As you no doubt know, preference means favoring one thing, person, or activity over others; given a choice, this is what one would choose. For some reason it is often confused with orientation (whether one’s sex objects are women or men) when we speak of sexual matters.
Many people, particularly those in a long term relationship, are sure they know exactly what their partner likes sexually. “I touch him there and he goes crazy” or “She loves it when I do that.” But are you really sure? Have you ever actually talked about sexual preferences together? Yes, your partner may react with pleasure when you do a certain thing but be too timid to tell you that s/he would actually prefer something else or rather have whatever it is done differently that you usually do it.
I’m going to list some questions that can be used in a number of ways. You and your partner can each answer them privately then show one another your list of responses. You can take turns answering what you have on your list. You can make it a guessing game and then have your partner confirm your answer or correct it. You can use this tool it whatever way it seems more fun or less threatening. There need to be some ground rules, however.
Do not use an unexpected response to start a fight. (“What? How come you never told me that?”) An excellent response to an unexpected answer would be “Really? Show me!) This is a learning exercise whose purpose is to improve not only your sex life but your communications as well.
Listen without judgement. Ask for clarification or a demonstration so you are convinced you understand.
If an unexpected difference in preferences shows up talk about it. If something your partner likes is something you absolutely don’t, find some way to express this in a nonjudgmental manner. (“That’s weird!” is not a diplomatic response.)
Okay, some suggested questions. Please add your own.
- How would you like me to let you know I’m interested in having sex?
- If I’m just not in the mood how would you prefer I let you know that?
- If you’re not in the mood do you want to be wooed or simply be left alone?
- Where and how do you like to be touched when love making is beginning?
-Is there a special spot to which you’d like more attention paid?
-What do you like about the way we kiss?
-Is there something you haven’t told me that you would like changed?
-In general, what could make our sex together better for you?
There is much to be gained by being honest in answering these questions. Yes, it takes some courage to ask them and strength to hear an answer you might not be expecting, but if this exchange results in feeling closer to your partner and in having more satisfying sex together wouldn’t it be worth it?