Being a sex blogger, contrary to popular belief, isn’t all sensual sweet nothings and longing looks all the time. My approach to sex has never been what I would call “sexy.” I am, instead, a dorky goofball in the sack. And fortunately, that’s worked out pretty well for me.
I don’t know how “normal people” initiate sex. Maybe there’s no such thing as “normal people” when it comes to sexuality. There’s only what’s common, and what’s less common – and I’d wager that awkwardness in bed is far more common than most folks would admit.
Below are five actual things I’ve said in an attempt to get the sexy ball rolling. These are all lines that worked, i.e. happy and enthusiastic sex resulted soon thereafter. I share these not so much as prescriptive suggestions, but as a reminder that you can be silly and strange in bed and still be sexually successful (whatever that means to you). If you’re a weirdo and someone is excited to bang you, that excitement is partially because you’re a weirdo, I promise. Own that, use it, and don’t be ashamed of it!
“I kinda wanna cuddle you. Would that be weird?”
A lot of my sexual initiations begin with “I kinda wanna,” actually. It’s less anxiety-provoking for me than a cocksure proclamation of intent, but it still communicates desire. “Would that be weird?” is really just another way of asking “Would that be okay?” or “How would you feel about that?” – a.k.a. requesting consent.
I said this while lying in bed talking with someone who I found intensely attractive but whose feelings about me I wasn’t sure of. I wanted to do much more than cuddle him (and eventually we did), but I figured this request would be a gentle way to test the waters. He laughed and said, “No, that wouldn’t be weird!” and I breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled me in toward him, because I had a much better sense of where I stood.
“Hey, you should spank me, if you want to.”
“You should…” is definitely bolder than “Do you want to…?” or “I kind of want you to…” but I felt okay being bold in this case, because the person in question had already told me he enjoys spanking people. And we had been flirting a bit, so I ventured to guess he’d be open to spanking me.
Knowing this was a ballsy way to phrase my request, I opted to soften it by adding, “If you want to.” This builds consent into the statement. I probably wouldn’t use this approach with someone shy and accommodating, because I’d want to make sure they actually wanted to do it, rather than just agreeing out of a sense of obligation. But the person in this case was someone I believed would state his objections if he had any. Lucky for me, he was on-board.
“I wanna kiss you, but I’m nervous.”
I said this to someone who made me feel even shyer and awkward-er than I am normally. So much so, in fact, that my eyes were squeezed shut when I said this to him. Admitting my desire felt monumental, embarrassing, huge, even though I knew he wanted to kiss me too.
I often find that owning up to my anxiety – speaking it out loud – helps diffuse some of its power. Built into my confession is an unspoken request for validation. An understanding partner would respond with something like, “Aw, don’t be nervous. C’mere.” I think the person in question did indeed say something like that to me. But I can’t really remember; the excellent kisses have blurred my recollections.
“Would you like some boobs in your face?”
I said this to a friend while cuddling with her and another person in bed, and it ended up leading to my first threesome. She had mentioned that cuddling made her slightly uncomfortable because it’s so intimate, and that adding a sexual element can help mitigate that for her. So I offered up a solution that might make her feel better. All three of us knew we were headed toward threesome-town; this was my gentle way of setting that process into motion.
A lot of folks bristle at the thought of direct consent-asks – “Would you like…?” “May I…?” “Do you want me to…?” It’s true that these can sometimes be a bit clunky or unnatural, but I’ve never found that asking for consent “kills the moment,” no matter how artlessly it’s done. I’d always rather be too sure of my partner’s “yes” than not sure enough. Don’t let anyone shame you out of directness; it’s a good, useful, conscientious approach.
“I really liked going down on you and would love to do it again sometime.”
I sent this via Twitter DM, buried in a paragraph of spluttering explanations and excuses, because I was embarrassed by the intensity of my hunger for dat dick. This initiation probably would’ve been more effective if I’d just said it straight-up, instead of insulating it with clauses like “Sorry if this is crass and un-chill, but…” and “Feel free to ignore this if you think I’m being weird.” I already knew this guy liked having my mouth on his junk, so I didn’t need to be so cagey about what I wanted.
Enthusiasm is such a key part of an effective sexual initiation. In fact, I’d say that the basic recipe is “express enthusiasm + ask for consent.” Initiating sex isn’t just about asking, “Do you want to do this?” – it’s also about establishing, “…because I really, really do.”
What are your favorite ways to verbally initiate sex? What are the best initiations other people have said to you?