“Oh, baby, you’re the best!” In our fantasies, we’re always in bed with a guy who knows just how to push our buttons. He’s neither too rough nor too cautious. He knows all our hot spots. Maybe he even shows us some nerve endings we didn’t know we had. He knows just what to do. It’s as if he can read our mind.
“OW! Watch the teeth, okay?” In everyday reality, we find ourselves in bed with someone who can’t read our mind and who doesn’t know where our hot buttons are unless we tell him. He makes missteps – just like we do. If we’re lucky he’s enthusiastic and attentive. Sometimes were not so lucky. If getting your erotic needs met feels like going to a pot-luck dinner – you take what you get; maybe it will be better next time – it’s time to learn new ways of communicating your desires with your partner....
Talking about sex can seem…unsexy. If we embarrass easily or if we don’t really know just what we want, the whole topic can make us anxious. We worry about sounding stupid or demanding. Worst of all, we worry that talking about sex will spoil the mood. Instead of getting what we want, we may not get anything at all.
Some conversations are easiest to have away from the bedroom and well before you and the object of your affection are naked. “I always talk about safer sex stuff before we get to my place,” Joe says. “It’s easier to ask about how he feels about condoms over dinner than when we’re between the sheets.” Joe’s other tip: he lowers his voice, looks his partner in the eye and tells him how much he wants to ride his partner’s dick all night long – if they can wrap that rascal first. Who could resist an invitation like that?
It’s easier to talk about problems outside the bedroom. “I would really like us to take it slower” is easy to hear over a glass of chardonnay at dinner. “Hey, slow down!” in an irritated voice when you’re getting pounded in bed is more likely to bruise your guy’s feelings. No one wants to feel like a klutz in bed.
Feelings are easy to bruise, especially around sex. Be kind rather than accusatory. See if you can frame requests in a way that is positive. “You know what would drive me crazy? I’d love for you to…” Try to make only one request at a time. If you bombard your partner with suggestions he may feel you are telling him he’s sexually incompetent. No one wants to hear that. Instead, be encouraging. Give him compliments if they are sincere. Sit close; maybe touch him gently and reassuringly.
And when you are getting it on and you get what you want, let him know it. Tell him “Yeah, that’s it!” or moan and sigh, move around, smile. Psychologists like to say when a certain behavior is rewarded, it happens more often. Compliment your partner often (without going overboard). Catch him doing something right, and let him know you love it. Building up his erotic self-confidence is good for you, too. This is one time when it can be very good manners to talk with your mouth full!
Take responsibility for your desires. Make “I” statements rather than “You” statements. There is a big difference between “I’d love you to get more forceful with me” and “You aren’t aggressive enough.”
Almost every man has had the experience of losing an erection during lovemaking. This is not fun. It can be pretty embarrassing. Talking about it is difficult, but discussing your concerns with your partner can be the path to resolving the issue. “I decided I shouldn’t be having sex with anyone if I was afraid to lose an erection with him,” Jorge says. “If I couldn’t feel secure enough for that, I was putting to much performance pressure on myself.” Letting his partners know that his body was sometimes slow to respond even if he was really enjoying himself helped him relax and be less distracted.
Ever heard the advice that to be considered a good conversationalist, you really need to be a good listener? It’s the same with sex. Often we give someone what we hope he’ll give us. We like having our nipples played with, so we play with his – even though it seems to annoy him. This isn’t likely to get you what you want, and it’s also not the way to be the most skilled lover around. You would be much better off telling him what you want and touching him the way he wants to be touched.
Ah, touch. There are so many ways to make physical contact with someone. Touching or being touched in exactly the same manner all the time can become irritating. Enough of exactly the same touch and our brains shut down – you will stop feeling the touch altogether. This is not pleasant. Better to vary how you make physical contact, alternating light touch with firmer, fingernail scratches with holding, teasing with squeezing.
If you are going to try to get more of what you want, it’s only fair that you give your partner more of what he wants, too. Ask him about particular turn-ons or fantasies. What gets him going? What turns him off? Don’t be defensive. You might even see if you can be sexy or playful when you initiate this conversation. You are telling him that he’s important and you want to give him pleasure. This is can be very different from a clichéd what-are-you-into conversation.
Don’t be afraid. Speak up. You will be imperfect and make mistakes. So what? Taking the initiative is masculine and sexy, and makes it much more likely that you will get what you want and deserve.
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.