Sometimes, getting what you want from your partner isn’t easy. Fear of rejection, shame, or embarrassment may keep you from expressing your desires. Just like stripping away layers of clothing, opening up to your partner - literally and figuratively - exposes your vulnerabilities. The thought of it may make you anxious, even insecure. This can change. If you’re able to stand before each other naked, you can certainly learn to reveal yourselves in other ways. In fact, you should; honesty elevates intimacy. Done properly, it can lead to a stronger connection filled with unexpected epiphanies and unanticipated bliss. Here are several techniques to help.

Open Your Heart and Your Mouth

Maybe you’ve built up an emotional wall to protect you from pain. Perhaps you’re most comfortable when you’re not being confrontational. Gently push past these barriers and clear a path for new approaches. Encourage yourself to acknowledge your emotions and let your voice to be heard. No one can read your mind, no matter how romantic the notion or how strong the connection. Speak up with kindness in your heart and sincerity in your words. Begin with simple requests like, “Kiss me softer, please.” Then, work your way up to the trickier topics. Eventually, you’ll even find satisfaction in hearing your desires out loud.

Choose Your Language Thoughtfully

Remember, never accuse. Always start with “I” instead of “you.” Say, “I would prefer it if you engaged in more foreplay before taking me from behind,” instead of, “You aren’t going down on me long enough.” Do you notice the difference? Can you feel the distinction? Steer clear of superlatives like “always” or “never.” It’s unlikely your partner is “never attentive” or “always too eager.” And avoid casting judgement or criticizing actions. Say, “I’d like you to spank me more,” rather than, “You’re not a good lover.” Think before you speak. Speaking intentionally will prevent misunderstandings.

Make the First Move

Sometimes you want to be coy, show some leg, flex a muscle, whatever it is you do when you want to show you’re ready for action. The truth is, today’s modern world is filled with distractions and everyone’s pulled in many different directions. Facebook notifications, inbox alerts, meetings, billboards, commercials - so many forces are vying for our attention. Next time you’re feeling playful, don’t wait for your partner to pick-up on your signals. Grab them passionately and initiate intimacy. This ensures you won’t be harboring negative feelings when you don’t get what you want when you want it. You’ll get what you’re looking for - or you’ll get the opportunity to schedule an appointment for a mutually agreed upon time later.

Radiate Confidence (Even When You’re Not Feeling It)

This isn’t easy. It’s akin to “faking it until you make it” and takes a bit of mindfulness and practice. Sometimes an idea you’d like to share with your partner pops-up, but fear squelches it. For example, you’d like to try bondage, but you’re embarrassed to admit it. Replace anxiety with bright, brilliant rays of self-confidence. Visualize it. Paint a picture of what this looks like in your mind’s eye. Take deep breaths as you tap into your awareness. Then, speak slowly and methodically as you own your ambitions. Make eye-contact and confess, “I want you to tie me to the bedpost and gag me with my panties.” That wasn’t so hard, now was it?

Don’t Be So Serious

Sex is messy. Emotions are roller coasters. Hormones are all over the place and situations are sometimes out of your control. Who knows what may happen next? You may fall off the bed while giving head. A position may not go according to plan. A queef could happen. That threesome you were looking forward to may not go as anticipated. The unexpected is what makes life so entertaining. Laughter and communication is the answer. Open dialogue and a cheerful disposition will deliver you back to the same page, again, bringing you closer together, keeping things fun and keeping you both coming back for more.