In a romantic encounter, talking about your needs and wants—and theirs—creates some of the most emotionally intimate moments. Getting on the same page is vital, even if the relationship turns out to be short-term. Someone who does not pay attention to what you want, or disregards your feelings, is unlikely to be an ideal partner. And when someone says or shows that they’re not up for it (this time or ever), they too are taking care of their own needs and wishes, and we get to respond in ways that honor their choice.
Less that, more this
I’m not ready
I’m glad you feel able to change your mind
That’s not my thing—but you are
How good is it for you if I…?
No problem—I’m relieved you can say it
We’ll hold off—thanks for taking care of yourself
Would you like to…?
If it doesn’t feel right, say something
Let’s talk about what we want
That’s not for me—how about [this]?
Thanks for hearing me
Back massage? Firmer touch? Just right?
How can I make this work for you?
Still good with this? Keep going?
This is working great for me
You don’t seem super-keen, so I’ll take that as a no
The National Sexual Assault Hotline: RAINN
Melanie Boyd, PhD, assistant dean in student affairs; lecturer in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Yale University, Connecticut.
Jaclyn Friedman, author, What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety (Seal Press, 2011).
Twanna A. Hines, sexuality writer, https://funkybrownchick.com/.
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Baczynski, M. (2015, February 1). 8 ways to hear no gracefully. AskingForWhatYouWant.com. Retrieved from https://www.askingforwhatyouwant.com/2015/02/18/8-ways-to-hear-a-no-gracefully/
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