Asking for What You Want
Ask for what you want – everybody already knows that, right? How many times have we heard it? But has it gotten any easier?
How do we really get comfortable with it?
Asking for what we want is not a cool little sexual trick. It is a profoundly core issue; it goes to the heart of our self concept and self doubt. This is why it is so daunting. It’s also why it is so liberating, in all aspects of life. And it’s why becoming clear on it is essentially a spiritual path.
My first memory of thinking about asking for anything sexually was somewhere in my teen years and the image I had then was something like a play-by-play directive. Yuck! I could not imagine anything more unromantic. Add to that, that women are not actually supposed to have desires of our own, so admitting any would imply that we actually did want something and worse yet, knew what it was. That begged the question: How could we know that unless we had already had it? To my teen-age self that was a terrifying thought.
Essentially what I wanted, and the whole generation wanted, was to have some magical man read our minds for us. Save us the embarrassment of desire.
Sounds lovely – until you look at the other side of it. If you are supposed to read my mind, then am I supposed to read yours? I can’t.
What then usually happens is that we both try, and of course neither one is accurate – because we can’t be – so nobody gets much of anything that really satisfies. We end up somewhere between vaguely unsatisfied without knowing why, to grossly disappointed, maybe even offended, and looking for someone to blame.
There is a way to learn.
The most crucial ingredient to learning and becoming comfortable with asking is to have some experiences in which – it works!
The key is to not start when you are in the throes of passion. It’s just too daunting.
The big secret is to start:
– outside the bedroom
– with something tangible and immediate
– that is not about sex
– is of short duration and
– a relatively limited body part (not the whole body).
In other words, baby steps.
Like this: Honey, would you rub my feet for 5 minutes? Then I’ll do yours.
Or this: Love, would you hold me for a few minutes?
Once you begin, say out loud what feels good.
Like this: Oh yeah, right there, right in the arch.
And then, add something you would like different (if there is anything).
Like this: Oh yeah, like that. Now will you slow down? And deeper? Oh thank you, that is perfect.
Why? Not to try to make your giver feel good. Not to try to train your giver. Certainly not to fake anything.
The reason to communicate when it feels good is because – it is true. And because you are on a learning adventure, not about changing your partner, but about finding your voice. That is your job, not anyone else’s.
Success builds on success. When you discover that you get a great foot rub, next time you are emboldened to ask for something a little most specific about that next foot rub.
A few things that don’t work so well
1. Asking for a feeling: Make me feel special.
First, no one can give you a feeling. It happens within your own physiology. Second, though I may do something that inspires a feeling in you, I cannot know what exactly does make you feel special. For me it might be being held tenderly like a child. For you it may be me humping your thigh. We each have our own things that makes us feel ‘special’ or anything else.
2. Asking for an intangible: Touch me with love and respect.
For one person, soft caresses are love and respect. For another person whips and chains are love and respect.
In the most tangible sense, respect is shown by making clear agreements and sticking to them. And love is shown, one aspect of love anyway, by generosity. I may not be wild about fingernails on my back, but if you are, I am glad to do it for you.
3. Giving the choice back to them: Oh, do anything you want.
That’s a wonderful thing to offer, without a doubt, but it is a different question than this one.
And finally, a few examples
I suggested starting with the most immediate, tangible, non-sexual, short term touch you can. This gives you the experience that it works. Nothing like that to open you to possibilities. As you become more comfortable, you will find that you become more and more clear in what it is you ask for. You find that sometimes it is quite specific, other times more general, other times it’s a range inside which anything would be fine. Other times it’s more of an intention to go a particular direction.
Would you scratch my back, right there? Slower, please.
Would you hold me and listen to me talk about my day?
May I cuddle up against you while I fall asleep?
I would love to get my hands inside that sexy shirt of yours. Do you mind?
(pointing to your own neck) Right there, honey!
Tonight I would love to hang out with you. I don’t have a certain idea of what it looks like but I do know that what is important is that we can have a conversation.
Tonight I really want to watch this movie. I think it will be a little tender hearted for me. Would you mind watching it with me and holding me?
Mmm… I could kiss you all night and I don’t care it if it leads anywhere else or not. I just know that I want you in my arms.
Oh man, oh man, what a day. I sure could use a quickie. Are you up for that?
I want to be your servant tonight. And I don’t want to decide anything. I’m yours.
Would you be my love slave tonight? Is there anything you are not available for? I will respect that of course, but other than that, I want to boss you around and tell you exactly what to do to me. The only rule is that if there is something you really don’t want to do, you have to tell me. That lets me relax and know I won’t make you endure anything.
. . . .
Bit by bit, step by step. Start right where you are, with what is easy. When your body feels how great it works, you’ll naturally expand from there.