It’s all about communication

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Dear Sophie,

How can I let my significant other know that I’d like them to be more “aggressive” in the bedroom? Saying “I like it rough” sounds cliche, and I’m nervous as to what the response will be.

A lady of my acquaintance was recently asked if she liked it rough, and I think she had a violent urge to titter scornfully at the unfortunate gentleman, so you are probably right to avoid that phrase. However, there’s plenty you can say. First of all, make sure you know exactly what you mean by “aggressive” (and what you don’t mean), because different people will have very different ideas of what the word signifies. Do you want your beloved to slap you? Tie you up? Call you a slut? Whatever it is you’re looking for, you need to be specific and clear about it. If the person in question (I’m assuming for the purposes of pronoun correctness that your SO is male) isn’t used to being more dominant, he might feel awkward about trying it, because he’ll worry about doing it wrong and embarrassing himself. The way to prevent that is to say, “Next time we have sex, I want you to dress me in green duct tape and call me a vile strumpet while you force me to dance the jitterbug, but don’t spank me or pull my hair because that would be gross.” Then he’ll know exactly what to do, and you’ll get exactly what you want.

Dear Sophie,

I love being spanked around; however, every time we have sex, my guy assumes I want to be spanked and manhandled. I find myself craving close and sweet sex. How do I tell him this without ruining the moment?

If you sense that sexytimes are approaching and you’re not necessarily in the mood to be flung about the room willy-nilly, it’s probably best to mention that right away. Don’t wait until he’s already been whaling on your bottom for an hour before you say, “Darling, this is PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE of what I want right now.” You can also mention this when you’re just hanging out, actually. If you’re talking about sex already (or even if you’re not, because who doesn’t like to talk about sex?), just say, “Hey, you know I love when we have rough sex, but also sometimes I like to change it up a little.” If you make it clear that you still love what he’s already doing, it shouldn’t be a problem. Also, you should know that I plan on incorporating the phrase “spanked around” into my daily vocabulary, because it’s absolutely delightful.

Dear Sophie,

My girlfriend and I started dating about six months ago, and I don’t think she finds me attractive at all anymore. I haven’t changed my look really, so this bothers me. Is there any way I can bring back what she used to see in me without changing who I am?

To be honest, your interpretation of the situation doesn’t sound that likely to be correct. If she found you attractive when you started dating and you haven’t changed at all, then in six months’ time it seems highly doubtful that she could have completely changed her standards of beauty. So, okay. It could be that you have changed significantly, but I assume that you would have noticed (and told me). My suspicion is that something else is going on here.

Why is it that you think she doesn’t find you attractive anymore? Is it that she acts distant with you? Is she less interested in sex? There are myriads of reasons why either of these might be the case. Some are difficult reasons, others easy to deal with. She could be overworked and stressed out, she could be worried about juggling time with you vs. her other friends, she could be getting bored with the sex you’re having, etc. There are solutions to all of these problems. It is also possible that she’s no longer as interested in your relationship as she once was. Mind you, I am not saying that this is the case, and I have no reason to believe that it is—it’s just one of many possibilities.

But whatever is going on with her, I think you should talk to her about it. For example, you could say, “I notice we’re spending less and less time together, and I miss you. Is there something you want to talk about?” Focus on an actual concrete thing she’s doing, or not doing, and ask her about that; even if you really do think that she doesn’t find you attractive anymore, it’s not a great way to open up a conversation. And these things are often far less sinister than they appear to be.

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