Creating a sexual menu together is a great way to talk openly about your sexual wishes.
Continuing with last week’s culinary theme (6 Ways Food and Sex Go Together), this week we’ll use the analogy of a menu to examine your sexual repertoire.
It’s not unusual for couples to struggle in the bedroom. Conflicts arise over what’s okay and what’s not when one or both partners feel stuck in a rut, and when opinions differ about exploring new sexual territory.
The menu concept is a helpful way to discuss these issues with your spouse in a non-confrontational and collaborative way. Let’s take a look at how that might work.
Think of the various activities in your sexual repertoire as a menu. You and your spouse can discuss the various menu sections listed below in order to come to mutual agreement. My suggestion is that you actually create your sexual menu on paper or computer or phone and store it in a private and secure location that is password protected, but where you can both get to it easily.
These are the tried and true sexual activities you both enjoy. These trusty house favorites are your go-to menu items when you don’t feel like trying something different and you just want to connect in a deep and pleasurable way that’s sure to leave you both feeling satisfied. Talk about what’s on your favorites list and write them down. His favorite and hers may not be the same, and that’s okay, but limit it to a maximum of about 10 items in total.
Foreplay is like the appetizers on your sexual menu. It’s an often neglected yet important dimension of your sex life that should get the same level of attention and consideration as the main course. Good foreplay takes time and requires you to be intentional in pursuing and wooing your spouse. One useful way to talk about foreplay is for each of you to complete the sentence, “It really gets me turned on when you/we ______.” And remember that foreplay can and should happen throughout the day and not just in the minutes immediately preceding intercourse. Your appetizer list should contain 10-15 items that get your motor running.
Last week I likened quickie sex to fast food, noting that it’s okay once in a while, but it’s not healthy if your diet consists of nothing but fast food. Quickies are also like the “lighter fare” section of the menu. Lighter fare choices are a great choice when your appetite for sex isn’t strong but your partner desires the physical connection that sustains the emotional intimacy in your relationship. If quickies are on your lighter fare menu, talk about the how and where you would like these encounters to happen. Just because these encounters are quick, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. In addition to quickies, manual or oral stimulation to orgasm of the desiring person can help sustain the sexual momentum in your relationship until you have time, energy and the desire for something from the “heavier” main course menu items.
The daily specials section of your sexual menu is where you make room for experimentation. On this list go the new ideas that either of you might want to try out sometime, assuming you are both comfortable with it. Joint willingness is essential! Keep in mind that after trying a “new dish” a time or two, you may decide to move it to the favorites menu, keep it on the daily specials menu, or remove it from the menu altogether. That’s okay! It’s also okay for a specials item to remain on the menu for an extended time before you finally decide to try it out.
The sexual equivalent of the dessert menu are those things that you add on top of your normal routine that make a sexual encounter extra special. This could include things like using a sexual toy, a challenging but pleasurable intercourse position, different methods of orgasm, or sex in a new/special location. The point of this list is to have ideas at hand that you wouldn’t necessarily want to include all the time, but that adds just a bit of extra spice to your sex life.
The menu metaphor might be just the tool to give you and your spouse an easy way to talk about your sexual desires and wishes in a non-threatening and cooperative way. Do your best to be open to one another’s menu suggestions. When you don’t agree on something (and there will be things you don’t agree on) keep in mind that just because you don’t want something to go on the menu, it doesn’t mean your spouse is a bad person for wanting it. In the same way, just because your spouse doesn’t agree to put something you want on the menu, it doesn’t make him or her a prude.
Approach this discussion with grace and an open mind!
And remember to revisit your menu from time to time. Just like a restaurant, you will want to make adjustments as preferences change over time.
Do you think the menu metaphor would work in your marriage? What other menu metaphors would you add to my list? Leave a comment.