Talking is the sexiest sex act in all the sex land — don’t allow your hesitance about asking keep you from getting what you want …

If some guy named Colin put his belt around your neck while you were fucking and ever-so-gently tugged at it, you’d explode in orgasm. It would be so hot.

… Too bad you’re too afraid to ask for it.

As a species, we’re super great at some things like ruining the environment and making normal situations socially awkward, but we really suck at asking for what we want. Especially in bed, where many people feel things are already too precarious and vulnerable to upset with personal requests.

As a result, we don’t get what we want. Our needs and fantasies lurk unfulfilled between our ears, just a simple, well-worded conversation away from getting out.

This isn’t completely your fault — you’re afraid of rejection; of being made to feel like your desires are inappropriate or weird. You’ve been reared in a WASP-y culture where suburban, middle class sitcom values have made asking directly for the things that you want seem “rude” or “disagreeable.” Some people mistakenly feel it’s better to wait for someone to ask them what they want. That way, things are easier. More polite.

The gaping, steaming problem with this is that there are times in your life, particularly your sexual life, where no one is going to ask what your needs are. No one is going to make sure that you’re okay. No one is going to see if you need anything. And those are the moments where the seeds of resentment can really be planted, when partners decide they’re sexually incompatible and need to trade up.

Add to this the dumb-ass fear that asking for what you want in bed implies your partner isn’t doing their job. People expect who they’re fucking to psychically intuit exactly what they need, as if clairvoyance, not communication, is what makes for great sex. LOL right at that.

The key in speaking up is to be assertive, not aggressive with your needs and desires. You don’t have to flatly demand anything like a flaming bitch, or raise your voice, or make it into a big deal. All you have to do is simply let what you want fall out of your mouth in a way that encourages, not disparages your partner.

To accomplish this, make a request that’s as specific and clear as possible. You don’t have the ability to be vague, because you will be challenged on such a thing. It’s a lot better to make sure that you will be able to counter any backlash or ignorant questioning you get with grace as well — your partner might misunderstand that you’re trying to say and take it personally when that’s not your intention. Good thing you can’t control your partner’s reaction to a well-intentioned clear statement of your needs. So, take the burden of how you think they’ll react off your shoulders. As long as you’re not insulting or cruel when you ask for what you want, there’s no reason why you can’t get it.

Life is way, way too short to silently lie there and take some bunk ass sex you don’t need, so drop a tactful sentence every now and then. You might just get to use that belt afterall.