On the Prowl
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on October 6, 2006 | PRINT

"Do these pants make my butt look fat?" Unless you are looking for a fight, or are just too oblivious to know otherwise, the answer is always, "No." Some things, like burnt food, mismatching shoes and restaurant choices, are not worth creating a squabble over. However, there is one arena in long-term relationships that is especially important for couples to always fight for. That is, of course, sex.

Most of this advice is directed toward those in committed, monogamous relationships. These are the healthiest kind, both physically and emotionally. In these relationships with a greater emotional commitment, it is imperative for each person to voice their opinion. Sometimes it's good to hold back your opinion on her button-up lumberjack shirt or his embarrassingly feeble attempt to grow anything but peach fuzz on his upper lip, but in the bedroom, you should let your partner know how you feel.

If you are in a relationship with someone who has long-term potential, it's important to realize the importance of sacrifice and compromise. Equally important is the capability to voice your feelings, especially when it comes to sexual dissatisfaction. Below are four issues that could, at some later point in time, become the catalyst for a relationship's demise.

The first issue, and probably the most awkward to discuss, is a boring lover. Maybe she just wants to lay there or maybe he says he can't enjoy anything but doggie, but most of the time, at least one partner is dying for some change. If you are the one getting denied for your spicy suggestions like the "T-bone" or the "debtor," yet receiving the same speed missionary each time, you are the partner who needs to voice your boredom. However, because you are in a committed relationship, you have to be careful about hurting your partner's feelings. You never want to say, "You are bad in bed." Not only will this create fears of a breakup, but it will give one the fear to have sex again in the likelihood that it's bad.

Therefore, you might try offering new positions. If that doesn't work, try a smaller step, like varying the time of day. Afternoon sex can be the most fun because it's a little deviant and neither one of you has an 8:00 a.m. class in five hours. When your partner isn't catching on, take some time to think about why your partner may like their standard position. Some girls don't want to switch up positions because they feel they will look unattractive in some of the slightly more advanced positions. Some guys, though, like the feeling of control. Whatever it is, try to find some sort of reason behind this, be it power, comfort, flexibility or appearance, and then use that.

Search online for sex positions; Google is your friend. My favorite way of introducing a new position to my "slumber party mate" is to e-mail him a link to a new set of positions and ask if there's any in there he'd like to try. Something like that is very simple, non-confrontational and it's a terrific way for allowing them to make the choice. You shouldn't care which they choose, because they are all new.

Another awkward issue that couples never seem to discuss with each other is their fantasies. Somehow, fantasies are banished to the back corners of your mind. Why? Because they reveal a deviant, abnormal part of you which can be embarrassing. Fantasies are a delicate part of your sexual side. This conversation should only be initiated if you fully trust your partner either not to ridicule you or tell your fantasy to anyone else (unless of course, your fantasy is a threesome, foursome or orgy).

Fantasies don't have to be all S&M with whips and chains. They don't have to involve "out holes" or becoming a human toilet. Fantasies can be as simple as having your partner wear a tie during the ride or being loud enough for the neighbors to hear. A good lover will hear you out and at least consider your idea. If you have been harboring a fantasy for quite some time and you trust your playmate, it might be a healthy idea to talk about it. The easiest way of discussing this sort of thing is outside of a sexual situation. It's best not to discuss this right before or after sex, and especially not during the rump act. Try tossing it into a normal conversation with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Again, word choice is key with this sort of thing. You never want to offend your lover. Say something like, "I've always wanted to try such-and-such position. What do you think?" Be ready for a "no," though. It's okay if your partner doesn't want to do this. There may be reasons, so ask. If they're nervous about it or think it's silly or odd, let them think about it and ask again later. If there's a traumatic experience attached or they are disgusted at the idea, don't be offended. Respect their honesty and surrender this fantasy. Knowing your partner's sexual desires is a gift. If your partner reveals something to you, remember to keep their floor fetish to yourself.

Well, what if your partner has an entirely different problem? What if he or she trumpets your sexual adventures to all your friends, or worse, like through Facebook notes? If your partner loves to divulge the details of what you two did last weekend on the couch and coffee table, this could be a problem. Even if your partner is exclaiming how great a lover you are or how awesome the new position was last night, it can be quite embarrassing for you. Most of the time, sexual discussion should be minimal, euphemistic and entirely general. A lot of lovers feel it is too much information for their friends to be updated as to what activities the treasures in your pants engage in.

This sort of problem should be discussed one-on-one with your partner. The two of you have to decide what is okay to discuss with other people. Some couples enjoy swanking about their under-the-covers magic, but others are on a strict don't-even-let-people-know-we-kiss kind of thing. Figure out what you guys consider to be off limits. And if your partner still doesn't zip his or her lip, you have to have a talk.

This last problem is probably the most common: frequency. It's rare and nearly impossible to have too much sex. I'm talking about a frequency below desirable. Most couples in college have sex about three or four times a week. There is no set amount of sex that is "normal." If your partner isn't rockin' your bed as often as you'd like, invite him or her to spend the night more often. Survey says that 10 out of 10 people can't have sex if they're sleeping in separate apartment complexes alone.

Just because your partner agrees to sleeping over doesn't mean that you are getting some tonight. Relationships are based on emotional intimacy, too. Laying in bed, cuddling and staying up late whispering can be just as good for your relationship as a vivacious round of copulation. Spending time with your lover outside of the bedroom and doing things besides sex can increase your intimacy, which is great for your relationship. And we all know that when a relationship is going great, the sex comes much more often and is multi-orgasmic almost every time.

My fellow sex lovers, sex is a wonderful thing, a thing so much more wonderful when shared with someone you deeply care about. With all the things we tell white lies about, satisfaction or lack thereof in sex shouldn't be one of them. When your girlfriend asks, "Does my butt look good in these pants?" you ought to answer, "Yes, but I think it would look better without them."

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