As I've mentioned in my last few posts, I've been spending some time reading through stories on the /r/DeadBedrooms subreddit of Reddit. "Dead bedrooms" refers to a sexless or near-sexless relationship.
The stories hit a little close to home because I see a lot of my first marriage in the heartfelt accounts people share. I can totally relate to the crushed self-esteem of feeling like the person you love most in the world seems to be repulsed by your touch. Being repeatedly rejected is absolutely devastating to self-worth, and I can feel the pain in every story.
Part of my fascination with this has to do with the question - can we prevent dead bedrooms? No-Bone Zone was written to help couples rekindle the spark they once enjoyed, but what about couples with wildly different libidos (as opposed to issues that may interfere with our sex lives like medical conditions?) What happens when it's not an issue of needing to rekindle the spark but rather the spark was never there to begin with?
Part of the issue is, even for people with very low libidos, sexual desire is off the charts during the Honeymoon phase (hence the "honeymoon trap.") Two people, one with a high libido and one with a low libido, may match up sexually during the early stages of the relationship. They don't discover the mismatched sex drive issue until they've already made a significant commitment (marriage, house, kids, a cat named Whiskers, etc.)
That brought up the question - is it possible to assess sexual compatibility before making a significant commitment?
The answer - maybe.
There's an instrument (aka: survey) called the Sexual Desire Inventory- 2 (SDI-2) that measures how we think about sex, specifically how often we think about sex and how often we'd want sex. The idea would be to give the test to both members of a couple before or shortly after they make any sort of commitment (like dating exclusively.) The closer the scores, the closer their sex drives match up, the less likely they would experience the dead bedroom phenomenon once the honeymoon phase dies down. Ideally, people with a high libido will pair up with people with a similarly high libido. Same deal with low libido folks.
In the past, I've recommended solving this problem by having open, honest discussions. I would still recommend that, but the SDI-2 would likely be a better tool than my previous ideas like discussing masturbatory frequency (a decent proxy to measure how often we get horny), sexual frequency in past relationships (which could be influenced by the past partners' libidos), or frequency of watching porn. All of these could be used, but probably won't be as reliable as the SDI-2.
Some may be asking "This is great for people that like sex, but why would a person that's not really into sex need to take a test?" It's simple - the person with the lower libido in a relationship suffers, too. They have to tolerate the seemingly constant requests for sex and must repeatedly reject their partner. That process is always distressful and has a decidedly toxic effect on the relationship.
So what do you think readers? How many of you would be willing to complete a survey like this to determine sexual compatibility? Leave your answer in the comments section!