I once met a woman who spent $5,000 on an empowerment program just to learn how to tell her husband, “A little to the left.”
I hope it worked for her, because it did for me.
It took four decades for me to realize that I had not just a right, but a spiritual duty to explain to a partner how I want to be touched. I call it a spiritual duty because what happens when flesh touches flesh can be a form of prayer. But when we’re wincing through sex, we miss the incantation.
Every woman knows what I mean by the wince: When our partner is touching us the wrong way and we clench our teeth and count the seconds until it changes. Whether the touch needs to be a little to the left, or should be left out, some women know how to direct their way out of it.
What Do Women Want?
Why is it so hard for women to ask for what we want in bed? In truth we could ask this question about career, mothering, a vacation, or dinner plans. It’s hard for women to ask for what we want in bed because it’s hard to ask for what we want in life.
Part of the challenge is because the feminine is the essence of creative power. At times, being the source of all life makes each day appear as a quilt of endless threads. But that’s not really the problem, more of a wonderful playground that we are reluctant to leave. The bigger, more human issue comes from one of two places:
- We don’t know what we want
- We know what we want but don’t know how to say it
I present a third option: Knowing what we want (because we’ve taken time to explore) and asking for it (because why would we not?).
Filling the Well
The other night I asked my husband to kiss me all the way down my back. I don’t know why I wanted him to do that, but I relished in it as he did. Feeling his lips caressing my skin, I was struck by this thought: Why would I possibly hold back in asking for my desire?
In bed and all parts of life, women often step into a role of the givers. When that is a balanced expression, it is gorgeous. We give life. We give nourishment. We give wisdom. We give passage to the dying. But the only reason we should be cooking a meal or giving our partner head is because we want to do it.
Far too often, our desire to give becomes an obligation. That is what drains us, because an empty well has nothing to offer. Which is where it comes in handy to know that another very important expression of the feminine is that of receiving.
Receiving well is what allows us to give gracefully. Receiving is what is meant by “filling our cup.” Receiving is what naturally happens when a woman is aware of what she wants and holds herself in such regard that she clearly asks for it. How does receiving happen? When we ask ourselves every day, every moment what we want and receive the answer without judgment or shock that contradicts what we wanted yesterday.
Ask someone what it’s like to make love to a woman who can confidently say, “A little to the left,” you will get a big smile in return. It’s wonderful. It’s incredible. It’s the fireworks that they told us would be there. Because here are two active partners creating a beautiful, blissful communion. And that is God-stuff.
Sex as Prayer
If you see things through my lenses — where lovemaking is a beautiful, temporary experience of the blissful union that every spiritual practice points us to — then you may understand why I call it a spiritual duty to know what you want and ask for it. To consciously unite with another is to be caressed by Brahma. It’s an activity worthy of some intention.
But there’s another reason to learn how to ask for what you want in sex: you will learn to ask yourself what you want from the rest of your life. You will begin to pause and ask audacious questions, such as whether you want cow milk or almond mylk today, whether you want to read or listen to music, or whether you want time with partner or to be alone.
To do away with the auto-response of “whatever works for you” and turn that question inward to ask “what works for me?” is a step toward an honest answer. Because that small pause that lends itself to listening allows you to hear the quiet voice of your higher Self.
But if you’re still wincing, let me offer you this tip: Sex and self-pleasure are a lifelong path of self-discovery. There is no finish line. There’s no award. So see each step as a way to ask the questions. What kind of touch do I want — rough, soft, hard? Do I like to initiate or be chased? How do I like to be kissed? And, most importantly, when my preferences change (as they likely will) what causes them to do so?
All the answers you need will arise from that nowhere place within. That’s right — there is nothing outside of you that knows what you want. Which means that there is nothing outside of you that can complete you. Including the person whom you make love to.
And that is how you move from wincing through life to praying with it.