We all like to think we’re highly individual, skipping about the planet as unique as fingerprints.
But the truth is, emotionally and sexually, we’re all more alike than we are different.
Pretty much all of us, for instance, fall into a surprisingly small number of relationship styles and it’s these that dictate how we love and have sex…or don’t.
All couples are a blend of all styles to a certain extent but every couple always has a predominant category they most identify with.
Understanding yours – and identifying your strengths and weaknesses – can give some fresh, surprising insights to perk up both your love and sex life.
Tracey Cox examines each of the sex personalities you might be and how you can best engage with your partner in the bedroom (stock image)
THE DISCONNECTED COUPLE
Love: You’re one foot in, one foot out people. Are you both more concerned with your own needs than the needs of the relationship? If yes, tick this box. Self-absorbed, you’ll tend to see friends solo and often plan weekends away without each other. While you’re affectionate, it’s friendly and controlled rather than the tender, look-deep-into-my-eyes variety.
Sex: Having sex with a disconnector is a bit like making love to a shadow or ghost. “It’s like ‘Hey, I’m here but where are you?’” says the ex of a deeply disconnected man. Some of you will invent excuses to sleep in separate bedrooms in a bid to get space.
Having said that, disconnector’s have no problems separating sex from love. So long as it’s lust you’re after and not intimacy, the sex can be great!
Sex it up: Shift your focus in bed from you to your partner. Talk to each other during sex, stay ‘in the room’ rather than drift off into a fantasy that doesn’t include your partner. Choose face-to-face positions and maintain eye contact during sex.
You have to be nice out of bed, for your partner to want to connect in it. It is possible to love and not sacrifice yourself. Try letting your partner in, a little at a time, and you’ll discover not all intimacy is stifling.
For those sexual partners who fall into the ‘Disconnected Couple’ category, Tracey advises talking to each other during sex to make sure you both ‘stay in the room’ (stock image)
THE OVER-INVOLVED COUPLE
Love: At the opposite end of the disconnectors, you have Tweedledum and Tweedledee: the over-involved couple.
This pair don’t just merge, it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other starts. You don’t share a life with your partner, you’re each living your lives for each other.
Sex: Sex feels a little incestuous because you act more like siblings than lovers. Because your main purpose in life is to please each other, there’s zero tension in the relationship. Great if you want a peaceful life but sex is drearily dull when the only argument you have is fighting over who’s going to be the one to ‘give’ in bed.
Sex it up: Give sex the importance it deserves. Of all the couples, yours is the first sex life to fall on the sword. Even worse, neither of you particularly care because it’s comfort not desire that motivates you. Of all the couples, you’re the ones who most need to schedule in regular sex time.
Masturbate solo and read or watch erotica. Buy a good quality vibrator and use it often. Read sexy novels to inspire erotic scenarios that appeal to you, rather than simply agreeing to things your partner suggests.
‘The over-involved couple’ are a pairing who do everything together. They don’t live their lives with each other, rather they live each other’s life for them (stock image)
THE COMPANIONATE COUPLE
Love: Similar to over-involved couples but much healthier, these are the ‘I knew at once that I’d met my soulmate’ couples. You’re so compatible, it’s like you were somehow meant to be together. You do most things together but aren’t joined at the hip. Totally comfortable with each other, you also trust each other implicitly.
Sex: The high friendship factor means sex isn’t exactly red hot but if lusty sex isn’t a huge priority, this type of pairing can be incredibly satisfying.
Sex it up: Don’t let love eclipse sex. Try something radical that forces you to see each other as lovers not friends. Role-play, a power game. Confess a fantasy of stripping in a bar. Anything that shocks you both into seeing each other as purely sexual objects.
Don’t let sex droughts last too long. The longer the sex drought, the less likely it is the couple will ever be sexual together again. If it’s been a while, do it tonight (or at least this weekend) and do it often.
THE PRACTICAL COUPLE
Love: As the name suggests, you’re together for practical reasons. Whether it’s money, looks, status, availability or convenience, the motive to merge came from your heads not hearts. It might not sound romantic but these relationships often last longer than the others. Because you didn’t start out with romanticized views of grand passion or undying love, your expectations are far more realistic. And studies continually show a huge factor in staying together long-term is commitment to the commitment.
Sex: Sexual passion might be lacking at the start but if there’s a genuine desire to please – in order to keep what you chose – it can work.
Tracey Cox (pictured) explains what your sex personality is and gives tips on how best to relate to your partner in bed
Sex it up: Learn to let go. Practical people often don’t like losing control so find it hard to immerse themselves in sex. Try to let go more. Ask lots of questions of each other to get feedback. The more confidence you have about your sexual skills, the more inclined you’ll be to speak up if your needs aren’t getting met.
See your partner as an individual. Most of us have a set idea of what people like in bed. Women like their breasts fondled, men like BJ’s, you should have sex twice a week. If someone doesn’t conform to our personal norm, we tend to think something’s wrong with them. Move away from this. Expect differences and you’ll work out a compromise.
THE PASSIONATE COUPLE
Love: These are the classic, deeply in love couples you see depicted in films. You’re usually opposites who’ve attracted but rather than feeling threatened or unsettled by your differences, love the intensity this creates. There’s so much passion, it obliterates practical considerations like basic compatibility – well, it does at the start. Most passionate love affairs crash and burn as quickly as they began. But the lucky few who negotiate the many hurdles, end up with the relationship the rest of us desperately want: one that’s over-flowing with buckets of attraction and chemistry.
Sex: There’s lots of it and it’s usually fantastic. The less ‘samey’ the couple, the higher the sexual heat.
Which sex personality is best?
Is there a ‘perfect’ style that guarantees life-long lust and love? ‘Passionate’ couples are probably the closest to the ideal – which could explain why they’re the least common.
Second on the wish list is the ‘healthy’ couple. These tend to be quite long-term couples who’ve openly confronted the difficulty of maintaining both passion and closeness – so are the ones most likely to get it.
Interestingly, it’s the couples who describe each other as ‘best friends’ who struggle the most sexually. A great relationship ironically often means a mediocre sex life.
It’s the turbulent, on-again, off-again, who-the-hell-would-want-it sort of liaisons, constantly ripped apart by fights that would send most of us scuttling to the divorce lawyer, that enjoy the highest erotic spark.
But whatever your style, there are pluses and minuses. Some make for a better sex life, some a better love life.
Recognise yours, work on the weak parts and nurture the strengths and you might just be the lucky ones who end up with both!
Sex it up: Don’t think you know all there is to know about each other. Lashings of lust smooths over any technical flaws in technique but it won’t forever. Don’t just rely on non-verbal cues but talk about your needs because they not only change constantly, you may have misunderstood at the very start.
Keep laying on the sex compliments, even if you think it’s obvious you’re enjoying it. Talking about sex isn’t just done for communication but to boost sexual confidence as well.
THE HEALTHY COUPLE
Love: Healthy couples require a delicate balancing act of each of you retaining your own individual identity and personality but also drawing a clear line around the relationship itself, so you’re connected to each other. Put simply, you care about both yourselves and each other, in a healthy proportion.
Open about everything, you discuss the lot and when you argue, it’s infrequent and rarely nasty. Big problems are always approached with a ‘we’ll get through this together’ spirit and there’s a constant focus on the positive.
Sex: Because both of you look after your own sexual needs as well as each other’s, sex is usually pretty satisfying. Not as scorching as the passionate pair but still pretty damn good!
Sex it up: Beware the gruesome twosome. Boredom and lack of enthusiasm are things even happy couples battle. The closer you get, the less you feel like sex and the more you settle into routine sex. Expect for this to happen – then fight it. Be open to constantly trying new things.
Maintain an active and private fantasy life. Neither of you would dream of cheating but having sex with other people in your head can inject spark when your sex life is feeling stale. Around 87 per cent of people admit to fantasising about sex with other people. It’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
Read more from Tracey at traceycox.com where you’ll also find her best-selling product ranges and books.