How do you communicate to your partner that you want to have sex or are open to having sex? This may seem like an obvious question to some, but really think about it for a moment. How does your partner know when you are ready to have sex? Many times couples find that they are not sure what their partner is thinking, what they are in the mood for, and they don’t really know how to ask.

This often becomes an issue after a couple has been together for awhile and their relationship is strong and healthy. As your partner becomes more and more important to you, and as you depend more on their happiness for your own, you may find yourself taking a back seat to their needs. This is to be expected, especially in situations in which you do not want to add to their stress or demands. The result for many may be that they take a “wait and see” approach to initiating sex. This means that they try to take their cues from their partners before making their desire known. But what if your partner is doing the same thing? You may never ask each other for sex, and the tension of how to communicate this grows heavier.

One exercise that a couple can do is to ask each other, “How can I tell if you are in the mood? How will you let me know?” This opens the door of communication so that you are not attempting to guess what your partner is trying to tell you. It also puts each person at ease to more freely communicate when they are thinking about or desiring sex.

Another wonderful exercise that couples can do is to ask each other “Under what circumstances do you let yourself get turned on?” At first, this may seem like an odd question because most people think that getting turned on depends on someone else doing something to you. But the reality is that our mind controls our level of sexual arousal by either being open to what’s happening around us and our own erotic thoughts, or by keeping us shut off from potentially exciting events, thoughts, or stimulation.

One complaint that I have heard often is that people’s expectation is that sex should happen spontaneously – the feeling just comes over you, and magically it works out, like in a romantic movie. But such expectations are unrealistic and do not take into account the reality of busy schedules and stressful lives. A good sex life takes work, planning, and a little risk taking. So if you find yourself in that uncomfortable position of playing Chip and Dale (the Disney version! – “What do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?”) try having a few conversations about sex. The results might surprise you!

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