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June 3, 2021

How Much Does Sexual Compatibility Matter?

SEX WITH DR. JESS EPISODE 216

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On this week’s podcast, Jess & Brandon discuss sexual compatibility and share their personal experiences while addressing these Qs:

  • How do know know if you’re sexually compatible?
  • What can you do if you’re not sexually compatible?
  • What are the keys to sexual compatibility?
  • What’s the difference between desire and identity?
  • Should you break up if you’re not sexually compatible?
  • How can you find middle ground if you’re not feeling compatible?

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Jess & Brandon weigh in on these questions and much more! Plus we’ve got a sex toy give-away from Romp Toys, so be sure to tune in! And don’t forget to check out our amazing sponsor Adam & Eve. They are offering 50% off almost any item including shipping with code DRJESS.

If you’ve got questions for the podcast, submit them here.

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

How Much Does Sexual Compatibility Matter?

(00:05):

You’re listening to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast. Sex and relationship advice you can use tonight.

Brandon (00:18):

Welcome to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, I’m your co-host Brandon Ware here with my always lovely other half Dr. Jess.

Jess (00:25):

Hey.

Brandon (00:26):

How are you?

Jess (00:27):

I’m good. It’s been a bit of a heavy week. We keep having heavy weeks don’t we?

Brandon (00:31):

Seems to be the trend.

Jess (00:33):

Yeah, with the news, with some stuff going on in life. And yeah, I’m actually excited to be having this conversation, because it’s just you and me. And I feel like it could be an opportunity to decompress a little where nobody else interrupts. No producers, no nobody today. And we’re going to be talking about sexual compatibility, which I don’t think we always use the word sexual compatibility but it is a huge issue that comes up in all of the messages I receive from people.

Brandon (00:59):

Don’t you think the people often reach out to you with sex problems and is it always a sex problem or is it a compatibility problem?

Jess (01:08):

I mean a lot of it does go down to compatibility, or I see it actually more as expectations when people reach out. Cause they’re you know, upset that their partner won’t do something or disappointed that their not on the same page, or frustrated that they’re not having sex at all. I do think a lot of it has to do with expectations and boundaries, and the fact that honestly folks wait months and years and years and years and years and years before they reach out. And you know, now that I’m so far into this field right? It feels like I just started. But it’s been over a decade of doing this full-time, actually it’s been longer than a decade. It gets a little frustrating. Because you do want to help people, and also I don’t wanna say people are too far gone, but one conversation or a series of conversations or one workshop or one book oftentimes can’t resolve this pent up resentment and frustration and shame and hurt that has built up really. It’s over a decade in some cases. So yeah I mean with compatibility, it’s really interesting, because people will often reach out and say “oh Dr. Jess, I tried this, I did what you said, I bought them this, I presented them your Ted talk ‘monogamish.’ And they’re just not into it, like what do I do?” And the bottom line is if they’re not into it they’re not into it right? You’re not, you don’t wanna be convincing somebody. Because then I think we move into that pressure territory. You can present options, you can present and share your case, you can express your desires. But I guess that’s what compatibility boils down to. I want to ask you for your definition of compatibility and talk about what I’ve found in my research.

But I want to shout out our sponsors http://www.adamandeve.com again. They are offering folks fifty percent off almost any item in the store, plus free shipping and a host of other free gifts with code DRJESS at http://www.adamandeve.com. They sell everything from vibrators, restraints, to lingerie, to butt plugs, to lube, to massage oils and much more so do check them out. Check them out http://www.adamandeve.com and use code DRJESS. I also have a giveaway coming up in the show.

Brandon (03:19):

Ooh, What you got?

Jess (03:21):

I’ve got some toys from a new brand, a really fun and youthful affordable brand that we’re going to be giving away. This is Romp, and I love Romp because their tagline right now is ‘Go Love Yourself.’

Brandon (03:36):

‘Go Love Yourself.’

Jess (03:37):

I love it. So we’re going to be doing a giveaway and I’ll fill you in on that in just a couple of minutes. But I want to talk about compatibility. So babe, what does it mean to you to be sexually compatible?

Brandon (03:47):

Compatibility is different today than I thought of it at first. At first, I would have just assumed “what you like is what I like.” And that was it. And that went down to your sexual desires and how often you wanted to have sex. Like that’s what I would have assumed it to be. So if you want it three times, I want it three times and so on, your compatible right? It’s like check a box. Now compatibility, because of all of these experts that we’ve interviewed and so much that I’ve learned over the years, it’s about almost like adaptability. Like I feel as though you have to be willing to just listen here and try to understand your partner’s perspective. And you don’t have to do everything now, like I wouldn’t have to do everything that you would desire. But I just feel like I should be willing to listen to it, and maybe explore it, if I’m comfortable with it.

Jess (04:39):

So what I’m hearing, I love that word adaptability. I’m hearing adaptability and sort of openness. You think about the big five personality traits. So it’s interesting, I was looking at different definitions from experts on sexual compatibility, and of course there is no universally accepted definition. But something that has come up involves defining sexual compatibility as how well your needs, your desires, and your beliefs around sex match. And so the experts add to that, you know, that could have to do with frequency of sex, duration of sex, I thought that was really interesting. Turn on and turn offs, relationship arrangements, are you monogamous, are you consensually monogamous, what does that look like? Your definition of sex, your specific desires and fantasies and your preferred sex act. So how well do your beliefs, needs and desires around frequency, turn on’s, definition, desires, preferred sex acts, duration, relationship arrangement, how well do they align? And so I was thinking by that definition, are we even compatible?

Brandon (05:45):

I mean I feel the duration thing can easily be resolved. If one person finishes, help the other person finish too.

Jess (05:53):

Duration is such a, for me personally. And I just want to say because I’m gonna speak from a personal perspective, that I don’t have the answers, that I am not right, I’m going to share my perspective. But I don’t need to hold it up as a gold standard. Duration to me is so much less relevant, as you said, because what defines sex? Now, if I just want to get it in for a minute and walk away fine, duration might be the issue, but I don’t actually see it as the issue. I see the underlying issue as a lack of communication. Because communication didn’t show up on many of these lists.

Brandon (06:22):

That is interesting.

Jess (06:24):

Right? And so again, I’m looking at just expert perspectives, and it’s not everybody’s perspective so yeah. I’m like well, I don’t think we’re necessarily compatible in terms of, if we go by this definition, having the same desires for the same sex acts. Like things that I want done to my body, you don’t necessarily want done to your body right? Maybe they look at it as a puzzle piece. So I like having this done to my body and you like doing to my body perhaps. Or turn on’s, we don’t have the same turn ons at all. And so this will bring us to a conversation I wanna have in a moment around how important opposites can be. Folks are familiar with my concept of the core erotic feeling right, and the elevated erotic feelings. And if you’re not familiar with those please go listen to the the previous podcasts on those topics. But your core erotic feeling is the emotion you need to experience in order to get in the mood for sex. And your elevated erotic feelings are the emotions that take sex to the next level. Because every human interaction is an emotional experience, regardless of whether it’s a one night stand or something really, really, long term, there’s always emotion involved.

There’s emotion involved in shopping, there’s emotion involved in marketing. So it doesn’t mean that you have a long term emotional attachment to someone, but the experience is emotional. So when I think about core erotic, and if you have matching core erotic feelings, it actually can be more of a problem in some cases. So for example a very common core erotic fuelling, meaning the feeling I need to get in the mood for sex, is I need to feel wanted. I need to feel desired. So I hear that a lot, “I just wanna feel wanted. I want to feel like you want me, not just sex. And so if both of us share that feeling and we’ve run into that in some cases, where I just want you to make me feel wanted, but you also want me to make you feel wanted.

Brandon (08:13):

It’s funny that you mentioned that, because what you’re saying, is what I’m thinking about an experience the other night. So we hadn’t been intimate, hadn’t had sex in a little while, lots of stress. And I was like okay, I need to take care of this like from my perspective to like, I need to get myself in the mood right? So I lie down just relaxed kind of, turned on the fan in our bedroom, the breeze it was just kinda chilling and that relaxation, which is what I need to kind of get into the mood was great. So I got there, it took me a little while. I had to get in the right head space, but I got there. But I’d only thought about my own perspective. I didn’t think about what you needed in that situation. I was just putting Brandon in the mood.

Jess (09:00):

Well and in this scenario, where both of us are, I’m definitely less in the mood for sex than I’ve ever been in my whole life, over the last month. Like I’ve almost been avoidant of it. I’ll be honest and like talk numbers. I don’t wanna go a week without sex like that would be too long for me. Yeah but I don’t want it every night or even every other night lately. Just there’s a lot going on in my life right? There’s a lot going on with some family stress. There’s been some stress in some of my social circles. Certainly some of the stuff around you know just the news and racial justice and some of the atrocities that are kind of bombarding our newsfeed, like all of that just you know stresses me out. I’m dealing with a work project that is very stressful for me. Because I’m working with a team who are, like the direct team is all straight people, and as the queer person, I really feel like the burden of fighting the homophobia and transphobia is on me, and I’m finding it very, very tiring and I’m not sure exactly how to deal with it. I’m documenting it, but the point is all those things have kind of squashed my spontaneous sex drive. So we’re having to work with what we call responsive desire, meaning getting ourselves in the mood. So I I wanna take it right back though to this compatibility issue. So if we both want the same thing, if Brandon wants me to show him that he’s wanted, and that’s not exactly what you just described but we’ve run into that before, and I want him to show me that I’m wanted, and we’re both kind of waiting for the other to make the first move, sameness, likeness, sharing that same desire, actually can lead to a bit of an impasse right? To neither of us making that move and feeling frustrated. So I guess the point that I’m trying to convey, is that wanting the same things, and this definition of you know, having the same specific desires and fantasies, doesn’t necessarily jive for me. So for me, to take it to my working definition, and it’s imperfect and incomplete, I really see sexual compatibility as rooted in effort and behaviour, as opposed to sex drive and individual proclivities.

I don’t think it matters if one of you fantasizes about something dark with whips and chains in a dungeon and the other wants to make love on a beach beneath the moonlight. I think these disparate interests, drives, and fantasies aren’t what lead to necessarily breakups or relationship dissolution or sexless relationships. But the way you handle these differences does right? So we do have some studies showing sexual compatibility can be stronger when your desires are complementary as oppose to similar. And so I’m just wondering if we can shift our lens on sexual compatibility to one of cultivation, that underscores personal effort and responsibility. So you don’t find compatibility, you create it. Now if we were to frame this like the nature/nurture debate is not one or the other right? So if I am so divergent in my sexual desires and needs than you, and you know we just kind of find any middle ground, it’s going to be very difficult to become sexually compatible. But I do think that sexual compatibility is something we cultivate right? It’s about being willing to put in a similar amount of effort to make it work, being willing to be similarly open. And I like your word adaptable. The flexibility really matters. And maybe for a moment I wanted to think back and ask you if you think we’ve always been sexually compatible? Because we’ve been together so long that like I feel like I’ve dated you know ten different people right? We’re just not the same as we were twenty years.

Brandon (12:35):

You’ve actually dated ten different people, or I’m ten different people?

Jess (12:39):

You’re 10 different people. I don’t have time for 10 different people.

Brandon (12:43):

I’m just kidding. Uf the question is do I think that we were compatible at the beginning vs. today, I think it’s very different. I think that our compatibility at the beginning had more to do or perhaps the lack thereof, had to do with my own insecurity around desire and fantasy and just allowing your sexual thoughts to flow. I was uncomfortable with a lot of things that I think I just didn’t understand. And over time, I’ve become more comfortable with them, perhaps have become more comfortable with myself and I’ve been willing to listen more. As an example, at the beginning, you may have had a desire or found somebody else attractive. And I may have been uncomfortable with that because of the fear or the threat, that would have meant that you didn’t wanna be with me. And now I feel very differently today. I feel like today I could roll with that fantasy and desire if that was something you wanted, as opposed to the beginning where I was just like totally insecure and not okay with that.

Jess (13:39):

So how, dow do we navigate that? Like I’m just looking back, so I remember when we met I had told you that I wasn’t sure if we should be monogamous right away. I remember talking about maybe still wanting to have sex with women, and I’m just I can’t even remember how exactly we navigated all that. I know it made you uncomfortable.

Brandon (13:59):

Yeah which was really interesting. Because I just I equated what you said as, you don’t, I’m not enough. It was that idea. So the compatibility there for me, my response was to avoid that situation rather than to have the discussions about it. But over the years we have had so many of those discussions, those conversations, that have helped me understand that from my perspective, it was insecurity. It was a discomfort. It was a fear. And you’ve assuaged those fears and made me feel really comfortable, and that comfort has allowed me to explore things that I wouldn’t have been, like I don’t wanna say okay, but that I was uncomfortable with at the beginning.

Jess (14:40):

So when you say assuaged those fears, have you done some of that work? Like I want to say you’ve done a lot of that work yourself, because it can’t just be on one partner.

Brandon (14:47):

No and it certainly isn’t, wasn’t just on you, but I think your willingness to have the conversations with me helped and also you know, seeing a therapist and working through some of those issues really helped as well. And then being able to, investing the time, I have the benefit of being around you and your friends and your colleagues that are constantly presenting these news new ideas and these new thoughts or ways to think and perceive things, that allowed me this opportunity to go down and start researching that all my own, which I think really helped.

Jess (15:21):

So this brings me to another thought. That I really believe that sexual compatibility is about how you respond to your partner when they present you with anything sexual. So here’s an example that reflects what you’re saying, because you’re getting into like your insecurities and what was actually driving you. So it wasn’t about sex. It wasn’t necessarily about monogamy versus non-monogamy. It was about a feeling that you experience, insecurity, which most of us kind of naturally want to avoid and sometimes these issues actually aren’t sexual, sometimes compatibility issues aren’t about sex. It’s about emotional literacy. It’s about how we process and work through emotion. So I think about if compatibility is about openness and how you respond to your partner, I want to kind of maybe use an example, and I’m going to use the example of a sex club. So if you come to me and say, “I want to go to a sex club,” and I don’t want to go to a sex club, I might say like, “no way, no how, end of discussion.” And of course on the surface that seems reasonable. You’re allowed to ask for what you want. And I’m allowed to set my boundaries. But the challenge with that interaction, where you say what you want and I say what I don’t want, is that we don’t dig any deeper. We don’t really cultivate any understanding. So if you said “I want to go to a sex club,” and you say it in a way that kind of leaves it open to curiosity right? Like so, “I’m really curious about going to a sex club. How do you feel about that?” And my immediate answer is “no.” I’m still entitled to that immediate answer. I could say “all right, I don’t think I’m into that but let’s talk about it some more.” That’s when how you respond to your partner leads to cultivation of sexual compatibility. So rather than you just saying I want this, and me saying I don’t want that, you get into your why and I get into my why. So I might say, “well, what appeals to you about going to a sex club?” And you might say, “well I think I want to be around all these people and maybe get a little bit little attention, I wanna feel wanted. I wanna feel attractive, and see if I’m still attracted to people,” you might say, “well I’m drawn to the risk, like I love the idea of it, like it’s taboo, or like the challenge, I like the idea of you and I going and doing this risky thing together and kind of coming through it,” or you might say “Well I just I want to be immersed in this erotic environment, like I’ve read about it and it sounds so overwhelming.” And so there’s a whole bunch of feelings there, wanted, getting attention, the risk, the challenge, getting through it together, feeling immersed, feeling overwhelmed. And now I’ve got an understanding of what you’re actually looking for, right? So is it the sex club or is it all of these feelings right, so then we go back to these kind of elevated erotic feelings. Then obviously that conversation would be a bit more nuanced than what I just offered. Then I’m gonna offer my no, like what’s the ‘why’ for my ‘no’. So I might say, “I feel like I’m not going to fit in, I feel like I’m going to be jealous, I feel like you know, I might feel a little insecure with all these other people around in their lingerie, in whatever.” Flip flops, if you’ve been to a sex club, lots of flip flops happening. “I don’t wanna feel pressured. Like I’m worried that I’m gonna feel pressure,” and I might talk about times I felt pressured with you in the past. “I’m worried I’m going to be turned off. Honestly all those toes in the room just doesn’t do it for me.” Or, “I’m worried you use the word overwhelmed, but I’m worried that I’m also going to be overwhelmed, but not in a good way,” and then we can have this conversation about perceived benefits and perceived risks. And there are so many questions we can ask here, so can we play with those benefits in other ways right? So you want that feeling of being wanted.

You want the risk. How else can we play with that? And can we further explore this desire of yours but look at ways to offset or attenuate the risks that I perceive? And where’s the middle ground right? Like, can we maybe talk about going to a sex club, can we read about it, can we watch videos about it, can we role play it? Can we perhaps decide that, and again, you don’t have to do all of these things, that we’re going to go, but we’re not going to go to the sex rooms. We’re just gonna kinda go and know that there are people behind those doors doing things and we’re just going to be in the club area. Can we go with the promise that we will stay thirty minutes, and we’re not gonna do anything, we’re just gonna kind of run in and run out like teenagers that snuck into the wrong movie? Can you go on your own right? If it’s something I’m not into. Can we let go of this, mono normative box, that this must be done together? Maybe it’s something you do on your own? Harder, definitely, for a single guy to get into many of the sex clubs, you’ve got to save up your pennies for sure. I do want to recommend to folks, because I’m using this example, that we do have several episodes on sex clubs with advice and tips on how to navigate a first experience, if this is something you’re interested in, separate from this conversation around compatibility. But if you’re not into something, but you’re open to thinking about it you know, or exploring it free from pressure, you have to ask yourself like what are the consequences if it goes wrong? So if I’m nervous that I’m gonna feel jealous or insecure, pressured, what are the the big picture consequences, if some of these costs that I fear are realized? Like what happens if I’m jealous, we have a terrible experience and I feel really jealous? Is that going to ruin our relationship, is it going to lead to more meaningful conversations? Because without getting into the details, there was one thing that we did once that we’ve done many times and it’s been lots of fun and then one time it was like pretty disastrous. And I remember feeling very upset over it, but I don’t regret that we did it. I feel like it was just this thing that we did and and I’m not comfortable sharing what it is right now, maybe another day. But I remember that okay so my reaction was really shitty, like all the feelings that surrounded that incident were really negative for me. But it’s not that I wish we hadn’t done it, I think that it was just an experience that led to something, that I guess created all these new conversations. So I’ve kind of gone on with that example, but I hope that’s helpful for people to go beyond talking about what you want and what you don’t want and talk about your ‘why.’ And that to me is kind of the key to sexual compatibility, because if you shut down your partner by saying “no way. I’m not even giving a chance,” without digging into your ‘why,’ and of course if you shame, judge them, I think that’s obvious for you, then I don’t think you can be compatible.

Brandon (21:35):

At the beginning of the podcast, you said that there are situations where people come to you, and they’re further along in this situation, where they’re not having discussions to rectify the problem. So if somebody’s listening today though, like my thought is what happens when one partner has this idea like, “yes I want to start having these conversations,” and then you go and you just drop that on them right off the bat, “hey I want to go to a sex club.” I know that you’ve talked a lot about using different forms of movies and television shows to start those conversations but for me, that was a really big, it was kind of knowing that one conversation wasn’t gonna have an immediate outcome that I was hoping for, or that you were hoping for, but at least started the conversation down that path, which I found really helpful because as you said it took a lot of conversations for us to really start to explore different things and you know comfort levels and boundaries that we were okay with

Jess (22:17):

Yeah. I think one of the challenges is that people want a quick fix right? Like we live in a world of quick fixes. We don’t even read the book, we just read the instagram post. We don’t even listen to the podcast, just look at the kind of sliders or a Tiktok video that’s fifteen seconds. And I’m not saying there’s not value in that, I think there’s actually great value because then people can dig deeper and learn more. But the thing with compatibility is that it isn’t a one time conversation. It’s not ten conversations, it’s literally ongoing conversations for the entire duration of the relationship. If we go back to those definitions that I’ve found from experts around frequency, duration, turn on, turn offs, arrangement, definition, specific desires, fantasies, preferred sex acts, damn those change over time. Like I’ve been talking about the stress I’ve been under lately and listen, I wanna just clarify it’s not so bad. But it’s just different for me. And the things that I’m into as of about a month ago when I said that I’ve been a little bit more void of sex, are very different. Like I am not visual person. Not even close to visual person. I’m audio. I’m tactile and very kind of logical with numbers.

Brandon (23:25):

Those of you that know Jess, know that there have been instances where we’ve been out in public and she has gravitated towards somebody else because she thinks that they are me.

Jess (23:33):

Literally grabbed them by the arm.

Brandon (23:35):

“Yeah hey you” and like no, other guy.

Jess (23:37):

So I definitely, I haven’t been diagnosed but there’s probably something with my visual acuity that is not normative right? Like I’m probably, I struggle visually, but definitely never been a visual person when it comes to sex, and all of a sudden I am. And I don’t know if if feels like a new distraction because I’m feeling a little bit stressed out, but this is a brand new experience that only started like I said within the last month. So my whole point is though is that things change, so you know if compatibility is something you cultivate, to me it means there’s no singular path to find it. So any other area of life, if two people do the exact same thing or two organizations follow the exact same model, you can produce divergently different results. So I think this is a really important piece that there’s no singular path here. I want to quickly go back to the sex club discussion as an example. I’m not talking about sex clubs, but just as an example. So we want the person who’s not into something to really consider the consequences. Are they as bad as they think, right? Work through those and on the flip side, if you want something you can’t be pressuring your partner right? Please don’t email me saying, “Oh I presented this to my partner, and they’re not into it,” like your partner is broken. They’re not going to be into everything. so none of my suggestions, or universal solutions. So I think it’s really important that we remember that if somebody’s not into something, they’re not into it and I guess this kind of leads you to the question of how do you know if you’re compatible?

Brandon (24:59):

Yeah that’s the big question. I don’t have, I mean you’re throwing me into the spotlight here and I don’t know.

Jess (25:05):

Well, I think there are some dealbreakers. I think that there is some big things. And I think something that’s important to differentiate between is desire and identity when it comes to sex. And again it’s not binary, it’s not desire versus identity, both exist along a scale and continuum and there’s lots of crossover, or maybe like a Venn diagram. But if you’re into something and your partner isn’t, kind of can you ask yourself the question, how important is this desire? Is this desire really, really, strong? Like if I put it on a scale of one to ten, is it a seven to ten? And I would feel very unfulfilled? Or are there other ways I can fulfil this desire without pressuring my partner to do something they’re not into. And if it’s a part of your identity that’s when I think we run into impasses and you simply can’t be compatible. So if I am non monogamous and I really believe that it’s a big part of my lifestyle, part of my identity. Loving multiple people is important to me and that doesn’t work for you. And you really are monogamous right and you want me to be monogamous with you. You can talk to a therapist. You can look for common ground. But in the end is your identity, is your true self being honoured, right? Am I shifting behaviours because it’s kind of not a big deal for me and I’m like “okay, I want to make this work and this could be fun.” And I’m willing to give some of these things up, or am I compromising who I am?

Brandon (26:27):

It’s a really, hadn’t thought about it like that before, but I could see how something that does go against your identity would really be a dealbreaker.

Jess (26:37):

Yeah, and I also think if you are in a circumstance where one of you is willing to be open and talk and maybe be flexible — I don’t mean on the spot, I don’t mean today, I don’t mean in one conversation at a time that you want to have it. You can’t expect your partner always meet you where you are — but if one of you is willing to be adaptable and flexible and the other isn’t that can be a challenge. I also think we run into an impasse when a partner kind of diagnosis you, or shames you, or judges you, and you can’t find common ground. And I think life is short, like I picture living till we are a 108, and that seems like a really short period of time. So when I look forward to, let’s just saying being eighty eight. Will I be happy with this decision that I made? And what am I willing to give up? Ask yourself, what are you willing to do if you find you’re not compatible, are you gonna leave? And I think this is the point at which people tend to contact me, like years into it. They’re committed to the relationship. They’re committed to staying together. But at what expense are you? Is the expense that maybe you’re not feeling fulfilled sexually? Some people can manage that. Do you have to do stuff on your own that you wish you could do with the partner? Some people can manage that. Or are you compromising your true self, your identity? I don’t have the answers, like this is something that so many of us have discussed with therapists over the years, or with friends, to kind of play out all of the potential scenarios. But are you staying in this relationship just because you said you’re committed to it? And again, I’m not saying “please just leave,” but ask yourself. What are you giving up right? And will that be worth it when you’re 88 and are there other ways you can approach this with your partner? Because people blame their partners for not wanting to talk but sometimes it’s the way you approach your partner. Like we all have to take no situation as almost no situation, of course abuse is different but almost no situation is like 100 percent one person’s fault, it’s not even usually 90 percent one person’s responsibility. So I wanna talk about a couple strategies, kind of keys to compatibility and those are: the attraction of opposites, the fact that incompatibility is also a part of compatibility, the fact that quality is more important than quantity, and the fact that compatibility is something you create not something you find.

So I already kind of mentioned this, that opposites can increase attraction in the bedroom. ‘Cause you can each play different but complementary roles. I think the other really important piece around opposites is that when you want something totally different than me, you’re introducing me to a whole new world. Like I would be so bored if you just wanted all the same things as me. Because where would we learn new stuff? I think being different can be really valuable. Secondly there is a degree of incompatibility as a part of compatibility. And what this means is that sometimes disagreeing will help you to become more compatible. In a healthy relationship you will argue, and disagreements can help you to better understand one another and improve your connection. And when it comes to sex, every single couple is going to face some compatibility issues at some point in time and so don’t take that as a sign that you’re incompatible. It just means that you’re normal. And so maybe rather than being discouraged by your differences, use them as motivations to start talking about your desires, and really framing your requests not as complaints but as requests. And then the third piece I think is important —and the reason I’m bringing this up is because of those definitions I was finding from experts across the board — and this is the fact that compatibility is about quality, not just quantity. Because one of the big issues we see is differences in desire, I really want to shift the conversation back to quality right. So rather than counting how many times you’ve had sex this week or this month, focus on what you’re doing to maintain a sexual connection. Like are you flirting, are you sexting, are you teasing, are you figuring out what gets your partner riled up? The frequency component to me will follow more naturally when you focus on the quality, because I know people from the emails I get, people are very hung up on numbers. And then finally the most important piece that you know like all good things, compatibility doesn’t always just arise spontaneously. It requires some effort, because our desires and our expectations are really, really, personal. You couldn’t imagine having to eat the exact same food in the exact quantity at the exact same time as your partner for the rest of your lives. It would be impossible and unhealthy. And so I think we need to look at compatibility in the same way about a willingness to work on the relationship, and you can develop greater compatibility simply by having conversations, by opening up your sources of fulfillment right? Not thinking that, “I really wanna feel this, therefore my partner must make me feel this way.”

Brandon (31:22):

When I think about all these things that you’ve said today and reflecting back on how our relationship has changed over the last two decades, it’s amazing to me that although we don’t have a workbook that we followed, a lot of these things have resulted from like when we talk about those questions. I think about those questions that we’ve answered over dinner, those 36 questions, or some of the questions that you’ve had. I feel so much better. I feel so much more connected to you after those conversations you know? Like who would you, if you could have dinner with anyone, who would you have dinner with? And like some of those to me have created a much better connection with us. I feel like our compatibility is enhanced as a result of understanding more about who you are, and your identity. And then the idea you had said to a sex club, and we’re just going to agree in advance that we’re going to go in and out for thirty minutes, I think having those boundaries at the onset of a new activity and almost like a framework that you’re going to follow certainly would make both people or the person who might be a little bit less comfortable with it, more comfortable. Because you know we’re going to go and we’re going to do this today, we’re not gonna do anything or we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. And then we’re staying for thirty minutes and we’re going to leave. And if you stuck to those rules of engagement for the first outing or that first experience feel like it might 1) the person who might be less comfortable with it knows that there’s a very quick end time and 2) You’ll know that if you liked it, it’s like, after that experience you’re going to have this great conversation about what you did and didn’t like, and it’s either going to make it better or you know not to do it again. right? But it’s not necessarily gonna destroy your relationship.

Jess (32:57):

Right? But it’s not necessarily gonna destroy your relationship. I think people have this fear around sex that one negative experience is going to be disastrous. And it really doesn’t have to be. You bring up something that’s also important, that I feel I left out. And that is the person who’s less comfortable. And when I say don’t diagnose your partner, I think what I’m trying to say is don’t treat your partner like they’re a prude. Because that’s sort of what I get in many of the emails I received that like, “I’m open to everything and I’m willing to have any conversation and my partner isn’t.” And in some cases I I hear you, I get that. That’s your experience and that’s your perspective and that’s what you’re feeling and that is valid and I want to be mindful to somebody who’s not into something right? And I want to say one more thing because the emails I’ve been receiving, some of them are really rooted in stereotypes. Like they’ll say, “Oh my partners from this background, you know people from that background are really closed off about sex.” Let me just say, dude that’s not a universal truth. I always think it’s interesting too when they write about Chinese people. Like dude, I’m Chinese and I’m not closed off about sex, so please do not make universal judgments and statements like that and let’s not judge people as perverts, and let’s not judge people as prude’s either, right? If you’re not into something that is okay. You do not have to be in to all of this. And so I’ll tell you about the contest in just a moment, but I want to say that I hope that maybe folks will do one thing to be more compatible today. Like maybe it’s asking your partner a fantasy they haven’t shared, or sharing one of your own. Perhaps it’s just reflecting on a sex act or even a non sexual activity that you’ve shut down, and asking yourself why, digging deeper into why you shut it down, and restarting that reflection with yourself or conversation with your partner. As you’ve illustrated babe, understanding your partner isn’t just about in bed. All of these insights into why we feel the things we do. Why we hold the philosophies or the politics we hold, that gives you a lot of insight and deeper understanding to your partner. And we actually do know that openness is a personality trait that is associated with happy relationships, and we know that openness declines in early marriage for all genders. There is a research piece published in Developmental Psychology that talks about how it declines, because I think we get into routine and we’re becoming a little pod. So I suggest that you ask yourself if you can be more open and I’ll do the same. I wanna think about things that I’ve shutdown more in our life, as opposed to in bed.

Brandon (35:27):

That’s where I’d like to start. Even if I didn’t approach you after listening to this, if I just thought about one situation where I shut it down and reflected on why I shut it down. It’d be a great way to start another conversation, to go back and say “you know when you brought this up. I reflected on it and felt really uncomfortable because of that.” And then that’s a good way to kind of pull it back to yourself and say “I want to revisit this and I have reflected,” and so on. I think it’s really insightful and a great way to start a conversation.

Jess (35:56):

Yeah absolutely so yeah. Thanks for having this convo with me babe.

Brandon (36:00):

Thank you.

Jess (36:02):

And we do have our giveaway. So I want to tell you about Romp, it’s a brand new line. Romp ‘Go Love Yourself’ Romp toys, like a romp in the hay and they have this super fun, really playful, colourful, adorable and of course very effective line of toys, with some really cool technology. So it’s definitely more affordable than some of the other brands, but it is using the same technology, but licensed, not just stolen technology. Like the pleasure air technology in the Romp Shine is the same pleasure air technology for example you might see in the Womanizer. Of course the toy is different. But we’re going to be giving away one Romp Shine, which is a pleasure air toy designed for the head of the clitoris but you can use it all across the body. And we’re going to be giving away one Rom Jazz, which is a rabbit style vibrator. And these are all really cool toys, rechargeable, waterproof, different pattern modes, different vibration modes, really nice kind of, a nice feel, a nice finger feel. So we’re giving away a Romp Jazz and a Romp Shine, and so what I’m going to ask of you is to leave a rating or a review of the podcast and just let us know that you did it. You can shoot us a message via the website, http://www.sexwithdrjess.com. You can email our team [email protected] You can message me on Instagram, and all you’ve gotta do is let us know that you are entering the contest because you left a review or rating. Perhaps on iTunes would be ideal, but anywhere you get your podcasts is fine by us. So once again, we’re giving away a Romp Jazz a Romp Shine, if you let us know that you are just listening to the podcast. Again, [email protected] or @SexWithDrJess on Instagram, or via our web page.

Brandon (37:56):

And it’s just the honour system, so hit however many stars you think it’s worth and then let us know.

Jess (38:05):

Subliminal five. Just kidding. All right folks, thanks so much for joining us. I really enjoyed this conversation. I hope you find it useful. I hope that you are feeling open and adaptable and flexible, but also entitled to set limits and maybe digging a little deeper into those limits, and not feeling as though you always have to push them. So do checkout Rump toys, really cool line, check them out. I’ll post them on my instagram too, so folks can learn more about them. Wherever you’re at, hope you have a great one.

(38:38):

You’re listening to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast. Improve your sex life, improve your life.