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ISSUE 121 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/14/2008

Sex on the Hill: Let's talk about sex, baby

By Katherine Oyster
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 14, 2008

St. Olaf students are generally creatures of habit, and we have to be. We go to the same classes, eat the same food, have a favorite campus computer to check our e-mail, et cetera, et cetera. While it is easy for most to stay content with this routine, we sometimes have to find ways to "spice things up" so that we aren't bored to tears by our fulfilling yet redundant lives.

What applies in life also applies in the bedroom. People tend to develop routines for their sexual behavior, too; a particular "warm-up" activity, a specific position or style for sex for the main event (which generally lasts about the same amount of time), and exactly five minutes of cuddling post-sex before either falling asleep or getting along with your daily routine. This can be fine most of the time -- but after a while, the routine can get pretty old. Yet "spicing things up" in the bedroom can be kind of tricky. It's not hard to find other sexual options to do with a partner (crack open the latest issue of Cosmo and you'll have more ideas than you know what to do with); the problem lies in broaching the subject with your partner. Many people stay in their sexual routine because they're afraid to talk to their partners about considering a change.

Talking about sex can be scary but is incredibly necessary. Many worry that if they talk with their partner about wanting a change in sexual behavior, the partner will assume the person thinks poorly of their bedroom prowess or is bored with sex or the relationship as a whole. Of course there is a large difference between "bored" and "needing a little variety," and by talking about it you make that differentiation for your partner and yourself.

To avoid having these fears of talking about sex, you need to, well, talk about sex. A lot. When it's good, when it's mind-blowing, when it could use a little improvement, and everything in between. By opening up lines of communication and talking about sex at times when you don't want something different or more, you inspire confidence in your partner and their ability as a lover. Then, when you have a request, it's more like a coach pushing an athlete to higher achievements than a scolding for not doing well enough.

Once talking about sex is comfortable, you can start voicing your desired "spice-up" ideas. When having the "let's try something new" conversation, come to it with ideas. If your partner is perfectly fine with your current routine, they aren't going to be very imaginative. You could approach it by saying something like: "Hey, I was reading this article the other day and it was describing this new sex move, the toe-curler-face-contorter-gravity-defying extra special position. Are you interested in trying it?" Offer incentives, sexual or otherwise. Sometimes it's ridiculous what a college student will do for a study break with pizza.

Above all, make sure to approach with curiosity and excitement and not with boredom. If you sound like you're bored when you ask for something new, you might make your partner insecure about your sex life, which inevitably plays out into your relationship as a whole. Ask with the right frame of mind, and not only do you have a better chance of getting what you ask for, but also strengthening the relationship instead of hurting it.

If you are completely uncomfortable talking about sex with your partner, you probably shouldn't be having it or should consider finding a partner you do feel comfortable sharing with. If, for whatever reason, you can't share your wants and needs with the person who is supposed to know you and care about you most intimately, then you might want to stop and consider if you are really ready for a sexual relationship or for a relationship with your current partner.

Effective communication is important for any working relationship, but especially for your intimate ones. You should be able to talk about sex in order to make sure you are on the same page in your sexual expectations, to congratulate good performance, and to address issues as they arise. We can't read each other's minds -- sometimes your partner needs to hear what you want and need from them in order to deliver (and vice versa). By sharing with your partner, you strengthen your emotional bond and get the booty you want and deserve.

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