7 Signs of Sexual Compatibility

naked couple touching

Sexual compatibility: it’s what we all aspire to find. But what does that phrase even mean, anyway?

In short, “sexual compatibility” describes how well your sexual needs and desires mesh with a partner’s. Sometimes there’s an immediate spark, and sometimes you have to work at it. But the good news is, sexual compatibility is fluid. You can always work to make your sexual connection stronger. 

That said, it helps to have a few promising signs. So whether you’re meeting someone for the first time, or you’re in a long-term relationship and want to ID where you can grow, here are seven signs to consider. 

1. You’ve got instant sparks.

Are you flirting without even trying? Does your conversation circle around sexy topics? Are you experiencing the classic signs of arousal, like your breath quickening, your temperature rising, hands getting clammy?

If so, congratulations! You’re definitely attracted. While it takes time to get familiar with another person’s body and sexual style, you’ve got a killer advantage: you’re hot for each other. That eagerness will serve you well in bed. 

2. You both know the kind of sex you want.

Self-knowledge is one of the most important aspects of finding partners who are sexually compatible with you. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you’ve found it? 

You don’t have to have a ton of sexual partners to figure this out, btw. A good place to start is your fantasies while masturbating. Who do you picture? What’s the environment? What’s the vibe? Is it more romantic and tender? More BDSM and kinky? Or something else entirely? 

If you and your partner have clarity about the kind of sex you’re looking for, you’re much more likely to play well together.

3. You both know your sex goals.

For some people, sex is about emotional intimacy. For others, it’s straight-up recreation. When you climb into bed, what’s the payoff? 

This can be a fun topic to explore with new partners, but it can also be a meaningful conversation with your existing partner(s). If you’re not yet familiar with core desires, I highly recommend this episode to discover what yours are. The bottom line is, if you’re looking for similar things from sex itself, there’s a good chance you’re sexually compatible. Common goals of sex include:

  • Establishing or deepening an emotional bond
  • Feeling desirable 
  • Playing with power dynamics
  • Healing trauma in a safe and supportive sexual environment
  • “Letting go” and being vulnerable
  • Having a great time (and an orgasm!)

These might resonate with you, or you might have other goals. They’re fluid, too: what you want one day might be different the next. And other partners bring out different sides of our sexual personality.

But at the end of the day, it helps to be with a partner whose sex “goals” are generally similar or complementary with yours. Which brings me to my next point…

4. You can find a middle ground.

Not everyone has the same sexual needs – and that’s okay. 

If you and your partner are looking for slightly different things, you’re not doomed for a relationship of bad sex. I talk about collaboration in Smart Sex, it’s one of the five pillars of sex IQ, and it’s all about working together to ensure everyone has a good time. 

For example, maybe you’re on the kinky side, and they’re on the tender side. Can you take turns with positions that allow you to explore each energy? How about dirty talk? Can you whisper words that turn you both on?

If there’s too much rigidity on either side, you may not be sexually compatible. But if you both want to find overlap, that’s a super positive sign. 

5. You can talk about sex openly. 

It’s common to assume that sexual compatibility all comes down to chemistry. But what it really hinges on? Communication.

If you and your partner can manage thoughtful, caring, and curious communication about sex, it’s a great sign you’re sexually compatible. That’s because you’ve both done the inner work to shed the societal awkwardness around sexual communication, and can be forthright about boundaries, fantasies, and consent. This makes any sexual collaboration go more smoothly, leading to mutual understanding and a stronger connection.

6. There’s equal effort.

Real talk, keeping your sex life exciting takes work. If your partner isn’t willing to invest time and creativity in your sex life now, can they do it 20 years down the line? 

After NRE (new relationship energy) wears off, sexual satisfaction really comes down to effort. Great sex is created, just like great meals, great conversation, and great dates. If your partner shows you they’re just as invested as you are in keeping your sex life fun, that’s an amazing sign of long-term sexual compatibility. 

7. You care about each other’s pleasure.

You’re not just in it for the orgasm. You want to make each other feel good, too. 

Sexually compatible partners know how to balance greed and generosity. If you’ve got a natural give-and-take in bed, and are committed to keeping this dynamic over time, you’ve got something special. The most sexually compatible partners love to see each other fully in their pleasure.

Special thanks to Tessa Skara for a previous version of this article. Sign up for my newsletter and get sex secrets on the regular.