Question: "What does the Bible say about sexual compatibility / incompatibility?"

Answer: One of the most frequent justifications given for sex before marriage is that a couple wants to test their sexual compatibility. “How do we make sure we are sexually compatible unless we have sex?” – the question goes. The Bible clearly and consistently describes sex outside of marriage as immoral (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 1:7; Revelation 21:8). There is no biblical allowance for “testing for sexual compatibility.”

The closest the Bible comes to mentioning sexual incompatibility is in 1 Corinthians 7:5, “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Regarding participating in a sexual fast, this verse instructs couples not to deprive each other of sex unless it is mutually agreed upon and for a limited time. This guidance should also be applied to the frequency of sex in marriage in general. As the previous verse says, “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:4). If a husband and wife disagree regarding the frequency of sex, both the husband and wife should seek to sacrificially love each other and come to a mutual agreement. There should be no demanding or withholding. Rather, the husband and wife should cherish each other and seek each other’s good.

In reality, except in extremely rare physiological/medical situations, sexual incompatibility is a myth. If a married couple disagrees about managing money, should they be described as financially incompatible? Or should they work together to come to mutually agreed upon decisions regarding how money is spent versus saved? If a married couple is having difficulties with in-laws, should they be described as having familial incompatibility? Or should they follow what the Bible says about leaving and cleaving while honoring their parents?

When a man and woman get married, there is almost always a learning period regarding sex. A husband and wife may need to figure out what their spouse enjoys sexually. There may be some sexual incompatibility for a time, but it can be overcome. In reality, sexual compatibility is not about whether a particular man and woman are compatible, but whether a particular couple’s attitudes about sex are compatible. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Within a marriage of a loving husband and loving wife, any amount of sexual incompatibility can be overcome. With honor, sacrifice, care, selflessness, practice, patience, communication, and, yes, fun—sexual compatibility is achievable.