Love, Advice

How do I experiment with my partner before I get married – without going all the way?

I think before ANYTHING else, it’s important to figure out if the person you’re considering for marriage is open-minded.

Hi Madame Lestrange,

I don’t want to have sex outside of marriage, but how can I find out if I’m sexually compatible with someone before/without actually having sex? What should I ask them?






Dear Anon,

I love that you asked this question – If sexual compatibility is an important factor for your future happiness, then I think it’s a really good idea to determine that compatibility whether you are or aren’t waiting for marriage. And I also think there are several ways to get into this without having sex.

  1. I think before ANYTHING else, it’s important to figure out if the person you’re considering for marriage is open-minded and willing to listen to what you do or don’t like. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much of a spark is or isn’t there – if the person you’re with won’t take into account what you like or want to try, things will fade and become frustrating. So this is a *vital* aspect of any relationship.
  2. When you say you don’t want to have sex outside of marriage, are you including oral sex? Making out? Fingering? If you’re okay with trying any of these, you can definitely use that as a proxy for overall compatibility. If the two of you kiss and it’s amazing every time or gets better every time, chances are that’ll translate to sexual compatibility. Is the chemistry there with kisses? The chemistry should be there with sex, even if the sex isn’t ‘good’ at first!
  3. If you don’t want to get into anything physical, even kissing, then in addition to point 1: is there a spark when you two are together? Do you feel like you want to kiss them, touch them in any/every way, have sex with them– just anytime you’re around them? Do they feel the same way? That spark and chemistry is a good way to know if the attraction is there, and attraction is a good starting point for that sexual compatibility.
  4. Start having conversations on thoughts about sex, how important it is to each of you, what it means to a relationship, how often do they want it, etc. etc. Compatibility doesn’t just come from that chemistry/spark (though that is important), it also comes from mutual understanding and similar beliefs on the importance of sex in the relationship.
  5. If you can find someone who is open-minded, willing to make compromises, interested in taking what *you* want into consideration, who you share a spark with … you should feel pretty confident that you’ve found someone compatible. 🙂

You’re welcome,

Madame Lestrange


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