How to Ask Your Partner for More Sex (Without Offending Them)
Focus on the positive.
Mismatched libidos are fun for no one. Two people fall in love bonding over a shared love of Neil de Grasse Tyson and a hatred of raisins. Without a care in the world, things are getting hotter and heavier than a Texas chili.
But as the relationship evolves, dynamics start to shift. Bills, kids, hormonal changes, job stress, and taking out the garbage can all rain on your sexy parade. One day, you wake up and realize the most action you've gotten recently is accidentally bumping into the washing machine. (Related: Low Libido? Here's How to Increase Your Sex Drive.)
Unfortunately, life isn't one big porno. People aren't running around horny all the time. A healthy sex life takes work. Relationships are a living breathing entity that require constant care.
And it's not just men doing all the initiating, sometimes women find themselves wanting nookie more often than their partners. From a woman who has been there before, I can say firmly: it sucks.
So how do you ask your partner to have sex without putting them on the defensive? Probably not like I did, which is by yelling "what is your problem?" while waving my new boyfriend, a giant phallic vibrator. (P.S. These Are the Best Vibrators to Use With a Partner.)
I consulted Cris Marie and Susan Clarke, authors of the book The Beauty of Conflict for Couples for more productive advice. Here's what I learned.
Don't Make Accusations
As it turns out, people don't like having a finger (or vibrator) pointed at them. I suppose that explains why my technique didn't work. According to CrisMarie Campbell, saying things like "you just care about how you feel," "you don't initiate sex enough," or "all you ever want is…" are just going to put people on the defensive.
Instead of "you" statements, try "I" statements. For example, "I want to be more experimental in my sexuality and I want you to join me." Or "I want you, as my partner, to be interested in how I feel about our sex life. I can't tell if you are." Telling your partner what they do that you like or how attractive you find them, can make them feel more amorous towards you.
A low-key sex life isn't always about mismatched libidos. Often, one or both people are holding onto resentments, which makes them less interested in sex. I once lived with someone had a never-ending parade of less than savory friends coming in and out of our apartment. Between constantly cleaning up their messes, being eaten and drank out of house and home, and our arguments about it, my attraction to my partner took a major nosedive. You need to address your other issues, too.
If you're on the shier side, talking about sex can be difficult. As much as we see sex everywhere in our culture, talking about it is still taboo for many people. Fear of rejection can also infect our ability to communicate our needs and desires even if we are in a long-term, loving relationship. Working with couples, Susan Clarke reports that men are often worried they will be perceived as "weak or judged as defective if they bring up sex-related issues with their partner."
"This issue is magnified when we begin to explore how little women understand their bodies," the authors say. "When you don't know where your g-spot is or how different types of touch make you feel, you can't ask for what you want."
Make Everyday Life a Little Sexier
You may be thinking, this all sounds great, but I want spontaneity! Spice! Less convo more horizontal mambo! More being thrown on the kitchen table when the kids aren't home!
Talking about sex doesn't need to be a boner killer. Sex isn't just about a one-time activity. Sexiness and sensuality can become incorporated in your daily life, says Clarke. Become more present: enjoy the juice of a strawberry, dance to your favorite sexy song, go commando, light more candles, wear perfume—you get the idea. Feeling sexy on a regular basis can help both you and your partner get in touch with those sexual vibes—no aggressive vibrator-waving necessary.