intimate passion

Last updated on March 4, 2022

Average reading time: 5 minutes.

There is no bigger turn-off than a partner who is complaining, making a reproach, or being needy. But frustration is one of the worst relationship killers. And no-one is a mind-reader, and you can’t expect your partner to guess and get it right without pointers (that is a point I have been harping on).

So... how can you ask for something new, or for a change, without sounding like a complaint, or worse, making the other feel inadequate?

There are 4 rules and tools that I use.

1. Choosing the right circumstance.

Like in everything, when someone is caught unprepared, they might feel shocked and meet your request with rejection. Circumstances are important: you won’t ask for a sexual practice when you’re in a family dinner – much the same, be sure that you are in an instance adequate for intimate conversation.

The circumstance for the conversation (and the action) should be one where your partner is comfortable, their mind available, having some time to respond and/or ponder their answer (depending on the matter at hand).

If you want to have sex, the worst moment to initiate is late in the evening, before going to sleep. At that moment, we are exhausted, and not willing to spend time doing something physical. The best time to make love is when you feel energetic, curious, and enthusiastic. Afternoon is the best time.

2. Starting small and slow.

You don’t build a cathedral; you assemble stones until they eventually make a cathedral.

You should not ask directly for something extremely out of the ordinary. It you start proposing a marathon to someone who never did any sports, it will seem impossible. If you want to try something new, a fantasy or kink, test the waters to see if your partner would indulge in something out of the ordinary; and propose “baby steps” towards your grand kinky purpose.

And in any case, you are more likely to have a “yes” for a kiss than for intercourse... even though said kiss might lead to making love.

So when you want to try something unusual for your partner, propose to “try” for 5 minutes. If those 5 minutes are good, then you may go further.

Of course, being graceful with their answer is also paramount! Be it the initial answer to your proposal, or the result of the test. Forcing oneself is both a turn-off and a relationship killer.

3. Offer a menu.

People are more likely to accept something if they have a choice. And they are more likely to make a choice if there are only a few options.

So when you want to propose something that will lead to a romantic dinner, or making love, the best way is to make 3 basic proposals, preferably making them sound palatable and pleasant for your partner. Her answers will also give you information on her mood, and where you both can expect the interaction to lead.

Important: your offer should be authentic, and be about things that will be pleasant for both. And your desires should not be snuck in like a shameful secret. If your goal is to lead to a sexual interaction, and you propose a massage, ask yourself: do you really enjoy doing the massage? Are you OK with not having sex after the massage? If it’s not the case, this is bound to fail and make you both frustrated.

Bargaining explicitly is not very appealing; but when you offer something in the hopes of having something in return, it feels like manipulation and neediness. That will be a huge turn-off. If you really want sex, you should be clear about it, not necessarily by saying “I want sex”, but in your energy, your attitude. To stay in the example of massage, if your proposal is an erotic massage, it may feel different from a proposal for a relaxing massage.

How to expose one’s sexual desire without sounding “needy”? Try saying things like: “You look very sexy today, you make me feel like we just met”... and add a detail from a date which you had and when you made passionate love afterwards.

An important mindset to have is that sexual interaction is, or should be, pleasant for both. If you are not being selfish and wanting to use the other person like an object; you should speak of sex as something enjoyable for them. You don’t ask for sex, you propose it. What you offer as should be pleasant for both - including the path of mutual arousal.

And if you never had sex in a way that was pleasant for her, open a conversation about it. “I have an issue: I want to be good lover for you. Maybe together we can make making love what it is meant to be: an expression of our feelings?” More on the topic of creating a conversation about making love here.

Being graceful about the other’s wants and desires is key to being respected in your own.

4. A formal request for experiment.

This is a formal process that I learned from a sex therapist that I admire very much.

It is formal way to make a request and answer it:

  1. Here is something I love and appreciate about you and our relationship. (Be authentic, and relevant to your request.)
  2. Here is something I would like to add / try with you. Remember the first points: ideally you should offer a “test”, “making an experiment”, or something that lasts 5 minutes.
  3. Here is what it would mean for me / what emotions it would make me feel.

The answer should be:

  1. Thank you for trusting me with your desire
  2. Here is how that proposal makes me feel (emotions, not judgements)
  3. Here are the ways this can be acceptable / feasible for me. Be authentic, including saying “no” (gently!), or needing time to ponder, in which case you should schedule an appointment right away. If this proposal is not feasible in its current state, propose something that can go in the direction of the other's desire, and/or elicit the same emotions mentioned by the asker. 

When done properly, this process is very emotional and bonding.

Remember: people learn! If when you are exposing your desires and vulnerabilities, you are met with contempt or laughter, you will not do it again. If when taking time to listen to your partner’s desires, you feel insulted, you will not want to deepen the bond.

A mock example of how NOT to do this: “I love you because you have beautiful eyes. I would like to try f*ing you in the ass. It would make me feel powerful”. “Thank you for showing me how much of a jerk you are. This makes me feel insulted. The best way to make it happen is to have hell freezing over.”

As always, you should start slow and soft, propose “baby steps”, safety rules, and when you make them happen, remember ongoing, reversible consent. If there are many things you would like to add to your relationship, start with the smallest, and the easiest.

And, of course, this should be reciprocal! And you should debrief after experimenting.

I hope this helps in your relationships.

Please let me know in the comments.

  • Have you ever had a relationship die because of frustrated desires? Because of unspoken desires?
  • Have you ever felt insulted by the way your partner’s desires were communicated?
  • Have you ever had difficulties expressing your desires with your partner?
  • Have you felt like you wanted to know more about your partner’s desires, and not knowing how to ask them?
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