I really love my new partner and we are both really excited to spend intimate time together, but I often leave the bedroom feeling dissatisfied. When my partner asks me how it was for me, I don’t want to give him a straight answer because I don’t want him to have performance anxiety. Even though the attraction is there, I am afraid that if I am too directive it will stop the flow or I will seem bossy. Do you have any about how I can get what I want without hurting his feelings?
Even though sparks may be flying between you and your new partner, it isn’t unusual for most new lovers to not know exactly what kinds of kisses and caresses are the right ones. Try a few of these subtle yet clarifying ideas to communicate your desires without feeling like you are giving orders or interrupting the flow.
1. Make it a game. One of everyone’s favorite childhood games, Hot and Cold, is a great way to playfully lead your new mate to exactly the places that you most enjoy being touched. Any time you turn your communication into a game you build up suspense and anticipation because the game opens your exchange to the unexpected. For example, if your partner is kissing your neck and you say, “you’re getting warmer,” you might be pleasantly surprised by the many unexplored erogenous zones they discover on their way down to your preferred spot. Playfulness and laughter are the hors d’oeuvres for passion.
2. Use fantasy to your advantage. I can always pique my husband’s curiosity when I start any conversation with “I had this fantasy about us, and you were doing ______with me.” Opening up your lover’s imagination both lets him/her know that you are thinking about them in sexy ways and gives him/her permission to try out new things that they may have otherwise been too timid to approach. Sharing fantasies is another playful and effective way to move your love life into new territory.
3. Let someone else do the talking. Both men’s and women’s magazines offer monthly advice for improving your love life. Sometimes giving someone a good idea can be as simple as leaving the magazine open to the right page on your bed. If that doesn’t work, a simple conversation starter like, “I just read this interesting, crazy, cool (pick your adjective) idea in this magazine. What do you think about….?” Books and television shows can also be used like this, so just find good sources to get your conversation started.
4. Show rather than tell. One of the most effective forms of correction in many activities, and I would say sex ranks high here, is by noticing and using the teachable moment. When his/her hand isn’t quite placed correctly or if the pressure is too soft or hard, lay your hand on top of your partner’s and show them how you like it. Your immediate response will bank that shift deep into their memory banks. Experiential learning not only lasts longer but also often translates into other areas of relating.
5. Compliment instead of complain. Your sensitivity to your partner’s ego in sexual performance is well founded. Most of us have a raw nerve about being able to pleasure the people we love. Rephrasing what isn’t working into a statement of what would make your experience hotter is easy to hear and listen to. Try “I love it when you _____, but it would be even better if you ______.” Instead of complaining about what is happening, compliment what is good and make suggestions for the future. By doing so you are opening up current behavior into sexy new possibilities.
Wendy Strgar is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. She helps couples tackle the questions and concerns of intimacy and relationships, providing honest answers and innovative advice. Wendy lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, a psychiatrist, and their four children ages 11-20.