In Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture, Chris Donaghue, PhD, explores and challenges the negative ideals that have warped society’s view of sex. It is not a dogmatic rule book, but a valuable guide to help you on your journey to sexual self-discovery and, most important, self-acceptance.
Sexual compatibility is the most important attribute for relational success, coming before psychological, emotional and social compatibility
Far too many individuals buy into societal support of love as the only necessary component for relational sustainability, thereby ignoring the best predictor of relational success: sexual desire and congruence.
Love is not enough for long-term monogamy or commitment. When love wanes, sexual desire is the required glue that will hold partners together. Sexual satisfaction is considered to be a barometer for the quality of a relationship.
Sex is the best vehicle for self-exploration and to work on oneself (in addressing self-esteem, communication, boundaries, intimacy, body esteem, relational traumas, and more.) Sex is a learned capactity, and sexual partners can help challenge and push us in that development.
Healthy relationships allow for the examination of one’s eroticism, and especially one’s preferred level of erotic risk. This is where one allows sexual boundaries to be expanded and challenged in the service of pleasure and sexual growth. It involves a willigness to have one’s psyche disturbed and opened to ideas, images, and behaviors that enlarge one’s psychic capacity. Relationships require going into the dark depths of why we choose what we choose sexually and relationally, and through this we risk having to grow. All sexual-relational configuration choices have costs and benefits.
The primacy of sexual compatibility
Sexual compatibility is about interest in and tolerance for what arouses each partner. It’s built from the interactions of sexual attitudes, sexual desires, and sexual frequency. Our sexualities are fluid and have the ability to expand and encompass new things that we previously found non-erotic.
Sexual compatibility encompasses the following:
1. Sexual Attitudes:
The sexual health levels of each partner will begin to map out sexual compatibility. How individuals speak about sex, the words used and their comfort with them, begins to provide clarificaction of what to expect sexually. How people talk about sex speaks to how the feel about it, in terms of its importance and to waht degree they see sex as healthy and positive.
My advice is to always go into relationships and sexual encounters with full-on sexual confidence about your desires. Never allow another’s sexual anxieties to diminish or shame your interests.
2. Sexual Desires:
The next level of compatibility is based upon similarity and tolerance for what each partner is aroused by. There are no right or wrong arousals, just ones that are congruent or incongruent with a given potential partner.
Neither party’s sexual constellation should be prioritized or legitimized over the other, as sexual appropriateness and acceptability cannot be ranked; all sexualities are valid in sexually healthy and mature couples.
3. Sexual Frequency:
The final point, and the most highly charge, is the frequency at which individuals desire to be sexual. The management of this is another window into a couple’s health. Healthy sexual partners do not manage one another’s disparate sexual desires with shame or contempt. Being the object of someone else’s sexual desire is the goal of romantic-sexual coupling. It’s what pushes individuals beyond frienship and platonic boundaries. Being approached by a partner for sex is a comopliment and sign of being eroticized by them. This is a requirement for long-term coupling.