I have often heard couples express fear or disappointment that their sexual interests are not a perfect match. Just as it is a myth that sex in a good relationship should never take work, it is a myth that if you and your partner are right for each other, you should want all the same things. First, let me say this:

What you want is okay*

Each of you is entitled to want what you want. Resist any temptation to judge or villainize each other, whether it’s for how much sex you want or don’t want, or what kind of sex interests you. You need to validate your own desires, knowing that what you want is okay, even if you don’t get a great reaction from your partner. Your wants may not match your partner’s. The two of you will have to navigate the differences, but no one is wrong for what they want.

Sexual desire and eroticism is unique to every one of us. It is rare to find two people whose sexual interests line up perfectly, let alone two people with the same exact sexual interests who are compatible in all the other ways successful couples need to be. Instead, think of sexual interests in your relationship as a Venn diagram. On one side is what you want, and on the other is what your partner wants. Being sexually compatible does not mean matching each other exactly. It means having enough overlap in your desires to leave room for you to explore, play, and enjoy your intimate life. Just as it is important to validate your own desires, it is important not to judge those of your partner. Rather than judging your partner for interests you do not necessarily share, approach discussions of your desires as opportunities to learn more about your partner and to find your common ground.

*There are a handful of exceptions that are illegal, non-consensual, and thus problematic. It’s beyond the scope of this blog to talk about peeping toms, flashers, frotteurism, pedophilia, bestiality, and such. I am talking about those desires that fall within legal and consensual bounds.


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