others have more specific needs. If one of you only has a really specific way of getting off that doesn't match with your partner's, it can be difficult (but not impossible) to compromise.
7. You Don't Want To Rip Their Clothes Off
Bottom line: you can feel the attraction, right? You know when you have a magnetic attraction to someone else. Maybe you don't feel it right on the first date, but if you don't develop that desire, the sex will likely be awkward. Try to ignite something by talking about sex and getting a feel for each other beforehand. Revving things up makes it more likely you'll want to tear those clothes of. Your sex will be better for it.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (7)