When I wrote the article on how to have "comfy sex" for the site (check out "What Is 'Comfy Sex'? How Can You Get More Of It?"), someone wrote me and asked, "Where do you get this stuff from?" Honestly, a lot of it I make up although what initially inspired my "different kinds of sex" ideas is a piece that I wrote a while back entitled, "8 'Kinds Of Sex' All Married Couples Should Put Into Rotation." Personally, it is my heartfelt belief that a part of the reason why some people — especially those who are in long-term relationships — find themselves getting bored with sex is that, far too often, they only look at it from a physical perspective. And yeah, if all you're thinking about is how intercourse literally happens and whether or not you're going to get an orgasm from it, not only can that get old, real fast, it can also keep you from experiencing so much more of what coitus has to offer…if you choose to stay open to it.
Since this is the month when all-things-gratitude are the focal point, I figured that now would be as good of a time as any for us to explore what it means to enjoy some "gratitude sex" with our partner. Sex that, yes, let's them know that you are grateful for being able to experience something so precious with them. Yet also taking another approach on gratefulness — sex that is "pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable; welcome". Ready?
1. Customize Your Presentation
One of the things that I like so much about the place where I get waxed is the atmosphere; especially the bathroom (and I can't say that about many bathrooms, chile). It's super clean. It's decorated in a really warm and inviting way. And it smells amazing. And all of that makes me more comfortable about taking off all of my clothes and going spread eagle in order to get the job done. My point? You know, it's interesting because, when I was having a convo with a husband recently, he said that something that he doesn't think that women recognize a lot is how much ambiance matters to a man. "I know society makes y'all want to think that as long as we can 'get in' we don't care about much else but that's actually some real bulls--t. I like candles. I like soft bedding. I like a sexy scent. Men like the right setting too."
I totally get this because when we take out the time to "set the stage" when it comes to sex, it sends the message that we've put some real forethought into planning out the experience…because that's how much our partner means to us. So, definitely make cultivating ambiance a top priority if you want to engage in some gratitude sex. Even before you touch each other, it lets your partner know just how much you adore them and are grateful to share what's about to go down.
2. Set Aside Some “Atypical Time” for Nothing but Intimacy
Remember how I said in the intro that a definition of grateful is "welcome". I've shared in a different article before that another husband once told me that he's someone who likes lingerie outside of sex. "If a woman only wears it before sex, it sends the message that she thinks that we don't care to see her being sexy AF outside of the bedroom and that's simply not true. Honestly, I like lingerie when my wife is just walking around the house. Once it's about to go down, she can be butt naked for all I care."
An atypical time to wear lingerie. Copy that. Do you know what else men are "welcome" to? An atypical time for intimacy. If you always do it at night, switch things up and initiate in the morning. If the weekends are more your thing, catch him off guard on a Tuesday afternoon. Something else that's cool about gratitude sex is when you aren't caught up in the routine of the act, when you "break code" a bit, you are basically saying, "I am so glad to be with you that I want you now" — and if now is at a random time of the day or night, who gives AF? So be it.
3. Tell Your Partner What You Appreciate About Them. Sexually.
When it comes to the semi-long list of top reasons for why so many couples end up calling it quits (including married folks who end up getting divorced), if there's one thing that I don't see mentioned nearly enough but absolutely should, it's that they don't feel appreciated by their partner. I get why that's so important too because when you appreciate someone, that means you value them, that you are fully conscious and aware of what they mean to you, and yes, that you are grateful for them.
Since the focus of this piece is all about physical intimacy, take a moment and ponder — when's the last time you verbally expressed the things that you appreciate about your partner, strictly as it relates to what happens in your boudoir? Maybe you appreciate how good they are at dirty talk. Maybe you appreciate how they take their time. Maybe you appreciate how much they care about you gettin' yours (and how they are able to tell when you don't). Maybe you appreciate how they pick up on your non-verbal affirmations or the fact that they are fully present, even after the act is over. Far too often, we take people for granted in areas where we think they should automatically know how we feel. If you want to be a master at gratitude sex, never assume — always express.
4. Be Compassionate in Your Foreplay
A grateful individual is typically a pretty compassionate one as well. What do I mean by that when it comes to sex? Well, the main definition of compassion is to see someone suffering on some level and have a desire to relieve it as a direct result. How this can translate into intimacy is, if your partner is totally down but you know they had a long day, how about offering them a massage? Or if it's evident that they are super stressed out, how about giving before receiving (if you know what I mean)? Or if they are feeling a little self-conscious about their body as of late, why not treat their sensitive areas as spots that you want to love on the most?
Synonyms for compassion include empathy, grace, mercy, tenderness, and heart. Putting yourself in your partner's shoes. Giving them favor when their performance may not be totally up to par. Being patient with them the way you want them to be patient with you. Bringing a "Force MDs spirit" into the bedroom (the real ones know). Caring about their feelings and emotions. All of this defines what it means to be a compassionate lover — what it means to incorporate compassion into your foreplay.
5. Speak Your Partner’s (Sexual) Love Language
I say it often because I totally believe it to be so — one of the biggest mistakes that are made, on the regular, in relationships, is folks are too caught up in giving their partner what they want to receive instead of what their partner actually desires. This can be the case in the bedroom too. That's why, last year, I penned "Are You Ready To Apply Your Love Language To Your Sex Life?" for the site because how your partner may want to receive sex may be different from how you prefer to.
Words of affirmation folks like seductive expressions. Physical touch people are big on erogenous zones. Acts of service individuals appreciate a cleaned bedroom. Quality time folks cherish afterplay (more on that in a bit). Gifts people like a little something that's waiting on their pillow before foreplay transpires. Pretty much, in every area of a romantic relationship, you can never go wrong with knowing what your partner's love language is. When it comes to sex specifically, do you? And if so, do you speak it fluently?
6. Fulfill a Sexual Fantasy
Again, another definition of grateful is "pleasing to the mind or senses" and fulfilling a sexual fantasy of your partner (as they do the same thing for you) definitely qualifies. When I'm in sessions with married folks (especially ones who have a somewhat extensive sexual history with other people), I'm big about pushing them to fulfill fantasies. Why? Well, aside from the fact that it's erotic as all get out, oftentimes a fantasy is something that hasn't actually manifested outside of one's mind…yet.
So, if one or both people are feeling a little uncomfortable or insecure about their partner's sexual past, something that can help to "drown out" those emotions is to create new experiences with one another because, I can almost guarantee you, that no matter what you and/or your partner may have already done, there are still things on your sexual bucket lists that you still have yet to do. Do those things together. What in the world are you waiting for? Because having a whole set of customized sexual memories is definitely something to be truly thankful for.
7. Get into Eye Contact Sexual Positions
Wanna know if someone is truly present with you? Wanna know if you are truly present with someone else? Maintain eye contact. You know, I actually read an article that said when folks go out of their way to avoid making eye contact, it can mean that there are walls up, they don't trust you, or that they aren't being very genuine. And while I wouldn't say this 100 percent applies, across the board, in the bedroom (because some sexual positions avoid all eye contact and yet are still pleasurable like a mutha), I do think that if you and yours are never in some variation of the missionary position, that should be discussed — because if there is a time when you should want to feel like you are totally connecting with your partner, it's when he's inside of you and again, eye contact helps to make that happen.
8. Make Afterplay a Top Priority
A complaint from women that I tend to hear a lot when it comes to sex is how often men will fall asleep, immediately after sex. In response, what I typically remind ladies of is the fact that science is the underlying reason. After men ejaculate, they release a considerable amount of the biochemical prolactin. When that happens, it causes them to feel tired and drained which is why they want to fall asleep. This is where the article, "Sure, Your Foreplay Game Is On Point. Now What About The 'Afterplay'?" comes in. Although I don't know many men who want to have a full-on deep discussion following sex, cuddling counts as afterplay. So does snacking on something or even watching a movie together (even if he only lasts for half of it).
The main thing that I like so much about afterplay is it's a reminder, to both people, that your partner is not just some random jump-off. What I mean by that is, it's not uncommon for casual sex partners to get off and get up and go. On the flip side, when you truly care about someone, you tend to want to cherish time together as you bask in the afterglow. If you want another way to show your partner how grateful you are for sharing such an intimate time and space with them, make sure that afterplay is on the agenda. It makes sex very…sweet. It really does.
9. Pillow Talk About Each Other’s Sexual Goals
Famed author Zig Ziglar once said, "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." And yes, I am big on encouraging couples to set short and long-term sex goals with one another. It helps to keep them from getting stuck in a sexual rut. It encourages them to step outside of the box and try new things. It gives them something special to look forward to on a regular basis. It challenges them to rise above their sexual status quo.
It conveys that they are not only prioritizing their sex life, but they are proactively looking for ways to make it better than ever. So yeah, two people who use their pillow time, at least a couple of times a month to set some solid sex goals are two people who think their sex life is just as important as every other part of their relationship — and when you've got a partner who thinks this way…how can you not be grateful for that?
10. Keep a “Sex Gratitude Journal”
One more thing. Something that I think all people should have is a sex journal. You can read more about that via the article, "The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)." Along these same lines, something that I think all couples (who are in an exclusive sexual relationship) should have is a sex gratitude journal. I'm telling you, there is something that is very thoughtful, very endearing, and very special about two people who literally make the time to handwrite thoughts, moments, and experiences that they shared with one another, sexually, that they are truly thankful for; especially when they make sure to put a date and time on their entries. Then, when things are a little challenging, one or both feels a bit of a disconnect or it's around the anniversary of the relationship's beginning, they can look through the journal and recall so much that is good about their bedroom chemistry.
So, as you're on the quest to implement more gratitude sex into your life, make sure to cop a fresh journal, to post entries and keep it on your bedroom nightstand. Whether you're the one writing or reading the entries, there's no way that you can put the journal down and not feel valued, adored and even a little horny. Just as sex should make you feel. Always.
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