If I asked you what your turn ons were, would you know? If I asked your sexual partner what your turn ons were, would they know? Do you know what turns on YOUR sexual partner? How about previous sexual partners? How aware are you of what impacts your sex drive? And to what extent have you communicated that to your partner? If you paused and were not sure of your answers to these questions, then below is an exercise for you. But first, when you think about TALKING ABOUT SEX, does it excite you or make you nervous? For many people the idea of telling their sex partners what they want is scary or a big turn off. I wonder where this idea comes from that we expect our sexual partners to read our minds and then are surprised or disappointed when they don’t. I theorize it comes from our culture and movies. We are taught not to talk about sex when growing up yet we are bombarded with sexual images every day. This certainly sends mixed messages about sex in our society. If you are craving pizza for dinner but don’t express that and your partner cooks burgers do you blame them for not knowing what you wanted?
If the idea of talking about sex with your partner makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone. Many of the people I come in contact with express the same thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to have been partnered up with someone you share the same sexual style with in bed, talking about sexual likes, dislikes, turn ons, and turn offs, is essential to a satisfying sex life. Yes, it is disappointing to have to tell your partner what you want – because all those people in the movies never have to – their partners know exactly what gets them straight to orgasm – right? No you’re not in Hollywood, welcome to reality.
Communicating desires and expectations is a necessary component to getting our sexual needs met. While it might be disappointing initially to have to ask for what you want sexually, hopefully soon enough you will forget that you ever asked because you will be too focused on how great it feels! If you continue to be sexually frustrated and longing for something else – start communicating so you can make your sex life something you desire over something you dread. I encourage my clients to think about talking about turn ons and offs, sexual likes and dislikes, as foreplay with partners. To even write it down so that they can remember and refer to it when wanting to treat their partner on a sexual special occasion.
Turn ons & Turn offs exercise:
- Each partner lists out their turn ons and turn offs. Take some time and don’t try to get your list completed in one sitting. Do this on your own and try to limit turn offs to 1 turn off for every 5 turn ons. Stumped? What are some of your favorite sex scenes from movies or is there some erotica that you have watched that really got you hot? Why? Was one partner particularly confident or aggressive? Was it the way one person undressed the other? Were there candles lit or was it in a place particularly erotic? Was it hurried or slow and passionate? Did the couple talk to one another or were they quiet?
- Once each person’s list is complete, they make a copy of it for their partner.
- Share your lists without judgment. Be open, present, and in a place of curiosity. If you have resentment, don’t allow your feelings from the past impact your ability to be present with your partner. If you are unclear on something – go ahead and ask questions but don’t share any judgments about your partner’s turn ons/offs. Don’t yuck their yum.
Now go have sex!