Asking for it: Assertion in the bedroom

Samantha Caiola

Sex can be difficult. When two people crawl into a bed/library cubicle/fraternity basement together and whip out their fun parts, there are inevitably going to be problems. What will really define you as a lover is your ability to handle those awkward moments with poise while also maintaining the dignity of your probably oblivious partner.

Odds are, you can recall at least one moment in your sexual history when your partner was doing something that was not working for you in the slightest. Maybe he was ferociously tonguing somewhere that wasn’t even close to your pleasure trigger. Maybe she was speed-eating your earlobe like an Evanston squirrel would a chocolate-covered acorn.

Whatever the tragedy, there were probably a hundred things that would have given you more pleasure in those five to seven minutes. But how do you speak up without hurting your partner’s feelings? Do you subtly shift the targeted body part away from the offender in the hopes that he will get the hint? Do you say you’re not in the mood and call it quits for the night?

No. You get assertive. And I don’t mean aggressive (no need for chains and whips here-unless that’s your bag), I mean assertive. Stop the offending partner to clearly and specifically explain what you need, and he or she should respond with enthusiasm. Intimacy is confusing, and the giver is probably crossing his fingers (if they’re not preoccupied) for a hint about how to please you correctly. Yeah, somebody’s ego might get a little bruised, but it will be worth it for both of you in the end.

A 2009 study at the University of California, Davis defines assertive communication as “saying no to demands of others when they go against our internal needs and beliefs, and initiating our own personal desires and goals.” In their survey of approximately 5,700 students, UC Davis found that 50 percent of those who have been in a sexual situation felt uncomfortable communicating.

A lack of communication can lead to only bad sex. I hope for the sake of all Wildcats that you’re doing a better job speaking up for yourselves than those UC Davis kids. But just in case you’re not, here are some tips to use as a launching point:

First of all, your partner may have trouble finding your clit/g-spot/perineum/wherever it is you like to be touched. Just show him. You’ve got hands, they’ve got hands. Put your high-ranking college brains together and figure it out. The search might be a little awkward, but once he’s found it, he probably won’t forget it. Using subtle moans or lack thereof can help you send a message without feeling like you’re giving commands. Plus, sexy noises make everything more fun.

Or maybe your partner is attacking you like a deranged pterodactyl. No worries, there is a way to slow him down. Just ask your counterpart to be a little gentler. The easiest way to do this is to whisper “slow” or “soft” in his ear. If he doesn’t get the hint, find a way to get on top and control the speed yourself. If you’re going for sex that could be set to a Norah Jones song and he’s going for Led Zeppelin, you’re going to need to work together to find a compromise.

What if your partner has a tendency to fall asleep after orgasm even if you’re not done yet? Try waking him up gently by kissing his neck, forehead, or any place you think he’ll like. Politely let him know that you’re still feeling riled up and you’d love for him to please you a little longer, since he was doing so well before. If he’s truly exhausted, at least make him promise that he’ll finish you off in the morning.

Moral of the story: you can take control of your sex life without feeling like a demanding jerk. Just try communicating reasonably and you’ll be surprised how well it works for both of you.

Happy hay-rolling!