Heart of Glass: Olivia Wants You To Make A List And Turn The Lights Low

x-art_lexi_tyler_ready_for_bed-13-smlDear Olivia,

I have a wonderful partner who is also a wonderful lover, but his style of lovin' doesn't always mesh well with what gets me off. He really wants to know what does it for me, and I do know exactly what really gets me going both in advance and in the moment, but if he asks while things are already hot and heavy I totally freeze up - it's like the instant things heat up the part of my brain that handles all this talking business totally shuts down. Obviously the solution is to communicate these things to him in advance - or even better, as part of foreplay! - but when I try this I feel awkward and unsexy at best and demanding at worst. Got any tips for how to channel my inner sex goddess as I open the lines of communication?

Best, Feeling Gagged and Not in a Sexy Way

Dear Gagged,

It's 2013, and it feels good, right?

Well, kind of.

It's 2013, and women are still trained that to express what they want—even when that thing is completely legitimate—is "demanding." I believe you when you say that your partner is understanding and cares about your sexual wants, but that doesn't mean that, you, a woman in society, hasn't internalized all of that gross sexism that's drifting around like space junk (we put it there—now who's gonna clean it up?). I worry about seeming demanding when I ask a waiter to hold an ingredient on my sandwich. It's unfortunate, but, you know. 2013. Society is better than it used to be, but it's not fixed by a long shot. We've got a ways to go.

Trying to have a conversation with your partner about how best to put what parts where, while you're doing some other task, is hard. It's difficult to explain to someone that you'd really love it if he penetrated you differently when you're both scrubbing out birdhouses or brushing your teeth or building a bookcase ("Wow, this hex key tightens these screws into the HEMNES bookcase beautifully. Speaking of…"). A lot of things said in the heat of passion—all dirty talk, sexy instructions, and a few other things besides—can sound silly in the context of daylight and daily chores. And planning, with all of its efficiency, can seem utterly libido-deadening.

And because talking about what you'd like sexually is too much pressure to do during foreplay (Your internal monologue probably sounds something like We're half naked already and if I mix this up sex is not going to be great and ahhh what exactly do I like, what gets me off, mmm his hand, ahhh, what do I like? What is my name? TOO MUCH PRESSURE), I'm gonna recommend you find some other time to do it.

Make it romantic. Pick an evening—ideally a low-stress evening, when you're both not bogged down with work or otherwise exhausted, and this talk is the only priority—when you can make dinner together and curl up with a glass of wine or a beer. If you're worried that sex being on the table for the evening will create more pressure, take it off the table. ("Tonight, we're going to eat, drink, talk, and then give each other massages/play a game/watch a movie, but not have sex.") And prior to that conversation, if it helps, make a list. Think about the sex that you've had that's made you see stars, and write that shit down. People make fun of lists, but lists are awesome. That way, if your mind goes blank mid-conversation, you can look down at the list and say, "I need a vibrator to get off" or whatever it is that you need.

So, yeah. Make a list. And talk about what you've been thinking about – how you love sex with him but there are some things that you feel will send you all the way to the moon, instead of just the exosphere. You can tell him that you want to talk about this now because during sex you get too blissed out to communicate clearly – everyone understands that feeling.

You also don't mention if you've brought this up with your partner before. If you haven't, he might be startled or even upset in a well-intentioned way, because he may want to know why you haven't mentioned it prior to this evening, or worry that he hasn't been a good enough lover. But if he's truly as generous and wonderful as you say, he'll be eager to switch things up to send you ‘round the world. It'll be a whole new frontier.

And don't be afraid to make these talks a regular thing, to check in. You may find that discussions about what you need to get off morphs into discussions about new things you or he would like to try, fantasies, kinks, or any other number of ideas that will take your sexual adventures in wonderfully new directions.

Go, Rocket Woman, go. Olivia

CONFIDENTIAL to HAIR: Get over yourself. Didn't you read the first part of this column? It's 2013.

Olivia Glass is not a doctor (but she is the author of Five Stages of Grief, an erotic novella published by Fleshbot Fiction. This column is for informational and entertainment purposes only. For more advice, head over to the Heart of Glass archive. If you have a burning question, email her at olivia.c.glass@gmail.com. If you have a question about burning, call your physician. See more photos like this one at X-Art.

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